Expressions of Thankfulness


Photo taken by BJ at our home on Lake Ann Camp. Edited by AJ.

I love the season of autumn or fall. I love the colors, crisp air and warm, sunny afternoons. It is now November, just a few short days before Thanksgiving in the United States. Although it looks a lot like Christmas outside with all the fluffy white stuff, inside our home it still looks like fall.

I love November and the many things that come with this month of thankfulness. I am personally thankful my husband (or myself!) does not follow “No Shave November” each year. I’m not a fan of his super furry face; however, I am a fan of Facebook in November. I love the number of posts each day that are filled with positive words of thankfulness. So today, on this 11th month, I would like to share 11 things I am thankful for in no particular order. I hope it will cause you to think about those things for which you are truly thankful and why.

BJ, Celina and AJ

BJ, Celina and AJ

#1 Purpose. Living with purpose beyond this temporary moment is an amazing way to walk through life.

#2 Jesus. He is the reason I have purpose in this life and hope for the next.

#3 Childhood. The years that shaped me, the people that influenced me, the experiences that impacted me – all part of making me who I am today.

#4 Parents. I am blessed by the influence and continued encouragement I receive from all my parents.

#5 In-Laws. All of them (and there are many!). They love me as if I’m their own. My parent-in-laws raised an incredible son who I am blessed to call my husband.

#6 Bethany Joy. My daughter who brings joy and excitement to our family. She teaches me to pause and truly listen.

#7 AJ. His loyalty and determination challenge me regularly. And he holds his own amongst all his female siblings.

#8 Tatiana. The beautiful addition to our family who is teaching me to communicate more clearly than I ever have. Valuable lesson for me.

Celina loves the leaves.

Celina loves the leaves.

#9 Celina. My youngest child who is filled with grace and love. She teaches me to let go of my ever-so-serious side and see the world through the eyes of wonder and awe.

#10 Joe. I feel so incredibly blessed to be married to a man who loves me and encourages me to pursue my passions. I love dreaming and working toward those dreams with this awesome man.

#11 USANA. This home-based business has provided financial stability for our family. It allows me the freedom to travel, give time to our ministries and be a stay-at-home mom.

What are you thankful for? Will you please share in the comments below so I may enjoy and learn from your thankfulness too? November or not — it is always a good time to be thankful.

AJ, BJ and Celina

AJ, BJ and Celina

Be Extraordinary!

Is Veteran’s Day Still a National Holiday?

US Flag Thank You

Today is a national holiday in the United States of America – Veteran’s Day. I have very fond memories of this day, November 11, as well as Memorial Day in May. When I was a child, my dad was the superintendent for the city cemetery. We lived right across the street. In an odd sort of way the cemetery was my “playground”. I became a proficient bike-rider on those streets, sledded down the back hill and picked blackberries near the canal.

My thoughts today are not drawn to those memories as much as they are drawn to the memories of processionals of cars lead by the sleek, black hearses; placing small American flags near hundreds of tombstones; filling the truck with loads of beautiful bouquets and placing those on tombstones for grieving families; and military uniforms and gun salutes.

I was bothered when I realized that my children had school on this holiday that honors the men who have fought for our freedom. This is the first time in all my years of public school as well as my children’s that we have had school on this holiday. Does this infuriate any of you? We live in a new state and perhaps this is normal here, but I know for many this is not normal.

Before making any hasty comments below, please let me share how this relates to the journey of living an extraordinary life. . . at least to my personal journey.

I have a choice!

USA FREEDOMWhether the kids go to school or stay home, I have a choice. While it is easy to be upset at the school district, the state, or the government, the reality is that I have a choice. And what is it that really bothers me? Am I bothered that my kids did not receive another vacation day from school? Would I have done my own “Veteran’s Celebration” with them if they had been home? Would we have gone to a local cemetery to place flags, flowers and give honor to our Veteran’s?

Before pointing fingers at others we must take an honest look at our choices and our motives. Ordinary people go about looking for reasons to blame others and cause conflict. Extraordinary people rise above, acknowledge truth and own their choices.

Our veterans and current military fight for the freedom of our country. At the same time, we each have the opportunity to fight for our personal freedom by taking responsibility for our actions and reactions.

How are you living your life? Are you pointing fingers from your armchair or are you engaged in your life? What will you do today to rise above the ordinary, acknowledging the reality of your motives and owning your choices?

Be Extraordinary!