Giving thanks means different things to different people.
I'm thankful for each new day as I wake and put my voice processors on and sounds rush in that eluded me for years as I became deaf.
Thanks to cochlear-implant technology, I hear and understand speech, along with all the beautiful sounds -- and the annoying ones -- in our world.
I put my feet on the floor and push to stand, and I'm thankful my multiple sclerosis didn't steal that ability as I slept.
The fragrance of coffee greets me as I arrive in the kitchen and see my husband of almost 40 years.
As I do a mental scan over my years, I realize many people encouraged my faith and ability to be content no matter my situation.
Years ago, I broke my ankle and a fellow Battelle secretary sent me a card with this Scripture from Philippians 4:8: " ... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things."
Negativity abounds, and it can be a challenge to stay positive. The news, in general, seems to focus on crime, politics and disasters without the balance of good news and both sides of the story so we can form our own opinions.
Many people selflessly gave of their time to help those affected by the storms and fires this year. These people-helping-people stories are a breath of fresh air.
It would be naive to close our eyes to problems and not watch the news. I do recommend sifting through the blast of media to find the truth, when possible, and not the hype or the short sentences that don't tell the whole story. Do some research to seek what is true and what is right."
Some of that searching will show stories in our own town.
Last year, I wrote about the Stitching Sisters formed in 2004 by nurse practitioner Joanne Lester and 10 oncology patients.
This group of quilters has grown to nearly 400 people working on these blankets in some capacity. They started making quilts for oncology patients at James Care in Dublin.
The good news about this group, whose members work year-round, never seems to stop.
Lester told me, "We've surpassed 17,000 quilts since 2005. We are now providing quilts for nearly all the outpatients receiving chemotherapy at the James Cancer Hospital (at) the Ohio State University."
For each of these cancer patients who snuggle into a quilt during treatment, this group of people works to make each day more bearable. Patients and quilters alike probably were able to think, at least for a moment, about the good things.
Chuck Rees is president of the Gahanna Lions Club. He joined in December 1983 after he had this experience:
"I was assigned to take turkey, ham and groceries to a woman who was mother to seven boys. The 4-year-old gave a big hug and said there is a Santa Claus. I started crying and so was everyone else. I asked the mother why it was so cold in the house. She said the electric and gas had been turned off due to nonpayment."
This Lions Club dug deep into their pockets to collect $200 to pay her utilities.
Speaking of cold, it is upon us. The Knitting/Crochet Ministry of St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in Gahanna is making hats, scarves, blankets and more for those in need. This year, the ministry will exceed 15,000 handmade items as it gives to 48 different organizations. Members also made 50 fleece blankets, 100 men's hat sets and 60 women's sets for homeless or needy veterans in the Stand Down program.
More than 150 people knit and crochet for this ministry, and not just in Ohio.
Efforts such as these are happening all around us. You likely have a story of your own.
We may not see your story on the news, but many people are helping to create a thankful attitude our nation needs.
Local author Liz Thompson writes the Day by Day column for ThisWeek News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.