“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is Thanksgiving and it is a day set aside for gratitude, which is why I love this day so much! There are so many things that I am thankful for and you are at the top of my list. You have been here every week reading Charity Matters for the past decade, cheering me on with story ideas, commenting when a post touches you and sharing posts with friends. I am so truly grateful to you. Your own giving of time and your excitement to share your favorite cause fill my heart each and every day.
This year the pandemic has brought us a renewed clarity of what matters. Gratitude for health, safety, family, and friends. We have collectively slowed our pace and are taking time for gratitude. Today I am with my family and while it isn’t our traditional large celebration, my cup is running over. My gratitude propels me to give as much back as I possibly can.
So wherever you are this year, serving meals to the homeless, slaving away in your kitchen cooking, or simply watching football on TV, know that I am grateful for you, your support, and all you give of yourself and to others.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Today is Thanksgiving and a national day of gratitude but why is being grateful something that only happens once a year? There has been a slew of scientific research and studies on the topic of gratitude and happiness. One that I read recently called, Eight Ways Gratitude Boost Happiness by Lyubomirsky which stated that there is a direct link between happiness and gratitude. Expressing gratitude brings about happiness for the one giving thanks. The more thankful someone is the less room there is for negative thoughts. Really who has time for negatively? With that, I wanted to share a little poem I came across about being thankful and my Thanksgiving wish for you is that you find gratitude and joy today and every day.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.
YOUR REFERRAL IS OUR GREATEST COMPLIMENT, IF YOU ARE INSPIRED, PLEASE SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we are all trying to get here and there, whether we are rushing to the airport, to the grocery store or loading up the car to see family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. We are frantic, stressed, concerned about this relative or ingredients for that special traditional dish. Looking at everything going on around me, I wondered if our country’s founders, the Pilgrims, worried about such things? My sense is that they simply wanted to come together to celebrate gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of tomorrow’s holiday.
So what does it mean to truly be thankful? Being thankful begins with simply being in this moment right here right now. Being grateful for being alive, being able to read this, being grateful for your vision, your ability to read, and being filled with joy because you have family or friends to celebrate with. It begins with just knowing how blessed we are to be alive.
I learned the lesson of true gratitude from my dad on Thanksgiving sixteen years ago. My Dad had been on vacation with my mom and his best friends early that November. They had all been at lunch and were heading to the perfect beach, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, when in a blink their lives were forever changed by a horrific car accident. My mom was gone, my dad’s long time friends were gone and he was in a coma. He had a broken back, broken ribs, punctured lungs and he died twice. He awoke from his coma to learn he had lost so many people he loved, a nightmare.
However, he survived and came home that year from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. A day that traditionally my mom would have been cooking, fussing, ironing napkins and bringing everyone together as she always did. That year we ordered our turkey and Thanksgiving dinner as take out. We set the table and all of us were numb, we had just had three funerals and a newborn niece, born a day after my mom’s funeral.
We wheeled my Dad into the house and rather than cry, or complain, or say one unkind word my Dad was remarkable. He was quieter than normal but he was filled with enormous gratitude to simply be alive. His gratitude was his presence and he showed each of us through example what mattered was that we were alive and we were together. Nothing else mattered. It was the best Thanksgiving we ever had.
Today, sixteen years later my dad can still be grumpy on the outside (think of Clint Eastwood, “get off my lawn”) and yet when you ask him how he is doing, he looks you in the eye and says he is here and that is a good thing. What I’ve learned from my Dad is that no matter what is happening right now, you need to find gratitude, even when things are bad.
I’ve learned that life is precious and to live it like each moment is your last. Make the most out of opportunities that come across your path. We are each given one shot at this thing called life and we need to make choices everyday if we want to spend it being present with those we care about or worrying about something insignificant….those moments are a choice.
Being grateful to simply be alive and for the life you have is what it truly means to be thankful. My sense is that the Pilgrims felt the same way, their life was not a picnic and yet they were grateful for food and freedom. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful I am not cooking, grateful to be with those I love and grateful for love, health and family…all lessons my Dad taught me on what it truly means to be thankful.
Wishing each of you the joy of gratitude and blessings for the most joyous Thanksgiving!
YOUR REFERRAL IS OUR GREATEST COMPLIMENT, IF YOU ARE INSPIRED, PLEASE SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; but it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
It’s here. There is no avoiding it, this is it. Today is the last day before they arrive….no not the in-laws or the kids home from college but the holidays. Today is the last day before the email box is bombarded with holiday sales and Black Friday deals. The last day before people start talking about holiday cards or even worse before they begin arriving. This is it. The calm before the storm. Right now, this moment, it is our gift.
So before it happens I am taking a moment, a breath, a pause to simply count my blessings. A moment to be grateful for the three crazy boys who will be home raiding my refrigerator any time. Grateful for the fact I have a refrigerator stocked with food when so many will go without. Grateful for the all the friends that will pop by this weekend for football and chili, when there are so many who are alone. Grateful for my crazy wonderful family who fills my life with life, chaos, drama, humor and so much love, when there are so many with broken hearts and homes. Grateful for my health and the health of those I love, knowing so many will spend the holidays in the hospital. Grateful for work I love and for all of those who serve others. Grateful for being safe, happy and healthy and grateful for being mindful that no matter what I have, someone else has less.
They are coming whether we are ready or not. So when it gets scary, stressful, overwhelming, one thing too much, just stop and think about what you are grateful for. I know your list is long and your heart is full. It is not joy that makes us grateful but gratitude that makes us joyful.
Blessings to you and yours for a joyous Thanksgiving.
Sharing is caring, if you are so moved or inspired, we would love you to pass the torch/post and inspire another.
Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow and there is much to be done, I looked back to my past post for inspiration and came across this. While not a fan of reposting, this is more than worth take two and will give you the spirit of gratitude as you begin to prepare for the holiday.
There are so many amazing causes that we all support and get involved with, especially as we are feeling thankful. With 1.9 million non-profits in this country it is rare that Charity Matters ventures abroad, with so much to be done here. However, as we begin this week of Thanksgiving, I think this story is a beautiful way to begin our own personal journey of gratitude.
Narayanan Krishnan is a hero and I am in awe of his compassion, selflessness and grateful for his amazing inspiration. He is a living reminder that Thanksgiving is a word of action.
As Thanksgiving week begins, there is much to be thankful for this year. My sons are heading home from school mid-week, the house will be full of noise, chaos, friends and all that fills me up. There is simply nothing better than a noisy full house that is alive.
This year just as our house begins to fill in one area we will begin emptying in others. A process that for many, is cathartic, renewing and invigorating but for me has been difficult. My husband can rifle through a drawer never notice the saved birthday card, the tiny memento and in a moment have it all in a box. Yes, he wins on efficiency…
However, for me each drawer uncovers a memory, a moment, a special something and I find myself looking backwards at our life and all it has been. Where has it gone? How are our sons in college?Remembering how we were and filled with nostalgia.
I am reminded by many, that this is a process that most go through at some stage of life and I find myself wondering if it easy for everyone or this difficult? I know being sentimental does not and will not lend itself to our new mid-century zen home and that,”stuff” and memories are not the same. Yet, each item triggers another memory, another moment and a place in time that brings smiles and tears.
So, as the house fills with the noise and the chaos of the week, I am full of gratitude. We have been blessed with 3 amazing healthy sons, a life full of family, friends, fun and memories and a home that has anchored much of it. As the tears, roll down my cheeks and the house fills with noise I know that this is what matters and I am blessed.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Tomorrow is the day, sadly the one day for many of us, that we take time to be thankful. This year, this day and this moment I am grateful for many things, my guess is for many of the same things you are; health, family, friends and for those people in my life who have guided me to where I am right now and there are many.
When you are not sure how to begin the process of gratitude, think for a moment of where you are at this moment in time and in your life. How many hands have guided you to this place? Today, I am grateful to each person who has lighted my path and for all of those who have shown me the way.
I am grateful to each of you who continue to inspire, teach and motivate me on this journey. To each and all of you, I wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
Tomorrow is the day we gather to give thanks for all our blessings. A day to celebrate with friends and family and to load up our plates. Many of you will feed the homeless, invite someone to join your family celebration, help cook and clean or host a house full. While Thanksgiving comes just once a year, sharing your gifts with others is the blessing that lasts all year round.
The week of Thanksgiving seems to be a week about food and eating. What is the opposite of eating? Not eating or hunger. So it seems only natural that Thanksgiving and feeding the hungry always go hand in hand. The fact is that 1 in 6 people in this country are suffering from hunger.
I have to confess, I have fed the homeless, on more than a few occasions, but never on Thanksgiving. I applaud those that do. I can only imagine how much more grateful you are, for what you are lucky enough to have, after you have witnessed someone without.
I think the most beautiful part of the tradition that many families have, is showing children compassion and gratitude. Any time you give of yourself for another, it is a gift. When you teach and show compassion and kindness it is much, much more.
As you begin to plan for this Thursday’s meal, the arrival of relatives, hustling to the market, think about ways your family can impact another. Here are a few simple ways to get started and make sure to include your kids in the process:
1. Go to Great Non-Profits website, type in your zip code, “feeding the homeless” and find local organizations in your community that you can help.
2. Consider donating a few dollars to a local food bank, ours here in LA, can make $1.00 buy 4 Thanksgiving meals. Here is the web for LA Regional Food Bank.
3. Think big and get involved in a big or little way with Feed America.Org, an organization designed to support the network of food banks across the country.
One last tip, Thanksgiving is more than a day but rather a spirit, that lasts much longer. Consider putting some of these thoughts into action, the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday, to show your family that giving is more than seasonal. Showing your children the reality that being full is just not just about our stomachs is a Thanksgiving legacy.
“Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.”
Robert Caspar Lintner
Whether this post finds you still full from a grand feast yesterday, waiting in line at the malls for Black friday or on the sofa with football, all of the above are gifts to be grateful for. My wish for you is that the feeling of gratitude stays with you throughout this holiday season.
Today I am grateful for a day off. I hope you are enjoying yours, you deserve it!
Tomorrow so many of us will be gathering around tables surrounded by friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving. Thousands of our troops however, will not be at home this year.
Here is the simplest and fastest way to say thank you. Click on this link to the USO.org and send a quick message of thanks to a soldier. It takes under one minute and is a beautiful way to start Thanksgiving. If your feeling generous, then share the link with others and spread the word.
I know you are all busy packing the car, grocery shopping or cooking but the simple gesture of “thank you” to one of our soldiers is a true Thanksgiving gift. The gift of your time and thought is what it’s all about!
“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”
Edward Sandford Martin
Tomorrow is a day created for thanks and gratitude. I wanted to take the time to thank each of you for joining me in this journey of Charity Matters. You have been here as I have strived to find my voice and share the inspirational messages of incredible people doing amazing work for others.
I am grateful for you joining me every week and it is my hope that Charity Matters has touched your heart, inspired you or maybe just made you grateful.
I would be honored if you would consider sharing Charity Matters with your friends so these messages of hope can continue to spread. This year we all have much to be grateful for, please know how grateful I am for you.