I started my day today in a deer blind in the far northeast corner of the in-law’s farm. I enjoy hunting, but not for the same reasons I did when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. Back then, my only goal was to harvest a whitetail buck, and I’m happy to say I did on many occasions. Today, however, I was content to sit in the stillness for five hours and think, which was a difficult task. After all, it was 26 degrees at 6 AM, and my toes were numb by 7 AM.

It took a while to adjust to the cold, but the stillness eventually came to me and several hours passed as I used the precious time to reflect and think. During the silence, my mind wandered through many things. My work; health; yoga routine; where my daughter Eva will go to pre-k; my son’s senior year; and my father-in-law’s health. The cold worked its way to my bones, interrupting my reflection as I yearned for some hot coffee and thought about the warm lunch that would be waiting for me. Thankfully, I grabbed a few Christmas cookies from Pat’s kitchen on my out the door this morning. With my hunger thoughts at bay, I began to think about how blessed I am. The Thanksgiving holiday has a way of doing that to me.

As the wind picked up from the north, the bitter cold reminded me of a hunting trip I took to Buffalo County Wisconsin in 1998. It was there that I met my dear friends Drew and Al. I don’t recall if I assembled a deer, but I do remember the laughter of my friends as we harassed each other around the dinner table. I feel blessed to have those friends in my life.

As I continued to endure the cold, I began to reminisce about the first time I met the love of my life, Leigh Ann. She was so warm and listened to me intently. She made me feel like I was the most special person alive. Ten years later, she still has those beautiful characteristics. I am blessed to have Leigh Ann in my life. By this time, the loving thoughts must have helped to warm my body because another hour had passed and my mind eventually drifted to my professional work life.

Last week, I had the most significant day of my professional career when Tri County Tech became a recipient of a Malcolm Baldrige Award. This award was ten years in the making and was the topic of my reflection session at least a thousand times over those years. I am blessed to have Tri County in my life.

I am not sure if the cold finally got to me, or the lack of wildlife, or the sense of peace that brought me from my hiding place, but I emerged and did so feeling energized. Not because I had spent 5 hours in the cold, but because I decided to let those that have blessed my life know how I much I appreciate them.

As Thanksgiving approaches consider spending a few minutes alone. It doesn’t have to be in the bitter cold – a fireplace and a bottle of wine might do the trick. Regardless of where you spend your time, consider those that have blessed your life. More importantly, consider letting them know that they have. Happy Thanksgiving.

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