When doing a challenge like this every day, it is easy to miss gratitude opportunities. If you haven’t figured it out by now, there is much to be grateful for. I know I have not included important people, groups of people, things, or experiences in postings. This challenge could be a year and I would still miss a few things.
Yet, my gratitude challenge is not complete unless I talk about about the two young men who are my sons. I am so grateful for both of my sons. It has been a joy to watch them develop and grow into amazing human beings. My oldest graduated from college and earned a master’s degree in public policy. He is currently working in a job where he has the opportunity to shape the world around him for the better. He is married to an amazing woman. I get to see them in a couple of weeks and can’t wait. My youngest is in college. He is doing great. He has a wonderful group of friends, a vision for the future, and the drive to succeed. While I saw him over Thanksgiving break, it was too short. He will be home for Christmas break and it will be wonderful to have him home. The best will be when they are both home over Christmas.
If you have children (furry kind count), take time to be grateful for them. They grow up quickly and leave the house. Send them a note letting them know you are thinking about them.
It is late November in the upper plains. This means cooler (cold) weather and shorter days. It also means snow. This morning I woke up to snow on the ground. While I am grateful for the beauty and moisture of the snowfall, this is not the focus of the post today.
Today I am thinking about my parents. I am thinking about the decisions and sacrifices they made to provide me with the opportunities I had. Not all are as fortunate as I am. The older I get, the more I realize this.
My parents made sure my basic needs were met. I never had to worry if there would be enough food or if we would have a home. I have always had an abundance of clothes (even if my parents would t buy the new Nike and instead purchased the Keds knockoff!😜)
After years of parenting through the Great Recession and the pandemic, I realize how challenging it must have been for my parents. Were they perfect? No. Did they make mistakes? Probably. However, they did the best they could with the tools they were given. In my opinion, they did a damn great old job. My faults and flaws are of my own making, not theirs. Unfortunately, my parents have passed and I can’t personally thank them for all they did. Perhaps you can take some time to think about your parents today. Think about the sacrifices they made for you. Did they attend your performances, concerts, recitals, games, and/or conferences? If so, they gave up something to be there. If your parents are still living, give them a call or write a letter. Let them know about the good things they did for you.
And one final thing, nothing screams “I love you” more than 70s fashion. The wide white belt and a turtleneck. Enjoy the picture.
Yesterday was a good day for at least two reasons. First, it was the annual “Gathering” of family of my wife’s side. As legend has it, the “Gathering” was started by my wife’s grandmother. It takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. When I first attended the gathering, it was hosted (on a rotating basis) by the siblings (children’s of wife’s grandma). In recent years, hosting duties descended to the cousins (we hosted last year). About 30 people (3 generations) gather for food (potluck style), laughter, stories, and a gift exchange. It is an amazing group of people with a wide variety of interests and talents. It has become a highlight of my year. I am grateful for family and kinship. I am grateful this group has welcomed me with open arms and accepted me as one of their own. I am so lucky to have become a part of this family. It was a great ti,e last night.
Second reason yesterday was good…Michigan beat Ohio State in football. I don’t measure my worth based on whether one of my favorite teams beats an arch rival BUT my day is definitely better when they do. I am grateful for spectacle that is college football. The excitement and energy of game day is amazing. Someday I hope to attend “The Game” in person.
Take some time today to be grateful for extended family. Reach out to a few and see how they are doing. As we move into holiday season, remember the importance of family and gratitude.
All of this started because Jeff, my oldest brother, died. My struggle to cope and adapt continues. While I have written a lot about my brother Jeff, I haven’t written a lot about my brother Matt (or other siblings). This isn’t because they are irrelevant or not important. In fact, the opposite is true. They are very important and very relevant.
Genetically, my brother Matt is very similar to Jeff. However, the two could not be more different. Matt is younger. Matt’s personality is different. Jeff was more serious while Matt is happy and mischievous. Growing up, I was closer to Matt as he lived in our home until he 20. I helped take care or Matt.
My brother lives close to me. I visit him occasionally but not nearly enough. Every time I visit my brother, I feel better about life. His smile and attitude are infectious. I could write more but I think you understand how wonderful he is.
Though I only wrote about one, I am grateful for all my siblings. (I have 7 siblings – it’s complicated). Take time to express gratitude to one or all of your siblings today.
Yesterday was a great day. Great weather for Thanksgiving. Two long walks with the dog. One along the bike trail and the other at Good Earth State Park. Lots of family time including wonderful meal and some trivial pursuit. Closed it all out with a Vikings win.
Today will be interesting. While many will be out shopping form deals, I will be working. The last time I worked on a Friday after Thanksgiving, Bill Clinton was President.
The challenge today is a repeat. It is a pay it forward and/or random act of kindness kind of day. If you have the day off, enjoy it but remember others are working. Maybe leave them a bigger tip, give a compliment, or do something kind. Maybe you buy a stranger coffee, breakfast, or lunch. It doesn’t matter what it is, it just matters that you act.
Today is Thanksgiving. Many have the day off from work. Many will gather with friends and family to overeat, watch football, and tell stories. What a fantastic tradition to gather In gratitude with those you care about.
Today I am reminded of past Thanksgivings. Growing up we shared Thanksgiving with close family friends. I have many great memories from those gatherings. In more recent years, our family gathers at a local club for amazing food and disappointing football (my youngest is a Detroit Lions fan). We gather again with a larger group (three generations) in a couple of days.
Today, rather than blog to start the day, my faithful companion took me for a walk. During the walk, I took time to think about all the things I am grateful for. I am grateful for my family and friends. I am grateful for my health and the health of those I care about. I am grateful for my home. I am grate for the opportunities I have. I am grateful for my job, my coworkers, customers, and organization. I am grateful for so much more than listed here but this is a start.
Todays’s challenge is to make a list. Make it a long list. What are you grateful for? Include everything whether big or small.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for reading.
A couple of nights ago, Michael J. Fox won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award. “The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an ‘individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.’” It isn’t surprising he won the award.
In the 80s, Fox was one of the top stars in the world. His characters in television and film were iconic. In the early 90s his life changed with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Fox kept his diagnosis secret for many years. In 1998, he went public with his diagnosis and ever since has been advocate to find a cure for the disease. Learn more about his efforts at the Michael J Fox Foundation
I took time to watch Fox’s acceptance speech for his award. Watching the speech I became overwhelmed with emotion. I was reminded of his optimism, compassion, and humor. I reflected on his career. I wondered what career had have been. Side note: My favorite movie of his is Doc Hollywood.
Mostly, I was reminded of my mother. Like Fox, in the early 90s, my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I remember her optimism when Fox went public with his diagnosis. She was hopeful his money and star power would help find a cure in time for her. While the cure did not come in time for my mother, I remain hopeful that a cure will come in my lifetime. I am grateful for the attention Michael J Fox has given Parkinson’s Disease.
He ends his speech with the following words:
“Because my optimism is fueled by my gratitude. And with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.”
The challenge today is to be optimistic. We all have challenges but can we face them with the optimism of Michael J Fox? Use your gratitude to sustain your optimism for a better world.
I have to admit that yesterday was one of those days that got away from me. Not sure exactly what happened but I didn’t get everything thing I wanted done. I lost focus and a bit of motivation. While I was grateful, I didn’t do as well I hoped in keeping the list. Today I will do yesterday’s challenge again.
In addition, I will do the challenge scheduled for today which is to focus on the gift of life. So often we forget that merely being alive is a great gift.
Each day I get to spend with family, friends, and coworkers is an opportunity to live, laugh, and love. So today, take moments to live. Be grateful with each breath. Listen to your heart beat and be grateful. To live is the great adventure of all.
For many, today is a holiday. It is a day off from work. But it is, and should be, so much more. It is Veterans Day.
In 1926, Congress passed the following:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
Millions of people have served our country, including many I care deeply about. My grandfather, father, uncles, cousins, and many others have served. So today, I am grateful for the veterans, living and dead, who served our country honorably.
Yesterday was a success. I paid it forward at a local coffee shop. I didn’t make the impulse buy. I complained less than usual. College basketball is back on. It was a god day.
Today is Election Day. I am grateful the unnecessary mail, television ads, and door knocking will be reduced. While I am grateful for the opportunity to vote, I don’t like the negativity of the election cycle.
Recently, I was decluttering. This is a never ending process in my house. I found a letter written to my dad by a friend when my dad was in the hospital. The letter said “Please take good care of yourself and take it easy. We need a healthy Dr. Harris in South Dakota. I am grateful that you are on the mend.” I remember that illness. My dad almost died. I can only imagine the impact the letter I had on my father.
The challenge today is to put down your devices. Get off social media (after you read this) and take time to write a letter of gratitude to someone that has made a difference in your life. Then mail the letter Delivery by hand, interoffice mail, or carrier pigeon are acceptable methods too. Bonus points if you send more than one.
Not sure who is worthy of a note? Here is a possible list – grandparents, parents, spouse, child, sibling, coworker, mentor, teacher, professor, or candidate for public office (just have a dialogue change if we sent notes thanking candidates rather than throwing beer cans or attacking with hammers).
One final thought, do you want to take this challenge to the next level? Perform two of the previous challenges each day. Imagine how you will feel if you write a note, pay it forward, and do not complain all day. Imagine how others would respond if you did so. Imagine a better world.