Thankful Thursdays

For colors. Especially Pipo’s.

Today, I find myself enjoying the fresh shades of autumn, while we travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. What a feast for the eyes. And as I take in the reds, yellows, oranges, and maroons of this spectacular scenery, I think about my grandfather, Arturo.

Pipo, as we fondly called him, was blind for most of his life and couldn’t enjoy the beauty of colors. But, I tell you this, his true colors, those of strength, patience, peace, compassion, and love, were on full display every season for all of us to enjoy. I remember that well.

I dedicate this post to Pipo, our family’s gentle giant. An awesome man. A beautiful soul.
What are you thankful for today?
Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Thankful Thursdays

For inconveniences.

This morning, I woke up to a wheel-less car. The craft of stealth-like individuals quick at work last night, almost NASCAR pit road-style. Ugh!

As I stood there looking at my half naked automobile, I thought about those young people who lost their lives in that limo accident just the other day. And yeah, I’ll take an inconvenience over a tragedy any day. Over an illness. Over the loss of a loved one.

I, like you, don’t like inconveniences, but I’ll thankfully take them over the alternative.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.”

-R. Fulghum

Thankful Thursdays

For helping hands.

While I sip my coffee this morning channel surfing and preoccupied with this country’s political obsession, I see ticklers noting the over 1,400 lives lost in Indonesia, and my heart sinks. “We haven’t got a clue,” I say to myself, “we’re hopeless.”

My heart breaks watching some of the images coming out of that country that actually make it to this morning’s coverage. And, a glimpse of hope: so many people hard at work helping each other. Their task is grim, their faces covered in pain, yet they work tirelessly for one another.

This Thankful post is dedicated to them, the helping hands. May God bless them, and the survivors, and those they’ve lost. For them we pray.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“The greatest purpose in life, the greatest achievement one could ever have in life, the greatest satisfaction one could ever get in life can only be found in the service of others.”
-O. Anthonia 

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
-Mother Teresa

Thankful Thursdays

For generosity and support.

This past Saturday, our team, Rx for the Soul, joined many others in the St. Jude 5K Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. The turnout was fantastic, and I was so happy to see so many people take part in support of such a great cause.

I wholeheartedly thank each of you who donated to help our team not just meet, but surpass, our fundraising goal. And I thank also my firm, White & Case, for its matching donation.

To those of you who joined our team and walked with us: You rock, well done! It was an early start to a very hot day, but we had a great time filled with satisfaction knowing that we came together to make a difference in the lives of St. Jude children and their families.

Special thanks go out to my T-Shirt Committee: Ray, who drove me around town for the lowest-priced t-shirts; and Danny, Lauren, and Lauren, who designed our logo and printed our shirts. Kids, the three of you did an awesome job! Also, thank you to John and Roxy from my firm, and Vanessa from the Morgan Lewis firm, who had a hand in printing the images. And Gabe, who went with me to pick up the team packets. As you see, this was certainly a team effort from beginning to end. For your generosity and support, today and always, I am thankful.

Looking forward to future fundraising events. In the meantime, if you would like to become a monthly donor for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, click here.

On a separate and more personal note, I dedicate today’s post to Dalila Maestre, whose untimely passing on Tuesday has deeply touched us. May she rest in peace and be in God’s glory. Kevin: your angel is watching over you now.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“No child should die in the dawn of life….Someday, God willing, we are going to beat all the odds and make childhood cancer a thing of the past.”
-Danny Thomas, Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

“My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”
-Marlo Thomas

“Give thanks for the healthy children in your life. Support those who are not.”
-Marlo Thomas

“Let all that you do be done in love.”
-1 Corinthians 16:14

 

Thankful Thursdays

For examples of real sacrifice.

I want Lauren and Danny to recognize true sacrifice. I think these days the word is loosely used, and some of the examples of sacrifice we are seeing don’t seem true to definition. They almost seem illusory. Sacrifice is indeed a packed word, but I think it’s one that is being falsely inflated with the worst kind of self-seeking opportunism that only looks good on poster.

The sacrifice I see some boast about today, for example, is not the sacrifice we saw our own parents make in the form of what they went through and did for us and others throughout their lives. The one that is synonymous with devotion, dedication, commitment, selflessness, and hard work. Or the one that is made for country, for children, for love; that carries no start or end date, no particular agenda; and that involves time and compassion. That kind.

I want our kids, as I am sure you would want your kids, to know, unequivocally, what real and palpable, not illusory, sacrifice is about. I believe so far we have given ours a real good glimpse of it. And it is my hope that, since sacrifices do build character and strength, they don’t wait until they are parents themselves, or until they are pushed into it by circumstance, to make them.

For those from whom I’ve learned about and witnessed true sacrifice, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“You can sacrifice and not love. But you cannot love and not sacrifice.”
-K. Vallotton

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
-John 3:16

“You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
-Proverb

Thankful Thursdays

For prayer and surrender.

It may seem like God is not listening because we are not seeing results fast enough. And so at times, praying may not satisfy us. Does that happen to you? Could it be that we’re praying for what we need or want, and that’s it? What if we prayed for what we need or want and then say “not my will but Yours be done”? Not easy, I know. Because it takes patience to wait on Him, and it takes courage to let go. Patience I don’t always want to have, and courage I can’t always muster, so yeah, it’s difficult to surrender, period. Yet, I have found this to be the very act that fortifies my faith and calms my restlessness. When I just throw my hands up in the air and say, “Okay, Lord, whatever, You do your thing,” then inner peace takes over. It’s pretty cool.

Guys, I say, pray. Pray like heck. And hand it over to Him. There is tremendous power in prayer and there is immense strength in surrender. For the patience and courage to do both, today and always, I am thankful.

I dedicate today’s post to the folks in the path of hurricane Florence. Let’s pray for them. May God protect them and help them.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”
-Luke 22:42

“Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”
– St. Ignatius Loyola

“What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.”
-Hafez

Thankful Thursdays

For what money can’t buy.

We live in an uber-material world. Our focus is on the things money can buy us, and when we don’t have enough money to buy them, we lose heart. It is then we overlook what truly makes us grateful.

Of course, no one argues that money helps meet most of our needs, and that it can provide us with comforts and improve quality of life. And, money rightly directed can be a tremendous power for good. So yes, money is a lot of things, but it’s not “every” thing. I mean, I’d love a million dollars, but, more than that, I would love a gazillion things that are priceless. Because money will buy…

A bed BUT NOT sleep.
Books BUT NOT brains.
Food BUT NOT appetite.
Finery BUT NOT beauty.
A house BUT NOT a home.
Medicine BUT NOT health.
Luxuries BUT NOT culture.
Entertainment BUT NOT happiness.
A church pew BUT NOT heaven.
A crucifix BUT NOT a savior.

What do you have that money didn’t buy? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.”
– Garth Brooks

“Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It’s the sure-footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life. ”
– Ann Landers

“Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.”
– Voltaire

Thankful Thursdays

For words that save.

Have you thought about the words you use the most? I think most of us just blah, blah, blah for the most part, not really giving it much thought. At least not until later. But, some words are lifting, while others are sinking, and whether alone or linked together, their meaning and effect can make us or break us. Because they have great power, no word is ever inconsequential. So words matter, undoubtedly, and our vocabulary speaks volumes about our mindset, as it echoes the good, the bad, and the ugly inside us.

While putting this post together, I was reminded of words that have the power to save and transform, and I am thankful the most for those. Here’s a bunch of them:

I believe in you.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Thy will be done.
Nunca ha llovido que no haya escampado.
You got this.
I’m sorry.
Let go and let God.
I’m proud of you.
I Love you.

What words do you bank in your vocabulary? What kind of statements do they make? Family and friends, may God always give us the clarity to think the right words, and the wisdom to choose the right time to use them.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
-P. Rothfuss

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
-John 1:1

“Be careful of the words you say,
Keep them short and sweet.
You never know, from day to day,
Which ones you’ll have to eat.”
– Anonymous

Thankful Thursdays

For spiritual friendships.

It’s nice, no, it’s great, to have good friendships, but it’s even better when those are spiritually woven into the fabric of our lives. The kind of friends who nourish not just our hearts, but also our faith.

I am fortunate to have been linked early on in my life with individuals with whom I formed some of those spiritual friendships and, even more fortunate, to have them in my life still today.

This “elixir of life,” if you will, is proof that divine providence does arrange remarkable and special connections. And for that, today and always, I am thankful.

This post is dedicated to you, my life-long and faith-filled friends. ♥

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

Your love, Jesus, is an ocean
with no shore to bound it.
And if I plunge into it, I carry
with me all the possessions
I have. You know, Lord,
what these possessions are—
the souls you have seen
fit to link with mine.
-St. Thérèse of Lisieux

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
-Philippians 3:1

Thankful Thursdays

For personal safety.

Things are so crazy nowadays that it feels like we’re not safe anywhere, no matter how cautious we are. The uncertainty of our daily safety can drive one crazy, if we let it, mainly if it’s the well-being of our kids that we are mostly concerned about. They, of course, feel invincible, bless their hearts, but really, it’s just nerve-wracking. Attached to my every “goodbye” and “see you later” is a “be careful,” which sometimes just makes me more anxious.

But, other than to continue to stay alert and be careful, what are we to do? For starters, place our lives, and the lives of those we love, in God’s hands and repeat (as necessary) “heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee.”

Let’s not take for granted when nothing’s happened to us, and be thankful for every day we’re alive and well.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

[Note: In case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that, so I’ve added it to my sendoff in her memory].

What are you thankful for today?

“It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you and will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.”
-Deuteronomy 31:8

“Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t do drugs. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t have sex. Wear a condom. Wear sunblock. Wear a seat belt. Wear a helmet. If you see something, say something. Just say no. Stop, drop, and roll. Stop, look, and listen. Look both ways before you cross the street…. Bad things can happen to anyone at any time, whether you follow the rules or not. You can check left, check right, check left again before you step off the curb and into the crosswalk, but that won’t stop an anonymous asshole in his shitty pickup from putting you in intensive care…”
-M. McCafferty