Thanksgiving Memories and Every Day Gratitudes

by Aileen

Family photo

Yep, that’s my family photo from sometime long ago. I’m the one on the right with the peek-a-boo belly.

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. and I’m feeling pretty nostalgic.  It’s a time to celebrate all that we are thankful for and enjoy a big turkey dinner while gathering with family and friends.

Thanksgiving is one of those Holidays that had to grow on me. As a kid, it just seemed like a day to eat a lot of ham. Yes ham… and sometimes lasagna. Our family didn’t have the traditional turkey dinner because…. well…  my father had to work on a turkey farm during his childhood and his job included chopping off turkey heads. Have I just inspired anyone to become vegetarian?

Of course while growing up I didn’t know that my father had this experience, my parents spared me the details, and when I asked why we didn’t have a turkey like everyone else, they just said “We like to be different.”

Eventually I learned a little bit more about my father’s life growing up in the 1940’s and 50’s and not having a traditional home environment. It took me far too long to really appreciate him and the life he created for himself despite his difficult circumstances.

During my childhood, prayers were just memorized words to me and holidays like Thanksgiving seemed boring. Somewhere in my mid twenties, I began to appreciate life on a deeper level. I learned how to be truly grateful and alas, comprehend the essence of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day holds a special place in my heart and I like to have it resonate with me for the entire week. It’s a week of reflection, reminiscing about Thanksgivings days of the past and having a deeper appreciation for my family and my father who past away six years ago. Sometimes I chuckle a bit when I think of how much of a hard time I gave my parents about our Thanksgiving ham and their preference for “elevator” music playing in the living room. All I wanted to do was watch the parade on television… ahhh, childhood.

It took me a while really comprehend deeper levels of gratitude and appreciation, but I’ve come to understand that’s  just part of life’s process. As a little girl, I loved Elly, my red stuffed animal elephant. I was grateful and appreciated Elly’s companionship, and that was about as deep as I could go at the time.

These days I find great joy and serenity as I melt into feelings of gratitude. It’s rewards are tremendous. Just stating the things that I’m grateful for lifts my spirits and creates a feeling of love and abundance, and I feel exponentially more blessed because of it.

Some of my every day gratitudes:

  • My Family
  • My love, G
  • My wonderful Friends who let me be me
  • My health
  • My passion for Ballet and having an amazing teacher and a wonderful place to dance
  • Dancing in my very first Nutcracker performance just a few weeks away
  • Discovering the books of Louise L. Hay and learning about the “totality of possibilities”
  • Being able to connect with God and the divine
  • The endless ocean
  • The winter season and cool crisp mornings
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Life’s Affordable Luxuries
  • My warm red fuzzy slippers
  • My old friend Elly
  • A glass of red wine in the evening
  • Scented Bubble Baths
  • Joy and Laughter
  • Cozy warm feelings on cold winter nights.
  • Cool breezes on hot summer days
  • Organizations that help people in need
  • The incredible amount of love and generosity in this world

Please join me, and share your gratitudes. I’d love to hear them!

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Farnoosh November 24, 2010

Dear Aileen, sweet post (and cute photo of you.) a short comment as I have just two minutes online to tell you how much I love Thanksgiving too! Have a great one and thank you for writing up such a lovely post here!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Power Tips for When Travel Plans go Awry

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Aileen November 24, 2010

How funny, I was just reading your travel tips – synchronicity!
It really is a wonderful Holiday – I look forward to hearing about your Thanksgiving adventure!!

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Jane Rochelle November 24, 2010

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Aileen. I always love it when I discover something about my parents that gives me new appreciation for the people that they’ve ‘grown up’ to be … and now, our experiences shape who we’ll ‘grow up’ to be.

Thanks for sharing your beauty this morning ~
(ps, I have my stuffed elephant from when I was a girl, but her name is spelled Ellie … I brought her home from mom and dads recently.)

Happy Thanksgiving
Jane Rochelle´s last [type] ..In Spiritual Presence with MC Richards

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Aileen November 24, 2010

Jane, your have an Ellie!!!!!!!!!!! I love that – and you still have have her – how truly wonderful! It really is pretty amazing the things & experiences that shape us and carry with us (even in essence not literal) throughout life.

I feel there are many moments in life that seem like a rite of passage, and one is the moment we begin to see family (parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents) as people – without the identity of the role they’ve had in our lives – being able to see them fresh and discover them for who they are.

I wish you a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving!

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John Sherry November 24, 2010

How on earth have you not changed one bit since that picture young Aileen? Amazing.

We don’t do Thanksgiving in the UK but we should, but also we shouldn’t wait for a day to give thanks for wonderful people, our health, freedom, food and water, and this glorious planet called home. We will do it all again at Xmas and then forget it for most of the next 12 months. Life needs to be one Thanksgiving festival where we always appreciate others, share love unconditionally, as well as all the resources the world has, and be grateful for life itself.

I’m eternally grateful for everyone in my life for who would I be without all their love, support, encouragement and respect? And that firmly includes fabulous blog friends like you Aileen, thank you for your blogship!

Be blessed with bliss this Thanksgiving.
John Sherry´s last [type] ..If You Need Help Why You Should Have A Coffee

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Aileen November 24, 2010

Hahahaha – John you are too funny. I hope to flatten the peek-a-boo belly a bit more for my white tutu performance.

I so agree with you about celebrating a day of thanks all year, “Life needs to be one Thanks giving festival where we always appreciate others, share love
unconditionally, as well as all the resources the world has, and be grateful for life itself.”

Thank you John for your blogship! The blogosphere has allowed me to connect with such wonderful people that I otherwise would not have ever met. It’s quite divine.

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Mom November 24, 2010

Dear Aileen – I truly loved this sharing of your life, our family time – God blessed us with a beautiful life and 3 wonderful children who made us and makes me PROUD and very HAPPY. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your readers. Love Mom.

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Aileen November 24, 2010

Mom, thank you for your wonderful comment and thank you for reading. You are wonderful beyond words and I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to know you as a person outside of knowing you as Mom. I wish you a very special Thanksgiving day!

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The Exception November 24, 2010

Aileen –
What a wonderful Thanksgiving post. I am not sure that I appreciated when I was younger, but I grew to when I lived out of the country for the first time and celebrated with a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese – It was a little taste of home thousands of miles away. My daughter has never known a traditional Thanksgiving as we started a tradition of having sea food or traveling or both after she was born – but she knows of giving thanks and demonstrating appreciation for those around her.
Thank you for your words and for sharing little pieces of your life… and your excitement about dance and the performance that awaits. Thank you for writing Aileen –
Have a arm and love filled Thanksgiving.

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Aileen November 24, 2010

I love that you celebrated Thanksgiving Day outside of the country with box of Kraft Mac and Cheese! It’s amazing how we can take “home” with us as me move throughout life. We’re able to take pieces, have the essence, and be free to explore the roads life takes us on.

How neat that your daughter has never had a traditional Thanksgiving – sometimes the essence of what we are celebrating gets lost in the ritual itself. When I read your words I felt the meaning of thanksgiving embraced, “–but she knows of giving thanks and demonstrating appreciation for those around her.”

I hope your daughter is having a wonderful time in her rehearsals for Nutcracker and you both have a truly blessed Holiday and holiday season!

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Living the Balanced Life November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving has always been important to me, however for the past 2 years it has new meaning. My husband suffered a brain aneurysm 2 Thanksgiving. He is fine and healthy, a walking mracle. So, I always get reflective this weekend. I plan to write a post about this soon.
Bernice
Living the Balanced Life´s last [type] ..Is drinking coffee adding to your stress level

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Aileen November 24, 2010

WOW Bernice, how truly blessed that you have him with you alive, well and healthy. I understand how Thanksgiving has a new meaning to you. thank you for sharing this. I wonder if the post you write about it will be written by the both of you -of contain both of your experiences with it.

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Pat November 24, 2010

I am thankful for everything that has happened in my Life.
Even the stuff we think shouldn’t have:
IE:
Widowed Twice
Cancer Survivor
Ectopic Pregnacy
Loss of 2 Children

because . . .

~.♫ò♥. ~ there IS a Blessing built into EVERYTHING that happens to us! ~.♫ò♥.~

IN JOY ALWAYS NOW!
Namaste’

_/|\_

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Aileen November 25, 2010

Pat, Thank you for sharing your gratitude and your perspective. Your gratitude list expands my mind as well as the minds of others, thank you.

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emily November 24, 2010

: ) May you be blessed with abundance in your life and your spirit dance with the blessings of gratitude for always. Your list is inspiring as is your many posts. Have a heart filled Thanksgiving and know you are rock solid. I am filled with gratitude for everything you share!

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Aileen November 25, 2010

Thamk you Emily. I wish you and yours a most beautiful Thanksgiving

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Tess The Bold Life November 24, 2010

Aileen,
Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m grateful for all the love that I have and because I do I’m grateful for all the love I have to share as well. I love the peek a boo belly!
Tess The Bold Life´s last [type] ..You’re Invited to Change the World Through the Girl Effect

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Aileen November 25, 2010

Tess, that is beautiful, “I’m grateful for all the love that I have and because I do I’m grateful for all the love I have to share”
have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

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Angela Artemis November 24, 2010

Aileen,
I loved hearing about your family and I love the photo of your family you’ve included. Your little tummy is soo cute! I also love the list of things you’re grateful for too.

I’m grateful for so many things – I don’t know where to start. I’m eternally grateful to the couple who bought my house. I’m also grateful for all the new friends I’ve made in my blogging journey this last year – you being one of them! I’m grateful that I have such a blessed life and a family who loves me. I’m also grateful to work for a great company that appreciates what I do, and where I have health benefits.

Being grateful for every little thing in my life makes me feel happier – and that is enough for me. Who could ask for more than that?

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Aileen.
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..The Amazing Grace of Thanksgiving Day

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Aileen November 25, 2010

Angela, I can feel your gratitude.

I am so happy to hear you house sale went through and now you start a new chapter and new adventure.

I too am grateful for the new blogging friends I made this year. It’s makes life more colorful and adds even more inspiration.

Have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving day and weekend

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Louise November 24, 2010

What wonderful reading today – you have shared so much and your inspiration is such a blessing. I am grateful for life, love, family, health, friends and America. I could go on and on but each day I give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Aileen November 25, 2010

Ahhh, you are divine.

I hope joy overflows and keeps you high :)

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Lance November 26, 2010

Aileen,
First off…I just love the family picture you have shared. I see love in that picture…and that’s something pretty sweet.

And I’m just back home, after spending some time with my parents. It was also a good time to take a step back, slow down, and reflect on this wonderful life.

Today, I’m thankful for family and friends, for this home I have, for the love I feel in my heart, for the opportunities to explore (internally and externally), and so much more….

Writing this, just now…it felt so good. Thank you, Aileen, for being in my life, and for helping me to see the possibilities that lie within life…
Lance´s last [type] ..Close To Home And Far Away

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Aileen December 2, 2010

Lance, how wonderful you were able to take in the holiday and step back, slow down, reflect, and be with family. How wonderful to be filled with such love, light and all good feelings & energies. I wish you all the best this life offers!

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J.D. Meier November 29, 2010

Reflection and appreciation are the way to go … it’s a powerful cycle, and an empowering viewpoint.

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Aileen December 2, 2010

Hi J.D. yes it is a powerful cycle – and one that we can all choose even those who have a harder time finding their way into appreciation, we can all choose this cycle.

Wishing you a world of gratitude and the joy it brings!

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Joy November 30, 2010

Aileen,
Your peek a boo belly has just been blessed many times!
I read this today and think you are so awesomely beauty filled! What Light you are for who connect with you..Thank you for sharing that Light as you do!
My heart fills with gratitude over something new each moment…as simple as the glorious moon and radiant stars above..as delightful as when my loved ones laugh..as complex as the grandness of the ocean, the beach, the hills when I walk in my favorite spot. I choose to open my heart and find that there is always something to be thankful for…each and every moment..
Joy´s last [type] ..Time to Get Funky With It !!!

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Aileen December 2, 2010

Joy, you are divine! Thank you for your wonderful words.

The way you embrace gratitude is wonderfully beautiful. It must be contagious to those around you.
“I choose to open my heart and find that there is always some thing to be thankful for…each and every moment..”

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Mark Brown November 30, 2010

We have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful that you shared your Thanksgiving experience and your appreciation for your father as your became more aware of who he was and why. Love to you!
Mark Brown´s last [type] ..To Not Compromise Our Authentic Self

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Aileen December 2, 2010

Thank you Mark!!

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Aaron Fuller December 1, 2010

We don’t actually celebrate thanksgiving here in our place but there are hotels and restaurants who offer celebration during this day as their own way to serve other races living here. I’m happy that you already appreciate everything as you grow older. May all of have be blessed no matter what beliefs we have right now.
Aaron Fuller´s last [type] ..Reverse Phone Number Lookup

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Aileen December 2, 2010

I like your heart, “May all of have be blessed no mater what beliefs we have “

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