Sometimes it can be difficult for us to be grateful. A week ago, I was sitting with friends at dinner. One of my friends was not in the best mood. I noticed that everything she said was negative. She pointed out everything she had an issue with - there weren't any good options, the food was too cold, the meat was too dry. The lengthy list went on and on. 

   It was all I could do to sit there and listen. As a TCK (third culture kid) I struggle sometimes with how ungrateful people can be. I grew up knowing people who struggled to find their next meal. I now know people who complain about the large piles of food on their plates. 

   It's a sad reality that sometimes makes me cry, sometimes makes me mad, and sometimes makes me scream in people's faces.

   But during this Thanksgiving season, I want to encourage you. Instead of thinking about the negative things in life, think about the things you can be grateful for. If you're having a hard time, let me help you out. Here's a list of things you'll find yourself saying "thank you" for.

1. You know what a good meal tastes like -  

   You are able to complain about bad food because you know what good food tastes like. Don't take that for granted. Some people will never have the ability to taste your mom's AWESOME food. Instead, they have to eat whatever food they can get their hands on. Yeah, we know bad food stinks. But you can have hope knowing that someday you will be able to eat something that will make your stomach happy again.

2. You have options - 

   I don't know about you, but where I live, I have different options of what to eat. Are they all the best options in the world? No. But I have options. Though the food in the dining commons might not be the tastiest things my tongue has ever had the pleasure of tasting, I at least have the option turning it aside. It's buffet style, meaning if I don't want it, I don't have to eat it. It's a revolutionary idea, but since it's a buffet, perhaps I could find something else to eat! I'm lucky that I have the ability to choose

3. Most food prepared for you is edible -

   Many people would be surprised, but despite how the food looks, most of the time it's edible. Now am I telling you to eat something that you can tell is going to get you sick? No. I'm telling you that those nachos and cheese dish, though the cheese is not fully melted, is actually edible. Again, I remind you, there are people out there, real people, who are starving. They are not starving because they turned down the big, juicy, steak they were offered. They are starving because they don't have anything to eat. There is no one they can ask, and nowhere they can go. Give thanks knowing that you can eat those nachos though you may not want to. 

4. That you have the ability to complain about being "starving" -

   Can you imagine what it's like to actually starve? Sometimes we can get into the habit of saying "man, I'm starving, I haven't eaten since last night." Surprise! The average human can go about 3 weeks without food. 3 WEEKS. Some even say that you can even last 30-40 days. So are you actually starving? Scientifically, no. You're just hungry. So be grateful that you can say your starving, though you actually aren't. You'd have a totally different outlook if your stomach was actually empty, and your body was shutting down. 

5. Good food (and bad food) brings people together -

   No matter the day or the place, I am able to have some type of conversation about food. Sometimes I'm recommending my new favorite spot, or I'm venting about a recipe gone wrong. But either way, I'm able to laugh and have a good time. So if you're having a terrible time at a restaurant, or if you drank liquid fat from your friend's fridge, laugh about it. You're going to have a great story to tell- sometimes a story that only you can tell. So take those experiences and flip them on their head. Be thankful that you have the ability to bring people together in laughter. 


   During this Thanksgiving season, be GRATEFUL for the things you have. If your able to be surrounded by family, eating a big, traditional meal, be thankful. There are people out there who don't have the same opportunities as you. They'd take your spot in a heartbeat and eat those weird mash potato balls your great-aunt makes. Take heart and realize that though the meat that you were given is tough, at least you had the option to put it on your plate.