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With Thanksgiving Day just hours away and the kiddos home from school until at least Monday — well, here in Pennsylvania, most students have Monday off — it’s time to count our blessings.

Every year it seems that I am thankful for the faith, family and friends that help me make it through the year. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. Most especially, I am thankful for my children, Amber and Jacob. They are true blessings in my life, and while they have their good and bad days, they bring me much joy and happiness with their smiles, hugs, kisses and giggles.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks for my husband, who when it comes to being a parent, is a true team player. We work well together to make sure our children are fed, clothed and loved, and we enjoy our times together as a family. Additionally, I am thankful that I live in America, where we are blessed with many freedoms and we have servicemen and women who are dedicated to ensuring those freedoms.

I encourage my daughter, and will do the same for my son as he grows older, to count her blessings every day.  Every night before bedtime, we try and think of at least three things that we are thankful for that day. I remind her that while it’s nice to hope for and want things (many times in her case, another toy or accessory, but what child doesn’t?), she should remember that she already has many things that other children may not be as fortunate to have.

We have a Berenstain Bears’ book titled “The Berenstain Bears Count their Blessings.” Brother and Sister Bear come home from friends’ houses complaining about not having a certain amount of video games and “Bearbie” dolls, respectively. Soon a thunderstorm rumbles in, causing the lights to go out. Papa Bear lights a fire in the fireplace and Mama Bear makes hot cocoa over the fire. The family cuddles on the couch to count the thunder booms and lightning strikes, while at the same time they are grateful for their cozy tree house, each other, the fire and the cocoa.

So as you gather to eat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and pumpkin pie, watch football and parades or even planning your Black Friday strategy, remember to be thankful for the things in life that mean the most to you.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!