“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
The busy holiday season is upon us. Of course, I’m aware that it seems all of the seasons are the “busy ones” these days. If you don’t believe me, just look at our calendar from last weekend!
Sunday was NUTS! We pulled off first communion at early church service + brunch + tennis for three of the four of us + a family photo shoot with requisite hair trims and outfit coordination beforehand. In a great shock to everyone, we actually made it to all events on time (our family is notoriously late). Maybe the pressure of everything stacked back-to-back kept us moving.
But, what comes to mind as we prepare for Thanksgiving is the simple act of giving thanks. I was reminded of this by my sweet girls, who wrote thanksgiving notes like this for us:
And though I’m not prone to sentimentality (or to quoting sermons!), it was exactly this note I was thinking of while sitting in church last Sunday when our pastor wrapped his sermon saying:
“Let the measure of your joy, your thanksgiving, be the measure for your generosity.”
As he said this, I looked my family sitting next to me and couldn’t help but well up with emotion. The reason? My joy is immeasurable. This is not an exaggeration, and it doesn’t mean my life is perfect, or that I don’t have crabby days or annoyances – I do. It simply means that when I think about my life and the people in it, I cannot put boundaries around my joy. As our daughter so innocently wrote, we have so much to be thankful for, and are especially reminded of it every time we turn on the news. Our health, water, food, a school, and a home, are all things that many in just the last few weeks have lost because of Typhoon Haiyan and the Midwest tornadoes.
In light of this, we took our pastor’s advice to heart and found ways to try to give thanks for the joy in our lives by helping restore joy to others’. What are you grateful for? Do you have special ways to give thanks at the holidays?
Also, if you’re looking for ways to help storm and hunger victims, here are some of the resources for donations:
1) Typhoon relief, 90% of donor dollars are passed through: http://www.care.org/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan
2) Second Harvest Heartland, upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization: http://www.2harvest.org/site/PageServer
3) American Red Cross, much more than blood donations: http://www.redcross.org/support/donating-fundraising/donations
And just as needed, generosity with your time. A few Twin Cities volunteering opportunities:
Messiah Food Pantry – http://www.messiahmpls.org/Pages/OpportunitiesToServe.aspx
Feed My Starving Children, food packing: http://www.fmsc.org/
Community Meals at Hennepin Ave United Methodist: http://hennepinchurch.org/community-meals/