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I will be the first to admit that I am one that overlooks the true meaning of Thanksgiving from year to year. In the rapid commercialization of Thanksgiving, how can we not? Starting weeks before, talk of "Black Friday" emerges and sales start being leaked out. We start looking at football schedules to see if our favorite team is playing and at what time this will take place. We hustle and hustle as time approaches trying to get everything sorted, plans made, and most of all....the food ready. In the midst of the prepping for the next big shopping excursion, the football games, and all the cooking and eating; who can blame a person for missing the name of the holiday? I mean, who has time?

Guilty. That is me. While I may not be a cook, or really a Black Friday shopper, I have made it a habit of missing the true meaning of this holiday. That was, until this year changed my perspective entirely. I guess sometimes it takes a slap on the back of the head to get a person's attention, and when it happens it is time to pay attention.

So this Thanksgiving, I would like to pause, take some time to give thanks. To give thanks to those who signed up to serve and protect our country. Many of which who do not get to spend the holiday season with their loved ones. Many who will never get to see their loved ones again. Thank you for your service and making the extreme sacrifice you do everyday so that I may enjoy the freedom I have in this country. I would like to thank all of the doctors that my family has interacted with this year. Dr Shay for being an amazing internal medicine doctor that has guided us in all the right directions throughout some difficult medical drama. Drs. Wagner, Quadri, and Chen for guiding us through the fight and recovery when my mother had Breast Cancer. Drs. Adams and Yahagi for being rocks and decisive through the treatment of my mothers lung issues this year. It has been a long year, but I am thankful it is starting to be behind us. I am thankful to the nurses at Citizens Hospital for being amazing day in and day out. Thank you all health care workers, paramedics, and law enforcement for doing everything you do.

I am thankful to my church family at Renegade Church. From the pastoral staff (Bard, Skip and Lauren), to each person there, they have shown me the love and support that reaffirms me every day and in doing so, has allowed my family and I to grow stronger everyday.

Most of all, I am thankful for my amazing parents and whole family for always showing me how to love and care for another person. For always showing be the difference between right and wrong and setting the example on how to be truly selfless. I am thankful to have you all in my life every day and cherish every moment we have.

So as we approach and celebrate this holiday of thanks, please remember to take a moment from all the hustle and bustle and ask yourself what are you thankful for....and give thanks.