The word I stole and use daily

The word I stole and use daily

Today’s inspiration is short, sweet, and stolen. It comes from my father’s take on this holiday that celebrates gratitude and the value of the little things that matter, or as he calls them, small favors.

In one of his newspaper columns, Dad recalls a series of “small favors” listed by famed chemist and former president of the New York Academy of Sciences, Cressy Morrison from his book, Man Does Not Stand Alone:

  • The slant of the earth, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, gives us seasons; if it had not been so tilted, six vapors from oceans would move north and south, piling up continents of ice.
  • If the moon were only 50,000 miles away instead of its actual distance, tides would be so enormous that twice each day all continents would be submerged.
  • If the crust of the earth’s surface had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, without which animal life would die.
  • Had the oceans been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetation could exist.

Can you imagine?

Inspired by these small things that matter, Dad then suggests we move from the finite of Thanksgiving to the ongoing pursuit of —wait for the loot I’ve stolen—


I like that. What a difference a letter can make.

Daily appreciation of the small things—a good night’s sleep, a cup of fresh coffee or a crisply wrapped and rubber-banded newspaper, untouched by an early morning rain—can reframe the rest of our day, if we let it.

How about you? What small thing are you thankful for today?

BlakelyMe? I’m grateful for my smart phone that connects me to my far-flung globe-trotting family. In the middle of writing this column, I got a surprise FaceTime call from my granddaughter, Blakely Faye. And by the time you are reading this, I should be holding her in my arms.

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksliving!

My best—always,


This column was originally published as part of my “From Where I Sit” series in the Towson Times.

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