By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Though we should focus on the blessings in our lives daily, it is good that Thanksgiving comes around annually to remind us just how blessed we are. This yearly time of reflection kicks some of us in the pants, to help us stop focusing on the negatives that come with life, turning this energy towards focusing on the positives.
I know it is important in my life. How about your’s?
The holidays can be an extremely difficult time for many, especially those experiencing grief. We are in that boat ourselves this year as we celebrate our first holiday without a foundational member of our family in which we honored their “Homegoing Celebration” recently. There is not a lot I can say on the matter; grief takes time, sometimes a lifetime.
One possible step towards living successfully with grief is instead of being mad, heartbroken and all the other emotions that come with losing someone important in our life is to replace “thoughts” leading to negative emotions with being thankful for the time we had with our departed loved one.
Instead of “Why are they gone?”, replace the mindset with “I’m grateful for the ### of hours days/weeks/months/years I had with them.” I know this is easier said than done. But I have also seen this displayed when a young couple buried their baby that only took a few breaths before leaving this world. It is not easy, but it is possible.
I’m no psychologist; I cannot figure out the guy that I shave with in the mirror. I do know, however, all natural emotions that come with grief are important as long as they do not take residency in our life beyond an appropriate season of time. I have seen this happen, a lot, even destroying the life of those grieving and in some instances also those around them as well.
Can some of this be improved by reflecting on small tidbits of life’s blessing, no matter how small? That next breath you are taking right now is a blessing if you think about it. Now how about the next breath?
Maybe life has thrown endless curve balls your way, you have been dealt a bad hand in life? At the newspaper and with ministry opportunities I occasionally have, I see and hear of circumstances that make me shake my head and wonder “why” myself. Terrible health battles, on and on. I’ve said before that I’d love to ask our Heavenly Father “why” when the opportunity presents itself (I’m guessing these questions will no longer be on our minds at that special time), but for now we need to do the best we can while on this rock.
Maybe the same concept can help those trying to pick up the pieces of life in the same manner as the grief concept above? Instead of focusing on the raw deal you have been presented in life, when negative mindsets arise, replace them with thoughts of blessing in your life, no matter how big or small they may be.
Food for thought as the holidays near. Maybe these tidbits will help? Maybe you will buy a pumpkin pie this year to simply throw it at me when opportunity presents itself. That’s okay, too; just make sure it is sugar free and as low carbohydrate as possible. I can’t eat that stuff.
(2022) I Am Thankful For …
I have been up for about 90 minutes, working today at our home office. In an hour and a half I am thankful for waking up, a bed to sleep in, my Lord to talk to, a roof over my head, clothes to put on, a warm shower, coffee, relative safety as an American. Pretty amazing how many blessings we can consider in a short amount of time. Spend some time in a third world county or read about how little most of the inhabitants on the globe have, when comparing, our cup runneth over. Our poorest would be considered rich in many areas of the world. There is a reason so many want to enter our country for a better life.
Though this is a divisive issue in our county, nobody can fault anyone for wanting to come to America when living in a “less than blessed” area of the world. We have it good as Americans, we are numb to just how blessed we are since we live in blessing all day / every day.
For God’s grace and mercies. Though some of us toil hard while on this rock, we are fallen and no matter how hard we try, we need His true forgiveness in our life. Those with faith have some pretty amazing promises that we will see in this life and the next. We do not deserve and cannot earn any of this. I am thankful this gift and peace is available for those desiring it.
Length 31 jeans discovered on Amazon. Having suffered all my adult years of being stuck between 32’s dragging on the ground and 30’s showing my geek socks. Who knew there was an in between size? Ya, this might be an odd bullet point, but it’s true. OCD things like this torment me.
My wife and three kids. Life is stressful. We get under each other’s skin, but we are blessed beyond measure. They are beautiful and I love them. When I get the crazy busyness of this life to settle down and I can sit and reflect with a cup of coffee, I know I am blessed beyond measure (family).
My wife Casey especially is a rock. She works endless hours at the newspaper, serves at our church – helping others in need, and still finds the time to get the kids to school, bathed, fed and taken care of. When my one tract brain is on a newspaper task, she can and does go a million directions to make “life happen”.
For those that advertise with us and our subscribers. You are the foundation of our business. Because of you we can send writers and photographers into our local communities to bring forth local news. My heart and desire is to provide local hometown news at levels most in our line of work believe cannot be done, this will only happen if this advertiser/subscriber partnership exists.
Living in a country in which politicians and even some in the media try to present us as divided and falling apart at the seams, yet knowing we live in one of the best locations in human history with endless freedoms. While America has it’s problems, I believe at the end of the day we have each other’s backs and we still can be that “light upon a hill” if we made just a little more effort.
As terrible of a day as September 11th was, I saw something that day and the days that followed about who we truly are as Americans. Political, religious, personality and all the rest of the differences that separate us was put to the side and for the most part we united in a way I’ve never seen. I believe that character trait is still within us, maybe below the surface a little, but still there none the less.
For having the opportunity to serve our local communities as a newspaper publisher for 20+ years now. As my prior column this year discussed, this has been an honor. It is an unbelievably challenging job at times, but I feel called to publish local news. When I was a wet behind the ears 20 something year old publisher our community accepted me (most did). A few decades later I still appreciate the support. You have accepted my flaws, short comings, mistakes (personal and professional), etc. and stood with us. You are a blessing.
Wow this sound generic, but its true. For walks in the woods and sunrises/sunsets. I treasure the opportunities to get away from this computer, the “smart” phone, and the insanities of professional and personal life. I treasure the opportunity to watch sunrises/sunsets and enjoy the woods – aka God reflection time.
Our little girl and several of her classmates were in a very serious bus vs semi trailer accident at full speed a few months ago. I have covered accidents for a long time now at the newspaper; I have never seen such a positive outcome when you study the police report. Even the Lieutenant at the Highway Patrol said a few feet / a fraction of a second and the scenario would be playing out very differently. I am “goose bump thankful” that those little kids just starting out in school, the bus driver and the semi driver walked away safe and mostly unharmed. I don’t throw the word miracle out loosely, but I consider this accident as an appropriate time.
For great ministry friends from churches around the world that we are connected to in one fashion or the other. I am thankful in times of need. I can send a message out and know the need is covered in prayer.
I have figured a few things out while walking this globe, one being that I cannot control, dictate, fix everything. Ultimately the Lord needs to be given the reigns. While an effort needs made on our end. He is in charge and I (we) need to live in peace and let Him be God. In times that I need reminded of this, I am blessed to have the opportunity to send prayer requests out to so many in the faith and know the need is covered.
I am thankful for these humble men and women in the faith, even asking them to intercede for me this week as a “25 years in the making” decision I’ve been working on and considering moves forward.
Our veterans who made freedom possible by serving our great country and pulling us out of some very dark times in human history (war / conflict). Having recently covered local events honoring our local heroes in our Northwest Ohio communities, it amazes me that we brush shoulders with those that made unbelievable sacrifices for us. Some feel it is a great accomplishment to show up to work a few days in a row without missing, then I learn of stories of what some of our veterans have sacrificed for fellow man and am blown away, some gave everything and then some.
For safety this summer when a semi pulled out in front of my oldest son and I as we hauled full box trailer (addressed in prior column). I am thankful for that voice in my head that warned me a fraction of a second before it happened so I could maneuver (I think we know where that warning came from).
For improving health. This has been rough the last few years. Honestly I am only knocking out a fraction of what I hope to accomplish in life (professionally / personally). I did what I could losing over one hundred pounds now and more importantly getting off 6-7 meds. I still have issues that prevent me from performing at work at the levels and timeliness that I want, but with due time I hope to be 100% down the road. Knowing the health battles so many in our community face, I know I am blessed in this area of my life even in the midst of some struggle.
For those that read my prior column concerning senior citizens living off social security stating they love our newspaper but need to cut costs due to inflation increases thus let their subscription expire. An unnamed local resident offered to cover/scholarship a few of their subscriptions. This type of caring is precisely why I love living in our small corner of America. We may not have all the options of big city life, equally we have some of the best of the best in humanity living around us.
For our hard working staff. Whether writing an article, taking a photo, delivering newspapers, assisting businesses market with us, designing a newspaper page, editing pages, or whatever else is needed at the office, we have a great team. With razor thin margins our line of work is not where folks go to get rich, but the bills get paid.
I believe many on our team are with us as they know the importance of bringing local news to our communities. I am thankful for everyone at The Village Reporter. We often only hear from the 1/10th of 1% that are mad at us in the community for whatever reason (sometimes justified, sometimes not) as they ensure their voices are heard. Our team needs to know this occasional negativity is not the overall reflection and their efforts are appreciated. Our team can and should be reminded that they are important to us and the communities we serve in the greater Williams – Fulton County areas of Northwest Ohio.
Whether you are on your own or celebrating in a large family gathering, I would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. May we try to remember the blessings, no matter how big or small, each day.
I’d love to hear from you. As always, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the mail at 115 Broad Street, Montpelier, Ohio 43543.