On this Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment just to list a few things I'm grateful for (I know, it's not particularly original, but it is particularly important).

I'm thankful for my family

My family has always been close-knit, and I've been raised in a loving household. We have our quirks, and we don't always play nice, but I've never had to doubt the strength of the bonds that tie us together.

As a part of that, I'm also thankful for my many new family members that I've quickly come to appreciate! I've known Rachel's family for years, but since we began dating and throughout our engagement I've been able to spend more time with them and meet some extended family members, all of whom will soon be my own family. What a joy!

I'm thankful for my fiancée

Rachel and I have been close friends for almost ten years. She knows me better than anyone, and never fails to encourage and challenge me in my personal and spiritual development.

We're getting married on January 12, 2014, which as I publish this is only 45 days away! Just less than six months from our wedding date will be the ten year anniversary of the day we met. How cool is that? I am so grateful for the years of friendship I've shared with this amazing woman, and incredibly blessed to be able to cement that bond in marriage less than two months from now.

I'm thankful for my friends

This year myself and a few close friends started a brotherhood group, meeting regularly to dig deeper into the heartier aspects of life and building relationships that I hope will last a long time. I have a new-found appreciation for the importance of strong friendships with those you can trust, and I am thankful for the opportunity to develop those with men I respect. I am thankful for that group, and my other friends as well!

I'm thankful for my faith

This is last, but definitely not least. I am grateful for the beauty of the Faith in which I live my life. I was raised an Orthodox Christian but didn't truly embrace that as my own until late High School and early college. I am so thankful for the regular opportunity to grow in my relationship with Christ through a loving community, both at my parish and across the globe.

What are you thankful for this year?

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