I’m sure a lot of you are actually stressed right now – your workload is increasing, as are financial concerns. Maybe you’re dealing with some personal relationship problems. Yes, for all its benefits, living in the modern world is probably as difficult as life ever was. Still, I think we all would have to admit that we have an incredible amount to be thankful for.

I have to admit that most of what I’m thankful for is the result of someone else’s sacrifice, love, hard work, even luck. Being born in America made me one of the fortunate ones from the get-go and it’s snowballed from there. This great country, my family, the opportunity to be involved in feeding God’s children, good friends, some really good cows, and a few good horses are just some of the things I’m happy for.

Of course, everything isn’t perfect; I know what needs to be addressed and I’m addressing it. Almost everyone would change some things about their lives, but virtually all of us in the livestock industry have a “plus” column that’s quite a bit longer than the negative column (checkbooks aside).

Like everyone else, I try to learn from my mistakes and work hard to avoid repeating them, but I truly believe that one must live in the present. Too much dreaming about the future or being limited by one’s past can rob one of the present and that’s where not only memories are made but a better future is built.

Many of you have heard a story I tell that encourages people to hang on the wall a picture of your toughest competitor – someone who inspires you to do your best on a daily basis. I still like that idea, but I realize that while it’s effective, it’s also a little negative in its outlook. So, in addition to the picture of our toughest competition, maybe we should hang a picture of those we work the hardest for, and those to whom we owe so much gratitude.

I’m thinking I need to go out and get a picture frame, a big picture frame, maybe with a cross in the middle. Pictures of my kids, my parents and family would be on one side, my business partners and owners who are counting on me, and a picture of one or two of our best customers on the other. These are people who I owe so much to and deserve 110% of my effort – the people who help motivate and inspire me.

I hope that this Thanksgiving you truly celebrate all your blessings and not merely eat a big meal and watch a football game. Perhaps in counting your blessings that introspection becomes the foundation for even more blessings next year.

And, Lord, we do have a lot to be thankful for! One day to celebrate it, and 364 to live it.

God bless and have a great holiday! And when you bow your heads to give thanks and bask in the warmth of family togetherness, remember those in uniform whose service and sacrifice separates them from their loved ones on this day.
-- Troy Marshall