Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

How will you be spending Thanksgiving Day? We’re all facing the threat of COVID-19 and also trying to celebrate Thanksgiving. You might find it hard to be giving thanks this year.

Yes, 2020 has been quite a year with the pandemic, political division, economic upheaval and social unrest. And COVID-19 has caused quite a few changes in Thanksgiving plans. There are concerns about the virus, and following the protocols with masks, social distancing and restrictions on meeting together, even in your own home. We have to follow guidelines to help everyone stay safe and healthy.

It’s normal to feel sadness for the changes, restrictions and the negative things that have happened. We have lost loved ones since last Thanksgiving. We know their spirits still live and we will remember them and be thankful for the time we had with them. Maybe you are feeling some losses, too. Hopefully, some good memories will help to ease the pain.

We can remember happy memories from past Thanksgivings. We were fortunate to get together with family then. We enjoyed a festive table and the traditional Thanksgiving food — turkey, stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and choice of apple or pumpkin pie, to top it all off. Too much food! No, it wasn’t all finished off that day. We were always happy when there were leftovers.

We also had an “unusual” memory from one Thanksgiving. It’s when we woke up the next day to a weird smell in the house. When we tracked it down, we found that the green bean casserole never made it to the table. It was still in the oven, and it was cold and ugly. Funny, no one even missed it and there was certainly no leftover green bean casserole that year!

Every year that we got together we would go around the table and everyone said what they were thankful for. Then we said a prayer of thanks for all our blessings, for those less fortunate and for the future. And this year can also be a time to give thanks!

This Thanksgiving our family will be separated, but that distance is only geographical. We are still as close as ever in our hearts. We look forward to being together when it’s OK to do so. We’ll be in touch by phone and maybe even by FaceTime or Zoom. We are thankful for technology.

Even though this Thanksgiving will have some changes, we’ll make it the best it can be. We’ll have the traditional Thanksgiving meal, but on a much smaller scale. Because it’s only the two of us sharing the holiday meal, we’re thankful for a freezer in case we have any leftovers.

The pandemic has changed how we celebrate Thanksgiving, but in a way, it has made giving thanks more meaningful. We are more aware of what’s really important in life. It’s not about the big meal or the festive table. It’s about being thankful for all our blessings and we pray for those who are less fortunate. We have to find more ways to help others.

We have a saying by an unknown author that hangs beside our office door. It says, ”This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or I can grow in its light and be of service to others. But what I do with this day is important, because I have exchanged a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. I hope I will not regret the price I paid for it.”

If it’s hard to think of what to be thankful for as we go through these tough times, try these things that we often take for granted. We are thankful for waking up in the morning, for faith and health, to see, to hear, to feel, and to be able to think. We’re thankful for family, friends, for nature, for freedom, our country and all who serve giving help during this difficult time. We’re thankful for the ability to make choices on things we can control. We’re also thankful for many more things.

What about you? What are you thankful for? As you look for things to be thankful for, it will help you see the many good things in life. We always say, "Each day is a gift."

We wish you many blessings and want you to know we are thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving, and let’s remember to give thanks every day!

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at