How to Better Experience the Season of Gratitude
Monday, November 20, 2017 at 8:47AM
Linda Samuels in Moments, Thanksgiving, Wonderfully Human, family, focus, gratitude, happy, home, let go, list, organizing, overwhelm, time

Thanksgiving is this week. Did it sneak up on anyone else, or was it just with me? Several people I’ve spoken with are still undecided about their turkey day plans. My husband, Steve, and I are looking forward to hosting the family and spending time together. The grocery shopping has begun and the cooking will begin soon. With my attention these past few months on organizing our family home of 56+ years and preparing it for sale, I wasn’t sure if I’d have the mental bandwidth to host 22 people this year. However, it’s one of our family traditions, and I didn’t want to skip it. Instead of getting overwhelmed by my to do list, I’ve shifted my focus to gratitude. After all, isn’t that what this season is all about? Celebrating milestones, having family traditions, and finding time to be with loved ones are very important to me. This is something my family instilled in me.

While organizing my childhood home, I discovered some treasures that made me feel especially grateful. This week’s shares are about celebration and gratitude. Digging deep into the “stuff” found in our family home was at times an emotionally challenging process. Discovering treasures along the way helped me to better navigate the tumultuous journey. After I let go of a lot, what remained was a deep sense of gratitude.


Celebrating Milestones

One of the things that my parents believed in was celebrating. That included birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and any moment that marked a shift or important change- life’s milestones. My folks were masters at making us feel special. One of the ways my Dad did that was by making big posters to mark the occasions. With his great cartoons and bold lettering adorning large poster boards, he’d turn a normal day into something special. In this photo, we’re celebrating my brother’s 10th birthday with poster, balloons, and me (age four) with sunglasses. I’m feeling grateful that my parents taught us to honor and celebrate life’s moments.


Celebrating Travel

Aside from making special occasion posters for us, my Dad loved to sketch and doodle, especially when he was on vacation. He’d always bring a sketchpad with bottles of India ink, charcoal or watercolors. I have fond memories of being by his side and drawing together. In going through the family home, I found some of his sketchbooks. This is a drawing he did is of the Wellfleet home we rented one summer in Cape Cod when I was ten. I loved that house by the sea and the time we spent there together. They were such slow, leisurely, stress-free, happy days. I was so surprised to find this drawing. All those beautiful memories came flooding back of the family playing games together, making candles, walking along the beach, listening to my brother play cello, and eating meals at the long picnic-style table. Our family loved being by the sea. I still love the sea and am grateful for the beautiful memories I have of time spent there with my family.


Celebrating Generations

Getting the families together was important to my parents and their parents. While I don’t recall what the occasion was, I can tell from my face and body language (I’m the little one smiling in the front row,) that I am so happy to be surrounded by my siblings, grandparents and mother. My parents often gathered the family together and knew how important that was to maintain strong family bonds. I have warm memories of time spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m grateful to my parents and their parents for instilling the sense of family in me.


For those of you that celebrate, I wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving. Has getting organized ever triggered for you feelings of gratitude? What are you remembering? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





Article originally appeared on The Other Side of Organized by Linda Samuels (
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