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Do you feel like the Holiday Season has arrived? Honestly, I don’t.

Family Appreciation

Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving came

sooner than usual or the usual bite of frost and snow hasn’t hit our neck of the woods (Inland Northwest) or the neighborhood decorations aren’t all

up, yet.

As I mentioned before, ‘family’ comes to mind when I think of the holidays. This holiday is a bit rough this year. I lost my mother and brother through the year and feel a void with them gone. However, while I will reflect on how much they meant to me and my life, I also find myself so much more appreciative of my family I have now.

Sometimes, losing something helps you appreciate what you have even more. When I look around me, I am truly grateful for those who make my life better and fulfilling – in particular, my wife and children.

This Christmas, we will be together again, our son and daughter, each traveling across the state to spend time with us. We’ll take time to reflect on past holiday memories and partake in traditions of old while possibly creating new ones during their short visit. As they get older and are farther away, it’ll be more difficult to keep these moments going.

This holiday season, if there’s just one piece of advice I would give you…

Stop – Do yourself and your family a favor and stop working! Even for a few hours. Imagine yourself on vacation in the middle of nowhere. No phones, no televisions, no wi-fi, nothing.

Reflect – Step back and see what’s is around you.

Think about how you got there - what events and people in your life put you and your family where you are this very moment. What happened? Who influenced you? What decisions did you make?

Focus – Now give your undivided attention to your family and friends.

Focus on what’s important to you and those around you.

Embrace the moment and the memory.

Appreciate – All that you have should not be taken for granted – your family, your friends, your health - the love and laughter that makes life so special.

In taking my own advice above, and in my mind, stop and leave work behind.

Then I’ll reflect on my childhood days, my mother and brother who are no longer with us. Then I’m going to focus on the present, what lays before me – the family, friends, joy and memories we are creating. Finally, I’ll be sure to appreciate the importance of each in my life and how they make the holiday so much better and rewarding.

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