As my kids and theirs sit around the dining room table, before digging in to the turkey dinner they are required to acknowledge at least one thing for which they are, or have been, grateful. My reminder that this will happen is greeted each year with moans, groans and a bit of teasing. But deep down I think it's something they enjoy.
The world puts challenges and heartbreaks before us which can often make it difficult to keep our focus on the many good things that surround us, the pleasures and joys we can count among our daily godsends. Taking a moment to acknowledge at least one that has been significant for you, proclaiming it aloud for others to hear is like showering the entire group with a sense of gratitude.
Over the years, new additions to the family, the bounteous table, continued good health and new love have made the list. On occasion there has been joy in rising above certain struggles, in coming through the storm stronger and better than before. Others among us have acknowledged professional corners turned or positive directions taken.
Some comments have been creative, some humorous, some predictable. Mine falls in the latter group, much to the chagrin of my kids who try to get me to say something other than "my family". However, as I look around the table, I can't think of anything for which I am more grateful. These people are the essence of who I am and of the life I live. I really can't put anything else above that.
If I could give a long list though, many of the things in these beautiful Thanksgiving photos — from the bounty of harvest, to family and love would be included: