Growing up my family always had the tradition of sharing what we are thankful for before we were allowed to devour our delicious Thanksgiving feast. I think it’s a fairly common practice, but it always stressed me out. Going first you have the home field advantage, you can say pretty much anything and everyone will nod along in agreement. Get selected last and you spend all that time mentally cursing out everyone else for stealing your brilliant speech while still trying to come up with something amazing and original.

This year I wanted to express the things I was thankful for with more than just my family – plus, then I’ll have a whole handful of well thought out ideas for tomorrow afternoon when it’s my turn at the dinner table. Thanksgiving may be the somewhat forgotten holiday between the Halloween shenanigans and Christmas cheer, but taking the time to be thankful for the wonderful things in our life should be the most important thing tomorrow.

Sorry in advance for any corny mushiness – I’m about to get very appreciative of my life:

-I am thankful everyday that I get to start my day with a hot shower and a cup of coffee – I do believe it keeps me from murdering people on a daily basis.

-I am thankful for all the acquaintances that have turned into life-long friends.

-I am thankful to have a job that makes me enjoy getting up and going to work. To finally be working for a company that values their employees and is willing to invest in them. Not to mention working with a group of ladies that understand we can accomplish so much more when we work together as a team.

-I am thankful for my three vices when I am stressing out over something completely ridiculous: long drives with the music blasting, baking, and photography.

-I am thankful for my incredible family – my Dad randomly texts me to tell me he loves me, and my sisters and I consider our Mom a friend as well as a parent. I am blessed to have a family that lives nearby and loves spending time with each other.

-I am thankful for texts, phone calls, and any type of communication that makes it possible for me to keep in touch with the friends who no longer live close enough to visit on a regular basis. It’s not the same as being able to see them, but it helps.

-I am thankful for the amazing Instagram community that has introduced me to some fabulous people and also allowed me to share my work through my own page, and through the sharing of some larger accounts.

-I am thankful for the adventures I have gotten to take this year and the places I have been lucky enough to explore.

-I am thankful for my health, and a body that is strong enough to take on the challenges I have given it this year.

-I am thankful for my best friend – the Christina to my Meredith – AKA my rock. She has been there for all the major events and has known me the longest. I wish there were fewer miles between us, and more visits – but I am grateful for every minute we do manage to have together.

-I am thankful for the beautiful state I call home, and the gorgeous views I get to see on a daily basis.

-I am thankful for the roof over my head and the food on my table.

-I am thankful for my partner-in-crime, who has helped me through the struggles I have faced this year. She has been there first hand for the laughter and the tears. Always willing to listen to me try and sort it out with a glass of wine and some sage advice. I can count on her for the last minute adventures and the inevitable shenanigans that will occur.

-I am thankful for the people who are no longer a part of my story. At one point they provided some lovely memories, and while those can be tough to remember, I am thankful that I had those moments with them. People wander in and out of our lives, and when they do it’s important to remember what their leaving taught you, while still embracing the happy memories they gave you.

-I am thankful for the extra ten months we were granted with our family dog Scooter. We thought we were going to lose him last January, but he put up a good fight until earlier this month. It still never seems like enough time, but I am thankful for every extra day he had with us.

-I am thankful for all the nights that have ended with a stomach that hurts from laughing too much.

-I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my Grandpa this May while road-tripping. I don’t get to see him enough and spending a few days with him was one of the top highlights from that vacation.

-I am thankful for all of you and your support.

Honestly, I could probably stay up all night and never think of everything that should be added to this list. You never really think about how much you have to be thankful for until you truly examine your life and realize how lucky you are to live the life you lead.

Remember to be thankful for all of it tomorrow, and try your hardest to appreciate it all everyday.

Wishing you all a safe Thanksgiving full of delicious feasts and happiness!