November reminds me of Thanksgiving and all the things I am thankful for. Well, I like to put a twist on that. I like to find the things in each day that I’m thankful for. Somedays it is super easy to find all kinds of things. The days I find it hard are the days I’m in the dippy does and want to sit in front of the TV with a gallon of my favorite ice cream and wallo in poor me. Those are the days I have to really dig to find the one good thing. It might be something simple like the sun is out, or I have a home or there is food in my fridge – simple things. Many times it’s the most obvious things that we don’t realize we have.

When my kids were little I would always say no matter how hard you think you have it, someone has it worse. They would look at me and roll their eyes or give me some crazy mom look. But I would tell them, “You can always find something small in each day no matter how bad it is, to be thankful for.”

One year, I remember making a “Thankful Tree.” My oldest son’s birthday is November 20, so we decided to get the whole family involved. We found a branch, brought it inside, put it into a flower pot and filled it full of gravel. Then as our guests came to his birthday party, we asked them if they would fill out a leaf with what they were thankful for and put it on our tree. It was a great visual to show the kids how the tree grew and what people where thankful for.

Just like anyone I struggle some days. I’m not perfect. After my son’s accident I thought, “What now?”

But then I remembered what I told my kids when they were little. No matter how hard you think you have it, someone has it worse. So true! So I continued to look for the small things each day that I was thankful for.

The days after Tyler’s accident it was things like: I’m thankful for 15 years with Tyler, my family and friends. Very simple but things I found even in the toughest of times.

You may be thinking, “I have nothing to be thankful for. I’m going through a loss or a hard time.”

I would suggest sitting down and just writing things on paper that are very simple everyday things. Once you get your list going you will be so surprised and it will become an easy daily ritual.

I noticed during those days, weeks and months after Tyler’s accident, it was hard to be thankful. But as I kept making myself do it, it got easier. It also made me feel better and it reminded me it’s not about poor me. It’s about how I can help someone else through what I have gone through. It’s about showing them how they can find the one small thing in each day to be thankful for no matter how bad it is.

I want to end with a poem that reminds me of being thankful.

Be kind

Be thoughtful

Be genuine

But most of all

Be Thankful

Author Unknown

Missy Hillmer

My name is Missy Hillmer. I’m married, live in a small town named Palmer, NE and have 3 children. Jake is our oldest who is 19 years old and Gracie is 11 who lives here with us. Tyler which was 15 years on August 20, 2013 is now in Heaven. He was killed in a car accident just 3 short days after his 15th birthday. I am very honest, very real sometimes to the point of not being fun, I guess that’s because I’m a black and white kind of girl. I like to look at the positive in every situation. I really believe there are two ways to look at things. Look for the bad or the good. The “bad” does me no justice and can spiral out of control in a heartbeat. The “good” however gives me hope and it connects with my belief that God is with me through everything. I believe my faith has gotten me through life and especially since my son’s accident. I pray a lot more, watch for the signs that God gives me, listen to my inner gut feeling, as my husband calls it and really focus on living a simple life. Family means everything to me, I love to laugh and think it’s the best medicine for any problem. Music soothes my sole and being outside in the sun brings me great joy! I have learned that many times you cannot control the storm in your life but, you can learn to dance in the rain. I really mean it when I say DANCE in the RAIN! The summer before Tyler’s accident, Tyler, Gracie & I danced in the rain. This memory I will never forget! Since Tyler’s accident I am passionate about telling my story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person.