As the Canadian geese fly honking overhead during their fall migration, we realize that the seasons are changing. Fall is upon us and winter cannot be too far behind. A friend read a prediction of an early winter this year in one of the almanacs.

When we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, let us take the time to count our blessings and truly take the time to listen and converse with each other by shutting off televisions, radios, computers, phones and other devices that take us away from family.

The following piece was sent to me years ago by a friend and says so much to those of us who have lost loved ones and wish that we could give them “just one more hug”.

Moments That Take Our Breath Away

I had a very special teacher in High School many years ago whose husband unexpectedly and suddenly died of a heart attack.

About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of her students.  As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things to the edge of her desk and sat down there.

With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important.

Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us know when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is ‘the powers that be’ way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day.”

Her eyes began to water as she went on. “So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn’t have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves on the trees, or the way the morning light catches the autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground.

“Please look for these things and cherish them.  For although it may sound trite to some, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted.  We must make it important to notice them, for at any time, it can all be taken away.”

The class was completely quiet.  We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I ever had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take note of something special you see on your lunch hour today.

Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight and get that double-dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things that we did not do.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take your breath away. God bless you all and may sunshine always be in your days.” –Author Unknown

Perhaps families can work with their young folks to put away the phones and computers for a weekend – maybe even longer. I’ve noticed that our young people (and I don’t mean just school aged either) are continually checking their cell phones or lap top computers, even at work!

There is a big, wide world out there and we need to share it with friends and family. There’s something to be said for those who take the family camping in spots where there is no electronic services. It’s truly a wake up call to enjoy the great outdoors and interact with others.

–Paula