Readers give thanks for the little things

No doubt about it, this year has been a tough ride for so many families. Job losses, foreclosures, car accidents, health problems and even the state budget crisis took its toll. But parents are an optimistic bunch set on looking at the bright side. This Thanksgiving, families across Chicago and suburbs reflect on the good things they have discovered.

  • word_bubble_bigMy first inclination was to write what my family has been through in the last year and how we bounced back: job loss, injuries, auto accidents, extended family illness, home repairs, etc. But then I thought about how funny it is when someone offers me sympathy for seeing these external setbacks when our family is blessed in so many ways. Yes, we struggle every day to make ends meet. We go without many modern conveniences other people take for granted and try not to get bitter or jealous of others. Because what we do have is so much more meaningful: compassion, manners, a heated home with running water, a stocked pantry, medical insurance and loved ones who care about us.
  • I know many other people don’t have half of these things. God bless all of you out there who feel like you are experiencing hardship and good luck on experiencing the joys in life. I hope your dreams come true.
    Penny Pierce

  • word_bubble_bigI am thankful that my parents have opened their home up to me and my five children and my granddaughter. We are thankful to have a home to stay in, food on the table and that we are all together.
    Tanya White

  • word_bubble_bigMy husband has been out of work for over a year and we have had no car since Christmas, but we are thankful that we still have our home, health and we have been able to get back to basics on a lot of stuff.
    Robyn Westfallen

  • word_bubble_bigWe are thankful. Being a single mom is tough. With only one income it can be really challenging. We can’t always get what we want but God blesses us to have everything we need and we are so thankful!
    Shamieka Kirksey

  • word_bubble_bigThe year started off scary for my family. As we returned from a Christmas and New Year’s road trip to Las Vegas we rolled over in Nebraska in our SUV. Myself, my wife and my two sons walked away with no injuries. Always wear your seatbelts as I attribute our safety on that day to that.
    Miguel Mocha

  • word_bubble_bigMy family is extremely thankful to be surviving in these hard economic times. I am very thankful that my husband has a great job to support us, so that I am able to stay home with our two kids. We have had to make cutbacks and watch our money, but we are very thankful. We are very thankful for our wonderful extended families that are always there to help us out and who we would help out in a heartbeat. We are thankful for a roof over our heads, food and good health.
    -Heather Holtz

  • word_bubble_bigWe are thankful to be alive, have a wonderful healthy family and have the chance to help and encourage others every day.
    Tina Muz

  • word_bubble_bigI am thankful for everything I have in my life – a great husband/kids and lots of family members including my parents, awesome friends, a job, my health and my house.
    Ara Sotelo-Cambray

  • word_bubble_bigI am very thankful that my elderly father, who also has Parkinson’s disease, has overcome his hip surgery and can still walk enough to get him though the day. And that my husband has returned back to work.
    Laura Wysocki

  • word_bubble_bigDespite all the bad news, my husband losing his job and losing loved ones this year. I have managed to keep my job, get a raise; my husband, my son and I have our health. We have a roof over our heads and food on the table.
    Maritza Rodriguez

  • word_bubble_bigWe are a family that has much to be thankful for. My husband got laid off, but he is still receiving unemployment. I have been sick consistently with one problem to another and haven’t been able to work, but our children are all healthy and they have been wonderful with all the cutbacks we’ve had to make. We are truly blessed and thankful for the things we do have.
    Machelle Anderson

  • word_bubble_bigThis year my family has a lot to be grateful for. With so many people being laid off, our household has only experienced a decreased income due to mandatory furlough days. For that I am thankful. We lost our beloved uncle this last month to cancer, but we learned in enough time to share last words. For that I am thankful.Since August, we were praying for a couple at our church whose baby was born prematurely. The baby is in heaven with the Lord now. Thanksgiving for us this year has meant taking what is given and finding the blessings in the midst of every circumstance. In all things give thanks.
    Senia Durns

  • word_bubble_bigI’m grateful that I have my family in good health. I am most grateful that, despite of some of them losing their jobs, they have a great attitude towards what their futures hold for them.
    David Hernandez
  • I am soooo thankful that both my father and mother-in-law will be with us this holiday season. With a heart attack and bypass surgery for my dad and a debilitating car accident for my mother-in-law, I am thankful that God has given them and us another holiday season together. Nothing in life for granted.
    Nicole Sullivan

  • word_bubble_bigI lost my job a year ago because the company closed its doors and have been job searching since. I worked full-time for 20 years, and your identity of who you are (or think you are!) is tied to your job title. But I have learned to refocus on what is most important to me-my kids, my family and my friends. This time home has given me the time to focus on my life outside of work. I’ve also learned that you need to count your blessings every day. Be thankful for the little things in life and it helps you put all into perspective: That beautiful autumn day, calling a good friend just to chat or that beautiful crayon drawing your daughter made for you in school, how lucky am I! I am thankful to God for my kids being healthy, for all of my family’s health and realize that we are very blessed-despite the economy.
    -Karen Mowinsky

  • word_bubble_bigWe go to a very small school (St. Irene in Warrenville) and it has about 150 kids from preschool-eighth grade. One of our families had a parent recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Despite all the chaos the family was going through, the mom decided to run in the Chicago Marathon, with a goal of raising ,000 in pledges for research for melanoma. The kids in our school held a coin drive last week, whereby they brought in change. After the week was over, I took the money in to be counted and they told me the total amount: ,084. I cried right there at the teller’s counter. These kids, who emptied their piggy banks, searched the couch cushions and tapped their allowances (with the help of parents) raised an average of 0 a day among only 150 kids! I had the privilege of bringing the money to this family, and it was truly one of the best experiences ever.
    Laura McGowan
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