Happy Memorial Day, friends!
I hope that you are having a fun day with family and friends, sunshine and cold drinks!
I had quite a nice surprise: After last week’s shoot here in Ohio, I ended up booking another shoot next week, so I got to stay here with my family for the weekend!
The entire family was together. We swam in the swimming pool, took a beautiful walk in the neighborhood, ate delicious food, and watched a surprisingly enjoyable movie, Forever My Girl.
But as I was watching my little nieces splash around outside, it made me think about what we are actually honoring today.
Today is a day for gratitude.
We all live such comfortable lives that it’s so easy to forget about the men and women who have given their time – and some, even their lives – to protect our freedom and allow us the peace of mind of living in a country without fear or restriction.
Aside from a few verses in country music songs, the sad truth is that those heroes don’t get the appreciation they deserve.
And it’s not just the heroes that deserve our praise, but the families and loved ones who live life without their soldier for months or years at a time, when their spouse, or parent, or child is across the world, putting his or her life on the line for you and I.
It is a selfless act of service, and demonstration of courage that actually leaves me speechless, other than two very important words: thank you.
And while we say thank you, we can do more. And frankly, we should be demonstrating that thanks through action, not just words.
How are we living with a sense of gratitude?
We have such a responsibility, as recipients of this freedom and opportunity. What are we doing about it?
Living from gratitude: how are we spending our free time? How are we paying it forward, or sharing the resources we’ve been blessed with?
In 2017, Netflix users collectively watched 1 billion hours PER WEEK. Per week! Imagine the incredible impact we could have on our world if each person dedicated even just one of those hours to serving the underprivileged. One hour to calling up a friend or making a meal for someone who is grieving or going through a difficult time.
How does our language and actions encourage gratitude in others.
For as much of a blessing and tool for connection that social media and smart phones have provided, we have become a disgustingly narcissistic, tech absorbed nation, who live our lives with our heads down, literally.
How can you and I change that? Really. It’s a hard question. How can we influence the younger generations (and everyone else) to look up, engage with others, and live from gratitude.
Growing up, I went to a Christian summer camp for seven years. And it was one of the most formative experiences of my youth.
But at this camp, there was a motto. It was all over the camp t-shirts. It was sung in songs every morning, and at every camp fire at night. And it was this…
God first. Others second. I’m Third.
And there was even a song. It went,
Yes, I’m Number 3, T-H-I-R-D, Lord I’m Third,
That’s where You want me to be.
I may be back in the pack, but I’m Heaven-bound for victory.
And the “Me-First” generation, will be sweeping’ the nation.
But I’m holding out, for that sweet salvation.
That is a sure-fire way to live from gratitude. And how counter-cultural it is.
And dare I say it, but if we all were to start living from the “I’m Third” motto, we could start a revolution.
People would stop living from behind their screens, and start loving people. Start living with people – sharing in their trials, being there with encouragement and support, and celebrating the fact that we are alive. And we are free.
That’s living from gratitude.
Funny, that all it took was an old camp song, sung around a fire to get back to our roots.
Leave it to kids who played in the woods.
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