Happy Thanksgiving!

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Here’s what I am thankful for…

Hey folks with Thanksgiving coming up this weekend I wanted to dedicate this post to the things I am MOST thankful for this year!

First let’s talk gratitude and why being thankful is important in my opinion.

Gratitude is essentially defined as an emotion that expresses what one is “appreciative of” or “thankful for” in their life. Research also indicates that the ability to utilize deliberate expressions of gratitude can increase our sense of well-being and happiness. Moreover doing so towards others is further associated with an increase in energy, optimism and empathy! (Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/gratitude)  I believe a couple of pretty great things happen when we take the time to REALLY look around and be grateful for who and what we have in our lives. Initially it just makes us feel good and when outwardly expressed induces similar feelings in others. However beyond that first emotional response it also begins to open your eyes to what other people around you lack because comparisons are part of that process. For example, remember as a child when your parents were trying to get you to eat spinach by asserting that starving children somewhere would be thankful to have your dinner? They did this both in an effort to teach gratitude as well as to get you to eat spinach ! So based on that my theory is once you identify all the things you have to be grateful for this opens your eyes (and hopefully hearts) to those who have less simply by way of this comparison process and as my mother often said “there will always be someone worse off than you.” This realization leads to awareness which in turn motivates action. That is the true superpower of gratitude; it illicits action!

So what am I grateful for?

First and foremost I am grateful for my 4 children; they are my heart and soul and the best of what I can offer the world. They are ALL smart, funny, kind, and compassionate people who possess a social conscience far exceeding anything close to mine at their ages. I am immensely proud of each one of them. My grandchildren are even more amazing and I know what you’re thinking, all grandparents say that, but in my case it is actually true…no really it is! Aside from my family and wonderful friends I am so blessed to be a part of this organization as well and can honestly say, besides helping people, dealing with our volunteers is probably the BEST part of this work for me. I am so thankful for each and every one of those interactions! I love to see how people open up their hearts and come alive through service to others, it is truly magical. Seriously if you volunteer once and have a positive experience you will be hooked. We had two big events recently with the Harvest Jazz and the Fredericton Fall Craft Show during which 35 of our volunteers dedicated over 200 hours in service to their community. We now actually have 90 plus volunteers providing a variety of services to their neighbors and community. They helped raise over $8000.00 for the local transition house last weekend and helped provide security at a festival that gives Fredericton a much-needed annual economic boost two weeks prior. Our volunteers have mowed lawns, provided transportation, picked up furniture, delivered groceries, assisted with moves, donated money, grocery cards, clothing, diapers and formula! They have changed our lives, the lives of those we work with and therefore are helping to change our community.

 For the better.

Just this week we received several offers to provide Thanksgiving dinners to those less fortunate in our community; we did not solicit these donations.  Normally WE do the asking (excessively at times-my apologies) but in this case the offers were there before we even asked and one message we received deeply touched me;

 “Hi there, I love your organization! You have beautiful souls. My family and I would love to donate a thanksgiving dinner to a family who could use a little help with their grocery order. We could buy all the fixings and deliver to you to pass on, or directly to a family with hungry bellies.”

We DO have beautiful souls BUT we call them volunteers, neighbors and fellow community members ❤

This is the kind of thing we are seeing more and more each day in our community; random acts of kindness and unsolicited offers of help. We are certainly not claiming to be responsible for that shift but we do want you to know how grateful we feel to be a part of it and to be sharing this journey with you all!

I have never been so proud to be a part of this community!

I have said it before, but feel it bears repeating; We are NOT trying to build a successful agency we are trying to do our part in building a successful community. In order to do that we will continue to need your help; so please consider joining us, donating to our efforts, and sharing our stuff!

Thank-you to all of you who serve your community and support our efforts; we value and appreciate each and every one of you!

Happy Thanksgiving from My Family to Yours ❤ Maria

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others” – Cicero

You can contact us at: linkinglives1by1@gmail.com

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