Happy Thanksgiving Day!

A collection of lit candles on ornate candlesticks

A collection of lit candles on ornate candlesticks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am in the United States and I am already late. Today is Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside to show gratitude for all the blessings that we often overlook. Of course, gratitude is ideally served every day, and I try to do so. The day holds fond memories of past holidays with family and friends, some of whom have already passed, gathering to cook, eat, laugh, drink and be merry. Those events evoke feelings of love, happiness and togetherness, which is what I strive for today. For that reason, it is a very special day for me. Nevertheless, before I begin the frenetic tasks to prepare for the onslaught of family, I need to take a moment for a pithy, but, hopefully you’ll agree, meaningful post to you.

Without preamble, thank you. I am more grateful for you than I can put into words. I realize that you are a gift to me. You are a blogger’s manna from heaven. Based on Technorati’s world-wide blog post counter, which counts every blog post written, there are almost 2 million posts written today. (By the time that you read this post, the number will be much higher.) You’ve read that figure correctly. Now, that is a damn lot of posts. With that said, your choice of blogs to read is endless, and I deeply appreciate your presence here.

Whether you live in a place that celebrates the day or not, please know that I do not take you for granted. I appreciate you and I am thankful that you take moments out of your busy lives to share bits and pieces of mine. It is very humbling. So, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I send you a sincere and warm thanksgiving, and I thank you for being.

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With Gratitude For All

This is a post that I wrote two years ago. Today, I was preparing to write a Thanksgiving post, when I happened upon it. After reading it through, I realized that it perfectly expressed my present feelings. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I offer it to you as my way of showing gratitude for you, whether your country celebrates the holiday or not. Gratitude is not a once a year day, it is meant to be practiced every day. So, with this post, I say “thank you’ for being such a blessing to me. Thank you for joining me on my journey. Have a blessed day.

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As I rush to and fro in preparation for this week’s holiday feast, I stop to consider the meaning of giving thanks, that is, the meaning of gratitude. According to Wikipedia, “Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.” For most of us, it is quite easy to give thanks for the good things that happen in our lives. No, the difficulty arises when we consider our thoughts and feelings about those things that we consider “bad,” for instance, illness, a lost job, or the death of a child, spouse or close friend.Granted, these are no zippity do dah moments, but they too have undoubtedly  left us with some underlying “benefit” that may or may not have manifested itself as of yet.

For years, I have dealt with the  scourge of fibromyalgia– constant pain, depression, insomnia and more. I resigned from my 14 year job as a State’s defense attorney because my fibro symptoms adversely affected my work. It was impossible to concentrate on the case at hand while in excruciating, unrelenting pain.  There were too many days when I made it to work, only to lay writhing on my office floor. So for me, fibromyalgia is my nemesis, that one thing that I find it difficult to give thanks for. Yet, in most of clarity, I can see that the benefits are there.

Not too long after I went on disability, my mother had a stroke. She has always been in perfect health, so it was a shock. After she left the hospital, the options were a nursing home or our house. There was no question that  she would stay with me and my husband.  The thing is that had I still been working as an attorney, it would have been impossible for me to welcome my Mom into our home. I travelled constantly and was always trying cases in one Texas city or another. I was out-of-town more often than not. My disability became a benefit, because it allowed me to be there for my mother when she needed me. I am grateful for that.

We can’t pick those things that we are grateful for. When we begin giving thanks, it is for everything that has gotten you to where you are today. As Oprah Winfrey writes, “Gratitude for the whole journey of my life–not just everything that had gone right, but the things that had not.” I have to remind myself of this every single day.

I wish you and your loveds a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

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I appreciate you vs. Thank you

One day during an all too rare telephone call with my son J. (he is the oldest of my 3 children), he interrupted our conversation momentarily to speak to someone else. Now, this is one of my pet peeves, so for a few moments, I sat there seething. In spite of that, the rational part of me listened quietly to his brief conversation, and at its close, heard him thanking someone. What caused me pause was that instead of saying the customary “thank you,” J. said “I appreciate you, man.” Such a brief statement, but its’ power immediately warmed my heart and got me thinking.

“Thank you” is defined as ‘expressing gratitude or thanks,’ whereas, “appreciate,” ‘to  value or regard highly; place a high estimate on.’ How many times a day do we mindlessly utter ‘thank you’ or ‘thanks‘ to someone? Think about it–lots! Just for a day or two, how about setting an intention to say “I appreciate you,” in place of “thank you” or “thanks” to the barista at the coffee shop or cafe, a colleague at work, the teller at the bank drive-thru, the cashier at the grocery store or any other number of people that you come in contact.  By doing so, you are going beyond a simple thank you, to saying “I value you and what you do. It’s the small things that mean so much. Try it–what have you got to lose?  

Lest I forget, J. I truly appreciate you. Blessings all,
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