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October 27, 2021

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Joanne Niswander: On giving thanks

By Joanne Niswander
Most of us, by now, have made plans for where we will be on Thanksgiving Day and with whom we will celebrate. Many families will be getting together, and some of those without families nearby will plan to enjoy the day with friends. It's a day to renew relationships, share good food and watch football games. But it's also a day to celebrate our blessings. Here are a few different ones to think about:
T - is for Tomorrow: a day in the future that, when it gets here, isn't. We look forward to it but can't look backward at it. We pin our hopes on it. Be thankful for Tomorrow!
H - is for Humanitarians who go places we can't/don't want to go, in order that others in real need are recognized and cared for. Give thanks for Humanitarians.
A - is for Ability: some of us feel we have too little of it and envy those who seem to have more than their share. But, by making use of what abilities we have, we prove our thanks.
N - is for Neck: the thing you stick out when you offer a different opinion/do something risky/ask a dumb question. The world needs more people who are willing to open themselves for a cause. Thanks to the brave souls who make themselves vulnerable, while the rest of us just stand by and watch.
K - is for Kith and Kin, those folks near and dear to us with whom we'll be sharing turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie (or some such equivalent) on Thanksgiving Day. Be thankful for each and every one - even that grumpy uncle who always wants the biggest piece of pie with the most whipped cream.
S - is for Songs, whether solemn, sentimental or silly, that we'll be hearing over loudspeakers for the next month as the Christmas season comes at us in full force. Give thanks that we can celebrate holidays in so many different ways.
G - is for Good Manners, which help to keep our personal lives in order, our homes at peace, our communities livable, and our country civilized. Thank your mother for insisting that you say "thank you" and your dad for holding the door open for your mother.
I - is for Inventive Minds that look at more than one side of a problem and then go about making that other side a viable option. Give thanks for those creative geniuses who keep expanding their minds so that our own personal worlds can expand.
V - is for Volunteers who give their time and energy every year to get Bluffton ready for the Blaze of Lights - and then, in the cold and snow, take it all down again and store it away for the next Christmas season. Don't forget to thank them.
I - is for Inspiration that has given us such things as Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," Frosts's "The Road Less Traveled," and Michelangelo's "David." And thanks to the millions of less well-known artists who give us music, literature and art that inspires.
N - is for the Natural World - the sky and its clouds, trees and the birds that nest in them, streams and lakes and oceans that provide our life-giving water. Give thanks, and be sure to take care of, this beautiful world we have been given.
G - is for Grace. May your home be graced with family and friends on this Thanksgiving Day and, if that is not possible, may God's Grace surround you no matter where you are.

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