This Thursday, families all over our great country will sit down at the table and break bread together.
For most, turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and gravy will be on the menu. Dessert likely will be pumpkin or apple pie, perhaps both.
While the food of the day seems to be what we think and talk about the most, the day should really be about counting our blessings and remembering those who founded our country and continue to keep us safe and free.
Too often with the business of our lives, we forget to slow down and be thankful for what we have and all of the wonderful people in our lives.
I’m as guilty as anybody of doing this, but really want to encourage readers to use Thanksgiving Day as a catalyst to change that. Here are some people and things I am most grateful for.
• Family — The holidays always bring about a hefty dose of nostalgia.
I’m thankful for loving parents who were always there for me. They were role models of unconditional love. In fact, they were both selfless in so many ways.
We lost my dad in 2010, and the holidays still make me teary eyed as I miss his presence at family gatherings. My dad had a great sense of humor. We all think of funny things he said and refer to them as “Bill-isms.”
My mom is still there for me. I’ve often said I don’t know if I could have raised four children without her help, support and love.
Mom remains a big part of our lives and I’m grateful for that. Our children are close to her, and I’m thankful she has been such a big part of their lives.
I feel particularly blessed to have married my best friend, Paul. We met when I was 23 and he was 25. At the time, I thought I was so mature and “old,” which is completely laughable now.
We were so in love from the get-go. Some of our friends on both sides told us we should “slow down.”
I’m glad we instead listened to our hearts and began our journey in earnest, marrying in 1990 and moving to Forsyth County — something else some of our friends said was “crazy.”
Of course, I try to remember to thank God every day for our four children. They are all such unique individuals, each possessing different gifts from their creator.
I feel privileged to be their mother, even though each has made me mad enough to pull my hair out on numerous occasions.
The holidays are so different now that there are no toys to shop for, or careful considerations to be made since young children and babies are not around.
But I still love the holidays. My favorite part is when we linger at the dinner table long after the meal is over, reminiscing of days gone by.
I can hardly wait to do that on Thursday, although one chair will be empty since our oldest son cannot get leave from the Army until Christmas.
• Friends — While I do have numerous acquaintances, I have just a few close friends.
I may not talk to them every day or see them as often as I wish I could, but if I needed anything, I know any one of them would drive through a snowstorm (if necessary) to get to me.
I remember reading somewhere that you’re lucky enough to have even one friend like that and, if so, you’re “wealthy.” I agree.
I’ve also met many readers over the years, which I always enjoy. It’s truly a gift to be able to share my thoughts, experiences and — really — my life, with so many people on a weekly basis.
I’m honored and humbled you take time out of your life to read my words. I never take that for granted.
• Work. Our youngest child was 3 when I began writing for the Forsyth County News. I will always be grateful for the newspaper for taking a chance on me.
At the time, I was a young mom with four young children and a pretty crazy life. I began by doing the “recipe” section and went on to become a columnist and feature writer.
From the beginning, I couldn’t believe I got to do two things I love so much — cook and write — and get paid for them.
I’m extremely thankful for my job and all of the people I have gotten to meet along the way. We live in a community that is full of amazing folks and I love that I get to meet and interact with so many of them.
• Faith — What would any of this be without God? I’m so thankful my parents raised me as a Christian. I saw their strong faith and the role that played in their lives, as well as my own.
So many times during life’s challenges, God picked me up and carried me when I could no longer walk.
Over the years, I’ve met so many people who’ve faced much more difficult challenges than I have. To hear them talk about their faith is such a strong testimony.
Their stories inspired and encouraged me to trust deeper in God and to seek His guidance even more.
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In closing, I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! My prayer is that you will spend some time at table counting your blessings and encouraging guests and family to do the same.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.