One of my earliest memories of Thanksgiving was going around the table and sharing something we were thankful for.

I have used this activity over the past 45 years in youth ministry. One twist I came up with is you cannot repeat what someone else has shared. This led to everyone wanting to be first, but it also led to sharing more specifics because someone couldn’t just say “family.” Instead, they had to share a name. I always hear something that encourages me and makes me more appreciative.

It’s no doubt 2020 has been a tough year for many people. Isolation, job loss, health issues and the disappointment of many canceled, postponed or changed plans have certainly taken their toll.

But even in the midst of such a complex and confusing year, there is still so much to be grateful for. Many of us have spent a lot more time with our immediate family. Some have picked up a new hobby and completed projects. Above all, I hope this year has made us realize what matters most in our lives and give thanks.

I challenge you to think of three things you are grateful for and share those with someone close to you. I know this will encourage both of you!

For the past 20 years, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Oklahoma State Football Fellowship of Christian Athletes has worked with local schools to hand out 100 food baskets. I always enjoy coordinating this and working with these students to assemble and distribute the food baskets, and it’s a great way to show gratitude by sharing our blessings. A comment I hear every year is how the people are so grateful for the food that I often take for granted.

At the State Capitol, many lawmakers have already begun filing bills to consider during the upcoming legislative session. Legislators work with nonpartisan legal and research staff to draft a bill, which can then officially be filed with the Chief Clerk’s office. The Chief Clerk ensures that a bill moves through each step of the legislative process according to the proper procedures.

Lawmakers have until Dec. 11 to request drafts of bills they are considering, and all legislation must be filed by Jan. 21. The new session will begin Monday, Feb. 1!

I am continuing to work with constituents on legislation they are passionate about. If you have an idea for legislation, whether it’s an update to an existing law or new statute altogether, please reach out to my office. My contacts are (405) 557-7304 or

I’ll leave you with three things I am grateful for: the health care professionals and their tireless bravery; the community of volunteers who give time and resources to meet others’ needs; and I am humbly grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve House District 33!

Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.

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