Today is Thanksgiving… in America. Here in Slovenia it’s just Thursday. It’s just another day. I opened this writing challenge talking about Christmas, but Thanksgiving is really the holiday that comes first for us. Since Luka’s family never celebrated it, it was really up to me to make it happen or not. My first Thanksgiving away from home was also the first time I ever cooked the whole meal. We had chicken instead of turkey because, little did I know, you can only get a turkey here if you order it in advance from the butcher. Since then I’ve learned a little every year about how to make it better. It’s been 5 years of doing Thanksgiving dinner that I’ve been the only American at the dinner. Last year we tried to have it on a weekday and ended up eating at 7pm. This year we’ll have it on Saturday so we can actually enjoy the whole day.

Since it is a day that we are to give thanks I’m going to go over my top 10 things I’m grateful for this year:

10. Today

I am thankful for this day. That we have a day to remind ourselves to be grateful for everything around us and in us. Only when I begin to think of what I am grateful for do I have a hard time limiting myself to 10 things. I have so much more than so many others in this world. I hope this day always causes me and others to reflect on the goodness in our own lives and give that goodness to others as well.

9. Those fighting battles I cannot fight

There are so many good causes in this world. There are many unsung, unnoticed heroes who are doing an incredible amount of work to make the world a better place. Many of the things I believe in, I would like to be on the front lines of that cause, helping, supporting, loving, giving of myself whatever I could to make a difference. But I cannot. All I can do sometimes is post a FB status or maybe donate money to someone or some organization that can actually be there and do the work. I am very thankful for those who make my donations mean something.

8. Slovenia

I am thankful for this little country. I’m thankful for its people who are so kind and love to hear an American speak their language. This little country that has been my home has truly carved itself into my heart.

7. Technology

Technology has come so far. It wasn’t many years ago that if I had moved to the other side of the world I would almost never see or talk to my family. I’m grateful for all the platforms that allow me to live my life and share it with others.

6. The little things

I’m grateful for all the little things I take for granted on a daily basis that make my life so much easier. The dishwasher (been without that before), that I don’t have to line dry all my clothes anymore, a gas station on every block, a grocery store that has everything I need for a month in one place, disposable diapers, a service that takes away all my trash and recycling, wifi!

5. Spirituality and Faith

I don’t share much about this, but I’ve been a tumultuous spiritual journey the past several years. I am grateful that something inside me kept pushing me to keep searching, keep pursuing, keep challenging my beliefs. I’m grateful that I never gave up.

4. Baby Girl

This year we’ve got a new addition en route. She won’t make her appearance until next year, but I she’s already a family member among us. She’s got her own little personality too. I’m thankful for this new life, for a little sister for Olivia, for another person to love.

3. Olivia

Perhaps our children are the first thing we think of when we’re grateful because of the enormous amount of love we have for them. What a colorless life it would be without Olivia. She’s caused me to become more than I imagined I could in a lifetime. I’m grateful for her spirit, her smile, her cuddles, and all that she is that makes her so unique.

2. Luka

The most important person in my life is the one I am grateful for every day. Luka is more than a spouse. He’s been my counselor and support through some of the hardest times in my life. I really don’t know what I do or be without him. I’m grateful for him every day. I’m grateful that we chose each other. I’m grateful that we chose the not-so-easy path to a life together. I’m grateful Luka works so hard on himself and on everything he does in life. He’s someone I can not only love, but admire.

1. Health

I’ve spent a lot of time this year feeling grateful for my health. Truly. I’ve been without it and I’ve been with it and nothing compares to the daily greatness of good health. Without my health life means something very different. What would life be like if I wasn’t healthy to be there for my children? What would it mean to be living in a shell of myself watching them and their activities from a distance because I couldn’t chase them around? What would it mean to not be there for my children’s weddings? For the birth of their children? I think often of people who work so hard to create some kind of future and in the meantime don’t care for themselves and then get to the end of their life and can’t truly enjoy what they worked so hard for. I’m grateful for this perspective. Every time I walk outside and stretch my legs I’m grateful. I’m grateful that my body is creating this incredible new life inside it. I’m grateful for my body and that I can care for it, nourish it, love it, and it loves me back.