Presence > presents

It doesn’t seem possible that a year has passed since our first Thanksgiving back on American soil.

A year makes a big difference. In our family, things have changed so much ~ too farfetched for even the fictional stories I used to write. Heck, the last EIGHT years of my life have not exactly been stress-free. I returned home, thinking that things might just settle down a little…but no. Things were peaceful for a little while but it didn’t take long for everything to pick back up again. I’ve learned a lot; I’ve realized a lot; but mostly, I’ve been reminded of things I already knew and have known for a very long time. It’s not that I’m surprised that life changes on a dime; more accurately, it’s the changes that throw me off-guard. Sudden changes. Life-altering changes. Punch-me-in-the-stomach-and-make-me-lose-my-breath changes.

I don’t take people or things for granted but this year, especially, I’ve been reminded why I shouldn’t. Despite everything, I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and showing gratitude for everything, no matter how small. As we approach the chaos of the holidays, I will concentrate more on the reason for the season and the lives that my family celebrate every December. Christmas has always been a special time for us because we have four family birthdays to celebrate. This December, I will be grateful that my mom is here to celebrate the gift of another year, particularly as she is now fighting Stage IV cancer. Perspective changes when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Time is far too precious to waste on unnecessary drama. I try to not think about the day when my mom, my best friend, my pillar of support won’t be “just a phone call away”.

On today, Thanksgiving Eve, I am counting my blessings and the things I feel most grateful for, in my life. I believe, with all my heart, that the best gift we can give ourselves, our children ~ to remove the materialism that has become so prevalent in our society. Let’s focus on what’s really important, like nurturing our family and friends, settling our differences, appreciating our loved ones while we still have the time, getting back to basics…enjoying the simpler times. Taking backward steps isn’t always a bad thing. Right?

To all of my readers: I wish you a safe, Happy Thanksgiving. ♥ & 

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