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There are two women who have been sitting in lawn chairs outside Best Buy for three weeks, so that they can be the first shoppers in on Black Friday. Several Fridays have already been called “Black Fridays” with great deals and incentives to shop. I have seen lit Christmas trees in homes for a few weeks now. Thanksgiving is now a day to stuff yourself, get those dishes washed, and get out and start your Christmas shopping on the holiday meant for giving thanks.

Give me a break!

In addition, hostesses are trying to create the perfect Thanksgiving, with lots of decor, the best china and intricate dishes. Thanksgiving is just as nice with deli food and paper plates. Being with loved ones is more important than pulling off a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving.

I would encourage you this year to really reflect on the blessings in your life. You can do this on your own, or with the group that is sharing Thanksgiving with you. I like to sit alone with some quiet time to think about this. Don’t save this attitude of gratitude for one day only. I like to keep a gratitude journal, and I write entrees though out the year. Doing this early in the morning gets my day off to a good start. If you live in the United States, you already have more to be thankful for than most of the world.

Another theme of Thanksgiving is to do something for the less fortunate among us. There are turkey drives, angel trees, clothing collections, and free Thanksgiving dinners.

This is a wonderful part of the holiday, but don’t let it stop here. These people need our help throughout the year, rather than have a period of feast and seasons of famine. Find a group that you have a passion for and support them all year either by volunteering or donating money and items if you are not able to physically be a part of the ministry of your choice.

My passions are children in poverty and children with cancer. As a result, I sponsor a child in Burkina Faso through Compassion International. We exchange letters and pictures often. Because of my other passion, children with cancer, my husband and I donate monthly to St. Jude’s Hospital. I am not giving you this information to boast, but to give you ideas for a starting place. Some people have a heart for mistreated animals, veterans, NICU babies, or children in poverty stricken areas of the world who need medical attention or food and clothing.

Find your passion for others and and act on it throughout the year, rather than just on Thanksgiving.

Finally, I pray that your Thanksgiving will be filled with people you love and true thankfulness for your blessings.

Oh, and maybe a little pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!