A Starting Point for Daily Gratitude

“Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us – it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children.”

Joyce Brothers

Thanksgiving Day is almost here. Tomorrow Americans will shower accolades upon loved ones and give thanks to higher powers for their prosperity. I get this and I will also oblige. But why limit all this positive abundance of gratitude to just one day each year? I’d like to specifically share with you a few additional areas of thankfulness that I include with my daily contemplations.

Clean Water

I don’t take our water for granted. Just watch the National Geographic channel and you will see people drinking murky water straight out of polluted, muddy rivers and lakes. Ours is crisp, clean, tasty and clear. We enjoy clean and abundant drinking water straight from our well.

Water is a valuable global resource and here on the St. Lawrence River, we are blessed in this regard. For this, I am very grateful.


When the coronavirus hit our community, I became aware of something I never fully considered before – the ability to freely take air in and out of our lungs.

I was surprised to learn that so many people in my circle suffer from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis and basic allergies that inhibit their ability to breathe with ease.

I am completely grateful that I have a healthy set of lungs, and I plan to do everything in my power to keep them that way!

In addition to brisk daily walks, I practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique. This technique not only helps with breathing, but also offers other potential health benefits, including anxiety relief.

Physical Security

Safety is something I will never take for granted.

When I was much younger, before I met my husband, I did not always feel safe. I had a few scrapes with physical and mental abuse.

Also, I have lived in unsafe neighborhoods. I know what it is like to be living in fear. I’m thankful that those days were short-lived.

On a broader scope, I’m thankful that we don’t live in a war zone. As a country, we are very lucky. Yes, we have pockets of violence but it is not as widespread as in countries with whole generations of citizens whom have never known peace.

Personal Autonomy

I am grateful that I am able to make my own decisions in my life. I always took this for granted until my mother lost her cognitive skills shortly before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

It was a sad day when she surrendered her financial, medical, legal and other basic living decisions to me. And she did so very gracefully. I hope that when my day comes, I will be able to give all that up with the same level of dignity.

Every day that I wake up and can think, act, decide and care for myself without the aid of others, I am extremely grateful.


Don’t get me wrong, I love a loud party filled with music, fun and laughter as much as the next person. But as I get older, I am increasingly grateful for peace and quiet.

There’s something to be said about having time to yourself, with your own thoughts. In much of my adult life I was moving from place-to-place, serving in the Navy and raising a family with an insane social calendar. Although I wouldn’t trade any of it in for the world, I never had a moment to myself.

Believe it or not, social distancing practices from the covid-19 pandemic have helped me to slow down and kick things down a few notches. Having quiet time is golden and I have a deep appreciation for the serenity that I am now able to enjoy.

I am thankful for so much more, but this is a starting point. Appreciation for our basic needs should not be overlooked. Contemplating abundance in gratitude has brought my life more joy, peace and mental wellness. And it will do the same for you, if you approach it with honesty and an open heart.

Do you want to learn more about the benefits of abundance in gratitude? This Huff Post article is a good place to start:

Abundance in Gratitude Equals Abundance in Life by Brianna Smalley

Thankful for this guy!

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)

Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.


  1. Barb, that was a really nice red and great thing to keep in mind when being grateful. I love reading your blogs. Keep them coming.

    Love you soooo much sis!

  2. Thank you Barb for reminding me of the multitude of items I have to be grateful but most of all I am grateful to call you and Steve our dearest friends. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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