Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Things I Am Thankful For – 2017 Edition

The afternoon sun shines in through the windows of my home, filling it with a warm glow. The aromas of today’s Thanksgiving meal, lovingly prepared by my husband, waft through the house. My girls deliver a continuous happy chatter as they discuss the latest shenanigans of their stuffies. My parents and brother, all in good health, will be arriving soon. I have very much to be thankful for this Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.

And yet it is hard to not feel uneasy about the abundance of favour in my life currently when looking at the news of the world. From the multiple hurricanes this year, to the Mexico earthquakes, to the Las Vegas mass shooting, to a local family missing their husband and father, there are more than enough reminders about how others have their lives devastated in a moment. I cannot be so special as to be able to avoid catastrophe forever.

Thankfully I finished reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown this week. I now know queasy feeling is me experiencing what she names “foreboding joy”:

In a culture of deep scarcity—of never feeling safe, certain, and sure enough—joy can feel like a setup…We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The antidote to foreboding joy, that emerged from Brené Brown’s research? Practicing gratitude. So let’s give it a go.

Things I Am Thankful For – 2017 Edition

  • Having my husband arrive home safely each day. Who feeds our family so well with his mastery in the kitchen. And having such a relationship that we can heatedly debate playfully argue the semantics about whether the location of a friend, is “one car over” or “two cars over”.
  • The continuing growing and thriving of my dear daughters. Even if this growing and thriving comes with a testing of wills and the emergence of hormones and brain changes.
  • The inevitable careful negotiation and navigation of space by my family members while we host them to dinner in my small home…While it may be annoying, it means I still have a home, the resources to pull together a dinner, and healthy family members.
  • Having the love and humour of a great group of friends who make equal effort to get together and have real life experiences together. You’ve helped push me to do some new things (e.g. public speaking at EtchTalk, playing bubble soccer) but also help establish some traditions that my family looks forward to again and again (e.g. travelling, group camping, Easter egg hunts, Halloween pumpkin carving, BBQs and potlucks)
  • My membership in some group chats with friends near and far, where the conversations are full of humour, intellectual ideas, great advice, mutual support, and love.
  • Finishing reading a spate of books recommended from trusted friends and colleagues that are really helping me make sense of how to navigate the world, and how to help raise my kids to navigate the world. These are:
    • Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown
    • Mindset-The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck
    • Fierce Conversations, by Susan Scott
  • The continued success of both GrantBook, my workplace, and my contributions there. I’m proud of our non-traditional organizational culture and the amazing things we are accomplishing with our wholehearted approach. Even if this means sometimes things are awkward and murky, I’m thankful that we all embrace the uncertainty together.
  • The joy I felt multiple times through the evening of watching Fall for Dance North Program 1. It’s probably been a while since i let my cynicism fully drop like it did that night.

I end with this poem from a Canadian poet I only just found out about, (Brampton native and U Waterloo grad!) Rupi Kaur.

balance

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

~Jen

Things I am thankful for – 2016 edition

It’s a beautiful Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Toronto, even as the temperature is starting to dip down. The leaves are starting to turn colours and there is a certain nip in the air. It’s a perfect atmosphere to stop and reflect on the things I am thankful for:

  • Laughs and high-fives with my best friend, confidante, and partner in this venture of life—my husband Tai.
  • That my daughters are funny, decent, curious, imaginative, book-loving little people. Most of the time i do enjoy hanging out with them. I know they are in the honeymoon ages now (i.e. between 6 and 12 years old) I hope I can still say the same thing when they become teenagers.
  • The smooth, round cheeks of my daughters that are still just perfect for kissing. Their bodies barely fit on my lap for long snuggles any more, their limbs poking out every which way like tree branches.
  • My health, and that of my immediate and extended family. Reading the memoir When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi made me contemplate my feelings about my own mortality, and I appreciate how my good health lets me plan for longer time horizons, years into the future. But, it’s a gentle reminder to appreciate the here and now.
  • The companionship and good humour of my friends. We continue to invest in time with each other, and make new memories. Although, the memories are starting to blend together, as the years add up. The bonus is seeing our children become close friends with each other as well.
  • Even after a year of growth at GrantBook, I still love my work and my colleagues in my current job.
  • The joy of watching beautiful dance, and reading many wonderful books this year. It feeds my soul, perhaps as an antidote to the stresses of the daily news. This upcoming year I hope to add some great theatre to the mix. Starting with…
  • Hamilton! Our friends C-squared were able to get us tickets to see the musical Hamilton in Chicago! For Tai and me, this is our 10th anniversary present to each other. Road trip!
  • That the federal election campaign period in Canada is typically only 5 weeks, compared to the nearly 2 year process in the United States. I’ve been horrifyingly transfixed with the US election campaign between Clinton and Trump. Thank goodness our federal elections and leadership races have never been this crazy. Our election a year ago seems so quaint in comparison. Is the Canadian political system is structured in a way that prevents a Trump happening here? I’d love to talk though that theory.
  • And the Jays made the playoffs!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

~Jen

The Many Things I Am Thankful For

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, everyone!

It’s been a gorgeous holiday weekend this Thanksgiving 2015 in Toronto, at least in terms of the weather. There are many things to be thankful for, and I really enjoy having a specific holiday to ask us to stop our busy lives for a while and reflect on this.

I am thankful for having family and friends that we can gather together for a large meal and actually enjoy each others’ company. I am thankful that we do have access to food and drink in abundance, and are not worrying about how to put the next meal on the table.

I am thankful for my general good physical and mental health, and that of my family and close friends.

I am thankful for my husband and my daughters E1 and E2, and the abundance of little joys they bring me each day. (and so I overlook the little annoyances, haha!)

I am thankful that I live in a country that has strong institutions and underlying belief in democracy. For all my disagreements with the policies and functioning of the current political party governing our country, I have no fear that they would ignore the election results and try to maintain power, leading us towards either a dictatorship or civil war. Could this be because we are actually a constitutional monarchy? Perhaps…you may discuss this amongst yourselves.

I am thankful that after my leave from work last year, I was able to find my way to land in a great place for this next phase of my working career.

I am thankful for those monthly pizza lunches at school where I can take a one-day break from having to make and pack their school lunch! And I am thankful for a good working dishwasher to wash all these snack and lunch containers in addition to our home dishes. (I shudder to think what would happen to my marriage if we had to resort to the old days of using rock-paper-scissors to determine who would hand-wash that day’s dishes)

Then there are these long-form articles that I’ve encountered in recent months that have really stayed with me…and made me very thankful that I am not facing these same impossible choices:

  • Whether they are refugees or economic migrants, the basic choice is basically the same: whether leaving home to voluntarily face the dangers of human smuggling is a better choice than staying at home.  “Menaced by gangs, El Salvador’s children are running for their lives“, Stephanie Nolen in The Globe and Mail, Aug 29, 2015, is one such example. The hundreds of thousands others trying to migrate to Europe is another, and there are headlines nearly daily on the situation.
  • Before reading this piece, I had no real understanding of why there was a section in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Mobility Rights, which includes the right to move anywhere within our country. This story is jaw-dropping—what educated and middle-class income earners would choose to have their families live in subterranean, makeshift, mouldy housing?  I understand I have a truly privileged life, considering what these people will endure for the hope of building a better future for their children. “The ‘Ant Tribe’ of China” by Doug Saunders in The Globe and Mail, Aug 21, 2015.
  • In “Syria’s Climate Conflict“, by Audrey Quinn and Jackie Roche, the cartoon succinctly explains how climate change helped spark a bloody civil war. I am thankful that I live in an area where the effects of climate change not yet caused dramatic changes to our society, but I do want our government to take action to address this now.
  • And along those lines, I’m thankful I live in an area with access to fresh water. The ongoing California drought is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

And lastly – I’m thankful for the opportunity to keep speaking my mind. Cheers!