This year's history foot notes will most certainly call out 2017 as one in which Americans learned much about who we are and who we want to be as individuals and as a nation--not all of it good, but most of it something of which to be proud. Reflection, looking deep into the mirror to discover what is really in there, is a gift--almost a luxury in today's global race-paced, media-driven, working and living environment. It is through serious public and private thought and consideration, a privilege afforded in a democracy, that we find strength and courage to mend the fractures of fellow citizens who undoubtedly and unintentionally are disenfranchised and hurt. It is a voice that grows one person at a time and becomes our national voice that ultimately drives policies and sets the pace for social and moral progress. When the world and our own country seems just a bit unrecognizable, Thanksgiving is Abraham Lincoln's gift to us all. It was the autumn of 1863 when President Lincoln set aside a day of thanksgiving and implored "the whole American People"  to "reverently and gratefully acknowledge...with one heart and one voice...and with humble heal the wounds of the nation and to restore the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union".  Powerful words from a man trying to mend a politically, racially and religiously divided nation. As was true then, Lincoln's words resonate today with hope for every person and for sound fundamental consensus that united we can remain the greatest country on earth. 

In addition to acknowledging for what we have to be grateful this Thanksgiving, it may be time to contemplate the challenge of building a healthier nation together. Each of us needs to dig deeper. Be kinder. Be more patient and more respectful of those with whom we have differences. Lower the estimation of our own self importance. Say please. Say thank you. Help a stranger. Speak with children about the importance of common ground, civility, and respect for one another. Remember, it is not politics or the media that defines America's character, it is the individual. Americans have always shown the world a generosity of spirit, optimism, and a second to none work ethic. While much of 2017 has been a tug-of-war in which powerful agencies have asked us to take sides in an effort to "win", it is precisely the freedom to engage in the discussion, regardless of how discouraging or uncomfortable that discussion may be, that makes America great. The current conversation around what it means to be American will undoubtedly continue into the new year. The way in which we choose to engage in that discourse will define how proud we deserve to be of ourselves and how much reverence the world has for what has always been the greatest democracy on Earth. 

Let this day of feasting be one for reflecting and sharing our best selves. Be thankful for all the gifts and bounty we are granted in this land of plenty.


Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking. Suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us to live above the common level of life. Help us choose the hard right over the easy wrong. Never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy. Scorn compromise with vice and injustice: know no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer--Amen


America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.--Abraham Lincoln


To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.--Anonymous

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb

but Always stay humble and kind.--Tim McGraw

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.--Mahatma Gandhi


For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.

Pilgrim verse, circa 1633

RecipesKate ArnoldComment