Aiden and McKenzieThanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. No blatant commercialism, no hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts, no parties or social events filling up every weekend, but just something everyone everywhere can celebrate at their own dinner table. Because really, I have yet to meet anyone who does not have anything to be thankful for, whether they realize it or not.

My siblings would attest to my affinity for Thanksgiving. When I was little, I loved to go all out for this celebration, even if it was just for my immediate family of five. I would spend hours getting out my mom’s best china, setting the table, and making little Pilgrim hats for name cards. I vaguely remember wrapping “gifts” for each member of the family- just some item from around the house. My parents and siblings often laughed, but it’s all that I could do to show how much I was thankful to God for all that I had, even though I was still little.

Now that I am older, I cherish my family’s Thanksgiving celebration each year. With our family exploding to nine kids and eight adults, it’s a crazy time, but a great time catching up with our lives and telling each other what we are thankful for around the dinner table. My favorite part is the family kickball game after dinner, where every walking child and adult (and even dog) faces mandatory participation. The two youngest kids serve as team captains, which is half the entertainment! Since they have no concept of strategy, it’s fairly certain my four year old daughter will be picked first, while my Boston marathon qualifier sister-in-law just might be picked last! We have some great times and great laughs as our competitive juices flow just like when we were kids enjoying a game of football in the backyard.

This month’s articles are all about showing gratitude for what you have by serving others. Dr. E.T. Mejia from the Sports Medicine Center gives generously of his time and talents in a variety of venues across the Fox Valley. MotionWorks is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots. And I really value the time I teach my daughter how to give back each year by filling a box for Operation Christmas Child for another little girl just her age. We love to find out to what far away land our gift was shipped and received by a beaming little girl for whom that may be her only Christmas present.

Take some time this month to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. The Bible says in Phillipians 4:11, “…For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” It’s sure to lift your spirits, no matter what you may be facing. Plan a few holiday activities to help others. Enjoy the time around your Thanksgiving table with your loved ones. And don’t forget to create some fun memories at the same time as you pick up the pace running or walking a Turkey Trot, savoring an invigorating hike, or picking teams for your backyard football game.

Gratefully yours!

Jill Murphy, DPT, LAT, CSCS
MotionWorks Physical Therapy