Thankful Thursdays

For a different twist this week, I asked what our kids are thankful for. Because the world’s on fire and we need perspective and a dose of hope. Here it is:

“I am thankful to be part of a supportive family that I know will have my back in whatever I do or where ever I go.”
     -Taylor Quintero, 18

“I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been given – great family, great school and a great team.”
     -Bailey Quintero, 16

“I am thankful for my health, my family, my friends and for the world I live in! I am lucky enough to say this! I have the best support system in all of these and I couldn’t thank god at a time like this for having all of them in my life and keeping everyone in my life healthy!”
     -Andrea Garcia, 27

“I am thankful for being able to move to a new city and have the opportunity to begin my new journey as a resident!”
     -Elen Volovich, 25

“I am thankful that Juanky and I were able to purchase our first home together.”
     -Vicky Rodriguez, 27

“I am thankful for some very important people in my life that have turned my life into a blessing: my boyfriend Tyler Farnstrom, my two best friends Suyeny Diaz and Lauren Christine Perez, and my Ohana (everyone who is part of our DisneyCrew) . I cannot imagine my life without any of them!” 
     -Charlenne Blanco, 26

“I am most thankful for my family and for friends who have become family. My grandparents were always like second parents to my brother and me. My mom and dad and I have grown so close as I’ve gotten older. My cousins are like my brothers and sisters. We are a very tight knit family, and I love that even though some of us are miles away, we still try to see each other every year and stay connected. 
My friends are also so important to me. To me, my friends are the family that I’ve chosen for myself. They’re the people I know I can go to for anything. I’ve been so blessed to have made friends from around the world, and I love that we always find time to see each other as well. I know that I can always count on them, even if the miles separate us ♥️”
     -Kristin Worsham, 29

“I am thankful for the people who choose to be my “family”. For those who choose to stay by my side through the ups and downs, the ones who accept me and the ones who Love me. Those are the people who keep me centered. I thank God every day for them.”
     -Lauren Ashley Campana, 24

“I am thankful for not having to set an alarm. Throughout this quarantine period, I no longer have the obligation to wake up early to ensure that I am showered and ready for school or work since all of my responsibilities have gone “remote”. Forgoing my old morning routine has allowed my body to naturally wake up on its own at the same time in the morning before starting my work. *Throws on NASA hat* Who needs pants anyways, right?”
     -Daniel Christian Perez, 24

“I am thankful for the hardships we go through. Without them we wouldn’t grow, and without growth we wouldn’t feel purpose. Purpose is all God wants for us, and I’m grateful that He keeps me going.”
     -Lauren Christine Perez, 28

“With everything going on in the world today, we start to see the little things that we have taken for granted. Reflecting on the past few months I have realized how thankful I am to have my family and friends in my life. We sometimes take for granted the people that God has put in our path, but in this time it has really taught me to appreciate these people. During this time of self isolation, I have grown existing friendships and have spent time with family members that I don’t always spend enough time with. I am thankful for these people and the time I’ve been able to spend with them.”
     -Cristy Lopez, 29

“I am thankful that Papa Dios made the Earth.”
     -Anastasia Simon, 5

“I am thankful for my health and my support system.”
     -Miled Finianos, 24

“Health, friends and family, education.”
     -Anel Velasquez, 19

“Health.”
     -Alia Velasquez, 15

“Family, food, dog.”
     -Ania Velasquez, 11

“Family, roof over my head, education.”
     -Aila Velasquez, 11

“My dogs. They make me smile.”
     -Gabriela Casariego, 26

“I’m thankful for my mom & cousin. My Disney Crew friends and my Orlando Family friends. For music. I’m thankful to be working during this time. And lastly, thankful to have found faith again. ♥️”
     -Suyeny Diaz, 27

“I am thankful for a world full of diversity in all aspects! Without diversity, the world would be boring. Every single person has different knowledge, culture, upbringing, and morals.
I am also thankful for the ability to learn and be open to all knowledge. It’s important to learn/view things from a different perspective. Knowledge is an ever-growing powerful tool.”   
     -Kevin Maestre, 28

“Although the world’s been crazy these days, I’m thankful for the ability to adapt quickly. I’m grateful to have a job that still continues to develop me even while working remotely and hasn’t missed a beat through it all.”
     -Samantha Mannion, 28

“In my 27 rotations around the sun, I have had so many things happen in my life that I have to be grateful for. But what I have been extremely grateful for is the lessons I’ve learned, the experiences that I have gone through, the laughs, the memories, my family and friends and their families that have become family. Life has been a rollercoaster full of ups and downs, twist and turns but it has always been something to be grateful for.”
     -Gabriel Rodriguez, 27

“I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to leave Cuba, where the Castro Regime has oppressed generations of families, to grow up in a country whose cornerstones are based on freedom, and the ability to pull yourself up by your boot straps and achieve the American dream.”
     -Julio Enrique Rodriguez, 29

“I’m thankful for my beautiful mother who constantly loves and cares for those around her and in difficult times always does her best to provide the most she can.”
     -Ciara Torres, 17

“Thankful for my family’s love and support, for my health and the education that has been provided to me.”
     -Andres Casariego, 23

“In the midst of a global pandemic and movement, it may be difficult trying to maintain a positive outlook on life and remain thankful for. Not for me. As I take a minute to sit on my stoop, and reflect on all that has happened not only during the past couple of months, but this first half of 2020, I can’t help but take a deep breath, then smile. I am so thankful that my closest family and friends are safe and well. I am thankful that in the midst of unemployment and uncertainty, every bill has been paid and every meal has been provided. I am thankful for everyone who has decided to stay at home to protect not only themselves but to protect strangers in their community from this pandemic. I am thankful to everyone who has joined me in taking a stand for equality and for justice. Amidst all the adversity, there has been a unified mentality throughout the world that I am thankful for and proud to be a part of. There is a lot of unknowns moving forward, a lot of adjustments not only for our country but for us as individuals, however I can’t help but be thankful for it all. I can be thankful because I know that God is in control of it all. He is omnipresent. Most importantly, his timing is perfect and because I believe in that with my whole heart, I am thankful.” 
     -Alena Ramos, 27

It’s our responsibility to teach our children about thankfulness and to appreciate what they have; even the little things. We want them to have grateful hearts no matter the circumstances. I know some days those lessons come more easily than others. But judging from the submissions above, they have certainly mastered the concept. We, too, learn from them.

Thank you all so much for sharing and making today’s Thankful Thursday post so very special. I am thankful for YOU!

Taylor and Bailey, Andrea, Elen, Vicky & Juanky, Charlenne, Kristin (and Ellie), Lauren Ashley, Daniel Christian, and Lauren Christine(and Beni). 
Cristy, Anastasia, Miled, Anel, Alia, Ania, and Aila, Gabriela, Suyeny, Kevin & Lauren, Samantha, and Gabriel.


Julio Enrique, Ciara, Andres, Alena, and the Disney Crew.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
-A. Schwindt

“Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.”
-A. Tan

 

 

Thankful Thursdays

I’m at a loss for words this Thankful Thursday. Let me see how best to articulate why.

It is disheartening to see the greatest country in the world in chaos. Chaos of any sort, but especially this sort; man-made. While we saw the best of humanity at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic – – people helping people – – now we see the worst of humanity unfolding in the streets – – people hating people. Just a different kind of virus, I guess. Do you think God’s looking down and saying “Look at those fools!”? He would have good reason to.

The realist in me doubts that this will be the last time we see this. Surely, much change is needed. We must have faith that God will provide us with discernment in that regard. Our saving grace, if you believe, is that God is merciful. It is His mercy that allows us to experience love, compassion, forgiveness and peace. Even when we don’t deserve it. That’s the only way we rise above.

May God help us now to restore peace and guide us out of the current tumultuous time. Let’s pull on God’s mercy with all we’ve got and make things right. Before He comes back, really pissed.

This Thankful Thursday, I’m extremely grateful for God’s mercy. There, I found my words.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“There is nothing more man needs than Divine Mercy – that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights to the holiness of God.”
-Saint John Paul II

“Two things in life are infinite; the stupidity of man and the mercy of God.”
-G.I. Gurdjieff

”When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch.
That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”
-Fred Rogers

“Though justice be thy plea consider this, that in the course of justice none of us should see salvation. We do pray for mercy.”
-William Shakespeare

Thankful Thursdays

For the will and the way.

Our family’s big on birthday celebrations. Coronavirus was not going to stop this one. On the contrary, it actually gave us a new way to party – – The Drive-by Caravan.

The Coronavirus social distancing requisite brought about this latest way to celebrate, and yesterday we had a chance to see it in action when family and many of Lauren’s friends drove by our home in a caravan of honking, music-blasting, decorated cars to make her 28th birthday one she is not likely to forget. With other friends and family joining in via FaceTime, we were quite a crowd.

Thank you to all who took time and participated to make this surprise celebration extra special for Lauren. And to the Lord, who ignites the will and gives us the way.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

Lauren: May God bless you with many more wonderful birthdays. We love you. 

“Today you are You;
That is truer than true.
There is no one alive
Who is Youer than You.”
-Dr. Seuss

“God gave us the gift of life;
it is up to us to give ourselves
the gift of living well.”
-Voltaire

Thankful Thursdays

For what I’ll miss.

Looks like I’ll be returning to my office building soon. The last two months working from home have felt…well, uniquely strange. But also surprisingly painless and quite pleasant. Although I’m looking forward to returning to the office, there are things I will miss immensely once this lockdown is over. Three in particular:

    • Extra hours with Ray, Lauren, Danny and newest addition to the family, Beni. Seeing them around the house and being able to talk to them during the day has been priceless.

    • The soul-soothing and teleporting scents of “White Tea and Sage” and “Sequoia.” The first puts me right inside the lobbies of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels. The latter, in the midst of that woodsy national park. And I would have to add the smell of air-fried foods. Only because we’ve been consuming quite a bit of chicken nuggets and pizza rolls.

    • Lunch time. As enjoyable as our 49th floor office café view is, and the company I keep there, lunching with my gang out on our patio bistro these sunny, breezy days will be tough to match.

These have been blessings of a quarantine I never expected or wanted. And some of the things I will miss the most about working remotely.

What will you miss when you return to the workplace? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.”
-A. Brandt

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”
-Helen Keller

“Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what’s for lunch.”
-Orson Welles

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

Thankful Thursdays

That He broke the mold.

God created each of us unique. While we may have similarities, there are no two of us alike. And thank You Lord for that! No one wants another one of me out there. Our unique blueprint means you and I will have different likes and dislikes, opinions, and beliefs. Let me break it to you gently: The sooner we accept that, the faster we’ll feel at peace and be able to go about our business. Especially during these trying times when we’re all a little on edge.

I think we should focus on how to improve who God created us to be, instead of trying to change others, and be thankful that He broke the mold after He made each of us. After all, to each his own, no? Or as my mother was fond of saying, “Cada loco con su tema.”

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
-Jeremiah 1:5

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind.”
-Romans 12:2

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
-D. Nevill

Thankful Thursdays

For motherhood.

As we get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, I think about mine. The powerhouse of a woman she was, and everything she taught me. Her example of strength and faith and unconditional love will live in me forever. I miss her dearly, and I thank God for the time I had with her.

Mostly, however, I think about my life as a mother. Through the trials, tribulations and triumphs of motherhood, I have experienced things and felt emotions on a level I cannot possibly explain to you. Except I can tell you that I would not trade any of it. I cannot envision, nor do I want to, life without Lauren and Danny.

For this blessing the Lord has bestowed upon me, today and always, I am thankful. I want to wish all the moms, grandmas, aunts, and godmothers a beautiful and blessed Mother’s Day.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”
-R. Browning

”(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”
-J. Picoult

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~ W. Brown

[Note: By the way, in case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].

 

 

 

Thankful Thursdays

For my job and extended family.

I’m feeling very fortunate to be employed. Right now, millions of people are not feeling that fortunate. But I am one of the lucky ones who has a job that can be done remotely, and work for a company that not only allowed us to do that, but also helped us settle into our new working environment.

I feel for those struggling during this daunting economic crisis. I am grateful to be employed and to be part of the White & Case family.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Life is short…
Work where you’re continuously accepted,
respected, appreciated, encouraged, inspired,
empowered, and valued.”
-T. Howard

“In the midst of chaos, there is also
opportunity.”
-S. Tzu

“You may not always end up where you thought
you were going, but you will always end up where
you were meant to be.”
-Unknown

[Note: By the way, in case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].

 

Thankful Thursdays

For normal days.

Let’s be real, pre-quarantine, many of us whined about our daily routines: “Ugh, I wish I could stay home today!” That was the number one response people gave when surveyed about things they think of on weekday mornings. Then one day that usual routine we complained about drastically changed when Corona came to town. I don’t know about you, but my days now feel like Groundhog Day stuck on an eternal Sunday. I’ve lost track of time. Strangely, the past month has felt like a slow motion whirlwind.

Although my family’s survival mode did kick in a few days into this craziness and we’ve adjusted so far to the current situation, part of me longs for a normal day. One of those normal days I whined about. It now brings to mind the kind of words that make you go “Hmm….”  Mary J. Irion had it right:

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure that you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow,
or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want,
more than all the world, your return.”

I wonder what our new normal will turn out to be like. For now, I pray the Lord helps us embrace the uncertainty of this pandemic and focus on the positive things it has brought us. Let’s count our blessings.

Still, for normal days, today and always, I am grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“It has taken awhile, but I certainly do know it now – the most wonderful gift I had,
the gift I finally learned to cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly
ordinary days.”
-K. Kenison

“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”
-T. Fuller

[Note: By the way, in case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].

Thankful Thursdays

For emotive journeys.

During our weeks of house arrest, we’ve all found ways to stay entertained. But, really, how much Netflix, board games, Animal Crossing, and walks around the neighborhood can one muster? To change it up a bit, at home we decided to inject into that mix a few short walks down memory lane. So, we’ve been watching bits and pieces of old home videos. Must tell you, that’s some kind of entertainment.

Our own personal archive is a life montage of hilarious, goofy, adventure-filled and milestone moments worthy of popcorn. Oh my gosh, we’ve been laughing so much. It’s one thing to tell the kids stories of their childhood, and another for them to actually see themselves in action. And if you’ve ever wondered what your adult kids really think of your parental abilities, have them sit with you to watch a video of you and them back in the day. Open season is all I can say. It’s all fun and games until you play an old video. LOL. All kidding aside, it’s been a lot of laughs.

But viewer beware: Watching family videos can be quite a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Not only because you’re watching yourself thirty years ago when your skin looked radiant, but mainly because you’re watching footage of time shared with loved ones no longer with you. Sadly, our videos contain too many of those characters. The other night, I was particularly moved by a short clip of my sister and me at the hospital shortly after Danny’s birth. At the time, I didn’t know Ray was recording us. I’m so glad he did. She’s by my bed holding my hand and chatting about the miracle that had just taken place: the birth of her godson. What a sweet, sweet moment. It warmed my heart. Enough for days. Old family videos should be on everyone’s must-see movies bucket list.

Family and friends, while on Corona house arrest, I strongly suggest taking a trip down memory lane. Especially now that we can’t really be taking trips anywhere else. Go through old photos and watch your old videos. Show your kids the reason you have so much gray hair now. Take advantage of this down time to reminisce a little and relish your amazing memories.

For emotive journeys we’ll want to take time and again, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I took a stroll down memory lane today, not to be saddened by the people
that I have lost, but to be grateful for the memories that I shared with them.
I took a stroll down memory lane today to the hear the voices and see the
faces….I am thankful that I have their words to hear again.
I took a stroll down memory lane today. I have done it before and will do
it many times more.”
-L. Hitch

“A picture is worth a thousand words…and a video is worth a million pictures.”
-A. Subbarao

“Love one another with a little added tenderness for the days of life are short.”
-Author Unknown

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

Thankful Thursdays

For a season of heightened perspective.

Little did I know on that Wednesday morning when I received the holy ashes, that down the road our family would not be in church for Holy Thursday Mass. For us, traditionally, one of the most meaningful observances of the Easter weekend. This has been, to say the least, the strangest Lent I have ever experienced.

Typically, this is a very chill 40-day period of reflection, renewal and fasting, and of beautiful Masses and celebrations. Typically. But, deaths by the thousands and the scarcity of toilet paper have made it anything but chill or typical. Add the fact that the Eucharist is absent from our lives at the moment and, yes, It’s all beyond mind-boggling.

Then there’s the irony — a time during which many renounce alcohol or chocolate and give up social media for the sake of spiritual growth (yes, I said spiritual growth), has turned into a time of consuming alcohol and chocolate, and living on social media for the sake of sanity. Too surreal for Lent. Too surreal, period. But here we are. Weeks into this pandemic and on Holy Thursday. Tonight my family will attend a livestreamed Mass. Different feel, different platform, same God. Thankfully, He is everywhere. 

As this Lenten season nears the end, I rather not think about what we’ve had to give up or what this unexpected and disruptive season has taken from us. I’m trying to focus on what it has provided those of us who are still breathing: much time to spare. For more praying, for more loving, for more hoping. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” That thought is my hope and my sanity, now more than ever.

For the most profound Lent ever, and a season of heightened perspective, today and always, I am thankful.

Wishing all of you a very blessed Easter.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.”
-F.J. Sheen

“In life we live a mystery, not a formula.”
-Father J. Huard

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