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As we wrap-up the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I have a confession to make: I have an attitude. Unlike most attitudes, my attitude is an attitude of gratitude!

What is an attitude of gratitude? It is a feeling I have when I know my life is good and that I am very blessed for the many things I have been given. An attitude of gratitude is waking-up everyday and appreciating all the things in my life. Sometimes it thanking my wife for doing something for our duaghters and other times it is as simple as appreciating a nice sunset. My attitude of gratitude reminds me that compared to many peoples’ lives, my life is pretty darn good and should not be taken for granted.

I am very grateful for living in this great country, The United States of America! This country has flaws and is not perfect. There are days I watch the news and see the bad things that happen to people, but I have been to other countries in this world and am always reminded when I return how blessed I am to live here. Take Jamaica for example. Two years ago, on a cruise, Jamaica was one of four countries we visited. My family and I took an inward tour of the country. I heard that over 90% of the population there lives in poverty..90%!!! I saw poorly constructed homes and people wearing rags as clothes. People begged us to buy their goods for sale. Looking at people live in these conditions was a reminder of how good I have it living here in the US.

I am very grateful for my health. Yes, I have foot problems and a persistent Sciatica issue that bothers me. I have daily stretches I do and several times a week I take Ibuprofen to ease pain. I also get occasional migraines that are excruciating and I wouldn’t wish on on my worse enemy. However, just a week ago, I had a former work associate pass-away from cancer. He was only 50 years old and left behind a wife and two high-school age children. My pain bothers me and I wish it would go away completely, but I will take this pain over the pain of cancer and the reality of dying any day! There are pains people I know have suffered from that i am always amazed their bodies do not exhaust themselves and cause them to die sooner. When I look at my health and compare if to others pain, I am grateful for the good health I have been blessed with.

I am very grateful to have steady work and a wife that makes a good living. Together, we have a lot of things a lot of people only dream of having every day. We enjoy a nice home in the suburbs, go on some nice family vacations, are able to pay for our children’s activities, and can save money to eventually retire when the time is right. Being out of work for five and a half months a few months ago definitely made me grateful for what we have and was a good reminder of how easy it could all be taken away. It was not an easy experience to go through and definitely had some very difficult moments, like trying to find a new job and watching our savings disappear, but we survived it and it did cause any life-changing circumstances for us. We are able to pick ourselves back up and carry on with our lives. We survived and for that I am grateful.

Lastly, I am grateful for my family. I was blessed to find a partner that I have been able to share a unique life with and this September we will be celebrating 18 years of marriage! With our personalities and attributes, we compliment each other well. Marriage is marriage with its ups and downs, but even during our down times we still stick together and work well together. We were blessed to have two beautiful daughters who are now 14 and 8. I can not tell you how many people I know who have not been able to have children of their own, have children with physical issues, or worst of all: have lost their children! Being a father of two daughters comes with a lot of drama and challenging situations. Almost every day I am confronted by these challenges as being a parent is the toughest job you’ll ever love. However, when I see the hardships other parents have had to go through, I can not complain about my role as a father in this world. I know this role could be a lot harder and I am so grateful to have two smart, outgoing, healthy daughters that I can call my own.

It is not easy to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. There are some moments in my life that it is a lot harder to be grateful than others. It is easy to see how others lives are better than mine and wish I had their lives. Then I hear a sad story or see something happen to someone that is a true hardship and in that moment I am reminded that my life is great and I have a lot to be grateful for!

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