• Amanda Olivo

An Attitude of Gratitude

Taking some time to be thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that each of you was able to take some time this holiday to celebrate with your family and friends all that you have to be thankful for.

I found myself caught in many reflective moments this week. Every year on Thanksgiving Eve, my family attends a celebratory church service with our church community. It is an incredibly joyful service with modern Christian music, reflections from some of the youth (often a college aged student), other church members, and an overall grateful mood of coming home and thankfulness.

For first year college students, this is often the first time they are home after being away at college since September. They are joyful, enthusiastic, and have grown tremendously in just a few short months. For the adults, it is a time of reunion and reflection. Just walking through the doors of our church I was greeted by people I have known my whole life. Embraced by those I haven't seen in months. Caught up with those I see and communicate with often. Our church community is extremely unique. We welcome all where ever they are in their journey with Christ into our doors and to our table. The testament of strength and support during times of celebration and times of deep hurting in our community has been something I have been grateful for my entire life. It is a place I know where people will help without hesitation.

Knowing that this group of people has got my back gives me so much strength.

I was pretty emotional this year as I sat in our usual 2nd row pew with my parents. As I listened to the reflections, watched people I grew up with come home to sing in the choir, and even as I sang many of the songs that I have committed mostly to memory after so many years...I had to actively fight back tears. (I really need to wear waterproof mascara more often) My family and I have been through a pretty trying year with a lot of heartache, while also balanced by so many beautiful and happy moments. I felt more then ever this year grounded in who I am and the person I have built these past thirty years. The tears I was holding back were those of deep thankfulness. Despite all the pain, the sorrow, I was so grateful to be there in that moment. Thankful for the beautiful voices coming together in harmony. Grateful for my parents, my sister, my family those present and those that have past. The sacrifice and struggles they have encountered to allow me to be present in that moment and contribution to the person I have become. Grateful for the love and support I have from my fiancé and the life we have built and the future we are walking together towards. A lot has happened this year and I am only planning for 2020 to be even bigger.

As we go into this holiday season, I hope you take even more moments to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Take a few seconds to just be grateful because even during the darkest times there are moments of light and love.

Perhaps start a gratitude journal.

Call your family and friends to tell them how thankful you are for them.

Send a note to someone you care for.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to the upcoming joyful holiday season. I am so grateful for this community already and I hope it continues to be a place of light for all.

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