From November 23, 2016

It’s 2016. It’s my 37th Thanksgiving. It’s still one of my favorite holidays.

Thanksgiving means different things to everyone based on their beliefs, experiences, and current situation. For me, Thanksgiving is about family. I thank God daily for what the Lord has given me, but Thanksgiving is special. It forces us to close up shop, buy a bunch of food, get together, possibly watch football, and let the people in my life know they mean a lot to me. I was adopted by my father into the Smith family, and they made this holiday very special to me growing up. I try to carry on this tradition with my ever expanding family.

I’m also thankful for the business mentors and teachers I’ve had in my life who have encouraged and challenged me to become my best self. It’s easy to become lost and discouraged, but I believe everyone has something special that they’ve been given to share with the world. Sometimes people need a little nudge to give them the nerve to share it.

I’m also thankful for customers and clients. Their loyalty and patronage has meant a lot to me and my family over the years. One of the best things about our country is our capitalism that gives everyone the opportunity to be creative, work hard, and earn a living. I’ve worked for other businesses for many years, and I’ve helped thousands of customers in the process. As hard as I worked, I never forgot that it is my customers who really wrote my check. For that, I am very grateful.

I’m thankful for my friends who have always encouraged me and made my life richer. I’m thankful for my mom, who sacrificed a lot to make sure we had what we needed growing up. I’m thankful for my brother and sister (even though I don’t get to see them that often.) I’m thankful for my brother-in-law and his family (who we also don’t get to see that often.) I’m thankful for my mother and father-in-law who have done so much for us over the years and continue to be there for us. I’m grateful for my extended family who are a diverse bunch and very loving.

I’m thankful for each and every one of my children. We have five (yeah, that’s a lot), and I couldn’t imagine a world without them. I’m especially grateful to God in this area who protects them and keeps them healthy.

I’m thankful to my wife. She has been there for me now for 20 years being supportive of my strengths and patient in my opportunities. She works very hard to serve people, be a wonderful role model for our children, and provide me with the opportunity to be my best self and build my company.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the opportunities in front of me. I’m excited to see what 2017 has in store. What I’m about to say may sound political, but I’ll risk it anyway. I don’t need a president to “make America great again.” I think it’s pretty great already. It’s not “perfect”, and studies try to show we’re not by our ranking in the world.To that, I say “who cares”. This is our home, and it will be what we make it. I’m not interested in staring at America’s flaws, and I’m aware that we have some major ones. Instead, I’m interested in the things that are great about it. I’m thankful for opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Instead of worrying about what we don’t have or the things the media tries to alarm us with, let’s choose to focus on all of the good things we’ve been given and the good things to come. To me, that is the definition of thankfulness.

“6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” 1 Timothy 6

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