Linda & Richard Eyre: Quotes to enhance the Thanksgiving holiday

Published: Sunday, Nov. 20 2011 3:00 p.m. MST

AP Photo/Matthew Mead

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Sometimes thinking about the subject of gratitude can prompt us to feel more of it. In other words, as we are more conscious of the idea and concept of appreciation, we also become more conscious and aware of our blessings.

Today, as we begin the Thanksgiving week, we wanted to share some of our favorite quotes on gratitude. We hope these sayings will enhance some of the wonderful feelings that this great holiday should bring to us and to our families, and perhaps motivate us to work harder at acquiring the skill of thanks-giving.

Cicero thought that gratitude led to every other good principle:

"Gratitude is the greatest of virtues, in fact, the parent of all other virtues."

G.K. Chesterton made the connection to happiness:

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."

R.H. Blythe thought it was what separated and defined people:

"There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful people."

The beautiful thing about gratitude is that it can be acquired. It is something that can be developed, built, worked on, practiced and obtained. It is a choice we make.

Henry Ward Beecher felt that a person could constantly discover and count his blessings:

"The unthankful heart ... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"

Rabbi Harold Kushner pointed out that gratitude is an attitude:

"Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted — a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."

H.U. Westermayer reminded us that gratitude is a choice we can make no matter what happens to us:

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."

An unknown author advised:

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."

And on the point of life, Thornton Wilder said:

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."

Melodie Beattie wrote of gratitude's miraculous power to turn bad things good:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. ... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Chesterton reminded us of how constantly we can practice it:

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."

The moment we turn the noun Thanksgiving into the verb thanks-giving, we begin to find ways that we can summon our thanks and put it into action.

Khalil Gibran said:

"Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving."

Scripture says it simply and elegantly:

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God" (Thessalonians 5:18).

"Live in Thanksgiving daily" (Alma 34:38).

And Sarah Breathnach put it into modern vernacular:

"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you."

There is a little less than two months until the new year. How about setting in motion that ancient spiritual law for 2012?

The Eyres' three latest books are "The Entitlement Trap," "5 Spiritual Solutions" and "The Three Deceivers." Richard and Linda are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or www.valuesparenting.com.

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