Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.

Those three words are a on shirt that a friend and co-worker made recently so we could wear them at our annual school-wide Thanksgiving luncheon. You’re bound to have seen it on Pinterest at least a zillion times. These words describe how I feel during this Thanksgiving season. Appropriate, right? I am grateful, thankful and blessed for my family, friends, health and unwavering faith. We shouldn’t need reminders of how fragile life is but boy have we gotten them loud and clear recently. The tragedies in Las Vegas, Europe, Sutherland Springs brought it all back home for us. What else will it take for us to appreciate the people around us, our health and our opportunities to live another day?

I am blessed that I work with a great bunch of people and most closely with two girls that crack me up, encourage me to have fun, and not let the little things overwhelm me. I am also fortunate to consider them close friends too.  Everyone needs people like that, right?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because this is a time that brings us closer to family, reminds us of what is of most importance and let’s face facts, the food we get to eat is pretty darn good too.

On Tuesday, I was in charge of watching a class for a few hours. Since the students were done with their assigned work, they asked if they could write on the board. “Sure, but do it quietly” I replied. I walked around the room a bit and then looked up and caught the eye of one student as she was writing a message on the board. Keep in mind, there was no direction at all….so I wasn’t sure how creative they would get or  how much they’d push this “free writing time.” Her message caught my eye: “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone and God bless you and your family!” Almost every single student who chose to have a place at the board had wrote something about Thanksgiving. As we wound down the day and the students started to get their backpacks, they asked if they should erase the board. “No, let’s leave it like that.”  I chose to let the messages stay up so they could come back to see them after the break.  Ahh to look at life through the eyes of a child really tugs at one’s heart sometimes.

This is the time of year we could easily get wrapped up in “Black Friday” nonsense and feel we have to hurry up and eat so we can go to our favorite 15 retail places and stand in line with a million of our closes friends. Seriously? I challenge you to slow down and let the shopping wait and put family first. Put your differences aside, let go of whatever happened the past week and enjoy the moment. Give thanks for what you have, who you have in your life and let God know you appreciate all that he has given you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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What are You Grateful for Today?

Dear Readers,

I saw the above phrase on Facebook courtesy of Beach Cottage Life and it prompted me to reflect on how I spent this past Christmas Day.  From two different friends, I received invitations to spend part of the day with them.  Being away from my blood family (since I feel when you choose friends well, they become your extended family), these were perfect ways for me to be surrounded by people I care about and not dwell on not being home in San Antonio.  Today I am grateful for my friends who think enough of me to include me in their family gatherings.  I started the day by attending church, and then had lunch with one of the most thoughtful and best individuals I know, Terri Moyer.  I ended the day by having dinner with another friend, Connie Lang, and her family.  There were kids enjoying both their toys and hanging out with cousins, sisters harassing each other (all in good fun) and wine enjoyed by all.  By the time I left her house, my mouth hurt from laughing.  Not a bad way to spend Christmas.

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I am thankful for my health, my faith and for knowing that I have the power to change my surroundings.  I can choose to keep looking back on the past in a negative way or look ahead and concentrate on the positive and endless possibilities that await me.  Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful that in 3 days I will see my sister, parents and 2 of my nephews and niece.  

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and were surrounded by those you loved.  If you care to share what YOU are grateful for today, I would love to hear it.

Sincerely,

Mary