We all have them. We often forget to count them. Day-to-day irritations sometimes pick away at them. The big hurdles of life can overshadow them. At Thanksgiving, thank goodness we take an entire day for the purpose of remembering and celebrating our blessings. Indulge me, if you will, in publicly counting just a few of my blessings. I’m so thankful for… My faith. My grandparents and parents raised me to believe in God the Father and His son Jesus Christ who gave His life to save me from my sins and give me eternal life. When my earthly life brings something that I wasn’t expecting, I remember that this world is only temporary, and I stand firm in my belief that what is happening is God’s plan with a larger purpose that I cannot see. The best way for me to handle anything is two-fold. I pray and obey. My husband. I can’t begin to say how much my husband blesses my life. He is a man of faith and of purpose. He makes me a better person and lifts me up. He makes me laugh. His hug makes me feel warm and secure. I am so proud of him and to be his partner in this life. My children. I have one daughter of my own and a daughter and son that are blessings to me through my second marriage. Being a parent is the hardest job that I do and the one where I doubt myself the most. Blessings #1 and #2 help me along the parenting path. My mom and dad. In today’s society especially, I have been extremely blessed to grow up in a family, where it was evident that my parents loved God, that my parents loved each other, and that my parents loved my brothers and me in that order. My parents have been married 52 years this December 14. They treat each other with respect and kindness. I love them both beyond measure. My work. I am truly thankful each and every day for my work here at the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce. I feel a personal connection and responsibility to our wonderful Chamber members. It does indeed feel like another family. The creativity, dedication, ingenuity and sense of community and caring of our LKG regional businesses, non-profits, churches and civic groups amaze me. Talking about our wonderful Lake Gaston Regional Chamber members leads me to the other message I want to communicate in this article. Our region, our communities, and our Chamber must function as a family in the way that we may disagree or do things differently, but in the end, we must support one another. Understand that the phrase “buying power” is accurate. Where you choose to spend your dollars has a genuine impact. Choose wisely. Make the conscious choice to spend your dollars locally. Dollars spent locally multiply. They help local people gain local employment and earn better wages. They generate local tax revenues that are in turn invested in local infrastructure and education to help us attract more businesses. They generate discretionary income that is given to local charities and churches to do good work for our citizens in need. I have no interest in Black Friday. In fact, I will be staying home. I have a strong interest in Small Business Saturday, taking place this Saturday, November 28. I hope you will take an interest in shopping with our small businesses for your holiday needs. Going out of town? Get your car serviced locally. Cooking the Thanksgiving meal? Buy from a shop that carries locally grown/raised products or your local grocer. Putting gifts beneath the tree? You can satisfy all of your gift needs with our regional merchants without spending fuel to drive elsewhere for a frustrating experience of heavy traffic, large crowds and long lines in a big box store for generic merchandise. Keep calm and shop local. Until next time, count your blessings and have a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!