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Easy to give thanks, when appreciating what we have

By: Carol Feineman, editor
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Millions of Americans have been unhappy this past year as bleak economic news continued almost daily about vanishing jobs and jeopardized mortgages. And just as many Americans have helplessly watched their retirement plans take a nosedive, due to the sour economy. So many family members sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner tonight might not feel that festive. That’s why I wish everyone who’s a little blue these days over the economy could meet 27-year-old Mitzi Watson. For the last six months, Watson has been a single mom to four children, ages 1, 3, 5 and 7. Her husband doesn’t live with the family at this time and he’s unable to work. The couple moved to Lincoln from Sacramento less than two years ago “to find a better life and get our kids in a better school,” according to Watson. Shortly after relocating here, her husband, who was a carpenter, had an operation that caused permanent foot damage, Watson explained. “We went from two incomes to one income,” Watson said. “At the time, I was working full time and we were mostly relying on his income for the bills. Moving here, we also found out that one of our children had autism. It was devastating, finding that out.” These past months have taken a toll on Watson as the family’s bills mounted and it became harder for her to provide her children with the basic necessities. But this Lincoln mother on Friday sounded happy and upbeat. If she hadn’t told me, I would never have guessed she has been under so much pressure to provide for her family. “We’re going through a lot of family turmoil. There’s a separation in the family. During this time, it’s been a real struggle, financially and emotionally,” Watson admitted. And yet she’s looking forward to this holiday season of expressing her thanks. “I have a lot to be thankful for, my healthy family, for a new full-time job at Sprint, for a hopefully new house within the next month,” Watson said, “and God’s grace to get me through the tough times I’m going through.” She credits the Salt Mine, a church and food bank in Lincoln, with helping her family get past those times. “The Salt Mine has been very supportive,” Watson said. “Anything we’ve needed, they’ve given us (food, clothing, toys for my children and just the emotional support has been amazing). I don’t feel like I’m alone; they’re a phone call away.” That’s a far cry from a year ago when she began questioning why she moved to Lincoln. “We had no friends or family here when we moved here and no money. All those thoughts and feelings about whether we should be here went away when we found the Salt Mine,” Watson said. “As soon as I walked in the Salt Mine’s doors, I felt like I belonged.” That’s because Salt Mine members cared about Watson and her family. “I’ve got ladies from church who call me up and check on me and pray with me,” Watson said. “A lot of people go to the Salt Mine, who are established in the community and they’ve gotten close to my family. We’ve developed a lot of solid relationships with people and that’s really amazing.” Now Watson’s giving back to the community by referring residents who might need some food staples, church and even some basic friendship to the Salt Mine “I didn’t have a church back in Sacramento. Now I hardly ever miss a Sunday, my kids love it. The kids constantly ask me if it’s Sunday,” Watson said. “Last Christmas, when we weren’t sure if the kids would have toys to open on Christmas, in a couple of days, here comes (Pastor) Eric (Long) letting us know there were a bunch of toys, including a bike for my daughter.” This year is bright for Watson. “I’ve got a lot to be thankful,” Watson said. Did you know? The Salt Mine is a Christian church, with its primary mission being a food bank. The Salt Mine gave food boxes to 1,000 Lincoln and Sheridan families in October, according to Eric Long, one of the two Salt Mine pastors. All proceeds of the church’s two thrift stores on 454 F St. and 105 Floccini Drive helps fund the food bank. The Salt Mine’s Food Bank is open 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays through Fridays at 590 G St. Canned-food, thrift-store items and cash donations can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Sunday services are at 10 a.m. at the Salt Mine. For more information, call 645-3778. Carol Feineman can be reached at carolf@goldcountrymedia.com