By U.S. ArmyNovember 24, 2017
You're probably somewhere with family and friends right about now working on a huge Thanks-giving spread. Or you're plotting the best way to get through Black Friday insanity without losing your wallet, or your teeth. Or maybe you're on the fifth glass of that special eggnog that you can't legally share with the kids and these words are starting to move across the page.
Whatever it is you're doing, do it in the spirit that was intended to champion this holiday: do it with thanksgiving.
It's during this, my most favorite holiday of the year (for obvious reasons), that I like to sit down and reflect on what matters most.
This year and every year, I'm thankful for my family. In particular, my wife and two kids. I'm thankful for the smiles, the encouragement, the laughter, even the tears. I'm thankful that my blushing bride knows best how to touch my heart and fill my head with courage.
I'm thankful for the children's hopes and dreams, the "this is what I want to be in a few years." The tender moments when a soft hug and "I love you" is all that's needed. And each prayer my daughter recites at suppertime that ends in a sweet song of thankfulness.
I'm thankful for a mother-in-law who will travel a thousand miles, just to spend some time with us for no other reason than she wants to.
I'm thankful for the hope of a puppy that promises to warm the hearth just a little more as winter settles in. For the deer and the antelope that choose to play out back in the yard. Even for the pesky raccoon that rattles my trashcan late late at night when he thinks I'm asleep, and the scraggly wolf, or is it a coyote, that saunters by without a care in the world.
I'm thankful for a job that provides me so much more than just a paycheck and a place to hang my hat. For fellow employees, whose hunger for excellence inspires me to do it even better the next time. For warmth in the office (thank you, engineers), a comfortable chair and the resources needed to accomplish the mission. I appreciate the army of riding lawn mowers I don't have to ride and outstanding team of police officers I don't have to call.
I'm so thankful for a fresh start in a new place, an interesting people, a fresh culture to discover, and the challenge of another story waiting for me just around the bend.
I'm grateful to the men and women around me who make this nation the best in the world. Though they put on their pants the same way as any other, what they do while in them sets them apart from the rest.
I'm thankful for the duty to swear allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the right to bear arms -- fought, bled and died for by our Nation's forefathers; equally I'm thankful for the privilege to live freely in my faith planted richly in the American soil by our pilgrim fathers.
I'm eternally thankful for the honor to be deemed worthy by my Savior when my works held no worth, no value; I'm most grateful for the assurance of hope that comes even when what is can't be seen.
I'm thankful for weakness, limitations, faltering health, hardship and fear. During those times, what matters most has this amazing way of bubbling to the surface and reminding me of all the blessings I enjoy. For it's within those moments when the truth reveals who your friends are and what you're made of. And I'm especially grateful for when the difficult times finally do pass, and they always do, because I learn to be truly thankful for this life I've been given. Roses smell sweeter, the sun shines brighter; children's laughter rings truer.
This year and every year, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.