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We asked you to send us stories of what you were thankful for. You not only brought a few tears to our eyes, you practically had us stumped over which story was the best. We did pick a winner, and our winner will receive a $200 gas card. But we liked all the entries so much, we’d like to let you read them all, too.

Here they are. We hope you like them as much as we did.

[Don’t forget to check out our newest contest, Your Best Holiday Stress Stories.]

I'm Thankful for Family

I am most thankful for my family. That's what everyone always says, but it is easily said and usually the right thing to say. My story is a little different. When my youngest daughter, Journey, was 2 1/2 years old she was diagnosed with leukemia. That gave us an answer to unexplained symptoms and behavior we could not get answers for...and we really tried to find out what was wrong with our little girl. From the time she was born, there were always strange or odd illnesses occurring, one behind another. She had problems with her formula (we ended up with a soy formula). She had colic for the first full 3 months of her life. She was not a "cuddle" baby (she did not want to be held to be put to sleep); she would scoot right out of my arms unto the couch. She did not communicate verbally (only a few words) until she was 2. We didn't think much of this because she communicated well in other ways; for example, if she wanted milk, she would bring you her milk cup. If she wanted food, she would bring you a pan and the food.

She started to walk at 10 months of age and never stopped. Not much crawling at all. She just stood up one day, didn't hold onto anything, and began walking. Now it gets really strange. When she was almost 2, she started to complain of leg pain. We assumed she was just playing too hard (from sunup to sundown). Then she began to walk stiff-legged, and then she began to hold the wall when she walked. During all of this, she had unexplained high temperatures and was in a lot of pain. We had to handle her like fine china in order not to cause her additional pain. Of course, we were taking her back and forth to the doctor (2 and 3 times a week). Nothing was showing up in any of the many tests that were done. Her pediatrician was so puzzled, she was calling us on her off days to check on Journey.

My husband Michael would leave for work, and Journey would be in my lap on the couch in pain. If she was comfortable, I didn't move. He would come home after a full day of work, and we would be in the same position. Then it was his turn to comfort and hold her (because now she wanted daddy). The next day Journey would be fine, back to playing and running from sunup to sundown. This was a vicious cycle.

I began documenting her strange occurrences with dates and times to try to solve this mystery. We installed a carbon monoxide detector and replaced a heating unit, thinking maybe something in the house was making her sick. No changes.

One day as we were preparing to take my oldest daughter, Jordan, to school, Journey stood in the middle of the floor and screamed and screamed and would not move. I prayed, "Lord, today is the day I need to know what is wrong with my child." Off to the doctor’s office we went...again. This time, something showed up in her blood work, and we were sent to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for confirmation. My husband was out of town working, and decisions had to be made. They didn't know if she was going to make it through the night.

She not only made it through the night, she was a trooper through her treatment process. Chemotherapy did not take any of her hair the first year. She did not throw up, slow down, or lose weight. Many people did not even know she was sick because she looked so healthy. When her hair did come out, she didn't care. At 3 years old, she had so much confidence in herself. At the grocery store one day a man said to her, "Hey, little man" because she had very little hair. (My heart sank.) Journey turned to me and said, "I'm not a boy, didn't he see my purse?" The man looked and kept on walking. I knew then she could handle anything that was dished out.

Well, after 2 1/2 years of treatment not only is Journey healed but my outlook on life is different. She is my inspiration and motivation. The little things in life have the biggest effect on me now. Laughter and playing from both my girls is the best noise ever. "I love you" means more. A hug means more. Sitting and watching them play with their Dad is the best gift ever.

Journey lives every day to the fullest and, you know what? She doesn't even know how close we came to losing her. All she knows is, "My blood is sick, and that is why I go to St. Jude."

I am truly thankful for my family.

Phyllis C.

FS Thankful contest winner today matters

I'm Thankful for Today

What I am thankful for is TODAY. As I mature in life and in age, I am learning to value and honor TODAY. I am learning to live in the moment of TODAY. I was taught to always think about tomorrow -- to plan and prepare. That is a golden principle that my mother taught me, and I realize the wisdom in planning and being smart, in every area of life. Yet, life is teaching me that, even if you have the best plans for tomorrow, TODAY is what really matters. As we all face horrific and fearful economic times, I realize that all of my best plans and thoughts of tomorrow can be lost in a matter of time. Jobs, homes, financial investments, health, and loved ones can all be lost -- just like that.

The reality of life’s changes is stinging and surreal. You’re left wandering in a daze. You go about life in slow motion, wondering what happened. What is happening and how did we get here? Deep Sigh…so, all that I can think about and how I survive, without succumbing to the depression that is all around me, is to think about TODAY. Value TODAY. Live for TODAY, and be thankful for TODAY. Tomorrow will worry about itself, because it is not promised to anyone. And if I am given another tomorrow, that tomorrow will become my TODAY. I am learning to live for TODAY, and that encompasses all the things that I am thankful for.

Dilcia M.

I'm Thankful for Being Clean and Sober

The thing I am most thankful for is that I am a retired drug user. After using a needle for over thirty years, I now have been clean and sober for 10 years. It is a joy to wake up each day feeling alive and being able to discover the world around me with sober eyes. I am so very thankful that my children and family never gave up on me, and now we share a close and loving relationship.

Money, things, trips are just the icing on the cake. The true joy to be found in life is in your everyday life and who you share it with. Make every day count, and always show someone you care about that you love them.

Janet W.

I'm Thankful for Knowing Anything Is Possible

I am thankful to be able to tell my children anything is possible and really mean it. I think we are in for a change in America, and I am excited for myself and my children.

Rachel D.

FS Thankful contest winner life matters

I'm Thankful for Life

A little over a month ago I was severely depressed -- so much so that I planned and attempted suicide. The wonderful company that I work for was worried when I didn't show up for work and made several attempts to contact me. When they couldn't reach me, they called my emergency contact, who happens to be my best friend, to see if he could locate me. My friend tried frantically to reach me, and then decided to leave work early and come to my home (he has a spare key -- thankfully). He found me unconscious and called 911. I was taken via ambulance to the hospital and was transferred to an inpatient psychiatric hospital on a 302 -- which means I was committed against my will.

I spent 6 days in the hospital and, while I was there, my friends came to visit and called and made me see how important I am to them and how much they need and appreciate me in their lives. In addition, my boss came to see me and explained how upset upper management and a team member were. That made me feel so good to know that my employer and co-workers were that concerned for my well-being and that they really missed ME -- the person. I've felt so much love, respect, and admiration for all my friends and my work family.

I'm thankful to have had the staff at the facility be caring, respectful, and provide the care I needed to make a full recovery. I'm thankful to my friend for finding me and getting me help before it was too late. I'm thankful for the rest of my friends for continuously contacting me to emphasize how important our relationship/friendships are to each other. And, I'm especially thankful for my wonderful employer and co-workers for their more than generous support during my recovery. I've made a 180-degree turn in attitude and state of mind -- and it all arose from a very dark place. I'm thankful that, with the help and love of all of these wonderful people, I can once again be thankful for the light of day and being alive.

Pamela R.

I'm Thankful for Our Military

I am thankful for those who have served this great nation. Sacrificing their time and lives to protect the freedoms and privileges we so dearly love while forgoing many of their own rights and privileges. Without these great men and women, I would hate to think where we would be in terms of our rights, privileges, and freedom. I salute you all, and may you be safe in your duties.

Mark W.

I'm Thankful for Family

I'm thankful for the love of my entire family and the hugs of my two grandsons. I'm also thankful for my dog's unconditional love when I come home from work. But, most importantly, I'm so VERY thankful that my wonderful, brave son came home safe from Iraq.

Reneé W.

I'm Thankful for Family

I am the 7th child born to my parents. When my parents were young, they married and started a family. The first born, Gregory, died at only 6 weeks of age. My parents proceeded to have 6 more children by the time they turned 36 years of age. In November of 1968, when my mother was 40 years old, she died from complications of a surgery. Leaving behind 6 children for my father (42 years old at the time) to raise alone. The oldest was 19. I, the youngest, was only 4.

Years passed, and my Dad did a great job of raising us all and keeping us together! We all got older. Some of us married, although Dad NEVER got married again! Some of us stayed single. Life was good. We all had our ups and downs, but life was good for the most part. Then in the winter of early 2004, my sister, Dolly, began to have complications from a lung disease that she had for years. The disease is called pulmonary fibrosis. Then, on August 1, 2004, she passed away while waiting for a lung transplant. It was hard, and our hearts were broken. As the saying goes, life goes on!

Then in late November 2004, my sister, Paula, wasn’t feeling well. She ended up going to the hospital due to vomiting, and on December 13, 2004, she passed away TOTALLY unexpectedly. She became septic and had a massive heart attack. She left behind a 9-year-old son, who was her pride and joy! We didn’t think our hearts could break anymore, but they were completely shattered by this point.

I am only 44 years old. I had 6 siblings, and now I am down to 3. We still do not know how my 82-year-old father manages to go on. Yes, as time goes on, it’s a little easier, BUT the hurt is still there. You need to live on the fond memories!

I try to stress to people that life is short, to live life to the fullest. You never know what life has in store for you. Be GRATEFUL for everyone who enters your life. Whether they make you happy, or, at times, piss you off. Be grateful for family. Don’t allow anyone to break up a family bond. I know that no one could break my love for my family. FAMILY means everything!

Gina M.

I'm Thankful for the Birth and Survival of My Premature Son

This year I have lots to be thankful -- first of all the birth of my son, Izak, and his survival. Well, you might think: What is so special about my son and his birth? He was born on October 18, 2007. We were not expecting him that early. His weight was 2 lbs, 4 oz. Yes, he was a preemie. I was 26 weeks and 3 days along in my pregnancy.

The day that I was told he was going to be born, next to me was another mother with different problems, but both of us were forced to give birth early. We both went back to have surgery, and, as a coincidence, our babies were put next to each other in the NICU. Every day after we gave birth, we both visited our child at the same time and started to talk to each other. The hospital started feeding our babies at the same time, and both of our babies couldn’t handle the feeding.

After a while, both of our babies started to accept the feedings with a few days of difference. My son, Izak, took it very well and started to show more and more signs of making it. However, her son, Zachariah, got a stomach infection and died a few days later. He was a beautiful child, and it was then that I started to fear loosing our baby, and I have not stopped thanking the Lord for letting me keep my son.

Sometimes we take for granted our blessings and all the beautiful things God has given us and, unfortunately, it takes the loss of someone else to shake us up. It was not until then that I realized how lucky I was for God allowing me to have my child. He is now 13 months old, and there hasn’t been one day that passes that I don’t give thanks to God. Zachariah and Zachariah’s parents will always be in my and my husband’s prayers. This Thanksgiving, I have to give thanks to God for allowing us to have a healthy and wonderful son.

Ester P.

I'm Thankful for My Twin Sister

I am thankful for my twin sister, Theresa. Her job allows her a lot of flexibility. Because of this, she is able to help our elderly parents, who have some significant health conditions.

She also has contacts in the medical community that assist her in quickly getting answers and treatment recommendations to the conditions my parents face.

Pete K.

I'm Thankful for My Family, Job, Health, and More

In this season of unrest, uncertainty, market drops, unemployment, war, and poverty, I can still be thankful.

I’m thankful for my family -- they have been my rock during these turbulent times. I’m thankful for my job -- I recently came off an 8-month layoff. I’m thankful for my heath -- I’ve no major health problems.

I’m thankful for my friends and church -- relationships are most important, especially during these times. I’m thankful for every meal that I eat -- and whenever possible, I stop to purchase or prepare a meal for those in need.

I’m thankful that I live in a society that allows me freedoms -- freedom to worship, freedom to speak, freedom to be educated. I’m thankful each and every day I draw breath, see the leafless trees, feel the harsh winds on my cheeks, and see a newborn baby.

Felicia L.

FS Thankful contest winner teacher

I'm Thankful for My Son’s Third-Grade Teacher

What I am thankful for is my son's third-grade teacher. My son has been struggling for years at trying to understand reading. He barely passed second grade because of this, but his second-grade teacher just thought it was a maturity thing. When he got to third grade, his teacher just thought something more was going on than a maturity thing, so she had him evaluated by the reading and learning support teacher at his school. It was determined that my son was ADHD-inattentive. He went to see a specialist to see about starting on medicine to help him stay focused during the school day. He started on the smallest dose possible, and it worked. I was so appreciative of his third-grade teacher for helping my son that I went out and bought a star in honor of her. If it wasn't for her, I don't think he would be one point away from his school’s honor roll.

Stephanie A.

I'm Thankful for Time with My Hubby

I am so thankful my husband quit his second, part-time job this summer after working there for 10 years. We get to have so much more family time with our kids. We have been able to have family dinners at the table every night of the week. It has brought us all closer together. While the cost of living has gone up and finances have been much tighter, it has been worth it.

Jennifer F.

I'm Thankful for Reflections on Turning 50

The fact that I will turn 50 in 2009 makes me thankful I had a childhood where we played games like Duck Duck Goose and Hide and Seek and enjoyed playing with the neighborhood kids outside. For memories of sledding down a hill and not noticing how cold it was outside.

I'm thankful for old black & white TV shows like Ed Sullivan, Lassie, and Lucy. For the dolls and Barbie's I got each Christmas and the rocking horse on springs that I proudly rode with my cowboy hat and guns. For memories of a childhood when things were simple, stress was unheard of, and mothers stayed home to raise the kids. We lived comfortably on just one income and always had the things we needed, plus a little of the wants we desired.

As I look at my kids, both of whom I have spoiled terribly, I am thankful that I have memories of a time they will never see or understand. Life is so short, and the older you get you come to appreciate each day more and more. I pray we all realize the difference between wants and needs and, as we struggle to make sense of the tight economy, remember times like those of my childhood. We need to get back to a simpler life, spending time with those we love and appreciating each day to its fullest.

Joyce A.

I'm Thankful for Significant Dates

New Year's Eve, 1986: I am grateful, daily, to be ambulatory. In 1986, I was a pedestrian and got pinned between two vehicles... and, shortly thereafter, was told numerous times by orthopedic doctors I would never walk. Throughout months of debilitating pain, I remained positive and believed (and insisted) I would walk again. Bedridden for months, followed by painful physical therapy, I finally regained more feeling in both legs. I began relearning to walk in May of 1987 (and eventually lost my noticeable limp)! My right leg is more severely scarred, but I hide most of them both by wearing leggings, long dresses, and opaque tights.

May 17, 2007: I am grateful my husband and I did not sustain more serious injuries, nor lose our lives, after our vehicle launched off a highway (over 30 feet)...grateful we didn't collide with anyone (when our vehicle then launched into oncoming traffic). Apparently, the couple that steers together stays together.

July 9, 2007: I am grateful my husband's younger brother found him, after an over 11-year-search. They (hubby, brothers, and birth mom) met informally over the phone (We shared digital pics via email.), and the 4 of them talked for approximately 6 hours the first time! We met in person August 2007. Everyone remains eager in making up for lost time – the longest time between phone conversations is 2 weeks.

Serena D.

I'm Thankful for Doctors and Clinics

I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and am very thankful for doctors and clinics that helped with my diagnosis. There is no telling what shape I would be in if it were not for them.

I am also thankful to live in the greatest country in the world! I receive social security disability insurance and would probably not in any other country. I do NOT want to take it from the government, but I have no choice. My family and church are also a big part of my thankfulness! God is Awesome!

Tim W.

FS Thankful contest winner daughter

I'm Thankful for Our Child

I am most thankful for the child we have to love. My husband and I were not able to conceive children of our own. We tried a few routes with no success. We decided that sharing our love with a child was more important than having biological children, so we decided to adopt. We were blessed with a beautiful daughter to love. And love her we do. I am thankful for the young mother who gave 9 months of her life so we could have our daughter to love. I hope all parents realize the gift they are given when they are blessed with a child. For some it does not come so easy. Children are such a thing to be thankful for.

Cathy B.

I'm Thankful for My Children

After losing my job during a corporate restructure after Thanksgiving last year, it took me 9 months of interviews and rejections to land the job I currently have. In the process of struggling to make ends meet before I got the job, we lost our home and our security. As things were looking up, one week after starting my new job, our 8-month-old Australian Shepherd puppy, Peyton Manning Jr., died of kidney failure. This devastated us, and for me, as a single parent, it was yet another blow to our already fragile situation.

Never once through all this turmoil did my three children blame me for our circumstances. When I feel stressed beyond my limits, and feel like I have failed as a parent, they tell me how proud they are of me, and how I am the strongest person they know. Through them, I am able to fight any battle put before me because they put their arms around me, shower me with kisses, and tell me they love me everyday. So, what am I most thankful for? Without a doubt, my three amazing children!

Vonna H.

I'm Thankful for My Job, State of Mind, and Family

I am thankful to have a job and wake up in a right state of mind. My prayers go out to families who have experienced loss of jobs or loved ones, or any other tragedies.

I am most thankful to have my mother living at the young age of 85. In 2001 she was on a walker in the hospital for weeks. During her hospital stay, we thought she had given up on life. Part of her depression was from the death of my father, who lived to age 89. It was a time when we thought we would bury both parents in a two-month span. Well, on Saturday, November 22, 2008, our family and friends celebrated her 85th birthday. To watch her dance and move was a miracle. We are truly thankful to witness this miracle. She is self-sufficient and has a sharp mind.

Also, I am thankful for both of my sons, who are over the age of 18 with no criminal records. We live in a high crime area, and my children have beaten the odds. True thankfulness is more than being grateful for what we possess.

Wanda T.

I'm Thankful for Perspective

What am I most thankful for? The glorious gift of perspective.

Earlier this year I was told with 4 days notice that I would be going into the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy...a total of at least 8 weeks, maybe longer. I had 4 days to prepare my husband and my 5-year-old little girl, who had never been away from me for more than 1 night, for the fact that I was going to be away from them for 2 months to insure that our baby boy would be able to join us safely. I had an extremely rare complication that required constant monitoring. This was obviously an extremely gut-wrenching time for all of us.

What got me through it? PERSPECTIVE. People kept asking me, "How are you staying so positive?" Well, first of all, I had plenty of tears, but I remained positive because I knew HOW MUCH WORSE things could be. I am a hospice social worker and bereavement counselor. I remained positive because I was going to walk out of the hospital, because my nightmare would be over in a few months, because I wasn't there for a terminal condition!

Let me tell you, once you have been a companion for the dying, you give thanks for ALL the little things. I will never, ever take for granted little things like laughter of children, being able to enjoy food, the glorious annoyances of a traffic jam. My little man came 6 weeks early and spent a lot of time in the NICU, but because of perspective, I can give thanks for that too. (He is doing great by the way.)

Pay attention to the little things. Sometimes they are all we have.

Kim C.

I'm Thankful for My Mother

I am most thankful that my mother is still living I thought that she was going to die this year due to diabetes and bronchitis.

I am also very thankful that we have a new president. I would be even more thankful if I could win that free gas card, I really need it!

Betty W.