Thanksgiving Lessons and Blessings

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Thanksgiving…a day set aside for God’s blessings, family, and more great food than one can handle. It’s the one day a year we are supposed to be thankful for everything in our lives, although I don’t feel this should be confined to one day, or one month for that matter. But, in keeping with the tradition, I thought I would list some of the things I am most thankful for in my life…

All of you who know me well know that I don’t dwell on the little things in life. Every day, I struggle financially, just as many others do as well as emotionally. There are times that my bills are paid late, and I may have to put off some needed purchases, but I don’t sweat it. Why stress yourself out over things like that? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our wants and needs, that we neglect the true blessings in our life.

Family, friends and good health are things you just can’t put a price on, but is taken for granted in many cases. Many do not realize this until one of these things, or more is taken away from them and then you can’t get it back. ” Hindsight is 20/20” is the truest statement I’ve ever heard.

In all of my years of working at the CTJ, I’ve written many human interest stories about people who have lost family members to disease or tragedy, lost their home due to natural disaster, or have had some type of tragic circumstances change the course of their life. These people have inspired me and changed my outlook on life in a positive fashion. While they may have thanked me for putting their story into words, it was really me who was honored to be able to do this for them.  And you can learn a lot from someone who’s lost a family member, for the phrase you will hear the most is “I would give anything just to speak with them one more time.”

I did a story on an amazing person one time who lost their life to a horrible disease. I always record my interviews, so I figured I would make a CD out of this one to give to the family later, because sadly, their condition was terminal. One year later, the family called me to see if I still had this CD because the anniversary of their death was coming up and they just wanted to hear this person’s voice again.

If you speak to someone who has lost an immediate family member, they will admit that sometimes they call the deceased loved one’s voice mail several times a day just to hear their voice. Sometimes, we take for granted that we will always have our loved ones beside us, but death is a natural part of life and no one knows when their will occur. So, be kind with your last words on a daily basis so there will never be any regrets. This is just one of the many valuable lessons I have learned along the way.

Folks, life is all about family and friends….so embrace every part of your life with your loved ones, the good and the bad, for there are lessons to be learned in every instance. While you may be sad when your children grow up and leave home, just remember God doesn’t close one door without opening another. Soon, another chapter will begin, and you could be blessed with another generation to carry on the family name. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of having your grandchild’s arms wrapped around your neck, then you know what I’m talking about….

Many people dream of being showered with riches, to travel the Earth, or to be famous. Even though I admit I would love to be more financially secure sometimes,  I don’t wish for things like this anymore for I feel that God has allowed certain people to cross my path with the intent to change my way of thinking and to show me that there are just some things that shouldn’t  matter in life.

One of the dearest people in my life is my 91 year old Grandmother, Ruby Yates, who is the best person I know. She inspires me every day to be a better person with her infinite wisdom. Her best advice is simply put “No matter what happens in life, just love your family.” I can’t put it any better than that. On December 1st, she will celebrate 92 years of life on this Earth, God willing. Our entire family is lucky to have such a wonderful matriarch who has been such an amazing role model.

So, since I have jumped around a bit in this article, let me just sum it up with this:

Don’t dwell on the things you don’t have, or you will miss out on the good things that have been in front of you all along.  Let go of the situations you have no control over, because this takes too much of your energy and can have detrimental results on your overall health.

Don’t make let mistakes define you, learn to let go of past regrets and use them as a tool for the future. Always be willing to help out a person in great need, no matter how small that help may be, for a true act of kindness goes a long way. When there is loss, grieve, but move on, even though I know this easier said than done.  Never suppress your grief, for it is something we were meant to do when there is a need. With death comes the greatest lesson ever learned; to appreciate every moment you have with your loved ones, for once it is gone, you cannot get it back.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.  The secret to being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day.

And on that note, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and also a very Happy Birthday to my Mawmaw Yates. May your blessings be plentiful….


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