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Be a blessing this fall

November brings with it cooler temperatures and thoughts of Thanksgiving fast approaching. Sometimes Thanksgiving gets a little bit of a raw deal. After Halloween and the fun of trick-or-treating and dressing up, some folks roll right into the Christmas season without much of a backward glance.

I must admit that my love for all things Christmas puts me in that category when it comes to decorating some years. But this has been such an interesting and trying year that I think I’ll focus more on this holiday and its meaning. What a wonderful idea it is to have a holiday with the intent of giving thanks for all our blessings!

The pilgrims had also had a tough year, following their first winter in the new world. They had lost so many to sickness and had to struggle to have enough food to sustain themselves.

Without the help of their Native American benefactors, so many more would have lost their lives, so their day of sharing a meal and giving thanks to their Creator was not because they had had a great year. It was because of God’s grace and provision though the hands of others that they had survived a very difficult time.

With these thoughts in mind, I plan on slowing down the rush to Christmas and fully embracing Thanksgiving. I don’t really know what my plans are other than enjoying a day with my family and a wonderful meal, but my intention is to seek out ways of blessing others.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to find ourselves in a position to help others surely should. I have always said that if we take care of our own others won’t have to, but unfortunately there are many in the world without a strong support system when they need a helping hand. And we all know that as the old song says, we all need somebody to lean on.

Today, I interviewed a lady about her work at an animal shelter, and I was truly amazed at the difference she and other volunteers had made in the lives of abandoned animals. The shelter was not only clean, but it was also very cozy and inviting. It was a pleasure to visit, and the animals were happy and relaxed. This woman had obviously found a way to be a blessing.

There are so many ways that we all could help others, and this year I’m going to make a list. (You guys know that I love lists!) It will consist of ways that I can bless others, and by the time I sit down with my family to give thanks for my blessings I hope to have accomplished at least a few of my blessing ideas.

I think if we can all focus on others and helping them then the stress of this strange year will lessen. When I take my eyes off myself long enough to think of someone else, then my own struggles and worries pale.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.