November is the month we are reminded to be thankful. We should be thankful during all the other months, but this is one time that we set apart a day to focus on it. For me it fits right in because of a few birthdays that occur in the month of November. Yesterday was my sister Betty’s birthday – just missed being a Halloween baby:) On the 17th is my sister Nancy’s birthday. And on the 25th is my sweet wife Debbie’s birthday. Also I have a couple friends from the past who had birthdays this month.

I am grateful for all friends and family and try to keep track of or at least recognize on the day of their birthdays. Most people I know are not really focused on the years – unlike when we were kids. But it gives occasion to be thankful for them and their influence in our lives.

With all the chaos and tragedy in the world today it is good to pause and remember the things we have to be thankful for. Sometimes we can see what we don’t have and be thankful -for the lack of pain and tragedy. Sometimes we can be thankful for the opportunities that we have to help out others in need. And sometimes we can also be thankful for the struggles that we have come through – whether we learned and grew, or whether we just survived.

I am thankful for food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over my head. I am thankful for reliable transportation, a generous severance package from my past employer and the availability of unemployment insurance payments to help in my transition to a new job. I am thankful that my health insurance was extended out to the end of this month and the availability of Medicare to cover any gaps. I am thankful that we as a society decided that helping people in need was an obligation that we should take on to care for the less fortunate. I am committed to that because there are many, many who do not have what I have.

I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, not only to learn and grow in my leadership and communication skills, but also to be exposed to different communities around the world through Toastmaster clubs in England, Vietnam, and South Africa. We are truly one world and we need to embrace that wider community. Take some time today to recognize what you have to be thankful for – don’t just wait for Thanksgiving Day.