I have a guilty pleasure admission. While great literature is one of my passions, I giddily love a variety of modern written word genres, as well.

Many years ago a friend recommended that I read the "Hunger Games" trilogy. I was reticent at first. What I had heard of the books just didn't seem like they would be something I would enjoy. But, respecting my friend's judgement, I downloaded the first book on my kindle thinking I would take a read while waiting for appointments or when I had a bit of time between meetings or other engagements.

Like millions of others, once I was introduced to Katniss and the world of Panem, I couldn't put the kindle down until I had read all three books, needing, yes "hungering," to know what happened; how the people of Panem's heroic struggle for freedom and democracy would end.

I saw the last of the cinematic episodes over the weekend and, as I thought about the story in its entirety, this week of Thanksgiving for our nation came to mind. You wouldn't be the first to think that my thought processes were a bit peculiar. So, let me explain.

We as a country find ourselves in a battle. Not unlike Katniss and Peta and Gale, we are struggling to figure out how to defeat an intolerant, vicious enemy set on total control, total destruction of all who value human life and freedom. And adding to that battle is our struggle to maintain the essence of what it is to be an American and weighing our humanity and core beliefs against such a violent evil, threatening not only our way of life but who we are as a nation. These are many of the same questions plaguing our fictional characters.

Do we have to become like our enemies to defeat our enemies? I wish I knew the answer to that question. I wish our leaders and allies in this battle knew the answer.

What I do know is that we are a great nation — flawed, no doubt, but based on inalienable rights and with the desire to continue the struggle toward our betterment, toward all the promises our nation could fulfill.

And while terrorist threat levels are being raised and media is fixated on the horror that has and is occurring, we are approaching our day of thanksgiving, our day to stop and take an inward look and be grateful for all that is good and joyous in our lives.

And there is so much for which to be grateful if we just stop a moment, take a breath and allow ourselves to think of all of our blessings.

Every Thanksgiving column I have written I have included some advice that my grandmother had given to me and I think this Thanksgiving it is even more relevant.

"When you awake each morning, take a moment, one moment of your time to think about all of your blessings. It will start your day off with joy in your heart."

And isn't that what Thanksgiving should be about; recognizing and acknowledging the joy in our lives?

So much is out of our control it can be overwhelming but what we can control is who we are as individuals and how we, each of us, chooses to behave. My suggestion is to take my grandmother's advice, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.

It works for me!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. Visit Wendy's website at www.wendylevenfeld.com.

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