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What Are You Thankful For?

The one list we often forget to make during the holiday season.

I'm a year-round serial to-do list maker, but every year during the holidays I'm joined by a seasonal entourage armed with lists of gifts to get, food to buy, decorations to put up and work to finish.

The most important list of all, however, rarely gets written: The list of things for which we are thankful.

It's easy to take for granted all we have, especially during this It's easy to be overwhelmed with worry . It's easy to be bitter.

It's hard to appreciate what's right in our community and fight to change what's not. This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for Farmingdale showing me just that.

Covering Farmingdale over the past year, I've worked closely with residents, community leaders, volunteers, business owners and government officials. All have pretty heavy "crosses to bear," as we Catholics say, forced to do considerably more with considerably less.

Yet, despite the challenges, all have an inspiring unwavering optimism and strong belief that change is within reach.

I see it every week at the , as Nina the director and all the volunteers listen to, guide and ultimately change the lives of those struggling. I see it every month at the Village board meetings, as Mayor Starkie and the trustees a solid foundation for the area's future. I see business owners on Main Street to .

And most of all, I see it in residents , and in the , whose sense of Farmingdale pride is unquestionable.

I'm truly grateful to get to report on this day in and day out, fulfilling my lifelong goal of becoming a journalist. I'm thankful to be able to work at a forward-thinking company, a company that is giving me the opportunity to study journalism at arguably the best graduate journalism program in the country.

I'm also grateful for all of my groups of friends – the ones I grew up with here in Plainedge ("we ten"), the ones that doubled as family at Fordham and my newfound colleagues that are both friends and mentors I treasure.

Most importantly, I am grateful for my family – Mom, Dad, Jason, Brandon, AB and Melissa – by my side through everything. It's truly "quality not quantity" for us.

List makers and non list makers everywhere, I hope you will take the time to write this list for yourself. I wish everyone in Farmingdale a very happy thanksgiving and look forward to spending the holiday season and year to come with you.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Tell us in the comment section below.

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