I hadn’t intended to write a blog about Thanksgiving, but here I am anyway. We all know what it’s about. You’re supposed to eat turkey and a lot of food, and be thankful for your blessings. Seems simple enough, right? Not always. Sometimes, in tough times, we have a hard time figuring out what to be thankful for, the people we share the holiday with can be annoying, or we wind up alone. There’s a lot about holidays that can go wrong. Family disagreements can surface over the holidays as we come together, or it may just be a tough year when gratitude is in short supply.

My own Thanksgiving got off to a somewhat rocky start last week. I went to the dentist, which is never my favorite pastime (although it wasn’t too bad), but it turned out to be the happiest event of my day, and my week. I had a rotten, lousy week. Within hours of my trip to the dentist, I discovered what appeared to be a betrayal by someone I have known for nearly 20 years. It was a severe jolt to what I think of the human race, and hurt my feelings mightily, and caused considerable chaos in my life. And I’m supposed to be thankful for that? Hmmm….

The week went steadily downhill from there, and I’m not enough of a Polyanna to tell you I was thrilled with the experience, but when I try really, really hard, I can see some blessings that have emerged. And on Saturday, to clear my head and get some air, I went to my beach house, and was greeted by a rug I have there with a quote from Anne Frank woven into it. It says ‘In spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart’. I saw it the minute I walked into the house, and it made me think. Is that truly what I believe, in spite of the ugly things people do to each other? But in fact, I guess it is what I believe. Some people do some really rotten stuff, but that’s the point, ‘some’ people, not all people. And even in the midst of a bad experience, I have faith in my fellow man. There are a lot of good people out there who more than make up for the bad ones.

And as this Thanksgiving week begins, I am still wrestling with my sense of betrayal. Tomorrow I will be called on to be thankful. And I know how difficult holidays can be, either with family who can be difficult, or if one is alone. But in either case, there are things to be thankful for. Many things. The blessings or good times we’ve had, the good people we’ve known in our lives. The precious moments. The joys. Even if your life is not as you wish it right now, or it’s not the perfect Thanksgiving, there are things to be thankful for. I remembered that tonight. It seems like a good thing to keep in mind.

So I am still unhappy about last week. It was definitely not a great week. And this week may not be easy either. But I have found in my life that it is too simple to have good things happen and then be grateful. Anyone can do that. It is far more challenging to have bad things happen, find something, anything to be thankful for, and then slowly (or sometimes even quickly), things turn around. I think being thankful needs to come first. And what greater challenge to one’s grace as a human being than to be thankful when things aren’t perfect.

So my mission this week will be to be thankful, and remember all the things I’m grateful for, even on the heels of a personal betrayal. In the end, the good things carry more weight than the bad. And I do believe what Anne Frank said, that in spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart.

I hope that your Thanksgiving will be easy, with a golden turkey, delicious stuffing and all the trimmings, surrounded by people you love who treat you well. But if it is less than perfect, I hope that you find things to be thankful for anyway, and that your gratitude carries you through to better times. I think the ability to be thankful puts balm on many wounds.

I wish you a truly wonderful Thanksgiving, with blessings that are easy to count!!

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17 Comments so far
  1. Kristen November 27, 2008 1:39 pm

    I try really hard to be grateful and count my blessings (which are many) and appreciate what I have. So I must tell you that I am so grateful for what I just read. And you know, things come at the right time.

    I’ve had not the greatest three weeks or so, nothing massively wrong but lots of little stresses piling up. And today I let it all get to me; I yelled at my husband and allowed myself to get totally down.

    It’s funny; I check your blog all the time, because I love your writing and this just seems so like having a little insight into the personality I’ve allowed you to become in my mind…glamorous and successful and telling stories all the time, who could be so lucky? You don’t write much on it, but here, just at the moment I needed to remind myself what is important, you write and bring me back.

    Sorry, this sounds so all-about-me, which it sort-of is, and what I really wanted to convey was a sense of appreciation. You are right, gratitude really puts things into perspective, and thank-you for reminding me.

  2. Mary Bryson November 27, 2008 4:00 pm


    Your hopeful words are very encouraging. This has been a difficult Thanksgiving for me as well, due to family problems, but throughout the day, I have remembered your hopeful words to encourage myself to make the best of the day. Thank you.

  3. precious moments | November 28, 2008 6:01 pm

    […] Thanksgiving … in our lives. The precious moments. The joys. Even if your life is not as you wish it right now, or it’s not the perfect Thanksgiving, there are things to be thankful for. I remembered that tonight. It seems like a good thing to keep in mind. So I am still unhappy about last week. It was definitely … […]

  4. züleyha November 29, 2008 4:36 am

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  5. Jonathan Eloff November 29, 2008 7:02 pm

    Very true. Sometimes it’s hard to find something to be thankful for, but it’s in those times that we most need to be thankful. Having been forced by a persistent, computer-related injury to drop out of university at the start of this year, and after subsequently spending the entire year lapsing in and out of depression as a result, I found that, this year, it was more challenging than ever to be thankful. It’s not enough to know just how much you have to be grateful for if you don’t make a conscious effort to focus on those things. Upon reflection, if I hadn’t been forced to drop out of university, been left with no other option but to write a book, I’d probably never have done it. Of course, time will tell just how much of a blessing in disguise that really was, but . . . sometimes the rain is just there to show you a rainbow.

  6. Lisa November 29, 2008 7:21 pm

    The holidays for me are always mixed. I have children that are older and some that are young. So the older ones go to other’s for this holiday and of course I have to man the dinner here. I have with my new husband inherited a Mother in Law that rivals the one on Everybody Loves Raymond. I kid you not. So in my best attempt at making things perfect for her I end up frazzled and running around like a “turkey” with my head cut off. It is at best a tiring day for me. All this is happening as my son who is 23 is attempting to join the police academy. Am I worried? Yes. I tell my husband (also a policeman), that we can go to the mountains on Christmas and order pizza. 🙂 Hang in there, people can and will dissapoint us. You can count on that one. Its how we respond that counts. Im working on that one. Kindest, Lisa

  7. Nicole November 30, 2008 10:21 am

    I hope that your Thanksgiving turned out to be a wonderful day. I am sorry that you have had such a bad week. Be thankful that you have been a better friend. Please do not forget your family; which is always a source of joy and thanks. Hang in there, this will pass. Sometimes the blessings are difficult to see when you are still in the midst of betrayal. They will reveil themselves in time. I wish you the best holiday season and God’s blessings.

  8. Marie November 30, 2008 7:13 pm

    Hi Danielle…

    I spent the end of my Thanksgiving in a wonderful way – curled up in bed watching one of my absolute favorite films ever, “The Ring.” It was showing on Lifetime.

    I’ve seen this movie about 15 times. I always cry and always get caught up as if watching it the first time. In my opinion this is just about as perfect a film that’s ever been produced for television. The actors are perfectly cast and completely devoted to the heart of the material. You know I don’t just cy either I SOB! It’s a mess! Lol!

    Here’s my dilemma though: This DVD is discontinued. It isn’t available anywhere here in the U.S.! There are plenty of copies available in the U.K., but they have different formats for DVDs which are not compatible with ours here. Danielle, I just need to own this movie. Do you have any idea who I can push to get the DVD printed again? I know I am not the only person interested. Trust me. 😀

    Thank you, Danielle.

  9. Adilya November 30, 2008 10:57 pm

    Dear Danielle! I am your constant reader from Kazakhstan as I love your books very much! I like your blog as well because it shows who the great Danielle Steel really is. The way you wrote about your children impressed me so much! Your family reminds me of the Walkers from tv show “Brothers and Sisters”. Whatever happens you’re always there for each other. And that is wonderful! I wish you all the best and thank you again for your novels!

  10. Kristin December 2, 2008 2:11 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. My Thanksgiving was decent, although I wish I could have been with the rest of my family. (My parents live out of state and I spent it with my fiances family). Thank you for posting this and reminding us that we do have alot to be thankful for. Also, it is good to know that everyone goes through tough times, regardless of how glamous we may think their life is. Let us all remember that everyone is human and we should find the good in them.

  11. Corey December 3, 2008 10:38 am

    I am so glad I read this entry. I had invited a friend of mine and her fiance and daughter to go to Florida and have Thanksgiving with my family because her own family (parents, siblings) is not very supportive of her. I wanted her to feel like she belonged and I thought there were no better people for this job than my family. However, there was a clash that rivaled that of the Titans. It was between my friend and my husband. My own husband! Long story short, it was a tough week. Things were said that shouldn’t have been, but at least I still have my best friend and my husband, though I doubt they will ever be seen in the same room together again. My faith in the goodness of people and how I can help those who have stumbled in life was challenged, but in the end, I am still willing to risk disappointment to help others. Thank you for being positive and letting me know it is ok to still hold out hope for the human race. At least I know now that I am not a freak of nature. Thanks again!

    Corey Parson

  12. Shahnaz December 3, 2008 7:14 pm

    I read your books when my daughter as a child spent hours in the library. I enjoyed them and pictured you as an elegant, very rich lady. I never bothered to read about your life. Just had this picture in mind. Today a friend who also loves to read your books asked to check your biography (she does not surf the net) and I found your blog.
    The picture in my mind was true. You are beautiful and elegant. Now I admire you more because of the hardships and heart breaks in your life.
    I wish you and your children the best.
    I am going to print the list of your books so we (friends) can read the ones we missed.
    I am happy your children introduced the internet to you. (Same here) Isn’t it fun to read, get recipes and patterns online?
    I love it.

  13. Reagan December 4, 2008 11:47 am

    I agree with the previous comment. The holidays come with mixed feelings. I miss so much the optimism and joy surrounding the holidays I felt as a child. In recent years, I was able to find it through the eyes of my children, but now with their teenage angst, the scramble of spending this holiday or that with their father (I am remarried) on the other side of the state and the realization that Thanksgiving and other holidays are a lot of work with little if any pay-off makes it hard.
    So, I try to be thankful. I try to see the bigger picture, I try to keep God in it. But sometimes you gotta go pretty deep into your goodness well to draw on it.

  14. Bebe Troppoli December 4, 2008 2:04 pm

    I am thankful also for my life and my family. God is Good! Yes, life is hard. I am a single parent with two teenagers, my Dad died this year, and out of 6 sisters only 2 are speaking to me. It all has to do with anger, greed, and being unforgiving. This is over my Dad’s estate, not worth diddly. Nothing is worth not talking to your family, not even millions of dollars. Sad right. I make a consious decision everyday to be happy and to remember the good about everyone. Like you, it can blindside me, but I cannot stay angry longer than an hour. So I celebrated Thanksgiving with the part of the family that is not bitter and enjoyed every minute of it. We thanked God for everyone with us and everyone unable to be with us. Yes I am blessed even when the going gets tough.

    By the way, I have read all of your books. I love them. I don’t sleep well so I read 2-3 books a week. Maybe in one of your blogs you can mention some books/authors that you enjoy reading.

    I hope your holidays are blessed!


  15. Correen December 8, 2008 1:03 pm

    Thanksgiving. Finding the “Thanks” for the one who betrayed you. To me it would be that after 20 years, maybe they were in a really desperate situation that made them do what they did. They didn’t feel they had an alternative choice. So for me the “Thanks” would be that I wasn’t them.

  16. Kristin December 9, 2008 8:14 am

    I am just wondering why my post on this blog has been erased? Nothing was inappropriate.

  17. kris December 12, 2008 4:42 pm

    My Thanksgiving was ok. The two side dish recipes were not the greatest, so was disapointed. The turkey was fabulous!!!
    You know, at 69 years of age I’v finally achieved the greatest thing. Peace and tranquility. I have four wonderful children & five gandkids. They live in CA while I in NM. We are all very close thru ph & email. I discovered that I can’t live for my kids. I’ve done my part, now it’s my turn!! As mothers & wives we give & give. My husband died 11 years ago & as I realize now, things are ok. I like who I am. Taking care of myself is a fultime job, however the rewards are wonderful. Oh yes, I fly to CA twice a year to keep in the loop!!