To everyone, may you enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! Remember all that there is for which to be thankful. 🙂
To everyone, may you enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! Remember all that there is for which to be thankful. 🙂
On Thanksgiving, what I am always most thankful for is my family. My family is always there for me in thick and thin. My family has weathered many storms and enjoyed sunny days together; I can count on my family for love, compassion, and support, and I provide the same to them. I don’t have a very large family, nor do I have much money, but I have a big heart, full of lots of love. My love is shared with and among my family, for whom I am most thankful on Thanksgiving and every day.
Other things for which I am thankful include food, faith, community, freedom, education, technology, career, and health. I am thankful for food, though it is not easy to get by from month to month with food prices continuing to rise. I appreciate my faith because, if it was not for that, I would not be where I am today, and things would likely be much worse. I am grateful for community, such as organizations that provide fellowship, to my family.
I am always thankful for freedom and I remember my grandmother’s stories about when she lived in Communist Poland, with people fearing for their lives when homes were raided in the middle of the night and people were never seen again. I am grateful for education, though the large debt required to pay for it is a hardship. I appreciate technology that makes life easier. And, I am thankful for career in many capacities, including that of being a mother, as well as for the potential of a stable gainful and enjoyable employment in a workplace with decent people, if that is ever attainable. I am thankful for my good health so I do not have to pay out-of-pocket to see the doctor as a result of being without health insurance.
So often, organizations such as colleges, churches, and charities have fundraising drives to help give to those in need. When I am asked to donate, I reply that I could benefit from some assistance, myself. As a poor single white mother, so often such places overlook people such as myself, as has occurred again this year. People in my shoes are reduced to begging for even a little bit in return. People may maintain the perspective that whites have privilege and that is definitely a stereotype that hurts poor white single mothers such as myself because the majority of any aid, as I observe, goes to people of other races.
I am also thankful for the holes in some of my shabby clothes and worn-out shoes, the place that I live even though it is not my own, the student loans that provide opportunity, my nearly decade-old vehicle that is still in great shape, and that sacrifices that I am able to make for the benefit of my family. I am thankful for the $15 haircut that I get every two months instead of going to a salon and spending loads of money, and the $3 bottle of fingernail polish that I can use for a manicure or pedicure instead of going someplace to have it done for me. I am grateful for the free lunch that I eat twice each week at my apprenticeship, and for the store closing sale at the local KMart where I can save a few dollars on Christmas gifts for my son. I am thankful for what little I have because more is always spent than saved.
These are additional reasons why I am thankful for my family, particularly at Thanksgiving. Every so often, there is that rare person who comes along who might be caring and/or supportive, but with my family, I know they will always be there, in good and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. People should be more important than money and possessions, and indeed, my family is most important to me.
So, on this Thanksgiving, I invite you to think about family, values, and people in need. Think about and be thankful for people who are close to you. Think about people whom you see at work or in church every week who have little or nothing, and who are usually overlooked in their need. Take action on what you can do rather than what you cannot. Open your heart and mind to see what you do not want to see, and take action for what you otherwise would not have done. A little bit goes a long way, especially for folks who don’t have much.
Happy Thanksgiving! Remember what you are thankful for!
[Author’s Note: Within one day of posting this article, I was solicited by a man on LinkedIn, out-of-state, to contact him by whatever means necessary. People really need to get their heads out of the gutter, and be open to simply being helpful to those in need without being offensive and/or wanting something (inappropriate) in return. Solicitation is so offensive, degrading, and dehumanizing to me; is nothing that I have ever done; and it is incredible to me that so many men (I’ve experienced this many times on LinkedIn) do it. It is unfortunate and tragic for humanity that there are those who attempt (and succeed) in taking advantage of people in need in a sexual manner.]
I would like to wish everyone the joy and blessings of the holiday season, and a happy and healthy new year. Merry Christmas to those who observe the Christian celebration of Jesus’ birth. Happy holidays to those who observe other religious celebrations.
Especially, I would like to recognize and thank my parents and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, Georgia for all of your help and support to my son and I during the past year. Thank you so much!
May God bless us all.
Another Thanksgiving has arrived, and again, I am most thankful for my family, especially for my son and all children. Children are our future. I believe that children are a blessing and a most precious gift from God. Children give us joys and sorrows. They depend upon us, grow with us, and become independent from us. We are the role models for our children. We have been given a most important duty of raising our children to the best of our ability.
I believe that all children should have what they need in life – the most important of these being good and decent parents who love and care for them properly and as parents should. Money is not the most important. Looks are not the most important. What is most important is what is inside – the genuine goodness and beauty that can be instilled into a child by nurturing, caring, and compassionate role models.
I believe that life’s biggest responsibility – if one has children – is to be the best possible parent. So, on this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my son, for being a mom, and for my parents in being role models for me and for my son, their grandson. I pray that all children will have the loving and caring role models and guides in their lives whom they need. I am thankful.
For all those who celebrate this important, family-oriented holiday, may you enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
Spring has sprung, and Easter is again upon us! There is much to be thankful for in celebrating another Easter – Christ’s ultimate sacrifice in giving his life for us, dying a horrible death beyond words and resurrecting his spirit for us. Jesus is the God who continually forgives our sins and is our ultimate savior, unable to be replaced by anyone or anything. And, though there are many things in our world by which we may attempt to replace our Creator, what it all comes down to in the end is that God is the ‘be all and the end all,’ the first and the last, the alpha and the omega.
So, while many of us are spending additional time at church during this Easter season, reflecting, praying, and meditating on Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection, we must always remember that we are all His children. With that in mind, those of us who have children of our own must be mindful of not only teaching them about our religious values, but also participating in fun Easter events, such as getting pictures with the Easter Bunny, going to Easter Egg Hunts, or enjoying other fun Easter or Spring activities, including something as simple as walking in the park and viewing the flower blossoms on the trees.
I hope that everyone enjoys a beautiful, wonderful, rejuvenating, and refreshing spring. And, regardless of the religion that you may or may not practice, hopefully, you will take time to reflect upon and be thankful for all that has been bestowed upon you in your life. For me, as a Roman Catholic Christian, celebrating Lent with the culmination of Easter in spring is a wonderful time of reflection and renewal. I hope there are events and celebrations in your lives in which you experience the same! Happy Easter!
Scout Sunday was celebrated on Sunday, February 3, 2013 this year. My son and me had the pleasure of participating in Scout Sunday Mass with Pack 522 at the 5 PM vigil on Saturday, February 2 at St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, Georgia, where we showed our perpetual love to and for God. This year, my son earned and received his Parvuli Dei religious medal at this wonderful Scout Sunday recognition mass in which we have participated at St. John Neumann Church for the past three consecutive years. Each year, there is a great turn-out of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts who are affiliated with St. John Neumann Church and/or School, and this year was no exception. The scouts, parents, leaders, religious, and members of the parish community at St. John Neumann always make Scout Sunday a positive and memorable experience; and we are always happy and honored to participate in it.
Particularly after experiencing certain unpleasant experiences related to privacy and protection in the former pack with which we were associated along with our former parish, it was our honor and pleasure to again participate in St. John Neumann’s consistently outstanding Scout Sunday Mass and Religious Recognition Ceremony. Both the Mass and Ceremony are always handled professionally, and with sensitivity and sound integrity toward the privacy and protection of the youth involved. That, as always, is very much appreciated.
Each year for the past four years, my son and my family have enjoyed our annual visit with Santa Claus at my son’s school, St. John Neumann, in the Gwinnett County City of Lilburn, Georgia near Atlanta. St. John Neumann is a regional Roman Catholic school, educating children in kingergarten through eighth grade. And, every year, the Santa Claus Breakfast is a big, “no-miss” event!
For the holiday season, the school is decorated for Christmas with festive trees, pictures, ribbons, bows, and ornaments; and Santa Claus and his eighth grade student “elves” speak with the children about Christmas and what they would like to receive for Christmas.
A local diner, “Dicky Doo’s,” caters a lovely breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon, grits, and rolls, along with toppings of strawberries, chocolate morsels, and whipped cream for the pancakes, all served with orange juice and/or milk.
The students have an opportunity to purchase items from the Secret Santa “Shop” for family members and friends. These gifts are inexpensive and thoughtful presents that make the children feel good about being able to give to their loved ones and friends.
This year is the first year in which professional photographs were made available to everyone who visited with Santa Claus. A student’s grandparent who is a professional photographer offered some nice photos for sale. Students’ families could also take their own pictures.
Each year, children can also participate in “cake walks.” Children walk along a numbered-circle to the sounds of Christmas music, and must stand still on a number when the music stops. Hopefully, the number pulled out of the hat is the number on which the child is standing so that he or she can select a prize of a cake, cookies, or brownies. This year, there were many, many baked goods left since there was less generosity with issuing confectionary prizes, however it was still a memorable experience.
In past years, students also enjoyed singing Christmas songs with Mrs. Claus as she stummed her guitar, however she must have been at home today baking cookies or otherwise getting more prepared for the holidays.
Breakfast with Santa is always a wonderful experience, and one to which we look forward every year. It is an affordable and inexpensive way to spend a joyful and festive Saturday morning at school during the Christmas and holiday season. The best part is remembering and being thankful that it is because of Jesus and His sacrifices for us that we celebrate Christmas.
There are so many things for which to be thankful in our lives. In getting older, my views of what to be thankful for have expanded, and surprisingly, have gotten somewhat modified. I believe that some of the things for which to be thankful go hand-in-hand, such as success, sacrifice, and gratitude. While each of these areas mean something different, they ultimately embody similar qualities for me. Perhaps with age has come greater wisdom and insight about what it is in life for which we should truly be thankful. It being Thanksgiving Day, it is the perfect opportunity to express and share the meanings and associations between success, sacrifice, blessings, and thanksgiving in my life.
Success, sacrifice, and thanksgiving are all connected in my life. They each have a very special meaning in my life, and have grown stronger and more intense throughout the passing years. Firstly, my personal meaning of success has changed throughout the years. When I was younger – say, a college student or recent college graduate – success meant getting and maintaining a great career position, along with earning a comfortable salary and benefits. It made me feel secure, stable, and accomplished to achieve that.
As the years have passed – such as the past 20 years or so – success for me, personally, now means doing all I can for the benefit of my family, particularly for my son. For me, success involves “being there” for my son as much as possible, providing him with the most and best possible quality time, and being a compassionate, sensitive, nurturing, caring, and loving mom for him. To me, that is my greatest success – “the” greatest success – raising, caring for, loving, and being there for my son. I invest all possible social and emotional understanding, compassion, and nurturing into my son, and I am also thankful and grateful to be able to do so on a regular and consistent basis.
So, for me, success no longer necessarily means having the best job or career position or earning the most money possible. Although it is important to have a stable and enjoyable career, as well as to earn money in order to live and provide for my family, my highest priority and greatest success is in mothering my son. So many jobs and career positions demand that people give their lives to their employment; I have given my life to being a mom, and being a sensitive, caring, loving, and nurturing one at that. It is my hope that in the future, my son will remember all of the time, compassion, care, love, and nurturing that was invested into him, and invest that back into his own future family, as well as to others with whom he comes into contact.
Success also involves doing what I can for my son, my family, myself, and others. Sometimes that also involves sacrifice – sacrificing my own selfish needs or desires for the benefit of others. As the years have passed, I have realized that I truly do not need everything that I think I do. And, when I look around, I see that I, indeed, have more than I need, materially. It has helped me to refrain from satisfying a compulsive impulse to buy something that I don’t really need by telling myself that I have everything already and that I don’t need it.
It also helps to remember that my main priority is in providing an outstanding education to my son, and that is where the money must go. Thus, a wonderful education for my son is the top priority of sacrifice for me to him. I strongly believe that such an excellent education is the best course of action for him, considering all other circumstances. Of course, there are also expenses for maintaining good health, well-being, and extracurricular activities, as well as for having a vehicle and driving it, however my son’s schooling helps me maintain my focus of investment in him and in his education. This is my gift of sacrifice to and investment into him.
Sacrificing and giving to others is also important to me. When I can, I drive my parents to where they need and/or desire to go. For one thing, this helps save on gasoline, though it also provides company, comraderie, companionship, and fellowship, not only for me, but also for my son. I do what I can to give back to my family for all the good that they have done for and provided to me, even in the little things that others may think are insignificant, such as buying some groceries, taking packages to be mailed at the post office, or taking items to the trash pick-up or recycling center. That stated, I know I could never in my entire life return to my parents all that they have provided in support and assistance to me, and for that, I am also extremely thankful and blessed.
Sacrificing also means giving back to the community, serving others, and helping those who are in need. I regularly do that as a volunteer in many capacities, including at two churches as a lector and lay minister, as a writer for a church newsletter, donating food and clothing for those in need, volunteering as a spiritual leader at my son’s school in activities that assist local families in need, assisting as a parent helper for school activities, organizing food for and delivering it to local families in need during the holiday season, volunteering my time, talents, and efforts in Cub Scouts whenever possible, and giving of my time by volunteering at the local religious-affiliated thrift store. Though my desired, intended, and enjoyed career path in teaching has not proceeded as planned, I am rewarded by being able to give of my time and talents to help and assist others – and, in turn, it is also spiritually, socially, mentally, and emotionally fulfilling for me.
So, what I am most thankful for are God, my son, my family, my friends, and the good, competent, caring professionals who are in my life. Without God, I would be nowhere. With God, I have, maintain, and develop my strong faith, even when things are not going well. I believe that there is a reason for everything, even though I may not know or understand what those reasons are. I also believe that God has our lives mapped out for us, and knows everything that will happen in our lives long before it happens and prior to us even making a choice on what to do.
I try my best to be thankful to God everyday and for everthing, both good and bad, because I believe there are learning experiences in everything. Of course, it is extremely difficult and challenging to be faced with bad, trying, or traumatic situations, though with God as my strength, I know that goodness, love, and mercy will prevail in some way. With God, for whom I am thankful, I am blessed with the hope and faith that He will guide and show me the best way in which for me to travel.
Thanksgiving is also important in association with my son. I am thankful for my son because he provides me with the greatest meaning in my life, he gives me the strength and fortitude that I need to live and enjoy each day, he fulfills that place within my soul that has the innate need to mother, nurture, care for, and love him. I am thankful for my son because I often believe that he is my reason for being, for living, and for sharing and enjoying the most in life that is possible. I am so moved and thankful to God for my son; he is my heart.
My family are also those for whom I am thankful. Without my family – my parents in particular – I would not be where I am today. When I was in need, it was my parents who were there for me and my son. My parents have been that strong, stable, unyielding rock of strength and persistence throughout my life, showing me that nothing is too great to overcome, that nothing is too great to bear, that nothing is too severe to integrate positively into my life in some way. Having been married now for nearly 50 years, my parents are wonderful role models for me, and for them, I am extremely thankful and indebted.
I have a few wonderful, close friends, and for them, I am also very thankful. One is lucky and blessed in their lifetime to find, acquire, and maintain friendships with those who are kindred spirits, sharing similar values, beliefs, and backgrounds, and I am blessed and thankful to have found such friends as these. Typically, I gravitate toward friends who are slightly older than me because I believe that they are more mature, experienced in the world and in their lives, and can also be wonderful mentors for me. In fact, there have been a couple of colleagues in my life who have also become wonderful friends, particularly for those reasons. It is such a blessing to be able to share an understanding, flexibility, and sensitivity with friends who hold similar outlooks, philosophies, and perspectives, and I am thankful for those people in my life.
Also of great importance in my life are those professionals who have been helpful and supportive of me and my family, and who have made our lives easier and more enjoyable. For these folks, I am extremely thankful and grateful, and for some, I will also never be able to fully express or show my gratitude if it takes me the rest of my life. Currently, a few of these people in particular include my attorney, a school superintendent, and physicians and healthcare professionals who doctor and/or otherwise assist me and my son. In the past, such professionals have also included college professors, instructors, mentors, and coaches; and professional peers and colleagues.
Of course, I am also thankful for nature, the environment, animals, flowers, plants, food to eat, shelter, safety, freedom and democracy, diversity, and different peoples, cultures, religions, languages, and customs. I am also thankful for opportunities, growth, development, life experiences, and being able to live my life. I am thankful to travel freely and to where I choose. I am thankful for having sight, hearing, touch, taste, intelligence, honesty, persistence, and a whole host of other qualities and characteristics. I am also thankful for being female – being a woman, for with that has come pregnancy and giving birth to my son, and enjoying experiences and intimacies that are understood only by women. Even so with all of these things for which I am thankful, I am most thankful for people and God.
My son and children, in general, are those people in my life for whom I am most thankful because they bring so much joy, happiness, innocence, and fulfillment into my life. Had I an enjoyable, stable, and loving relationship with a partner, I would also find great fulfillment in sharing such thankfulness and love with him, as well. I know, however, that a relationship of that nature is in God’s hands, and if such a relationship never presents itself, then I will know and accept that it was not meant to be, however discouraging and disappointing, perhaps it would be for the best. My love and compassion for children, children’s rights, and children’s welfare would also be high priorities for me to share with an intimate partner, as I am sure he would find similar enjoyment and fulfillment in this, as well.
While this post will end up being published and dated in the day following Thanksgiving this year, it was on my agenda to accomplish on Thanksgiving Day, though other things came up that needed attention. I hope that you who are reading my article will be able to reflect upon what it is that you are thankful for, and perhaps, also find some correlations between success, sacrifice, gratitude, and blessings in your life.
Sometimes, we just need to stop and smell the roses, or – before you know it – those roses are gone and we are left wondering what happened. I took a few moments this evening to cut some roses from the backyard garden and to smell and enjoy them. Please also take time to be thankful and share all wonderful things on this Thanksgiving. Take time to “smell the roses;” enjoy all that is good; share with family, friends, and loved ones; and be thankful for all that our wonderful Creator has bestowed upon us. Give extra hugs and more quality time to your children and family. Take a moment to appreciate everything, and not take it for granted. Enjoy it now – it doesn’t last forever!