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Connies Council Corner: On being thankful

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I know that Thanksgiving is over so you may think this is a little late. But I think that giving thanks should be something that we do always. So here goes…
Before Thanksgiving I asked the people in our County Council office what they are thankful for. Here are the responses:
“What came to mind is ‘life.’ I’m thankful for life – no matter how many challenges come my way, I’m still blessed, grateful and standing.”
“God’s blessing of our first granddaughter is at the top of a very long list.” (This is one of three grandchildren born and celebrated by those in our office.)
“I’m thankful that despite all the arguing and bickering that comes with elections, we still live in a great community where we have far more in common than different.”
“I am grateful that every day I have so much to be thankful for – life, family, friends and our God who provides all.”
“I am thankful for the opportunity to work with people who get the idea that they have obligations and that are willing to put concepts of duty and obligation and sacrifice and sticking-their-necks-out-for-other-people ahead of what’s in it for them.”
And here is a message I received for someone I work with on a community board. I had to share this because of the chocolate reference:
“I find much to be thankful for among the sorrows. That is the essence of life, right? Bittersweet? I hope you find some time to enjoy some bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate kisses, or just kisses. Share yourself and thanks for being out there doing good in the world.”
I love that last one. I love chocolate so I will start out being thankful for anything chocolate! On a more serious note, I, too, have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my husband for 47 years of marriage, who has always been there for me; for our kids and the community that taught us all the importance of giving back. I am thankful for my five children and 11 grandchildren for helping me appreciate the everyday, little things that I can smile at. And I am thankful for the friends in my life who have given me encouragement, reassurance, support, balance and laughter.
I am thankful to live in a county that is beautiful; to getting re-elected, to people I represent that keep me honest, that remind me every day of what is important to them so I can do a better job. I am thankful for having a roof over my head and food on my table for there are many that don’t. I am thankful for my education and for a job, for there are many that don’t have these things. I am thankful for good health, for there are many that don’t have good health.
Nearly 20 years ago I met Pastor Ron Vignec. There are some people that make lasting impressions and teach valuable lessons just by the way they live. Pastor Ron was one of those people. His mission was the Salishan community and at the time he started, it was a community that was impoverished and crime ridden. He focused on identifying the strengths and assets of the people of Salishan by offering help with basic needs and the gospel of hope and forgiveness. He welcomed everyone – welfare recipients, bureaucrats, professors, politician, felons, gang members, single mothers, and children – and shared God's love with them. He firmly believed that "Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted" (Martin Luther King, Jr.). When he died in 2013, I went to his memorial. As I was looking through the program, I read the following that I have kept and would like to share. I hope you keep it and bring it out on occasion to remind us about thankfulness.

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times;
during those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes;
they will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
because it means you’ve made a difference.
My wish between now and next Thanksgiving is that all of us find something every day that we are thankful for.

Connie Ladenburg is a member of the Pierce County Council.

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