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I have learned to make the most of what I have. This concept formed during my childhood when we lived in a garage that my great aunt Dorothy converted into an apartment for my mom, brothers and I. This small place became our home. My aunt added cupboards and my mom cooked from a hotplate and crockpot. The garage apartment had two rooms. My brothers slept on bunk beds in the small room adjacent to the large room. In the main room we had a table, a sofa, my mom's bed, a piano, a refrigerator and a dresser. It was a small place with simple furnishings but it was a home that I loved. This was our home for about three years and amazingly despite how little we had these were the best memories of my childhood. During that time I learned to be thankful for what we had.

As a single parent I learned to be thankful for what we've had too. When my children were little, we lived in a two-bedroom apartment. As my youngest grew I tried to come up with a space for her that was her own so I removed all of my belongings from my walk-in closet and we converted that space into her room. My mom and I placed a curtain in the doorway and her toddler bed and dresser were moved into the room. When my mom and I finished transforming the space and I showed my daughter the new room. I will never forget her expression. With her sparkling blue eyes, she thanked us for creating a room of her own.

We all look at each other thinking that what the other person has is better and more special than what we have but the reality is that when we step foot in their shoes we will realize that we are wrong.

I have learned to be thankful for what I have. It may seem like we are rich to others but the reality is that we have just learned to be thankful for what we have. What we have is not what it may seem. We've been living without a fully functioning bathroom for over a year. In our home we have electrical issues to resolve, more plumbing issues to address and other work to complete. We're living in a home that needs tons of work but we have a roof over our heads, beds and hope that someday down the road we can complete these tasks. It may take several years for us to complete these things but we are thankful for what we have.

May we all be people who are thankful for the things we have. Do we have beds, a home, dressers, a toilet, clothes, food? There is always something we can be thankful for. In this new year I hope that we can adopt an attitude of thankfulness. Before we go to bed we should think of three things to be grateful for. Thinking about these things will transform our lives. There is always something that we can thank God for!

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