Happy almost summer! Since Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial start of the season, and since the nation is opening again, I thought I would share some inspirational but simple ideas on how to make the most of the upcoming holiday as we wrap up the month of May. So, grab that cup of tea, or since the weather is warming up, perhaps a nice glass of iced tea, and read on.
If we have learned anything this last year, we have learned that enjoying life doesn’t have to be complicated. The simple things: a kind word, a hug, prayers from the heart, sharing a special dish or recipe, take on even more meaning given the challenges we have all faced. For starters, it is not all that difficult to add a heaping portion of gratitude to that Memorial Day menu. Spend some time in prayer this weekend thanking God for our country. Certainly, we have our share of problems, including stark differences and divisions over many issues, but we can, and should, still be grateful for living in the greatest nation on God’s green earth.
In addition to showing gratitude, how about sharing good news for a change? The media give us more than enough gloom and doom, so perhaps we can find positive messages to post or tweet. One suggestion would be watch and then pass on the wonderful Notre Dame commencement address by businessman Jimmy Dunne. He is a Notre Dame grad who provided ongoing support for the families of his employees who lost loved ones in 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center. I really admire his sincerity and yes, the simplicity of his message, reminding the graduates and all of us to cling to what really matters in life and how we can learn through suffering.
Here is another way to show gratitude; something I started to do a few years ago at the suggestion of a friend, and it is a gesture that is very much appreciated. If you come across someone in uniform as you are heading out to the local parade, or maybe to the airport, reach out and thank them for their service. After all, the very reason for this annual federal holiday, is to remember those who gave their lives for the United States of America. Acknowledging those in uniform means we recognize that they too are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and reminds us not to take this country for granted.
Now that many social distancing restrictions are being changed or dropped all together, that long awaited family gathering can finally take place. Make the precious time together even more special by sharing recipes as well as the stories behind those recipes. If you are looking for something new to try, here is the recipe for my Mom Rosie’s famous salad from my T’s Italy website. The recipe brings a smile to my face because I can still see my mom standing at the counter in our small kitchen mixing all the colorful olives for this delectably different dish. Given that so many of us have been apart from friends and loved ones for far too long, what a perfect time to make new memories as well as treasure old ones.
And last but certainly not least, as we wrap up this beautiful Marian month of May, I think you’ll be encouraged by the witness of Sr. Angela de Fatima Coehlo, the postulator for the cause of canonization for Sr. Lucia, one of the three children who witnessed the apparitions at Fatima in the early 20th century. Check out this live interview I did with her recently on EWTN’s Facebook page. Hear the good news of how our Blessed Mother is always pointing us to her Son and reminding us that she is our mother and we are not alone. A great end to the month is to move the family gathering inside be to watch the Fatima movie. It’s being shown exclusively in select AMC theatres around the country and also available on Netflix.
Keep it simple. Enjoy the holiday weekend, and as Rosie used to say, keep smiling.