Tuesday, November 17, 2015

By Ellen Mongan

They say, “The older you get the faster time flies.”  I can attest to that, as my fifty-eight year old brain tells me Thanksgiving is approaching way too quickly.  Is anyone bringing a thankful heart to their family table?  Some say old age can make you bitter or better.  The journey of life gives you many opportunities to decide which attitude of heart you will adopt for yourself.  Each trial you encounter and the daily choices you make put you in the direction of one road or the other.  However you always have time to get your GPS out and see if you are on the right course. The movie “GRUMPY OLD MEN” gives a visual of why we want to change to a different route if grumpy becomes the mood of our hearts.  If you choose a bad habit repeatedly, that behavior eventually becomes the character of our personalities.  So given the choice between bitter or better, let’s adopt, “I’m not getting older, I am getting better,” as a theme song for life. Then make it a reality by being determined to choose to improve.

This Thanksgiving consider bringing to your feast, along with the pumpkin pie, the sweet potatoes and roasted turkey, a heart full of thanks.  I promise you every one at the table will beg for a second helping.  Adopting an attitude of gratitude takes time and effort, but it is worth the journey. Growing a thankful heart helps you see your blessings and fills your speech with appreciation.
This Thanksgiving Day cultivate your thankful heart by going around the table and give a toast of thanks. Then open the table conversation with favorite thanksgiving memories all can share from their hearts. Be sure and take a moment to privately tell each of the guests why you are grateful to have them in your life.

Last thanksgiving, I decided to show my appreciation for my mom, who has hosted Thanksgiving my entire life for over fifty family members. The good news is that my mom is a caterer who will say with pride in her voice, “I worked until I was 80!”  I arranged for a friend of mine who is a TV reporter to do story on, “An Old Fashion Family Thanksgiving Celebration,” with my mom as the star.”  She was delighted as were all who attended. The best part was viewing the news clip together that night.  Mom and I joke about how she was a “Movie Star” at 84.

Another Thanksgiving, we gathered as a family with a glass of wine in hand to toast my dad who had died with little warning, two years prior.  This day, there was such a void, especially when it came time to carve the turkey, which he the family patriarch had always done. As you might have guessed, the heartfelt sharing’s, full of laughter and tears will be etched into our memories forever.  One of the grandchildren topped us all.  He shared about the day he and grandpa drove to Wal-Mart.  Grandpa apparently went the wrong way on a street, but quickly pulled into Wal-Mart parking lot before the oncoming cars took both their lives. He said, “I was little, but big enough to know that grandpa had done something wrong.”  I think the fact that grandpa said, “We do not need to tell anyone about this incident, John, now do we," reinforced John’s suspicion of grandpa’s wrongdoing, but John never leaked a word.

 So as Thanksgiving approaches remember when you were thankful for the people in your life, and share the memories.  Did one of your teachers make such an impression on you that you desired to be a teacher one day yourself?  Did a best friend come to mind, one you haven’t seen for a many years?  It may seem like yesterday that you exchanged secrets with each other, or laughed with until your sides ached at a sleep-over party.  Is it your step children that come into your memory, who you raised but have, seem to lost contact with thru divorce?  Maybe a mother of one of your childhood friends comes to mind, who was like a second mother to you.

 Do you have a broken relationship with your parents, siblings, friends or your grown child? Life gets busy, time flies, we put off until tomorrow what we should do today.  Don’t procrastinate any longer, repair that relationship today and reconnect with whoever it may be.  If it is one of your children, write them let them know they still live in your heart.  Encourage that woman who was like a mother to you.  Now is the time.  As Bill Gaither sang, ‘Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.”  Do some memory searching, my friend, then reach out in love. Who knows, someone may even reach out to you this holiday season and your “FLASH FROM THE PAST” could be a life changing moment.  So this holiday when the host calls for you to bring something, join me in offering, “I’ll bring the thanks”, along with the pumpkin pie.  It sure beats serving a plate full of bitterness at the Thanksgiving Feast, does it not!!!

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