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Saturday, March 2, 2024

This Thanksgiving, take time to reflect

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Ever since I was young, my mother always told my sister, brother and me to be grateful for what we had. She even told us to be grateful for any obstacles or challenges we faced, because those instances would help shape our lives, making us more well-rounded people.

My earliest memory of my mom asking me what I was grateful for was around the age of 4. In my innocence, my response would be something like, “I’m grateful for the color pink, because it’s my favorite.”

On a regular basis throughout my life, my mom would randomly ask me the same question. Naturally, as I matured, so, too did my responses. I would tell Mom that I was grateful for her being the strong, dedicated and loving mother she was. I would also tell my mom I was grateful for my family — especially my brother and sister, although that statement was generally qualified with “even though they get on my nerves…” 

Mom made it a point to inform us that our gratitude did not have to be limited to things we could touch or even see. We could be grateful for feelings, for things that smelled good.

As I got older I realized that not only did my mother want us to be grateful, she also wanted us to see the beauty of things — especially God’s works, which in turn would make us have an even deeper level of gratitude. 

It was a basic lesson that I held in high regard then and continue to do so today. 

I think of my late mother often — especially during the holidays when I miss her most. One of the traditions we had on Thanksgiving was after blessing the food, each person in attendance would share something they were thankful for — even the little children would participate, and I would especially love to hear their comments because of their unintentional humor and genuine innocence.  

While we should always be grateful, Thanksgiving is a time many people truly reflect on their lives and give thanks. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I’m thankful for the life and spirit God has blessed me with. I am thankful for my husband, who is truly the man of my dreams. I am thankful for my family — especially my brother and sister … even though they drive me crazy at times. (LOL!) I’m also thankful for my nephew, who stole my heart while he was still in my sister’s womb. That little boy has shown me an entirely different kind of love only a little being can produce. I am also thankful for my son I am carrying. He has already enhanced my life so much, and I know my life and my love for him will magnify a million times more when he arrives.

I am thankful for my friends, my career and my health. I am still thankful for the color pink, but also the fallen leaves from the trees, the smell of pine during Christmas and the moon, which often dominates my attention and forces me to do nothing more than be silent and still as I stare at its beauty. I am thankful for the organizations I am part of, I am thankful for the mentors in my life, and I am thankful for pineapple upside-down cake, pasta and stuffing. Goodness, I am so thankful for stuffing! 

I am thankful for so much more than space will allow me to type, so I will end my substantive and quirky list now. However, I encourage you to think of what you are thankful for, but don’t just quickly verbalize the items without thinking of the beauty of each one. Take time to reflect on what makes each item on your list special and distinctive. Think about how each item makes you feel. Reflect deeply on each item.

So often we accentuate the negative things in life — we dedicate so much energy to things we don’t like, people we detest or things that are insignificant. Try accentuating the positive more consistently. Give a concerted amount of energy toward all the good and beautiful things in your life. It will certainly make you more appreciative, happier and feel better overall.

There is so much doom and gloom going on in the world today. More love, respect and gratitude will go a long way.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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