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COLUMN — Blessings and opportunities abound

This holiday season for most, if not all of us, looks different this year.

I am mindful that along with challenges come blessings and opportunities. Most importantly we have the power to choose what we will focus on this holiday season. We can choose to focus on the trials at hand and before us or we can choose to focus on the blessings and opportunities. The choice is ours to make.

For the first time ever, my husband and I will celebrate Thanksgiving Day alone. To be quite frank I never saw that one coming. Family and time spent with family, especially on holidays has always been a given. So, we, like many of you, were faced with a choice, – wallow in the sadness of not having a big family gathering this year or place our focus on the blessings and opportunities before us.

Counting my blessings, I am thankful that my family are all, for the most part, relatively well. I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry and heat to keep us warm. I am grateful for the blessing of technology that provides us with an avenue to see each other in real time. These days we have the luxury of using a smartphone, laptop or desktop computer to call and see our loved ones in real time. What an amazing blessing! Something that just a few short years ago would not have been possible.

Opportunities also abound this holiday season — we can help someone that is less fortunate by donating to one of the many food drives, coat drives, churches or organizations that help those in need.

When considering gifts this year, I hope we all take the very real opportunity to help our community by shopping local. Small businesses, the backbone of our community, have been hit especially hard this year. Each of us have the opportunity to help a small business and our community at the same time by shopping here at home. When we spend money at a local business a lot of that money is used to purchase from other local businesses and so on and so on. Shopping local creates a domino effect that helps to support our community.

Make a commitment to shop local on a regular basis. It’s good for you, your neighbor and your community. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Where will your focus be this season? Will you wallow or will you focus on blessings and opportunities?

Betty J. Ramsey is the publisher of The Charlotte Gazette. Her email address is Betty.Ramsey@CharlotteGazette.com.