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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melody Beattie

Tip 48 is on Giving Thanks. What better time of year than Thanksgiving to address the topic of giving thanks. This is one of my favorite topics and one that I am very passionate about. I think we all need to be more more thankful in our lives and why not start on Thanksgiving. We all have holiday traditions that we share on this holiday many of which include going around the family table to say something they are grateful for this year. I hope and pray that all of you don't wait for one time per year to show thanks. This is something that we should be working on every single day of our lives. My favorite Oprah Winfrey quote is, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."

You have heard me many times before talk about the list that I keep near my bed that itemizes all the things that I am grateful for. I always find that when I am feeling down or I start feeling sorry for myself, looking at my list helps to put things back in perspective for me. It reminds me that I have so much in my life to be grateful for. Some of those things are obvious; like I am very grateful for my children, while other things are not so obvious; like I am grateful that my ex-husband introduced me to my friend Lisa who is someone very near and dear to me today - even though the husband has since moved away. Being grateful has helped me tremendously in getting through my divorce. Brian Tracy once said,
"Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation." This is hard concept to understand when things are not turning out the way you expected, but looking at the positives helps to ease the pain. For example, I am grateful to my ex-husband for the following: my beautiful 9 year old son, my 3 wonderful stepchildren, my mother-in-law, my girlfriend Lisa, my dog Oreo, him allowing my grandmother to live in our home for 7 months, for giving me the financial support to get my law practice off the ground..., I can go on and on. I choose to focus on all that I am grateful for rather than the things that make me feel sad or angry.

My son started writing an essay last night for English. The prompt was to write a story about what someone else is grateful for regarding you. My son chose to title his essay, "My Mom's Favorite Word Is Okay." Since my son was able to speak and respond, every single time he said the word okay I jumped up and down for joy. He knows this is my favorite word and when he says it I will certainly make a big deal of it. He wrote how grateful I am when he says okay to walking the dog, setting the table or doing his reading. He gets this concept of grateful because he was right on the money. I am beyond grateful when he accomodates my requests. It has turned into a game that we play and he is always rewarded for good behavior even if it's just with hugs and kisses. Sarah Ban Breathnach reminds us, "Every time we remember to say "thank you", we experience nothing less than heaven on earth." I am a firm believer on focusing on good behavior to reinforce what makes me happy and grateful. Thank you Brandon for saying "okay".

I would like to challenge all of you out there who will be visiting with family this weekend. Try approaching your time with the goal of telling each person in your life the one thing that you are grateful for regarding them. Every single person in our lives makes some kind of impact. Let the people in your life know how they have affected your life. Albert Scweitzer once said,
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Who has lit your flame at one time or another? This is the greatest gift that you could bestow on someone. I promise you 2 things; (1) it will make their day and put a huge smile on their face, and (2) it will make you feel on top of the world. Please let me know how it goes. This weekend I will be grateful to my brother and his wife for helping me to get to NJ to be with my family to celebrate Thanksgiving together. If it weren't for them we would be staying home alone.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so let us all be thankful." - Buddha

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