It's Thanksgiving. It's a chilly 35 degrees outside. It's sunny -- both in my heart and in this colorful Appalachian region. And, I'm thankful for all of it. And while family is not close in distance and with a growing estrangement of some, I am still thankful. Thankful knowing that family is happy and healthy and prosperous. Thankful that my personal blessings are too numerous to count. Thankful that John enjoys his work, even with all its internal and external challenges. Thankful for our 42-year marriage, with all its challenges, all its ups and downs over the years. Thankful for the growth that life has given. Thankful, too, for the gift that God has given to me to write the stories that I write. Thankful -- oh so very thankful -- for the readers who read them.

My friend, Fr. John Rice, once wrote, after the publication of PLEASE CLOSE IT!: "May God grant success to the work of your hands." I'll be forever thankful for that simple, yet oh so very powerful, sentiment. And, I'll try not to disappoint either one.

In addition to giving thanks for the happiness and health and prosperity that those we love hold in gratitude, too we give thanks to a God who guides (in my case) a simple writing implement to share with others stories that resonate with readers, stories that lift us into unknown places that offer respite and solace, peace and refreshment -- intangibles that sit quietly beside family and friends, each knowing that the other needs them in equal measure. And so, on this Thanksgiving Day, 2018, I am so very thankful for so very much. And I wish each of you the same.

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