This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. It is one of my favorite holidays – the family, the food, the football (American), the fabulous fall weather. Since I moved to Spain, we’ve prepared a traditional Thanksgiving meal for all of our friends and it is, without a doubt, one of the most satisfying weekends of chaos all year long. Every year, I miss my family terribly, but I have come to realize that I have been blessed to find and make a new family here – and every year they show up and make the weekend memorable. We’ve had the opportunity to make new traditions by sharing my old ones and this is one of the things I am most grateful for in my life – people who are open to sharing.
Gratitude is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” It is an attitude of knowing that, even when things seem overwhelming, we all have someone or something excellent in our lives. All we have to do to cultivate gratitude is to focus on the good side of life. Yeah, that sounds really cheesy. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Let me give you a personal example. Yesterday, my husband disappeared into the kitchen while our son was napping and I was being a couch potato and watching a re-run of Friends. Roughly 30 minutes later, the most amazing smells of apples and cinnamon start spreading through the house. He comes out of the kitchen with a big smile and asks me to come take a look. I took a picture, too.
I couldn’t believe it. Here’s a guy who needs a nap more than anyone I know and he took some time to think about, plan, and then execute this gorgeous dessert for us – “just because.” Small acts of kindness are never wasted on someone with a grateful heart. This year, with all that’s going on, dreams coming true, family health and happiness, friends willing to accept new traditions, etc. – my grateful heart is about to explode.