It seems like the month of November came quickly and now as we approach the end of the month we wonder where it went! Much like the entire year, it has come and gone in the blink of an eye. However, this time of year is special. It is filled with wonderful family traditions, fabulous sights and sounds, and I am mindfulness of how blessed we are.

For me, last Friday ended on a disappointing note having to do with the Y. I was looking forward to spending the weekend in the Menominee Kiwanis booth at the Old World Market surrounded by many of the sights and sounds of the holiday season when something out of my control really hurt my heart. I let the news stay with me all weekend; affecting my time with many community members and friends, interrupting my sleep, and influencing my attitude.

I knew that I needed to “let it go,” but for some reason this news would not disappear from any of my thoughts and stayed with me the entire weekend. My zip was gone from my step and my sparkle gone from my eyes. At the Old World Market I was listening to the Sweet Adeline’s share their talent singing and having fun, tears welled up in my eyes! What in the world was going on?

Does that ever happen in your life? Do you choose to let decisions out of your control influence your attitude? Spoil your weekends? Rob you of joy? Of course. This happens to all of us from time to time. It usually happens because of something you are passionate about and it is a disappointment if something turns out to be different from what you envisioned. You work hard for something and it just takes a turn that you did not see coming.

I’d like to share how I found a moment to smile and remember the “Thanksgiving” that I have in my life. I went to 6 a.m. yoga at the Y and Kirsten Buck announces that we are going to do a practice of gratitude. My first thought was, “can I adjust my attitude so I can find the gratitude?”

Kirsten started leading us through breathing and poses all the while talking gently about being grateful, not just thinking of the simple things, but really thinking deeply about the simple things. Soon I had a smile on my face.

Each day I feel blessed just because I have a passion for the work the Y does in our community. I have gratitude for the staff (I really needed Kirsten this morning!), I have gratitude and give thanks to the Board of Directors who share my passion and volunteer their time, and I have gratitude for the members and donors who make the Y what it is today. Most of all, I have gratitude for the management team who are going to take the Y to the next level and who I look to as my extended family members.

At the Y, we work hard to meet today’s needs while continuing to build a sustainable foundation for our future. As we move beyond our 48 years of service in the Marinette Menominee communities, we remain thankful and aware of the men and women who came before us, and we carry their legacy forward with honor.

We are proud and humbled by the many stories about how the Y made a difference in someone’s life. From providing child care to the less fortunate, to helping a child learn to be safe around the water, to creating a “home away from home” for a lonely senior, to helping a member navigate their journey with cancer or change their life now before diabetes is diagnosed — the Y is here when our community needs us the most.

Terri Falkenberg, Greater Marinette-Menominee YMCA Executive Director, can be reached at the Y, 1600 West Drive, Menominee, MI, 49858; 906-863-9983; or terri@mmymca.org.