Since we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving and will be headed into the Christmas season soon, I wanted to choose a book for this month's selection that would reflect the meaning of this time of year and perhaps provide some inspiration and opportunity for reflection. Part of my decorating for the holidays includes bringing out and displaying some seasonal books around our home. While many of these books are classics or children's stories that we shared with our kids when they were younger, over the years I have also included some newer stories that I had discovered as well. They are books that remind us to focus on the true meaning of the season. Giovanni's Light by Phyllis Theroux is one of the books I choose to read each year and put on display as part of our holiday decor. In this day and age it is so common to become frenzied by a harried pace and endless "to do" lists. This book is a reminder of the importance of taking the time to slow down and appreciate each moment. The story is short enough to be read in one sitting, but it's message is something that will stay with you long after you close the book. The story takes place in Ryland Falls, a quaint, quiet town that is forced to come to a halt when a blizzard blankets everything with snow just before Christmas. Families and the community are forced to come together and slow down as they take notice of the little things...the things that can really mean the most. The author states it best by writing that the townspeople are reminded "of what they had forgotten, or never knew - that life can be sad and beautiful, lonely and dull, but it is never unimportant" and that they are "encouraged to look long enough to see it all." The characters of the story, and thereby the reader, are forced to examine their perspective on what is really important, and ultimately realize that time is a precious gift that should not be wasted. A paragraph towards the end of the book sums up the lesson well..."Most of the world quickens its step the closer it gets to Christmas. In Ryland Falls, the opposite is true. People become more peaceful, their steps become more measured, as if they don't want to disturb anything important that is getting ready to happen. Or not happen." So as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, take a moment to give thanks for the love of family, the support of community, the kindness of strangers and most importantly, the gift of time. I encourage you to sit down with a warm cup of cocoa and allow yourself to get snowed in in Ryland Falls.