Thanksgiving: a celebration of goodness, appreciation for life’s blessings, gratitude. The season provides us the opportunity for thanks and giving. It’s a day to be thankful for the past, grateful for today...to be the person who gives to others because of the abundance of your life. Michael Josephson stated, “Feelings of gratitude don’t come easy in a world where we take so much for granted and think we deserve everything we have.”

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 and lasted for three days. The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than those who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving,” (H.U. Westermayer). Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1863.

These days will find us celebrating with family and friends, traveling, enjoying days off work, consuming excessive amounts of food, shopping, spending time outdoors, or cheering on our favorite teams. Erma Bombeck said, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence.”

Many people volunteer during the holidays; it’s a great time to give back. Helping others can actually improve our mental and physical health. A Vanderbilt University study found that those who participated in some type of volunteer work were happier, less likely to be depressed and had better physical health. Choose your favorite charity. Offer to help a neighbor. Volunteer at a food pantry, senior center, your local school, or community agency. Think of giving back as a privilege.

Every day is a gift. Remind yourself how good you have it by finding ways to help others in need. Know your gifts and share them. If you continually give, you will continually have. It costs zero dollars to be grateful for what we have. In a society that has us counting money, pounds, calories and steps, be a rebel and count your blessings instead.

Celebration honors excellence

Excellence is a choice. Excellence is an expectation. We’re honored to recognize 4-H members for their excellence this past year at the 2019 4-H Achievement celebration held November 10. Congratulations to these and all winners: State winners to National 4-H Congress – Hannah Parde, Chet McGrury IV; National Junior Horticulture Judging Contest – Jeffrey Lohse; Exmark “Excellence in 4-H” winners – Hannah Parde, Jeffrey Lohse, Autumn Bartlett, Halie Parde, Chet McGrury IV, Emily Rempel; Kids of Character – Colton Herfel, Payton Smidt. Congratulations to the 2019 Business Recognition winner – Gerlach, Inc; Friend of 4-H – Gage County United Way; Alumni Award – Jeff and Andrea Humphreys; 45 years of volunteer leadership – Lawrence Penner. We were honored to present a Quilt of Valor to Aaron Parde and Robert Hancock.

Kids say It best

In her 2019 4-H record book story, a 14 year old summed it up like this, “My year was amazing and I will keep incorporating 4-H into my daily life because it has taught me so much more than this is a cow, and that’s a chicken. It has taught me that responsibility and leadership are key ingredients to live your life at the fullest. It has taught me that a showman doesn’t ever lose, we learn from our mistakes and move on. We never carry our wins to the next show, but our knowledge. 4-H has taught me many life lessons, and leadership this year has been a key to my success.”

National 4-H Congress

Congratulations to Gage County 4-H members, Hannah Parde and Chet McGrury IV, Beatrice, winning state record book competition to represent Nebraska at National 4-H Congress, Atlanta, Georgia, November 29 – December 3. Hannah will attend, joining over 800 delegates from the United States and its territories. This event not only recognizes excellence but provides an educational opportunity, workshops, entertainment, sight-seeing, and a service learning project. Thank you to these youth and their parents for outstanding project work, leadership and community service. County winners receive financial support from the Gage County 4-H Council and the Gage County Ag Society. The Nebraska 4-H Foundation sponsors a major portion of fees for the Nebraska delegation. You’re a big part of “making the best better”!

4-H Council serves Gage County

Among my many blessings is networking with youth and adult volunteers who serve on the 4-H Council: Andrea Humphreys, Wymore; Christina Lyons, Claira Janssen, Emily Rempel, Jana Mullins, Beatrice; Karen Stohs, Odell; Cara White, DeWitt; Lauren Trauernicht, Wymore; Karla Holland, Filley. We welcome new members, Trevor Parde, Adams, Kate Kostal, Patty Goes, Odell, Kelsey Stitt, Liberty. Completing Council membership are Ashtyn Humphreys, Wymore, Heidi Price, Pickrell; Lisa Oltmans, Beatrice; Kaitlyn Otto, Firth; thank you for your service.

Ag Society annual Meeting

You are invited to the Annual Meeting, November 21, 8:00 pm, 4-H Building. They will review the past year and hold election of board members.

Romeo Scholarship offered for seniors

Nebraska Association of Fair Managers is proud to offer the 2020 Martha and Don Romeo Scholarship for high school seniors; applications available at the Extension Office. Deadline to submit is December 2.

Make change matter

The 4-H Building houses exhibits during the fair each year, as well as many community events each year. The 4-H Council is sponsoring a year-round drive for the 4-H Building. You can help by saving your change and filling a small M & M container with quarters. Make Change Matter!

To you at Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty, may your turkey be plump, may your potatoes and gravy have never a lump. May your yams be delicious, and your pies take the prize. And may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs!

Simple Inspirations: ““Of all the attitude we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.” – Zig Ziglar

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