Thankful Thursdays

For the most precious gifts of all.

During the past few weeks, most of us have been on Christmas shopping mode. Hopefully, you are done fulfilling that list. I am, I think. So that now we can get on attention mode. First, attention to the real meaning of Christmas: that God gave us Jesus. The only gift that truly keeps on giving. And second, attention to one another.

In a society where we never seem to have enough of it, time has become one of our most precious commodities. How we spend our time defines us. So, throughout the year, of course, but especially before this Christmas season flies by, and it will, let’s make it a point to hang out, sit by the Christmas tree, converse, hug, laugh, have a little Coquito, or a lot, and spend time together making beautiful memories.

After all, it’s not about the presents, it’s about being present. For Jesus and time…the most precious gifts of all, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
-T.N. Hanh

The best gifts to give:
To your friend, loyalty;
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your boss, service;
To a child, a good example;
To your parents, gratitude and devotion;
To your mate, love and faithfulness;
To all men and women, charity.
-Oren Arnold

“You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift.”
-John R. Rice

Thankful Thursdays

For mind stimulants.

Relax, in this case, I’m referring to quotes. Throughout my time as a blogger/writer, I have shared a zillion of them. I’m sure you’ve noticed. These perfectly worded sentences often make us think about things in a new or different way. Sometimes, they can even teach us a thing or two about life.

For the most part, a lot of the sayings we come across take but a few seconds of our time to digest. Yet, their enlightening and powerful messages are sometimes enough to keep us going for months at a time. I bet you can recall a couple of quotes you read some time ago that still move you. I know I can.

For me, the best thing about a good quote is the “hmmm…” moment, and how that moment can instantly improve my mood or state of mind. Such words, in essence, are like timely bursts of needed wisdom, comic relief, or encouragement. Like mind stimulants, if you will.

On that note, I hope the quotes, sayings, and verses I share in this blog can do the same for you. For that, I would be thankful. Here are a few of my favorite “hmmm…” thoughts:

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” 
     -Corrie Ten Boom
“My mind is a garden. My thoughts are the seeds. My harvest will be either flower or weeds.”
      -M. Weldon
“Choices are the hinges of destiny.”
     -E. Markham
“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
     -Z.N. Hurston
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
     -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded.”
     -Executive Speechwriter Newsletter
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
     -Robert Frost
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
    -Philippians 4:13
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
     -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
     -J.R.R. Tolkien

What thoughts are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.


Thankful Thursdays

For all the blessings.

Every Thursday throughout the year I post about gratitude. Sometimes it’s gratitude for big things, and sometimes it’s for small things. On this, the grandest Thankful Thursday of the year, let’s be thankful for ALL the blessings – – the small ones, the big ones, and those in between.

Family and friends, as we gather today to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, may the Lord bless the food before us, the family around us, and the love between us.

What big and little things are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“For each new morning with its light,
for rest and shelter of the night,
for health and food, for love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”
-Albert Clarke

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”
-H.F. Amiel

Thankful Thursdays

For those who help us out.

I think you’d agree that between home and work, we all live pretty hectic lives. So it’s great when we have people in our lives who help us along the way. My husband and kids are atop that list. Their support is invaluable. But, today I wanted to give a shout out to some of the other people who, in some way or another, provide me with assistance, support, and/or inspiration, and help me get things done.

-For Angie, my State Farm rep. She simply rocks.
-For my co-workers Regi, Roxy, Ellen, Raul, Carlos, Ana, Faye, Christina, Dorette, Suresh, Bernie, John, Becky, Beverly, Angel, and Eli. They take care of tasks I either don’t know how to do or I’m just too busy to do.
-For William, the car wash guy in my building. A cancer survivor who keeps on shining.
-For Alex, the FedEx rep in my building. He couldn’t locate my package, but he put a lot of effort into it.
-For Betty and Nancy. They reach out to me as soon as they spot typos in my posts. (That tells me at least two people for sure read them).
-For my co-workers Mildred and Lily. Always willing to go the extra mile for me whenever I’m stomped, even when they’re crunched for time themselves. Also, for being the comic relief I need throughout the day.
-For Esther, my kids’ pediatrician (and my best friend). My kids, now 27 and 24, text her at the first sign of a sore throat, and she answers.
-For Luz, my Mom’s caregiver. Mom’s gone, but I’ll be forever grateful for the aid (and love) Luz provided those two years.

A ton of thanks to you all. I appreciate you. And many others too who have helped me through the years.

For those people who help lighten the load, today and always, I am thankful. Who helps YOU out? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“One man may hit the mark, another blunder; but heed not these distinctions. Only from the alliance of the one, working with and through the other, are great things born.”
-Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
-Charles Dickens

“I Can Do Things You Cannot, You Can Do Things I Cannot; Together We Can Do Great Things.”
-Mother Teresa


Thankful Thursdays

For Miggy’s Gift.

I am a firm believer that in life, out of pain comes purpose.

Two years ago, my cousin lost her 29 year old son, Stephen, to melanoma. During his short, but purpose-filled fight with cancer, he saw the need for hospital gowns that would better fit patients receiving infusion treatments, specifically children. So Stephen started designing a superhero inspired gown for pediatric cancer patients. After his passing, my cousin began the task of seeing his idea come to fruition. Hence, her purpose.

Short story, she founded Miggy’s Gift. A non-profit organization committed to the awareness and education of melanoma skin cancer. This great cause brings hope, encouragement, and bravery to pediatric cancer patients and their families. Helping children is at the forefront of what is done through the Mighty Miggy Project, Education and Awareness Program, and College School Grants.

Its second annual walk takes place this Sunday and I, along with family and friends, will be participating. If you would like join us and/or donate, please visit Miggy’s Gift.

I dedicate today’s post to Stephen, who would have turned 31 today. I’m sure he’s thrilled about what his family has accomplished on his behalf. I am proud to support Miggy’s Gift, and I hope you too will support it.

For great causes making a difference, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I do not think we know our strength until we have seen how strong LOVE makes us.”

Thankful Thursdays

For the ultimate spiritual life hacks.

I’m sure during the last decade, you’ve seen on the Internet a gazillion life hacks, and possibly even tried a few. You know, those tips to simplify and improve all aspects of one’s everyday life. Some are a little wacky and trivial, if you ask me (use your shoe as a cup holder). And while I must admit some are quite ingenious (use a pant hanger as a recipe holder; not that I cook, but that’s pretty handy), others could very well be just common sense (drop a scoop of ice cream in a jar of Nutella to scrape it clean; okay so maybe that’s common sense to me).

Anyway, life hacks are shortcuts and novelty methods that can help make some of the peskiest tasks or challenging obstacles in life easier to undertake. But, however practical, they are temporal quick fixes and leave much to be desired when it comes to self-help for the spirit.

So, for that, I use a trio of virtues that not only last forever, but propel me through life — mind, body and spirit:

-Faith. I use faith to help me stay the course. My mother introduced me to faith at a very early age. She lead me to know God and taught me how to trust His ways to guide me.

-Hope. I use hope to push me through difficult challenges and show me the promising light at the end of the tunnel. I first experienced hope through my parents when they left their homeland and everything they had in order to give my siblings and me a chance at a better life.

-Love. I use love to…well, I use love to give me strength. Love in my life is my family. Without them, nothing else matters.

God, in His immense wisdom, gifted me (and all of us) with the ultimate spiritual life hacks. And for that, I am so very grateful. Please use them (along with the Nutella hack). They work.

Do you have a list of spiritual life hacks? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
-Corrie ten Boom

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –“
-Emily Dickinson

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13

Thankful Thursdays

For Halloween memories.

Yikes! Halloween crept up on us, and once again it’s time to dress-up and pretend, and eat too much candy. Yes, the kids too, of course.

What a strange tradition this holiday is. I remember well my introduction to it. As a nine-year old, coming to a new country without my parents was scary enough. Arriving on Halloween night and seeing zombies, skeletons and Richard Nixons walking about was terrifying and weird. It left an impression, if you can imagine. But, equally strange, was the fact that I liked it. From that moment on, I was hooked.

Today, forty-seven years after that experience, I reminisce about one of my favorite Halloween memories. It’s of us packing in Lauren, Danny, their cousins and friends in our golf cart and trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. The kids would jump off the cart (sometimes while still moving) and run at top speed from house to house. Then we’d finish off the night with some of our home-made concoction of punch, rubber spiders, eyeballs, fingers and a bit of dry ice for foggy effect. That was always a big hit. One year we dumped dry ice in the pool. Too cool.

Through the years, we’ve gathered at home with family, friends, and lots of neighbors to welcome the hundreds (not kidding) of trick-or-treaters that parade up and down our sidewalks. And we’ve had a blast. I am thankful for the memories we’ve created and look forward to many more. Enjoy your Halloween tonight. Please be careful out there, and remember to check the candy.

What’s your most notable Halloween memory? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.”
-R. Brault

“Sticky fingers, tired feet; one last house, trick or treat!”
-R. Fischer

“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.”
M. Cooley

“When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake,
Spooks come out for a swinging wake.
Happy haunts materialize and begin to vocalize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize!”
-Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Thankful Thursdays

For what makes us feel good.

There’s quite a bit in our lives that can make us feel bad. Matters involving health issues, financial difficulties, and job burnout usually top the list. Then there’s the stuff we bring on ourselves: comparing our lives to others’, adopting bad habits, making excuses, over-watching the news….All of this causes stress, and stress kills, as we know. It certainly kills the joy in our lives.

So, I think it is essential, no, imperative, really, that we do whatever we can to pull out of the hat every thought and occasion to lighten up our days. A hug, a compliment, an outing, recalling a good memory, praying, making the bed (this works, trust me), dark chocolate (my fave), and getting your grateful on….There are so many things we can do.

C’mon, we can do it! Let’s lighten up our day! For what makes us feel good, today and always, I am grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off… the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases.
-R. Maksian

Thankful Thursdays

For strangers’ kindness.

I’ve written in the past about “paying it forward” and what a great thing that can be. Well, during our recent trip, we had occasion to be on the receiving end.

While having breakfast at the hotel first day into our vacay, we were approached by a couple who offered us their cooler bag. They were at the tail end of their travels and had no more use for it. I suppose they could’ve picked anyone in that café, but they picked us. Maybe we looked like we needed a cooler, I don’t know, we were dressed to hike after all. But, since our adventures take us on roads less traveled, the first thing we usually do after picking up the rental is to go buy a cooler (you know, the squeaky styrofoam kind), so we already had one. Nevertheless, we didn’t want to decline their kind gesture so we accepted the bag and stuck it in the back of the Jeep.

Two days later, lo and behold, our styrofoam cooler broke! Can I tell you that the cooler bag the couple gave us saved us? Thanks to them, we were able to transfer the contents without missing a beat, and continue to stay happily hydrated and fed along now squeaky-less traveled roads.

Although tempted to bring the cooler bag home with us (it was really an awesome bag), we chose to pass it on to someone else before flying back and, in the process, you see, pay it forward. Never underestimate the power of a kind gesture. For theirs, I am grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”
-Harold S. Kushner

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
-Princess Diana

Thankful Thursdays

For the great outdoors.

Life is good where the Wi-Fi is weak. A week thus far full of adventure, bucket list check offs, and challenges met. Here, where the days begin with breathtaking views of nature and end with unobstructed views of the galaxy, I am surrounded by the beauty, power, and magnificence of God’s handiwork.

We miss our kids, especially on these national park trips. But, we’re thankful today to be where the Wi-Fi is weak.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.”
-John Muir, Our National Parks

“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.”
-J.L. Beatty

“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.”
-Charlotte Brontë