Finding Gratitude in the Storm   

It’s been such a difficult year for so many, myself included. Last month, COVID-19 turned our entire world upside down when my son Cory was diagnosed with the virus. I have lived through a lot of illness in my life, from my husband’s cancer battle to my breast cancer battle. Just like battling cancer, the unknown that comes with COVID-19 is unsettling. We still don’t know for sure how Cory contracted COVID-19; he was always so careful, did his best to social distance even when our state lifted some of our restrictions, and he wore his mask all the time. As an asthma sufferer, Cory was not taking chances. So when he suddenly developed a high fever and a cough, my heart skipped a beat.

When Cory’s test results came back positive and he became sicker by the day, I did everything I could to fight that feeling of dread and fear that sometimes paralyzes us. His wife Becca, a registered nurse, did an impeccable job caring for him and sending the family regular updates. Mollie was also home with me recovering from her surgery, so I was really busy which helped keep some of that worry at bay. Becca was able to keep Cory at home and his symptoms under control for as long as possible. When they had to treat Cory in the hospital for chest pains and shortness of breath, we all just prayed that he would recover and come home to his family.

With the help of very dedicated hospital staff, Cory’s oxygen levels improved, his symptoms stabilized, and he was released back home to recover. Today, he is on the mend and I thank God every day that my son is feeling better and that he survived this terrible disease. When November started, I was depleted but also feeling so blessed and thankful for my family’s health. I know that these feelings are difficult for so many people affected by this pandemic.

So many have lost loved ones this year, or have been affected financially because of the pandemic, that the feelings of gratefulness are a little harder to come by. With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s important to take a minute to appreciate life’s blessings, no matter how difficult it might be this year.

Here are just a couple of ideas to help you tap into those feelings of appreciation and thanks:

Cory, Becca and baby Jack
  • Celebrate Thanksgiving – I know so many people won’t get to travel or host family during the holidays. Regardless of how small the celebration might be, I encourage you to still celebrate the day. Set the table with your favorite china – even if it’s just for you and your partner – light some candles, put on your favorite music, and Facetime or host a Zoom with some of your loved ones who won’t be able to celebrate in person this year.
  • Comfort food – I don’t encourage using food as comfort, but don’t skip out on making the family favorite fare that typically graces your table during Thanksgiving. If you’re cooking for fewer people this year, make the same traditional foods but just make less of them. The foods you look forward to all year round will lift your spirits. In our house, we love my cranberry jello, corn pudding, and sweet potato souffle with pecans on top. Yum!
  • Create a Gratitude Tree – Ask your loved ones to write something they’re grateful for on a leaf, and then mail it to your house. If you’re particularly crafty, you can glue them to branches to create a gratitude tree. Read them out loud during Thanksgiving dinner while you count your blessings and share what you’re grateful for while hoping for better days ahead.

    I’m personally grateful for so many blessings in my life, from my family to my Bridals by Lori family, and to all of you – my amazing friends, fans, and supporters. Share some of the things you’re thankful for this year in the comments!

    Until next time,

    Lori Allen