Thanks(for)giving Me Hope

I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving! And for those whose heart aches during the holiday season, may you have found a bit of peace, however fleeting, and surrounded yourself with love. 

My Thanksgiving was filled with more food than I ever deemed imaginable. And don’t get me wrong, it was beyond scrumptious. But more importantly, that day was also overflowing with an abundance of love.

After losing my mom, I wasn’t sure if I could feel those happy feelings on a holiday again. Last year was my first holiday season without her and my heart ached deeply. I have truly beautiful people who fill my life and while they have helped to make this journey easier, it is one that I have largely had to walk alone.

I dreaded Thanksgiving Day. I was afraid of being happy, especially after a loss, because I have this tugging feeling that at any moment it can collapse. And if I’m being honest, I sometimes feel guilty for being happy, though I know in my heart that my mom would want nothing more for me than that. So, for the past week or so, I have been sad, slightly bitter, and a little angry as I put up a wall around my heart.(My sincerest apologies to those I love who put up with me.) I wrote, went running (not the best idea when battling a cold), cried a whole bunch and did whatever else was necessary to wade through this.

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Photo Credit: symphony of love Flickr via Compfight cc

I was fearful of the feelings the holiday would bring until….I awoke that morning, reminded of what an amazing man I have in my life. Until we stopped at the coffee shop where his sister works and I was filled with happiness (and delicious coffee!) at seeing her smiling face. Until we walked into his parents’ house and I was blown away with gratitude for how his equally amazing family has always welcomed me with open arms. Yes, grief can bring fear and sadness but the opposite of grief is joy, which brings with it a whole other array of feelings such as gratitude and love. I was so scared of breaking down that day, that I didn’t fathom the possibility of being lifted up by love. 

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I’m pretty sure this is the only picture I got all day.

Of course, I miss my mom. That part doesn’t go away and I am reminded when that gut-wrenching pain comes somewhere out of left field. However, through all of this darkness, I have grown increasingly grateful for the moments of light, as I don’t wish them to go unnoticed. So, on this Friday I am feeling an enormous amount of gratitude for all of you and the hope of better days that you have instilled in me. I can’t help but feel so much love for you all.

Thank you for reminding me of all the reasons I have to be thankful.

 

Post-Election Remedies

I’m not one to get too political so I’m going to take a wild guess and assume you read the news lately. Maybe your candidate won. Maybe your candidate lost. Maybe you are just going about your life and watching more Netflix now since it gets dark at 5 pm. No matter the case, the world is a bit stressful now as we make this transition into the unknown. Change can be scary sometimes yes? But, where some see dirt, others see flowers. There is an  opportunity here and I’d like to share with you what you, yes you, can actually get out and DO.

  • Find your place of peace – Whether it is your church, meditation, somewhere out in nature or everything in between, you need someplace to let all that go. A place to clear your head, re-center and focus on the good again. It’s so easy to get bogged down by everything surrounding us, especially if you are consistently logging into social media. So, unplug and go recharge.
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Photo Credit: kirstymccusker Flickr via Compfight cc

  • Stay involved – Local politics may be one of the places you can affect the most change. Do you know what’s going on in your community, your city, and your state? Be a voice, attend town meetings, and stay up to date on current legislature changes on all levels. The smallest changes can have the most lasting effects.
  • Volunteer – It’s quite possible that I say this often but it’s only because it cannot be stressed enough! If you want to create a better world, you need to start with you! Be the hands and feet of goodness. You really want to know what’s going on around you? Get involved with the homeless, mentor a child in need, and give your time to something that matters. While volunteering makes a difference to those you are helping, it also creates this really neat glow within you. The more I volunteer, the more I want to volunteer more. (That makes sense right?)
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Photo Credit: symphony of love Flickr via Compfight cc

  • Be an amazing human being – Pretty straightforward. Plain and simple. Be respectful of those whose opinion differs from your own. Love until you think you might burst. Give like there’s no tomorrow. Shower those around you with kindness, especially to those you feel don’t deserve it. Reach out to those in need in an effort to make this world more beautiful. When you do all of that, not only will you be a part of something bigger than yourself but living that way will become second nature.

Go out and be the good friends.

Happy weekend!!

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Photo Credit: symphony of love Flickr via Compfight cc