With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I think it is appropriate to look at all of these listed categories and realize that many run into the other. In any forum discussion, as in any Thanksgiving table, people talk about work, life, family, friends, and some version of culture: life on life’s terms. Yet, somehow it manages to be stressful for most people. In all the years I practiced family law the subject of holidays was probably the most volatile. I would often hear “it’s MY Christmas…,” when most of them are forgetting what Christmas is really about. And even if you choose not to recognize the religious aspect of Christmas and only the secular, you could then say it isn’t your Christmas, but it belongs to your children. I’m not sure why it’s so easy to forget.So in this post midterm election holiday where you are gathered around a table with the collection of people you are bound to for a myriad of reasons, I would invite you (isn’t that a polite way of saying pay attention dammit!) to treat those at the table with the love and respect they want, not deserve. Someone was talking about the Golden Rule the other day- about it saying do unto others as you would have done unto you. But shouldn’t it really be doing to others as they wish to have done to them, not the way you want it? Some people wish to be left alone, respect it. Some people want to hear your opinion…. wait to be asked… it’s hard to keep your mouth shut. My mouth shut. I think the most important thing to remember about Thanksgiving is that it is a public declaration of gratitude. We in America have more to be grateful for than any other nation on earth. For most of us there is food, water, and warmth. This is the only nation I know of where poor people are overweight. I’m sure I’ll get called names for that statement. I DON’T CARE. I’m not interested in tiptoeing around made-up sensitivities. We were once a nation of very tough people. It was better that way. Back to gratitude. Everybody’s got something going on in their lives, good and bad. And everybody’s got something to be grateful for… it’s time to focus on that. It’s Thanksgiving and if you’re reading this you’re blessed to have access to a computer or smart phone. If you’re going to Thanksgiving dinner it’s because someone cared enough about you to include you. If you’re pissed off it’s because you have the luxury not to be foraging for food or water.So when I sit at the Thanksgiving table this year I am going to look at my table mates and thank them for their friendship and love. I’m going to thank them for their good counsel, their humor, their encouragement, their acceptance and their presence over the many years. I going to thank my husband for the many gifts he gives me every day. I’m going to thank the bird for giving his life for us. And I’m going to thank God for one more day living on this earth as an American.