Dara LevanBlog3 Comments

I wrote about gratitude last week, which I will post again tomorrow. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I hope you will pause to read about what being grateful truly means to me. I love the Thanksgiving holiday; it is truly one of my favorites! The aromatic fusion of sweet and savory is satiates my soul.

My family gathers at our home each year. I especially look forward to our New York family’s annual visit. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and their four delicious kids add such joyful energy to every holiday. I can’t wait to hear the giggling and chattering as the cousins connect; I’m smiling as I envision hugging everyone when they arrive tomorrow!

I’ve been thinking about the word Thanksgiving. My curious mind meandered, and I decided to research the history of this holiday. It’s not just about stuffing our turkeys and filling our bellies. According to Valerie Strauss, who wrote a Washington Post article in November 2016, our notion of why we celebrate and when traditions began is vastly different than what I thought. (Here’s the link if you’d like to read it==>

As I sifted through information, I realized that the word “Thanksgiving” could be rearranged like the tables I set each year. What if we changed it to “Givingthanks.” I know that looks and sounds awkward, but hang in there, and I will explain.

I give thanks for awakening each morning with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. I practice and live with gratitude, even when sunny days are dimmed by darker clouds. However, I am admittedly inconsistent with a daily gratitude journal.

So today I will begin, and promise to continue, a “GIVING THANKS” list. I commit to you that regardless of a chock-full schedule or any unexpected life circumstances, I will write down daily something for which I am thankful. And I also promise to make the time to feel deeply and fully. Even during dark or dreary moments, there is always a silver lining of gratitude.

Today I give thanks for:

Legs to walk, arms to hug, and an open heart to give and receive.

My incredible  husband who is the love of my life, forever partner, and best friend.

My loving, insightful, hilarious, and healthy children who are kind, caring, unique, and authentic.

Unconditional love from those who are not related by blood yet with whom I am deeply connected—they are also my family.

Strength during a tough, tenuous, and emotionally exhausting few months.

Carving the space to quietly process, ponder, create, and heal.

Learning to forgive others who will never apologize for or change their behavior.

Grieving those I’ve lost while appreciating the gifts of memories, love, and lessons that remain forever within me.

I give thanks to those of you who have encouraged me to write wholeheartedly, consistently, and honestly. 

This list is just the beginning of a lifelong practice. I’d love to hear about what or to whom you give thanks! Please reach out to me at or via Facebook (@everysoulhasastory). 

3 Comments on “GIVING THANKS”

  1. Once again, you spoke to me! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday for all the reasons you stated. I used to love the cooking and all the people in my home. In the last few years, I have been put out to “pasture”. I no longer have Thanksgiving in my home, my children have taken over using my recipes. My only assignment in making the cranberry jello mold. It’s ok! I remember when my mother passed the torch to me many, many years ago. Every year I Give Thanks, this year more than ever.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  2. Beautifully have touched my heart and soul as you always do..Giving Thanks ..being greatful. And expressing it in what we need to really understand what Thanksgiving is all about and you have done just thank you again..

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