Did you know that Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday? It is. And it breaks my heart a little that for most people it seems to be just a blip on the radar. An endcap amongst aisles of red and green. A checkpoint on the way to Christmas. Indeed, I even saw this calendar on Instagram that blocked out all of November and December except for three days around Thanksgiving and labeled it Christmas. Besides me, everyone else who commented was excited about it. "That's me!" they proclaimed while my spirit died a little sadly sighing, "That's not me!" and "Why?!" Why do we race through Thanksgiving to get to Christmas? We should intentionally give this holiday more energy, focus and love.
Why do I like Thanksgiving? It's so simple and pure. It's a humble holiday, and thus easy to skip over. It doesn't demand presents, roses, candy or competition; it asks for self-examination. It's easy to skip over. Soul-searching is a difficult, underrated process. But it is so powerful. My sister, a psychologist, says that living with an attitude of gratitude is one of the most effectual changes you can make to positively impact your psychological well-being. And, as I'm sure you already know, my well-informed readers, that your psychological health directly impacts your physical and spiritual health. Three-in-one people. Three-in-one. So, therefore, it is emotionally, physically and spiritually vital that we give this holiday it's just desserts - and no, I'm not talking pumpkin or pecan pie - I'm talking serious, intentional, gratitude-focused soul searching. But don't dissuade, readers, I have you covered. After sharing my list with you, I'm gifting you a template to journal your soul-searching journey. Really, it's just a place to jot the top ten things you're thankful for, but I found the task was more difficult for me than it sounded initially.
From now to Thanksgiving, I ask you to join me in meeting three daily goals:
- Stop the rush. Take time each day to just breathe. Especially when you're really feeling the rush - take a break to just breathe. It need not be an extended period of time. Just push yourself away from your computer, walk behind your desk, or go around a corner, close your eyes and just breathe deeply. Then, as you exhale, find one thing in that moment to be thankful for. I realize this may be challenging, but remember, "There is always, always something to be thankful for."
- Enter His Courts with Thanksgiving. Spend time with God and with others. This is where eternity lies, readers. With God and others. Everything else will pass. Spending time in these relationships builds us up and gives us more opportunities for thankfulness. So plan time in your day to spend with God and an intentional other person. Again, it need not be long. I'm not asking you to set aside the whole day. Just a moment. Greet God in the morning. Thank Him for the sunrise. Stop and really say, "Hello," to that intentional other, then really listen to their response. That's it. Simple. Easy. Not a lot of sacrifice. But powerful!
- Count Your Blessings. There are approximately five days between now and Thanksgiving. Write two things you are thankful for each day. Or, if you're really ambitious, just complete the list of ten then reflect on and or refine it daily.
That's it. We can do it, readers, I know we can. And, I firmly believe that, goals completed, we will reach Thanksgiving living in that attitude of gratitude.
And now, we'd like to share with you our top ten reasons we are giving thanks today. Maybe it will help you brainstorm ideas for your own list. Afterward, you'll find the promised template for your own soul-searching journey.
- God - Our solid rock; our reason for being; our constant provider. Without Him, we would not be, nor would we have anything for which to be thankful.
- Our Marriage - A lived out metaphor of our relationship with God. Two becoming one.
- Alex - The closest thing we have to our own child. Funny, loving, inventive, curious, passionate. He fills up our whole hearts. We also deeply appreciate his parents for allowing us to have this connection with him.
- Our Family - We could write an entire blog on what our family means to us, and it is overwhelmingly difficult to combine what each individual means to us within a few words for the whole family, but we'll try. Our family are our friends. They support, challenge, strengthen, encourage, move and love us. They share their lives, dreams and fears with us, thereby enriching ours. Within this brood we've formed solid, eternal, forged by fire, mortared in love and peace bonds. Three stranded cords.
- Our Needs Met - "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
- Wolfe Stew - What fun to be able to share our ideas and connect with others! We've found new purpose, an outlet for our creativity, a platform for sharing ideas and an opportunity to expand our relationships. We're thankful for you, readers!
- Teaching - Such an important, impactful, heavy job. One we do not take lightly. It is our joy to guide these littles, to show them love and to let them into our hearts. We are forever grateful that we get to take part in their lives. Also, for teammates without whom survival would not be possible and for whom we will always fight!
- Nature - God meets us there. His glory is all around us. In the simple, yet complex beauty crafted and designed by our creator. In awe we stand.
- Music - The therapy found playing piano and losing ourselves in lyrics that speak to the heart. God singing over us.
- Books - Our endless supply of friends, escape, knowledge, words of wonder, connections, inspiration and adventure.
It's your turn! Download the thankfulness sheet here and join us in our Thanksgiving challenge!
Thankful for You,
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