The Ultimate in Thanksgiving

Do some words get jumbled in your head until you can’t remember what they mean anymore?  You know what I mean.  It’s like when you memorize something incorrectly; someone’s name, for instance.  For some reason that woman looks like a Susan to you when her name is actually Sharon.  For a while you don’t realize your mistake until, one day, you find out that her name is NOT Susan after all.  So, from then on she becomes the-woman-who’s-name-isn’t-Susan in your mind.  You may or may not remember that her real name is Sharon but, it is definitely NOT Susan.  Then she becomes Sharon-the-woman-who’s-name-isn’t-Susan.  Pretty soon all you remember is “Sharon” and “not”.  And that, my friends, is how you completely jumble two words in your head.  Take it from me.  I’m an expert.

For me, it’s like the words “Eucharist” and “Emmanuel.”  They both begin with “E”, are kinda long, have to do with Jesus’ presence, and sometimes get jumbled in my brain.  Now, let me clarify.  I don’t confuse the Holy Eucharist with Jesus as Emmanuel.  I know that the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus and that Emmanuel is a title used to refer to Him.  However, sometimes I forget if “Eucharist” or “Emmanuel” means “God with us.”  To me, it seems logical that the word Eucharist would mean “God with us” since that’s what happens in the consecration; God becomes present to us in the form of bread and wine. 

Well, in case you’re like me and get a little confused about those two words also, I’m here to tell you that “Emmanuel” (and not “Eucharist”) means “God with us.”  Whew!  Glad we cleared that up.  Hopefully, I didn’t confuse you in the process.

Now that we’ve addressed the “Emmanuel” confusion, what about “Eucharist?”  According to About.com’s Catholicism section by Scott P. Richert, the word “Eucharist” comes from Greek “by way of Latin” and means “thanksgiving”.  How beautiful!  The word we use to refer to Christ becoming present in the bread and wine means “thanksgiving!”  After all, if there’s anything we should give thanks for, it’s God loving us so much that He sent His Son to earth to die for our sins AND that He continues to send Jesus to us every time Mass is celebrated through the bread and the wine of the Holy Eucharist.  If that’s not cause for giving thanks, I don’t know what is.

So, amidst your travels and meal preparations, consider carving out some time for the ultimate in thanksgiving and attend Mass.  No, it’s not a holy day.  But, what better way to give thanks than to participate in the sacrament that is “thanksgiving” on Thanksgiving.

Many Blessings for a Peaceful and Grace-filled Thanksgiving,
Laura

Welcome to My Crowded Brain

Today I find my head going in so many different directions that I don’t know what to focus on.  Here’s a short list of thoughts that are taking up space in my head right now: 

  • an upcoming speaking engagement,
  • upcoming writing deadlines 
  • thanksgiving plans,
  • budget concerns,
  • a sick child,
  • paying for college,
  • my husband’s job stability,
  • Cub Scouts,
  • PTA,
  • a messy house,
  • laundry,
  • AND what to make for dinner!

With my head so crowded with all of these things, it’s no wonder that I’m getting so little done today!  So, with that in mind (along with everything else) today I’m going to share a song with you that we sing during the month of November at my preschool.  It’s simple.  It’s sweet.  And, I think, it’s the perfect thanksgiving prayer.

Thankful am I for all God gives to me.
Thankful am I for all God gives to me.
I’m thankful for my home,
and for my family.
Thankful am I for all God gives to me.
 
Blessings,
Laura

Year of Prayer – Month 2

November is here and it’s time for me to focus on a different form of prayer for the month.  But first, a quick analysis of how my Rosary October went.

I started off October full of goals and enthusiasm to pray five decades of the Rosary everyday but midway through the first week I was already falling short of that goal.  Since I didn’t want to fall into my all-too-common perfection-or-inaction M.O., I tried not to overreact.  Instead, I reminded myself that even a decade of a Rosary is better than none at all and I pushed forward.  I utilized several different resources to help me along my way including my Rosary CD and the Laudate app for my smart phone.  I found that, while my Rosary CD was very helpful, if I listened while I was driving, I was often too distracted by traffic (silly me) to focus on my prayer as much as I would’ve liked.  Evidently, I’m old school because the tools that were the biggest help to me last month were the Rosary beads I received at my First Communion and a Rosary booklet I got at a Catholic bookstore many years ago for about $2! 

By the end of the month, even though I fell far short of perfection, I found myself going to the Rosary more and more as part of my daily routine.  I had established a habit, of sorts, which was a big goal of my Year of Prayer.  Making prayer a part of my daily life instead of just a part of desperate times and letting that regular prayer draw me closer into communion and communication with my Lord was my goal.  So, I’m calling Month One of my Year of Prayer a success. 

I know this journey has only just begun but I think I’m on the right track and that’s a good thing!

Now, on to November-

As the holidays start to ramp up, prayer will be even more important to help me maintain focus and sanity.  At the same time, I need to be realistic about the demands on my time.  So, because November is a time to focus on gratitude for our blessings, I’m going to spend this month thanking God for all I’ve been given.  I’m going to try to dial back my prayer requests (with the exception of intercessory prayer for friends and family) and focus on the abundance of what I already have.  I’ll be using a mixture of formal prayers and spontaneous prayers throughout the month.  Here are a few lovely prayers of thanksgiving I found at AmericanCatholic.org that I’ll be using.  If you have any prayers you want to share with me, drop me a line and tell me about them.  Once again, I would love to have you join me on this spiritual journey.  In fact, I would be most thankful.  (See, it’s working already!)

Check out more of my thoughts on gratitude and the environment in my November column on CatholicMom.com today around 10 am Pacific Time.  Hope to see you there!

Blessings,
Laura

Thanks- what?

We are getting ready to celebrate what is quickly becoming the most understated and possibly overlooked holiday of the year-Thanksgiving.   Personally, I love Thanksgiving.  In fact, the older I get, the more I love it.  I like the idea of setting aside a day to give thanks.  I love that it involves spending time with family and friends.  There’s very little pressure other than cooking (which I enjoy) and the fact that pie is involved DEFINITELY doesn’t hurt!  After all, Thanksgiving is the pie holiday.  Halloween has candy.  Christmas has cookies.  Easter has brunch.  But, pie belong to Thanksgiving.

Now, I know I’m not alone in my love of this holiday.  Unfortunately, love for this holiday isn’t generally shared by the commercial and media powers that be.  After all, Thanksgiving has escaped the blatant commercialism that Halloween and Christmas have been victims of.  The grocery and gourmet foods stores do their best to milk some sales out of the holiday.  Even the home decor and kitchen stores make a buck or two out the last Thursday of November.  But, overall, Thanksgiving has remained mostly untouched by the marketing monster.  That may be another reason why I enjoy it so much.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving has been getting squeezed out more and more every year.  All you have to do is visit a big box store or even your local town to see the quick change from Halloween to Christmas with perhaps a small display (if you’re lucky) dedicated to Thanksgiving.

The last few years, I have become more and more annoyed by this holiday snub.  Being the person that I am, I have repeatedly voiced my disgust to my family.  I have to say that I am proud to say that my 12 year-old is firmly in my camp.  He has even voiced his own annoyance this year without any prompting from me!  I’m so proud!

So, in the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street activists, I propose a new movement–Occupy Thanksgiving.  The rallying cry could be “Come to Thanksgiving, Sit a spell, Stay a while!”  Who’s with me?

Gratefully,
Laura