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Giving thanks and living in a state of grace and gratitude are powerful concepts that walk hand in hand. This Thanksgiving our family is spread out all over the country and the world. My father and step-mother in Arizona, my step-father and a nephew in California, two step kids in Maryland, Ric’s family in North Carolina, my son in Beirut…

…and then my two brothers, sister in-law, niece, nephew and Ric and me in Colorado. Wishing that we were all together for the holiday but having so much to be thankful for, I feel deep gratitude for my fortunate life.

As we see bombing and loss of life in the Middle East and the horrors of war, I often wonder why I was so lucky to be born to a country and life of a mostly peaceful existence. I have traveled the world where I’ve had the opportunity to experienced the lovely people and cultures and to see that people are the same everywhere, wanting the same things that we Americans are blessed with, a safe place to lay our heads at night, the hope of a good future for our children, healthy and loving relationships and the most basic of needs, food and clean water.

Last week on a cold and snowy evening, Ric and I dropped off some food at our local homeless shelter. As we brought the food to the back door, we could see through to the front door where people without homes waited to be let in for a warm meal and a place to stay for the evening. I was struck by a pang of guilt for all of the times that I have not been grateful for all that I have and the moments of whining and complaining over things insignificant.

Last night a friend called me after returning from a visit to Texas. She shared with me details about her visit with her only family, a brother and niece whom she had not seen in five years. They celebrated an early Thanksgiving with her brother’s in-laws, the parents of his wife who passed away in an accident five or so years ago, followed by the suicide death of her brother. The in-laws were now raising the children of their deceased son and daughter, as well as a homeless boy who was found living on the street.

My friend said that in spite of the unthinkable losses that this couple had endured, she had never been in a home filled with so much love. What is so impressive is their ability to rise above their own grief shifting their energy towards giving a loving home to those in need.

Yes, I have so much to be thankful for as most of us do. We all suffer losses and disappointments as this is a part of the material world but the trick is seeing the positive in most situations, turning them into what a friend calls, “learning moments”.

I share my journey with the love of my life, our children are safe and thriving, we have a loving family and a life filled with friends and new adventures. Most importantly, this Thanksgiving, our most basic needs are met, we have a roof over our heads, warm food in our bellies and we live in peace.

I wish for the same for all of you and for a giving, compassionate humanity with the understanding that we are all of one family and one world. There are no “others”, we are them and they are us.

With gratitude, peace & love,

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