A Thanksgiving Challenge

November 22, 2016

I generally like to do a Thanksgiving post, because I think it’s so so important to have a grateful spirit, not just one day a year, but all the time.  In our culture, this can be really difficult.  I know I am a few days early but I’m grateful for thirty minutes of Daniel Tiger this morning to keep my two year old occupied.  

This year I don’t think Thanksgiving could have come at a better time considering everything that’s happened in our world in the last few weeks and months.  Politics and politicians aside, I’ve found the behavior of the American people (all sides, all parties) to be the most disappointing.  And it’s not just the subject of politics, it’s friend to friend, family to family, neighbor to neighbor.  People just aren’t kind anymore.  We live in a me, me, me world.  It’s all about how I feel, what you did to me, how I’ve been slighted, how I wasn’t treated fairly.  There’s no respect of others, other’s opinion, other’s feelings.  We’ve forgotten that other people exist.  

I would like to think the perspective of my own “me world” changed five years ago when I found myself in the ER with my three month old baby, whose life was nearly taken.  I learned pretty quickly that life isn’t fair.  Things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to.  Sometimes we lose.  Sometimes justice does not prevail.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you want or how you feel.  Sometimes things happen that leave you afraid and unsure of what lies ahead.  And I’ve learned that those are the moments when you choose to either shrivel or shine.  

You can shrivel into an angry, bitter, revengeful person.  Or you can choose to shine by humility, forgiveness, kindness, perspective.  It’s in the moments that often leave you feeling crushed, confused and disoriented, where you pick your path.  It’s not always an easy choice.  Sometimes it’s easier to be angry and spew bitter words at others and into the world.  But you learn more, gain more and give more when you choose the other.  

In our world, there’s far too many people who choose pride over humility.  There’s far too many people who choose to shout, instead of listening.  There’s far too many people who choose to be bitter and spiteful, instead of being kind and forgiving.  If we could all step outside of our feelings, opinions and circumstances for just a moment and realize that there is an entire world of people who also have feelings and difficulties, perhaps we could resolve some of the hurt.  When we pause to be thankful for what we do have and consider the needs of others, you may find that your hurt, problems, whatever, isn’t so bad.  

In this week of Thanksgiving, I challenge you to identify one thing in your life that is a source of hurt, whether it’s a relationship, circumstance, outcome or anything else, step outside your feelings for a moment, and choose humility, kindness, forgiveness.  Reflect gratitude for all you have been given.  Honor the source of all the gifts in your life.

Choose to shine.  

I am thankful for all of you, who continue to show love and support to our family.  It is entirely humbling to know how many of you care and still pray for our sweet girl.

I am also thankful for the gift of grace.  I always need it and I’m frequently reminded that I need to give it.  

Happy Thanksgiving.

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals