Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sharing Thanks for Holiday Train Magic at the New York Botanical Gardens

New York Botanical replica at the Holiday Garden Trains

This month on Sharing Thanks I am sharing thanks for December Joys! My husband grew up with Lionel Trains. Spencer and his Dad would spend many December hours putting up an elaborate train display. Today I took my husband to experience the holiday magic happening at the New York Botanical Gardens. It was wonderful to see so many young children excited about seeing trains on the magnificent replicas of the Brooklyn and Hellgate Bridges. To find out how you can visit here is a link to the New York Botanical Gardens  Below is a short video I took to try to capture the magic. I was thankful to share this experience with my husband. We giggled over the conductor greeting everyone on stilts. Deep inside there is a kid inside all of us.

What December Joy did you discover today? I love hearing your gratitude stories. You can share them in the comments of this blog or tweet them to me @sharingthanks

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sharing Thanks for Santa's!

Santa decoration found on my Neighborhood walk!

Today I had some December Joy walking my dog Oreo around the neighborhood. Everyday new holiday decorations appear. This Space Sleigh Santa gave me a smile. When I was younger I remember being confused about seeing lots of different Santa's. I do believe Santa's helpers bring cheer. They help raise money for the Salvation army and raise holiday spirit. I enjoyed taking my kids when they were young to see Santa and snap a Christmas photo with him. We have the Santa spirit when we focus on what we give during the holiday season. The Santa spirit is alive when we read "The Night Before Christmas." It's alive when are kids write letters to Santa and leave him some milk and cookies to help him fuel his journey. I love Santa decorations and signs to the North Pole! I do imagine if I had the power of Santa Clause that I might make my headquarters in Bermuda.

Let's spread some Santa cheer by sharing fun Santa photos. You can share any Santa pics by tweeting them to  @sharingthanks Or you can email them to me at

Below is a fun Santa picture from a Santa spotted at Sonic!

Santa spotting at Sonic in Deer Park~!

I look forward to hearing a Santa story or picture that your grateful for. This December we are being grateful for moments of joy! Share your simple joy in the comments for today.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sharing Thanks for the Joy of watching Peter Pan

Listening to "I Won't Grow Up" reminds me of the summers I spent at Girl Scout camp growing up. After dinner in the mess hall, the camp counselors would lead us to sing, "I Won't Grow Up!" I loved these song fests after dinner. They made me want to learn to play guitar. I'm enjoying watching Peter Pan Live tonight. I love that your imagination can take you to Neverland! The idea of flying through a starlight sky simply enthralls me. Today my Joy is sitting down with my daughter and watching this classic musical!

This month we will be sharing gratitude for December Joys! Share your simple joy in the comments or you can tweet them @sharingthanks with #DecemberJoys.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sharing Thanks for remembering Grandma's Joys

Grandma with Becky and Liz in New Hope
We are remembered by what we create while we live. This post is dedicated to the life of Catherine Virginia Davidson who passed away this November at the age of 87. I have been reflecting on her life and the love she gave our family. I am thankful for Grandma for treating me like one of her daughters. Grandma came into the world in Baltimore weighing less then 3 pounds. She was determined to live and was an only child to older parents. This may be why she was cautious, and could be stubborn. There is fine line between stubbornness and determination. Her mom was a seamstress and my mother-in-law loved to make homemade dresses for her three granddaughters. She would say that she did not have a creative bone in her body, yet she was an artist and made many beautiful garments including my wedding dress! She loved figuring out how to cut the material for the patterns. She loved her family and was married over 50 years and had four children, and five grandchildren. She had a scientific mind and loved to research doctor's qualifications. She also worked as a manager in consumer market research. She loved to fix things. I remember her fixing appliances, dryers, and vacuum cleaners.She was a homebody.When she travelled she preferred going by car, train, or cruiseship! She hated flying.

One kindness I will always be thankful for was when she noticed my daughter Liz was not hearing. She came with me to the North Shore University Hearing center, the day I found out Liz was deaf. She had heard of cochlear implants and told me to ask her ENT doctor about them. I had never heard of a cochlear implant and my view of deafness was based on seeing, "Children from a Lesser God." She wrote to NYU, to find out about their cochlear implant program. She took a year of ASL at the Helen Keller center. ASL did not come easy to her with her arthritic hands. She supported us on our decision to get Liz a cochlear implant, and even sat in on sessions with Liz's first Speech Therapist Linda Hirsch.

Grandma was generous with her time and babysat my daughters 2 or 3 days a week for several years when I worked full time when the kids were younger. I ended up leaving work to help manage my younger daughter's therapy six months after learning she was deaf. Grandma loved giving my husband and I a date night out and enjoyed letting the kids sleep over. She also enjoyed visits from family members pets. She did enjoy the dogs more than the cats. I believe she even watched over a guinea pig while we were away.

It is fitting to celebrate someone's life by listing what brought them joy! To any family or friends reading this post I invite you to add to Grandma's joy list. Here are some of grandma's joys.

  1. Spending time with her family.
  2. Having political discussions. Be prepared to debate your point of view.
  3. Eating hardshell crabs from Baltimore with lots of Old Bay Spice
  4. Watching sports on TV. Go Yankees! She was also known to root for Boston College, Pitt, Duke, Boston University and Haverford. 
  5. Baking Barbie Birthday cakes.
  6. Going to an Irish Pub and listening to folk tunes. She loved watching the step dancers!
  7. Having picnics at Jones Beach with her family after the sun went down.
  8. Going to Sunday Mass.
  9. Sewing
  10. She said she loved ice skating growing up. I never actually saw her ice skate as I met her later in life.
  11. Working at Johns Hopkins
  12. Loved her High School and College.
  13. Trips to Ocean City Maryland with her friends.
  14. Cruising on the QE2 across the Atlantic with Papa, and a tour of Ireland
  15. Celebrating 50 years of marriage by vacationing with the entire extended family at Skytop
  16. The color Blue! She loved wearing blue outfits that she often had made.
  17. Listening to music at Eisenhower Park with a zorn's picnic.
  18. Tinsel on the Chirstmas tree.
  19. Hosting family celebrations: Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
  20. Eating out on the back porch. She loved making ambrosia and german potato salad. My fav! 
  21. Getting a bouquet of daisies! 
  22. Tabasco sauce, grandma liked it hot!
  23. A good bloody Mary, or a martini
  24. Dinner with candle light
  25. Cooking with pressure cookers.
  26. Getting hugs and kisses from her grandchildren.
  27. Going to grandparents day at her grandchildren's elementary schools
  28. Doing crossword puzzles and reading newspapers.
  29. Staying up late on election night to watch the results.
  30. The annual pilgrimage to Baltimore to stay with Aunt Mary

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sharing Thanks for Giving Tuesday

Forget about Cyber Monday and Black Tuesday. I am thankful for Giving Tuesday! It gives us a chance to contribute to make the world a better place. Today I gave to the No Limits For Deaf Children. This group has a speech center  in Southern California and Las Vegas as well as an acclaimed National Theater Program for deaf and hard of hearing children. I was blessed to voluneer and be part of Silent NO MORE with my daughter Liz. This inspiring collection of stories read by indivuals with hearing loss helped educate people on what its like to grow up deaf. Please share your #GivingTuesday charity story in the comments. Let's see how much good we can all do today! It feels joyful to give!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sharing Thanks for taking time to grieve.

I apologize for not completing my #TurkeyThanks gratitude challenge in November. On November 19, my mother-in-law passed away and I took a break from my blog. It's important to take time to grieve a loved one. We need to stop and take a small break to shed tears, and remember and honor our loved one. I am so thankful to friends and family who supported us by attending her funeral mass, sending our family a fruit basket, lovely plants, and beautiful cards. We must be thankful for each moment we wake up and get to experience a smile, the sound of laughter, a sunset, a hug, hearing a song, being able to dance!  It's a reminder to appreciate the people in our lives and think about how we are interwoven into each other's lives. I have been using the time to reflect on all the kindnesses I received from my mother-in-law and the legacy that she has created.

I am going to start a new gratitude challenge, beginning on December 3rd celebrating 2014. Join in the fun and share what your thankful for each day to ring out 2014. You can use the hashtag #Thankful2014 if you want to share or tweet you 2014 gratitude story.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sharing thanks for a good read! Day 18: #TurkeyThanks Gratitude Challenge

Morning Meditations: Daily Reflections to Awaken Your Power to Change
I love reading books that make me think. Today I want you to think about a book your thankful to have read. Growing up I was inspired by Richard's Bach's, "Jonathon Livingston Seagul" I loved Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings Trilogy" and I confess Shirley Conran's "Lace" was my first great summer read.  This week I am enjoying W.W. Norton & Company's book, "Morning Meditations" I love to start my day reading  a few meditations on gratitude,communication, forgiveness, mindfulness, and reflect on ways I can lead a purposeful, happy life.

What book are you thankful to have read? I love hearing about what inspires you. Please share a book you enjoyed reading and how it made you think and feel.