What prompts us to say ‘Thank you’?

 

First… it’s time for the announcement as promised on Friday!

I put the Random Number Generator to work, and it has selected Comment #7, which, when I eliminate Denise’s comment, mine and Shari’s, turns out to be Laura Best’s. Congratulations, Laura! If you’ll e-mail your postal address to caroljgarvin[at]gmail[dot]com, I’ll send you the signed copy of Denise’s NEVER ENOUGH.

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It’s Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.

I doubt there is a child alive who hasn’t been admonished by a parent more than once to “Say thank you.” After all, it’s good manners. We’re meant to show appreciation for a gift received, a kindness shown, or a favour given.

So when Thanksgiving arrives, many of us have been brainwashed into our responses: “Thank you for all my blessings.” But who are we thanking, and what specifically are those blessings? And a bigger question might be are we really all that thankful?

For millions in the developed world there is a sense of entitlement. We’ve worked hard — or perhaps our parents did — to earn what we have. Whether we share a crowded room or live in a mansion, there is a belief that we have a right to that roof over our heads. We anticipate at least one square meal a day, too, and clothing to keep our bodies covered and warm. Some of us live in abundance (my fingers tremble a bit here as I compose this on one of our three computers). We take a lot for granted… unless it’s all taken away from us.

Unless we return home from an evening with friends and find nothing but rubble left — unless serious illness happens, or accident, job loss or some other calamity leaps out of nowhere and strips us of everything that we’ve always had — until then we don’t think a lot about what constitutes our style of living, do we?

Instead we mutter about Monday mornings, moan about the chores, and mumble about getting started on our Christmas shopping.

In Jesus’ day leprosy was a big deal — a horrible, highly contagious and incurable illness that resulted in the afflicted being banished into isolated communities. So when ten lepers were healed by Jesus, it was as if they had been raised from the living-dead.

“One of them [the lepers], when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough.”

Luke 17:15-16 (Msg)

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Were the other nine not overjoyed, too? I’m sure they were. I imagine they marvelled at their unblemished skin and hurried on to be reunited with their friends and families and rejoice together. I don’t doubt they were thankful, but only one took the time to acknowledge the source of the miracle and return to say ‘thank you’.

So I’m back to my earlier questions. What prompts us to say ‘thank you’ today? Is it an automated, conditioned response, or do we really know who are we thanking, why, and specifically for what? Do we offer cursory appreciation before digging into the turkey, or do we kneel at His feet, so grateful for the new lives He’s given us that we can never thank Him enough?

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To each of you, my thanks for your precious cyber friendship and support.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Photo by think4photop

Book Reviews and Giveaway — WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART and NEVER ENOUGH — Author Denise Jaden

When author Denise Jaden shares the experiences that have influenced how she handles grief in her writing, she doesn’t mince words. A miscarriage, the death of her father in a workplace accident, the head injury of her son and her husband’s place of business burning down, all happened in the span of four months, and suddenly had her coping with unexpected loss and grief.

She says, “As much as I didn’t want it, I’ve had the opportunity to think on some teachable aspects of grief as I was walking my journey.” Not only did she think on them, she has utilized them to create a wonderful book for anyone writing about characters who are also dealing with loss.

In her first non-fiction book, WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART: USING GRIEF AND LOSS TO STRETCH YOUR FICTION, Denise shares her ideas on how to add emotional layers to your writing about characters going through various forms of loss. She analyzes how individuals react in grief, and provides exercises to help writers apply these reactions to their characters.

It’s an invaluable resource for every writer. Released October 1st, the paperback version is available at Create Space and through Amazon.  The e-book is available at AmazonSmashwordsKoboDiesel and Sony. Check out Denise’s blog for a Goodreads giveaway. Also, if you send Denise your mailing address at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with “Bookmarks” in the subject line, she’ll  be happy to send some bookmarks your way

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This is the second of Denise’s books to be released in 2012. In July I was pleased to attend the launch of her second YA novel, NEVER ENOUGH. It’s a remarkable story about two sisters each coping with their sense of self-esteem and inadequacy. About it Publishers Weekly said, “In her sophomore novel, Jaden (Losing Faith) offers an intimate and enlightened rendering of anorexia and bulimia…Loann’s fight against forces that might be beyond her control is both harrowing and inspiring. While Jaden does not provide simple answers for the problems presented, she dramatically illustrates the importance of speaking out and reaching out.”

Like Denise’s first novel LOSING FAITH, NEVER ENOUGH is another story that caught me up and kept me reading non-stop to the end.

I have a signed copy of NEVER ENOUGH to give away to one of you who leaves a comment below before noon on Sunday, October 7th. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address when prompted so I can contact the winner. Draw is limited to mailing addresses in Canada and the United States. Winner will be announced on Monday.

NEVER ENOUGH is available just about everywhere I look, including on Amazon.

If you’ll be attending the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, October 19-21, 2012 at Surrey’s Sheraton Hotel, I believe Denise will also have copies of her books available there.

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