Giving Thanks for Those Who Sacrificed

Today, I am blessed to share with you all a post by a fellow New Englander, grew up not too far from my hometown.  Author, Melissa Ann Goodwin, ponders the meaning of gratitude.  In thanks for her guest blog, I am promoting her new book, The Christmas Village AND, she is gifting one of my readers with a copy.  All you have to do is leave a comment below.

The Christmas Village is a wonderful holiday tale about a troubled boy and his adventures in finding himself.  All I can say is, you must read the book!  I am hooked and can't wait to find out what comes next. For a sneak peak, check out the trailer.

I knew that I wanted this post to be about gratitude. It’s November, and it’s Thanksgiving, and remembering our blessings is at the forefront of our minds. I have so much to be thankful for, this year and always. But, how did I want to express that? Perhaps, I’d write a poem. Maybe, I’d find inspiration in some Thanksgiving quotes. My plan was to meditate on it a bit, open my eyes, and write.

As I drove home from teaching a yoga class this morning, dazzling sunlight reflected off the small white gravestones in the veteran’s cemetery across the highway. The cemetery covers an entire hill, row upon row of white markers cascading down its slopes. When I got home, I suggested to my husband that we drive over there, park the car and take a walk – something we’d been meaning to do.
Each marker in section 60 of Arlington Nationa...Image via Wikipedia
As we headed up the hill, we noticed that the first section of stones all had the same year of death – 2001. The stones are simple and uniform in size. Engravings on them provided names, dates of birth and death, rank, branch of service and in what wars they served.

Looking out over row and after row was sobering. We walked quietly, occasionally commenting on a long life or a very short one. When it was a short one, we knew there was a good chance the person had died in service. Some of the veterans served during two or even three wars.

I was reminded of when I’d gone to Arlington National Cemetery, many years ago. It was a day like today, blue skies and sunny. We wandered through rows of similar white markers –though there are many more rows there. Suddenly, a red fox appeared – there – in the middle of these endless rows of white gravestones. Where on earth did he come from? I can still remember the juxtaposition of this beautiful fiery-red animal against the backdrop of a sea of white. He stared at us for a few seconds; then ran off. The moment seemed important, though I can’t say why.

When we returned home today, I knew that I just wanted to write some words about being grateful to everyone who has ever sacrificed to give me a better life. There are hundreds more veteran’s cemeteries like the one here in Santa Fe. So many people chose, or agreed, to serve to protect this country. To protect me. Thank you, all of you. Then, there are my parents, also gone now, who sacrificed for me in so many ways. Thank you, Mom and Dad. There are teachers who educated me, for far less income than their jobs deserved. Thank you, Miss Collins, Miss Noone, Miss Cronin, and all the rest.

The list goes on, endlessly, but you get the idea. Today, I just feel very grateful to all those who are gone now, who made my life better. And I am grateful for everyone, who is still here in physical body, who does that too. In my life, I have been loved and cared for. I have been granted much grace. So, this Thanksgiving, I’m keeping a special lookout for anyone in my life who might need that favor returned.

Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to receive a copy of Melissa's book, The Christmas Village!

Melissa Ann Goodwin is a native New Englander, now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, artist J. Richard Secor. She has written extensively for Fun for Kidz, Boys’ Quest and Hopscotch for Girls. She was a regular feature article contributor to the Caregiver's Home Companion for more than five years. Her work has appeared in Guideposts’ Angels on Earth, Caregivers’ Home Companion, Caring Today, The Lutheran Digest, The Peak Magazine, The Andover Townsman, and the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette. Her poetry took 10th prize in The Writer’s Digest 2010 annual competition. The Christmas Village is her first novel.

Author's Websites:

Melissa Ann Goodwin

The Christmas Village

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LInda, thanks for having me here. I'd like to add that I'll be donating a portion of the proceeds from all sales of my book on Amazon and Smashwords througout this weekend to the Make A Wish Foundation. It's a small thing that I can do to say thank you for my blessings.
What a beautiful gift, Melissa! Off to do some more promoting!!

Betty Alark said…
Hi Linda!!

Thanks so much for sharing your insite and writings regarding gratitude for those that have made sacrifices for us!!

Just reading it has touched me deeply. My brother served in Vietnam and I have other family members now passed on, that fought in wars- so I can truly relate to what you have shared!

We do become inspired in the most unexpected ways- a walk in the park , etc. I'm thankful that you were inspired to walk through that cemetary and able to write your sentiments!

Much successs in how you are contributing to society and may what you do be a blessing to many souls and a beginning for change in our world!!!


Oh- I really have to wonder about that fox? Did any further meaning arrive as a result of seeing it there? I think all things really do happen for a reason and that they do hold meaning.
Hi, Betty! Thanks for writing! Melissa will have to answer the questions you pose, as this post is hers (She is a guest on my blog, today.)

I agree, things do happen, often, that have meaning. The Native People believe fox symbolizes the silent observer as well as the cunning clown. I think perhaps in this instance, Melissa was being called to observe so that she could then share her thoughts more clearly. Guess it worked! She has written a lovely post.

Hi Betty, I'm glad you were touched by the post. Sometimes when I'm thinking about what to write and I don't know what I will write, I back off and let something speak to me. That's what happened with our walk through the cemetery.

I think that Linda has it right about the fox - that silent observer. It was a very moving moment - my husband and I often speak of it. I think perhaps it was simply meant to say to us, "Stop. Look, Observe. Be present here, now." I also sometimes think it might have been someone saying hello. My great-uncle is buried in Arlington,and I thougt perhaps it might be him.

Margo Dill said…
I've been following Melissa's tour and I got to participate too. Words are so powerful! And Melissa uses them in the best way possible--to share a wonderful message. Also, I haven't mentioned this yet--but cool book trailer!

Robyn Chausse said…
Wonderful, reflective post Melissa. Thank you for bringing each of us into the moment.
Greetings, Margo! Always a pleasure to have you visit! Yes, the trailer is very cool. I think I have watched it four times just makes me smile!

Thanks for visiting!
Greetings, Robyn! Melissa's message is such an important one, on many levels. Being grateful to those who sacrificed all is something we need to remember daily, but so is to be in the moment.

Have to say, I am just loving her book! Blessings!
Hi Margo - thanks so much.

Hi Robyn :-)
Kath Fearing said…
There are so many things we should be grateful for. Our lives are blessed many times over, and I think it takes a day like Thanksgiving to make us stop and think. There are so many who have nothing.
Rebecca Bany said…
I really enjoyed this post. Thanks so much.
Kathy: So true. These are tough times for many. This season reminds us to count our blessings.

Recca - thanks so much for coming by.
Hi, Kathy! Thanks for visiting. This has been a tough time for so many people, but even with all the problems we have, we still so much more than others. Grateful for you, my friend and sister of the soul!

Greetings, Rebecca! Welcome to Words from the Heart. I am glad you visited and enjoyed the post.

Peace! Linda
Janet said…
The Trailer literally covered me in goose-bumps! It is very enticing and I will keep my eyes open for it!
Hi, Janet! How nice to see you here!

Yes, the trailer is magnificent! I still get goose-bumps, and I have seen it 4-5 times already!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Janet - that's the reaction we hoped for! My nephew, who is a film student at Columbia, created it! You can read the reviews for the book on Amazon - they capture everything I intended with this book! Thanks for coming by and commenting.
Congratulations to Kath Fearing, who won the copy of The Christmas Village. (We used to make the selection.)

Thank you to all who participated in our give-a-way.

May your holidays be Holy Days in whatever way you celebrate.


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