I love thank you cards. I love to read them. Love to see them. Love the humanity inherent in them. I especially love when they come from strangers. My husband gets them all the time. He knows how much I love to see them too. This time, the stranger was more than gracious, so much so that she bought a mug so he never forgets her. I love her for it. Frontline workers are exhausted. The pandemic is unending and we are all tired. To see him sacrifice even his own health to care for others, always makes my thankful for him. To see the grace from the people he helped makes it all worth it. I may not be at the clinic everyday or even at the hospital but every good surgery is felt at home. Bad ones too are felt. But thankful ones hold a special place in our heart. Thank you to all those who take the time to thank frontline workers still. Your grace and thanks is so appreciated.

A friend shared this quote yesterday in the middle of a crazy work schedule: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”― Patanjali

I will share insights from my journey the past month with writing the best grant of my life. I obviously don’t know whether it will ever get funded but it was pure joy writing this one. Reading this quote shared by my friend helped me a lot during the last mile stretch of the grantwriting journey. As if the universe also knew I needed further encouragement, I was taken to the book of Isaiah this morning, chapter 41 verse 10. Not only will God call you, but when he does, he wants you to not be afraid. He is God and nothing will terrify you. He is prepared to make you strong and help you. He is also prepared to protect and save you. He is ultimately the Lord your God and when you live in his purpose for your life, nothing will terrify you. I am not afraid to live in my purpose. The past month solidified it hence why I am keeping this here. Keep living in your purpose and trust God.

I am always a little bored with demonstrations of greetings during the holidays. Demonstrations like, similar text messages that often begin on Thanksgiving and end, at least during the holidays, on New Year. They rely on the same things, the same promises, the same wishes, even the same prayers. I am sure you got a bunch of them yesterday. Most start with ‘Happy.’ I am guilt of doing so too. I typed it yesterday on my blog. But as the day wore on, as the cooking and silence continued, even as I spoke to some family members and knew that this year’s Thanksgiving would be a very quiet one, my own text messages became a bit intentional.

My 8year old’s gratitude drawing

I thought intently about each person and why I was thankful they were in my life, healthy, safe and sound, in the middle of a pandemic no less. I professed my love with words that came from my soul, words that I took the time to really reflect just how lucky I am to be blessed and surrounded by people who continually see the best in me. Things I often don’t see in myself, but yet, in their own way, they pull out each layer, one slice at a time, no matter how difficult or worrisome I can be. They all make be a better version of myself and for that, my yesterday was filled with gratitude to them. My whole being was grateful, blissful, content, joyful, blessed.

My 6year old’s gratitude drawing.

I told my kids to do the same, to take the time to reflect in writing or draw this year on why they were grateful. Of course kids would be kids, and besides being thankful for mom and dad, my 3 year was thankful for ice-cream, my 6 year old, learning especially from dad, and my 8 year, pizza and our home. That truly is the gift of this season. From my home and heart to yours, keep gratitude in mind.

My 3year old’s gratitude drawing with help from 8year old.
He really loved reading this.

The Bible verse in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5 verse 18, notes that we should ‘be thankful in all circumstances.’ This verse takes on a special meaning when you consider all that we have endured in 2020. Still, we are told to be thankful in all circumstances. Hardly a Thanksgiving day goes by without folks expressing what they are thankful for. Everyone knows that gratitude plays a role in today’s Thanksgiving celebration. This interior attitude of thankfulness regardless of life circumstances takes on a special meaning this 2020. Not only am I grateful that key people in my life allow me to thrive on a daily basis, but this a year, I am especially grateful for the blessings I am consistently surrounded by. I choose to be thankful in all circumstances.

Still on my children, my thanksgiving.

Even with this pandemic, as challenging as it maybe, with social distancing, not going to church as we want to, homeschooling, working from home at the same, even wearing masks all the time. I am thankful in all circumstances. The past couple of months, I have also watched my husband work extremely hard to save lives, at the risk of his own life as an essential health care worker, with some stress, some deaths invariably, given his line of work, some deaths so painful, he brings it home just to release and be vulnerable around those that love him. Still, we are thankful in all circumstances. That silence and survival are my life’s greatest stories which chapters that keep writing themselves, chapters that shouldn’t surprise me (but still does after yet another incident just yesterday), chapters that truly capture what it means to be black, and female in academia, chapters that motivate me and serve as a reminder that there is a time to plant (silence) and a time to sow (survival), my life’s story unfolding before my eyes. Still I remain thankful even in these circumstances. Then there are my children. My life’s greatest joy, the core of my being, the strength of my life, my brightest light, my glowing moon, my blissful water, my passion for living, the source of my heart’s content, my innermost peace, my happiness personified, my creative confidence, my perfect poem, my sustainability, my grace. My children make me a better person. They help me grow and thrive in a world full of unknowns. Because of them I am content in who I am. With them, even a pandemic has allowed me to turn the unknown into opportunities of growth. The skills that I have gained from mastering homeschooling for example, are worthy of thanks. For them, I am thankful in all circumstances.

Thankful for the lifesaving gift I am lucky to call my husband.

This season maybe harsh, brutal, even painful for so many. I know it is easier said than done. But still be thankful in all circumstances. Life itself, even in the middle of a pandemic is a gift. Our tomorrows are not guaranteed. But today and always, it is important to keep being thankful in all circumstances.