Is Thanksgiving Important to Anyone Anymore?

thanksgiving191I will never forget the Thanksgivings that I experienced as a little girl. So much fun and family! Oh, how I missed the days when my family planned meals and I got a chance to play with cousins and eat all of the great food that my family made. My family has a bunch of great cooks! We ate until we were miserable, took, naps and got up and did it all over again. Ahhhhhh Family!

The true meaning of Thanksgiving for me is family, gratitude, and thankfulness. It should be a WHOLE day focused on spending time with family and friends enjoying each other’s company, good food, and a great football game. I honestly do not like the new era where we almost forget about Thanksgiving and go right into the Christmas holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, I just like to have that day to hang out with loved ones and eat and laugh the day away.

We cannot let this day go by and not teach our children what Thanksgiving meant to us when we were their age. I tell my boys what we used to hear and do and we have made our own traditions along the way because being a military family, we were rarely with family for the holidays.thanksgiving193

  • We watch the parades, football, and television specials.
  • We take time away from tv and devices to just hang out and talk with loved ones.
  • There is rarely any drama. People should put aside their differences for at least a day and be grateful for the time spent.
  • Talk about food. Who made what…what is in it. What is your favorite food?
  • We always say what we are thankful for in our prayers before eating. It teaches gratitude and I teach my boys this beyond the holiday.
  • Contributing to food shelters/banks and other charities help to make Thanksgiving about sharing and be thankful for the abundance that you have.
  • Prepare a dish or do a craft together. When I involve my boys in cooking, they seem to eat more. Crafts are just fun and they reinforce family time.

I like to shop for the holidays but I hate that for me to do it, someone has to take time away from their families to work. This holiday truly should be enjoyed but it can bring about as much stress as it does joy. From what I understand, there are many Americans that don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. Depending on the job or career you have, Thanksgiving is just a time for you to work and make someone else rich while you sacrifice time with your family.

thanksgiving192There is really is no hype of build-up to Thanksgiving anymore. There is no Black Friday excitement because the deals are already out there for the taking. Compared to Halloween and Christmas, we just can’t see that Thanksgiving has much of a presence at all and it is so sad.

Thanksgiving no longer has a central tone to it. Yes, we get excited about the football game and the food, but they rarely focus on the family getting together to be grateful and thankful for time with each other. Do they even bother to “sell” the holiday the way they do Halloween, Christmas, and the New Year? They may try to push a few cooking supplies or recall romaine lettuce again but ummmmmmm… (shrugs).

At the end of the day, I guess there is no way to really market Thanksgiving in a way that focuses on family and thankfulness because who can make money off of that right? The lack of marketing for it makes people forget about it more and more every year.

Well regardless of the lack of marketing, I plan on getting together with loved ones and stuffing my face and taking a few naps during the game. I plan on hearing plenty of laughter and talking between us all and remembering to be thankful for the opportunity to care for one another.

Wishing you the best Thanksgiving with your family and friends!!thanksgiving194

Eat everything! Laugh…cry…nap…cheer and eat leftovers all weekend.

Be grateful. Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Friendsgiving!

Loving/Accepting Yourself..for real

curiosity5I don’t think a day goes by where I do not say things like, “I want to lose 20 more pounds…then I will be happy.” “If my waist was a little more snatched, I could wear that dress.” Anyone else?

I have been struggling with this for what feels like forever–always wanting to change something about myself. I keep telling myself that once I hit this goal, or accomplish that change, I will finally be happy. Now, I have hit many of my goals, but honestly, I felt nothing most of the time after I did. I was making it to the goal and not feeling any happier…but why?!

Eventually, I managed to completely confuse myself. I went from starving myself, to eating my feelings, back to starving myself in order to soothe that “unhappy ache”. It worked alright. I saw my weight go crazy and managed to cause some damage to my health. If I wasn’t obsessed with counting calories, I was obsessed with wings!!! Every single day! When I hit my goals and heard the compliments, I still could not shake the feeling that I was not enough. Still saw myself as unattractive and ugly.

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In the past couple of years, I have been listening to podcasts and reading a lot. I wanted to find tools to build myself up and encourage me to keep dreaming and reaching for my goals….I honestly got fed up with myself and decided NO MORE! I needed to heal my emotions because I was acting out of my feelings and that is dangerous. I have been really digging in to find what works for me and how to put boundaries up where they needed to be. That is definitely still a struggle for me.  I am happy to say that I really have been digging in and confronting my issues, meaning the eating, yes, but also some deep-seeded feelings like anger, and hurt, along with the body issues. I now journal heavily and meditate daily and found out where they were coming from and boy has that made a difference in my life. Addressing my emotions was a lot of work and I have made a tremendous amount of progress. One thing that has changed everything for me was learning that happiness is internal, not external. When you believe that you can be happy because of something external, you get into a bad cycle of desiring external validation, and you will feel up and down so you will continuously depend on achieving and receiving validation externally. Even when you do receive it, you will not feel any different, nor will you feel any more fulfilled….you will continue to search for more.

We just have to learn to accept ourselves….TODAY! Just the way we are…just like this. With that head of hair, that belly, those lips, that education. Just like this. If you don’t, it becomes impossible for us to accept ourselves when things change. If you do lose the weight or get the boob job, you will still be the “you” that you were on the inside. If you weren’t happy then, you will not be any happier when the change comes. You making more money? Still you. If you learn to accept the “today” you, you will be able to have better outcomes and create lasting change for yourself.

achievement activity adolescent arms

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When we accept ourselves……..

  • Happiness–this is what we all want. If we are always thinking about what we need to change, it is kind of a challenge to actually ever feel happy. Happiness is an experience, not a destination. Attempt to let go of all of the things you feel you need to change, and just enjoy you. Just as you are today. There are so many beautiful, funny, quirky, wonderful things to love about you today. Guess what? There is no amount of money, no certain weight or body type, particular car or house, that is going to make you happier. Look at the recent celebrity suicides that have occurred. They could buy any of those things and still didn’t find themselves “happy”.
  • Freedom. Accepting yourself helps you to find peace with who you are and where you are in your journey. You are free from the suffocation of self-judgement and public expectations. There will still be things that you want to change, but you have made peace with yourself and you can assess whether those changes are things you really want to improve or not.
  • Empowerment. Knowing who you are and accepting that person is your first step to self-empowerment. We are unique, yes! Knowing that stops the comparisons and you free yourself up to make changes that last and equip yourself with the power to do it.

So what have I been working on to get to true acceptance?

man wearing pink dress shirt walking through stairs

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  1. Let go! You have to let go of anything that does not serve your highest good. Every habit, relationship, friendships….all of it! Get rid of anything that doesn’t help you grow. You may feel lonely at times afterwards, but that feeling will subside. Replace the people and the habits with good/better people and habits.
  2. Mindfulness. Living in the present moment and appreciating it…that is mindfulness. A lot of times, we are so focused on the future and how things will be then, we missed focusing on what we have and do now.
  3. Gratitude. We have to be grateful for what we have. We must also be grateful for our abilities. We do ourselves a favor when we stop focusing on our shortcomings and be grateful for what we can do and what we do have. This will help us move closer to our goals.
  4. Control that inner voice. You hear him\her telling you that you are not good enough, that you won’t succeed, or that you suck. You need to reel that in and replace what is being said with positive words. “As a man thinketh….” Change your thinking! It is not simple, you have to be consistent, but it is possible for sure.
  5. Surround yourself with good….good people, good things….DO things that you enjoy, find joy! My grandma, recently, told me that I should not be around people who just like me. That I should be around people who love me, accept me just as I am. The more I get that, the more I will see….YOU will see that you don’t have to change to be happy with yourself at all.

Gratitude

grateful2Gratitude– The quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

I always thought that I knew exactly what gratitude was until I really looked at this definition. I mean..the QUALITY of being thankful! To me, that means more than just saying thank you. When I look at gratitude now, I see it totally as an action word, just like love. You can’t even say the word unless action has been put to it, in my opinion anyway. When you show your gratitude, you feel indebted to a person for their kindness or support. That is much more than a thank you for me.

gratefulWhen we have so many obstacles are in front of us and a fistful of tears, it is hard to see the good that is happening in our lives. Sure, we will not see the good in what makes us feel stuck, but what about appreciating what doesn’t have us stuck? Gratitude helps us to look at our situation in a way that makes our issues less painful and aid in us being more positive and actually looking for a solution. The things is that most people are just not made that way. Gratitude is a skill that has to be practiced. I have definitely been working on looking at things differently and practicing gratitude in the midst of my obstacles and it is hard work, but it has been worth it. The author of “Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”, Robert Emmons, says that there are three stages, recognizing what we are grateful for, acknowledging it, and appreciating it. I mean, that sounds simple enough right? I know that the benefits have been life-altering for me. SO what have the benefits been?

  1. Gratitude has helped me put my situations into perspective. When I practice being able to see the good and the bad in it, I complain less and it makes it harder for me to feel stuck in my situation.
  2. Gratitude has made me see what I truly have. I am more aware of what I amgrateful1 grateful for and it has lessened my tendency to want more. I have actually been spring cleaning and giving away massive amounts of clothing, shoes, and accessories after cleaning out my closet. I am so proud of myself and everything feels so much bigger and cleaner. You know when things are cleaner, your overall feelings are lighter and brighter for some reason.
  3. Gratitude just makes us happier. Gratitude definitely strengthens our relationships, reduces stress, improves our health, and just makes us happier in general.

I started practicing being more mindful of the world around me. That is one way that we can cultivate gratitude. Take a look around and be amazed again at all of the goodness that we daily take for granted.

discipline3We do not need a bunch of special or expensive things to practice gratitude, just your heart and your head will do. Some people may need a tool or two to help them be consistent and track their progress so here are a  few things that may help……

  • The Gratitude Jar- This is a site that lets you share what you are grateful for with the world and you can view other’s statements for inspiration.
  • A gratitude journal- I love to journal so I have a few of these. Writing down what you are grateful for lets you see where your mind is. I have everything from birds singing or my green tea with a splash of lemon to my sons and the laughter we share. I would encourage you to write at least 5 things a day. After a crazy day, it can really draw you back to the things that really matter in your life.
  • Red Stamp- This is an another app that will send personalized cards and notes any way that you want. Whether it be through email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and paper mail, you can show someone you care for that you are grateful for having them in your life.

We are going through so much, yet we have lots to be grateful for. As we work through our situations, we should work ON seeing the good. We should look at what happened, but also what could have happened and be grateful for the yes and the no.  grateful3