Thanksgiving 2011: A Look Back

Wow... I can't believe it's almost been THREE MONTHS since I've been able to sit down and write another blog post! Between traveling as Miss United States, going to school full-time and working part-time, there just aren't enough hours in the day! But through it all, I can't help but be thankful for the blessings I have received and the opportunities given to me.
And that brings me to the topic of today's blog post: What were YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving? Was it the right things? A week before the holiday, I spoke at a banqet about what we should really be thankful for and how easy it is to forget to be thankful in today's society.

Here are the basic points: 1. We live in the most prosperous country in the world and we tend to forget how fortunate we are. We often become jealous of those around us who have more and feel the need to label ourselves as "not rich". But just across the ocean, there are millions of people without adequate food and shelter or that work for less than a dollar a day. This Thanksgiving, I hope you were thankful for all that you normally take for granted.

2. Be thankful for your blessings-- which could have been given to someone else. Perhaps you closed on a new home or finally got the car you wanted this year. Great for you! But don't give yourself all the credit. Whether or not you believe in a Higher Power, be thankful for the people around you who helped you attain your goals. Invite them to be a part of the blessings you received this year.

3. Don't forget about the blessings you received in years past. It's easy to get distracted by what just happened, and it's even easier to get distracted by what you WANT and haven't gotten yet. This Thanksgiving, I hope you remembered all of the happy moments in your life-- graduating from high school or college, getting married, the birth of your children, the acceptance of a new job, your first vacation. Those memorable times are just as important to your life today as they were all those years ago.

4. Finally, learn to spread the love! Being thankful this holiday season shouldn't just stop with the blessings you received... How about the blessings of others that you don't even know? Just being thankful that soldiers returned home from war or that someone in the world makes a new friend each day is such a selfless thought and makes us all better people for it. So this Thanksgiving, I hope you took time to be thankful that blessings didn't just stop with YOU- but continued to spread joy around the world.

I've been guilty before of not being thankful for the right things at Thanksgiving, but I can't change the past. All I can do is try to make things right in the future, and I certainly hope you will do the same. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!