Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My spiritual journey

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 12/27/2006]

This year, celebrating Christmas has a special meaning for me. 

On September 17, 2006, I got baptized at Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury.  

As I look back at my life and think about the journey that led me to this event, many people and many things come to my mind. 

Born in China in 1964 and growing up during the Cultural Revolution, I didn’t know anything about God. Christianity and churches were verboten. But I did have the fortune to see God’s love in action, even for only a brief period of time.  

I was an above average student in an average high school in my neighborhood. I wanted to go to college. But I didn’t have much chance to go to a good university if I stayed in that high school.  

Before my last year in high school, I heard about a good English teacher Mr. Sheng Xuanguang in a different high school. Many of his students were accepted by top universities. He had a good reputation. I wanted to be his student. 

My Mother was a math teacher in my own High School. She talked to some teachers and helped me in the process of transfer. After an interview, Teacher Sheng accepted me into his class. 

As I look back now, I realize that this single step changed my life forever. 

Mr. Sheng was my English teacher for one year. He was not only the best and most dedicated teacher, but also the most giving and humble person I have ever known in my life.  

He spent all his time and efforts on his students. He was in the classroom tutoring his students from early morning till late in the evening, even on some weekends.  

He used his own meager salary to buy books and school supplies for his students. He regularly visited his students at home to meet their parents. Yet for all his giving, he never accepted anything in return from any students or parents.   

But at that time, like most people, I thought he was just a very good person – although also very unique and odd, out of ordinary. Only many years later, I found out he was a Christian. His father was a minister and he went to a Christian college himself.  

Teacher Sheng never talked about God, but he showed me through his action what God is. His first name means in Chinese shining light. His shining light has lit my way on my spiritual journey.   

After graduating from college, I went to Germany in 1986.  

One day while walking on the street, a Christian invited me to his Church. Mr. Christian Schlicksupp took me to churches many times and spent time with me studying Bible. To this day, he still keeps in touch with me and prays for me. He sends me birthday card and holiday greetings every year.  

Since then I have gone to churches on and off. I have done Bible studies with a few people, such as Randy Luke from Oak Park, Illinois, and most recently, Lisa and Todd Hyland from Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury.

I was interested in Bible studies, but because of my atheistic background, my heart and eyes were closed. 

When my son and daughter were three and two years old, I decided to take them to Sunday school. I wanted them to grow up with faith and know God, not have to experience the confusion and struggle that I had to experience.

I found the closest church to my house and took my kids there every Sunday. I stayed with them in their tiny Sunday school classroom.  

One year later, that small church moved to a different location. I took my kids to a bigger church that we got to know through VBS in the summer. Again, I took them to Sunday school every week and stayed with them. The adult Sunday service wasn’t attractive to me.  

Then during Woodbury Day 2004, I stopped at Spirit of Life Bible Church booth. I was invited to an 8 week study based on Rick Warren’s bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. My kids and I liked this new church and we stayed with it after the 8 week study was completed. 

I was impressed by Pastor Frank Sanders of Spirit of Life. I was touched by his helpful and easy to understand messages. Gradually my spiritual eyes are opened, and my heart and mind are opened.  

Two years after I started going to Spirit of Life, I made the decision to be baptized.  

Now I believe that God is the creator of the universe. Man is created in God's image and filled with his spirit. A human being is a spiritual being living in a physical body.  

I believe in life after death; whoever believes in God will have eternal life. I believe only God can transform my life and give me everlasting love, joy and peace.   

There are so many people who have helped me along the way as I grow in my faith. I am forever grateful to them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

You've got mail!

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 1/31/2007]

Every morning when my daughter gets up, the first thing she does is to see if there is mail for her. She has done this for almost a year.

Last January Amy’s kindergarten teacher at Liberty Ridge asked parents for help with a “Love letter” mail project. Parents and relatives were to send mail to their children in school during the month of February.

I wrote Amy a couple of letters. She was excited whenever she got mail.

At the end of February, when the project was over, Amy brought her handmade paper mailbox home. While looking at the mailbox that brought her so much excitement, an idea came to me. Why not continue writing to her?    

So I started writing notes to Amy and my son Andy every day. Well, almost.

I use a piece of cardboard paper or an index card and write a message to them. Sometimes I use color gel pens and stickers to be more creative and colorful.

They both love receiving my note. Sometimes they write me notes too. My daughter certainly enjoys it more.

My notes contain mostly a short and encouraging message to praise them for their good behavior or something they have done well. And every day life provides me with abundant ideas.

One day, Amy wrote me six cards. Then she asked me to write her six cards back. That was quite a challenge, but I managed to write seven. One of the poems I wrote that day became her favorite:

I love bunny,
I love tiger,
I love butterfly,
I love Dragon,
I love bird,
But best of all,
I love YOU, my little one –
My Sweetie Amy.

Amy is a very strong-willed child. There are days when she has tantrums and refuses to do things asked. It is difficult to deal with her when she has her bad days which can make me feel frustrated and helpless.

One day, I wrote her the following note as I had those helpless feelings. It was addressed to “Someone I don’t know.”

“Dear Someone:
I was sad today because I lost my sweet and adorable girl Amy. I thought she came home from school and I gave her treat for being good, but it turned out she was a different person. She was not on her best behaviour. Would you please help me find her and bring her back to me?
Thank you very much.
Sad Mom.”

The next day, I wrote another note addressed to “Someone who looks like Amy, but is not as nice and obedient as Amy.”

“Dear Someone, 
Did you find the girl Amy I am looking for? I am still not sure whether she is back home or still lost somewhere. I would like to see my sweety, smarty, pretty and adorable Amy back with me as soon as possible. Please help me and let me know when you find her.
Thank you.
Sad Mom who is still looking for her lost daughter.”

Surprisingly my notes to her had a positive effect. For the next few days, she behaved really well. She was like an angel and I felt like in heaven. 

Amy likes to say she knows 10 Amys. They include every Amy she knows personally or has only heard about, such as Amy Klobuchar who run for US senator and whose campaign signs were everywhere before election in November 2006.

On the election night after we found out that Amy won the senator race, I wrote my daughter the following note:

“Dear Amy,
Congratulations for winning the senator race today and becoming the first female/woman US senator form Minnesota. It was a great achievement for you. I am proud of you. Becaues I voted for you, I expecte you to do a great job as the senator.
Love, Mom.”

Occasionally I am busy and don't write for a day or more. Then Amy will remind me, "Mom, you haven't given me a card for two days!" Her expectation keeps me going and on track.  

I am often surprised at how well Amy can write now. One day she came home from school with a letter she wrote to me during her free choice time:

“Dear Mom: 
I love you. Ich liebe Dich. (she wrote “I love you” in English, German and Chinese) I will love you forever. You are the best. I love you till the end of the numbers. You are a kind mother.
Love you!

That letter was dated May 25, 2006. Amy was 6 years old. She also drew some hearts with arrows going through them and the word Love in the hearts. It has become my favorite letter from her.

I know I will never be the best mother in the world as my kids tell me. I don’t even dare to claim to be the best mother in my neighborhood. I only wish I could be a better mother.
But I am happy to wear the “best Mom ever” title, even if it’s only the best in the eyes of two kids.

I certainly strive to be the best mother I can be.

I am sure reading my notes and exchanging mail with me has greatly improved Amy's reading and writing skills. She not only can read all my notes without any problem, sometimes she corrects me when I make errors in hurry.

In the process we have also created a special bond with each other and some wonderful memories.

I hope when my kids grows up and people ask them what their favorite childhood memories are, getting mail from Mom will be on their mind.

And as long as they enjoy getting my mail, I will continue writing to them in the days and years to come.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Becoming a volunteer

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 4/4/2007]

When it comes to giving, I think Americans are the best.

People here give their treasures, time, and talents for causes and organizations they believe in.

They give money to the poor and needy. They volunteer their time and talents for charitable and non-profit organizations. Even at death, many families ask donations to be made to charitable and non-profit organizations.

I think this generous giving and volunteer spirit is deeply rooted in the religious beliefs and in the American tradition. It permeates the society and makes America the greatest country in the world.

In my own small circle of life, I can see countless people volunteer regularly. Many parents volunteer every week at my kids’ school. I see people volunteer every week in my church teaching Sunday school. I am deeply thankful for all their efforts and sacrifices.

I have to admit being a giver and volunteer is not natural to me. I didn’t grow up in this kind of tradition and environment. I only showed up in my kids’ classrooms a few times to do a short presentation or to help at a party.

When my daughter asked me: “Mom, can you come with me on our fieldtrip?” and with my usual response, “No, I can’t. I have to go to work,” I felt kind of guilty.

Work and busyness do get in the way of finding time to do things for other people. However, becoming a volunteer and giving back to the community has got on my radar screen. I have started to learn to be a giver and a volunteer.

Last Saturday I volunteered at the Liberty Ridge School Carnival. I couldn’t have done so without the generous help of a friend.

Normally I have to take my kids to a Chinese school in St. Paul on Saturday. But a friend has been giving them rides lately. This frees up my Saturday afternoons. I took this opportunity and for the first time, signed up for volunteer at this annual school carnival on March 24.

I was just one of many who volunteered on the date of carnival to sell tickets, run games and activities, serve refreshments, and to clean up.

The event was a big success, thanks to all the donations and volunteers by the students, parents, teachers and local businesses.

Each classroom had a theme basket composed of items donated by the families in the classroom. Families either donated items or cash to purchase items for the theme basket.

Some local businesses donated products or offered gift certificates for services for the silent auction. There were 170 items listed for raffle and silent auction.

Families donated cakes and treats for the cakewalk and 2 liter bottles of soda for the pop toss game. There were more than enough supplies to last for the three hour long carnival. The amount of donations received and the generosity of our community were incredible.

Approximately two hundreds of people volunteered in so many different ways to make the carnival possible and fun for our children.

Even though I didn’t do much work in comparison to all those parents who spent countless hours and efforts in organizing this annual event, still I felt I was part of the volunteer community and did a very small contribution. This made me feel good.

People who volunteer a lot often say, they get more back than they give. I think this is true.

I remember my first volunteer effort for the library at the used book sale last year. After a couple of hours, I went home not only with a good feeling in my heart, but also with some good books in my hand. I also felt I got more back than I gave of my time and effort.

I love libraries and books. I certainly will volunteer for the book sale again this year.

Just in the last 10 months, I have personally benefited greatly from the volunteer efforts of two individuals from the Woodbury United Methodist Church. Jill Hillyer offered a book study group on creativity and spirituality. Nancy Weingartner taught an introductory Yoga class. They both shared their talents with other people in the community. They served as examples for me. And they made me think how I can volunteer to give back to the community.

What unique talents do I have that I can share with others? Lately I have been thinking about this question. One day I woke up with an idea. With the increased interest in China and learning Chinese, I can help start a China club to give interested people a chance to get together to learn more about China from each others and to share their experiences. So far this is just an idea.

Whatever will happen to the idea, I don’t know. But I know for sure, becoming a volunteer and giving back to the community has already got into my consciousness. And as I become more interested in volunteering, I am also sure I will find more opportunities to do so. Hopefully I will get better as well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The sorry state of gifted education

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 1/24/2007]

Recently I became interested in learning about gifted education. What I have read so far was surprising, partly because I didn’t grow up here and am not familiar with America’s education system. I feel dismayed by what Jan & Bob Davidson called “the sorry state of gifted education.”

According to their book “Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds,” America spends 143 times more on special education than gifted education.

Two reasons cause this situation.

First, America is a country that prides itself on being an equalitarian nation. Our school teaches to the middle. Teachers tend to adapt instruction to the average ability of their classes.

Emphasis is on special education to raise the bar for those on the lower end of the achievement ladder. The fact that gifted children on the higher end of the ladder also have special needs is often ignored.

Second, America has also become an anti-intellectual nation. If you walk into any American high school, the trophies displayed in the hall case are more likely to be related to athletic competitions. We build better stadiums while libraries have to be closed or cut hours.

The result is universities and businesses have shortage of scientists and highly skilled workers. Many of them are now imported from abroad.

I believe every child should receive an appropriate education and be challenged to the extent of his ability. Every child should be taught at his ability and pace. Equality should really mean equal opportunity to learn and to excel according to everyone’s ability.

Two things that have happened this school year are very encouraging to me.

At the School District 833 level, thanks to the great effort of Marcia Dolezal, District’s Gifted & Talented Coordinator for K-6, and the support of School Board, a GT program called Gateway was launched for the school year 2006-07 at the Royal Oaks Elementary School.

Approximately 45 students in grades 3-6 from the top 1 percent of classes throughout the District participate in the program. 3-4 graders are grouped in one classroom and 5-6 graders are grouped in another classroom.

At the Liberty Ridge Elementary School level, we have a new enrichment teacher Tina Van Erp who demonstrates a passion for gifted education. In November 2006 she started a parent community group for parents with gifted children at Liberty Ridge. The purpose of the monthly meeting is to share information and support each other.

I am glad that our District, School Board and schools have recognized the importance of gifted education and are doing something to better serve the special needs of the gifted students.

In comparison to other school districts in Minnesota, our District has really done a good job providing gifted education. In addition to the new Gateway Program, there is the Cluster Classroom Program that exists at all District 833 elementary schools in grades 3-6.

But still more can be done.

A successful gifted program should include a variety of elements.

Ability grouping

The new Gateway program is an example of ability grouping. Highly gifted students are grouped together in the self-contained classes within the school. But only a very small group of students can benefit from it.

Stillwater District provides ability grouping for reading. Students in the same grade are divided into several reading groups according to their levels. Each teacher has a group of students with the same reading level. Can we do something like this in our schools?


What gifted students truly need is the accelerated curriculum, not just a few hours a week of enrichment activities that happens in some schools.

Acceleration includes such practices as early entrance into kindergarten and grade skipping. Students may be accelerated in one discipline or across disciplines.

I wish our District would make it easier for early entrance to kindergarten. If a child demonstrates he is gifted, he should be eligible for early entrance. It should be the school’s responsibility to test and evaluate the child for eligibility for a small fee.

Acceleration allows the gifted students to learn and progress at an appropriate pace and depth which is compatible with their ability. Acceleration allows them to develop advanced skills in reading, math, writing, etc.

If a 1st grader needs 2nd grade work to be adequately challenged, the school should make it happen. As long as the student meets the criteria and passes standards for a certain level, he should be able to move to the next level. He should not have to relearn what he already knows.

Differentiated instruction

It would be nice for the teachers to provide differentiated instruction. But I think it’s hard for one teacher to meet the needs of over 20 students in her class whose abilities and levels are miles apart. For this reason, I personally prefer ability grouping and acceleration.

Early start of gifted education

Many children show their giftedness before they enter kindergarten. The identification process should start as early as possible. Schools should screen students for giftedness and lower the age of identification to include kindergarten. Gifted education shouldn’t begin until 3rd grade, as it is now in our District.


Recognize that tests are not the only mean to identify gifted children. Individual giftedness and certain talents may not be revealed by general intelligence tests. Some children do not exhibit extreme intellectual giftedness on a group intelligence test, but they demonstrate exceptional achievement and superior performance in special areas of their interests and talents.

Schools should have the flexibility to meet all children’s needs.

American’s education should be reformed to offer gifted children an appropriate education. It should challenge the gifted and talented to make the most of their abilities, to provide them the opportunity to develop to their maximum potential. The society should demonstrate through actions that we recognize and reward excellence.

My interest in learning about gifted education comes from my concern for my 1st grade daughter. She said many times: “I hate school. School is very boring, because it is too easy.”

If my daughter brings home math work with 100% correct all the time, it’s not really a good thing. It can mean it’s too easy for her and she is not learning and being challenged.

Both my daughter’s teacher and her school are doing their best to help meeting her needs. I hope our District and schools in general can do more for students like her. We don’t want to see smart students become underachievers.

The gifted students deserve a meaningful, challenging and rewarding school learning experience just as the special needs children. They deserve the same kind of support and protection for an appropriate education that special needs children are entitled to.

Until the gifted education can get more attention and support, until every child can be challenged to the extent of his ability, America can’t claim it’s leaving no child behind.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Living the Spirit of Life with Passion

Anyone who visits Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury and hears Pastor Frank Sander’s messages is most likely impressed by what he/she sees and hears. Pastor Sanders is a man of stature, and more importantly, he is a man of passion.

At least that is how I feel as a former Chinese atheist, now a Christian and a new member of Spirit of Life.

I went to Spirit of Life in September 2004 because the Church was offering an 8 week study on “The 40 Days of Purpose.” I stayed with Spirit of Life because of Pastor Sanders. As a seek of many years, I have visited quite a few churches in my life before I came to Spirit of Life, but no other pastors have ever made a more powerful impression on me than Pastor Sanders.

At 6 feet 3 inches, Pastor Sanders is a tall man. He had a career as a professional hockey player and played hockey for over 20 years. His athletic talent, his passion, and hard work led him to the pinnacle of his dreams as an athlete on the 1972 USA hockey team when it captured the Olympic Silver Medal in Sapporo, Japan. He played one year professionally with the Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Yet the success in his professional life didn’t bring the fulfillment and happiness he was looking for. Even though he reached the mountaintop and experienced great success, he still felt emptiness in his life. What he had achieved was not satisfying. He walked away from the worldly pursuit of success and happiness, and turned his life in a new direction.

At the age of 25, he committed his life to serve the Lord. He went to seminary and became a youth pastor. He worked with young people for almost 20 years and was an associate minister for several years after that.

Then another change happened that brought his faith and passion for Christ to a new level.

In 2001, Sanders and 13 other people started Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury. It was a big step of faith for him and all the members, but their strong faith in God helped them take the risk and face the challenge.

Sander’s teaching and messages are always based on the truth from the Bible. They are practical and challenging. One thing is for sure. People do not feel bored when listening to his messages. His passion and excitement for God will infect, inspire and impress everyone around him.

His passion for Christ shows especially during his Sunday sermons. Psalm 100 says to “Shout for joy to the Lord” and that’s the way Sanders preaches - he literally makes a lot of joyful noises when he preaches. He can be as excited and passionate about Jesus as a sport fan is excited about watching his favorite team winning the Olympics.

A major focus of the church’s activities is the Children's Program that includes the weekly Sunday School classes and fun activities throughout the year: monthly Children's Church services, Cub Scouts, VBS, an annual picnic, Fall Harvest party and Christmas Program.

My two children love to go to Sunday school at Spirit of Life. They love the small class size and the dedicated Sunday school teachers.

In the four plus years since the Church started, God has blessed it tremendously and membership has grown exponentially. The current church facility at Wooddale Drive is getting too small.

With the big population growth in Woodbury, the congregation saw the need for a bigger church facility to accommodate the growth. “There is a hunger for God in this community. We see a big opportunity and a huge responsibility ahead of us.“ Sanders went on to say, “Moving into a new facility is another big step of faith, but we know that God will supply our needs. We are doing this for God’s glory. He will bless us again as He did over the last few years.”

The new church facility at 690 Commerce Drive is near Sam’s Club. First service will take place Sunday, September 3, 10 am. Everyone is welcome. For more information and to request a DVD about SOL, visit, or call 651-731-1900.

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 8/30/2006]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is it "Black Friday" or "Buy Nothing Day"?

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 12/05/2007]

“Black Friday.” The term doesn’t sound so exciting, but many people are very excited about this special Friday after Thanksgiving that launches the holiday shopping season.

Well, I still remember some of those Fridays in the past. I got up early in the morning around 5 a.m. to go shopping with my mother. I have never been a shopaholic, but I love bargains.

In the midst of the enthusiastic shoppers with carts full of stuff, the excitement carried me away. I also loaded my cart with items that were such good deals that I shouldn’t pass them by.

Today, I still have jewels I bought more than 10 years ago that I haven’t used. I bought them because they were on sale, 75 percent off.

The interesting thing is I don’t wear jewels. Why did I spend over two hundred dollars buying something just because it was a good deal? I can’t figure it out today. I have to say it was not a smart thing to do.

That’s why I didn’t go shopping on Black Friday this year. I slept in and had a very relaxed day at home. No rushing, no pushing, no running around from store to store, just relaxing peacefully at home. But I was not without temptation.

On Thanksgiving morning, the newspaper with the fat advertisement flyers awaited me with warm attractive greetings - door busters, early-bird specials, free coupons, etc.

One store gave away $10. Wow, free money! Who doesn’t like free money? I could buy something without spending money! At least it could cover the gas expense for the shopping trip.

Look at the slow cooker on sale! The old slow cooker I have at home is well over 10 years old. It has aged so much, it’s near kaput. I could really use a newer and bigger one.

How about that pressure cooker? I have always wished I had one pressure cooker. It would save me some time when I do my weekly cooking of dry beans.

Well, there were so many things that I wished I could have. Yes, it would be nice to have things that are better, bigger, more convenient, more powerful and more comfortable. But I also know that I already have what I need. That’s good enough for me. Besides, I didn’t want to do any more stupid things like I did in the past. I have learned my lessons.

I also wanted to support the "Buy Nothing Day."

Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism, observed by social activists.

The first Buy Nothing Day started in Vancouver in 1992. A decade later, it spread to over 60 countries. In the U.S., Buy Nothing Day is the Friday after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, the busiest shopping day in the U.S.

I am not trying to elevate myself to a social activist. But I really like the ideology behind the Buy Nothing Day that our society needs to examine the issues of over-consumption, compulsive spending and instant gratification.

Buy Nothing Day is not about changing buying habit for just one day, it’s about changing lifestyle and making lasting commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.

Another interesting initiative originated in California is called Compact. A group of 10 friends made a vow to not buy anything new for a whole year in 2006. The Compactors bought second-hand. They bartered, borrowed, recycled, re-used and re-gifted. Now this group has grown to include an online Compact community around the global. Their story has appeared on media outlets around the world.

I found both initiatives appealing.

Whether the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day, it’s a personal preference and choice. I chose it to be Buy Nothing Day. I really enjoyed buying nothing and doing nothing. It was a rare and welcome opportunity for me to relax. I used the free time to look through all the photos taken in the year and select some for printing holiday cards.

Now I am looking forward to the next holiday. My Christmas cards are already done!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Make every day Thanksgiving Day

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on 11/22/2006]

Tomorrow, Americans around the country will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day.

When we think about Thanksgiving, we often think about this once-a-year event with a Thanksgiving feast of stuffed turkey, yams, potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie. It’s a holiday of family and friends gathering together.

I think Thanksgiving is more than a once-a-year event - it is a way of life.

Thanksgiving is about gratitude. It is about giving thanks to God.

When President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, he proclaimed it “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

In 1941, Congress introduced the legislation and established Thanksgiving Day as the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving is about appreciating the people in our lives and being thankful for what we have received in life.

We have so much in this country and so much good happens to us. Yet in the rush of daily life, we fail to notice and acknowledge it. We often take things for granted.

If we focus our attention on the good and positive, focus on what we have, not what we lack, we can experience a life with contentment and joy. We don’t need to fill our life with material stuff to make us feel good.

One year ago on Thanksgiving Day 2005, I made a conscious decision to start a gratitude journal. I was inspired by the following words Oprah wrote in one of her "O Magazine" articles.

“Keep a grateful journal. Every night, list five things that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life.”

At that time I felt my life was in need of change. I wanted to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, nurture a grateful heart and a spirit of thankfulness. I wanted to bring myself closer to my soul and to God.

I wanted to count God’s blessings in my life and to focus my attention on the positive side of life. I wanted to be mindful and more aware of even little things happening every day. I wanted to live a more authentic life.

Since last Thanksgiving, I have been writing regularly in my journal and have filled several journals. The writing itself is a tool that declutters my mind and brings out the creativity within. My journey to the inside has drawn me closer to my authentic self and God. It has transformed my life in a profound way.

I was baptized in September this year. I am thankful for being a child of God who loves me despite of my shortcomings. I am thankful for being a part of God’s family.

I am becoming a more grateful person. I write more thank-you notes to people. When people have done something nice for me, I want to show my appreciation.

When I say thank you, it not only makes the receiver feel good, it makes me feel good too.

I count my blessings every day as I write in my journal. I am more mindful of what’s happening in my life.

The more grateful I am, the more reasons I have to be grateful. I find more joy in life.

Here is something I would like you to try: Start a gratitude journal.

Every night, before you go to sleep, write down a few things that you are grateful for that day. Start to count your blessings.

Remember, Thanksgiving is not a once-a-year event, but a way of life. Learn to be thankful every day.

As the result of having a thankful heart, you life will be richer and more joyful.

I wish you all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day tomorrow and every day of the year.