Hello, November. It’s So Great to See You.

November is the time we as a nation gather to express gratitude. Family, generosity, and thankfulness are the core of this month. Centered around the Thanksgiving holiday, November is a month where we can all pause, be thankful, and focus on spending time with our loved ones. This year, I am especially grateful to finally be able to see, greet, and visit with family and friends for the holidays again, especially at Thanksgiving.

No one could have foreseen the amount of change our city, state, nation, and world have been forced to make during the Pandemic. The uncertainty of the last couple of years has been challenging for families, children in particular. One major lesson from this time is that you cannot take your family, friends, and loved ones for granted. Thankfully, November gives us the opportunity to act on that lesson.

November is a wonderful time of year to look at your life and appreciate all the people who are a part of it. What’s more, it is easy to get into the spirit of thankfulness!

This November, to help get you in the mood of gratitude, I invite you to do some, or all of the following ideas: 1) Make it your goal this month to spend time together (in person or through video) with your loved ones; 2) Share family traditions and tell stories. If your celebration involves multiple generations or families, share your traditions and own childhood experiences with each other; 3) Put aside differences. We are in a very polarizing time in our country and world. While we are all different, we all need community.

Get-togethers are necessary for us to thrive, but tension and stress can be major obstacles to the warmth and enjoyment we are all craving. This month, vow to put aside your differences and instead focus on what you are grateful for in each person present; 4) Be thankful. Turn your focus away from the negatives and on to the positives. When you sit down for a meal with your loved ones, ask everyone to share what they are thankful for. Sharing in your own and others’ gratitude will lead to more gratitude; and 5) Last, work together. Whether you're cooking with your children, decorating your home, watching a football game, or celebrating with a Thanksgiving potluck, involve each other in the preparation and clean-up of the actual activities. Make a game of it.

After all, these “bookend” times surrounding the actual event can be great opportunities to both celebrate and enjoy some additional family time.

No matter how you choose to celebrate and enjoy this month, remember that we are all in this together, and that being grateful for one other, especially your family, is an action that we can no longer take for granted.

If you or someone you know is a mother in need of a group of mothers to share with and grow her own village, please visit our website at the link below and register to be a Mother of Monica. Go to https://stmonica.net/ministries/fellowship-groups/moms

By Cheryl Thode

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