This is my favorite time of year! I love November and Thanksgiving.

My favorite daughter was born in November. Fall colors. Pumpkin flavors. Family gatherings and holidays. Making turkeys out of rolos, vanilla wafers, and candy corn. Parades on TV and card games. These are just a few of my favorite things.

But, what I love the best is the reminder to count my blessings and to offer gratitude.

When looking at 2020, one may only see a pandemic, quarantine, illness & death, an election, riots, and division. This year, it feels even more significant that we take time to give thanks.

If I woke up with my loved ones alive and healthy, I have something for which to be thankful.

If I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat, and water to drink, I can be grateful.

But, it doesn’t have to stop there. What I focus on grows. The list of things for which I am thankful expands when I pause to consider them. When gratitude becomes my focus, my perspective of the world shifts. It’s one simple step that produces dramatic results.

When my children were little, I made leaves of construction paper. Each day we would write something for which we were thankful on a leaf to be hung on a branch of a tree. As we decorated the Thanksgiving tree, my heart was warmed by my children’s practice of gratitude.

As an adult, it is easy to get bogged down by news, politics, and pandemics. I get stressed by my job, overwhelmed by house projects, and afraid of the future. It’s in these moments that I need the practice of thanksgiving the most to shift my focus.

Whether I post on Facebook, write in a journal, share around the dinner table, or just pause for reflection, my challenge in November is to turn my focus to thanksgiving and watch it grow.

Contact Roxanne Converse-Whiting at roxanne@gothenburgleader.com, or call 308.536.6499