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This Year, I’m Thankful that I Can See the Good in Difficult Times

23 Nov

Thanksgiving is, traditionally, the day when you’re supposed to take stock and give thanks for all that’s good in your life. Even in difficult times, there’s always some good, and we should be grateful for those things.

That kind of perspective is a lesson my father taught me a long time ago. His positive outlook is a trait he’s passed down to me, and I’m so thankful to him for that. Especially this year.

That’s because it has not been an easy one for my family as my father’s health has declined. “Good” days for him are rare; most are tough. Some are very tough. (These past few days, for example.)

In short, the physical and mental effects of Parkinson’s Disease have been really challenging. It’s a predictably unpredictable disease — except that it just keeps getting worse and worse, and we know it won’t ever get any better. My father isn’t the same man he used to be. There is risk in every day. In a word, it’s heartbreaking.

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Reflecting on What I’m Most Thankful for This Year

24 Nov
Sunset reflection at Chestnut Hill Reservoir

It happens every year: Labor Day comes, and the pace of the year speeds up.

We get to Halloween, and it speeds up even more.

So one thing I enjoy about Thanksgiving — in addition to the time off from work and the turkey and gravy — is that it’s an occasion to pause and reflect on what we’re grateful for at that moment, before we all get swept up in the frenzy of the December holidays.

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Giving Thanks for What’s Worth Remembering About a Terrible Year

25 Nov
Boys at the beach

Last week, during the season finale of Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill did a bit that he set up as a letter to his 100-year-old self, looking back on what was certainly a memorable year. 

It started in predictable fashion, with the comedian poking fun at what he might be like at that age. There was a line about smoking pot and one about being old enough to watch Fox News. But then the segment took a surprising turn.

Rather than continuing the thread with a series of jokes about politics, or ones at the expense of the president* and his family, Bill took the opportunity to celebrate how, in the midst of a global pandemic, and with most people stuck at home, his team rallied together to keep the show going, collaborating in new ways and coming up with creative solutions to unusual problems — like having no live audience. Bill also paid tribute to his fans, who stuck with the show all year long, and said how thankful he was for their/our support.

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It’s Important to Be Thankful for Everything That Makes Your Life Better

27 Nov

Martin at EpcotThank you.

It’s an expression people don’t say nearly enough anymore. All you have to do is pay attention and watch for it, you’ll realize that these days, unfortunately, gratitude is in short supply.

Perhaps that’s one reason why people tend to make a big deal about Thanksgiving. It’s their chance to pause and say thank you for all that makes their life great. Don’t be hateful; gotta be grateful, and all that.

I’d like to think I express gratitude all year long, for big things and small ones — including when people hold a door for me, when I’m brought something by a server in a restaurant, when I see a movie I like, when someone gives me a gift or does me a favor, etc. — but I can always do better.

So, in that spirit, here is a list (in no particular order) of some of the people, places, things, and events I’m giving thanks for on Thanksgiving this year — and on other days, too. Continue reading

Giving Thanks for What Makes My Life Better

20 Nov

Fun fact: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s right up there with the Fourth of July, Patriots Day, and yes, my birthday. I love the good times with family and friends, the Macy’s parade, the big football games, and the turkey and gravy — especially the turkey and gravy. I still love Adam Sandler’s “Thanksgiving Song.” And yes, I also have a soft spot for that corny Nicole Westbrook song, “It’s Thanksgiving.”

But in all seriousness, I appreciate that Thanksgiving gives us the chance to hit the pause button on all that’s going wrong in our country and the daily annoyances and obligations, and to reflect on what we’re thankful for. With so much going on in the world, it’s easy to overlook the people, places, and things that make life better — the aspects of life that make us happy. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to give them some much deserved attention.

When asked “What are you thankful for?” most people probably cite their family and friends, and their health. I know that’s what I say. But if we take a step back to think about it, there’s so much more to mention.

So in that spirit, here is a partial (and definitely incomplete) list, in no particular order, of some of the other people, places, and things I’m giving thanks for this year.

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Thank You for All of These Things (And More)

25 Nov

Photo courtesy of Paul Downey/Flickr

Photo courtesy of Paul Downey/Flickr

Thank you.

Those are two words that don’t get said nearly enough. These days, we’re so quick to jump on people and businesses for doing things we don’t like, but we hardly ever recognize the good things that make us happy and show our gratitude for them.

That’s just one reason why it’s nice that Thanksgiving exists: Because other than enjoying delicious food — mmmm … turkey and gravy — it’s the one time of year when everyone gets to express how grateful they are. It’s like the great poet Nicole Westbrook once said: “Don’t be hateful, gotta be grateful!

(All kidding aside, according to a recent New York Times article, being grateful will actually make you happier person.)

With that in mind, I just wanted to take a second right here, right now, to say thank you for reading. Not just this blog post, but any and all posts you may have read over the years. I recently celebrated my tenth blogiversary, a milestone I’d never have reached were it not for the fact that people actually care what I have to say. I appreciate your support and never take it for granted.

And now, to continue my tradition, here (in no particular order) are more of the people, places, and things I am thankful for this year. Thank you to each and every one of them. Continue reading

Giving Thanks with Every Bite

26 Nov

Photo credit: Satya Murthy/Creative Commons

Photo credit: Satya Murthy/Creative Commons

How often do you stop and say thank you to those people, places, and things that bring you joy?

If you’re anything like me, the answer is “not often enough.”

That’s just one reason why Thanksgiving is such an important holiday: It’s perhaps the one day all year when we shift our focus from work and other stresses, and focus instead on expressing gratitude. While we gobble down turkey and watch football games and get stressed out by our families, sure. But we can be thankful for all of that, too. To paraphrase the great poet Nicole Westbrook, this is a day not to be hateful, but to be grateful.

Actually, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s right up there with Fourth of July, Patriots’ Day, and yes, my birthday. I love most everything about it, from the parade to the pigskin to the pie. And I’m celebrating this year with a big smile on my face. That’s because I have a lot to be thankful for.

Here (listed in no particular order) is a public shout-out to all those people, places, and things that tomorrow, when I’m eating turkey, potatoes, bread and butter (#morebutter), etc., I’ll be saying thank you to with each and every bite.

Thank you, thank you, thank you — for all of this, and so much more.

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Thank You to All These People and Things

27 Nov

turkeyAnd so, my friends, here we are.

It’s Thanksgiving again. Time to take a break from life and give thanks for all those people who mean so much to us and the things that make us happy.

If you’re anything like me, then you have a lot to be thankful for this year. Actually, I feel like I have more on my list this year than in years past. Real things, not just foods, movies, TV shows, and the like. That’ll happen after a challenging year that saw its share of ups and downs.

As things have mostly righted themselves for me and appear to be on an upswing, I’m giving lots of thanks for normalcy, and its return to my life. Welcome back. Please stay forever.

What else am I thankful for this year? Read on for my list, which is presented in no particular order. Continue reading

What I’m Thankful For This Year

21 Nov

Nicole Westbrook isn’t the only one who’s excited that tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I, too, am a big fan of the day.

I love the turkey and gravy, the good times with family and friends, the Macy’s parade, the big football games (go Patriots!), and the chance to pause and reflect on what I’m thankful for … before we all head out to the mall and/or our favorite small businesses to partake in holiday shopping.

It’s been an interesting year for me, but as Nicole herself says, “Can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful.” So in that spirit, here’s a list of some of the many people and things I’m thankful for this year: Continue reading


23 Nov

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays.

Of course it is; what could be bad about a day off from work spent with family, watching football, and eating turkey covered in gravy?

But Thanksgiving is more than that.

As the name implies, it’s a day to reflect and give thanks for those things that make life special and/or worth living.

So with that in mind, here is my annual list (in no particular order) of some of the things I’m thankful for: Continue reading

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