Paideia Tribune

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Hugs and Happiness for the Holiday

2018-11-20 Eric and Sharla JohnsonEMOTIONAL

AMAZING LOVE, Healing, Hope & Happiness – Thanksgiving is annual national holiday marked by traditional meal, often defined by turkey and trimmings.

The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621.

The holiday is ultimately defined by religious observances of giving thanks.

As we enter this holiday season, I’m wondering if people, even Christians, wait until Thanksgiving to recognize all the blessings they’ve experienced.

Is the holiday meal the only setting when we connect with our loved ones? Is the Thanksgiving prayer different from any other occasion of expressing gratitude? Is this just a convenient turkey day off from work that provokes a feel-good sensation – sitting around the table reminiscing about highlights of your year.

It is good to look in the eyes of family and friends and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Face-to-face contact is priceless.

Did you know that hugging releases chemicals in the body that causes a decrease in heart rate and drop in the stress hormones.

Family therapist, Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

More importantly, it is wonderful to bow our heads and say thanks over a golden turkey and all the trimmings prepared with love.

On the other hand, is it all just a ritual that repeats itself since 1621?

At midnight, does the ritual end when Black Friday begins.

Do we need a reminder to remain thankful and live life daily with a grateful heart?

My wife mentioned in our previous blog article that we relocated to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona in July – the temperatures reached as high as 115 during the summer.

We endured.

There was a mild monsoon season where I got unexpectedly caught in a strong windstorm.

Again, I survived – soaked from head to toe.

Suddenly, the strangest thing has happened in November – the temperatures are mild and in the 70s.

Our rose bushes started blooming in the front lawn.

The trees in our backyards have beautiful yellow flowers.

There’s a sweet fragrance lingering in the air under the clear blue skies as we walk outdoors.

Initially, I was puzzled.

As I sought for the outdoor aroma, I was drawn to a rosebush. I literally stopped to smell the roses.

I realized that we had move to a place that felt like paradise.

I began to give thanks.

Since we stopped using our air-conditioning our bill has been cut in half.

Upon paying the bill, again, I was grateful.

Every morning when I wake up, the sun greets me in all it’s glory – I see why they call this place “The Valley of the Sun”.

I’ve been informed that we will have 360 days of sunshine.

Sunshine enhances your mood, and I’m grateful for that too.

Now that we’re planted in this new place, the harvest is plentiful.

For example, our son secured a steady salaried job.

Recently, he needed $900 worth of repairs to his car. He made the decision to fix it without any of our support. “I got this” he said.

Praise God – we are grateful.

My one-hour commute on the wintery icy highways of Indiana is now reduced to a 20-minute casual drive surrounded by palm trees and mountain ranges.

We are thankful.

We have so much to be thankful for when experiencing the goodness of God everyday.

This Thanksgiving will be marked by hugs and happiness with family and friends – I hope to duplicate that feeling everyday I’m in the land of the living.

Gratitude is greater than any superficial and seasonal sensation. Our desire is to daily demonstrate and exude an attitude of gratitude.