First things first, I would definitely be lacking as a mother, if I didn’t take a moment to express how proud I am of my daughter, Amani and share with you one of her most recent academic accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of her no matter what but this is one of those times that as a mother, you just want to go running and telling anybody who will listen! So please humor me for a moment!  So now that I have your attention, you are probably wondering what the accomplishment is so I’ll cut to the chase. Just recently, I received a telephone call
from her principal and immediately I thought that something was wrong. You know how we do, human nature always leads us to think the worst first. I have to admit that I got a little nervous but then he assured me that he was in fact calling with some good news that concerned Amani. The reason for his call was that he wanted to inform my husband and I that our daughter had been selected as  one of sixteen district winners in the 2013 Water Essay Contest! The contest, in its twelfth year, is sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District in which they encourage and challenge middle school students to think critically about water conservation and in doing so they must write a 300 to 500 word essay about why its important to conserve water. We later found out that there were over 1100 essay submissions and our daughter was in fact selected as the winner representing Paulding County! How great is that? As a parent, it is times like these that make being a parent all
the more sweet! So without further adieu, at this time I want to say to Amani, “Congratulations Baby, we are so very proud of you!”

I felt that it is important to not only take the time to recognize my daughter on her accomplishment but also to point out that oftentimes,  we don’t take the time to celebrate or even recognize Any (big or small) of life’s accomplishments. 
And in not doing so, we are then not taking time to be THANKFUL or APPRECIATIVE for all of the many blessings that God has given us.  That brings to mind then the question,  “If we are not thankful for even the small things, than
how can we expect for God to want to bless us with bigger things?” Think about it. Plain and simple, we can’t expect greater.
Which then leads me to talk about the upcoming holiday season. This is generally the time that most people think about giving. Yes, this is a good time to give but then we have to also realize that people are struggling all year and not just during the holidays. So please don’t think that your obligation to serve others has been satisfied  when you donate a couple of canned goods or a wrapped toy at your neighborhood market. Don’t get me wrong, this type of giving does serve a purpose and meets an immediate need. But, what we all have to remember is that people have been getting laid off in record numbers throughout the country over the past few years and just when we thought that the unemployment rates where declining, the American people witnessed yet another travesty in Washington in the form of the 16-day government shutdown. The impact of that immediately resulted in more layoffs. I am sure that you get the picture.
My point is, we have to recognize and understand that we have to get back to being our “brother’s keeper” and stop living with a ”crabs in a barrel” mentality. We have to also stop using the cookie cutter approach to
community outreach which leads us to believe that everyone’s needs are the same. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. So as we approach this
holiday season, take some time to give back and to also think about all of
the many blessings that are in your life, starting with your family! But
beyond this, let’s all think about how we can continue to give even after the holidays are over.

 At this time I want to wish each and every one of you a “Happy Thanksgiving!” If you are traveling to see family and friends, please BE SAFE! Most of all I want to say that I am so very THANKFUL for your support and do not take it for