At this writing, the temperatures are still in the 90s and the grass still needs mowed, but the coming days show promise of cooler weather. Already, the ancient pecan tree in my backyard is dropping its multitude of leaves upon my backyard and patio, and I’ll soon need to get out the rake. I don’t mind, though; autumn—with its more temperate climate and multi-hued trees and shrubs—is by far my favorite season.

I also look forward to the start of the holiday season. My grand-nephew, Liam, is about to turn 18 months old, and I look forward to seeing the season through his eyes: his first turkey and trimmings this month, and then Christmas, though if he’s like his mom, he’ll be more interested in the boxes, bows and ribbons than the presents inside. I hope you, too, are looking forward to a holiday season filled with family and friends and good times.

Welcome to our “Thankful” issue. We have some seasonal stories to share with you, including Local’s Only, showcasing three local shops with fun and unique gift ideas that you just won’t find at those big-box retail stores, and Healthy Lifestyle, focusing on a “Turkey Day” exercise routine you can follow to help you make it through Thanksgiving day without feeling lethargic—and perhaps help you avoid that dreaded holiday weight gain.

Other highlights:

  • In Faith Reflections, read about a local church that, though large in size, offers its congregation opportunities to forge friendships, volunteer in the community and more via small-groups interactions.
  • In Renovate and Refine, learn about the current trends in dining room design. Now’s the time to move that tired dining area into one that truly fits your style and will brighten up those holiday gatherings.
  • In Inspired By, you’ll read about how local attorneys are working together to provide free Thanksgiving turkeys to those in need, along with a day of entertainment and food and drink.

Hope you enjoy this issue. Publisher Jimmy Darden and I are thankful for your continued support of this magazine.