Browsing Tag


We can still give thanks

It started on November First when almost every other person on social media began a countdown to Thanksgiving with lists of what they were “thankful” for. And that’s all good. I, too, post a daily Happy Day Moment on my Facebook page, and my website tagline is “living with gratitude.”

So I’m all about thankfulness and gratefulness and saluting the goodness of each day.

And yet, these days I find myself thinking about this Thanksgiving that will pull and stretch and weigh on the emotions of so many I know. Especially, I’m thinking about those friends who see that empty chair.

The father not at the table. The husband not carving the turkey. The empty chair.

I think of Terri and Audrey. I think of Molly and Linda. I think of them facing this Thanksgiving, how very sad they must be and how much they would want to give the world’s biggest hug. Just one more time. To their husband. To their father.

For some, the loss was sudden, that shocking unexpected death.  For some, it was a knowing, a waiting, a grasping for more time.

For these friends, their gratitude on this Thanksgiving will have to look backward. To what was and not what is or will be. It will have to be the hard choice to still give thanks, even as they see that empty chair.

To still give thanks.

This is what I find myself thinking …

When we see that empty chair.

wrinkled handWhen there is such raw emotion that the washcloth, the sunlight through the window, the wrinkled hand brings us to tears and we choke and can’t breathe …

Then we can still give thanks.

When there is such loneliness that it cuts to the quick, right under our ribs, with razor sharpness, and we stare into the vacant space where we long for them to be …

Then we can still give thanks.

When there are so many days littered with problems and obstacles and hard things that we stumble and fall and bleed and long to be held …

Then we can still give thanks.

Because this giving of thanks is a choice.

We can choose to be thankful and grateful, understanding the fragility of life that make every moment so meaningful. We often waste too many moments immersing ourselves in needless distractions that steal our attention away from the things that actually matter. We should grasp the precious moments of this life and stop being distracted with the things that don’t really matter.

Thinking of Terri and Audrey and Molly and Linda, I have a new clarity of what matters most. That what we’ll never regret is time spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent. That days of love and caring and giving are the best days. That family days are the very best days. That we remember to express words of love every day because we never know when it might be our last opportunity.

Life is short, indeed. And it gets shorter. We can’t always wait for the perfect moment.  So let’s live generously, with no room for regrets, or wondering what could have been.

Today’s moments quickly become tomorrow’s memories. Let’s appreciate today for what it is and make our time count.  Let’s give the hug, make the apology, unpack the suitcase. Let’s make the days memorable.  Let’s live life so that we never have to regret the chances we never took, the love we never let in, and the gifts we never gave out.

We can still give thanks.

Even if we see that empty chair on this Thanksgiving. Or we know those who will be pushing through a loss or loneliness, let us love more. Appreciate more. Return more.

I’m thinking: Let us focus on doing the things that will matter forever. Understanding the value of time. Esteeming relationships. Making room for forgiveness and grace. Living with gratitude.

And just loving. Because in the end, there is nothing else.

Happy Day Moment Echoes: 6.13

Words. Words we say. Words we hear. Words we think. Words of calm and words of chaos. Words of love and words of hate. Words of peace and words of division. Words of encouragement and words of alienation. Words of joy and words of sorrow. Words of wisdom and words of recklessness. Words of help and words of harm. Words of truth and words of invention. Words of goodness and words of meanness. Words of respect and words of rejection.

Words of prayer. Of blessing. Words that bring healing, that don’t crush the spirit of others. Words we utter and words we chose not say.

We have a choice.

Words as gifts not words as arrows.

These are my words … the echoes of my Happy Day Moment tweets (#happydaymoment) and Facebook Page posts for June 2013.

  • We are defined by what the Word of God says we are. We are not defined by what any person says we are.
  • Be gracious and kind to family members. Show grace and love to strangers.
  • I am convinced that nothing can ever separate me from God‘s love.
  • The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God! ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • I hope that I will never do anything apart from the desire to bless others and live with gratitude.
  • Open your heart and live with confidence. You have much to offer.
  • Kindness and respect are investments that never fail.
  • Do something nice for yourself. Every day. You are worth it.
  • Don’t be distracted with the things that don’t really matter. Grab onto life’s precious moments.
  • Speak good encouraging words, that they may give grace to those who hear.
  • Focus on doing the things that will matter forever.
  • The miracle comes when we let go and trust.
  • There is always Faith. Hope. Love. And the greatest is love.
  • Do not take today for granted. Love. And be loved.
  • Start humming. People will smile. Or roll their eyes. Or try to punch you in the mouth. Hum anyway.
  • Reach out to people who are hurting. You never know what a difference you can make.
  • Today tell everyone in your family “I love you.” Go on now. Life is short.
  • Thou shalt be optimistic.
  • A grateful mindset can help you navigate life’s turbulence.
  • God never promised there would be no drama. But He did promise there would be redemption.
  • Yes, you have limits. But yes, you also have abilities. Offer your gift anyway. Be who you are anyway.
  • Your kindness sends light into the dark places.
  • Choose praying over worrying.
  • Grateful people are happy.

Three Years of Happy Day Moments

Three years ago on April 1, 2010 (no joke), I posted my first Happy Day Moment on Facebook as a personal challenge to be consciously thankful, to count my blessings, and to live with gratitude. Every day.

I thought it would be easy. A happy moment every day? Sure. I’m a pretty happy person. I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. A Pollyanna. I can do that.

Here’s the thing: It’s a snap to write a happy moment

when the sun is shining and the sky is blue and the grass is green

when the husband is loving and the children are obedient (and vice versa)

when people you love are healthy and employed

when there’s food in the pantry and flowers in bloom

Hot Coffee on a rainy daywhen the coffee’s hot and there’s chocolate in the house

when there’s money in the bank and in the wallet

when joints don’t ache and the mind is clear

when there’s a car (no matter how old) in the garage and gas in the car

when the power is on and the furnace works and the plumbing flows

when there’s no ice on the roads and no rain on the ballgames …

…it’s easy to celebrate and announce those happy day moments.

Every day you wake up…

that you’re not depressed, that you didn’t gain weight, that you’re not nauseous, that your sinuses aren’t clogged, that you don’t have heartburn, that you’re not cranky, that you get out of bed and rise to face the day …

….is Happy Day Moment material.

And so I posted one happy day moment after another about times observing goodness and kindness, about being with grandchildren and family, about hearing funny stories, about reading inspirational words, about appreciating friends, about loving God.

Easy stuff.

But it’s a whole other ballgame

when there are days of pain. And days and days and days

and my eyes dont recognize you no more...when there are hurts and disappointments and confusion

when there are sad words and shock and struggles

when there is less and loss and emptiness

when there is fatigue and despair.

Then that “moment” of happy is harder to find. Not so snappy.

When pain and heartache covered me, when tears poured forth, when my rooms were all dark corners, could I push aside my less-than-perfect circumstances and see a Happy Day Moment? One moment? Anywhere? Could I break free from the centrifuge of my gloom?

Yes. Yes. Because I have a choice. Those days when I had to dig through mire and mud and rock to find that hidden gem of a happy moment, I discovered that it isn’t as much about our circumstances as what we do with them. We don’t choose heartache or pain or disappointment. Who in their right mind would? But we can choose forgiveness and compromise and peace. We can choose the green light. We can choose not to be stuck at the red light. We can choose the wonder. The miracle.

Because there is always a moment, no matter how small, no matter how dark the day, that is worthy of being grateful.

Honestly, posting Happy Day Moments has changed my life. Living with gratitude, knowing I had to focus on finding a Happy Day Moment to post has become a remedy for self-pity. I’ve learned that writing gratitude for the seemingly commonplace lets me see that nothing is common, that the small is blessed. I can poo-poo the notion that some days stink from beginning to end. No day is completely stinky.

Every day we have a clean slate and the choice to love in spite of circumstances, to show kindness and compassion, to be intentional with gratitude, to find a happy moment. Sometimes it’s a hard task so we must choose to keep eyes and heart open.  To live with eyes wide open. To be awake.

Gratitude can change your life – it may not change the circumstances, but it will change your response and how you see the world.

To witness miracles unfold, live with gratitude and count your happy day moments.

Onward to year HDM Year Four.


[“Like” my Happy Day Moment Facebook page… help me get to 200!]