Surprisingly Thankful

Horn of plenty for giving thanks

When the fourth Thursday of November rolls around, most of us pause to give thanks. Many of us are thankful for good health, friends, family, employment and faith. All of these are so important, and we are lucky if we have them.

At the same time, it is often the little things that tend to bring us the most pleasure on a daily basis. To “jazz up” your Thanksgiving conversation this year, why not see how many tiny pleasures you can think of for which you are truly thankful? You can get the conversation started with this list, and then see what the people around your table would add.


  • Getting to use the restroom when I really need to go.
  • Encountering no unexpected troubles or difficulties when running errands.
  • Having someone tell me that I don’t have to take care of a responsibility that I have been dreading.
  • Having perfect weather for my outdoor event.
  • Being seated at a great table in a restaurant.
  • Waking up feeling fine after fearing the night before that I was getting sick.
  • Scoring better on a test than I thought I would.
  • Getting all green lights and a terrific parking spot, especially when I am in a rush.
  • Being told the repair I needed was minor, instead of the expensive one I had feared.
  • Finding a new appliance to replace an old one that fits exactly into the existing space.
  • Unexpectedly receiving flowers, recognition, or appreciation.
  • Hearing about something good that happened to my child (or other loved one).
  • Hearing my name called out as being the “lucky winner.”
  • Trying a new recipe and having it turn out exactly as it looks in the picture.
  • Being on a flight that takes off on time, making my connection, and then seeing my luggage appear on the carousel.
  • Having my pet cuddle up against me and make sounds of contentment.
  • Sipping cool water when I am thirsty.
  • Completing everything on my to-do list.
  • Having lip balm on hand when my lips are chapped.
  • Receiving a hand-written letter.
  • Waking up just before my alarm goes off.
  • Changing out of formal clothes into sweats or pajamas.
  • Waking up to the smell of coffee someone else has made.
  • Receiving a call from my child call for no particular reason.
  • Witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset.
  • Slipping into a bed with freshly washed sheets.
  • Sensing the scent of spring in the air for the first time after winter.
  • Being addressed by name.
  • Finishing the crossword puzzle.
  • Sleeping through the entire night without waking up.
  • Beginning the first day of vacation.

Do any of these resonate with you? What small pleasure are you thankful for this year?

30 thoughts on “Surprisingly Thankful”

  1. So many of these “tiny pleasures” resonate with me. There are moments of joy and gratitude all around if we allow ourselves to pause and notice. Of the ones you named, there are several that lift my heart too- having clear weather for an outdoor event, hearing something positive that happened to our kids, friends, or loved ones, receiving a handwritten note, sensing spring after a long winter. And there are others like noticing a flower beginning to bloom, seeing how the fall colors shine on a sunny day, holding hands with my husband, hugging our kids, seeing my mom smile, getting into bed after a long day, taking that first sip of hot morning coffee or tea, laughing with my girlfriends, pulling in the driveway after I’ve been away for the day, and seeing our home filled with family or friends. There are so many more, but those are the ones that are top of mind.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Entertain With Less Stress and More LoveMy Profile

    1. I love all of these that you have added! Yes, yes, yes on crawling into bed after a long day. Sounds crazy, but on very cold nights, I turn my electric blanket on to “preheat” the bed before I crawl in. Usually I can turn it off then, but it feels so good on cold toes to tuck them under a warm blanket:)

    1. Being mindfully thankful really is a gift we give ourselves. It takes a little effort, but it brings us joy, so it is definitely worth it. Once you get going, you start to realize so many things. I just read Linda’s comment and I agree with the list she offered. So much fun to think about these, right?

    1. Yes, it is something that can bring us joy all year long. I think it will be fun to talk about these tiny pleasures around our Thanksgiving table this year!

  2. Seana,

    I just love this! Stopping to notice and appreciate the little things is really what all the big things are made of. It’s the moments in our lives that count.

    I get so excited when my grandson lights up when he sees me. I love when I get a call, out of the blue, from someone in my life who I haven’t heard from in ages. I feel lucky every time I get a taxi in congested New York City. I love when my grown-up kids ask me for advice. I also love how happy they are in their relationships. It’s fun watching my pups play together knowing they really love each other. I’m so appreciative when my husband goes grocery shopping and actually comes back with everything on the list!

    I could go on….:-)

    Thank you!

    1. I love all of this, Ronni! And that is exactly the thing: once we start, we can go on and on. That is the fun of it. Once you start thinking, and also hearing what other people are thankful for, the juices really start flowing. Looking forward to sharing these ideas around our table this year!

    1. Yes, I think it might be fun to talk about the tiny things around our Thanksgiving table this year. It has been my experience that once you get started, and as you hear what other people say, the ideas start pouring out! How wonderful to realize the width and depth of blessings we enjoy, right?

  3. What a lovely post. It so easy to overwhelmed with activities over the holiday. Slowing down to appreciate what you have is a wonderful idea. Here are some little things I appreciate in my life. I love having a dishwasher, because I hate washing dishes. I am grateful for my neighbor who is always up for a field trip or movie. I love having great books to read and I love a strong cup of coffee in the morning.

  4. Great list! I love going to bed on clean sheets! My own small gratitude is using up all the leftovers in the fridge before they go bad. I get a weird thrill when nothing is wasted. Happy Turkey Day to you and yours, Seana!

    1. I feel the same, Sarah. I hardly ever throw food away. I do have a husband who loves leftovers, which helps! Clean sheets are the best. Happy Thanksgiving to your clan:)

  5. All those ‘little things’ add up to one big life to be grateful for! I, too appreciate a handy lip balm, completing a to-do list, sleeping through the night, and getting all green lights and a fab parking spot. My husband and I are trying to teach our kids to look out for those ‘little things’ to be grateful for–gotta get their ‘gratitude muscles’ working while they’re young!

    1. What a gift to give your children. Gratitude, like so many other things, truly is a habit. How wonderful to form such a positive habit in one’s young years. Happy Thanksgiving to all of your family Stacey!

  6. Yes, so many of these. I do love getting into a bed with clean sheets. Or using a new pillow. The green lights one is awesome, and the sipping cool water when thirsty too.
    So many amazing things that happen EFVERY DAY. It adds up. Thank you for this!

  7. I have felt gratitude for all these things. The trick is to get in the habit of noticing and feeling thankful every day and every time you notice. A great idea Seana.

    1. Gratitude, like so many other things, truly is a habit. It doesn’t come automatically, but it is worth the effort to cultivate. Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving Dianne!

  8. Today at my hair appt. I was reading a Martha Stewart Living that I had not seen AND found a great Shrimp Scampi recipe after just buying a bag of shrimp!!!

    1. I pretty much do all my magazine reading at my hairdresser’s or the doctor’s office LOL! I love those little things like finding the shrimp scampi recipe with a fresh purchase of shrimp. Isn’t it crazy how many tiny things bring a smile to our face?? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sue!

  9. Thank you for the important reminder, Seana. I am with you on the simple and breathtaking glory of a sunrise and sunset. I would also add when a sweet memory of my mom and dad drift through my day. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my friend.

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica. Gratitude, especially for tiny things, is always within reach if we keep our eyes open. Sometimes this discipline is what really gets us through a tough moment, right? Hope you two are having a happy day as well!

  10. Easing back down to acknowledge what you have is a great thought. Here are some easily overlooked details I acknowledge in my life. I love having a dishwasher since I detest washing dishes. I am thankful for my neighbor who is consistently up for a field excursion or film. I figure I may propose to my visit to share something little that you are appreciative of.

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