Dinners at the Petersen household were never really ordinary. Each evening before the meal was served, we would light a candle and share what we were thankful for—it was a simple tradition, but one of such importance. No matter how crazily busy our days had been, those moments of togetherness, thought, and thankfulness were so fulfilling. Although the frequency of family meals has become limited, reflections of gratitude are still a consistent and much-anticipated part of my daily routine.

For the first time in 23 years, I am spending Thanksgiving away from my family, friends, and loved ones back home. However, at this point in my life, I have never been more overjoyed with thanks! A year ago today I would never have imaged the blessings that would change my life the way they have. I am forever thankful for the family, friends, and mentors that have been there every step of the way on this journey! Today, and each day, I share my utmost appreciation!

Today, especially, I give thanks for…

-The opportunity to travel around Frankfurt, Germany, and discover the most amazing “Christmas Market” that truly embodies the meaning of this season

-Everlasting friendships and sharing experiences as we travel the world

-My Wish Kid Saige’s resilient spirit as she finishes her last round of chemo treatment in the coming days

-My sister, Claire, taking time out of her schedule to share this most wonderful time of year with me

-The willingness of loved ones to make home seem only a few hours away

-Seasons of change and being able to embrace their magnificence and beauty

-Never being too old to: play on a playground jungle gym; ride a carousel and laugh and smile the entire ride; and run through a pile of leaves just to hear them laugh

-Cherished family traditions and creating new rituals to share

-YOU!

Overjoyed with thanks (today and everyday)!

Lauren

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