Every year on Thanksgiving, I like to sit down with my family and have us all write out what we’re thankful for.

I usually turn it into some type of art project (you can get some great ideas here). The past few years, I’ve made cardboard turkeys that have feathers where people are supposed to write what they’re thankful for.

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Sadly, though, many of my family members think it’s annoying and silly. Also, this year my Thanksgiving is all over the place with plans and people. Meanwhile, I’m rushing to finish up my last semester of college while putting the finishing details on my wedding and planning a move to Colorado, so I decided to take the thankful list to my blog (there’s simply no time for crafts right now).

It will most likely stay on the blog until I have a family of my own to get excited about the thankful turkeys. Until then, my hope is that I can inspire you to write out what you’re thankful for every Thanksgiving; maybe you can get your family excited to do the same.

As you sit down to eat tons of food and maybe watch a football game, remember what the day is really about: reflecting on all the amazing aspects of your life that others aren’t fortunate enough to have. If you read over my list, you’ll see that some of the smallest things — things you may take for granted every day — are worth being thankful for.

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What I’m thankful for in 2016:

My legs

They carried me through 14 weeks of marathon training this summer, and, though I didn’t make it to the start line, they showed me that they could do anything. They also took me across the finish line of the DC Rock n Roll Half-Marathon this year at a record pace.

I can’t imagine not having legs, but there are amazing people out there who race marathons in wheelchairs because they have no legs. Those people inspire me so because I know that type of perseverance is no easy thing to keep up.

My ankles, my feet, and, yes, even my recent injury!

It’s my fault — overtraining and ignoring my body — that I ended up in a walking boot a month out from the Baltimore Marathon. And I’m now learning how to properly care for the body parts that take on the majority of my body’s stress when I run. I’m thankful that I didn’t end up with a full-blown stress fracture, and I’m thankful that I was only out from running for a few weeks; it could’ve been a MUCH WORSE experience than it was.

Each injury teaches me something new. Now I know the importance of keeping my ankles and feet strong and rested and know that I’m a more injury-prone runner who may have stricter mileage limitations than others. This knowledge will help me stay strong and healthy for the rest of my life, so my injury had many positive outcomes!

Physical therapists

The whole team of therapists at the office I’ve been going to are phenomenal. They care about my health and well-being and always cheer me on when I reach a new milestone in my recovery.

I’m so happy we have people in the world who enter this career field because they truly care about helping others. Compassionate, caring people are something to be thankful for every day!

My dog, Harley

2016 marks the first year of having a dog who’s truly mine, not a family dog. Harley is my new best friend. He is always happy and excited, keeping my spirits up when I’m feeling down. Having him to pet and play with while in the walking boot helped push me through my recovery, and I’m so thankful I can now take him on long nature walks to repay the favor!

My fiance, Blake

It’s a gift to have a person in your life who puts your needs before his or her own. This past year, Blake has shown me what a wonderful husband he will be, making sure my basic needs and beyond were cared for. He encouraged me to leave my waitressing job when it got to be too much on top of school, taking on the financial responsibility of feeding, clothing and housing me while I finished my last year of college. He’s come to every one of my races this year, cheering me on in the cold and heat. He’s planned to uproot his life in order to move to Colorado with me. All of his actions have been centered around my happiness and our future lives together. Unconditional love is the most amazing thing I’ve received in the past few years, and it’s all because of him.

I’m also thankful for the privilege being married right out of college will afford me. Blake has a steady full-time job, so I have less pressure to immediately start a career after graduation. Other graduates aren’t so lucky and don’t have life partners to help carry their burdens.

Graduation

All of my hard work is allowing me to graduate a semester early, and I’m thankful that I’m able to save money and time by doing so. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to attend college. I’ve had a few professors inspire me more than I ever imagined I would be in college, and I’m so blessed to have a better direction in life because of them. My education is allowing me to enter the workforce as a confident, skilled young woman who’s filled with dreams and passion.

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What are you thankful for today? I’d love to read your lists!

And remember, being thankful isn’t just for Thanksgiving!

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