Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today, more than ever, I am so appreciative and grateful for what I have.  Year round, I find myself always wanting more, desiring what I don’t have, and failing to recognize what I do have.  Lately, I’ve been trying to remind myself to be thankful for the blessings and gifts I am lucky enough to enjoy every day…

Home.  Home is feeling comfortable and loved, protected and warm.  It’s somewhere you can be yourself.  It doesn’t have to be a physical structure, but a state of mind that you create.  Home is where you are.

Although I believe home to be a state of being, I am lucky to have two places that I feel at home: Philadelphia and my childhood home in suburban New York.  Last night, I came back to NY for the first time since May, and it feels so nice.  There’s nothing like being in your childhood home for the Holidays.  Though I am now 22 years old, and a lot has changed, I still love this time of year.  When I am in my New York home, I’m reminded of everything that has made me who I am; I am grounded, refocused, and thankful for everything I’ve come from.  I am at home.

Memories.   Being home reminds me of my mother and all the amazing memories my family and I have made here.  Every crack and corner of this house has witnessed some of the best years of my life – I am so thankful to have had such a positive childhood.  And though I miss my mother terribly, especially during the Holidays, I am so happy I at least got time with her to make such happy memories.   And those memories are so valuable to me – more so than anything material.

The holidays were a special time for us – we always watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade together.  She would peel and cut potatoes while I picked apart many loaves of bread for stuffing.  And we spent the entirety of the day cooking, baking, and cleaning.  Together, we led the family in decorating our house for Christmas, spreading holiday cheer to every corner of the house.  My favorite part of the holidays, and my best memories of my mother, was baking hundreds of cookies with her: dutch chocolate, “thumbprint” (with raspberry jelly and walnuts), oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, sugar, and gingerbread.  There are so many traditions I shared with my mother, that I continue every year.  And though I can’t bake hundreds of cookies on my own, I use her recipes to make as many cookies as I can.  I am so thankful to be home for the holidays, with my dad and brother, feeling my mother’s spirit, and keeping our traditions alive.

Black Box wine.  It’s a $6 juice box of wine (about 3 glasses), super inconspicuous, and helped me get through 4+ hours of holiday travel.  Nothing is more stressful than getting home for the holidays, with bad weather, on Thanksgiving Eve – one of the most busy holiday travel days.  Thankfully, I had a little cabernet to get me through it.

Friends.  I know I’ve mentioned them in previous posts, but there are somethings that need repeating.  I could count the voids in my life, or I could count all the friends, laughter, and amazing memories that fill them.  This year, more than ever, I am thankful for great friends.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate.  More specifically, the budino at Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar.  It’s by far the best dessert I’ve ever had.  A layer of dark chocolate crust,  vanilla bean caramel, fresh cream, and sea salt.  Do yourself a favor: go get yourself one and do not share.  They’ve also got really great tapas plates and drinks.  Your welcome in advance.

My health.  There are so many people fighting diseases, sicknesses, and injuries.  And there are so many people without access to treatments or cures.  I am grateful for my health.

And being alive.  I have lived 22 beautiful years on this earth and look forward to each and every day.  There is so much of the world to explore, learn about, and love.  And while there are so many great things to do in life, the simple things are some of the most amazing.  Watch a sunrise.  Climb a mountain.  Give someone a hug.  Lay in a park and stare at the clouds.  Take a conscious deep breathe.  This Thanksgiving, I hope people think less about being the first one in the store or getting the best deals – stop and think about what the Holidays are all about: sharing love and peace to everyone you encounter.

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection.  We are so blessed to be here, in this world, at this very moment.  Today, and everyday, I am so thankful for everything I am and everything I have.

I hope you all enjoy your day with friends and family, those you love and that love you.  Eat lots, laugh much, and safe travels!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Let the mimosas and wine begin!
xo Michael

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