Recently I purchased a 2010
calendar for my planner and
began the task of transferring
and filling in dates for next
year. As I started paging through the
months of 2009, I began to realize that
it really hadn't been the best of years for
me and my family. Early in the year my
husband lost his job. My daughter
Maddie had been suffering from unexplained
headaches and in late August
my dad suffered a minor stroke. No,
2009 has definitely not been one of
our better years. In short, I was feeling
pretty down and sorry for myself.
To make matters worse, I was doing
the transferring in a waiting room at
Cincinnati Children's Hospital for a
CT scan for Maddie in an attempt to
figure out what was causing her headaches.
And then I saw him—a little boy carrying
around a stuffed dog almost bigger
than he was. He was bouncing
around the waiting room, greeting
everyone with a big, wide smile. For
various reasons, it was obvious this little
boy wasn't a stranger to the hospital,
but you never would have known
it from his attitude.
Then I noticed the little girl across
the lobby with the IV's snaking from
her arms, cuddled up next to her mom.
And the teenage boy who walked by
with his shiny, bald head peeking out
from beneath his baseball cap.
Talk about a reality check. Sometimes
we tend to get so bogged down
by what's going on in our own lives
that we fail to see outside ourselves.
And guess what? There's a whole world
out there beyond us with a whole lot of
people who are worse off, but seem to
Reasons to Be Thankful
This month, as we gather to celebrate
Thanksgiving, is a good time to stop
and realize how even in difficult times
there are blessings. They might not be
the type we want, but they're there.
It's just a matter of looking for them.
For instance, when my dad had his
stroke, my two sisters and I spent the
entire evening at the hospital together
with my parents laughing and talking.
Later, when I recounted the evening
to my husband, I shared how nice it
was for us all to be together, which
doesn't happen very often, even if it
was under poor circumstances.
Reminding ourselves to be thankful
isn't always easy. Here are some tips to
help keep it fresh in our minds.
Name it. Sit down for 10 minutes and
write down all the blessings in your
life, or things for which you are thankful.
When I did this recently, I put
down things such as, "I'm thankful for
the wonderful day that Maddie and I
had together after her tests were done." Are they still challenges? Yes, but
within those challenges are blessings to
Keep things in perspective. The other
day as I was surfing the Internet I saw
an ad about how mosquitoes spread
the West Nile virus here in the United
States. The ad then went on to talk
about the millions of people—most of
them children—killed in Africa every
year from malaria transmitted by mosquitoes.
Sometimes it's good to step
back from our own lives and think bigger.
It's amazing how different everything
can look when we do.
Have some fun. As your family gathers
around the Thanksgiving table, have
some fun and appreciate the blessing
of being together. Here are some activities
to try: www.usccb.org/laity/marriage/placemat.shtml and www.
For more articles and activities about
celebrating Thanksgiving, visit www.catholicmom.com/thanksgiving.htm.
Say it. In our hectic lives, sometimes
day, weeks, even months can go by
without telling those who matter most
what a blessing they are to us. Take
advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday
as a reminder to let those you care
about know how much you appreciate