“Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another.”

—John Clayton

Thanksgiving Day is not just a day to eat turkey and dressing and watch football. While many great family traditions have been built around today, one of the strongest traditions is just simple spoken word.

It’s a time when everyone — no matter what age, gender or race — pauses to reflect on the blessings they’ve received in their lives over the past year. For many, the year hasn’t been the best due to health issues, job losses and reduced hours.

Despite all the negative things impacting our lives, Thanksgiving is one day where we count our blessings. No matter how big or small they may be.

Bulletin readers share their reasons for thanks this year:

My family, dogs and my friends.

— Shilah Casey


— Mandy Followwell

My wonderful husband, Rex.

— Cheryl Ann Franks

Being Cancer free for 5 years now!

— Mona Kathryn Merriman

I am thankful that I live in a community that cares. We have been blessed by so many things and people — Brownwood doesn’t just feel like home, it is my home!

— Lisa Healer Jaso

I am thankful for my family, friends and pups…oh, and that I passed my portfolio!

— Nicole Ford

I am thankful that I get the opportunity to help people become better safer drivers which makes our community a better place. I am also thankful that I get to work with a great much of people not only at Zazoom Driving Center but also with Cub Scout Pack 14

— Johna Elliott

Director at

Zazoom Driving

Thankful for my passport for showing me the world!

— Robin Higdon

I’m thankful for RedBox. Dollar movie rentals?

— James Holland

I am very thankful to be blessed with my good health, my husband of 29 years, Jimmy, our very “precocious, sweet, intelligent” 7 year old son Jacob, my church family at First Baptist Church in Bangs, and my wonderful, dedicated employees/friends at our business ServiceMaster.

— Melanie Hallford,

owner ServiceMaster

So very thankful that my amazing parents are coming in town to be with me and my family for Thanksgiving!

— Cari Martin

I’m thankful that both of my sisters went out and voted this year. It’s super exciting to vote in your first presidential election!

— Ashleigh Taylor

I’m thankful for my newspaper family, not only the contemporary version, but also those family members throughout the past 40-plus years who helped make a youngster’s dream of being a reporter and editor come true. I had never heard of Brownwood, Texas, until my senior year of high school, but I could not have landed in a better place, or had a better employer. Thank you for all the hard work you have done, are doing now, and will continue to do. God bless you all this Thanksgiving, this Christmas season, and in all the years ahead.

— Gene Deason, former editor at the

Brownwood Bulletin

I am thankful for having a “change the channel” mentality. If I don’t like what I am seeing, hearing or reading, I can walk away, “change the channel”, delete or close the book. If I can do it, so can you. There are too many that take offense easily or want to argue about an opinion, and me personally, not going to do it.

— Rick Phelps

I am thankful for the people in my life who share a love of animal safety and welfare. Today as we sit down to a meal, there will be those out there who are selflessly providing food, shelter, healthcare, rescue and love to those homeless animals who cannot help themselves. I am humbled by them all.

I am also thankful for my husband who understands and supports my passion for animals.

— Leona Cleveland, V.P. Corinne T Smith Animal Center and Pet Nutrition Consult at AgMart

I am thankful for my precious family, Adam and Hutton are my whole world. I am thankful for so many wonderful friends who I can laugh with, cry with and share so many memories with. I am thankful for a job that is my passion, helping local businesses grow and working for a better Brownwood everyday. I am thankful for this life that God has blessed me with, full of love, peace and opportunity.

— Missi Malone, Director of Member Services - Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce

My blessings of life....I am thankful that I put my oldest son in Scouts as it has changed our family’s life. It has become a lifestyle for us and we are all involved. Scouts has not only been good for my boys, but it has helped us make wonderful, dependable friends who share the same interests and goals for their family. It has brought strength to our marriage. I am also thankful for my job that allows me to help with our family’s finances, but allows me to be home with my boys when they are out of school.

I am thankful for my parents who set the bar high for us to mirror their marriage and their walk with God. I admire them for being so devoted to listening to His will and bringing two new family members into our fold through adoption.

— Melissa Sosebee,

Manager of Tiny Tots Trunk

Today (and every day), I am thankful for all of our military men and woman.  I am thankful for my Dad (Ardith “Art” Reed), my Uncle (David Larose), and my father-in-law (Glen Nethery) for their contributions to this country in Vietnam.  I am thankful for my other father-in-law (Bill Means) who served in the United States Army.  I am thankful for other members of my family who have passed away that  proudly served our country.  Many of us will never understand what they have gone through and we take our freedom for granted.  I also am thankful to those new service men and woman like Zachary Fulton who will keep my future safe.

— Tammy Means, Director of Practice Management at Walker Cancer Center

I am thankful, first of all, for a loving and forgiving God. Second, for a wife who loves God first, me second and kids third. Third, for five awesome kids. Fourth for a business with wonderful staff and family at Food Plaza and PF&E.

—Steve Fryar,

President PF&E

Oil Company

I am thankful for my family. And all the blessings that the Lord has given me.

I am a stay at home mom.

—Jennifer Hutchins

I feel extremely lucky. Not only do I have the most amazing support system from my family, but I also have the support of my boyfriend and his family. I truly appreciate everything.

— Morgan Taylor Keel

This year I am thankful that God has blessed me with the ability to pursue my dream in a career in health and wellness.  Healing through natural herbs and food has been a passion of mine for many years.  For the past year I have been enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and will be receiving my health counseling certification through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners in just a couple of weeks.  It has been a huge transition but I love every minute of it.

— Marie Smith

Health Counselor and

Certified Personal Trainer

I’m thankful for the life I have and the people (and animals) that share it with me.

 —Lee Heiman

I am thankful that I have a Heavenly Father who shapes and molds me daily to be the woman he wants me to be! I am truly blessed to be a part of HIS family!

— Kendra Epperson