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Have you heard about Billy's new Golden Retriever? He bought one that had just come out of retrieving school, picked up his friend Bob and right away they went duck hunting. "Boom, boom," the shotguns fired, a ducks fell, and the new dog sprung into action. It ran out onto the pond and came back with the duck, running on top of the water. Billy looked at Bob for a comment, but Bob didn't say a word. They stayed at the pond all morning, each getting their limit in ducks, and every time the new dog would run out, retrieve the birds and come back, running on top of the water. Bob never said a word. Finally in the truck on the way home, Billy asked Bob, "Did you notice anything special about my new dog?" "Yea," Bob said, "I noticed that he can't swim a lick."

A pessimist has been defined as someone who can look at a donut and only see the hole. There are probably more pessimists in the USA this year than customers at Wal-Mart. Some people are even asking if they should celebrate Thanksgiving when the Stock Market and the economy are so unstable. What is there to be thankful for?

You can be thankful that you are reading this article - a clear indication of good taste and intelligence - also an indication that you are alive, you have some money (you bought the paper), that you are literate, and that you most likely live in the Covington area. Are not life, literacy, and the liberty of being an American something to be thankful for? Not to mention, being blessed with loose change with which you can buy the paper.

Some of our reluctance to be grateful, and our inclination to gripe, come from a basic misunderstanding of the nature of this world: we think this world is supposed to be perfect and that we should not have any problems. What if life was not meant to be a ride on a cruse ship? CS Lewis - author and English professor, whose gift seemed to be getting the big picture and communicating it through writing - wrote, "If this world is looked at as a paradise, we will be sorely disappointed, but if this world is seen as a training ground, then it is not half bad." If this world is a training ground, as the Bible teaches, then God may allow evil to happen so that people can be made better - taught compassion, love, and self-control.

Think of how your expectations change the experience. Going to dinner at Longhorn Steak House, you anticipate a great meal and great service, and would be surprised if it were not so. Heck, they bring hot bread to your table as you are waiting on your dinner. Going through the chow line at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, where you take a metal plate, walk down the line while the cooks slop substances onto the plate, and you are given less than five minutes to eat, you might think, "This isn't half bad; you can sure eat in a hurry when you have to." It is not Longhorn, but you never thought it would be. When you think of life as a time designed to help us grow full of challenges, struggles, tears and praise, then it isn't half bad. Roses are beautiful, even though they have both flowers and thorns. So let complaining be done, it is Thanksgiving after all.

Thank you God, for all the blessings of life, and help us Lord, amidst the strife.