November is just a few short weeks away. I’m counting down for a few reasons, but mostly because it means I’m closer to December, closer to Christmas which I adore. Truthfully, I love Fall in general. I love holiday seasons, family time, excuses to find new recipes, and the cool crisp air that comes with falling leaves. I like December specifically for all things red and green. For Santa jingles on the radio, colored lights, and the sweet story of the birth of Jesus. I love October for the introduction to all things pumpkin, leaves changing colors, outdoor festivals that are cool enough to wear boots, yet warm enough not to freeze. November. November I love because of Thanksgiving. I love eating around the table with family that we don’t see often. I love being in the kitchen together and talking about what we are thankful for from the previous year. I even love daily Facebook posts from friends talking about what they are thankful for.
Recently I was challenged to do a charitable event to bring some joy to the world around me. I have sat for days thinking about what that might be or how I might live out that challenge and all I have been able to think about is the amount of negativity and sadness in the world today. I have thought about how the holiday seasons often bring loneliness, awareness of broken relationships, debt, hunger, and so many other things. While some of us experience these fall months as magical and joyful, not everyone around us has the same perspective. While I will celebrate Christmas with my family, a child will sit alone in an orphanage with no immediate family to celebrate with. While I hold a warm coffee in my gloved hands this winter, homeless people will be turned away from shelters because they are too full. While I drive hours to see family, others will weep at the loss of a family member. While we receive gifts and eat giant meals, others will go hungry and wish they had necessities. While I find these months to be harmonious and joyful, others are endlessly aware of division amongst neighbors and friends due to political views, religious views, lifestyle choices, and so many other things.
All of these thoughts drew me back to November. They drew me back to the daily Facebook posts I referred to earlier. They drew me back to little moments of joy and thankfulness, but most importantly they drew me back to the idea of sharing that with others. As I thought about this, I wondered to myself, what would it look like if instead of or in addition to spending 30 days talking about what I was thankful for, I went out of my way to spend 30 days giving others something to be thankful for? What if I picked something different to do every day? What if I picked 30 things and planned ahead of time to make sure that I could make it a priority to bring joy to others for 30 days straight? What if I focused on 30 days of thankfulness, but I did it with a twist and I made it about others?
What if “I” turned into “WE” and collectively we helped make November a little bit less sad for others around us? What if we went out of our way to remove some of the sadness and brokenness that exists in the world today? What if we realized together that it doesn’t require a ton of money or even time to do this, but instead little purposeful acts throughout the month could impact someone else in a positive way?
The more I thought about all of the what if’s, the more I was inspired to see if we could make them become realities. For me, due to time and finances, some days may look like going out of my way to hold a door for someone whose hands are full while other days may look like serving at a local shelter. Some days may look like sending a note of encouragement to someone in need and others may look like taking lunch to and joining someone who often eats alone. Every day will look different, but the goal will remain the same. This November, I want to spend my month helping others find things to be thankful for rather than just focusing on what I’m thankful for. Don’t get me wrong, I have so much to be thankful for. Sight will not be lost on that fact, but what I’m realizing is that this world is full of lots of other people who might not be able to so easily figure out what they are thankful for. My hope is that through those who are willing, more people will fall into the category of having much to be thankful for versus the category of having little to be thankful for.
Truthfully, I’m so excited to change the focus of my November this month. My hope is that you would join me in helping change an “I” to a “We”. Together, we can make a difference. Together we can spread joy and impact families and communities.
Will you join me? If so, head on over to Facebook and join the “30 Days of Thanks With a Twist” group to learn more about the next steps (click here). There you will find a list of ideas on activities you can do to impact those around you. There you will find a group of others who have decided to join you in changing “I” to “We”.
December used to be my favorite month of the year. However, I have a hunch that November 2016 may become my favorite month ever!