As I sit here in front of the fire on this bitterly cold Sunday evening (yes, that’s usually when I sit down to write), I am reflecting on many things. I have just finished browsing Expedia Hotels in Manhattan for March, thinking that on our first wedding anniversary we celebrated there, and now that our tenth is approaching maybe we should go back and take the kiddos. 

Then I started thinking about this time last year when my sweet boy had a toy drive for the children affected by Hurricane Sandy. We (my friend, mother and I) took the boy up to New York so he could experience the entire cycle of his toy drive.  It was an experience, to be sure.

I tell you now; I will never, ever, ever visit Manhattan in late November/December again.  I just remember how excited we all were the entire six hours drive up, even when we got into the city (after miles of traffic through the Lincoln tunnel). We dropped our bags in our tiny hotel room and off we went, dragging the boy along with us. I was jubilant at the thought that my six-year-old was going to experience New York City.

It turned out to be entirely too crowded, and when I say crowded I mean the entire city was jam-packed full of people. I (being the neurotic person I am) was holding my precious boy’s hand in a death grip, only to have him be the one to ultimately push through the crowds dragging his poor mother behind him.  He loved every minute of it, while I was having mild panic attacks (think mosh pit on every avenue) at every turn.

The next day as we packed up and headed to Queens to help unload the huge Abilene trailer full of toys I was anxious again. I was anxious about the unknown, I didn’t know what to expect in Queens, in the far Rockaways. I will tell you, it was one of the best days of my life. I was filled with joy, love and peace as we left and made some friends that I am still  in touch with today.  I love that feeling and truly believe that you can only really experience that when you step outside of your “comfortable” place and go where you are needed.

It’s too easy to sit in our comfortable homes, in front of our warm fires, and wonder about how the Thanksgiving turkey is going to turn out or what you are going to get so-and-so for Christmas. But folks, let me tell you, as I sit here reflecting on this cold night, the best times of your life are when you do something completely out of the ordinary, unexpected and all the while, doing good for someone else.

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, let us all be thankful. Thankful for this life we have been given, thankful for our two hands that can do so much good if we let them, our beating hearts that can be so filled with joy and love and for the opportunity to share that love with others. Let us all shine goodness and light and remember always to be thankful.


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