Thanksgiving is celebrated the fourth Thursday of every November in the United States of America. It is generally marked with a celebration of turkey dinners shared with family and friends. Some gather together to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning and even more people shout for their favorite football teams on television during the afternoon. It is, most importantly, a day for people to gather together and remember what they are thankful for.
Even Facebook users join in the November traditions of giving thanks by sharing posts of thankfulness. Did any of your friends do a daily post for MOG –or Month of Gratitude? The idea behind this is to get people to think, for thirty days straight, about what they should be grateful for in their lives. Each day they share a post giving thanks. I love the creativity and how specific people get in identifying even the smallest gifts which are often overlooked. I love watching friends give recognition to the little things in their lives.
Why don’t we make a conscious effort to continue our expressions of gratitude beyond one month? If we spend time every day recognizing the good surrounding us, it becomes a habit to readily notice positive things and give less notice to the negative experiences we have. What is the saying…? We should all readily have an “attitude of gratitude”.
One of my favorite things I did in the past was reaching out to some of the people who made an impact on my life. With the internet, it is easy to look up addresses for people that have somehow touched us in a positive manner. I contacted people I met only weeks before, and I also contacted people who had been a positive role model when I was younger. You should have heard the joy in the receiver’s voice. It was contagious. I was shy and nervous. Would they remember me? Would they think it was a silly prank call? Even when expressing gratitude, we all still have a fear of rejection I guess. I sent letters also. These letters opened up wonderful friendships that were able to grow from a student and teacher relationships into friendships as two grown adults.
Thanks you morguefile.com for the use of this photo
As the months progress, I challenge you to think of a few people who touched your life whether it was in a passing encounter or a lingering presence in your life’s journey. Reach out to these people. In the midst of their holiday cards, let them find your hand written note sharing gratitude. I’m asking you, challenging you, to contact someone who has touched your life. Say thank you. Expressing gratitude and impacting lives should not be restricted only to the thirty days in November.
I was fishing for dreams to share and hope to build…. I think I did well gathering both for myself and others during my time away.
I was fortunate to have been invited to speak to a wide variety of people the beginning of this month. This invitation took me halfway across the United States. The day after I returned home I was so exhausted I laid down in my bed early and slept for ten hours. It took me a few days to get rid of the jet lag and resume my usual schedule. It was a lot of work, but it was such an honor to have been invited.
6 Consecutive days
3,712 Miles flown round-trip
2 Colleges (Thank you University of Iowa and Loras College for your warm hospitality)
1 Education Center (Thank you Regina Education Center. By the way, I loved being there on pajama day!)
1 Nurse’s group mixed with some amazing volunteers (Thank you University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinic nurses and volunteers for the wonderful gift of caring and compassion you provide to your patients daily.)
COUNTLESS conversations with incredible people who were willing to share their time and join me in a journey to help others learn from the lessons our lives have taught.
It was a whirlwind trip, but I always find myself gaining more than I could ever hope to offer when I hear of the impact we are capable of having on one another.
Insurance said I recovered as much as I could within a few months of my stroke, but I knew I could do more. I knew I would have to work hard, but my recovery was going to be worth every ounce of effort I put into it. It was necessary to improve beyond what I had suddenly been reduced to. Even with all of my hope, I never had the expectation that I would be back to 100% of where I was before my cerebral vascular accident (CVA). Did I want it back? Desperately! But, I also had to accept reality.
The reality, from the viewpoint on my hospital bed, was that I would never get everything back. Although, being a young stroke victim did offer a unique path to becoming a stroke survivor. I still am not graceful when I make a feeble attempt to jog, but at least I walk. My eyesight is completely missing on the left peripheral. Yet, through this I’ve come to realize a vision for a positive future has nothing to do with what your eyes see; rather, it is what your heart, mind, and soul can create for a reality.
I completely agree with C.S. Lewis. I learned. My God did I ever learn. I am extremely grateful I had this brutal teacher of life offer me these experiences. Growing up with epilepsy, I never would have thought I could have seizures which would nearly end my life. I never would have been able to comprehend the idea of brain surgery. I never understood what a stroke was. Why should’ve I? No one young faces things like these. (At least, that was the innocence I used to maintain.) I faced brutal teachers.
Yet, these battles have created an inner strength I never could have imagined. Within these unfortunate experiences, I have learned so much about our brains and bodies. I truly believe it is not only a need but also a gift to help share these life lessons and teach others who are in the midst of facing the brutal teachings life is throwing their way. I have learned. Now it is my hope, desire, and –might I even say- responsibility to help others through this unpredictable journey known as life.