Friday, November 27, 2009

'Tis the Season to be Thankful!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day. What a brilliant holiday! No gifts to buy, no major expense, just good food, a day off, and the opportunity to give thanks.

I was raised in a home with very little money. We had one older car that my parents shared, we each owned one pair of tennies and a pair of church shoes - sometimes a pair of sandals in the summer - usually 2 pair of jeans and a handful of shirts. We moved around a lot and lived in rentals and tiny student housing apartments for much of my formative years. But we certainly never went hungry, we were always clean and cared for and we had all our needs met. We knew we were loved.

We were poor compared to many of our school mates, but we were rich compared to the majority of the world. And I learned that you don't have to have money to be happy. I also learned (from my optimistic mother) that a huge part of being happy is feeling grateful for everything you do have. You don't have to look very far to find someone worse off than yourself.

My kids asked me one time why we weren't rich (they were about 7 and 5). I got a little bit upset at that and marched them into the back room to show them our freezer full of range-fed beef. I also talked to them about how we have our own home, horses, cars, bedrooms full of toys and everything we could possibly need. And to be always wanting more is to be ungrateful.

And ungrateful is something I never want my children to be.

For the most part, they are very unspoiled children. They are used to having modest Christmas' and they get very excited about very little. They always thank me profusely for every homecooked meal - not cooking every night tends to make them more grateful when I do. (It really works, you should try it sometime.) They're happy with hand-me-downs and no Nintendo. I'm proud of them.

And we are rich, definitely rich. It would take me days to list all my blessings and I love a holiday where we take the time to be appreciative. Here are just a few of the things I'm thankful for:

Him, definitely him. I really do have an exceptionally good husband.

And these 3 cute little buggers...What good kids they are.

All of these guys, and the rest of our extended family, you know who you are! I'm so thankful for all our wonderful family.

These 4 - especially the one on the right. That's Patty, she takes care of the kids.

And this sweet girl:

She was our wedding present from my old boss and she's almost 14, three years older than our oldest child and very much a part of the family.

All of my great friends close to home or far away - I love you guys!

The great place I work - man do I love my job and my co-workers!

And I had to specifically mention a few of my closest companions...

And for those of you who have wondered "What the heck is Parelli? and why did she name her blog that?" Here's a picture of my horse training mentors....

Pat and Linda Parelli. They rock! They're changing the world for horses - one human at a time.

I love this picture because it includes two things that I'm so very thankful for - my country and the temple. Many people in this world are not free to worship how they please, I'm so grateful for that freedom and for my religion.

And most importantly, my Savior. My soul aches with love and appreciation for Him and all that he did for me, for us all.

"I know that my Redeemer lives, what comfort this sweet sentence gives."

Gratitude equals happiness and I am one very happy person.

Thanks for listening. Happy Holidays!