By Lisa Whaley

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and I have already been building my “blessings” list. In some ways, this has not been an easy year, having lost my mom in early September.

But the lessons she taught me well were all about the grace of God and the beauty of the people around us.

She taught me about blessings. And this year, I’m taking stock.

In my home life, I am so thankful for my family, both near and far. We may occasionally drive each other a little crazy, but we also know family is always there when you need them, tied together with a bond that can’t quite be explained.

I am thankful for a loving, patient husband, and two daughters, now adults, who continually remind me what strong, yet compassionate women they have become. And I admit it; I’m also grateful they still need me every once in a while.

I am thankful for good health, for a roof over our heads and food in our cupboards.

I’m even thankful for our two goofy dogs – Molly and Tanner – who greet us each and every day like we are the best things they could ever imagine.

But I, as the publisher of The Erwin Record, am doubly blessed – for when I leave home, I get to come here to a newspaper that has been an important part of its community since 1928.

That’s when I start my new list.

• I am thankful for small towns with heart.

• I am thankful for the warmth, welcome and understanding that has been shown to me by • everyone here as I learn what it means to be a part of the Valley Beautiful.

• I am thankful for old-fashioned values mixed with new ideas.

• I am thankful for a community that continues to value its newspaper, not merely by reading it,  but by contributing to it and challenging it as well.

• I am thankful for the hardworking staff at the Record – Kathy, Damaris, Keeli and Richard – without whom this paper would never be published.

• I am thankful for the new hospital.

• I am thankful for Erwin’s three Bs – barbecue, brown salt and Blue Ridge pottery.

• I am thankful for one of the prettiest downtowns I have ever seen.

And I’m thankful for mountain views of which I never tire.

The list could go on an on. Life is sometimes hard. But the blessings are all around us.

Happy Thanksgiving!