The Holidays

Dear Readers,

For however big or small my “readership” is, I still was inspired to start off with that greeting.  Why, you ask?  Well, I just finished watching one of my favorite movies, The Note.  Great movie based on a book (with the same title) by Angela Hunt. Anyway, one of the characters is a newspaper columnist and she always started her column with “Dear Readers…” so I wanted to do the same.  Thank you, Peyton Magruder.

On Friday, I returned home to Oklahoma after spending the past week with my family in San Antonio, Texas.  As always, I enjoyed seeing my parents, sisters, niece, nephews and brother-in-law.  I also was able to see a friend of mine and her family who is like my second family.  I hadn’t seen them in a while so our visit was long overdue.  On Thanksgiving Day, my parents and I attended mass, though not at our normal parish.  The homily was so good that I felt like my mind was cleared from all the “chatter” as Ellen would say and I was just focused on the present and being in the moment.  Toward the end of his sermon, the priest said this: “If we’re not careful, Thanksgiving can be a superficial holiday.”   Because I didn’t have any paper or pen with me, I pulled out my Blackberry to type in the quote so I could tuck it away.  As much as we may want to deny it, our society’s attention does seem to be about rushing through the turkey, dressing and pie so we can rest up for Black Friday deals.  Sadly, stores are caving in and opening on Thanksgiving night.  Seriously, where are our priorities?  What happened to spending time together as a family, watching football games, relaxing and saying thanks for the blessings we have?

This holiday season, I will strive to not worry about getting “the perfect gift” for friends and family.  Instead, I will try to savor each and every day, remembering the “little things.” Earlier today, I had my first reminder.  While getting groceries, I passed an older lady who asked that I reach up and get a bottle of Pepsi for her.  I smiled and obliged and went on my way.  I ended up getting in line behind her and saw how she struggled to get out of her motorized wheelchair to pay her bill.  Funny how one simple encounter can change out perspective.  She helped me once again realize how I am sincerely grateful for the people who I have in my life…the friends and family that make my life feel so rich and full.  Spending time with family and friends this past week is the greatest “gift” and the only thing I need.  I hope we are all able to direct our priorities in the appropriate way.  Don’t stress about the shopping and gifts….the stores will always be there, but the people in our lives may not. 

Sincerely,
Grateful in Norman

True Friends

“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.”  ~Author Unknown

The older I get, the more I continue to believe that when it comes to friendships, quality is more important than quantity.  When I think of the people in my life I am blessed to call my friends, I can’t help but feel loved.  I have had the privilege of recently acquiring not only a new co-worker but someone that has become a great friend.  Let me tell you, it’s pretty darn cool when I can come to work every day and look forward to the people around me.  Even though she’s only been with us about 2 months, Jenny has already been such a good influence on me and a complement to our office.  By sharing the same college, we work closely together so we’re in each other’s offices all the time. 

Along with our boss, Jenny and I recently attended a conference in Savannah, Georgia (separate blog with pictures to come).  Don’t get me wrong, the workshops were great but what I loved the most was just getting to hang out and spend time together.  Being around her is so easy and comfortable-we both feel like we’ve known each other forever.  We came back home closer and looking even more forward to working together to do the best we can at our jobs.  It’s so funny, when I would first hear of how many things we had in common-whether it be hobbies, travel or whatever….I would think “oh my gosh, seriously?”  Now, I just smile and think “yep, that fits…”   

“The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you’ve had.”  ~Author Unknown