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Giving Thanks in Hard Times

It’s Thanksgiving Eve. Most are preparing for festive gatherings with family and friends, wrapped up a rush of finishing a never-ending list of things we must accomplish in order to enjoy a day of peace, quiet and lots and lots of eating.

While we are preoccupied with our to-dos, the reason for the season sometimes slips out of our minds.

Feeling and expressing gratitude and goodwill are what Thanksgiving is meant to be.

For some, though, it may not be easy to be grateful. The United States is facing some of the most economically difficult times in history. The future is uncertain.  Life is a little scary.

In the midst of the discord in our country, friends I know are suffering through family crises, personal loss, financial hardships and extreme uncertainty.

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to try to find joy in a holiday that almost makes us feel guilty if we don’t want to give thanks because we’re wondering what there is to say thanks about.

To make matters worse, “Black Friday” – the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the shopping season and entices shoppers with deep discounts and sales − has now even started much earlier than Friday.

Retailers such as Wal-Mart are opening their doors as early as 9:00 p.m. Thursday night, meaning Americans don’t even get one full day of freedom from thinking about spending money they may not even have, which emphasizes even more whey people are in despair.

A vicious cycle of circumstances and events just continue to hold people down and prohibit them from even enjoying one designated day a year to give thanks and praise.

Hopefully, though, no matter where you are, what your situation and how you’re feeling that you will find at least one thing for which to be thankful. If you’re reading this, you’re alive and that is definitely one thing for which to be thankful. Hopefully, if you think about it even more, your list will grow and multiply.

Looking back on the last many years, thinking of all of the varied Thanksgiving days I’ve lived, I have a hard time remembering the specifics. I can’t remember what I was going through, or what I was sad, unsettled or upset about.

All I remember about my last many Thanksgivings is the joy and love I felt. And I remember being thankful. Maybe it was because I was supposed to be or maybe because I truly was, but that feeling can stay with you, if you want it and if you let it. Obviously, no matter what I was going through, it has resolved itself.

 I hope for you to let go of any hardships and the sorrow you’re experiencing and instead of letting it overcome you, to just be thankful. You may be surprised that next year when you look back, you’ll barely remember the troubles you were having, but the courage you had to say thanks anyway.

 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie

><(("> Mandy Stark

Mandy is a ><(("> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Mandy email her at or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit

Posted in Miscellaneous.


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