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Dear Reader

I can sum up my feelings this holiday season with one word:  GRATITUDE!  I am thankful for my healthy 83-year-old father, sisters I can call friends, a husband who supports me, three beautiful children, fun friends, Smith’s holiday shortbread cookies, opening day of ski season at Mammoth Mountain, and getting paid for what I love to do.  I feel blessed!

A few years ago I watched an inspiring Oprah Winfrey show where she suggested starting a “Gratitude Journal” in which each night you write down five things you were grateful for that day.  She said if you did this it would remind you to keep a spirit of appreciation in your heart.  I started my journal--some nights were easier than others.  Many of my journal entries were pretty weak, but each night when I went to bed, I really did feel happier and more positive about my life.   

With this spirit of expressing thanks, I started a Thanksgiving tradition with my family.  Before we eat our Thanksgiving dinner, we go around the table and tell each other what we are thankful for.  The answers usually mirror each other – family and friends.  And that is what this holiday season is all about!  So, take the time to show them how you feel.  

In the article, “What I’m Thankful For…,” I had the chance to ask several Kern County families what they have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I was so impressed with the answers from the little children; they already understand what’s truly important in life.  Check out these cute photos and even cuter quotes on pages 10 and 11.      

Newbie Dad’s Brian Kantz writes about Thanksgiving traditions from his childhood in his article, “Of Football and King Kong,” on page 14.  Interestingly, in Ohio each year for Turkey Day, they watched King Kong, cleaned the gutters, and watched many hours of football as part of their celebration.  This year as he hosts Thanksgiving dinner for the second time in his married life, he says he takes the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving dinner much more seriously.  

Serving up a heaping helping of laughter this month, Tracie Grimes’s Humor at Home article, “Who Let the Dogs (And Other Creatures) Out?” she writes about her children’s annual bring-your-pet to school day.  This event proves fun for the kids and unnerving for the parents.  Tracie says she lucked out this year and got out of taking a pet – find out why on page 8.

 In Tracie’s monthly book review column, “Use Tactics to Tantalize Kids into Reading,” she writes about ways to encourage reading through incentive and rewards programs.  Some of her picks this month include “Gobble, Gobble,” by Cathryn Falwell; “Freckleface Strawberry Best Friends Forever,” by Julianne Moore; and “The Princess and the Pig,” by Jonathan Emmett.  For moms she says, “Silver Girl,” by Elin Hilderbrand , gives us a heartwarming tale of true friendship and forgiveness.

This month, as you’re gobbling up your turkey, watching your favorite football team, expressing thanks in your journal, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect and make mental notes of everything in our lives we have to be thankful for.

Happy Turkey Day!

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