All month long our readers have been sharing what they’re most thankful for this year in our 2012 Thanksgiving reflection here at  It started out as a “contest”,  but that label now seems too casual for the personal  response we received.  I was so moved to read the stories people shared about their lives and the reasons for which they are grateful.  Dozens of people offered thoughts and even family photos.  Whether you’re most thankful for health, family, a job, retirement or our constitutional rights, your thoughts highlight the range of blessings we’ll be celebrating with our loved ones this Thanksgiving.

We were offering gifts for three participants, we drew three names and are revealing them today.  All three will receive gift cards to shop at Barrington’s new grocery store, Heinen’s Fine Foods.   So, without further delay, the first three reflections featured below are the ones that were randomly drawn today, followed by others equally significant…

1.  Margaret, Cary

“I am thankful for my two wonderful children.

I lost my job and home two years ago, but my children have been there to help me deal with all the loss.

My daughter has opened her house for me to live in and I would love to win one of the gift cards to help with groceries.

I am also so grateful for all my blessings because, even though it appears I have lost everything, I have the love of my family and that is the greatest gift of all.”

2.  LeeAnn, Carol Stream

“I am thankful for each and every blessing I have experienced each day when I get to serve others and impact their lives.

I have learned that I am most thankful for a good attitude as it can change your life if you work on it everyday.

With a gift card I would love to bless someone less fortunate I know that is struggling to make ends meet so they have something extra to be thankful for :)”

3.  Carlos, Tower Lakes

“This year, on January 7th, I lost my wife to breast cancer.  Me and my two children, even as we picked up the pieces of our lives, have so much to be thankful for.

Family, friends and everyone who is part of our lives have done everything to make sure we are happy, healthy and moving forward.

I personally am extremely thankful for meeting someone, April, who has befriended our family and been the world to us while stepping into a very large role.”

Thank you so much to Heinen’s Fine Foods for offering these very generous gifts, well-timed for the holiday season.  Thank you Margaret, LeeAnn and Carlos.  We sincerely appreciate the thoughts you shared and I’ll be in touch this week to make arrangements to give you your Heinen’s gift cards.  You are three of many from the Barrington area who shared heartfelt words of thanks this month.

All of us at wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Here’s a look at all of the touching, personal and, at times, humorous Thanksgiving thoughts we received from our readers in recent weeks…

4.  Windy, Deer Park

“I am so very thankful for my family.

I have a wonderful husband who risks his life every day as a police officer and for my 2 beautiful children who are my whole life.

They are 4 and 7, and I really try to teach them how important it is to be THANKFUL every day for how blessed we are.”

5.  Jordan, Barrington

“I am thankful that I moved to Barrington recently to live with my dad, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m thankful for all the people who have made me feel so welcomed and at home here, and my family.”

6.  Bradley

“I’m thankful that God stepped in on the election :)”

7.  Amy, Barrington

“This year, I married the love of my life so I am thankful for my husband!

We had an absolutely beautiful wedding in March and I can’t believe we already have 7 months of wedded bliss under our collective belt.

Life is good!”

8.  Patricia, Lake Villa

“I am Soo Thankful for a roof over my head, food in my fridge, my Family, and Friends, and our health!! Just wish all our East Coast brothers and sisters soon have the same 🙁 ”

9.  Jessie

“I am thankful for our new sweet baby, she has completed our family perfectly.”

10.  Christine, Barrington

“I’m thankful for Retirement.”

11.  Rachel, Barrington

“I am thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends.  Thank you for every single day!”

12.  Maria, Barrington

“Today I am most thankful for my family, my health and most especially for our friends in the Barrington area.

Last November, I was diagnosed with a tumor on my spinal cord and I was told that I would need two surgeries.

Knowing that the surgery was very serious and that the outcome could severely impair my mobility, we reached out to our family, friends and our children’s school communities for help.

Their outpouring of love and support was overwhelming!

For nearly two months, while I was hospitalized, our family flew in from all over the country to take care of our four children. We received meals for nearly six months! I had a driver every day to drive our children to school and yet another driver three times a week to take me to see my physical therapist since I wasn’t driving during those six months as well.

One year ago this Thanksgiving day, I was in intensive care not able to walk let alone move my extremities. Today, I am walking, driving and most importantly home with my husband and beautiful four children.  Our family was able to make it through last year in large part through the grace of God, but also because of the generosity of others. This Thanksgiving we are especially…grateful!!!”

13.  Trish, Mundelein

“I am thankful this year for my Sister and Mom–This year with my husband losing his job they are always there for me to listen, help and a shoulder to cry on. They are my rocks and I appreciate them very much!!!”

14.  Jacquie, Tower Lakes

“Within a space of two short months, my brother learned that his wife had beaten cancer and that his oceanfront year-round home in New Jersey still stands securely after the hurricane. His experiences remind me to be thankful for a warm home, good health, and the enduring love and closeness of family.”

15.  Amy, Cary

“My life. And for my husband. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gotten the treatment needed to stay alive. I’m recuperating now, but thankful I’m still here. Still a lot of fight left.”

16.  Sandi, Algonquin

“I am thankful to live in a country that we have the right to vote our conscience for the candidate of our choice.”

17.  Juan, Barrington

“1:  I am thankful to have another Thanksgiving with my family after finding out I had Colon Cancer Last Year and Still fighting

2: I am thankful for our landlord in working with us and our situation.

3: I am thankful to have the mental support from my wife and our 3 children who are 5, 6 and 13 years old. Plus the Cancer support group at Good Shepherd Hospital.”

18.  Maria, Barrington

“I am thankful that my husband and his mother where able to mend their relationship that had been on the rock for too long. We now are able to visit her openly and the kids are loving it. Sadly, my mother-in-law is in the late stages of liver cancer. However, we are blessed and thankful to have this time with her. Recently, my husband made her one of her favorite dinners. She sat at the table with us and was able to eat. I am very thankful for this peaceful moment.”

19.  Sandra, Barrington

“I’m thankful for my family and friends and a wonderful country.”

20.  Therese, Barrington

“Last year, our extended family gathered for Thanksgiving in Northwest Community Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit waiting room. Our dad had suffered bilateral strokes as the result of surgical complications, spent 27 days in ICU, was released to another care facility, but the day before Thanksgiving had to be rushed back to ICU for another week due to a thyroid artery rupture (presumably from his trach hitting it). I am so very thankful that our dad is stable and getting good care, and that we will (hopefully) not be spending Thanksgiving in the ICU waiting room.”

21.  Joanne, North Barrington

“I am thankful to have my daughter, Dina, coming home from her first year of college in California and hosting a “Thanksgiving” dinner get together at our home on Saturday night. These first year college students are roasting a turkey and bringing all the trimmings to break bread together and hopefully start a new tradition. The best part, we get to host this wonderful occasion at our home. I already have the table set and am looking forward to seeing the “gang” too, if only for a bit as they put this together themselves. We love having her friends over anytime.
We are thankful to have your wonderful new Heinen’s store in town. My 85-year-old mom loves going there and enjoys the people. It makes grocery shopping a fun event for her.
P.S. We also have a family recipe for the stuffing from my grandma that we share and bring out every year too! Happy Turkey Day!!!!”

22.  Lucy, Barrington

“I am thankful that we still have our sweet gentle lab Sadie.

She was so sick she almost died in June, but we got a miracle and she recovered.

She fills our hearts with love and gratitude.”

23.  Denise, Lake Barrington

“Certainly this year, I add to “my health and happiness” which is always my answer seeing what is going on for the East Coast people…a roof over my head, electricity, drinking water, heat and a warm bed.”

24.  Lynn

“love, acceptance, compassion”

25.  Keely, Carpentersville

“I’m very thankful for my parents that have shown how true wedding vows are especially in sickness and health. Both parents had triple bypass surgeries in 2010 within 3 weeks of each other. Dad came out great. Mom had many complications. One complication has been kidney failure. My Dad takes her at 4:30am three days a week without a single complaint. They will also be celebrating their 48th anniversary this Thanksgiving. I’m blessed to bear witness to that!”

26.  Cindy

“Thankful that I can thank god each and everyday for all the blessings he had gifted me!”

27.  Tara

“family friends and the good lord above”

28.  Carolina

“I am thankful that my family members in NJ and CT are safe.”

29.  Susan, Barrington

“I am thankful that I live in a country where I am free to express my views even if they are different from my neighbor. I am thankful we live in a diverse place. I am thankful for my health and for my children. I am thankful for my friends and family accepting me for who I am.”

30.  Dawn

“I am thankful for God, family, friends, and that I live in America!!!  God Bless America!!!

31.  Donna

“I am thankful for healthy children and to finally be moving on to a new chapter of my life!! Life is great and i am so happy to have made Barrington my new home!!! :)”

32.  Claudia, Barrington

“I am thankful for being able to breathe fresh air/walk/run/talk/see/ and live my life. I was in a serious car accident in 2006 that left me partially disabled.  So I am thankful for my life and my family.”

33.  Debbie, Roselle

“I’m thankful to be working at Heninens. It’s been a joy taking care of the customers at Heinen’s.”

The new Heinen’s Fine Foods store is located at the Shops at Flint Creek, 500 N. Hough Street, in Barrington, Illinois. They’re now open from 8:00 a.m. To 8:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Click HERE to follow them on Facebook or find them online at

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