3.“But I don’t have anything to say,” I used to tell my mother. “Just sit there for a moment,” she would respond. “You’ll think of something.” The “or else” was left unsaid, but we all knew what it was. If we kids didn’t finish our thank-you notes in the week after Christmas or after a birthday, we didn’t get to go out and play. We sat at our desks, pen in mouth, gazing longingly out the window until we could think of something to put down. After all these years, I have to admit that Mom’s method worked. I learned to write thank-you notes. After a dinner party, after receiving a gift, after being a guest in someone’s house, I take out a sheet of paper or a postcard and pen a few lines of appreciation. The sooner the better. But recently I realized there was another purpose to Mom’s teaching. It came when you had to write a note to your great-aunt in distant Maine who sent you a woolen cap that was pretty ugly and virtually useless in sunny California. Mom never accepted the too hasty “Thanks for the hat. I’ve always wanted one just like it.” You had to say something personal and heartfelt. So as I was wondering what to say about a dinner party, I recalled the good friends, the fine conversation, and the beautiful bouquet of irises at the table. It’s just what I tell my children (the lesson is being passed on): You can be thankful for many, many, many things. Sit there and think about it. Abba, Today, Lord, let me be thankful for the many little blessings.