“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
― W.T. Purkiser
Today as I post, I’m sitting in my parents kitchen after a day full of running around, playing with energized children, eating too much food and singing around a birthday cake for my father. Right now, I’m sitting at the desk, my mother is finishing up the dishes and my younger sister and brother in law just headed home with their pup Gidget. My older sister and brother in law left a little earlier for a retirement party and we have put her kids and AC in their pajamas so everyone is ready for the car ride home. All the boys are now sitting in the living room watching The Princess and the Frog and playing quietly with cars. Jay and my Dad are in there with them also attentively watching the show and every now and then you hear my father humming along with the music. It’s one of his favorite kid movies because it has a great soundtrack, being set in New Orleans.
Days like this remind me of how lucky I am, how thankful I should be and why I work so hard to try to share stories of the amazing family I have. There are lots of ways to show that we are thankful. Especially in this holiday season that creeps up on us faster and faster each year. There are tons of worthy causes vying for our attention, and baskets in need of food donations wherever you look. But those aren’t the only ways you can be thankful for what you have…there are a few more too…
- Don’t waste your blessings – This kind of goes hand in hand with something that my mother has always said to us. “You have been given certain talents, and when you make it up to heaven, they are gonna ask you what you did with them. You better have a good answer.” We all have things to be thankful for, no matter how small. If you don’t use those things you aren’t really showing your appreciation for them. I’ve been lucky enough be be a decent writer, have some pretty serious organizational skills, and I’d like to think I’m a compassionate soul at heart. Starting a non-profit, writing a blog, and ultimately a book someday are just a few ways that I’ve tried to honor those gifts.
- Take some “me time” – To really have the opportunity to take a minute, breathe, and reflect on what we have, we need to remember to give ourselves a little time to do that. In today’s world where we are rushing from one check mark on the “to do” list to another it’s hard to slow your mind, slow your breathing and take a few minutes to have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, sit in some blissful silence and remember that this life is beautiful.
- Love each other – It seems like such a cliche thing to say but it’s really true. Tell the people in your life that you love them every single opportunity that you get. Speak kind words, do nice things, and I never go to bed without kissing my husband good night. Treat people well, and be present and engaged when you are lucky enough to be together. If you are able, take it a little farther outside your home and show some love for your more global family. Hold the door for an elderly woman, pay for the cup of coffee that the man on the corner would so greatly appreciate, or just smile and make actual eye contact with a stranger. You never know how you could change their day.
In the end, being thankful is a conscious act that we have to remind ourselves to do all the time; but when we do, not only do we show gratitude for what we have, but we find that we might have more on that list than we thought in the first place.