What I am Most Thankful For and Daily Gratitude / by Leslie

We found a photo booth at the local movie theater and all piled in for some goofy pictures together. I love these shots so much, they seem to just express so much joy and fun and silliness. We are at our best when we are all laughing together.

I am, most certainly, the MOST thankful for my kids and my husband this Thanksgiving. They make it all worth it and they make it all more fun. I am so lucky to be able to enjoy my daily life with these three guys. Chris, my husband, who takes such good care of all of us. Milo, my oldest, who is a gentle soul and makes my heart melt with his sweetness and empathy almost every day. Quinn, my youngest, who is passionate and funny and makes me so proud with his natural talent for singing and entertaining.

I am also thankful for the rest of our family and friends, who love and support us. We have made it through a rough year of illness and I'm so happy that both Chris's Dad and my Mom are feeling good today and are battling the cancers that have been plaguing them. Chris's Dad is essentially cured of his lymphoma and leukemia because of the bone marrow that Chris donated. My Mom has reached a level of comfort with her treatment that has allowed her to regain some quality of life and she is waiting for a treatment in the New Year that should shrink her tumor and get her even more healthy.

More than that, I am thankful for my life. These days it's been pretty good and I feel as if I am making some significant progress in my own happiness. Even when things are not good, I have been finding more patience and acceptance in each situation. Overall, things just feel more in balance and clearer than they have ever been.

In Karen's Pathfinder course, she shared her concept of daily gratitude, telling us that finding one thing every day to be grateful for can lead us to a better overall sense of well-being. She also writes and photographs a weekly gratitude series over at Babble called Bliss your Heart. Karen knows about gratitude.

We started a daily gratitude practice in our family by going around the table before we eat dinner and letting each of us say one thing we are grateful for that day. We hold hands and each person gets as much as time as they like. It's been most interesting to see Quinn, our 3 year old, begin to think bigger about this practice. At the beginning he would usually say he was grateful for each food on his plate, "I am grateful for my carrots, my pasta and my meatballs." Those are things that were right in front of him, but lately he's been branching out to being grateful for a good day, or his family. Milo is often grateful for things at school and his can get a little long, but we patiently listen. It's also often the same things each day, but that's ok. We are teaching the kids to think about their day in a positive way and to find one thing to be grateful for. After we are done we do a big "cheers" with our glasses. 

It's wonderful to have one day each year where we are thankful for those good things that surround us but it's very important to be thankful for something EVERY SINGLE DAY. We should remember that no matter what life throws at us, it's up to us to CHOOSE to be grateful for something. Anything. Big or small, meaningful or not, if we can stay in that place of thankfulness all year long, we will naturally just be happier.

Wishing everyone here in the USA a Happy Thanksgiving and to all you beautiful people, I encourage you to practice daily gratitude in your own life. Either personally or family-based, it's a wonderful habit that can really improve the way you feel and how you perceive your life.