"I always try to share an attitude of gratitude."

-- Norman Vincent Peale.

It's that time of year again -- Thanksgiving. Just what does Thanksgiving mean to you? We have been thinking about it.

It is a time for families to get together to eat a big meal, watch a football game, say thanks for a wonderful year and then move on to the next day -- going to work, back to school on Monday, getting into the routine of everyday life.

Also getting into the Christmas spirit, the season of hurry hurry, counting the days, making lists, getting worn out with parties, shopping, gift wrapping, sending cards -- whoa, slow down!

We're thinking that we should have a peaceful attitude of thankfullness, taking that feeling into the entire holiday season and starting the new year remembering those things we are thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. We shouldn't show gratitude only one day a year. It should be done year 'round.

We've read many articles that express countless ways to show others how much we appreciate the small things they have done for us, how thankful we are to have them as friends, how wonderful they've made us feel. Don't just think it, show it, say it and mean it. It will mean the world to the one that receives your thank you, your hug or your smile, and it will make their day and your day too.

We find that when we share a smile with someone it seems to grow. Smiles are catching. When one person smiles, the next one smiles back and on it goes.

Seniors many times feel down in the dumps because they can't get out and about as they used to. Plan to share some time with them. Just stop, say "Hello how are you today" and then stay to listen to what they have to say. Remind them how much you appreciate things they have have taught you, things they have done for you and your family, show that you love and care for them.

Telling Grandpa and Grandma or Mom and Dad thanks for being your family -- they have made you feel safe, warm and blessed. It's sure to cheer them up.

By the way, don't forget the personal touch. Holding someone's hand or giving a hug shows your true feeling of love and gratitude.

We try to say thank you and send notes of thanks often, because we want others to know how much we appreciate their kindness. If we don't tell them, how will they know?

There is no end to things to be thankful for -- good health, spiritual blessings, your home, your church, your family and your country.

One idea we want to share with you we found in Family Fun magazine. One family keeps a "Thankful Box" -- an oatmeal box with a slot cut in the top would work, along with a stack of colorful paper strips on the kitchen counter.

Throughout the year they write down things they are grateful for and drop them in the box. On Thanksgiving Day, they open the box and read the blessings aloud.

Afterward, they use the slips of paper to make a paper chain and hang it on their Christmas tree. That sounds like a great idea to us.

We plan to attend the annual Thanksgiving meal at the National Guard Armory and we thank the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance and all the many volunteers helping make this feast special.

Look deep into your heart and share your attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving to everyone and carry that wonderful feeling with you all year.

Jim and Opal Flinn, Ellis, are members of the Generations Advisory Group.