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Passing the Flame of Gratitude

When I think of Thanksgiving, I remember the long banquet table of pies at our annual family gathering growing up. I remember the insane abundance, the variety of dishes, almost too much to fit on the table!

All that preparation and the house buzzing with activity, and then the meal itself seemed to be over before it began. The spirit behind Thanksgiving, appreciation for all this comfort and abundance was lost on me then. This feast and the gathering of my family, was largely taken for granted because it was a given. I accepted it as normal and present as cranberry sauce and stuffing.

In contrast, I remember Thanksgiving, just 3 years ago. I couldn't attend my family's meal because I was a few months into a grueling 5 months of chemotherapy. My immune system was shot and I was staying home to avoid catching any of the colds going around.

Some friends of ours had arranged for a special Thanksgiving catering delivery, and in this small quiet way, me and my boys celebrated the holiday, just the three of us.

Thankfulness revealed itself to me in a whole new way. Faced with the uncertainty of my future, and having to work so hard just to slog through another treatment, I found immense gratitude just to be present for another holiday.

My life had been pared down to the bare bones. In this simplified way I had found my thankfulness, simply to be here for another day.

I know you have seen things, that you have experienced loss and pain too. It goes without saying as a card carrying member of the human race.

The reminder for us today, and as we enter the Holiday season, is that gratitude is a perspective and a choice. It doesn't take excessive material wealth, all the stuff that we fill our lives with. It isn't a matter of status and position in life. It doesn't require a massive list of friends, an overflowing holiday schedule, your mailbox stuffed with cards and invitations.

Gratitude only requires that you drop in and you notice, wherever you are, at the incredible bounty and blessings that already fill your life.

Whether you celebrate with family or friends, spend the day in quite reflection, or feeding the hungry and the poor, I extend a flame of gratitude for you.

Thank you for being who you are, and for all you do. Thank you for reading and following along on my journey of healing and growing.

I offer this flame of gratitude and thanksgiving so you can take it into your heart, and then share it with those around you.

Take nothing for granted.

Melissa Eppard lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY area with her young son and husband. After overcoming breast cancer in her mid-30's, she knows that nothing is guaranteed in life. As a Personal Life Coach she has made it her mission to ignite the spark of purposeful living and creative fire in everyone she meets. What you nurture will grow!

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