Teri Vance: Focusing on gratitude during month of Thanksgiving

With November in full swing, we seem to be settling into a slower pace of life. Night comes early. It’s more appealing to stay at home bundled up than out on the town.

That often means more time for being introspective, especially as the holiday season approaches.

Many people participate in a self-motivated challenge to post something they’re grateful for every day of November in preparation for Thanksgiving.

I find myself inspired by these offerings of thanks, and it helps me reflect on my own gratitude.

In hopes that it may help you as well, I asked people to share their thoughts moving into this season of Thanksgiving.

April Smith has had circumstances that have made her appreciate people who show up during life’s struggles.

“I’ve been thankful for my friends where I live when I was in the hospital,” she said. “They helped me when I got out when things went wrong. My husband stood by me, and never left me.”

It truly is a gift to have friends and family who will buoy you through the hard times.

Sometimes, even strangers can be the ones we rely on.

Paula Callan realized this Thursday as she was waiting for word about her dad, who was in emergency surgery.

“I’m so thankful for modern medicine and technology,” she said. “And for his friends there who have been taking care of him at a moment’s notice.”

Perspective is a great teacher.

“As I see those around me every day who are fighting cancer and other life-altering health issues, I have so much gratitude in my heart for my life and for my health,” said Grace Greener. “Thank you God for blessing me and my family.”

In fact, most people shared gratitude for life’s simple pleasures, rather than grand possessions.

“I’m thankful for my health so I can appreciate my surroundings,” said Janine Bass. “I’m thankful for my freedom so I can enjoy life. Thankful for friends and family that make my life worth living. Above all, I’m thankful for music that fills my world with joy and passion. It has also brought into my life the most amazing people.”

Leslee Arnold is grateful for a warm home and her family.

Sarah Dahl is grateful for dogs. “And our symbiotic relationship,” she said.

What I learned from those who were willing to share, is that there is nothing too small to pause and give thanks for. Often, the seemingly insignificant gestures turn out to be the most meaningful.

Michelle Pedersen reminded me the importance of being thankful for what we can give.

“I’m thankful for my kids’ hugs,” she said. “They come in many sizes and with many purposes — sometimes to ‘butter me up,’ maybe because they just need a snuggle, sometimes it’s because their bruised little hearts need to be held. Whatever the reason I am thankful that my arms are still something they crave and a place they know they can come to where they will always feel wanted and loved.”


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