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LESSONS IN GRATITUDE

I have to be honest, Thanksgiving is probably my least favorite of all the holidays. The prep work leading up to a dinner where we sit and gorge until I feel sick sounds like a nightmare. I get anxious thinking about timing a turkey just right and sautéing vegetables that will compliment the aroma of the wine. So unfortunately, I don’t have much insight or festive and colorful thanksgiving cheer. I’m not here to talk about what kind of napkins will go with what napkin ring (although I do love a good table setting).

What hits home for me this Thanksgiving is taking the time to actually give thanks, and for me that doesn’t mean saying “I am grateful for my family…” (for which I am very grateful for). For me, it goes deeper. I am grateful for the hardships and the frustrations. I’m grateful for the late nights where I have screaming kids, or the time apart from my husband while he works in another country far away from his family. I am grateful for the arguments, the lows, and darkness, because these are all of the places that become beautiful opportunities for growth. I’m learning to be comfortable in being uncomfortable, because on the other side of fear is incredible strength. Leaning in is an act of trust, where we can begin to see adversity as a teacher and run towards any fear with open arms.

These dark times have been windows of opportunities.  This year, we have watched hurricanes whip through towns and topple them over, we’ve endured mass shootings within our schools and churches, we’ve seen dark sides of white supremacist groups, we’ve been led by administers with questionable predictability and reliability. We’ve lost, we’ve cried, we’ve hashtagged and petitioned. We’ve been abused, tested, challenged, angered, threatened, and pushed. We’ve stuck it out while it seems that everything we’ve worked so hard for and built is being bulldozed to the ground. And in this, we’ve realized that there is so much more work to do.  

Yet, we have tilted our chins to the sky, and exhaled loudly. In this, many of you, like me, may be searching to locate the light in crisis. The word crisis stems from the Greek word “to decide” – which means we are presented with a choice. Do we stand up, or do we hide?

This decision process is important. It’s where we get to “shake things up,” to analyze, examine, fathom, investigate, pore over, probe, research, screen, scrutinize, work over, shift – if we choose to. During these challenges, I used to feel as if my feet were bound in concrete, paralyzed by fear.  I’ve had to give myself permission to change and evolve.  I’ve learned that in crisis, one person’s standstill becomes another’s opportunity to run towards love. Within that space there is abundant generosity, support, shelter, safety, and supply.

It is not our job to fix our pain or the pain of others, but I do think we have a choice to fight for others and ourselves.  We can try and turn tragedy and a challenge into an opportunity and empowered acts of decision.  Instead of crumbling in the face of darkness, we can reach our hand out and pull our neighbors up.  Be the good and positive change, either within yourself or within your community.  Once we’ve sifted through all the noise, we arrive at a decision where we realize that what we’re all after is the same: to be loved, to be seen, and to trust that life is happening to provide us with what we need. We are strong!  We are capable!  We can rise!  Once we’ve sifted, everything else falls away.

Plain and simple: we just get to show up. We get to hold a mirror up to our pain, and uncomfortably stare it in the face until it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable anymore. We get to prevent the fear from eating us alive, we get to be vulnerable and grow. We get to be generous with ourselves.

In doing so, we might just recognize that challenge don’t make us weak. It just let’s us flex the parts of ourselves that we never knew were strong. That’s emotional fitness – that’s the definition of resilience. We locate an internal grit that we need to not only survive, but to thrive. The poet Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” In order to push forward and move mountains, we must love both the valleys and peaks.  

So, in this season of thanks, and after a year of being continually tested, we may feel like we’ve lost our way. But what I try to remember is that pain is a vehicle. So when pain rears it’s ugly head, let’s use it.  How can we use it to affect positive change? How would we persevere if we trusted that pain was happening for us, not to us? When I’m stretched beyond my limits, I’m reminded that all I have to do is show up. I can run, and I can withdraw- but I’ll never grow there in my comfort zone. I can show up.

When my frustration is fresh and new, I’m going to try and let it motivate me instead of isolate. I’ve decided to not pretend or push it away. Instead, I’ll forgive myself, respect myself, speak up, and move forward bravely. Grief is sacred when it calls us towards our power. It is part of each person’s journey. So let’s offer ourselves empowerment from fear, and in doing that, we’ll learn that we’re strong enough. That we got this. That we need to encourage each other and lift each other up.

So, when I’m challenged, here are things that help: water, walks, meditating, speaking up, encouragement from my husband, watching my son learn the piano, hearing my baby girl coo, witnessing random kindness from a stranger, reading, deep breaths.

Here’s what also helps: service, action, generosity, loving myself when I feel like I’ve failed. Remembering that I’m doing my best. Letting myself off the hook. Deeply appreciating the speed bumps.  Speaking up for those that cannot, lending a hand to the LGBTQ community, donating to a less fortunate family, posting positive information on social media, listening to a stranger, walking foster dogs, giving to hurricane victims, supporting someone who is afraid.

This year, I’m leaving gratitude at the doorstep of my fears. I’m saying “thank you” to my challenges, because I am grateful for them and the opportunity they bring. Let’s together remember that, no matter where we stand in life – no matter what our ethnicity, race, sexual preference, income level, or political party –  we need our challenges,  just as much as we need each other. So here’s to embracing our struggles with open arms.

Happy Thanksgiving!

XO,

Gen

 

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November 24, 2017
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123 Comments

  • Jessica

    Thank you for your honest and emotional words! Many greetings from Germany

  • Julia Federle

    Thank you Gen for the well written, very thoughtful words on Thanksgiving. It’s not easy to “embrace our struggles with open arms” but I will try to remember it and grow with my tasks. As you so fittingly say: “Callanges bring opportunity”.

  • Jocelyn

    God bless you for this post full of lies 👏🏼👏🏼 If you actually were thankful for your husband, you’d spend more time with him since you got no job and can move to Vancouver to spend time with him and the kids. I love you, I really do, but my eyes are slowly opening

    • CC

      WTF????? It was JARED’S a decision for them to live in Austin. Not hers. JARED’S!!!!! If you really loved her, you wouldn’t make such a rude, disgusting and judgmental comment. Jared has a JOB in another country. It’s not her fault. Don’t you fucking DARE blame her. This is so so so so so messed up! Why you have such a big issue with her living in Austin while he’s working, makes zero sense to me.

      • CC

        Also FYI, that’s why Jared goes home every weekend -not including convention weekends- that’s why Gen occasionally goes to conventions with him, more specifically the ones in Europe. That’s why they went on vacation in Hawaii last month as a family. That’s why the Supernatural cast and crew get holidays and summer off. It’s not like she never sees Jared, and never spends time with him. That’s bull, and you know it! He works, but they make time for each other. It’s none of your damn business anyway. So take your hate elseware. Gen gets more than enough of this crap as it is.

  • Tara

    You have no idea how much I needed this today… Thank you Mrs. Padalecki !!

  • Bri

    I love you Gen and I love this. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with your family and I hope that you know how much you’re loved.

  • Natalie Anne

    Beautiful words, Gen ❤️

    • Cas...

      Beautifully written.
      🙏🏻❤️💐

    • Debbie Lentz

      Thank you for this insightful text. It brings me comfort Gen it hearing my physical and emotional pain expressed so eloquently.I have survived chronic pain ,a huge back surgery ,being a student finishing my MSN in nursing education and reebering the work force and crying most nights on how tough it is. But my biggest joy are my children husband and fur babies who know just what to do when mom falls,down.@nowandgen

  • Nicole

    I would be thankful if you shut your overly botoxed lips with a bunch of out of touch privilege you naive, entitled princess. How thankful would you be if you actually had to work for a living or didn’t have access to your husband’s bank account? Guessing not. Do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.

    • CC

      Out of over 100 comments, yours is the only one who seems to want her to “shut the fuck up”. I’m 100% convinced that you are the same exact person who leaves hateful comments on everything she posts. The same person who has thousands upon thousands of fake accounts made to bully and harass not only Gen, but EVERYBODY who supports her. I feel so sorry for you, that you feel the need to tear someone else down for absolutely no reason at all. People as disgusting and hateful as you, are part of what’s wrong with the world. I will never understand how anybody could possibly do what you do every single day. How anybody could come to her account, posts and website just to treat her like crap. She has done nothing to deserve this. She has done so much good for the world, and this is how she’s treated for it? If you hate someone so much, why do you take the time to do this? I think you’re obsessed with her.

    • CC

      This is why bullying -and cyber bullying- is such a big issue these days.

  • Miica

    I love everything you said <3

  • Christine

    Very well articulateD. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Alesia Blake

    Thank you Gen. You said a lot and you said it well. I look at loss, and pain, as a stepping stone to strength. Showing kindness is difficult sometimes, but necessary. We all learn from our challenges. I know that life is unpredictable, but you, and Jared, handie it well. The sacrifices being made today, will be the memories that fill your tomorrow. I’m 58 yrs old and you inspire me, and Jared has inspired me as well. God bless you and your beautiful children. Thank you, for showing kindness, in the face of hatred, disasters, and cruelty, it inspires others. Love ♡ to you and I love reading your blog.
    God bless. ♡ Alesia

  • Larissa

    Amazing!
    You should write more and more! 😍

    • Louise

      Thank you for your genuine and heartfelt words. I am begining, at 55, to not fear unwelcome events and seemingly unrelenting ‘challenge’ as pain cracks that barrier. I feel like I have been my own worst enemy whether it be from poor choices or being paralyzed from fear of awful outcomes. But I have become exposed to such courage and strength through SPN family, a TV show of all things, and the work of Eckhart Tolle that my little world and small thinking is expanding to new unexpected horizons. Watching you and your beautiful family share your struggles helps me so much you can’t imagine. Digging into your heart locker and revealing your process to swim out of the muck and sorrows really does connect and show us we can do it too. I am greatfull to you for sharing yourself with us. We have transended the viewed and viewer relationship in great part to how Jared has responded to the fans. And you joined him to bridge an old tradition of ‘star’ apart from ‘fan’.
      I am just another person trying her best to evolve and bring some joy to what I can influence. So here is to cartwheels when you can’t see the ground just go ahead and take out the limits.
      Wishing you and all the SPN family a warm and loving season of giving and thanking.
      L

  • Kara McLeod

    So very inspiring. Thank you. You’ve helped me a great deal. I’m constantly living with irrational (or maybe rational?) fear nowadays. Instead of thinking “Why me?” I’m prone to wondering “Why not me?” Which absolutely strips the power from me. Your words alone have helped bring back that power. Loved everything you said and the way you said it, and also, like I’ve written to you (:)), how you gave us a part of yourself in it.
    Thank you. I will truly think of this whenever I’m feeling fear of the unknown and not-yet-happened.
    Much love and support xo

  • Angela Imgarten

    So perfectly said and much needed words to hear! Thank you Gen for writing and posting!! 💜

  • Mary Brown Holland

    Thanks for this. I really needed to hear these words. Hope u and urs had a Happy Thanksgiving and I’m looking forward to hearing more from u! Love and Peace. ❤️✌🏼

  • Madison

    This really helps me appreciate the struggle, thanks Gen, your strenth is inspiring.

  • Fernanda

    Wow!!!So inspiring !! I’m grateful for THIS text!!!
    this reminded me of a phrase I like very much: “We need a chaos in our soul to give birth to a dancing star”!!! Kisses from Brazil 🇧🇷❤

  • Theresa

    “Plain and simple: we just get to show up. We get to hold a mirror up to our pain, and uncomfortably stare it in the face until it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable anymore. We get to prevent the fear from eating us alive, we get to be vulnerable and grow. We get to be generous with ourselves”

    This is a hard lesson for me. I always feel inadequate in the face of my fears, that I won’t know how to deal with them appropriately. Too many times I berate myself with the “I should have done…”. There are too many times I’ve stayed silent and regretted it later.

    As I’ve gotten older and experienced more that life has to offer, I do find a small amount of comfort in dealing with similar situations, that I’ve traveled that road before. My fears aren’t as great there, but they exist.

    Thank you for these precious words, beautifully crafted to give people permission to fear, but also to find peace and strength within it.

  • Rheanne

    This is so beautifully put. I’m glad you shared some ways to turn around a challenging situation. I’ve long known the idea of being grateful for times of struggle, because there is no growth without change. But it’s much harder to put that into practice! For me, praying/meditating is a huge part of my life and I find myself often praying for a happier mindset, when I should be praying in thanksgiving for the growth opportunity.

  • Emma

    This left me speechless. I have nothing to say other than thank you. Thank you for allowing yourself to express your joys. As well as your ups and downs. It’s nice to hear from someone you admire that it isnt all perfect, but it’s worth it.❤️

  • Allison Cutrona

    Ironically.. I was just thinking about this yesterday! How I’m grateful for my personal struggles.. How they open up my eyes and look at everything with a different perspective. Thank you for sharing this, it’s very inspirational. ❤️

  • Kathy

    You are such an incredibly insightful young woman. So much more so than I ever was at your age. I watch you sometimes in awe of your prose, calm, and joy in life. Your children are so lucky to have a woman like you as their mother. And of course Jared as their father. Together you are the building blocks for a beautiful family. Young moms are so lucky to have you as a role model as well. Your wisdom is beyond your years. Take care of yourself too. Love watching your young family grow. 💜❤️

  • Nikki Nichols

    This was absolutely inspiring! FEAR has two meanings… 1. Fear evE And Run or 2. Face Everything And Rise. Because of the inspiration that you have given me, I truely believe in the latter! Thank you so Much, Gen!!!
    Much Love and Respect ❤️

  • Mary

    Service….
    Finding something bigger than ourselves and serving that cause/ ideal.
    TRUTH
    I tell the younger girls when they step out of their comfort zone, it’s then that they learn what they are made of!
    Challenges met help us grow…. shedding the “skin” of our older self to become something new.

  • Adrienne Rogerson

    Wonderful words! I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. It let me think that I was in control of my life. However, uncontrollable events actually helped me to learn to relax. Now, I laugh a lot more and really enjoy life. I’m thankful, grateful, and excited for every day. Hope you are too. 😊

  • Ashley

    This was so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this.

  • Laney S.

    Gen, that was absolutely beautiful! You are a true role model. Jared, Tom, Shep, and Odette are very lucky to have you in their lives. ❤️❤️

  • Sherry

    This is a wonderful way to look at life. You have an awesome talent in being able to put into words the things that impact our lives. And you are a beautiful example of how it can be.
    I spent my younger years being the rebellious child. At 23 I was divorced with 2 young sons. Between then and now I just delt with whatever life threw at me and 42 years of an abusive relationship.
    It’s taken me 69 years to realize that I am the only one that needs to love me. The love and support I have from family and friends is wonderful. But, I would survive without it.
    I’ve found out I could survive the loss of my oldest son by being strong for his widow and 2 young sons.
    I’ve decided that I don’t have to bend over backwards trying to please everyone. Because, that is impossible. My age may not have brought me a lot of wisdom. But, it has led me to discover that I only have to please myself.
    That I can support who you are as a human being, without worrying if you’re offended because I don’t know what your letter stands for. I don’t need to know who or how you love. Because it doesn’t matter.
    The biggest challenge I’ve faced is getting over being afraid of offending. I’m done with that. I will not go out of my way to be politically correct. I am not intentionally rude or disrespectful. But I’m also not going to research all the things that offend people today.
    I will say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever. I will stand with the LGBTQ+ community, but I will not research what they all stand for. If that offends, I’m sorry.
    If I have learned one thing in this life, it is that it’s impossible to not offend somebody.
    I apologize for the long rant. And I know it’s a bit off topic. But, you said so perfectly how to move forward, that I thought I’d just add this. That by moving through the day to day challenges and the few devastating losses, you eventually get to a place of acceptance.
    (I used the LGBT example because that is where I find the most resentment thrown at me.)
    I hope this may help you and your readers know that however you face the troubles and challenges, you will be ok if you just don’t give up.
    Jareds Love Yourself First was my goal. I’m still working on it. That’s been the hardest for me.
    Since I feel like Jared is now my youngest son, by extension you and the babies are now a part of my heart.
    You are an amazing woman and I am proud to know you. Even if I never get the chance to meet you.
    I wish you and your family all the best. Have a wonderful time during the holidays and the coming years.
    Sherry

  • Shanna

    Lovely! And I’ve been learning this/needing to learn this truth. I appreciate your wanting to make social media a more positive place!💜

  • Jessica

    This is so beautiful and spoke right to me. I had something happen a year ago that brought back some unpleasant issues to reacher this year. In reading this I feel like you put everything I’ve had to go through, being strong when you don’t think you have anymore strength in you, into words!! ❤️🙏🏻😘

  • Monique Carvalho

    Hi Gen. I am a Brazilian woman who is fighting against psychological problems… you just helped me a lot with this text. I realy wanna say thank you! XO.

  • Mia

    Hey Genevieve just wanted to say you are my absolute role model. You are an amazing actress, mother, and just a great person in general. I am defiantly thankful for everything you do.You are beautiful and inspiring to all. I wish you and your family an amazing, joyful, safe and wonderful thanksgiving and hope you have a happy holidays. Love you.~Mia

  • Birgitt

    Wonderful words of comfort
    Thx and have a fulfilling life

  • Raye Hendrix

    As a queer, liberal, art (Poetry) graduate student in a new (expensive) city (Austin, actually. Hook Em!) with no money, PTSD, anxiety, and chemical depression who has felt very alone and hopeless since the election last November: thanks for writing this. I think I needed to hear it, and I’m sure others did/do too. I’ve felt so wrecked lately, and so absolutely saturated with negativity and hurt and fear. Thank you for this reminder that these are just growing pains that’ll make me stronger, and hopefully a better, kinder person, in the end.

    And thanks to you and yours for sticking up for the LGBTQIA+ community. We appreciate the love. ❤️

  • Kelly

    YES to all of this. Beautifully and POWERFULLY expressed. Show up, use your pain and fear to open new doors of light and movement. Raising four little ones myself and this resonates “bigly!” Thank you. #blessusall

  • Chloe

    Wonderfully written, Gen, and so very wise. This helped me tonight as I’m wrestling with how to help my autistic son face his fears and challenges. Your perspective is most welcome and beautifullly conveyed.

  • jennifer olish

    You and your family are a true blessing from God. Thank you for making the world a better place.

  • Aurora

    Thank you. I needed this reminder. Here’s to more opportunities to fight the good fight, within and without, and the strength to do both.

  • Catherine

    Gen, I am also greatful for the times I fell on my face. I learned to get up & become the women I am today.
    Humble enough to ask for help when I truly need it and strong enough to tell people to F off when I don’t need their negatively in my life. I’m greatful for the self confidence I never thought I deserved to have.

  • Jackie Bailey

    Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing your insightful words.

  • Margaret Dye

    Perfectly and beautifully said. I will be referring to this post when I’m feeling down and challenged and like I don’t know what to do. Thank you.

  • Ruby Carter

    Thanks so much for your inspiring words. You & Jarrod both are wonderful role models for so many young people. We need more folks like you guys in the public eye!

  • Meredith

    Thank you so much for writing and sharing this post with us. A particular and brutal challenge reared it’s head in my life about a week ago. This reminded me to take a different view, a new perspective, on it and reading this post propelled me into action. I acted before I even finished reading your beautifully written words. I stood up. Thank you for reminding me to do so.

  • Axelle

    Beautifully written. And it made me do some overdue soul-searching that made me come to the same conclusion as you did up there. Pain is a place calling for growth, and you made me understand that. Notice it. And now that I do…Maybe it doesn’t change everything, but it changes something. I’ve always been good at burrying my head in the sand in order not to acknowledge whatever scary, unfair, complicated things were headed my way, and it’s just not the way forward. You’re absolutely right. I have some difficult times ahead of me and you made me feel grateful for it, which might positvely affect the outcome of such times. Which WILL positively affect it. Thank you for that, and for proving that once more, the power of the written language is unlimited and knows no frontiers (french reader here !).

  • Ginny Anderson

    Thank you Gen. Beatiful words and thoughts. Advice I need to remember right now. Love to you and your family!

  • Audrey

    Kindness, integrity, patience, and love…the most important things. But perhaps more important is showing up💗 Thank you this was what I, and I am sure many other people needed today. Beautiful Words!💗

  • Jen W

    Your words are so uplifting — I literally teared up! I live with anxiety and reading this has inspired me to really help others and myself. I’m beginning to view challenges with courage, instead of cowaring in the corner. And it turns out to be great in the end! For example, this past weekend I went to my first Supernatural Convention, in Hawaii and I was so nervous and I was debating just not going— but I did it with courage and I showed up. This post really reflects my life right now — so thank you! You and Jared are so inspirational to me — you guys rock! I love you, Gen!

  • Elena

    with all the bad that I’ve endured in life I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Life isn’t easy and I too am so hard on myself. But I truly believe that we are made up of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We just have to find it within ourselves. We live with the good and the bad and how we deal with those situations makes us grow stronger.

  • Maria Foss

    Probably the best thing I’ve read all year about finding grace and hope in trying times. Thank you for witing it and for sharing it. With your permission I would like to share it further. Wishing you and your family all the blessings.

  • Joanne Caton-Frank

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Peace and happy Thanksgiving. ❤️

  • Ashley

    Love these words! Thank you for sharing them and gently reminding all of us how strong we actually are. XO

  • Jeanette Brown

    Thank you for your insight. Very good article!

  • Chantal Desnoyers

    We are all pieces of art being created by the challenges of our lives. “The Japanese practice of repairing cracks in porcelain with gold resin speaks to us all: sometimes defects are the greatest virtues.”.

  • Jackie

    Gen you write so beautifully. You should write a book.
    I love your blogs

  • Genevieve White

    Thank you so much for sharing this Gen 💛
    I have to say, this article gave me goosebumps at only 5 sentences in. I rarely read anything like these when i scroll through all the social media, but i just so happened to click this wonderful blog. Very beautifully written that it gave me hope and made me feel slight calmed. Also awesome i might add how we have the same name. Growing up i didn’t think my character fit it, even if it was my great grandmother’s name. But if i’m being honest, after seeing you now and then on the social media or acting in a tv show etc. The more i start to think how unique the name ‘Genevieve’ actually is.
    Thank you.

  • Lidiane

    Beautiful words ❤️

  • Mahima Kapoor

    Gen, you’re beautiful, and so are your words. You inspire me, and this post, for me, comes just when I needed to read something like this. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety for the past 3-4 years, struggling being the key word. I hadn’t given up, but I only recently realised that lately I had let the negativity that my illness engenders get to me. I had given up. I had started giving voice to the darkest thoughts I’ve ever had, making them realer than perhaps they needed to be. I had stopped showing up. So I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t do that anymore. I wouldn’t let it win. I will fight. This only serves to remind me of that. So, thank you. You’re beautiful, and as much as Jared inspires me, you do too. So much love for you (from India btw!).

  • Heather

    Wow just wow !
    What wonderful messsges to share !

  • Mina

    This was so inspiring! Thanl you for sharing it.🙏🏻❤️

  • Nina Pandoo

    This is beautifully written. (Sorry, the English Teacher in me compelled me to write a comment – I love seeing language crafted so perfectly and sincerely).

    Thanks for cheering me up too. Been awake all night with baby using my lungs as a pillow.

  • Lauren McCormack

    I greatly appreciate your words of support and wisdom. I’m wondering what your advice would be to a woman who is personally losing everything as well as watching the deplorable the state of the world. I am grateful for what I have but know it is being taken soon. And worst of all, I watch my children suffer and be unhappy. I can’t find my way out of the dark. Please, give me a new way to see this. I read your words and I trust your instincts. Help?

  • Amber Bishop

    You are such a sweet and wonderful person your family is lucky to have you and im so glad we are friends. Have a great holiday season and happy New Year!! Your friend always Amber bishop

  • Lynn Bollaert

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you, Gen for sharig such a beautiful, strong message. Love from Belgium!

  • Elizabeth

    Such true and inspiring words! We’ve all had high points and what feels like more than our fair share of lows but we come out stronger from pulling ourselves up from the low.
    My strength comes from my training, and remembering my journey – and believing (and knowing) that by teaching others I am making a difference.

    You blog has made me really think of “what else can I do?!” – Thank you xx

  • Sofia

    Thank you for this. Really needed to act some perpective right at my baby’s midnight feeding. Beautiful words, stronger feelings.

  • Alice

    This is beautiful and insightful, thank you for sharing xxx

  • Laura Preuß

    I love this so much. In my country we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but from what I’ve learned and heard it is wonderful. It gives some Christmas vibes but frankly, to me these go deeper for some reason. Maybe being thankful for the things we normally don’t feel comfortable with is a sign of giving credibility to things that are inevitable to live without. Maybe without discomfort there cannot be the opposite. Great words.

  • Alexandria M. R

    These are such beautiful words, Gen. You conveyed a spectacular perspective flawlessly. Your writing is amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  • Emma Rose Murray

    Beautifully written and really lovely words and a message I needed to hear on a personal level. Thank you ❤

  • Danja

    Gen, your words were beautiful! They made me tear up a little bit, because I can fully understand what you want to say and I love how you spread those words! It was genuine and even though I just turned 18, I can understand what you are saying and I feel the same! I thank you for that! And I am also thankful for all ups and downs that (will) cross my path.
    You gave me the strength to believe that I can get through hard times and I want to thank you for that.

    Much love to you and your adorable Family from Germany💚

  • Michelle

    Very wonderful and inspiring!! Thank you!

  • Kim Jacobs

    I have just had my very first Thanksgiving, for which I am very thankful to have spent it in Hawaii in the company of very dear friends. I’m thankful that your husband and his cohort are the reason that I have such awesome friends.

    Your words remind me that even when I am struggling most, there is reason to my being.

    Thank you for being so wise, and for reaching out like you do.

  • Erin

    That was both beautiful and timely. Thank you so much for that. May we all learn to be thankful for and grow from the less comfortable things in life. God bless.

  • Christa

    Thank you for your inspiring words. Wishing you a happy holidays season.

  • Melina Bowser

    Loved this. xx

  • Robin Tomblin

    I’m so impressed with your words. They are both moving and inspiring
    Unlike some you are not all talk but you lead and encourage everyone else .Thank you for all pictures

  • Bárbara Anger

    This is just what I needed to hear, you know, the other day I was doing some thinking and I’ve decided to show up, to get out of my comfort zone… That’s what we all are supposed to do. Sometimes, comfort zone is good, but to isolate is not…
    Thank you for the words! God bless you and your family! Happy holidays!

  • Jasmine

    Thank you so much. When I read this I was going through alot and to be honest you put alot in perspective for me. So here is to embracing our struggles. Much love from me to you!

  • Kelly

    YES to all of this. Beautifully and POWERFULLY expressed. Show up, use your pain and fear to open new doors of light and movement. Raising four little ones myself and this resonates “bigly!” THANK YOU. #blessusall

  • Kjersta Moore

    I needed that… thank you so much Gen!!!

  • Betty

    This is absolutely great! Keep up with the blog. I struggle alot being single thinking will i ever find someone! I had a stranger buy my nieces gum at the store. It was just a sweet gesture.

  • Jacqueline

    Wow! This blog is written really well! That’s what I strive mine to look like and feel. Although I’m only a sophomore I love taking up the challenge and seeing my blogs there afterward. Thank you for reminding me about what Thanksgiving means and giving me inspiration!

  • Courtney

    Thank you so much for sharing these amazing words. They brought oodles of peace to my world!

  • Alex

    Thank you, I think I want to run for congress one day now. This was beautiful and very inspiring. Definitely gives me hope that that one day we’ll get through these hardships and we will become stronger and kinder. We do have a choice to fight for others and ourselves and we have a choice to show up, get out of our comfort zones and be kind to one another. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  • Suzette

    That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us. Sometimes we all need reminders to slow down and appreciate our struggles. I needed that today.

  • Donna M. Dunning

    Gen your words were absouteley beautiful!! I am a woman of a certain age, and have gone through many many difficutl times in my life and this time of the year is the worst for me as it is to so many others, but i try. Thank you for this! Both you and Jared are an inspiration God Bless you and and gorgeous family always!! Merry Christmas!

  • Sam Redworth

    Wonderful words, i feel really empoweder by them they have given me a new perspective on looking at things and how to work through my trials.
    Thank you Samantha x

  • Becky

    I believe we should thank God first. He has the power to change the world too. Our country needs God more than ever!

  • Hope

    Thank you, for so many of us what you are doing is so very hard. I do work on it a little every day. Then you come with this inspired blog and that makes me feel better, so thank you Gen, for your honesty and inspiration.

  • Maryann Bjordal

    This post is appropriate for any given day or any given holiday! I absolutely love this post and I find it encouraging and optimistic as well as thoughtful and inspiring! What a great feeling it must be to look at the difficult challenges life throws at you as just that, challenges to grow, learn and turn these into something positive! To forgiveness and energy to evolve, to show up and do good😄❤️. Thank you for this Gen as these words are both comforting and inspiring ❤️❤️❤️

  • Hailey Owens

    Beautiful, Gen. You continue to encourage and inspire me.

  • Cheri Hancock

    Thank you Gen. your words are truth. You are an amazing woman. You do inspire me with the next step – whatever that step is – in life.

  • Holly

    “I’m learning to be comfortable in being uncomfortable, because on the other side of fear is incredible strength.” Thank you Gen for the reminder that life isn’t just about seeking comfort. That challenges and discomfort move us forward. Many blessings for you and your beautiful family! !

  • Kandice Manfredi

    Thank you for such inspiration. I know grief and tragedy personally as I have lost my child. Learning to help other people in the midst of grief is healing for me. Thank you and your family, and friends for all that you do. Random Acts of Kindness is such a beautiful part of Compassionate Friends, in memory of our precious children gone too soon! Bless you ❤

  • Taylor Durocher

    I think this is beautiful. Often i have to remind myself the darkness I’ve faced is what makes me, me. The good the bad and the ugly within my own life and the world around. Always room for change and growth. Happy Thanksgiving Gen! ❤️

  • Amanda

    That was beautiful Gen! You inspire me with every write you do. Not only as someone people know, but as a mom, as a wife and as a woman. Thank you and as always I look forward to your next write💕

  • Leah D

    Beautiful words Gen. What a lovely blog and a beautiful family. No ones life is perfect, I admire you for using all of life’s lessons to grow as a mother, wife and a citizen of the world. You have a wonderfu spirit. Thank you.

  • Tina

    This is really beautiful and inspiring.

  • Lawana tyler

    Thank you. That was beautiful, inspirational, thought provoking and very well said!

  • Désirée

    Beautifully said. We’re here to grow, learn and love. Especially in the dark times. I love how our awareness is now growing on a level that enables us to see that we are not being punished, life doesn’t hate us, the universe has no agenda other than our highest good. And when it seems that anything other than that… we can step back. Reframe. Recoup. We have free will in this growth process – we have the choice to move through or stay frozen. To evolve we have to get to get involved in our growth and mastery. And help each other too – with tools, insights and education. And blogs like this to get the word out. Love it. Gratitude, grace and love 💚💚

  • Cristiane Cardoso

    I love Gen ❤️🇧🇷

  • Jen

    This So needed to be said, Gen! This myth that we need to be perfect mothers….perfect wives…it’s impossible to maintain. One my best days I will knock your socks off, but on my low days, showing up is all I’ve got. Thanks for reminding us of how blessed we are!

  • Donna Y

    Thank you Gen. ❤ I love your eloquent expression!
    What you have said rings true in my everyday life. I understand.
    I am an alcoholic in recovery and most of the things you touched on are parts of my daily program. I now get to Suit Up & Show Up for my Life, when I used to hide and deny everything by drinking myself into oblivion.
    Now I too see that strength from facing my weaknesses and embracing my vulnerability. I have found strength where I least expected it….in others. And helping others, by giving away a piece if myself. I used to believe I could only count on myself. How lonely that was.
    My favorite poem is by Hemingway,
    “We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.”
    XO

  • Camila

    thank you so much for these wonderful words that you wrote I need this and I’m sure many others too, keep inspiring the people this is a gift you are incredible and congratulations for the beautiful family, kisses from Brazil i love you 😘❤

    Histórico

    Salvas

  • Kristina Kemp

    Beautifully written, Gen. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and such true words. We couldn’t grow without pain, without fear, although we like to leave them in the dark. I’ve always heard it said that bravery is not the absence of fear, but our ability to use it to triumph, and push through when things get hard. Something as simple as writing from the heart can cast a light where there may seem to be none-so I thank you for that as well, from the bottom of my heart. Happy thanksgiving, to you and yours.

  • Missi

    Yes! Beautiful. Without the darkness we could never really appreciate the light…I’m hoping my current darkness turns into light and makes me a stronger, better person.
    Thank you for your words…very touching.

  • Jordan Sirkin

    Great post Gen! I too dislike the chaos at Thanksigiving, but think it’s a good time to reflect.

  • Melissa

    Your words are pure gold. I love when someone can reach deep inside and find the words to wear their heart on their sleeve but to also reflect those words onto others. I love that you are so real and honest. Keep writing. Thank you for this post!

  • Kathleen Haskin

    Love you, love your message. Thanks, I needed to be reminded of This! I pray for your family DAILY! I LOVE watching Sam and Dean on Supernatural! HOPE YOU HAVE A BLESSED HOLIDAY!

  • Sharon Bailey

    Beautiful Gen ♥️ And you’re so right. Thank you for all your encouragement. This year at Christmas I’ll be stepping foot back in a church for the first time since my daughter died. Hoping the ceiling doesn’t fall in! My mom finally talked me into it. I’m trying to let go of the anger. Hope I’m successful. Enjoy your babies even when they’re screaming 😃 Because believe me, when they’re grown you’ll miss it! I do! Hope y’all have a great holiday ♥️.

  • Hylda

    I loved this post. It is so uplifting. I had both my daughters read it. You are such an inspiration. Please keep it coming. We could all you more inspiration in our lives.

  • Christelle

    you’re right, every positive or negative thing drives us forward.
    We will always get something out of it and we will always learn!
    Thank you for those wonderful words. I love this post!

  • Jutta

    Hi Gen, ich möchte dir aus tiefstem Herzen für deinen Post danken! Deine Worte helfen mir durch eine sehr schwierige Phase, und zeigen mir die wichtigen Dinge auf und wie wichtig es ist auf sich selbst zu achten. Mein Vater starb letzten Dezember und meine Mutter ..hat sich selbst aufgegeben, es ist sehr schwer, besonders hart war es an seinem Geburtstag und wird es auch zu Weihnachten werden. Es steht im Raum das ich wieder zu ihr ziehe und mich um das Haus und den Garten kümmere, aber es ist hart wenn man jemanden sieht der sich selbst aufgegeben hat, man nicht zu der Person durchdringen kann, und sich absolut hilflos fühlt…nicht im stande eine positive Veränderung herbeizuführen. Als ich deinen Post heute las erinnerte er mich daran wie wichtig es ist sich Dingen zu stellen und zu kämpfen, und so wieder das Licht ins eigene Leben zu holen.
    Danke für deine wertvollen Tips, und beruhignede Worte!

  • Hannah

    Love love LOVE your blog!! I’ve faced challenges and hardships this year myself along family drama being in and out of hospital wondering if my mother would make it through with her health. Reading your blog really opened my eyes and gave me a good chuckle at how much it has made me grow as a person and how much tighter my family is. Thank you for writing from the heart especially after this year where it’s been one heartache after another. Thank you for showing people that they have a voice, a chance to say no to the negativity and speak up with positivity.

  • Alicia

    This is beautifully said, Gen! Thank you so much for sharing it with us & for all the wonderful things you & your family do to give back—y’all are amazing! ❤️

  • Jackie

    Thank you so much for writing this. This really hit home with me, especially the part about grief. Again thatnk you for taking time out of your busy schedule and family to write thigs like this.

  • Elizabeth

    Beautifully and graciously said. I love all your posts, but I think this is my favorite post to date. Such a powerful reminder to look past the darkness and challenges, while acknowledging the difficulty in doing so, and the active choice it requires. I have found that cultivating gratitude leads directly to joy, regardless of my circumstances. Thank you for calling us to a lifestyle of gratitude, and thank you for sharing your life with us so honestly.

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