Thanksgiving + Christmas in NYC

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This post is a little late, since Christmas is almost here, but I had to share anyway! My family and I spent a week in New York City for Thanksgiving, and we had the very best time there together!! Bridgette and Rob, my sister & brother in law, live there, my parents and I flew into town to spend Thanksgiving week together. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my sister so excited, which was really cute – and I know we were all very much looking forward to the trip!

Some of the trip highlights were:

Bridgette & Rob hosting an amazing Thanksgiving in their home (we even used their wedding china!)

Grand Central + dinner at UrbanSpace

tons and tons of walking around the city – with the most gorgeous weather almost the entire week!

macarons at Laduree on the UES

exploring the holiday shops + ice skating rink at Bryant Park

so many delicious home-cooked meals, accompanied by plenty of wine

seeing all of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons inflated the night before the parade

beautiful sunsets over the city from their apartment

manicures + wine date with Mom and Bridgette for Mom’s birthday

strolls through Central Park

Christmas decorations everywhere!

NYC bagels with cream cheese

having so much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving (and every day!)

spending part of Thanksgiving afternoon with some friends of Bridgette & Rob’s (one of which I met at the Making Things Happen conference, which made it even more fun!!)

such a fun day exploring the Upper West Side: the Museum of Natural History, an amazing Shake Shack lunch, re-living the moving You’ve Got Mail, checking out beautiful Riverside Park, the most perfect weather, seeing Cafe Lalo

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Christmas trees everywhere!

German beer + food at the Standard Biergarten

strolling the High Line

popping into shops at the Chelsea Market

seeing NYU, where Bridgette is in grad school

church with the family

strolling along 5th Avenue to take in all of the Christmas decorations and amazing window displays of the major shops

popping into the Plaza to see the painting of Eloise and the Plaza Christmas tree (my all time favorite!)

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such a fun (and supremely delicious!) birthday dinner on the Upper East Side for my mom!

It was a truly wonderful week in NYC with my family, and we were so grateful to spend all of that time together. We had SUCH a good time!!! There’s really nothing like New York during the holidays, and it’s such a magical, beautiful, and fun place to be!

Thanks again for hosting us, Bridgette & Rob!!

Gratefulness

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Gratitude and thanksgiving are two of the most important foundations in life, I firmly believe. I discussed ways to sincerely cultivate gratitude in your life, something I have been passionate about for a very long time. If we’re not giving thanks for the things we have and the blessings we have received, then we’re being ungrateful or complaining or always desiring more. I have so much. SO much. And yet it’s easy for me to slip into the downward spiral of comparison or envy or greed or simply wanting more and more. But when I stop and take a hard look at my life, I am overwhelmed with all that I do have. Being continually aware of all that you have in your life (big things and little things alike) is a critical piece in gratefulness and gratitude.

I stumbled upon this quote when the incredibly inspiring Lara Casey sent out her November newsletter, and it hit me hard. I love the simplicity – and the eloquence – of this: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” YES! I am in no way perfect, but I try each and every day, and in every moment, to be deeply and profoundly grateful for all that that I have and all of the blessings that I have so graciously received from the Lord. Without Him, I am nothing. Without his love and his grace and his generosity, I have nothing.

In this season of Thanksgiving, it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and in to-do lists, but I want to try to stop and simply be. To think and remember and reflect on the extravagant ways that I am grateful and thankful. To reflect on the people in my life that I love tremendously and who love me back. For the sunrises and the bountiful Thanksgiving meal and the warm home and the laughter and the steady paycheck. I am blessed, truly – and I am so very grateful for it. And there are things that I want, things that are deep desires. But we are commanded to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.” So even when something is missing or I feel discontentment or disappointment or rejection, I am GRATEFUL. I want to remember, all the time, to give thanks to the Lord & to rejoice in Him. Instead of worrying or comparing or complaining, I want to reflect on and give deep thanks for all that I do have in my life, as I have abundantly more than I could ever ask or receive. I do not need more _____ (whatever it is you think you want!) to live a full life. I thankfully have a very full life, indeed. When I am grateful for what I do have, I no longer need more because I realize that what I have is enough. It’s more than enough. Truth! I am giving due praise and thanks when I stop wanting more just to want more. Gratitude is a definite way of praising Him from whom all blessings flow.

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