Making a Difference through Gratitude

Amid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping specials on our minds, the Thanksgiving holiday is also a time to stop, pause, and sit down to more-than-we-can-eat with family and friends.

It is a time to reconnect with our loved ones, to recognize all the good in our lives, to cherish memories at hand, and well, to feel gratitude.

More so, we can show our thankfulness through our generosity and giving heart.

Here in America, income and the standard of living for most Americans is relatively high when compared to other industrialized nations.

Hence, we can revel in the commercialization by buying that thousand-dollar TV for only a few hundred dollars when on sale the day after Thanksgiving. Yet, having money to spend freely is a blanketed statement. It overlooks countless people in our American communities.

Many people barely scratch the surface to afford the traditional family gathering with turkey and trimmings. Some don’t even have family. ​

This stark realization is our call to action to make our community a better place for everyone. While we can’t buy TVs for everyone, we can do what matters most. We can share our giving spirit with others.

In the downtown area of the big city I live close to, we have a hot spot of homeless shelters, transitional housing places, and homeless encampments. Tender Mercies is one such place.

What is Tender Mercies:

Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on West 12th Street (Cincinnati).

Their stated mission is: ”Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.”

This season, on Thanksgiving Day, several friends and I visited Tender Mercies and served a homemade dinner to these folks. Residents of Tender Mercies gave me a heart-felt connection and while they thanked us for their dinner,

  • I thank them for inviting us into their home,
  • I thank them for letting me meet them and
  • to get to know them a little better (some I’ve seen in passing when on my job at the public library),
  • I thank them for letting me give back to my community.


Making a Difference in our Communities helps others:

  • As you ponder what difference you can make in your community, consider volunteering at a feeding program, soup kitchen, or the like.
  • Explore where there is a need in your neighborhood or a city near you.
  • Start one with a group of friends or a group or organization that you are a member in.

In a nation as rich and plentiful as ours, no individual or family should go hungry or be malnourished. And no one should go without the human connection of kindheartedness. Feed the hungry and feed your soul.

Making a Difference in our Communities enriches our own lives:

  • An act of unconditional love lifts the spirit, giving a boost to overall health and well-being. In turn, happier, healthier people become better members of society creating a win-win for all.
  • Volunteer work is a wonderful vehicle by which members of a community can lend a helping hand to individuals in need. It provides vital services that local city and governmental agencies cannot always render to the number of people in need.
  • Humanitarian efforts to help others, and increasing our awareness are our calls to action today— and going forward.

”Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie, author.

What are your experiences with being thankful?

Of giving to the community?


Tender Mercies (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Homeless Shelter Directory of Helping the Needy:
If you are in other parts of America and need a resource to point you where help is needed, this website is user friendly. It opens with a map of the United States—click on your state and from there, find out where to go and who to contact.

Blog Post from Thanksgiving 2017: Gratitude

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Book Fairs: Here’s why to go by Elle Mott

Yesterday, local authors and readers got together to put on a book fair. It was the Local Authors Day Event in Northern Kentucky, held at the main branch of the Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Kentucky.

Big thanks goes out to Kelsey Shackelford, Community Events Liaison with this library, for her dedication and commitment.

It was not my first year to show up, yet my first year to come with a published book. Like before, this was an awesome time to connect with readers and writers, alike. Yes, I sold a few books. More-so, it was an opportunity for me to share my journey with others and to hear what they are reading or writing.

While I have given a few author presentations before, this was my first time at an actual book fair with my book. It was so meaningful to have my good friend, Lorene sit beside me.

For those who have read my book, this is the same Lorene from Chapters 24 and 25 in Out of Chaos.: A Memoir.  

If you are a writer and wondering what are the “perks” to have a table at a book fair, here are but a few:

  • To connect with others who also practice the writing craft
  • To better understand the writing industry
  • To listen; really listen to book buyers and readers

If you are a reader and wondering “why go to a book fair” here are but a few reasons:

  • To support those who are sharing their written works
  • To get a first-hand knowledge of books that otherwise could go unnoticed
  • To grab a good read, perhaps at a reduced price from the retail cost
  • To pick up gifts for birthdays and holidays
  • To get to know the author behind a book you plan to read
  • To get your book autographed (how can you do that at Walmart?)


I hope to see you at the next book fair in my greater community.

Until then, please share your experience in either shopping for books at such events, or as a writer sharing your book with others.

This same day also saw me on Chanel’s Lit Blog in the Writer Spotlight.

Here, in interview style, I share about my writing craft and my journey.

You can read all about it by linking here:

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From Reflection to Action: Many ideas in how to honor Veterans

Examining our past and learning from it means seeing not only our achievements, but our failings. Observing our country’s current issues demands action from each of us, as we come together to make our society a better place for us and for future generations. Accountability to our communities involves not only creating a society which makes us proud, but also recognizing and then changing dark impulses which have marred or are currently marring our country.

Dear Veteran-Friends,

The dedication that you—our men and women fighting for our country—is indelible. Your fight on the front-lines and commitment to public service enables us to learn compassion and grow intellectually. Freedom isn’t free. Those who are willing to pay the price, the time away from their families, and the endless dangers of the battleground are our true heroes. Our hearts and minds are changed forever, and we are grateful for your service of yesterday and today and going forward.

Dear Friends, here are some ways to remember our Veterans:


  • Read something a Veteran wrote about their experience.
  • Write in your journal how thankful you are for the service of Veterans.
  • Take a private moment to be proud of your country.
  • Observe a moment of silence with family and friends.
  • Take a moment to reflect on what it means to live in America.
  • Hang an American flag in your yard or at your apartment entryway.

  • Write and send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
  • Thank a Veteran co-worker for their service.
  • Video chat with a Veteran who is servicing oversees.
  • Use Social Media to #THANKAVET!
  • Donate time or money or supplies to local Veterans Day drives.
  • Volunteer to help a Veteran’s service organization.
  • Shake a Veteran’s hand.
  • Teach a child what it means to be a Veteran.
  • Send an email to the people on your contact list that tells a Veteran’s story.
  • Attend a Veterans’ Day event.
  • Go to a Veterans’ Day parade.
  • Add their photo and your personal thank you to the DAV Thank A Vet Mosaic.
  • Make and share an interview video through the StoryCorps app.


  • Ask a Veteran about their time in the military, and really listen to the answer.
  • Visit a home-bound Veteran in their home.
  • Visit a homeless Veteran under a bridge.
  • Take a Veteran out to dinner.
  • Take dinner in to a Veteran.
  • Buy a homeless Veteran a cup of coffee.
  • Mark on your calendar a day each month to do one of the above listed—even though Veteran’s Day will have passed.

Please share with us how you have made a difference today in the life of a Veteran. Below are some resources for you.

If you like what I post, and haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, please do! Link here.


DAV Thank a Vet. Here, you can add a picture to their mosaic. (Link here).

DAV Website/Home Page:

StoryCorps App (Link here).

StoryCorps Website/Home Page:

Operation Gratitude. Here, you can sign up to volunteer or make a donation.

This post is in memory of my father, who I came to know and love only after he died. Dedicated poem and more are on my Dedications Page.
(Link here.)



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