Giving thanks........




Ahhh yes, it's that holiday season once again. Like every Thanksgiving I can remember, this afternoon I sat in front of the television and watched the onslaught of holiday movies. My usual form of torture...that warm fuzzy emotion that causes me to cry my eyes out while I say, "DAMN THAT HALLMARK!"

However there was one thing different about today....as I sat watching the tear jerker's I couldn't help but to replay today's events over and over in my head - a day I will not forget and a memory I am sure will last a lifetime.

Today my children and I spent our Thanksgiving with friends - our new family at a bed and breakfast in Hustler, WI - The Fountain Chateau. A beautiful historic building that is richly decorated. We enjoyed a feast of a meal created with tender loving care by talented hands. Most importantly the meal served as a reminder just why we, the boys and I, have so much to be thankful for.

You see today's Thanksgiving meal was one that was being served to families and individuals experiencing economic hardship. We were there along with our friends, volunteering - yes, we were there to Lend a Hand. With the help of volunteers and donations of food and supplies, over 60 meals were served...some served right there at the Fountain Chateau....some delivered to homes....some delivered to tents.

No family dramas...

No lonely tables...

No tension....

No regrets...

Just the free flowing gift of love and concern...tender care and thankfulness - beautiful memories being created while laughter filled the air. I can honestly say that this year...this Thanksgiving...was the first one in a long time where it didn't mark the beginning of a season of sadness for me like the last three have.

I didn't feel the ache of remembering a past that will never be again...family that has long departed, and dreams that were shattered by violence - no...not this year....this year my heart filled with joy in watching all these people come together for one cause...each other.

As the children and I drove home we talked about our experience...and I was so grateful that they also took notice on just how special today was for so many. We didn't speak about past memories of holidays and how we missed the full house we once had, rather we discussed all the friends we now have and how today it felt like we were surrounded by family.

So after I got home and nestled into my love seat to watch those holiday movies I couldn't help but to think I am living one this season. It was only on October 1st of this year that a group of people came together to address the issue I had wrote about in an article in the The Messenger about homelessness in Juneau County, Wisconsin....and now in less than two months time not only has an organization formed but we have provided shelter for a family in need....took part in fund raisers...are in the process of a coat drive....and served Thanksgiving dinner to our neighbors....it's been a whirlwind to say the least and next week we will head down yet another road as we being to move into an office and may be accepting a donation which will provide us with a couple of apartments to use for emergency housing for those in need.

Yes, my head is spinning....

I had no idea this would take off the way it has....

My main goal in calling that first meeting on October 1st was so we could get an emergency fund going for this winter season....I wanted to make sure no child in our county would wake up on Christmas morning without a roof over their head...and we are well on our way in making that a reality ..

So as those Hallmark movies played I sat there crying my eyes out not only because of the storyline I was seeing, but because of the one I am experiencing alongside with those in my community........

Happy Thanksgiving......

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