I love everything about fall in the Midwest. The leaves changing colors, the crisp evenings with a bonfire and the rich fall foods on Thanksgiving are some of my favorite reasons I look forward to this season.
The time spent with family around the Thanksgiving table, and the chaos and joy of a full house of relatives has always been priceless to me. Our Thanksgiving family tradition each year is to go around the room and share or reflect on something from that year that we have either grown from, something that has stretched us or what we are thankful for. It’s always a bit awkward at first to share, but in the end, it brings a little bit more meaning to our family time on Thanksgiving, and it helps me to appreciate the year and each other. Reflecting on what I am thankful for not only helps me to remember the blessings from that year, but it usually reveals gratitude in times of trials as well, because it is often in those times when true growth occurs and my dependency on my faith is imperative. Trials and moments of being stretched, although tough, help us grow and become stronger in character, and an appreciation for the little things we would normally take for granted occurs.
One of the best ways to show gratitude for what we have is by giving of ourselves to others. Whether it be through our time, treasure or talent, the selflessness of serving strengthens our character and is so rewarding. There is something about giving that feels so much better than receiving, and I believe it’s because we were made to give and to work together. This month is our Giving Back issue. The inspiring stories of local people making a difference in our community challenges me to go out and do more. Our community is full of opportunities to serve, with so many people who genuinely show love through the selflessness of giving.