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Family Pulling Party Favors During Christmas DinnerI love leftovers. I love Thanksgiving dinners: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and all the other special foods and recipes brought out for our traditional dinners.

But I enjoy the leftovers almost as much: warmed in the microwave, I continue to savor that turkey, stuffing and warm gravy.

However, there is more than just the food leftovers that I want to take home with me. I want to take the camaraderie, the moments of laughter when the past wasn’t remembered and the moment was simply enjoyed.

As we stopped and listened to each other for a moment longer than usual, took time to thank and appreciate all the work and effort of our host and hostess it left a glow of togetherness, friendship and closeness.

But most of all, I want to take home with me the leftovers of gratitude – those things that I was grateful for in that moment when we bowed our head and gave thanks to God for all we had. It is those moments of gratitude that I want to taste every day, not as simple leftovers, but as a regular staple of life.

For if I continue to count my blessings I will slowly begin to see loveliness in the loveless, hope in the hopeless, something special in the mundane of life. I will search for strength when I feel weak, understanding when I feel irritated, and compassion for those who struggle against great odds.

I not only want to hang onto the positive memories, but continue to build on them. This is not wishful thinking or unrealistic optimism; but a purposeful decision I make each morning when I wake. It is a challenge I give myself to turn from the hurtful to the forgiving, to let go of grievances instead of hanging onto them, and choose to build on the beneficial instead of the negative.

I can affirm my choices as I respect others’ decisions. I can work on developing my potential while reaching out to others with a helping hand as they develop theirs. I can affirm my strengths while encouraging others to recognize theirs.

There is so much I can do to continue to build my grateful lists. The benefits are huge and the cost is minimal.

Marlene Anderson

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