A yellow leaf with three words

“I’m thankful for…”

Last night, I found myself sitting on the floor of my aunts’ house in Michigan, cutting leaves out of yellow and red card stock, writing the words “I’m thankful for…” across each one. I used to make these Thanksgiving table decorations every year when I was younger, but it sure has been awhile. I think to myself “what will I write on mine tomorrow?” When I was little, it was always “my family” or “friends at school.” While I’m thankful for both of these things now more than ever before, there is so much more that I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for laughter. I’m thankful for new opportunities I’m given every day. I’m thankful for large mugs of coffee with peppermint mocha coffee creamer, stirred with a yellow spoon. I’m thankful for the world around me, for all the times I find myself outside in the sun, climbing up trees and over rocks and into water. I’m thankful for words, both written and spoken, that are used to make a difference in the lives around them. I’m thankful for a world map made of 783 paint chips that increases my love of adventure every time I see it. I’m thankful to attend a university (and to be able to graduate from this very place in less than six months) where diversity is celebrated and inclusion is the norm. I’m thankful for black crowns and blue rotundas and the spirit and tradition they hold. I’m thankful for the chance I took in August where I found a new beginning in my leadership studies minor. I’m thankful for the lives I touch with my blog and with my willingness to share my story. I’m thankful for the mason jar that sits on my bookshelf with favorite moments written on post-its each day in the last year. I’m thankful for every moment, every smile I capture on camera. I’m thankful that my goal of changing the world is supported and I’m thankful that I have found something I’m called to do.

I’m thankful for each life that knocks on my front door and graces me with their presence. I’m thankful for porch time and pancakes, for dozens of Uptown visits, and for Mario Kart competitions, even when I lose. I’m thankful for songs written for my birthday, for tables in the library, and for late nights of talking and making others hot chocolate. I’m thankful for feeling like I have roommates, even though I live alone. I’m thankful for my SEAL family, for my Younglife family, and for my honest to goodness family that loves me every day. I’m thankful for Tuesdays at 9 and Wednesdays at 8. I’m thankful for the many unexpected new friendships that I’ve made this semester. I’m thankful for a best friendship that has lasted since middle school. I’m thankful for The Five. I’m thankful for my counterpart and our stuffed frogs. I’m thankful for one particular boy who makes everything in life better. I’m thankful for the dozens of cousins, aunts, and uncles I was lucky enough to be born with who always support me. I’m thankful for the best friend I have in a little sister, and the dedicated inspiration I have in a little brother. I’m thankful for the two huge role models I have in a mom and dad. I’m thankful for each person who took the chance and loved me – and hopefully knows how much I love them back.

I’m thankful for Jesus. I’m thankful for the grace and unconditional love He gives me and you each and every day. I’m thankful that He has taught me to have a passion for living an adventurous and joyful life, and how I should never stop sharing His story. I’m thankful for the ability to go wherever God calls me and my heart. I’m thankful for not knowing where my life will be post-graduation, because what I do know is that I’ll be serving Him.

I’m thankful for each moment, for the simple joys in life that remind me how blessed I am.

So, what are you thankful for?

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