Thanksgiving.  Of course, I have to do a post on what I am thankful for. . . . Melody Beattie says that “gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough. . . .”

Interestingly enough, I am so thankful for gratitude and how it completely shifts my perspective.  I think that gratitude is the only thing that got me through 2019! There are so many ways God has shown up this year that I am thankful for and so many people He chose to surround me with that I am thankful for.  And I have found that the more I thank God and really talk to Him about how grateful I am, the better things are—almost like being in an airplane above a storm. Gratitude takes me above the clouds to the blue skies without discounting the storm raging below.

“Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” –Stitch

I am most grateful for my family.  I know that seems so cliché, but it is oh so true.  I have the best five kids in the world. I love them so much and I am so thankful for their love and the relationships we share.  I’m thankful that they believe in me and that they continue to expect the best of me. And I am so thankful for my parents. I feel like our relationship this year has come full circle and I am so comfortable resting in their virtual arms as I allow them to comfort me and care for me.  My siblings, too, have been so dear to me, each in their own way and I am thankful for our big tribe.

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

I am also grateful for the friends God has put in my path this year.  Some of them are new and some of them are like cherished and familiar blankets.  I have been poured into selflessly this year and there really aren’t words to describe the way I have been surrounded.  I have some of the greatest friends and they are such gifts to me!

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” – Lionel Hampton

And while I am being cliché (but honest), I am so grateful for this new position as the Kanakuk Director of Alumni Engagement.  I have absolutely LOVED getting reconnected with so many of you. Many of you played such a vital role in my growing up whether you know it or not.  Many of you were role models to me and many of you were dear friends. I love the Kanakuk family so much and I am thankful to get to continue to be apart of it.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Jamie Jo Braner, Director of Alumni Engagement