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Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated as a meal, enjoyed together by bringing covered dishes to another family’s home, but really, isn’t it celebrated first in our hearts?

Let’s all stop and take a deep breath right now—freeze time for just three minutes. What are you thankful for right now? Is it your ability to be enjoying coffee and reading your paper before you leave the house for a job you love? Is it because you have time to enjoy the people in your life, that you are thankful? Have you retired from a lifetime job and now can do whatever you want every day?

Holiday times are also some of the most challenging for many of us. Are you grieving the loss of one of your closest loved ones and wonder how you will endure Thanksgiving this year? Or, have you determined to be a part of a gathering of people who volunteer to serve or deliver Thanksgiving meals to those whose eyes will light up with joy when they see your smiling face?

Thanksgiving is often a make-or-break holiday for people on a journey of recovering from grief. “It’s our first Thanksgiving without” is a sentence many of us must say to explain an empty chair at a table this year. We walk this route together, remembering, cherishing, healing, and spending time with those who need us. We keep you in our thoughts, prayers, and hearts, and we are grateful for every one of you, from our family to yours. This Thanksgiving, may you be blessed.