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With only four days before we celebrate Thanksgiving, I wanted to give thanks for the community that I am blessed to be a part of. I could never have imagined in December of 2008 that the little town of Smyrna, GA, where I frankly just happened upon, would come to be the place in which my family would make connections that have grown and will continue to grow for many years to come. It was the kind of accident I can be grateful for. As a little twist on this week's blog, please enjoy this article highlighting our most recent Community Connects event, Smyrna Unites, and share in the gratitude of having the privilege to live in a town worthy of praise, due to the wonderfully diverse and connected community members who call Smyrna home.

"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart full of grace, and a soul generated by love."- Coretta Scott King

"There is a beauty to the diversity that is Smyrna", affirms Pastor Derek Porter. "There is something in our diversity that we can teach, and we can share with the rest of the world how to do that." Pastor Porter, of Smyrna First United Methodist Church, spoke to a crowd of invited city leaders and community members, masked and socially distanced, but seated in the shape of a heart. The group converged days before the presidential election to share stories of healing and to celebrate Smyrna's numerous programs, policies, and massive outreach efforts.

"We wanted to do something ahead of the election to send a message loud and clear that regardless of who our next President is, it will always be up to us as individuals to listen, connect, and respect one another", says Rachel Hart, Co-Founder of ReConnectEd to Life. We get to choose everyday to create how we will experience our community, based on our commitment to do these three things. She tells the crowd, "By the way, our ability to listen, connect, and respect one another is directly related to how well we continue to listen to, connect with, and respect ourselves."

ReConnectEd to Life is a local business dedicated to educating about self-care through individual and group coaching, community events, retreats, and corporate workshops. Rachel Hart and Kinda Blomberg, both longtime Smyrna residents, co-founded ReConnectEd to Life in 2018 and was a recent recipient of the Cobb Chamber Small Business Relief Grant. Smyrna Unites was part of their "Community Connects" series, a quarterly offering that aims to drive home the idea that practicing consistent self-care enables us to accomplish our goals easier, foster more meaningful relationships, and better connect with our community. Put simply, Hart says, "When we feel better, we do better."