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Giving thanks

November 25, 2010

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we take a moment to reflect on central Iowa, its people and its many reasons to "give thanks."

Our community is defined by the people who live here and by their works and deeds. From what we see every year at the Times-Republican, those works and deeds speak volumes.

Every day we are able to highlight the ways in which area residents give back to the community. From the Salvation Army bell ringers to the United Way annual campaign, from Toys for Tots to Shoes That Fit, local residents come together each year at this time to kick off the holidays with gifts of their own: their generosity, their time and their talents.

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For all of these many acts of kindness, there are even more that most often go overlooked. Perhaps they would not merit a front-page story, but they are vitally important to the fabric of this community. It is one that is pieced together like a quilt of kindness that warms the hearts and souls of those who receive a helping hand.

Skeptics in the region may ask for what do we have to be thankful this year. Many local residents have lost their jobs as the economy turned sour and companies have moved their operations out of central Iowa, they say. Well, while that certainly is true, it does not have to define the "value" of this community. The economy is a giant roller coaster, we may be feeling the effects of its downward spiral now, but it will begin climbing the next hill before we know it. However, even that isn't the true measure of this area's "value."

Instead, our worth comes from the ways in which we help our neighbors, lend a helping hand when no one is looking, give of ourselves so that someone else's life is enriched by having been a part of ours. One only must open his or her eyes to recognize the bountiful blessings that exist here or they become blinded by pessimism.

"It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast," wrote W.J. Cameron.

Those words ring true today. As you sit down this Thanksgiving, reflect upon the ways in which you have been blessed this year. When doing so, don't forget that the biggest blessings sometimes are the ones that are most often overlooked.

From all of us at the Times-Republican, may you enjoy God's richest blessings in the coming year - and remember the many blessings he has bestowed on you and yours this year.

Happy Thanksgiving.



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