Every year around this time, I feel as though I’m on one of those walkways at the airport, but instead of moving along at a comfortable speed, I’m being carried at a hundred miles an hour. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and savor the blessings in my life.

Life is moments of happiness strung together with love that we have to enjoy and appreciate.

No one promised that life would be one joyful ride. It’s really more about learning to hang on and trying not to get knocked off along the way. If we’re lucky, we’re in for a long ride, and we hang on to get to those peaceful moments of happiness–the ones that sustain us and help us get through the rest of the ride.

Eileen Eagan worked with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity for thirty years. She wrote about a conversation she had with Mother Teresa when the only thing she had shared with her was a list of problems. Mother Teresa suggested that instead of the word problem, she use the word gift. From that day on, every time Eileen was going to inform Mother Teresa of a problem, she would use the word gift instead.

Sometimes a shift in the way we view life can help us get through difficult situations. Every challenge we face in life is a gift from God. It is not about what we want. It is about trusting in Him and having faith. Sometimes the harsh things we have to live through help us see the beauty we have in our lives. It takes great courage to hang on during difficult times, but it is precisely during these times that God’s love surrounds us. In A Return to Love, author Marianne Williamson wrote that someone had told her once “that the way peacock feathers are made is from peacocks eating thorns.”

When we are adults, it is sometimes difficult to get into the holiday spirit. How blessed children are that they can live life in a bubble and only see what they want to see.

The words thank and think come from the same root. Only when we stop and think about our blessings can we truly be thankful for them. There is a lot to be said about the small blessings that surround us that we so often take for granted. The small wonderful things that can’t be bottled up or sold at the supermarket are the daily sprinkles of joy we fail to see.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for all the gifts God has sent my way. The happy ones and the not–so–wonderful ones, yet all of them gifts I am willing to receive because they come from God.

“We can have so much more heaven with a grateful heart.” Joyce Hifler

By Maria Luisa Salcines

Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, certified parent educator and parent coach with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior, Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom, and Redirecting Corporate America. Contact her at her Web site at www.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.