• Lilja team

Taking a moment for reflection


Photo by by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the Lilja team has the holidays on our minds. As we look forward to celebrating the season, understanding it will be different, each member of the Lilja team took a moment to reflect on the past year.


Lauren Berg: With everything that has happened this year, I am thinking about how important it is to slow down when we can. My family’s holiday celebrations will be different this season, but there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with loved ones. What is usually a very busy time of year will probably feel a little lacking, but I am reminding myself that slowing down can also bring good things.


Alicia DeMatteo: I find myself in constant awe of those who are making tough situations work — from parents who never anticipated having to juggle so much at once, to health care workers who put their lives on the line every day, to the people who make sure food continues to be plentiful. It's a constant, wondrous reminder of both the frailty of life and the strength of the human spirit.


Mary Lilja: One year ago, after recovering from breast cancer, I started a daily gratitude practice. I think about three things I am grateful for each night as I settle in to sleep. It has now become habit, and more often than not, just like the song, “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.” I’m grateful for this practice and am hoping to get others to adopt the habit this year!


Kate Lilja Lohnes: This year has been challenging and transformative both personally and professionally. To mark a different holiday season this year, I am involving my kids in giving back. Together, we collected pantry items before Thanksgiving to donate to PROP, a local food shelf in Eden Prairie. We are also sponsoring two children this year through PROP's holiday gift program. Along with these experiences, we're having more conversations about the values that define our family and how we can live them every day.


Linda Tedford: Adjusting to our 2020 life at home, except for the occasional errand run, has been challenging for my son and me; we’re both extroverts and thrive on connecting with others. I’m grateful for my daughter, who came home from Milwaukee when we needed her, but only after self-quarantining to keep us safe. It will be strange not gathering with our extended family for a big Thanksgiving feast or playing the dice game for crazy white elephant gifts this Christmas, but we trust that 2021 will bring us together again.


Erica Winegar: After a chaotic year, I’m walking away with a clearer sense of perspective and purpose. I decided to make the most of what remains in 2020 by raising funds to support the hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where my youngest son was born. He spent five weeks in the NICU last year, and I can't imagine how doubly devastating this must be for families experiencing NICU care during a global pandemic. This fundraiser is my attempt to make a difference and support the incredible team who cared for my son.

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