For me, gratitude and November go hand in hand. November makes me happy. I know, the clocks just got turned back and it’s dark at 5:30pm, the days are getting shorter and the brilliant fall leaves of October are turning brown. Yet, every year November makes me think of all the people and experiences that I am grateful for.

November is a pause between the hectic start of school and the busy days leading up to the winter holidays. And that pause includes my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I love the food, the gathering of friends and family, the practice of giving thanks.

Growing up in my first generation household, Thanksgiving was not the traditional one found in movies or Gourmet Magazine. We had duck instead of turkey, chestnut puree instead of mashed potatoes, foods more similar to those my parents grew up with. Blending my traditions with those of my husband’s all American family, has resulted in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. But what has stayed the same is the idea of gratitude for all that we have.

When my husband and I moved to California in our twenties, we found ourselves without family or even close friends. Fortunately we met another couple and together created a Thanksgiving dinner for all of our friends who were also far from family. That dinner launched a tradition that has endured for over 30 years. Several of our friends met their spouses at our table and many of our children are close friends. And as we got married and had children, grandparents made the trek to join our table creating a multi-generational celebration.

As we approach our 32nd communal dinner, I am reflecting on what I am grateful for right now. Beyond thinking about what I am grateful for, I want to express that gratitude to the people who have had an impact on me.

There are so many people who touch my life and make it better. I want you to know how grateful I am to you.

Thank you to my students at College of Marin for sharing your stories so deeply and with vulnerability and courage. You take my breath away.

Thank you to the people who have helped me along the way in my business this year. Your support of my workshops and books, your “likes” and shares on my Facebook posts and your comments on my blog posts have been so wonderful. I appreciate you.

Thank you to my mentors who have cheered me on and advised me as I learn how to build and share what I believe is meaningful work. You rise me up.

To my friends, you are the spice that makes life special and I am grateful to you for your care and support. The bonds between us are precious.

I am deeply grateful for the connections and bonds I have with my family and friends. I am so fortunate to have two parents who I talk to daily while I am here in California and see for months when I move back east to spend time with them in the summer. I am blessed by my three children who give me joy, a husband who supports me in all that I do, extended family, although far away, who I know have my back—and a wonderful puppy who knows just when I need him to put his head in my lap.

And, I’m thankful to you, for reading my words, sharing your stories, honoring your legacy. As a token of my gratitude for your support, please click below to get a FREE copy of my SMILE Guide to writing thank you notes with ease.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Best,

Melanie

Expressing gratitude is a practice that helps both you and your recipient, but sometimes we may not know how to express ourselves. If you’re looking for a new way to do that, you’ll love my 7 Days of Gratitude experience, where you’ll discover quick and easy gratitude practices that can increase positivity and make you feel the power of gratitude. And because we’ll also be expressing gratitude to others, you can spread love and joy to those around you!