Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has me thinking, what is the difference between being grateful and being thankful? Is there a reason we call it Thanksgiving and not Gratefulgiving? Different words, same idea, slightly different meaning… at least that’s what I have read.

Not interesting to you? Perfect, skip down to the bottom and learn about Turkey Notes (a fun Thanksgiving tradition that might keep your kids or grandkids busy for an hour while you’re in the kitchen).

You become thankful first…then grow to be grateful.

Being thankful comes from within, you don’t need a particular cause to be thankful per se. Being thankful is the celebration of your life, it makes you realize your value and in many cases the perceived value of someone else. Words of thanks are also expressed as a sense of relief that something bad didn’t happen, as in “I’m so thankful that I didn’t hit that deer!” I grew up on a gravel road in deer country, so I have said this one a lot!

‘Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die. So, let us be thankful’.— Buddha

Being grateful requires some sort of external motivation, because the feeling is towards a person or a situation. An act of gratitude has more depth of sentiment and seems to thread deeper in our core. My wife keeps a gratitude journal. I don’t, but I should. Every morning she is furiously typing away on her phone, not sidetracked by Instagram or other diversions, instead focused on her DayOne journal app. She focuses her attention on at least ten positive things, ten things to begin her day on the right foot. Some studies in the field of psychology have found that those who are habitually grateful are happier than those who are not. She tells me they don’t have to be ground breaking, something as simple as, “I’m grateful that Cody brought me coffee in bed because Vivienne yet again ended up in our bed!”

“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” ― Roy T. Bennett

So we use these words interchangeably AND they compliment each other. Honestly I’m still not sure I understand the difference totally, which is cool because I’m not here to be a literary expert, I’m here to work on your teeth and health, and I’m 100% confident God put me here for my hand skills and not my ability to write like Shakespere or Roald Dahl.

When you are thankful, you love yourself. When grateful, you love your Creator.
Both are important in my mind.

We have quite a few patients that come to us from the Quad Cities, which is where Allison’s extended family is from. In the fairly new and unfamiliar territory of sharing holidays, they introduced me to a quite unusual tradition called Turkey Notes.

“Turkey Notes are a Davenport Thanksgiving tradition full of mystery and glamour and fairly bad poetry. They are said to have been around for over a hundred years (though this cannot be confirmed), and are considered to be strictly a local custom. No one knows for certain why or how or when this tradition started, though the general consensus has the first ones appearing around 1890. Some say an unnamed local family wrote them once for a large Thanksgiving dinner, and the guests and/or the adult children took the idea home to use the following years, thus spreading the tradition. Others claim that German immigrants brought the tradition to Davenport and used it to celebrate their first truly American holiday. A third hypothesis suggests that a savvy teacher invented the Notes in order to keep her holiday-minded students under control. All of these theories are plausible, interesting and, so far, unable to be confirmed.” source:

A Turkey Note is a short, three- or four-line poem (you’ll get the idea below) depending on your sense of humor…and the guests at your table! The poem can be a compliment, an insult, or just funny. These are left on the dinner table, next to each plate and are read aloud once everyone is seated and settled. I’ll leave you with a few ideas AND my very first Turkey Note (which was written by my wife’s grandmother, Mor Mor).

Have you ever heard of Turkey Notes? I’d be curious to know!

In service to you and your health,

Dr. Kriegel

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