Happy Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was my very favorite holiday.  That’s an odd holiday for a child to have as a favorite, but my mom always made it so special, and it began weeks before Thanksgiving Day.

She hung a picture of a cornucopia on the refrigerator door and every day we got to write something we were thankful for.  What a joy it was to get up in the morning and write on that cornucopia!  The first several days I would sneak in more than one thing, because there was just so much!

Cornucopia

After the usual same-every-year mentions of Family, God, the name of our pet, etc., that reined at the top of the list, came the creativity and heart of the thanksgiving project.  The part that really stretched my heart into other areas of my God-given life and made me reach into areas that would have gone unnoticed had I not been led there to discover things I was grateful for.

Thanksgiving Day came and it was the warmest, least hectic, beautiful day of the year, beginning with the early morning smells wafting through the house of mom’s turkey and pies baking, taking comfort in hearing her movement in the kitchen, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and family beginning to arrive.

The day was spent watching the parade with all of its colorful bands and creative floats, football, playing games, ice skating, laughter, and eating food that had never tasted as good as it did on Thanksgiving Day because we weren’t just eating food, we were sharing a meal with special people.

As I became a mom with children of my own, we continued going to my parent’s house for mom’s special Thanksgiving.  In my own home, however, I continued the pre-Thanksgiving magic of the cornucopia on the refrigerator door, my own children just as excited as I was to be able to write what they were Thankful for.

Now that my children are grown, I’ve carried the tradition of the giving thanks attitude of gratitude to my workplace, a place that often rains down with negativity.  Every year I make a colorful, fun poster to hang by my desk and send the “It’s time to be thankful” office-wide email.  I place the basket of markers alongside the poster and the fun begins.  People from all three floors participate in writing on the poster, and the things people are grateful for continue to amaze me every year.

The young and the old”er” of the office have found joy and wonder in that piece of cardboard called the Thankful Poster, and we’ve had some very creative things we’re thankful for, such as indoor plumbing.  Who thinks of indoor plumbing as something for which to be grateful if not for the encouragement of the poster? 🙂

photo (35)

My mom, one person, by creating a thankful atmosphere in my home as a child, created a ripple effect of gratefulness to hundreds of people.  And that is something to be truly grateful for.  All is takes is one.  That one can make an an unlimited difference.

All is Grace.

Mental Health Days

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

If someone hurts your feelings, it’s unimportant unless you persist in remembering it.”

I’m taking the day off from work today as a mental health day. With difficult things coming at me from all directions lately, I’ve decided to disconnect from the world and re-connect with God. When my boys were in school, I used to give them two mental health days each school year. They used them so wisely, planning very carefully when to use them, and usually saving them until the end of the year when their mind truly needed a break. I was so proud of them for using those two days as they were intended.

After I finished my time of quiet meditation, prayer, and Bible reading this morning, my mind traveled to my job. For most of my life, whenever things got tough, I was a “quitter”.  That’s changing.

I work in a large company that has many women employees. I’m not sure what it is, but this has been, by far, the most difficult job I’ve ever had when it comes to relationships with others. The cattiness and pettiness are brutal, the gossip rampant, and sometimes it feels like I’m in a shark tank.

That being said, I have been at this job for seven years now and I have not quit, as has been my history.  Not that I haven’t wanted to several times, but I have stuck it out. Many people would argue that life is too short to be miserable.  And I fully agree with that sentiment. However, this is what I have learned by sticking it out:

*     Others cannot make me miserable unless I allow them to. Joy comes from within me. That means I can find joy wherever I am and whoever is around me. If I allow others to make me angry or rob me of my joy, I’m giving them power over me. That can only happen if I allow it to.

*     Looking back through the events that have led me to this job, I truly believe that God has placed me here to make a difference. To learn how to be happy and thankful despite circumstances and to practice persevering through hard times. It has made me stronger, more resilient, and more compassionate.

*     Meditation is really such an easy thing to do, but so darn easy to forget in the midst of a struggle. Placing a reminder in front of me like a simple acronym that only I understand, reminds me to take time, even if all I have is a moment, to take a deep, slow breath, focusing on something I’m grateful for. Practicing meditation during all circumstances has made me much more proficient at it regardless of the noise and activity around me. It centers me, brings me back to God, and quiets my mind, making me more intact internally when externally things are nothing less than crazy.

*     When those around me are talking about someone, not only do I not have to participate, but I don’t have to listen, or even pay attention. It’s okay to get up from my desk to make copies, get a cup of coffee, or even make a point of walking by the person being talked about and show compassion with a simple smile.

*     When I’m on the receiving end of the gossip, and it reaches me, if I have done what is being said and it was wrong, I can take it as a reminder to not do it again and make amends if necessary. If I didn’t do it, then I have nothing to worry about. I can take the high road, knowing the rumor doesn’t have any foundation.

*     I don’t have to please anyone other than God. Having struggled with being a people pleaser for most of my life, this has been huge. And I get constant practice at my job. Not only is it okay, but commendable, to do the unpopular thing if it means pleasing and serving only God.

*     Not to take things personal. If someone is having a bad day, or women are whispering around me, it’s highly unlikely about me at all. Everything is not about me. And there is such freedom in remembering that!

I am grateful to work in a place where my immediate supervisor believes in mental health days. In working with victims all day, she understands the importance of taking care of ourselves. And that is something I’m so grateful for.

All is Grace.

Happy Veteran’s Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Veterans Day

 

 

 

 

 

May we take a moment to offer up in prayer our veterans and their families, extending our appreciation and our gratitude.

May peace find all who fight the fight for our country, have fought the fight, and all the men, women and children who stand behind them in support, prayer and love.

All is Grace.

Nominated and Honored

I had to take a quick break in my hiatus to thank Teresa Churcher (http://homeandspirit.wordpress.com) for nominating me for the Liebster award! If you have yet to visit her blog, please take a few moments to do so.  You will find it worth every minute of your time.  Hers is one that I make a point of reading for content as well as ideas. 🙂

Teresa summed up so eloquently what the Liebster Award is, so to quote her: The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  Blogging is about building a community and it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.”

Blogging is a way to express my awe in this life, and gratitude for things so often taken for granted, through my love of the written word.  It’s a way of sharing this journey through life with a community of people who love God and words.  The fact that people share this journey with me is such a blessing and yet one more thing to be grateful for.

Again, thank you Teresa. 🙂

liebster

Here are the rules for the Liebster…

Nominees must link back the person who nominated them. -Answer the 10 questions which are given to them by the nominator. -Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers. -Create 10 questions for their nominees to answer. -Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

My answers to the questions from Teresa are:

1.)   Name three places you would like to visit before you dieItaly, Scotland, Poland.  Italy for the food, of course :), Scotland to see the beautiful castles and the greenery, and Poland to visit the homeland of my ancestors.

2.)  Name 1 thing on your bucket list.  Learn to play the piano.  It’s such a calming, peaceful sound.

3.)  How would you describe your home?  Small and cozy, old-fashioned and antique”y”

4.)  What do you hold as the highest priority in your life?  Relationship with God and family. The rest will fall into place.

5.)  Name one item in your home that you can’t be without?  Pen & Paper (I guess that’s two but it’s like peas and carrots–they just go together. 🙂 )

6.)  Name one guilty pleasure.  Dark chocolate.

7.)  If you could make a living out of doing something you already love to do, what would it be?  Writing.

8.)  What is your favourite book and why?  There are several that I love, but in having to choose I would have to say The Jane Austen Book Club. It brings together unusual and opposite people and connects them through books, where they all find common ground despite their differences. Also, the Bible.  It’s my roadmap to living life.

9.)  Who is your biggest inspiration? Historical (as well as present)-Christ.  Past-Mother Teresa.  Present-Katie Davis.

10.) What is your definition of spirituality?  Following Christ-like principals in all aspects of life, even when it’s not the popular path to take.

These are my Liebster nominations:

Wolffdenpress.wordpress.com

http://www.mrslaurabeth.com/

http://www.thebalancedwife.com/

http://lovinglifemoore.blogspot.com/

http://raekayejay.blogspot.com/

http://thesimplifiedfamily.com/

http://www.simplyanchoredblog.com/

http://homefornowblog.wordpress.com/about/

http://embracingforever.com/about/

http://kkendallblog.wordpress.com/

My 10 questions for the above nominees:

1.  If you could do anything in the world, and money wasn’t a factor, what would you do?

2.  What is your greatest creative strength?

3.  Who has inspired you most in your life?

4.  What does spirituality mean to you?

5.  What is your favorite quote?

6.  What is it that motivates you to write?

7.  Why did you start blogging?

8.  Do you tend to by wordy or brief and concise in communicating, whether written or verbal?

9.  When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

10. What is your favorite activity and why?