|carving the bird|
I try very hard to practice being grateful on a daily basis and am always reminding myself to look at my life through the lens of those less fortunate, but a holiday like Thanksgiving deserves some extra moments of thought about the blessings in my life...
My family has always had the tradition of going around the table and saying what we are thankful for before we eat our Thanksgiving meal. I have always loved hearing what my family members are appreciative of and learning what about our lives were most important to them. As the years have passed and we have all gotten older, the things we are thankful for have certainly changed (I'm sure there were times when my brother and I were thankful for toys or silly things) but the core of our gratefulness has always come from the same place- family, health, safety.
Examining the things in your life that deserve gratitude is the easiest and most rewarding way of re-centering priorities and providing some perspective for your daily challenges. After going around the table this year, I felt so full of peace, gratitude and happiness that I had so many things to be thankful for. I highly doubt that any family sits at their Thanksgiving table and expresses thanks for their expensive cars, closets full of designer shoes or their bulging bank accounts (well, who knows...but I'd like to think that this isn't the case :/). The things we find important enough to express public gratitude for at our dinner table are the true expression of what we think is important in our lives and of what we value most.
This is my list:
Nicholas. My soul mate and partner in life. I honestly have no idea what I would do without him.
My family. I am fortunate to have wonderful parents that support us in all that we do, in-laws that have become a sturdy second branch of my family tree, a brother that has always been more my friend than my sibling, a brother and sister-in-law that are a real delight to have in our lives, a niece who is healthy and growing, grandparents that have always loved me and been interested in my life, an extended family that I look forward to seeing and who can make a simple game of dominos or cards into a laugh-fest worthy of any comedy show.
My son. We already love him so much and are so grateful that he is growing and, as far as we know, healthy. With all of the change and anxiety that comes with having a child, there is so much excitement, hopefulness and happiness that makes it all worth it. We can't wait to meet him.
Our dogs. They make our family whole and make us happy every day. They show us what it means to truly love unconditionally and remind us that sometimes the only thing to do is run around like a crazy person and play :)
Our home. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to own our home at a time in our lives when many people don't have the resources or opportunity to do so. Knowing that we have a roof over our heads and a comforting place to spend our days is the ultimate feeling of security. I hope that everyone knows this feeling at some point in their lives.
My health. I have access to clean water, physicians, emergency medical care and medications that can easily be procured from a store on the corner. Though our health care system needs many improvements, I am grateful that these things are true.
The ability to pay our bills. We are able to provide for ourselves and to have some things that aren't necessities. We are so fortunate.
My education. Many things in my life would not be possible without the educational opportunities that were given to me. I am thankful for the sacrifices my parents made for my education, the sacrifices Nick made for me to go to grad school and for the support I received along the way.
My country. I am a woman who is able to vote and add my voice to the debate about the direction our country moves in, receive higher education, make my own life decisions, follow my own path and create a life with a man of my own choosing who supports me and treats me as an equal. This is not true everywhere and I am grateful for it every day.
My friends. Near or far, old or new, I am blessed to have some wonderful people in my life that provide laughter, support, motivation and inspiration to me on a regular basis. Even if we don't talk very often, I appreciate every one of the people that I can call a friend.
All of the little things. The sunshine, the breeze, the vegetables growing in our garden, a smile from my husband, warm blankets on a cold night, coffee, wine, chocolate, pastries, beautiful memories, good books, learning new things, laughter and everything else that makes me grateful to be alive.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that you have many things to be thankful for.
much love, L&N