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Friday, November 23, 2012

Gratitude Isn't Only for Thanksgiving...

“If you want to know how rich you are,
add up everything you have that money cannot buy
and death cannot take away!”
~ Anonymous

   …and those will be the things you need to be thankful for every day of your life…

I had a late start today; waking up to Thanksgiving-based shows on television, many wish filled text messages, emails on my phone and Facebook statuses, all focused on being thankful…
I read my texts… smiled at some of my messages, replied to some and posted my own meaningful Facebook status update. 

Life is good… no worries (actually some worries, however nothing that would bring me down…nothing that can’t stay tucked in the back of my mind)…I’m thankful

It's 3pm and I finally get out of bed (yes…didn’t I say life was good?). I have 2 rice requests I have to cook for Thanksgiving dinner at my sisterfriend Susan's house… Again, I’m thankful that I didn’t have to host, or cook a full meal…
At 6pm we are finally all together. I’m holding hands with friends that we call family. We bow our heads and give thanks to the feast we are about to have, praise the man who made it all possible and we're also missing the family that is no longer here with us…

I Am Thankful

“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

I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving; it is really a holiday I learned about once I befriended military American expats children late in my teenage years. My first Thanksgiving dinner must have been in 1992 (my first year in the United States). Although I understood the holiday, I never made a big deal about it…I appreciated that we should be grateful and thankful but shouldn’t we be everyday of our lives? Should recognizing gratitude only be left for the 4th Thursday of November? Is that the only day that saying "thank you" matters? Is that the only day that acknowledging your blessings counts?
I almost feel as though there is more outside pressure for us to prove our thankfulness on holidays (and it matters more), than the genuine appreciation we feel at any given moment in our lives, which makes us thankful everyday… Happiness isn’t easily obtained. Having a warm plate of food everyday isn’t a given. Love and health are becoming rare commodities, and breathing is a blessing. Our freedoms, lives, families, friends, shelter, clothing, and numberless other personal things are not a certainty… so when we are blessed with those gifts, do we need to wait for Thanksgiving to recognize loudly all those everyday blessings?

One could say “Being grateful every day is nice, but it's important to have special days where you sit back and really focus on things... whatever you're thankful for. If every day was a holiday, then holidays would just be everyday occurrences... they wouldn't be special times in our lives.” Maybe I'm looking at things with a skewed perception; being that I'm from Europe. Maybe the whole point is, people are grateful everyday, but this is the "Superbowl" of gratefulness. It could be like appreciating a person who's important to you (every day), but on their birthday (or special day), actually giving them a significant gift to show them how much you really do. Maybe the whole point is to take a moment, reflect and literally count your blessings. That being the case, I would agree by saying, "Be thankful every day. See or call your family (as much as you can). Remember the less fortunate, and when dealing with others be mindful of their circumstances. Give little gifts that make others smile (a joke, a story, a hand on the shoulder…). Spend the holidays reflecting on the times you've had together and don’t let them be the ONLY time you've seen each other. Don’t wait for a forced holiday to be thankful and appreciative BUT use the holiday as a day of reflection in remembering together what we should all already know."  

You can be grateful every day and be especially grateful on Thanksgiving, and when someone says “thank you”…simply say “you are welcome”

 To enjoying giving thanks,

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