A Community Of Inspiration This Year

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It's been almost a year of writing about people from throughout our community who inspire me. And it's been one of my favorite column themes, as I've written about people who carry a positive outlook on life in spite of some of life's biggest challenges. Because in the end, we all have challenges to face, but that doesn't have to define any of us.

As I sat down to write this month, I got inspired by our entire community, which I consider all of Montgomery County.

Growing up here, I couldn't wait to leave and see all the things the rest of the world had to offer. And I have had some really great opportunities. I went to one of the country's top journalism schools, studied abroad in London and even traveled to Japan.

When I was in high school, I was just sure I was meant to be a world famous photographer for National Geographic, and live my life traveling all over the world. Somewhere along the way, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I kind of discovered there's no place like home.

Take Thanksgiving for example. Our community hosts an amazing meal every year for people, regardless of need. Local residents will find all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, from turkey and mashed potatoes to homemade pumpkin pie–a chance to make sure everyone has something wonderful to eat on Thanksgiving.

But the community Thanksgiving meal in Hillsboro is so much more than a meal. It's a place to go for fellowship regardless of need. Maybe your kids weren't home for Thanksgiving and you wanted someone to celebrate with. This community makes sure there's a place to go that's warm and accepting of all. And I can't think of a better holiday tradition.

But it's not just Thanksgiving. There are some really great organizations that make the holidays brighter for families in need at Christmas. Some are ready and willing to purchase warm coats for children. Some groups plan events that draw people to our communities for shopping and dining.

Some groups focus on keeping history alive in Montgomery County by fixing up old buildings or collecting historical artifacts. Other groups beautify parks or pick up trash along the road. It seems like there's always a chance to get involved and make our community great.

Working in the newspaper business virtually my whole life, I've seen first-hand how our community comes together time and time again for those in need, whether it's financial or just support and encouragement. It's a place where you know your neighbors and you want to see the best for them.

Kyle and I are constantly blessed by the giving spirit of our community on our Grace-Filled Journey. Some send cards of encouragement. Some make meals. Others support our fundraisers and help raise money for research. Still others keep us on prayer chains at their churches, and we are so grateful for all those who remember us each and every day.

This holiday season, before the hustle and bustle sets in, take a few minutes and remember how blessed we are to live in such a great community. And maybe even find a few ways to make a difference in the lives of your neighbors. You'll be the one who's blessed in the end.

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