Orange & Black, Red & Green
— Don't Forget What's In-Between

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I stagger in from my bi-monthly big-box store run grouchier than usual — household shopping is right down there with bikini waxing on my list of enjoyable activities — when my husband, Peter, asks what's wrong.

"Mama doesn't like Santa Claus with pumpkins," Grace, 6, answers for me.

"What?" he asks, bewildered.

"Orange, black, red, and green. 'Frosty the Snowman' competing with 'The Monster Mash' — it's ugly, confusing, and just wrong," I sputter.

His expression changes only to deepen with bewilderment.

"You have retail issues," he replies as we carry in the bags.

He's right. I do have retail issues. But more aptly, I have seasonal issues. I feel like my kids go from "trick-or-treat" to "Santa, please bring me..." with a big leap-frog over the loveliest of holidays — Thanksgiving.

And as the world seems intent on sling-shotting us straight from October to December, I'm feeling like I need the grounding peace of gratitude more than ever to keep me sane.

I want a "Thanksgiving state of mind" — slow-roasting meals, big sides of comfort food, hospitality, family games, no gifts to buy or wrap, no grand decorations.

Getting ready for bed that night a book beckons to me from the shelf: ATTITUDES OF GRATITUDE by Mary Jane Ryan. I've had the privilege of hearing Mary Jane speak and her words echo back to me, "Gratitude is a muscle and like any other, it has to be exercised and trained to be strong."

It seems my physical muscles and my spiritual muscles are in the same shape — soft.

I start reading and get inspired to begin a gratitude journal with my family. At least once a week — usually at Sunday dinner — Peter, Grace and I make an entry into the journal about something that happened during the week that we are truly grateful for. Luke, 2, participates via our interpretations — like Grace's hysterical portrayal of his love for "garbage trucks, baby frogs, and M&M's®."

It only has a few entries, but already this is the best book I've ever read — and I know it will become a family treasure.

And if you are as offended by "orange, black, red, and green" as much as I am, consider this quote from Thaddeus Golas, "Inside yourself or outside, you never have to change what you see, only the way you see it."

How do you keep the focus on giving thanks? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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Orange & Black, Red & Green
— Don't Forget What's In-Between

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