One of my favorite sayings in the Bible is “God places the solitary in families”.

Just like everyone else, my life is not always easy, and hasn’t always been easy. There are bumpy times in everyone’s life, and lonely ones. And the holidays are always a challenge, for most of us. We can probably all count on one hand the times that the holidays were ‘perfect’ and easy. Stuff happens. Or doesn’t happen when we wish it would. It’s easy to be disappointed on the holidays, if they don’t work out just the way we hope.

Years ago, I was very young, divorced, and had one child (my oldest daughter). And as divorced people do, I shared her with her father on holidays, and we alternated. That meant that on his year to have her on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I found myself alone, with no child, no one else, and thousands of miles from my family. And I can tell you I had some really lousy holidays on the off years!!!! and on one of those off years, I came across that saying from the Bible, and remember thinking in response, “Yeah, sure. Whatever”. I tried various solutions to those holidays. I invited friends one year, one year I didn’t know anyone to invite or invite me. I once spent a whole Thanksgiving calling people I knew were alone and lonely, even in other cities, to cheer them up, hoping to cheer myself up by doing a good deed. But no matter how hard I tried to make them better, some years were just miserably lonely and tough. We all wish we had the perfect dream family to spend the holidays with. That doesn’t often happen. And even if we have great families, there can be heart aches over the holidays too (for us, it will always be the absence of my late son Nick).

Fast forward the film from those lonely Thanksgivings a long time ago. I remarried, to a man who had two wonderful sons, and we then had a whole slew of more children (6 of them!!). We wound up with nine children collectively, an enormous blessing. And as I sat at the table one year, with kids shouting and talking, and babies gurgling and crying, and friends around us…..I suddenly remembered that saying….God places the solitary in families. One moment I was literally all alone on Thanksgiving, and many years later, I had nine children, and an army at my table. What a difference some years make!!! And I certainly was placed in a family, a BIG one!!!

It doesn’t always happen as obviously as that. We don’t all remarry and wind up with nine children, from a solitary state. But there are different kinds of families, families made up of good friends that we have chosen, or kind people who invite us, or people we reach out to and invite or even in laws. That saying from the Bible doesnt say whose family we get ‘placed’ in, or what kind of family we will have or form, or even that we are necessarily related to that family. But I had some wonderful Thanksgivings in those days with people I never expected to spend the holiday with and it turned out beautifully sometimes. We can be as close to our friends (whom we have chosen) as we are to the families we are actually related to—-and sometimes the people we pick suit us better than those we were born with and are related to, and may even be nicer to us. But I think that statement is worth thinking about. That whether we create that family, or someone else does, if we’re open to it, we may end up in a setting that is truly wonderful to be in, and with some effort and a bit of luck, we may not have to spend the holiday alone. We can be placed in someone else’s family, or a family setting we create made up of friends, or work in a shelter over the holidays, or a children’s home, or an old people’s home. ‘Families’ can be created in unusual ways these days, and not always in the traditional form.

Thanksgiving is a day that I really appreciate, an opportunity to remember all the things and people I am grateful for. I am truly grateful for my family, but I am also grateful for those who have been a non-traditional family for me, my friends, and people who have joined us for Thanksgiving and at other times.

My wish for you is that you are placed in a family setting for these holidays, either your original family, or a family you created, or that someone else did. My hope for you is that you will share this holiday with people you care about, and who care about you, and that you have much to be grateful for. I send you all my warmest thoughts and wishes for Thanksgiving.

With much love, Danielle

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10 Comments so far
  1. Susan Wiggs November 26, 2009 10:30 pm

    Thank you for this very wise and sweet post. Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Juli November 27, 2009 9:48 am

    Thanks so much Danielle for sharing your thoughts. Can you tell me where you read this in scripture? I need to share it with a friend.

    Have a great day!

  3. Nicole Theron November 28, 2009 12:15 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    We do not have Thanksgiving in South Africa but to you Danielle and all of your readers in the USA hope you all had a wonderful day!

  4. kimmi November 28, 2009 7:41 pm

    Just beautiful and well said. Happy Holidays.

  5. Bonnie Waite Willey November 29, 2009 10:03 am

    What a beautiful post and how true. I lost the last of my family, grandmother and her daughter, my aunt, this summer. My aunt gave me the love of reading and she bought each and every one of your books for me. She would read them first, send to me and I would give to my grandmother, in her nineties, when she read the last one. Thank you for bringing such joy and pleasure to us all through these years with your gift. May God continue to bless you and yours.

  6. Katarina Alameddin November 30, 2009 11:40 am

    Hi Danielle,

    I literally just finished reading your latest book “Matters of the Heart” about an hour ago. I loved it, and I loved the character Hope Dunne, and even Finn was a fascinating in his own strange way. I sort of picture Jennifer Connelly and George Clooney playing the leads in a movie version :)! The last book of yours I read was the Rogue, wich was an interesting read and nice story, but to me “Matters of the Heart was much more fascinating and really pulled me in, I couln’t put it down, and even found myself reading it at work when things were slow. I’ll be reading “Southern Lights” next, your description of it on this site sound really interesting. Anyway, thank you for writing such entertaining stories and allowing us a little escape from life’s routine. Thanks for this website, and sharing some of your life with your readers, who like I, sometimes wonder if some of your story ideas come from your own life. Take care, be happy and keep writing!!

  7. Juliet Gede November 30, 2009 7:36 pm

    Both of your comments on Thanksgiving and Fragments of Loaves and Fishes are wonderful. Have you thought of publishing a small book of essays? I think people still read them. It is nice to read something short and full of insight in the morning or the evening on a busy day. Perhaps a small book of essays for publication in the 2010 holiday season would do very well.

  8. Angela Battaglia December 2, 2009 8:55 pm


    First I would like to start my comments to you off by saying that I have enjoyed reading your words since I was a teenager and now I am in my thirties and still you are one of my favorite writers. More than that you are an inspiration to me because of your strenght. I wrote to you a few years back when I learned about your son because my mom was bipolar and passed away. I believe that life never ends and nothing can truly die and those beliefs often comfort me as I hope they will you. Still I find myself in my thirties, I am now an orphan and a single mother myself with two precious young children, a girl who is 11 and a son who is 6 and I can relate to everything you wrote in your blog as I have always been able to relate to all of your books through out the many years. I so very much appreciate that you have started this blog, that you have continued to write all these years, and that you have pushed thru your own pain and continued to be a gift to the world by harnessing the creative light you bear so brightly. I think it is only appropriate that on a page written about thanksgiving I say thank you to you for giving me hope so many times when I needed it through out the years. Danielle, you are a treasure! May God Bless You and your family this holiday season. Thank you for every thought and word you ever put to print and for all you for the good of humanity. With Appreciation and Warm Regards,

    Angela Battaglia (

  9. Valeria December 3, 2009 12:26 pm

    Hi! I’m Valeria, I am still learning english so I hope you can understund me clearly. I’ve just read two of your books but I really feel like I know you and is like you were a kind of friend. I have to thank you for not only entretain me but also to help me in difficult moments, and remind me how beautiful life can be.
    I feel really strange writting this and I have to confess I used to think that famous people who have blogs or webs have their assistants to write for them, but this blog showed me it is not always like that. Thanks for having this space to share with us your life and your experiences, it is really exciting and makes me feel you nearer.
    I know you are very bussy and I don’t expect you to read this, but for me is more than enough to read your books and your articles here, it means a lot to me.
    I like writing too, poetry mostly but I am not very sure I like what I write. Im am still in high school and I haven’t made up my mind of what I’m going to do then but I’m sure that it will have something to do with art. I hope some day I can write novels as you do, is one of my dreams.
    Well, just in case you are reading this I won’t take more of your time.Thanks again and I wish the best your you and your family!
    I send you a hugh

  10. Juliana December 3, 2009 2:53 pm

    I’m from Brazil, there isn’t congratulations holiday , but I have to agree with you.
    We need to stay with our family, not just a blood family, but the realy people that care, that love, finally, be happy in any moment, not just in holidays!

    – sorry for my bad english!