Unexpected November

Every second of everyday is a chance to give thanks for all the blessings we received. As America celebrates Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, I wish to share the many gifts I am grateful for several days early. Just like most, I will be busy creating great memories with family and relatives over a delicious meal of oven-roasted turkey sprinkled with loads of gratitude and heart-inspiring stories of harvest, triumph, survival, future wishes and dreams.

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I am thankful for…

God’s unfailing love, generosity, mercy and forgiveness. For his gift of life and health not just for me but everyone I care about. For giving me the strength and the means to run, chase and hurdle all challenges. For helping me find my way on the many times I got lost. For giving me tons of second chances. For teaching me how to forgive and start all over. For making me feel truly “alive.”

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We asked our 8-year old, “Who would you like to go with you in the corn maze? Mom or dad?” He looked at me and his mom, observed our facial expressions and said, “Umm, dad!” In my head I jumped excitedly as I shouted, “Yes!” An hour later, we got lost. Looks like he chose the wrong guide partner. Between me and my wife, she wins big time when it comes to navigational skills and directions. Just when my son started to get tired circling around the maze and giving me hints to carry him, I heard voices from a distance. I told him, “Let’s follow where those voices are coming from. I bet they know where the exit is.” We saw a mom with her two daughters. We just followed them until we saw the exit or what we thought was the exit. On our way out, I looked at the sign board which says, “Entrance to Corn Maze.” I whispered to my boy, “Don’t tell your mom we got lost.”

My family. In both the worst and best moments, my family stood by me. Their love kept me smiling, laughing, jumping, reaching, sailing, soaring and flying when my spirits were down, my body tired and my heart needing a much inspiration booster not even loads of caffeine can fix.

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My job. There are times that I whine how my work can be stressful forgetting that my job gives me the means to provide my family their basic needs and comfort. Last night, my son reminded me just that when I gave him five foam stickers to write five things he is thankful about. He wrote on the foam stickers the words, “God, family, house, food and T.V.” Before we went to sleep, we said our usual night prayers. This time I made sure I don’t forget as I prayed, “Thank you God for giving me my job.”

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Friends that were really there when I needed them. They may be few but those very few remembered and helped when everyone else pretended to be so busy in their own world. What they say, “You know who your real friends are when you are down and barely got anything” is so hauntingly true.

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The many exciting, happy events, experiences and places that me and my family were blessed to enjoy. From walking on spider webs to cheering for dolphins to jump out of water and make multiple flips. To climbing castles and riding trains, when it rains with blessing, it definitely pours.

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The fun adventures and unexpected surprises. Every month, something magical happens just like the many wonderful changes of the season. Some just around the corner, while others brought me and my family to another country I never taught visiting. Either way, they all opened my eyes to new possibilities and my heart to new friendship.

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Until we try, we’ll never know what adventure awaits just beyond the other side of the door. November 2nd, we followed our son to a Pumpkin Stroll not realizing we were entering an Autumn wonderland. We met King and Queen Jack-o-lantern and their thousands of uniquely carved pumpkin citizens of Pumpkin Kingdom.

Keeping my love ones safe from harm, evil, accidents and recently, calamities. When Typhoon Haiyan hit Capiz where my parents lived, I was so scared for them. All forms of communication were cut off during and after the worst storm in history except the “prayer emergency hotline.” I’m thankful that my prayers were heard and another miracle happened. Everyday, so many miracles happen in our lives, some so subtle we hardly notice or recognize them as such. November is a perfect month to reflect on the many miracles we received and be thankful for.

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All the generous and kind-hearted people around the world who helped and continue to help the Philippines rise up from its feet. I am so thankful that so many shared in whatever way they can. For bringing back hope and reasons to go on. For bringing back a piece of smile on the faces of the survivors who lost everything including members of their families.

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Treasures that made me feel like I’m zooming on top of the world. Treasures that made me happy long after the party was over. Treasures that made me appreciate how good life is no matter how turbulent the waves had been.

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Early this Fall, my family and I went mining at Dewberry Farm. My son was so excited when he panned several gem stones. He glowed and sparkled as bright and beautiful as the gem stones he was holding. Just before leaving the farm, he pleaded to mine one last time and so we did. On the way home, I look at the gem stones and smiled knowing I just added more priceless treasures to enjoy, keep and cherish always.

Happy Thanksgiving

So many unexpected , unforgettable events happened in November. Some made me feel like the happiest person on Earth while others made me feel like a kid all over again, thanks to my second grader and his amazing, cool world of Legos, Ninjas, Minecraft and everything “funerrific.” Some made me tear up when nobody’s watching and made me realize how fragile life is. That in one sweep of Nature’s wrath, an entire city crumbles and a country falls to its knees. November is also a month of unexpected outpouring of blessings and kindness as countries unite to reach out and help the victims of an unimaginable tragedy and destruction. It is a month of inspiration, goodness and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving

How was your November? If it seems to have flown by quickly, we got 6 more days to catch up before Winter comes.

Wishing everyone not just a Happy Thanksgiving celebration but a Thanksgiving loaded with tons of blessings.

To all my WordPress blogger friends, I am thankful for your constant support and friendship. You gave me so many encouraging, uplifting words and prayers at a time when I needed them the most.

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About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
This entry was posted in Events, family, Inspiration, Life, parenting, photography, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Unexpected November

  1. bulldog says:

    Another wonderful heart warming post… I do enjoy your blog…

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  3. misswhiplash says:

    I recognise the heads of your wife and son so well..I do believe that only once have we ever seen their faces..
    in November I was 74 years of age, so that is a Blessing
    I live in a country that I feel God guided me too… so God..thank you
    I have a good husband
    I have three lovely daughters and three lovely step children
    I have a great family
    I have a happy and contented life
    I have good friends in real life and in cyberspace7
    I am alive by the Grace of God

    may God, s Blessings be with you all today and always

    • An outpouring of everything grateful and inspiring. I share your many reasons of being thankful not just in November but every day that God bless us to wake up, enjoy and witness. Thank you. Wishing you and your family tons of beautiful gifts and blessings that last beyond changes of seasons.

  4. Mel says:

    What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing! :) we don’t have thanksgiving celebration here in Aust. Wish we get a holiday for it, but then everyday can always be a giving thanks day.. :)

  5. As always, you’ve given us a soothing respite from our day while giving us an honest and very-personal glimpse into your life.
    Lisa/z

    • Thanks Lisa. I’m grateful for your recent post and sharing ShelterBox campaign. It now reached Tacloban and elsewhere ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Seeing the children happy and smiling inspires me more. I hope people will be moved by it and support ShelterBox. It is providing a piece of warmth, shelter and dignity to those who lost everything. God bless you and your family for sharing a piece of hope.

  6. Mélanie says:

    wonderful, colorful and grateful post, Sir! My very best to you and your loved ones… Have a zen week, friendly thoughts and respectful regards, Mélanie NB

  7. Yes, you do have much to be thankful for, but best of all you truly appreciate everything! I love this about you, and it’s what keeps me returning to your blog. Thank you!
    I know you’ll have a great celebration on Thursday and look forward to reading your impressions of it here!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful family. :)

    • Thank you. I appreciate that. Been to a lot of roller coaster scary rides of life and I realized in the end it’s your family that sat beside you , all scared too but holding your hand, never once letting go though just like me, all hair standing up and pale scared. ha, ha, ha. That alone is worth celebrating “Thanksgiving”, my personal version of the holiday, with or without the roasted turkey. Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Sun says:

    your son, i am noticing, is getting taller!! i remember your earlier posts he was just little bitty boy – soon he will be joining his dad, blogging. >now that is a cool thought< :lol:
    a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones, IT –
    the journey you share with us always a blessing – so inspiring, so positive. thank you. ♥

    • He is. He is about shoulder height to that of his mom. I’m saving my jeans and some favorite shirts. More likely he will be about my height or a bit taller, either way my current clothes will look vintage, right? I hope to pass on this blog too him. By then, my hands may be too shaky and memory not so clear. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

      • Sun says:

        i like that, vintage clothing. i’m not sure how boys go for wearing dad’s clothes. daughters have no problems wearing moms clothes especially if she’s hip and the same size. of course, i’m not guilty. i can’t wait for your son to hop on your blog – that would be a very cool concept. father/son bloggers. :)

  9. linda says:

    What a lovely blog, and such true thankfulness, right from the heart my friend. God bless you and your family.

    • My co-workers call me, “Mr. Emotional.” Can’t really change who we are and what we feel. I wish there is a “slow down” button or an “emotion off” button but then I will turn off that part of me that makes me feel human and alive as well. Thanks Linda for a beautiful sharing. Best wishes to your family. God bless.

      • linda says:

        Hope you never find an emotional off button, and you stay true to who you are. By reading your blogs, I see a person with family values, and a very kind heart. God bless you and your family.

  10. No matter how thankful we might be, a gentle reminder is still a good thing, lest we forget. Friends, such as yourself, are a blessing. Your kind words and gentle words inspire, as always, IT. Have a most blessed and happy holiday – right into December and beyond… ;-)

    • I know, December is already here and yesterday, I had a cold slap on my face as I got out of the house with just a sweater thinking, “I was still wearing shorts last weekend, couldn’t be that cold.” I should have worn my thickest coat, double socks, thermal and all. We had to cut short our groceries and errands cause it was in the 40′s. That’s too cold for Texas. Happy Holidays my friend and thank you.

  11. Goodness, Dad. It looks like you were at the top of the slide with your son. Something tells me you went down with him calling out “Wheeeeeee!”
    You country remains in our thoughts. I will be with nephew’s wife over Thanksgiving who will give me an update as to her family’s situation there.

    • I was actually standing on the top platform. My son is braver when it comes to heights and thrill rides. I did join him on a slide where you sat on a mat. Guess what happened? I had it on reverse and instead of sliding and shouting “Wheee,” I had to drag my butt and the mat with my feet cause it won’t slide at all. It got stuck and did the opposite effectLongest slide ever when you know everyone is staring at you and laughing. Yipee! My wife was laughing like crazy at the end of the slide. Happy Thanksgiving Georgette.

  12. Excellent reminders of what we have to be thankful for. Wishing you and your family (all of your family here in the U.S.and in the Philippines) the very best. Happy Thanksgiving, IT.

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  15. I can see you have a lot of reasons to be thankful for, and I’m glad you’re focusing on the positive, even when the negative could be so overwhelming. I’m thankful for my health, my kids, my friends and the new work opportunities I’ve had this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    • “I’m thankful for my health, my kids, my friends and the new work opportunities I’ve had this year.” Inspiring my friend. Yes, we all had our share of blues, greys and dark clouds in this lifetime but just being here right now, standing close with our love ones, healthy and all is more then enough to say, “I am so lucky and forever grateful.” Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to your family.

  16. WilderSoul says:

    What an uplifting and caring blog you write! I had a bit of a giggle when I read your maze story, and then goosebumps when you thanked God for your job, after the very practical things your son wrote he was thankful for.
    I’d like to drop offf a quick present for you and your family, as a thank you for following my blog for so long! Here it is: http://wildersoul.wordpress.com/free-gift/
    Kia ora!
    Anasera

  17. Madhu says:

    A beautiful, reflective post IT. We don’t celebrate thanksgiving in India, but I thank you for the reminder to be grateful for the little miracles of life. We do tend to take them for granted until it is too late. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • Thanks Madhu. Before coming to America, my family celebrated the entire month of December like it’s Christmas day everyday. Now, another beautiful holiday to be around family and friends. I think anyone can adapt the true essence of this holiday which is thanking God for our blessings, being around family and real friends and thanking each for sharing life in its best and worst. The turkey and other stuffing? Just a bonus. Honestly, I’m craving more of Salmon Sashimi or dim sun. Any food around the people we love is a feast doesn’t matter what kind.

  18. fgassette says:

    Very inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your life with so. Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  19. likeitiz says:

    The photos of your son say, it’s good to be a kid! Childhood days are golden. They are also short compared to the rest of our complex adult lives. It’s great to see you provide him with lots to explore, discover, learn, and enjoy. He’ll look back to these experiences enriched by them.

  20. Praveena says:

    Another lovely and inspiring post .Your positive thoughts always impress everyone.Thanks for sharing.Happy Thanksgiving day !!!!

    • Positivity and hope, keeps us looking forward of what a new day has to offer despite of the not so good days and even days we wished we never had to go through. But that is “life’s dance” of ups and downs, right. Excitingly unpredictable. Thanks.

  21. Continue to build those memories–have a glorious and peaceful Thanksgiving.

    • In the end, memories is one of our most priceless and cherished treasures to have. Some will even give up whatever expensive worldly things they have to just remember of how life had been, of what it feels like when we see the images of our love ones happy, smiling, just having a great time in both our thoughts and hearts. So, yes, more memories please….Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you and your family.

  22. ChgoJohn says:

    This was another thoughtful and beautiful post. We can never be too thankful for all that we have. You put it far better than I ever could. I hope you and your family share a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Thanks John. My friend said, “Your post already looks like things we are grateful for year 2013.” In a way it is. Being thankful is a grace and a blessing in itself. A thankful heart is a happy, appreciative, contented heart. I may not be the richest person out there but knowing I have my family with me and friends that helped me whether my own storms is more than enough to thank God everyday and not just during Thanksgiving. We are rich because we know we are loved and have love.

  23. A really heart warming post. It’s good to be able to appreciate what matters in life. May you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!

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  25. Thank you for following imaginenewdesigns. Your gratitude came through beautifully in this post. As I have gotten older, I also have come to realize that every day is a good day to count my blessings and be thankful for what I have. Sometimes I fall short of achieving this goal, but I try to be thankful as much as possible. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and that you enjoy the rest of the holiday season. :)

    • Thank you. A grateful heart is a blessed heart. It is also a heart that is contented and at peace. My goal is to keep being grateful of every little blessing. To stop whining and complaining. To just appreciate the things that comes my way. So far, it works.

  26. Another beautiful post from you!
    I’m thankful that I have this opportunity see a truly wonderful family through all your postings and photos.

  27. rommel says:

    He’s definitely grown the last time I’ve seen his pictures! (sorry for the absence) i have yet to find an exit through a corn maze. Definitely one for the bucket list. Hope everything is going well for you and your family. Glad you had a great thanksgiving. And may you have more and more days to be very thankful for. And I wish you more happy holidays!

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