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Giving Thanks

November 16, 2013

We have reached the time of year when we pause and take a moment to give thanks for the abundance that we each enjoy in our lives. For most of us, the blessings far outweigh the problems - but it’s still easy to fall into the habit of focusing on the wrong things. A human life is so brief that it’s a shame to spend it complaining about what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we do have. During this busy holiday season, we should each take a little time to consider the people and things in our lives that we are thankful for. We should try to resist getting so caught up in the rush of our daily lives that we miss the beauty that exists all around us and fills our days with happiness.

When difficulties and challenges seem overwhelming, taking time to give thanks for what is good in our lives allows us to maintain the proper perspective. Giving genuine thanks helps us refocus on the positive and it makes it easier to let go of the petty, trivial matters that can be aggravating and distracting. It allows us to see the big picture in life, and it helps us concentrate on what is actually important. It enables us to appreciate all that we have, particularly the people who mean so much in our lives and who we sometimes take for granted.

So at this time it seems appropriate for us to reflect on how fortunate we are to be part of the Meadows family. We can start at the very beginning by being thankful that caring individuals had the desire and wisdom to start this organization and that it has now flourished for three decades. As we look ahead to the New Year we are blessed with the opportunity to continue our success and to expand our capabilities to serve the employment needs of men and women with intellectual challenges.

We can also be thankful that we live at a time in history when society is finally beginning to understand and accept the value of every person. Education and vocational opportunities are improving and the shift to independent living within the community has helped create better lives for people, who in the past, were often ignored and forgotten. Although we still have far to go in our efforts to ensure that people with developmental disabilities are treated as equals, we are certainly on the right path.

I am personally thankful that, as Program Coordinator, I have the pleasure of working with the families of the individuals we employ. My admiration and respect for all of them continues to grow. As parents, they have faced challenges that I have not experienced, but through my relationships with them, I see the unconditional love that has allowed them to overcome the obstacles that can result from having a son or daughter with an intellectual challenge. I’m thankful that the families of our employees trust the Meadows to keep their loved ones safe, and I appreciate the fact that I get to spend each day involved in a cause I believe in. Not everyone is so fortunate.

We can all be thankful for the management of the Meadows that continues to develop our business interests and for our customers around the state who allow us to provide the highest quality service possible and who compassionately support our mission. And we should be thankful for our staff that, day in and day out, demonstrate their dedication and commitment in doing everything possible to help our workers reach their full vocational potential which will allow our organization to move in a positive direction in the coming years.

But sadly we cannot look at the future of the Meadows without remembering the past. Over the last several years we have lost two individuals who were important in all of our lives. We miss their laughter, their happiness and their energy, but most of all we miss their friendship. We are all better people for having been blessed with the opportunity to work side by side with them. Their passing has been heartbreakingly painful and difficult to accept, but we are thankful that we at least had the chance to get to know them, appreciate them and to love them. They will always be part of the Meadows family, and we will never forget the joy they brought into our world.

But above all else, we are deeply thankful and grateful for the 44 individuals who come to work each day with enthusiasm and positive attitudes about what they can accomplish in their jobs. The men and women we have the honor of working with remind us of what is possible. They demonstrate the power of determination and perseverance. They are the embodiment of courage as they overcome what others refer to as “limitations”. They sincerely appreciate the opportunity to be employed and they value the relationships they enjoy with their coworkers. Each day they give their best effort, and it’s the amazing results they achieve that drives our success. They are a pleasure to work with, and we are fortunate to call them friends.

This year as you gather together with your loved ones to enjoy Thanksgiving, please take just a moment to be thankful for the Meadows and the wonderful people associated with it. We can all be proud that our organization stands as a shining example to the community of what individuals with developmental disabilities can accomplish when they are given the opportunity to excel. And while we will always hold dear those who have worked with us in the past, we can look forward to a future that is filled with untold possibility and hope, secure in the knowledge that our mission to bring positive change to the lives of adults with intellectual challenges will continue in the years ahead.

To everyone who is part of the Meadows family we wish you a safe and joyous holiday season - and we are truly thankful that you allow us to be a part of your lives.