A time to give thanks

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving – a day for family gatherings, friends, turkey, pumpkin pie, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football and most importantly; a day set aside for expressions of gratitude and acts of kindness. And no matter how we celebrate the day, giving thanks is the common thread that runs through it all. That’s a good thing.

Thanksgiving gives me a forum to openly express my thanks to family and friends seated around the dinner table; tell them how much good they bring to my life, how much their support continues to make the journey easier and how much they mean to me. The reality is that expressing gratitude and acts of kindness should not just be reserved for Thanksgiving. It should be all year round; not just for the sake of doing it, but because it’s sincere and meaningful. It doesn’t cost a thing and yet difference a simple “thank you” can make in someone’s life is priceless. Here’s the bonus – expressing gratitude and thanks is good for you! Studies show that the benefits of expressing gratitude can improve physical health, emotional health, make you more optimistic, help you sleep better and even live longer.

It’s not always easy to express gratitude. Face, it, life is not always kind; bad things happen and sometimes we are engulfed in negativity. But I read an article the other day that basically said there is always something to be grateful for; you just need to look for it. It’s worth a try.

With wishes for the happiest of Thanksgivings to all, I leave you with two quotes that I believe sum it all up. Enjoy.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”    John F. Kennedy

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

Posted by MJ Thomas

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Today is Veterans Day – a day set aside to honor America’s military veterans for their service, their patriotism and the sacrifices they have made to protect our nation and preserve our freedoms.

Formerly known as Armistice Day, the Veterans Day celebration falls on November 11 for a very profound reason. At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, an armistice went into effect that ended stopped the fighting between allied nations and Germany, ending World War I.

That war was regarded as “the war to end all wars.” If only that were true. So many years and so many conflicts later, members of our military are still making sacrifices to “preserve, protect and defend” the freedoms and opportunities we cherish. Each of us in some way is connected to someone in military service; fathers, mothers, siblings, co-workers, neighbors, clergy, family and friends. Let’s all make a special effort to say thanks on this day.

And as we say thanks, it’s important to remember the words of John F. Kennedy – “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Happy Veterans Day

Posted by MJ Thomas

Smile because it happened

 “Don’t be sad it’s over, smile because it happened. There will be a new day, and eventually a new year. And when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, rest assured it will be time for baseball again.”  Vin Scully
It’s only two days after the Cleveland Indians epic performance in the 2016 World Series and I can’t think of any words better to sum up the experience for the team, the fans, the city and anyone associated with baseball. They didn’t win the game, but they won the hearts and the respect of Clevelanders and baseball fans across the country. Why? Because they never quit. No matter what was thrown at them (literally), no matter what the media reported, despite the injuries and their underdog status, they kept going; giving it their all. That’s not an easy thing to do. The journey to the top tests us: it tests our strength, our endurance and our ability to hang in there when it would be easier to give up.

No matter what our goals – business or personal – there are obstacles along the way that try to prevent us from reaching them. That’s just the way it is. What happens next tells the tale. Do we give up or do we keep going? Do we stop because it’s too hard, because we’ve stumbled a few times or because everyone around us tells us it can’t be done? Do we blame others for the “bumps in the road” we experience? Or do we persevere? Never lose sight of the goal. Keep our heads high and do ourselves proud.

It’s a great life lesson. The Cleveland Indians played it out for us “up close and personal.” The scoreboard showed that they came up short, but they won a whole lot more than the World Series. And there’s always next year.

Smile because it happened.

Posted by MJ Thomas