Diva’s Reflections: Thanksgiving Edition

**This blog entry imported from my previous blog FYI I’m Erika Online**

In the tradition of keeping it real, I must admit that when I think about Thanksgiving my first thoughts are two paid days off work and getting together with my family to eat some good food. Yes, I’m definitely thankful for both of those things. So after my initial selfish thankful excitement sets in, I reflect on things that I am truly thankful for in this life. And that’s what I’d like to reflect on today.

I have so much to be thankful for – family, friends, salvation, job, career, FAMU winning the Classic, – but I’m only going to touch on a couple of things here today in this post.

First, I have to say that I am so very blessed and grateful that my niece, Zahrya, is a cheerleader now! She bounces around, shakes her pom poms and does her version of a split. My heart gets full and I begin to shed tears of joy (even now, writing this) because only a few months ago, she lay in a hospital bed unable to do anything. Even when she kinda starts getting on my nerves and won’t be still, I embrace her and show her love. And I think of the parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and relatives who have children that are terminally ill, that will spend the holidays in a hospital bed, and even more heart-wrenching, those whose children have passed away. And I thank God for Zahrya getting on my nerves.
 

Zahrya Cheerleader

As I drove to work this morning, the Monday before Thanksgiving Day, my eyes filled with tears as I thought about how spoiled I am. Yes, I finally admitted it – I, Erika T. Neal, am spoiled! I’m not a brat, meaning I don’t pout or have a temper tantrum if I don’t get my way. But I am spoiled because I have everything that I need and I get a good amount of what I want. Yes, sometimes I have to choose whether to get pairs of shoes or a pair of shoes and a dress, and I think to myself ‘I really want it all!’ But then I realize that I have options. There is likely someone in the same neighborhood who actually needs a new pair of shoes but can’t afford them. That person can’t even think of looking at a dress and they’ll take whatever shoes they can get.

My grandmother would tell me of times that she was a young woman, married with children and living by trusting God day to day. Having a sixth grade education (because she had to stop school to help take care of her younger siblings), she shared how her background only allowed her to do things like being a housekeeper and nanny.  One story that I remember most is how she didn’t have enough to get bread one day but found just enough on the ground on her walk of faith to the store. I am truly thankful for my grandmother telling me aboutwhat others may have seen as lack, but they were the things that made her the strong and beautiful woman that I knew as “Gran’ma”. I am further grateful because in just two generations, God blessed my family with education (and lots more) – my grandmother with a sixth grade education; my mother, a superior high school student; and me, a college grad with honors. I have seen things, been places and experienced things that my grandmother could have never imagined. I am blessed beyond measure!
 

Thank you for reading this post and I earnestly hope that you have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving. Whether you are with family, friends, co-workers or alone remember to be grateful for all of your blessings.

Deuces n Smooches with thanks ~ Diva

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