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This Thanksgiving, joy is all around you

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

In many homes on Thanksgiving you may find family members reciting what they are most grateful for. Being grateful for a gift you always wanted or appreciate is important, but being joyful every day for the simple things we take for granted is even more important.

I wish you a Thanksgiving full of the simple joys, and I hope my list below helps you smile and enjoy your feast in a way you may not have, if you had not thought about your numerous blessings.

1. I am joyful that I live in a country that allows me freedom to worship as I wish.

2. I find joy in each human face I encounter during my Thanksgiving meal. We overlook the individuals with whom we share a feast at times, but if something happened to them, your life would change forever.

3. I am grateful for where the food grew, traveled from and who prepared it by the time it made it to our table, and the smell and taste of it.

4. I am grateful to our ancestors who made this celebration possible, and find joy in that "can do attitude" still present in this country.

5. I am grateful that no matter how crazy someone can be around the table, a child can always smile or do something to distract the conversation. Smiling changes everything including your perception.

6. I am joyful that my ears could recognize the early morning sounds I woke up to this morning. The birds, squirrels, acorns being run over by car tires…all of these are sounds that make up the moments of joy in your life.

7. I am so thankful for the sound of kids laughing as they are playing outside or in the living room next door. This is the sweetest sound in the world.

8. Are your children energetic and talking a mile a minute? Be grateful they are well and have energy (working with sick children, you learn to appreciate well children no matter how annoying they may behave).

9. I am so grateful for the people who are grateful I am in their life. We all have people who love and need us. Remembering this helps us reflect on the importance of being a mentor to them and inspiring them with encouragement rather than criticism.

10. Around the table I am joyful for the listeners among my family and friends. Listeners are usually quiet, but they have an art of healing that would be missed in your life.

11. Be thankful and find joy with the people/person you love and share your life with. Let's face it; no one is a joy to be around every day.

12. Be joyful and grateful that you have a roof over your head, and if you don't, be grateful that you have a safe place where you can go. In the end it's the simple things that matter most.

13. I am thankful for the blessings God gives me that I never knew I wanted or needed. The greatest gifts in my life have been the ones I never wanted. Reflecting back, I found I needed those gifts only after receiving them. It helped me understand and be there for others in a way I would not have been before.

– Mary Jo Rapini

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