I cackled at the above cartoon for a solid five minutes. I'm so totally going to start asking Clayton if my clothes make me look delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving-Eve! Since I am currently preparing to fill every single cell in my body up with turkey and gravy this weekend, this will be my last post of the week (and in case you're wondering, preparing to overeat requires lots and lots of napping).

Clayton and I are already making a list (and checking it twice! Sorry, couldn't resist.) to help us get our ducks in a row for Black Friday shopping. I've read a lot of social media comments that knock Black Friday shopping by saying it's nothing more than a blatant display of selfish materialism ironically following a day in which we are supposed to be grateful for what we already have. Well, all I have to say to that is: Chillax, homies.

Black Friday is FUN for Clayton and I. Being out and about at 4:00 a.m. helps us relive our college days when we were creatures of the night. We like to hit the Starbucks drive-thru before heading over to the mall to participate in the official beginning of the Christmas season. For us, Black Friday isn't so much about "what can I get?", but more about the overall experience. I personally enjoy other people who appreciate a $2 DVD as much as I do. And I'm sorry, since when did buying gifts for loved ones and saving money earn such a negative reputation?

Many of my Facebook friends have been participating in the 30 Days of Thankfulness status updates this month and while I have enjoyed reading what they're thankful for each day in November, I didn't choose to participate in the ritual myself. I didn't post a daily "I'm thankful for" status partly because I completely missed the boat and didn't even realize people were doing it until November was almost half-way over, but mostly because I try to have a thankful heart as part of my repertoire all year round.

What I like about Thanksgiving (other than pie) is that it has the word "thanks" built right into the holiday. So whether or not your mindful of your blessings 365 days out of the year, you're certainly forced to examine just how good you really do have it for at least one day in November. For every crummy thing that's happened to you this year, I can almost guarantee that there were several good, wonderful things that happened to you this year, too. It's all a matter of perspective and your ability to find the small joys in every day.

Here's what I'm thankful for this year, every year and all year:

I'm thankful that my life is the hands of such a merciful, gracious God. I know not all of my readers are religious or share the same spiritual beliefs as I do, and that's totally okay! I'm very grateful that I can express my beliefs freely and openly, and my belief is that God is SO good. 

I'm thankful for a husband who has a good head on his shoulders.
Clayton and I have worked for everything we have, and I'm very thankful to have such a responsible man to take care of us.

I'm very thankful that God has continuously blessed us with the resources to pay our bills and put money away for the future.
I know the poor economy has (and still is) affecting thousands of families and trust me, I do not take this blessing for granted!

I'm thankful for a strong support system
that consist of one very sexy hubby and a compassionate, loving family and extended family. To put it delicately, they put up with my crap on a continuous basis and I love them all dearly for it. I was so spoiled by having such a close relationship with my mom and sister, I couldn't believe my luck when I hit the jackpot again with my in-laws.

I'm thankful for the friends I've made in the past year, the friends I've become closer with, and the old friendships I've rekindled.
I've been fortunate enough to surround myself with a group of really awesome people that I can laugh and be silly with, as well as speak openly and honestly with.

I'm thankful for my ornery, stinky little beagle boy
who makes me smile every single day with his silly disposition and those adorable speckled paws.

I'm thankful that, despite my constant battle with it, I have a healthy body
that allows me to do so many amazing things like run half marathons and kind-of-sorta do yoga.

I'm thankful that my mom never let me get away with not eating my vegetables.
I give her all the of the due credit for my undying passion for leafy greens, squashes and the like.

I'm thankful for cake and all cake-related items.

I'm thankful for the men and women who have to be away from their families in order to help protect mine.
Our troops are one of America's most invaluable resources and they deserve the utmost respect and admiration. It takes a very courageous, selfless individual to put his or herself in danger every single day for their country. It also takes a very strong family unit to withstand having a solider spouse or parent gone for so many months at a time. One of my best friends was without her husband for almost an entire year, and I can't even imagine the loneliness and worry! So a big Thank You to those who have served and are currently serving!

I'm surprisingly thankful for my increasingly guilty conscious.
I think it's a good sign of growth when you can no longer stand your own bad behavior or sin. Not to be self-depreciating, but I'm thankful that I'm aware of what's ugly about my character and what I would like to work on!

I'm thankful that Anchorman 2 is set to be released in the fall of 2013.
I feel like I've been waiting forever for this sequel!

I'm thankful that fashion has evolved to the point where anything goes and I can pretty much wear a trash bag.

I'm thankful that there a so many petty rich women in our country who like seeing their surgically-enhanced faces on TV so that we can have The Real Housewives of [insert region here].

I'm thankful for mistakes and tough lessons learned because it has shaped who I am right this very moment.
If you always do everything perfectly right all the time, you're never going to grow as a person. I'm very thankful for all the times I fell on my face and learned exactly what not to do the next time.

I'm ridiculously thankful for this blog and I am overwhelming thankful for those who read it.
This blog has helped me see just how passionate I am about writing and more than anything, has really allowed me to learn about myself. It's amazing what kind of emotions and thoughts you can unearth when you sit down to a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Some of my more personal posts have left me feeling incredibly vulnerable and sick to my stomach, but exposing myself is always worth it whenever I get an email from a reader telling me that they can relate to what I said. I thank you all for visiting my modest piece of internet real estate on a regular basis. Seriously, it means so much to me!

Happy Thanksgiving!