Once again this Thanksgiving, I'm asking everyone out there to support our men and women serving in the military with messages from home. The Postal Service has changed the rules since last year, so pay attention, because letters addressed to "Any Service Person" will no longer be delivered.
Go to www.amillionthanks.org for instructions on how to send an e-mail or card to the men and women who stand ready to give of their time, their talents and, sometimes, their lives, so that we can continue to extend the possibility of democracy around the world and enjoy it here at home.
The web site was started in 2004 by Shauna Fleming, who was a high school student at the time at Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif. Shauna's original goal was to send one million thank you letters and e-mails to U.S. service men and women around the world as appreciation for their sacrifice on our behalf.
However, in 2006, then Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers challenged Fleming to raise the goal to 2.6 million letters to equal the number of military that were serving our country. Shauna was a teenager on a mission and teamed up with GM automakers to do a series of national TV commercials, and in 2007, the 2.6 millionth letter was created by Amber and Sean Siegfried of Easton, Pa.
The project continues to this day and helps families in America connect through letters, pictures and drawings to those who make it possible for us to sit together this Thanksgiving and feel gratitude for everyone who gathers with us.
Get out your markers, stickers and crayons and get busy, but leave out the glitter.
As always, see if there is an extra seat or two at your table for a neighbor who is alone or in need of a helping hand. Being of service to those around us not only benefits those who receive, but can teach the giver a little something about sharing as well.
See if it's possible to set aside any grievances and invite family members with an open heart. Choose during this holiday season to be happy and let go of needing to be right.
Get ready for Thanksgiving by not only stuffing a turkey but by taking pen and paper and writing down three reasons to be grateful for each person who will be with you on Thursday. Don't be surprised if this doesn't lead to you seeing everyone from a better perspective, including yourself.
The list doesn't need to be shared except in the form of a kind word or a simple recognition of how happy you are to see each and every face. Leave off any "but," "if only" or "however." For that matter, leave all of the "how" and "why" questions for another time as well. Take a leap and trust that just for today, all is well without your intervention.
Give in to the moment and just be there with family and friends to celebrate that another year has come to pass. Also, take a moment to remember those who have passed and honor their lives with a renewed commitment to love without so many conditions. That won't cost you a thing, but the rewards are amazing.
As for myself, I would like to take a moment to say thank you to all of the readers who have reached out to me this year to say thank you, to put me on your prayer lists and to check in from time to time. I am humbled and grateful to all of you for taking me into your lives this past year, if even for just a moment. It's been quite a year with so much to be grateful for, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's coming next. Keep writing me. More adventures to follow.
Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. Ask Martha how to get to your dream and receive a free gift of Martha's new Big Adventure book, The 3 x 5 Game - www.marthasbigadventure.com. E-mail Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.