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Let’s bow our heads this Thanksgiving…

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.  – Oprah Winfrey

This quote sums up how I choose to live my life. It is the quote that also guides my NEEDS vs. WANTS list, too! Examples of basic needs are shelter, food, water, clothes, and medicine. Many of our neighbors struggle with attaining their basic needs while others look to acquire more possessions like the latest cell phone models, a new vehicle every two years, and fancy brand name clothing. I will admit, in my 20’s and early 30’s I used to think that I needed a new band name purse every season or a new wardrobe, or to dine at the best restaurants. Do you know where this mentality got me? In debt. Did it bring me happiness? Well, I thought it did at the time. In reality, none of the “stuff” held its value and I found myself feeling empty inside.

About 7 years ago, my husband and I made a choice to forgo Christmas presents to each other and focus on more meaningful “giving” at holiday time. We also told our family members to cross us off their lists and instead of buying us gifts, do something charitable for someone in need. It was not an easy transition for some of my family members that insisted on buying us gifts, but they complied with our wish. The joy that we have all received from “giving” to our communities has far surpassed any happiness from “getting” a gift.

So, as we begin the holiday season this week, I am asking all of you that read this to perform at least one random act of kindness or to donate to a local charity this holiday season. Anonymously pay for someone’s coffee, breakfast or lunch, bring non-perishable food items to local food pantries, donate warm weather clothing to homeless shelters, or help an elderly neighbor rake their leaves and expect nothing in return. All of these kind gestures WILL make a difference in someone’s day and perhaps change their perception of how they view the world.  It may even start a chain reaction of more kind deeds.

As we bow our heads this Thursday and give thanks for all that we have, please take a moment to ask yourself, “how can I make a difference in someone else’s life?” and follow through with your commitment. I guaranty your generosity will bring you more pleasure than any item you could receive.

What are you thankful for? Please feel free to share your gratitude here!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

~ Tanya