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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — There are so many reasons to be thankful

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year. It combines several things that I really enjoy: spending time with family, great food, football and hunting. These are each an important part of the Johnson family tradition and each year I look forward to this occasion.

I am generally a glass-is-half-full, upbeat, positive type of person. I try to see the good in everything and everyone.

However, this most recent flood has somehow lead to me being more negative than I should. As a sort of therapy for myself, I decided to do as I have done in the past, and name all of the things I have to be thankful for as an outdoorsman.

I am thankful for being born in a country where I get to go fishing and hunting. I am thankful for the men and women who fought for my freedom. I am thankful for my parents who introduced me to the great outdoors. I am thankful for my great grandmother who took me fishing and squirrel hunting. I am thankful for my friend who taught me how to train duck dogs. I am thankful to have been blessed to make a living training those dogs. I am thankful to those who helped me be able to afford to continue hunting and fishing when money was tight.

I am thankful for the guy who taught me how to shoot a bow and arrow. I am thankful for the friend who taught me to clean a deer. I am thankful for my teachers who taught me how to write about the outdoors. I am thankful for those who published and those who read my stories. I am thankful for the man who taught me how to blow a duck call. I’m thankful for my friend who showed me how to run a trot line. I’m thankful for my friends and hunting partners who helped me track and drag my deer back to camp. I am thankful for the guy who turned me on to hog hunting.

I am thankful for the friend who took me to the mountains on an elk hunt. I’m thankful for my friend who guided me on a hunt to kill a pronghorn. I am thankful that my children have spent time hunting and fishing with me. I am thankful that my wife has understood and supported my passion for the outdoors.

Most of all I am thankful that I can enjoy God’s creation with peach in my heart, knowing that He saved my soul. Today, this week and forever, I choose joy and I choose to be thankful. I am truly a blessed man.

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.