An Ounce of Gratitude Goes A Long Way.

It’s true isn’t it?

Whether it’s this mantra or “Count your blessings,” or “It’s better to give than receive,” there are plenty of reminders in the world meant to bring into focus what we have and encourage us to pay less attention to what we have not.

In this holiday season, I am reminded each year of those who have passed from this world that I love dearly.  I have a really good life, and I am thankful for so many things in my life.  Today, I want to share a few brief biographies of some people I miss and what I have today as a result of their influence:

My Mom.  My mom loved the Christmas holiday season.  She meticulously decorated every available surface of the house (I’m really not a fan of “Santa’s Villages,” but she sure was) and she made it a point to really appreciate this holiday season.  Mom really loved the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and I inherited her love of that movie.  Every year, I watch it multiple times and am reminded that we each have more of an impact than we realize, as George is given the gift of seeing what the world would have been like without him.  It is my annual theatrical reminder to consider the impact I have on others and to consider that impact on a daily basis.  Thank you, Mom!  I love you!

My Grandfather.  My grandfather was a really funny guy.  He had a big, bold personality and could be heard threatening to salivate us if we didn’t behave (It would be years later before I realized he was, in essence, threatening to spit on us.  We had no idea the definition at the time, and the punishment sounded lethal).  Dad, as I insisted on calling him at a very young age, loved the holiday season.  I think he loved it most of all, because all of his kids and grandkids would fill his and my Grandmother’s (Mom’s) house with electric anticipation of Santa’s visit.  Selfishly, I am grateful he was such an incredible grandfather, because he excelled at it so well.  Dad was in sales and had a very outgoing personality.  “Never met a stranger” is a fitting description, and it was never more evident than at Shoney’s restaurant at 6am on a Saturday before hitting the golf course.  I like to believe that I carry a small part of his personality with me as testament to Dad still today.  Thank you, Dad.  I love you!

My Great-Grandfather.  Dewey (as he insisted we call him..  It was his first name, and I would be an adult before realizing that I had grown up calling him by his first name) was an old school provider for his family, having grown up working in the coal mines of Kentucky.  During some summer months, my mom would take me to Granny’s and Dewey’s house and leave me for the day.  Sometimes, I would help Granny work in the yard.  Sometimes, I would spend an entire day playing cards with Dewey.  Dewey wasn’t a big talker (most especially with children), but he never turned down a game (or twelve) of rummy.  We could play for hours, breaking only for bathroom trips and lunch.  I was too young to have much at all in common with Dewey, but I was glad that he carved out something to have in common with me.  I was so proud as a young boy when I had the good fortune to beat Dewey at rummy, but he was quick to point out in those few instances that it was likely due to the fact that I was keeping score (Funny Guy!).  I was humbled when, at Christmas of 1994, I watched Dewey cry on Christmas Day.  Dad, his son-in-law, had died just eight days before, and we were all gathered for the day as a family.  Dewey, with no notice or forewarning, just wept in my grandparents’ living room as children tore open gifts.  It was a testament to his loving and sensitive heart and allowed me respect and love him in a much greater way.  Thank you, Dewey.  I love you!

There are plenty of other wonderful people who come to my mind during this time, but I’ll keep it brief.  Perhaps I’ll write a biographical series one day about some of these great people whom I have had the privilege of knowing.  They are literally racing through my mind as I write this.  At any rate, I encourage you to take the time today to count the blessings that have been bestowed upon you and what you are doing to teach those lessons forward.  Focus on your “haves” and less on your “have nots.”

I would love to hear lessons and stories from significant people in your lives.  Feel free to share in comments below or to even submit a guest piece of your own for inclusion.  Thank you for reading my thoughts.  Tomorrow begins today.

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