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  • Writer's pictureMaria A. Mansfield

Grateful for our blessings and our challenges

As we gather this Thanksgiving Holiday, I am grateful for the blessings and challenges I've had this year. Looking back, I'm aware of so many moments which unfolded into another year of positive outcomes. I'm never short of amazed at how life offers us unexpected gifts and how they both nurture and strengthen us if we mindfully observe them.

The highlights, just to name a few, would have to include having my family at home, enjoying my son's visits from College, seeing my extended family in Argentina, and visiting my best friend. However, there are so many other little things like walks outside with our dog Wilson, sharing family dinners, enjoying nature, and seizing everyday opportunities to love and serve. And, of course, the chances we all get to read something interesting, study and learn from others, and work on personal development goals.

Then there are those other times. When we suffer the loss of someone or something. These tragic events seem to tear our emotional fabric in ways that take a grieving process to mend. Yet, I believe they are part of everyone's life in any given year -although they might not necessarily be social media material because of how private they are. We walk through them the best way we know how, maybe with a resilient heart, a hopeful mindset, and eyes that see the good even amid a challenge.

I'm also thankful for every opportunity to study and learn something every single day. I believe learning helps us stay relevant. As Kirill Korshikov said: "Never stop learning because life never stops teaching." So, I've turned my car into a lecture room with inspiring audio teachings and my kitchen table into my study hall. These days anyone can learn anything anywhere.

Last but not least, I'm grateful to God for my life and for all the simple -yet meaningful things we get to enjoy freely every day. I'm learning that being thankful is a way of life. It's also a matter of perspective. Being grateful focuses more on the gifts we already have than on what we lack. It all depends on how we experience it.

Thanksgiving is so much more than a holiday tradition, turkey, pie, football or, Black Friday deals. After all, like Fumio Sasaki suggests: We buy more things thinking they'll make us happy. But do they? Can they? The shine wears off them so fast…

I hope this Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on the gift of family, and the memory of the ones we've lost. Cherishing the great people in our life. Family isn't always blood. After all, friends are the family we choose ourselves. So whoever sits at our Thanksgiving table this year, I hope it's a joyful celebration among those we love and love us back. The rest is all but stuffing.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

All my best,

Maria A. Mansfield, PRS



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