Giving Thanks. Stop. Think.

This year, as for a great many of us, the holidays have crept up on me. It is, truthfully, almost a surprise that Thanksgiving is next week. As the colder and darker days have successfully crept up on me, so has the merriest season of the year. Long gone are the warm and sunny days of summer and here are the cold and wet days of autumn and winter. I myself prefer the long warm days; exercise seems easier, days seem somehow more carefree, friends seem more eager to socialize, and while rationally I know better, days seem to have more time to get things accomplished.

However, for as much nostalgia as I hold for each summer I think it’s important to mindfully live in the present. With that being said, this time of year always seems to be impossibly busy for me. Of course there’s always work, then you have school, you have after school activities such as sports and music lessons, errands for the home, dinner, cleaning the house, trying to connect and communicate with a family that is just as hectic; it all seems to be quite overbearing. To add to an already impossible load there’s planning with relatives about the upcoming holidays, holiday cards, concerts for the kids, Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving shopping; the list goes on. To digress, the holiday’s are often a time where we get caught up in the shuffle rather than taking the time to enjoy this special time of year.

Therefore, this holiday season I am trying to be intentional in my doings. Each day I have been completing a journal of what I am thankful for. As I have been documenting what I am grateful for, often the largest impact on my day, the thing I am most grateful for, is an individual. Therefore, I challenged myself to affirm someone, each day, for the rest of November. In all honesty, documenting my gratitude has been tedious more than it has been enjoyable. The antipodal experience for me has been affirming my friends and family. I love receiving thoughtful words of affirmation, it’s one of my preferred love languages, so I get similar enjoyment when I am able to give someone a thoughtful affirmation.

My effort this month has been to have an appreciation for the holiday season rather than coast through it. By my own measurement I think I have done a fair job in this endeavor but I will reserve my assessment for after Thanksgiving; my attitude on the actual holiday and dealing with the stress of traveling and coordinating with my relatives may very well counter balance the efforts I have made this month. 🙂

My encouragement to you, before it’s too late, is to take a moment and examine yourself. What is it that you have to be grateful for; my guess would be a whole lot. Whom in your life makes life more enjoyable? Is it your spouse or children; would your recent interactions with those people communicate your gratitude for them? Have you been preparing yourself to enjoy this holiday or will you unintentionally coast through it? Though this upcoming holiday may be all about food for your stomach, I challenge you to digest this food for thought. Happy Thanksgiving from everyone here at HNMC!