Turkey, egg rolls, & gratitude.

Can you believe it?  One week from today, you'll probably be with close family and friends, indulging in a meal (or two) that you’ve waited all year long to eat.

It may include a 14-pound turkey, soggy stuffing (hopefully without any cilantro), instant mashed potatoes that you grew up on (unless you’ve discovered real mashed potatoes), beef gravy that your carnivorous father has to have, and yes...egg rolls and xamlav qaub.      

Fortunately, I will be with family next week—to be exact, my oldest sister Nancy, whom you met in the last blog.  Yep.  Just the two of us. 

And we’re considering Black Friday shopping. Hehe.

Right now, we’re actually contemplating if we should go out or prepare a whole bunch of dishes we would only get to enjoy for one day before it all goes sour (What would you do?  Leave me a comment!).  Yuav mus noj paj tshiab peb caug nrog Hmoob North Carolina! 

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand the true significance of the U.S. national holiday, Thanksgiving.  All I knew was that my siblings and I got a sweet break from school and we always ate turkey…dry turkey, as a matter of fact.  (My mom’s cooking is super delicious.  I just don’t say much when it comes her turkey.) 

But I’ll be honest.  I didn’t know...okay, care about the meaning behind Thanksgiving until just a few years ago. 

You too?  :) 

Who really changed my mind was Oprah.  I am very obedient to Mama O. 

In one of her many shows, she was talking about the act of gratitude and how it contributes to your own happiness. 

From The Five Minute Journal (below), gratitude is defined as “the willingness to recognize the unearned increments of value in one’s experience.” 

In other words, it’s opening yourself up to see the often hidden/forgotten/taken-for-granted value of people, things, and experiences in your life. 

Isn’t that beautiful? 

Just talking about gratitude makes me happy.  I don’t need no scientist to tell me that gratitude’s good for me! 

But I need two of 'em to tell you.      

In a 2003 study by Emmons and McCullough, the scientists found that keeping a record of your gratitude could actually increase your “sense of well-being […], better sleep, willingness to accept change and also help lower symptoms of physical pain.” 

May that be enough reason for why gratitude is vital to us. 

Since that episode on Oprah, it’s like the Universe has pulled all its forces to remind me of how important gratitude is. 

On my birthday this past June, my other older sister, Pa Kou, who does incredible make-up on my face, gifted me The Five Minute Journal.  I had been eying this beautiful book for months and had only mentioned it once to her. 

I am deeply grateful for my sisters.

The Five Minute Journal is where I keep my gratitude in check as often as I can remember.  Mornings are sweeter and evenings are more relaxed when I can give thanks.

Here's what I'm most grateful for today:

So if the act of gratitude is not a part of your daily life, I hope you’ll at least find a moment to give thanks next week on Thanksgiving Day.  It'll help with all the craziness and loudness of your family, if they're anything like mine.  :) 

And don’t forget!  Leave me a comment:

If you only had one day to enjoy your food, would you go out or make a bunch of dishes for Thanksgiving Day? 

And while you’re at it, what one thing can you be grateful for today? 

I’d love to hear from you!  Until next time…

Happy Thanksgiving & Dream BIG,
Pagnia