11/21/2013 06:07 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Gratitude on Thanksgiving

As we begin the Holiday season, we kick it off with Thanksgiving. It's the same every year. Families get together. They travel far and wide, sometimes through obstacles such as bad weather, sick kids or whatever else that might happen on this one special family day each year.

In almost every house, the same aroma penetrates the air. The turkey is roasting, stuffed with different creations. Pies of all kinds are intoxicating us with swirling desires that are waking up our taste buds in anticipation. Fireplaces are roaring and releasing smoke from their chimneys into the cold dark skies. You can hear the clanking of china being places on the table and the children begging to help. These are what are memories are made of. This is the traditional of our forefathers, this is our true American holiday.

Many lose sight of its meaning of giving thanks and expressing gratitude. I believe the feeling of gratitude can never be expressed enough. I also believe that there is no better feeling. Being grateful is a gift. Finding it is sometimes difficult. For some, they can't seem to get passed their feelings of anger, resentment and self-pity to be able to find the beautiful things in their lives to be grateful about. Once one can find their gratitude, all the negative feelings will be gone, for anger, resentment and jealousy cannot co-exist with gratitude. It's not possible.

You'll hear people say many times that they don't have anything to be grateful about as if living is something they have to do without choice, that waking up healthy each morning in their beds alive and breathing is just a chore. Unfortunately, for so many people who are sick, in hospitals not with their loved ones, would give anything to be where these miserable bitter people are. It's truly sad for both of these people, for either of them are not happy. The one difference being, one has a choice where the other one does not.

I believe that life is a gift. I also believe that it's an honor to be able to live it each day. When a person overcomes adversity in their lives, finding their gratitude is the first and foremost important tool to discover. That along with passion, compassion and self-worth.

We should teach our children about gratitude on a regular basis. We should point out the little things to them like having appreciation of their surroundings, the beauty in nature and in the ability to use their senses. Growing up with a mother that was an artist, I was shown the beauty of a bowl of fruit, with nature's palette of colors. That stayed with me until this day.

Throughout my life, I never would take Thanksgiving for granted. My emotions are abundant. My love of family is never stronger than on this day in November. This year I am especially grateful. I'm 22 years cancer free. My oldest daughter is going on three years in recovery for addiction. My younger daughter is studying for her Ph.D. My granddaughter, who has special needs is progressing and flourishing and my love of life grows stronger by the day.

On this Thanksgiving, when you bow your head in gratitude, feel it in your heart and carry that feeling with you throughout the year.