A Grateful Heart.

Thanksgiving is a season of giving, thanking and expressing love for all the wonderful gifts we are given. This Thanksgiving, more than ever before, I have so much to be grateful for. Even the simplest of gifts are magnified in value this season. This year I will not take anything for granted. I consider myself so blessed to spend the holidays at home with my loved ones, for to me, there is no greater gift. So as Thanksgiving week rolls around, I most definitely will be showing my gratitude for the elements of life that can so easily be taken for granted:

My Home: A wise girl from Kansas clicked the heels of her bright ruby red slippers and stated the words: “there’s no place like home.” In my opinion, no truer words have ever been spoken. While being away for so long, all I could imagine was the comfort of my own house and all the joy that it brings. But I also could not imagine the joy I would feel walking through the town I have called home for my entire life. I consider myself beyond blessed to have such a supportive, compassionate and welcoming town and community. The outpouring of love in which I received from neighbors, friends and strangers over the past year has been overwhelming. This beautifully small town will always hold a special place in my heart. I am lucky to call this my home. I am grateful every second of every day that I am able to celebrate my absolute favorite time of year in this place so dear to me.

My Family: Where do I even begin? I vividly remember being asked the question,“what are you thankful for?” during this time of year when I was younger. I always answered with my family. I never imagined that my love and appreciation for my family could grow any bigger, until this last year. There are absolutely no words to describe how grateful I am and how full my heart is with all of the love, support and compassion I am given each and every day from my loved ones. I truly think that my family is the strongest, most amazing group of individuals. There will never be a sufficient amount of words to describe all that they have done for me. I cannot wait to sit around the table with my loved ones this holiday season and share my gratefulness and my joy.

My Friends: God has given me the greatest friends both near and far away. Each friend in my life has come into my life at a different time, for a different reason. Each friend in my life has a perfect space in my heart. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the small families I have been given in each group of friends. From the friends I have grown up with, to the friends I just met a few years ago, God has given me the wonderful privilege of sharing an unmeasurable amount of laughs, memories and endearing moments. These friends are some of the bravest, funniest, interesting and caring people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

My Education: School has always been one of the most important and exciting elements of my life. For as long as I can remember I have always cherished the gift of being able to go to the classroom each day and exit knowing something greater than I did when I entered. After not being in school last year, I am thrilled to be back in the classroom this semester. I am so thankful to have to opportunity to learn each day and work toward my long awaited goals and a greater career. Although school can be sometimes daunting- from early morning classes to difficult assignments, I cherish that I am able to drive to school every day and study topics that I so dearly enjoy.

My Health: This time last year my health was deteriorating rapidly. Doctors were unsure exactly was wrong with me, and I don’t remember last Thanksgiving at all. Each and every day I am grateful for my health and my beating heart. Our health is a gift that so often goes unappreciated. Days go by quickly, our lives get consumed by our daily stress and busy routines. I have learned to take a step back and appreciate the fact that I am healthy, healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. What greater gift could one ask for?

Organ Donation: This holiday season I am thankful for something I never once imagined would be such a vital part of my life. This holiday season I think about the selfless family who gave me the most powerful gift in the entire world, my life. I think about organ donors all over the world and I think and pray for the thousands of people waiting for transplants each day.

This Thanksgiving I will celebrate my life, my family, my friends and my health. I am more grateful for my life than ever before and I will not waste a second of this second chance that I was given. I have the best gift of all this holiday season and the greatest reason to celebrate. I know each and every day when I feel my heartbeat that I have a beautiful angel watching over myself and my family. I also know that that angel will be sitting with us at the dinner table this Thanksgiving.

For more information about Organ Donation or to sign up to be a donor, visit https://www.donatelife.net.


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