What does your Thanksgiving table look like right before everyone sits down to feast? Is it groaning under a perfectly browned turkey or ham with those little pineapple rings and maraschino cherries? Is it stacked high with sweet taters, green bean casserole, cranberry relish/sauce (I’m not getting into that debate!), hot rolls dripping with butter, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream waiting in the wings? And when you gather together, will you share what you are most thankful for this year?

I recently had someone ask me to sum up Thanksgiving in one word…and I said, “Grateful.” Then, of course, I had to clarify that I didn’t mean the Grateful Dead, that would be Halloween! But, in all truthfulness, I am grateful for so many blessings that have come into my life. I am grateful that I survived vocal chord paralysis many years ago and can still do what I love best…sing! I’m grateful for all the new friends that I’ve made since moving to Arizona. I’m grateful for the opportunity to perform with so many talented musicians. And, of course, I’m grateful for my family and loved ones!

But it’s even more than that…I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here on this earth and the opportunity to make a difference if only in one person’s life. A smile, a kind word, a helping hand…that’s the giving part that often gets overlooked in this holiday season. So when you’re looking at a mountain of leftovers after everyone has pushed back from the table, box ’em up and share them with the homeless in your area. It can be a great teachable moment for kids as well as a blessing for everyone involved.

I hope your Thanksgiving is full of thanks and opportunities for giving as well.

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