Finally here: cooler temperatures! After a record-breaking hot and dry summer, fall has arrived. Now we can enjoy the splendor of God’s creativity without battling scorching heat. And our parched land has even experienced a bit of relief with a little rain here and there (although we are certainly praying for more). Truly a breath of fresh air and a blessing for us all. This month holds a special day set aside to express gratitude for the many blessings that are ours. And, oh how we need that focus. I’m afraid that all too often our minds are drawn to our problems, things we are doing without, opportunities missed, relationships lost, promises not kept, dreams not fulfilled, fears of what the future may hold. Yes, life brings its share of challenges and disappointments. But it also brings us joy. Relationships strengthened, opportunities seized, promises kept, calm in the face of fear, laughter to lighten our load, hope to guide our path. Our glass may appear half empty: it’s also half full. The holiday we will celebrate soon prompts us to examine our focus. Thanksgiving Day invites a special time to thank God for His blessings to us. As we do so, let’s not only remember the major things in our lives – food, shelter, family, friends, jobs, health and freedom. Let’s also consider the many other ways He blesses us every day. God has graciously poured out His amazing love to me in countless ways—to you, too. Just look around at the gifts that are ours from His creative hand and the guidance He provides as we travel our life journey. Sometimes obvious and other times ever so subtle. We enjoy so many things we often take for granted, like clear blue skies, gentle breezes, starry nights, expressions of love and support from a friend, the smiles and giggles of a child. Safe travels and freedom to gather together in worship. The colorful sights and melodic sounds that flourish as nature adapts to this new season. There are words of encouragement in a book we’re reading and insight to help us sort out life’s challenges. We find solutions to problems and unexpected opportunities to move forward with dreams and plans, along with the hope we hold onto in the midst of pain and disappointment. Perhaps this holiday season can also be an opportunity to share stories of how God has blessed our past and how He has carried us through difficult times. My husband and I have had opportunities recently to have some great conversations with our children as we’ve passed along lessons we’ve learned from both the joys and sorrows of life. The stories we share with those we love are legacies that will live on long after our lives on earth come to a close. This season has also been a poignant reminder to me of the value of seizing every moment and counting it a precious gift. To make the most of my days and not take them for granted. As I pray for healing for people I love, I recognize God’s call for me to be a good steward of the gift of time as well as the resources He has given to me. So, my friends, during this season of thanksgiving, let’s pause to express our gratitude to the One from whom ALL blessings flow and then to share that joy with those around us. “ Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good. His loving-kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100). Happy Thanksgiving – from my heart and home to yours. Nancy Williams, M.Ed, LPC maintains a counseling, coaching and consulting practice and is the author of Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child (Bethany House, 2011). Send questions or comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.