Just when one thinks things will calm down this year, another scandal, political event or weather phenomenon seems to thrust itself into the forefront and eclipses everything prior to it. There seems to be no shortage of tragedy, but being that it is a few days before Thanksgiving, a time meant for giving thanks for the good things in our lives, I decided to share some stories to make you smile.

The pastor woke up and saw what a beautiful fall day it was, almost perfect for hunting. Unfortunately it was Sunday and he had church first, but he decided to call in sick and head for the woods. He practiced his most sickly voice as he called the elder and said, 'I can't come in today as I'm hoarse and not feeling well.' 'Okay, pastor," answered the elder, 'Get well soon.'

The pastor quickly grabbed his rifle and headed toward his favorite spot in the woods. He made it to his tree stand and quickly climbed it. Within an hour a large buck with an incredible 10 point rack saunters into the clearing nearby. Excited the pastor raises his rifle and just as he is about to fire, he hears a growl. The noise startles him so much that he falls out of the tree landing on the ground and knocking himself silly.

As he comes to, he sees a large bear salivating and growling over him. He can't move due to a hurt leg. In desperation, he cries out, "Dear God, I'm sorry for skipping church today. Please let this bear be a Christian bear."

With that the bear drops to his haunches, raises his paws above his head and looks to the heavens. The startled minister hears a deep voice, "Dear God, I thank you for the food you have provided before me…"

Tom and Joe were camping in the woods during hunting season. With their tent pitched and a fire burning, the two men were sitting on a log discussing the day's hunting trip. All at once they heard a mighty growl. Looking over they saw a cub wandering into the site followed by an awfully large and quite mean grizzly bear. Joe yells, "Let's get out of here! Head for the truck!" As he panics and gets up flailing his arms, Tom calmly sits down and takes a pair of sneakers out of his bag.

As he carefully puts them on his feet and ties them, Joe screams, "What are you doing? There is no way we can outrun this bear! It's huge."

Tom replies, "I don't have to out run the bear. I only have to out run you."

God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God. "Where have you been?" God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction, and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I've made."

Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."

"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Balance in all things," God continued pointing to different countries.

"This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice." The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a land area and said, "What's that one?" "Ah," said God "That's Washington State, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, plains, and coulees. The people from Washington State are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats, and carriers of peace."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance." God smiled, "There is another Washington...wait until you see the idiots I put there."

A math teacher saw that Johnny wasn't paying attention in class so she called on him and said, "Johnny! What's 4, 12, 26, 34 and 40?" To which Johnny replied, "WFMZ, PBS, CNN, the Weather Channel and TNT."

As you sit with your families this Thanksgiving, please remember to give thanks for the goodness we have and our families and friends especially we should give thanks to those men and women overseas who protect us every day in the military and stand on that wall so we can be safe. To them, a most grateful thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving.