Remembering To Be Thankful: #ItsTheLittleThings

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For me, it’s often a small thing that speaks this big message:


Karen and I, along with two daughters, loitered at the mall recently, spending money on ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ANYONE NEEDED.

Back-to-school clothes for teens. Walking shoes for me. Fall decorations for Mom. A couple Frisbees, just for fun. Starbucks and “Doc” popcorn for all.

Like I said, nothing we had to have. Important question:

Honestly, how much do any of us purchase that we HAVE to HAVE???

There are people in the world who live on floors of dirt and rejoice when a church group shows up to pour them a concrete slab. I know this because Karen has gone to Honduras twice to do this.

She’s a good person. I would’ve mailed a check. 🙂

Anyway, arriving home from the mall, I walked into our garage (with a concrete floor) and began straightening up. That’s when I saw it:thankful its the little things

That folding card table.

The folding card table we received as a 1980 wedding gift in Ithaca, NY and transported 1,200 miles to Mankato, Minnesota to use as our dining room table for the next two years in our first apartment.

“Dining room table”—that’s a pretty funny choice of words 36 years later SINCE THERE WAS NO DINING ROOM!

We didn’t buy a real table to eat on for many years. Modest incomes combined with poor spending habits caused us to live check to check for a long time.

But, as you can see from the photo, we still have the table—and I’m glad we do. Not because it’s used much anymore, but because it’s an outstanding symbol of how blessed we are today! I need reminders like that.



What is it in your life that reminds you of your blessings? Share here!

Meanwhile, I am heading out to the garage to admire my concrete floor.

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29 Responses

  1. Good blog John.

    For me this is an easy one. It is the person I wake up and look at each morning. After 40 years of marriage, she is still spectacular to watch and admire–even when she is asleep. I will sometimes just look at her while I count the blessings she has brought to me. She is my role model for kindness, patience, generosity, gratitude, thoughtfulness and joy for living.

    Her influence on what I am today is too large to quantify. She is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. She is a master on talking and relating with people—and each friend is near and dear to her. She was instrumental in raising our children and helped instill many of her own great qualities in them.

    Yes, her presence in my life is one continual blessing. Not a day goes by that I do not think of how fortunate I am. Thanks for the reminder John!

  2. I’m with you John. My wife and I also ate off a card table for a couple of years, and we still have it 24 years later. Thanks for the reminder of how blessed we truly are.

  3. Whenever i take a shower i am reminded of the 2 year span where i had no bathroom, just an outhouse. I had water, but it came from the faucet outside. i appreciate hot, clean running water. It’s a true blessing. Thanks for the reminder about the things that really matter.

    1. John, this is what came to my mind too. Every morning when I take a hot shower I realize how blessed we are and thank God for all my blessings. I think of all of our troops who don’t have hot showers and all of the people around the world who don’t even have running water.

  4. Excellent reminder! We must hold ourselves accountable for maintaining perspective, especially during ‘stressful’ times.

  5. We were blessed because my husband’s grandmother, Nana, gave us her dining room “set”, a table and 4 chairs. We have it 48 years later, in our kitchen. It has been refinished once and repaired once, but has been in continuous use, especially when we didn’t have a “Dining room,” Nana also gave us a carbon-blade knife that I treasure to this day. It needs hand washed and dried and hand sharpened. It has taught me responsibility for taking care of items to keep them in proper working order. I often get comments on the sharpness of my knives and how nice they are to use. I tell all that they are sharp because Nana taught me how to take care of them and they NEVER go in the dishwasher, but are washed and dried by hand. I do have to follow people who “help” in the kitchen and put my sharp knives in the dishwasher… I give them the NO DISHWASHER lecture all over again.

  6. I am a Wish Granting volunteer for Make A Wish- Michigan which is a wonderful organization that grants wishes to children with life threatening illnesses. I see children and their families struggling and facing down medical uncertainty. They are strong and resilient somehow in spite of all they face. It is then, I am thankful for my health and the health of my husband, our daughters, son-in-laws, grandchildren and other family and friends. It is true—when you have your health you have wealth. It doesn’t matter what car you drive or how much money you have in the bank! Prayers up for all families with seriously ill children. It is my honor to help grant wishes to such deserving people and give them some cheer!

  7. I am blessed for Life! Each day I am Thankful for night that turned into morning, friends that turned into family, and likes that turned into Love. With all the up/down I went through in my life, it’s a lessons learned that turn into blessings for me. I understand that I am worth everything life has to offer me and I appreciate the blessings.

  8. The blessing of food is not one to take for granted. I don’t remember the last time I worried about that and am grateful every day that isn’t a concern I have, yet there are millions of people in this world who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Thankfully there are many food banks and rescue missions that are striving to help the less fortunate.

  9. In the early 90s, as a graduate student at the Ohio State University, I bought a pair of shoes at KMart for $9 and had it for over 10 years. It’s good style and of good quality. You can’t find similar stuff at Target or Walmart at that price now. I have bought many new shoes afterwards, but I always share the story of $9 shoes from KMart when I start a new job. Thanks to God’s provision, I’ve come a long way and I can help people with needs now.

  10. My Mom. She is 95 and I have the awesome privilege to be with her as her care giver as she is transitioning. She was a wonderful Mother to four children. A wonderful wife to our father for 67 years. She still lives in the house we grew up in, since 1946 and she has kept all of our stuff (treasures) all these years. I recently found a letter that was written to her from her sister 13 days after i was born and that was in 1952. Our heritage is our greatest blessing. I thank God everyday for my parents and family.

  11. America, a society that is so welcoming, accepting and caring. I am also fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from a noble soul like John G. Miller.

  12. My current job (7 years now). In 2009 my husband of 7 years filed for divorce. I was without a job, a home and money. Started a new life on my own in Chicago. I won’t ever forget the compassion and kindness extended by the Practice Manager who was instrumental in my being hired. She is preparing to retire and leave our office now and I cannot help but thank God for this woman. She has an unparalleled gift of compassion and understanding for the staff and it is a legacy she will be leaving behind. Big shoes to fill.
    Thank you for this reminder, the small beginnings of my life are never to be taken for granted.

  13. Your post reminded me of a trip to Uganda a few years back. My middle daughter was working in Uganda as a Missionary. (She has since moved to South Sudan). We spent a few days following her in her work, visiting slums, taking a young mother to a clinic to be treated, and see the effects of some of the work she had done. I was amazed at how little these people had, but they were not complaining, they were going about their daily chores. We were invited into their homes, mud huts with a dirt floor, no running water, no electricity and very little furniture, but they wanted to share their life and their homes with us. They sent their kids out to buy drinks for us despite having almost nothing, they wanted to share what they had.

    I came away with a new prospective on just what is needed to live.


  14. Many years ago I was a young, single mom in the Marine Corps. I had just undergone a divorce and had a one and two year old daughter. I was given orders to Kansas City, MO, a place I had never been, far from any family or friends. I had little from the divorce. My ex-husband in a fit of pique had proclaimed that our dining room table was a gift from his mother therefore he was taking it. Upon receipt of my orders I cried. What was I going to do? I could do this on my own, but I had the girls to think of. My Gunnery Sergeant took me to DRMO (think military Salvation Army) where discarded building and office furniture was sent. He helped me pick out a folding table, some book shelves, and some chairs. These were my first pieces of furniture in my new apartment in Kansas City. They were an odd lot, but I was so grateful to have them. I have thought of that kindness often in the many years that have past. Do I still have them? No, I passed them on to another young Marine as I slowly built my home. Over the years I have always made an effort to find someone first who might need what I no longer did. In this circle, I have always been provided for what I needed, and hope that I have helped some in need out as well.

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