Debe Maxwell, CRS 's November 2022 Thanksgiving Gratitude Challenge is another great opportunity to think about those things we are grateful for. Of course, the first things that came to my mind are the same things I usually write about this time of year. Family, health, etc. I'm going to try to come up with four totally different ideas this year.
My first post addressed my thankfulness for generators. My second post is addressing community.
A little over three years ago I moved across the country to a new town, county and state. I did not know anyone in any of those locations except for my real estate agent and my husband. And a few months after we moved here, Covid reared its head and it wasn't as easy as it might have been to become part of the community. So what do I think about my new community now that I've been here for several years?
Grateful. I am incredibly grateful for the warm and welcoming place where I now live.
When you are willing to give, you get. When you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, you grow. When you are friendly to others, they are (usually) friendly to you.
So it didn't take long for me to feel as though I was a part of this community. In fact I run into people I know when I'm in the grocery store and if that's not an indicator of being in a great community, I don't know what is.
So how is it that I feel as though this has been my home forever when I've only been here a few years?
First, the people I have met here, for the most part are amazingly warm and welcoming. If you ask someone for directions or for a suggestion for a good place to eat/shop/etc, they are more than willing to assist you. I find I have a lot more conversations in my new home with "strangers" than I ever did in my previous locations. And by the way, I feel as though strangers are only friends you haven't met yet!
Second, I have become involved. I am a regular volunteer at our local Habitat for Humanity and have definitely made friends with other like-minded volunteers. I also have been involved with the Flathead Valley Exchange Club, a non-profit that volunteers and provides fundraising for local military and youth non-profits. Somehow I found myself volunteering to lead a big fundraiser and then stuck myself on the ballot for President Elect, which I now am. I joined the Chamber of Commerce. I invited people I met at various events out for coffee. I invited couples over for dinner. I started a local cooking club. I attended Ladies who Lunch and Women Who Wine (how can I not love a place with events like that!)
And along with my being involved in various activities, my husband has done the same. He is a Vice President of our Search & Rescue so I have met all those wonderful volunteers as well. Hubby has also been making furniture which we've been selling at a local Farmer's Market, so we are meeting people in that community.
And finally we made a point to meet our neighbors before and as soon as we moved here. We had a get-together party shortly after we moved into our home. We brought homemade Christmas cookies to the neighbors. And as a result, we have a wonderful group of people who we share a community with.
So in this second November Challenge post, I share my gratitude for my Montana community. I truly have found home.