Thanksgiving is almost here. Most likely your plans are made and you are preparing either to travel or entertain guests.

Those of my family who are here will be getting together, but it's a small number compared to the total. There's one change for me here - I have a new son-in-law. Out of the area, I have a new great-granddaughter.

At any rate, being a major holiday, we can expect visitors to our little city, in our stores and our churches, and we certainly want them to leave feeling good about us. Be sure to smile even if they are strangers - it makes a difference!

I was coming out of Safeway recently, tired, and my pain level with this hip was "way up there." All I wanted was to get home and flop in my recliner for a while. A gentleman I did not know passed me, and as he was entering the store flashed me a beautiful smile - it could not relieve my pain, but it sure gave my attitude a big lift!

We're going to be fairly busy from here on out, I think.

andbull; Sunday the Redwoods Family Worship Center will be hosting a special Thanksgiving service at 10:30 a.m., followed with a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. The church invites you to attend.

Sunday evening at 5 p.m., there will be a "Soup Surprise and Movie Night." A beef broth soup is provided, and members are encouraged to bring their favorite ingredients to add to it making it a surprise. The movie will be a surprise as well. All are invited to come and celebrate the beginning of the holidays.

andbull; Today from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. are the last times to turn in your shoeboxes at Pelican Bay Evangelical Free Church for Operation Christmas Child. The Rosses would like to know when you are coming to make sure sufficient help is on hand to handle the boxes. Call 464-2034.

It is such a fantastic sight to go there and see all those boxes stacked up, knowing so many kids will be receiving not only the gifts, but God's word in their own language as well!

andbull; Sunday, Dec. 1, is the Temple Beth Shalom Chanukah party.

It's a potluck at 3 p.m. at the Coast Guard Auxiliary Hall. Some of my Jewish friends invited me last year, and it was a really nice time andndash; but best yet, gave me a better understanding of their faith.

The annual Advent Soup Suppers at Grace Lutheran Church will begin Dec. 4. They will continue on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. through Dec. 18.

Suppers will be at 6 p.m., family devotions at 6:30 and worship services at 6:45 pm. All families are welcome. There will be free nursery care and kids' crafts.

andbull; If you are a St. Joseph's Catholic Church member, don't forget the ongoing drive to create a new parish directory. Pictures will be taken Dec. 3andndash;7.

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email