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I went through a store with my son the other day and he saw all the Christmas decoration stuff for sale and he said “I hate it when they skip holidays”

Meaning we had just put away our Halloween décor and we should be looking forward to Thanksgiving.  (being a kid, I’m sure he didn’t realize that I’ve been decorating for Thanksgiving ever since I put up the fall décor back in August.)

I personally can’t wait for Thanksgiving.

I look forward to traveling, spending time with family, cooking those favorites that I only eat this time of year. To me Thanksgiving is a time to show your family how much you love them.

I’ve discovered recently that my favorite way to show love is by cooking.  With only 2 of us in the house now, it became really easy to ignore meal time.  We would eat out, or just have leftovers or sandwiches.

Only when I got my cooking magazine in the mail, and decided to make some real recipes did I begin to feel like myself again. This is part of who I am. I may not always make the best meals, but cooking each night brings us closer together, and helps me to feel like I still have something to contribute in the life of my very independent child.  In fact I finally feel like I am in a position to start getting to know the neighbors and have people over for dinner.

The last 2 Thanksgivings, I felt kind of homeless.  Because my life was in transition, I didn’t cook Thanksgiving dinner, or celebrate it with family.  (Other than my 2 kids that were at home at the time.) However we were blessed to have friends who saw our loneliness and invited us to share in Thanksgiving with them. These two Thanksgiving dinners were very special because I felt loved even though we were not with immediately family.

This year I am lucky enough to be joining many members of my family, and especially to be with people that I don’t get to see very often.  I’m looking forward to this almost more than Christmas.

I think that I big part of Thanksgiving is the “giving” part.  Reminding ourselves of the things in life that we are so blessed to have, then finding a way to share that with others that may be in need.  Like the families that took us in on a holiday that they could have just kept their families.  This year, I may not be able to take in another family, but I found a way to be a part of a larger project that ensured that several Veteran families that are in need, will have a Thanksgiving dinner for themselves.

Maybe this Thanksgiving we can all show our thanks by giving a little to others.

If you are grateful that you have enough food to eat, you can donate to a food pantry.

If you are grateful that you have family close by to share your love, you can watch for people that are lonely and share some little bit of joy.

If you’re grateful that you have a good job and can support your family, maybe you can think about hiring a local teen to help with yard work, or buying chocolate from the cute little cub scouts outside the grocery store, or signing up to help with job training in your local refugee center.

If I can be grateful that “today I am happy,” I can choose to smile and be especially cheerful and helpful to everyone that I meet.

Preparing for Christmas is important, but before we start the crazy rush towards Christmas, let’s all take this week before Thanksgiving to show our gratitude to others by sharing a little of what we have been blessed with.  Showing this “true love of Christ” is the best way to start getting ready for Christmas anyway.

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p.s.  If you want to give in some way this season, but don’t know where to start, you can go to Justserve.org and sign up and look for opportunities that will fit your families ability and desire to serve.