A Time to Stop and Thank

Good Monday all!

Obviously, this is no ordinary week. We are approaching the fourth Thursday in November which Franklin D. Roosevelt deemed a national holiday: Thanksgiving.

Every Sunday, I volunteer as a leader for a youth group, Summit County Youth (SCY). Last night, we celebrated Thanksgiving with the high school students before they travel to or await to see family and friends as they plan to share their gratitude together.

I felt like I was 8 years old again as we broke into small groups with the students and made hand turkeys. After we traced the outline of our hands, we wrote in each finger, or feather, different things we are grateful for.

We named something we are grateful for in the first; someone we are grateful for in the second; third, something fun; and anything else in the fourth and I would like to share with you this fine Monday morning what I am grateful for.

Something—Freedom/Opportunities: Not many people in this world have the luxury of living “care-free.” Of course we all have our concerns and worries at times, but most of us find ourselves in very fortunate circumstances. Living in the United States of America, we are considered “free,” in my opinion meaning: most of us have the opportunity to make life what we want it to be. We have our basic needs (food, water, shelter, love) met and our concerns become what we want to do with our lives. I believe this is a privilege most of us, including me at times, take for granted, and I wanted to extend my gratitude to the fortunate life I was born into: a life full of freedom and opportunity.

Someone—Phil Gallagher & Eric Mamula: Of course, most of the high school students defaulted to, “I’m thankful for my parents who have loved and cared and been there for me my entire life.” Although I am very thankful for both of my parents and the path they paved for me to live a flourishing and fulfilling life, I wanted to acknowledge other people (because I couldn’t choose just one) that have been a significant part of my life.

Phil is the director of SCY and has always extended his thoughts, prayers and helping hand whenever I needed it. As of late, I have reached out to him more than anyone for wisdom and advice through some difficult times I have faced and I could not be more grateful to have someone in my life who will never judge and always love me, for better or worse.

Eric is the owner of Downstairs at Eric’s, the sports bar of which I am one of the managers. I don’t think I will ever enjoy working for someone more than I do Eric. He has known me since I could barely walk and is a long time family friend but under that, he has helped me tremendously and taken care of me as an employee through my hospital stays and financial woes. He truly cares about me not only as an employee but as a person and genuinely cares for my wellbeing and I am grateful and proud to have him as an employer and a friend.

Something fun—Technology: Where would we be without technology? Fifteen or so years ago now we barely knew what a cellular phone was. Now? We have to have it on us at all times or else we will go insane. Smart 3D TVs, smartphones, laptops, computers, tablets, the Cloud, you name it. If it’s technology, I enjoy having it around. A lot of good and convenience can come from technology and I strive to utilize mine in such ways. I am grateful for the added convenience, connectivity, and overall fun that technology can bring us (of course, we can all use a break from time to time).

Anything else?—Friendships: As I have heard Phil say numerous times, “If you find yourself at the end of this life with one good friend still by your side, that has followed you through this life for better or worse, then you have succeeded.” Friendships have become very important to me lately and I am starting to see the truth in this statement. Friends can come and go so easily; whether if it’s distance that separates you or an argument or disagreement, friends can vanish on a dime. At this moment in my life, I am very grateful for four people in my life that have stuck by my side through my triumphs, my defeats, my anger, and my stupidity. I know I can count on them to encourage me to my highest highs and pick me up from my lowest lows, even if I may be a bit stubborn about it sometimes.

So there you have it! Another glimpse into my life and what I am grateful for.

I would like to leave you with this thought as you go forth during this holiday season with close friends and relatives: Be grateful for the ability to be grateful.

Consider what you are grateful for and share with everyone around you, but don’t forget to be grateful for the greatest gift: the life you have been given. Wake up every morning this week and breathe two simple words , “Thank you,” for being alive.

Until next Monday! And Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for all of you reading, following, and sharing my blog. 😀

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live (and be thankful for) Today, Say Tomorrow


“We are grateful for the time we have been given.”
          Edward Walker, The Village


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