Thankful Thursdays

For the true reason for the season.

Even before our Thanksgiving turkey goes in the oven (or it’s ordered), the hustle and bustle of Christmas engulfs us. Christmas decorations go up, the mad dash shopping for gifts begins, and we turn our attention to annual holiday celebrations and parties. With all that activity going on, it’s no wonder we leave little time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Luke 2:11 reminds us of the true reason for the season: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Family and friends, let’s not forget to keep Christ in the center of this holiday…and all year long. For the most precious gift of all, today and always, I am thankful.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed Christmas.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” 
-S. Undset

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 
-Dr. Seuss

Thankful Thursdays

For better thoughts. Worthwhile thoughts.

What is definitely not worthwhile is to worry. Worrisome thoughts consume precious minutes of our lives. For me, most times it’s about our kids’ future, other times about health issues I’m not even having symptoms of and, lately, often about retirement (but at this rate of worrying, I may not even get there).

We tend to also overload our brains with that which we have no control over. When instead, we should concern ourselves with that which we have the ability to change; to make the bad good and the good better.

Don’t know about you, but this thought re-programming is not easy for me. Used to be when I was younger (not that I’m old, just older). So whenever I can, I grab hold of words that remind me and encourage me to shelve that worrying; that whatever is going to happen will happen:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –Matthew 6:34

I want this backwards-tattooed to my forehead so I can read it three minutes after I get out of bed. Alternatively, since the more we pray the less we panic or worry (and because the tattoo is not going to happen), I suppose I can pray and leave things in God’s hands a lot more than I do.

For better thoughts, worthwhile thoughts, let’s be thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
-Corrie Ten Boom

“I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. “Never worry about your heart till it stops beating. ”
-E.B. White

Thankful Thursdays

For four decades of lessons.

This past Saturday, post-consult with God, I gave notice at church that this shall be my last school year teaching Catechism. I felt it was time to pass the torch. My decision, although not an easy one, was guilt-free. A sure sign that it was the right one.

I could have not stuck it out all these years without the understanding of my home team. Ray, Lauren, and Danny, I am most grateful to you, not only for being so accepting of my commitment, but for volunteering your time as well. It’s been a family labor of love for sure.

I am also grateful to our CCD Director, Leyla Mazpule, and to our parish pastor, Father Lopez, for allowing me to share my faith with the kids, and for their continued support during my years of service at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church.

The weekly classes did not come without challenges, of course. They did, also, come with many blessings. Throughout the years, I taught many kids whose kids, in turn, became my students. Living through that circle of life was one of those blessings. As was seeing many of them return to CCD to volunteer their time, making it possible for us to share and grow in our faith journey together. And those I’ve encountered years later and told me that something I said in class made a difference in their lives (somehow)? Well, that’s been icing on the cake.

But, among the many blessings, more importantly are the lessons they’ve taught ME. Lessons that raise my teaching bar week after week. Like the fact that judging a book by its cover is a total waste of time, as my first-day-of-class preconceptions of them typically were torn to pieces by class number two. That patience is a virtue and it should come in the form of injection. And that what I know is not as important to them as how much I care.

I will miss it. I will miss them.

As my “catechist” calling draws to an end, I look forward to wherever God’s path of service leads me next.

Meanwhile, for this most gracious opportunity, invaluable experience, and four decades worth of lessons from my students, today and always, Lord, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

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

“The reality is that the Lord never calls the qualified; He qualifies the called.”
-H.T. Blackaby

“We email, Facebook, tweet and text with people who are going to spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Our lives are too short to waste on mere temporal conversations when massive eternal realities hang in the balance. Just as you and I have no guarantee that we will live through the day, the people around us are not guaranteed tomorrow either. So let’s be intentional about sewing the threads of the gospel into the fabric of our conversations every day, knowing that it will not always be easy, yet believing that eternity will always be worth it.”
-D. Platt

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
-Therese de Lisieux

It’s been quite a ride and an honor.

Thankful Thursdays

For tolerance. It’s our only hope.

And so I ask you, what good is it to let others know what we stand against, if our attitude contradicts what we stand for?

Dig down, dig deep. Let’s stop drinking the haterade, people. We can do this!

For every ounce of tolerance I see out there today (including that which I can squeeze out of me), I am grateful.

 What are you thankful for?

 Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.”
Albert Einstein


Thankful Thursdays

For everything and everyone.

It’s Thankful Thursday and it’s Thanksgiving Day. Enough said.

Wishing all of us a blessed day accompanied by those we love…present in body and spirit.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Since God is with us, and our loved ones are with Him – then they’re not very far away.”

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

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
– G.K. Chesterton

Thankful Thursdays

For those making a difference.

Today, I feature Miggy’s Gift. A young non-profit organization committed to educate and bring awareness about Melanoma skin cancer. Please check out Miggy’s Gift and learn how a tragic story turned into comfort, encouragement, and hope for so many children fighting through cancer.

Every day we have opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. And now, especially during this holiday season, let’s do our part to touch someone in a special way. Let’s pay it forward. Donate today.

For the little people making a big difference, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“A Spiritual Samaritan lives knowing that if we were to leave this world tomorrow, we were the best humans we could be and we touched the lives of as many souls as possible. We are not asked to be perfect. We are asked to make a difference.”
-M. Friedenfeld

“Today, I challenge you to pay it forward. You don’t need to save a village—only one lost soul. Be the reflection of Christ and shine His light. The cost is little, but the reward is rich.”
-D. Arcuri

Thankful Thursdays

For the roof over our heads.

My family was displaced a couple of times in the course of exile. Both for political and economic reasons. At one point, at the age of six, I remember sitting on the floor of an airport in a foreign European city not knowing where to go or what would come next. We had fled from a suffocating communist island to catch our breath in a socialist nation. All part of a plan to eventually reach a free country some years later, where we knew we would have to start from scratch yet again.

This is why global circumstances, like the displacement of people world over, overwhelm me with gratitude, because my kids are blessed to have a roof over their heads. And also with compassion, no doubt, regardless of my political stance on the issues, because I know how grueling and exhausting a process it is.

But being an immigrant is not for the faint of heart. It took my parents faith, vision, sacrifice, hard work, and patience in the process (extraordinary patience), to establish a home in Spain and finally in the USA, and bounce us back on our feet each and every time.

Sometimes, there are no winners or losers, just a lot of heartbreak, sweat, and tears. And unfortunately much division. This week a Facebook friend posted a question to her religious friends: “If Jesus was walking the Earth today would He be at a Trump rally or walking with the caravan?”

What kind of question is that, I thought. Jesus is everywhere! I pray He gives us all guidance.

Meanwhile, for the roof my parents always sought to put over our heads, today and always, I am eternally grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

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

“The fish,
Even in the fisherman’s net,
Still carries,
The smell of the sea.”


Thankful Thursdays

Respect above politics.

Can we just vote already?! The political disagreements in this country are so red hot, and the back and forth bickering is so disgusting, that we’ve reached a new level of crazy and disrespect. I find myself having to count to 10 more than I care to, and that says a lot.

We all have friends across the political aisle with whom we do not agree. We don’t have to. That’s the beauty of freedom in this great country. But, we must respect the vote. Ultimately, it’s essential to the preservation of democracy in our country. Not to mention those friendships. 

So, people, can we all just vote, and let the chips fall where they may? In God We Trust.

What are you thankful for?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.”
-R.W. Emerson

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
-Abraham Lincoln


Thankful Thursdays

For angels. Some show up at the right place and the right time to help us in some way, and then disappear never to be seen again. Some, we can’t see, but we feel guiding us and protecting us.

These divine messengers watch over us day in day out. I like the thought of that. What an incredibly thoughtful and merciful idea that was, Lord. Thank You!

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“When our mortal eyes close on this world for the last time, our angels open our spiritual eyes and escort us personally before the face of God.”
-E. E. Freeman

“The unlikeliest people harbor halos beneath their hats.”

“These things I wish for you; someone to love, some work to do, a bit o’ sun, a bit o’ cheer and, a Guardian Angel always near.”
-Irish Blessing

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.”