Sunday, November 29, 2015

Forever Thankful

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It’s the perfect kick off to the holiday season. There’s nothing I enjoy more than having our home filled with laughter, good food, and wonderful company, whether that be family or friends. We always start with a basketball game on Wednesday night, then into the festivities on Thursday. Knowing everyone leaves with full tummies and fuller hearts tops everything.
Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. I love the spirit, the decorations, the movies, the music, the giving of oneself to others, the celebration of Jesus birth. Gift giving holds a special place for me. I love giving more than receiving. The look on faces when they open that special thing they didn’t know they were getting. I look around our house and see so much stuff. It’s overwhelming at times. I cringe when family ask what the boys want. None of us really need anything. They really don’t even want much. I’m ok with that. But I also know they will be disappointed if they don’t get anything.
I dislike the commercial garbage the Christmas holiday brings. Black Friday and shopping on Thanksgiving day don’t bother me as much as the fights and injuries over trivial, material things. All of the ads, the emails, the push at the kids for more. It’s all so much pressure to find the perfect thing; to find something they didn’t know they will get and are still interested in. No one likes to help decorate, but complain when things aren’t up yet or when something they like isn’t out. No one helps take down but wonders why things are still up after New Year’s. The month of December feels more like a list of obligations than a preparation for the celebration. Is this a reflection of my parenting? Is it a lack of focus being placed on what’s most important? Perhaps. Maybe I’m being selfish and missing the point. Very likely. I find myself faced with the term “Refocus” more often than not as of late. I believe this is one of those times I need to stop and refocus my vision of the Christmas holidays.
I know this for sure– We live a blessed life. We have jobs, good health, enough food to eat, and a roof above our heads. We are able to work hard every day. We teach our kids the value of a dollar, goal setting, and about following their dreams. We don’t have everything we want, but we definitely have everything we need. I want to celebrate the little things, hear the joy in the air, and be in the moment with those who matter most to me. The picture above depicts my vision of perfection- being with my boys and lots of laughter.  May we all find the vision of the season and enjoy the simple pleasures. May every day be a day of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's Never Too Late

Sadness. Despair. Fear. Darkness.

Thanks. Hope. Faith. Light.

The recent events across the world have sparked heated debate over the last week. How many of the words in the first line hit home for each one of us in the last few days? So many feelings felt, fears expressed, prayers uttered. I feel myself washed in sadness, not only for those affected by tragedy and destruction, but also for those closed minded individuals who chose to speak before thinking, reacting out of fear rather than in Faith.

Do you know what is most amazing to me? These people, so terribly torn apart by horrific acts, remain in the streets mourning, reflecting, even celebrating. Celebrating the lives of those friends and family members lost. It seems unfathomable, yet comforting.  We're seeing people flipping the bad guys the bird by refusing to live in fear.

Watching, listening, digesting all of the information has done two things for me; it's sparked deep sadness for those reacting so negatively and hatefully toward others different than we, average American citizens, and turned me toward my own faith to find peace and understanding.

Some folks see life more positively than others. They're blessed with the glass half full mentality.  I think it's only human nature to lose focus and get bogged down in the constant trivial garbage thrown at us all day everyday. Screaming kids, less than ideal work conditions, political red tape, bills to pay, not having enough time to get everything done... All.of.the.things! Life is overwhelming to say the least.

One thing my faith shows me each and every day- it's up to me to see the good in every situation. No matter how bad things seem, I can choose to take a step back and look at all the blessings in my life. People I love have passed on, and I miss them terribly, but I was blessed to have them in my life. On of my favorite workout instructors reminds us in several of her DVD's that we aren't promised tomorrow and it's up to us to make the most of each and every day. It's ridiculous to sit in fear, to worry about what others think of us and keep us from feeling confident, to let that fear make us feel less than worthy, and to miss out on those things in life that are most important.

So you know that goal you have for yourself? Take the first step. It's never too late to begin.