Josh Kramer

As you grow older, time seems to speed up.

Did you, like me, hear that phrase spoken when you were growing up? I’m really starting to understand it now.

It is hard to believe we are entering the last month of 2021. Soon, another year will pass. Several thoughts race through my mind. I make mental notes of the dozens of things left to do, both at work and at home. (Heck, I haven’t even tuned up the snowblower yet, I remind myself.)

Just as a slight sense of panic sets in, I hear that calming voice inside my head. “Chill out and breathe.”

With a few deep breaths, better thoughts enter my mind. Thoughts of generosity, charity and service. Fitting themes for life always, but particularly poignant each holiday season.

All issues of North Dakota Living share common content. It’s the stories and pages you’ll find in the front and back of this publication. But appropriately placed at the heart of North Dakota Living are unique sets of local pages produced by electric cooperatives exclusively for their members. Here, you’ll find stories about your local electric cooperative and local communities.

December’s local pages are typically some of my favorites, and this year is no exception.

Many cooperatives choose to spotlight local food pantries, thrift stores, churches or organizations that serve our community members in need. Some provide donation lists with the food, clothing or household items in short supply.

Electric cooperatives demonstrate their investment in future generations, sharing information about student scholarships and the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour essay contest.

Cooperatives share resources available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or invite “Secret Santas” to consider paying electric bills of anonymous members in need.

Personally, I look forward to helping serve a meal to local community members with my colleagues from our statewide association, the N.D. Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, later this month.

I am proud to say as electric cooperatives, we put our words into action. Yes, we provide electric service, but we do our part, too. We are united in our commitment to improve the quality of life for our members and the communities we serve.

Too often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Me included. Let’s remember that little voice inside our head. Take a deep breath. Reflect on what matters. Commit to generosity, charity and service to others.

Merry Christmas!

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC. Contact him at