I am not, naturally, a thankful person: I notice problems more than blessings, frustrations more than good gifts, mistakes more than successes. You could say a million nice things to me and one mean one—just one—and I’ll be darned if that’s not the part I won’t forget, ever. My perspective is polar opposite to rose-colored glasses, my attitude completely un-Pollyanna. It’s really unfortunate.

But that is why I love Thanksgiving.


People like me need reminders to count their blessings, just like some people need to remember appointments or how to get projects done on time. We—the natural analyzers, the closet worriers—can get lost in our critical nature, our ability to dissect things so far you forget what you’re looking at. I need Thanksgiving in my life. I need something that forces me to stop and see how full my hands are (and they are full, indeed). And I am just now learning that being thankful is more than making a list or saying certain words. It’s about really appreciating, mentally recognizing in that crazy analytical way I tend to see things, how good something is.

For example –

Sometime last month, at a point when I was halfway through reading a book on gratitude, I was trying to make a turn onto a busy street and found myself wishing traffic would let up. This wasn’t the normal, Oh, that’d be nice, kind of desire; it was passionate. My heart rate was elevated, I was gripping the steering wheel, leaning forward, mumbling things out loud to my empty car. And then, just like that, cars parted, I made the turn, with clear sailing up ahead, and all was well. Then I started worrying about something else. It hit me that day like it never had before: when I can’t have what I want, it is enormously important, all I can think about; but when I get it, I forget it. Pretty fast.


Another example –

I was thinking the other day, what if everything I didn’t appreciate went away? No more blue skies if I didn’t notice them. No more hot water in my morning shower. No full refrigerator. No money in the bank. No one to talk to when I’m discouraged late at night. No one to hear my prayers. No Word of God that is as relevant today as it was when it was written. No steadfast love. No reminders of providence.

But then again, the very fact that that isn’t true, that gifts don’t cease to exist when I cease to appreciate them, makes me thankful, too.

november nashville

Because just like negativity catches on, infecting more and more of you until it hits people around you, so does thankfulness, you know? I am thankful for that. I am thankful for people who infect me with their gratitude, for people who point me to truth, for reminders that even difficult things have good in them because they remind us heaven is there, not here, for example.

And while this may not be much of a food post, as it has no recipe, no kitchen photos, no restaurant review (just a few highlighted recipes below), it is still posted on my food blog, shared with all you food readers, which reminds me of one more thing I am thankful for: every one of you.

Thanksgiving Recipes from Food Loves Writing
This is essentially a roundup of Thanksgiving-type recipes, all previously posted here on the site but not previously grouped together. Hope your holiday is lovely.

Easiest Roast Chicken
Roasted Turkey Breast

Caroline’s Moist Bread Stuffing
Green Bean & Yellow Squash Casserole
Lemon Baby Potatoes
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Pear Custard Pie
Perfect Apple Strudel
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Pumpkin Puree (for pumpkin pie!)

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Angela@spinachtiger

    Well said, transparent and awesome. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. MaryAnn

    Amen & amen! I too have been thinking about thanksgiving from a different perspective…what would my life be like without the Lord? If I had not been raised in church & come to know Him as my personal Savior? If I didn’t have the Bible to read & Him to depend on? Suddenly, my heart is full of gratitude because my life would surely have been one of fear, anxiety, & damaging choices without Him. The Lord has given me so much.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Shannalee!

  3. Jacqui

    I think you’re way more appreciative than you think, Shanna. I see it here with every post, and every time we chat. But I know what you mean, and I’ve been thinking about being thankful a lot lately, also (how can we not, with Thanksgiving tomorrow! damn, how time flies…), and recognizing my own flaws and how to fix them, and being grateful for all that I have rather than getting frustrated with what I don’t. Thank you for the reminder. Have a lovely Thanksgiving! Let’s try to get together before that other Big Holiday comes. What weekends work for you? I’ll talk to Jenny about it tomorrow.

  4. Alicia

    It makes me SO happy that you made reference to Pollyanna. Watched that movie ALL the time when I was young. Must not have rubbed off on me though, because I’m the say way with the worrying. I try to consciously be more thankful and grateful now, but I don’t remember to be grateful for any of the things you mentioned above soooo I guess I have a ways to go. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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  6. LimeCake

    lovely, lovely post! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Coleman

    Shannalee, I love your blog. I had no idea you were religious until now, but it fits well with everything else. Soaked with charm, as always. Keep it up

  8. Shannalee

    Thank you all for the sweet comments. And thank you, Jacqui, for being a regular example of gratefulness in my life. Hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings!

  9. molly

    It was the title that snagged me. And everything after that kept me in your grips. This one’s chock-a-block with wisdom and truth. Thanks, Shanalee. And a doubly happy Thanksgiving, to you 😉

  10. Shannalee

    Molly, You are a sweetheart. Same to you, my blogging friend!

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  12. Marta

    Beautiful blog, beautiful words :)

  13. Shannalee

    Thanks, Marta!

  14. Jennifer M.

    Hi Shannalee,
    I can really empathize with your post. That could be a description of me as well. I am constantly preoccupied with some problem or other, and I don’t stop to reflect on everything that’s been a blessing in my life. Thanks for posting this.


  15. Shannalee

    Jennifer, Thank you for that sweet, empathetic comment. You encouraged me!

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  18. Grace

    Beautifully written. Being mindful of and showing gratitude is a practice. The fact that you’re aware of it is a great start! Thank you for sharing on this space!

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