Sorry for the break–the holidays are a wonderful time to unplug and enjoy.

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The weather gets colder and the focus comes back to family and friends. We’ve made big pots of chili and had some great get togethers.

Five years after moving to the northeast, we are still building our village.

M’s class has organized to support a friend diagnosed with a chronic illness. We’ve done walks to support and raise awareness. I am in awe watching my son wrap a friendly arm around another kid’s shoulders and listening and soothing when life simply isn’t fair.

We recently faced medical uncertainty and testing of our own…a very scary month. Our friends were there to listen, to give hugs, and to scream with joy when everything was ok. I don’t know how I would have managed without the texts, the funny jokes, and the outpouring of love.

For Thanksgiving, we were invited to a pot luck by my sister-in-law’s family.  We enjoyed a feast that brought together enough people to fill four long restaurant tables. Strangers, family and friends together for giving thanks.  We were asked to join hands and express something we were grateful for. So many said “this. this is what I am grateful for.” Community. The village. Kindness and friendship.

After the meal, my youngest put on an apron and busied herself with dishes and drying silverware. Seeing the pride in her eyes made me grateful. She knew that she was being of service and doing something helpful.

I really enjoy our community. I love to see notes from teachers asking for donations to sponsor a local child in lieu of personal gifts. I love to see my kids remind me to pack canned goods for the food pantry and proudly tell me how much the school donated to hurricane relief after a family night fundraiser. Our new school emphasizes involvement. It’s great to see children in elementary school doing such amazing things for others.

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I am always sad to see our society turning inward–less face to face interaction and less time gathering.  I never thought that raising my children in a small town that I had never heard of would provide this wonderful experience.  In a world that has become “me first” –we are learning to reach outward.

Thank you to our village. Life would not be the same without you.