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!

Happy-Thanksgiving-Quotes

Advertisements

Finally Friday: Almost Family Time

For those that live away from your family, you know how hard it is to be away from them. There are many holidays I can’t spend with my family because I live about 600 miles away. However, there is one holiday, that is non-negotiable and I am home no matter what: Thanksgiving. It happens to be my Dad’s favorite holiday as well so he loves when we are all together. For the most part, we do too, ha!

In a matter of days, I will be on a plane bound for San Antonio. I will be picked up from the airport by my middle sister. She and I are the closest out of my two older sisters. I admire her very much. She’s married with 5 kids, yes 5, and is so good at multi-tasking. Heck, you have to be with that much going on, right! I feel sorry for the people who are not close to their siblings. Granted, we have our moments where we want to look for sharp objects, but we are always there for each no matter what. I talk to one of my sisters once a week or at least twice a month when things are really hectic for both of us. Now that my parents are getting older, we really rely on each other’s strengths to get through the times and deal with critical issues. Thankfully, we all have a great sense of humor which helps us through the various trials as well.

As Thanksgiving draws more near, I am sincerely grateful for my family. Be sure to express your appreciation and gratitude for those you love.

Enjoy the weekend…it’s FINALLY FRIDAY!!!

Family and the Meaning of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the one holiday I will not compromise in being away from my family.  The one day a year I want turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and the whole works.  This is a time to count our blessings and appreciate the people in our lives.  I tend to be extra conscious of my friends during Thanksgiving-the people I can count on no matter what.

I shake my head in disgust when the focus of this particular holiday is about gifts and pre-Black Friday deals.  I would imagine that many people are revolving their holiday plans around stores’ hours on Thanksgiving Day.  Seriously??  I applaud stores like Nordstrom’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco and the others who ARE NOT open on Thanksgiving Day. How refreshing…stores having principles and being unapologetic about them.   For the parents who plant themselves outside a store before they’ve even digested their turkey, what does that teach our children about family and counting our blessings?  To me, it says “things” are more important than people.  Wow, how very sad!

In a matter of hours, I will be surrounded by my family which includes my 83 year-old father and 75 year-old mother, sisters, brother-in-law, nephews and niece.  What started out as plans for a quick dinner with my sister turned into a family dinner and I’m good with that.  We always enjoy each other’s company and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  There is no equal to spending time with family.  I encourage all of you to re-think your plans for Thanksgiving night and put family first.  If any of this reminds you something you’ve read in a book called Good Tidings and Great Joy, good because I love that Sarah Palin is trying to take back American values and getting people to wake up.

Sincerely,
Grateful in Norman

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