This time of year is crazy, busy, happy, stressful and wonderful all wrapped together. It's a time where people stop to think about what they are most thankful for....a time where families come together. But somehow, this special time of thankfulness has become a "hurry hurry grab that sale gotta have that item" time. With some stores bumping black Friday up to Thursday afternoon, I worry that we are losing sight of the true holiday meaning.

I love sales as much as the next shopper, and I actually regard black Friday as a holiday.... while not as important as Thanksgiving or Christmas....it does hold a great deal of tradition for many families. Personally we never did much black Friday shopping, but I do remember one year my mom and I spent hours in line at a store during the craze. Oddly enough I don't even remember what item was worth the wait, but I do fondly remember the time spent with my mom....laughing at the craziness of a checkout line that wrapped through the entire store and out into the mall. In the hussle and bustle of this time of year, I think people forget how much they already have in their lives. It's easy to do when everywhere we look we see new cameras, upgraded cell phones, and shiny toys.... while it certainly is ok to hope we get those things, we absolutely can not forget to be thankful for what we do have. If you feel yourself getting a little lost in the sale signs and gift wrap....wishing, wanting and dreaming you had everything in the catalog...consider this... what if everything you have now was gone?

You might shrug...thinking to yourself that you don't have anything of value so who cares....but what if you had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? Instead of a broken recliner you had an empty room...instead of a toilet that doesn't flush right you had no water....instead of a messy toy room, what if you had to bury your only child. What if you didn't even have an empty room...what if all you had was a crying baby on your hip and a couple cold scared kids? That might sound dramatic but it is a reality for some people. There is someone somewhere right now who would give anything to have the things you do.

So please remember...this shopping season and really all year round.... that if you just open your eyes you will see that you have so much more than you think.

If you don't believe me just imagine everything....every single thing....gone. I challenge you to be thankful for how much you have in this moment and stop to share your blessings with others. Bake an extra pie and share it with your neighbor that lost her job... let the kids make extra crafts and deliver them to nursing home residents..... cross one toy off your shopping list and buy something for an adopt a child angel tree. It really doesn't take much to make a difference in the lives of others.

The appreciation of someone else..... someone who has a better day because of your kindness.... can't be found in the black Friday sale flier.... it is priceless.