The last several months have been among the most trying of a lifetime for many of us. No matter where we live or what nationality we are, we have been touched as never before by the swift and continual changes in the economy. Perhaps that's why we all seem to be “nesting” at home more these days in record numbers.
I began nesting long before the recession. For me, it began in 2000 when I left a traditional job to create a career to pursue the freedom and flexibility I knew I'd need to provide for my family on my own terms. When I had a traditional job, my home was one of many things that revolved around my job. Today, my home is the center of everything. The same holds true for many of my family, friends, acquaintances, and IBN members. Home is where the heart is, and on this day of Thanksgiving — indeed on every day — there is much to be thankful for. No matter what your situation, set aside some time today to celebrate the things and people in your life for whom you are especially grateful. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the holiday:
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Don't isolate. Challenging times can quickly rob us a grateful heart. During times of profound sadness, I have found it difficult to get “up” for holiday family celebrations, preferring instead to stay at home and mope around reveling in my sadness. This “woe is me” attitude only adds to my depression. But when I force myself to mingle with others, I easily re-discover all that I am thankful for.
Help someone else.When we help others, we also help ourselves. When I show genuine concern about someone else's life … when I look them in the eye as they share a problematic or heart breaking situation … my concern alone helps them through their tough time, and I am blessed by that. I don't even have to say anything, and many times, it's best not to.
I am reminded of the Biblical story of Job, who lost his wealth, his family and everything that he held dear. When he poured his heart out to his friends, they tried to explain why these things had happened to him when all Job really wanted them to do was sit with him and listen.
Try this. If you have a friend who is suffering, call that person or even visit if you can, and show compassion and concern for what they are going through without trying to offer an explanation or a solution. Providing a listening ear will not only help them, but will also bless you as you help them carry their burden.
Meditate on positive things. When you think of good things, good things happen. When you think of bad things, bad things happen. This is why Scripture tells us:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
I can't add anything to that, except to say that when I follow the admonition, contentment washes over me like a warm blanket. I want the good things in my life to increase, so I choose to be thankful for the ones I have. Here's my short list for this year:
* healthy children to love, nurture and guide …and who bring me the opportunity to learn patience and discipline like never before
* quality health care for my family (and we used it this week when two of them got sick!)
* the opportunity to know great people around the world through the IBN
* the blessing of being able to serve the small business community through Twitter, FaceBook and our social networking site
* a personal network of extremely supportive advisors, friends and family members
* a successful business that brings me great joy and fulfillment
* the warm bath I plan to take tonight … complete with handmade soap, candles, and lotions, some soft music and a cup of ginger tea with honey and pine nuts
And that's just for starters. As I finalize this post, I am in the car with my husband and family, headed home to see my mom, auntie and all of the relatives I love so much.
May I invite you to celebrate the joy of life with me this Thanksgiving? Invest precious time with family and friends, eat the food that is being prepared for you with so much love, share your heart with the people you care about and top it all off with a soul soothing bath if you can.
Enjoy the day. Be thankful. I am thankful for you!
Question: What are you most thankful for? How do you push past the challenges of life to live in a state of constant gratitude? What works for you?