Well, it’s that time of year again … the time of year when families gather together around the table and give thanks for all their many blessings. Thanksgiving – here in the U.S. – has evolved into a day of feasting and football, a day to playfully argue over the proper pronunciation of pecan, and a day that usually ends with a refrigerator stuffed with leftovers and a stuffed grandpa snoozing in the La-Z-Boy.

But this year is different.

With the pandemic still raging – and getting even worse in a majority of states – a lot of families will NOT be gathering this year. My own son and daughter-in-law, who live out in Colorado, both recently tested positive for CoVid and are quarantining at home. And while my daughter lives close by here in Florida, her boyfriend is a manager at a grocery store and is consequently around hundreds of people on a daily basis – a fact that warrants pause and caution when contemplating gathering. And then there’s my husband’s mother and my own parents – who are in their eighties and who all have health issues.

For us, the risk is just too great.

So here we are – in a time meant to foster gratitude and happiness, and we find ourselves cultivating anxiety and depression instead.

And then I remembered: THERE ARE LITTLE JOYS EVERYWHERE. You’ve just got to look for them. Acknowledge them. Say a simple prayer of thanks for them.

The golden beauty and eternal hopefulness of the rising sun. The rhythmic, soothing sounds of crashing waves on a sandy beach. The nostalgia evoking scent of chimney smoke from the first fire of the season. The gently falling rain glistening against pumpkin colored leaves. Coming through the front door after taking your four-legged family member for a walk to be welcomed by the delicious smells of a turkey roasting in the oven and an apple pie cooling on the counter.

Yes, Thanksgiving will be different this year but there is still a bounty of blessings to be grateful for.

And I’m giving thanks for them all.