Top Ten Things to be Grateful for this Season

By Abbie Hebron
Distinguished Young Woman of Missouri for 2014
Whenever the word “Thanksgiving” comes to mind, we all obviously think of “giving thanks” for everything in our lives. So many times have I wrote a blessing on a turkey feather or exclaimed another in a circle of peers, but I truly think that there is much more to be thankful for than we initially assume.

Take a look at this list I have created in order to delve deeper into what blessings we repeatedly look over every single day.

  1. Family
    Okay, now I know this is a very popular and cliché answer to the question we get asked every November, but hear me out on this one. Ask yourself these questions: What does my family do for me? Where would I be without them? I don’t know about you, but I would be lost without my mom, dad, and my four beautiful sisters. It is the unconditional love that exists between the members of a family, which makes these relationships so incredible. I do nothing (literally nothing, most of the time) to benefit from the love, kindness, and generosity that all of my family members give me. But the fantastic thing is that they still love you anyways. How crazy? I have figured this out since I have moved to college- family is everything. Please do not take one moment for granted while you are with your family this holiday season! And also, do not be afraid to express your gratitude to them, whether in person, by letter, or a quick phone call. It will mean the world to them!
  2. Friendships
    These are other relationships that go unnoticed and unappreciated all of the time. When was the last time you said “Thank you!” to your best friend for always texting you back or replying to your snap chats? I think this goes without saying, but our friends put up with a lot for us, and they still love us anyways. This season try to thank your friends with a simple note or hug to let them know that you really do care.
  3. Material Things
    It is quite ironic that this is usually the time when we start making our laundry lists of things we would like for Christmas. On Thanksgiving, my family actually has the tradition where we all bring our Christmas lists over to my grandparents’ house so that our relatives can look at them. Although Christmas presents are an amazing blessing, we should be so thankful for all of the small and large material items we have been given or bought ourselves. Where would you be without your iPhone? Or your warm sweatshirt? Or even your Camelbak water bottle? All of these things that we take for granted everyday are such a blessing for which we should be incredibly thankful!
  4. Knowledge and Education
    School. Usually that word turns all of us away in disgust, but we never really think about how lucky each of us is to be given this gift. Not only are we given the blessing of knowledge as humans from God, but in the United States we are able to develop that knowledge at school. In many countries, still, young woman are not able to go to school and have the opportunities you do. Remember (even while taking that math test you forgot to study for) how fortunate you are for education!
  5. A Peaceful Home
    I understand that your own home may not be peaceful (Believe me, with six women and one man in a house there is never a quiet or calm moment.), but that is not what I am talking about. Take a moment to understand how blessed you are to live where you do. Many people across the world are living in areas of poverty, mass destruction, and immoral chaos. Do not take this blessing lightly anymore. Instead, be thankful for every moment, even the most frustrating.
  6.  Happiness and Laughter
    I do not think there is a greater gift than a smile. Especially during this time of year when those surround you you love, soak up every laugh and giggle you can. Be thankful for the happiness you are able to share with those around you, and share that with the world around you! You never know who needs a smile, and you could definitely brighten someone’s day by flashing those white sparkly teeth their way.
  7. Food and Health
    I am assuming that none of you have truly experienced extreme hunger like many children do in other countries. Although you may not like broccoli and squash, be mindful that the food you are given or the food you buy is keeping you strong and healthy. Especially during this holiday season, give extra thanks for the turkey, pumpkin pie, and other plentiful foods you eat!
  8. The Shining Sun
    I live in Missouri, so for those in the Midwest you understand how important the sunshine is this time of year. It may be below 20 degrees, but there is always hope that the sun will come out soon. I actually love the cold (when it is not windy, that is), but a little sun is always nice. Next time you feel the heat of the sun on your skin, be extra thankful for that warmth and soak it in for all it is worth!
  9. God’s Love
    I think this is the most important thing to be thankful for, because without the Lord’s love and forgiveness, where would we be? What would we have? There is no limit to His love. Remember that and share His love with everyone you meet. The joy of this Thanksgiving and Christmas season is because of Him and His abundant blessings!
  10. Thanksgiving Break
    Lastly, I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving Break is something every student looks forward to during this time of year. It is a great time to relax, give our minds a bit of rest, and spend time with our friends and family. Be thankful for this time, and do not waste it because soon it will be Monday again and you will be sitting in class.

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving season, and are able to share happiness and love with everyone around you!

Be thankful for FRIENDSHIPS and LAUGHTER! This is one of my favorite pictures from our Baccalaureate ceremony, because I am surrounded by some of my best friends and we all have a smile on our face. It captures our joy and love for one another perfectly!
Be thankful for FRIENDSHIPS and LAUGHTER! This is one of my favorite pictures from our Baccalaureate ceremony, because I am surrounded by some of my best friends and we all have a smile on our face. It captures our joy and love for one another perfectly!

 

Here I am enjoying my time with my parents at the State Specialty Party in Mobile, AL at the Distinguished Young Women Finals last year. I have been blessed with the most generous and selfless parents a girl (or 5) could ask for!
Here I am enjoying my time with my parents at the State Specialty Party in Mobile, AL at the Distinguished Young Women Finals last year. I have been blessed with the most generous and selfless parents a girl (or 5) could ask for!

 

These are my wonderful sisters and I. Although I am definitely the shortest in this photo, I am actually the middle child. There is Halie, Erika, Alison, myself, and Audrianna. I cannot thank them enough for their unique personalities and beautiful generosity that they share with me every day!
These are my wonderful sisters and I. Although I am definitely the shortest in this photo, I am actually the middle child. There is Halie, Erika, Alison, myself, and Audrianna. I cannot thank them enough for their unique personalities and beautiful generosity that they share with me every day!

Abbie Hebron is a college freshman at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri majoring in Dietetics. Originally from O’Fallon, Missouri, Abbie was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Missouri for 2014. Learn more about Abbie here!

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