The weeks before an election can be nasty.
There are negative campaign ads on TV and the letters to the editor often contain a mean undertone.
So Tuesday morning, it was refreshing to open the inbox for the letters to the editor that came overnight and find a different slant.
Of the first five emails we opened, all five of them were letters expressing gratitude.
The Christian author William Arthur Ward wrote, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
Well, the Mid-Columbia is definitely giving that wrapped gift.
November naturally is a month for saying "thanks," and we're grateful this week to all those who have helped make our Thankful Thursday experiment a success by expressing their gratitude for others.
There's a warm feeling on this page on Thursdays ... and we like it.
Three-year-old Clara Woodward was buried this week.
Half of her life was spent fighting cancer and this community rallied around her with Hope for Clara.
There were fundraisers and blood drives and T-shirts and wrist bands.
We're grateful for the support this community gives people like Clara and her family.
And although her spirit stubbornly clung to life much longer than anyone thought her body was capable of, the hope for Clara is stronger in death than was in life.
The Woodwards have a faith that sustains them and inspires us. We appreciate that.
Clara's short life reminds us that we're thankful for modern medicine and strong souls and sweet memories and for the assurance of brighter days ahead.
Raise your tents
Our hearts also are warmed by people willing to face the chill to raise money and awareness for the homeless.
In this community, the homeless problem is not as visible as it is in some of our larger cities. But it still exists.
The money raised by people spending a few nights in their tents in a public park helps the Union Gospel Mission care for those who need a place to stay.
But the awareness raised might be even more meaningful and definitely longer lasting.
The participants certainly walked away from their sleeping bags grateful for their beds and homes. And those of us who drove past John Dam Plaza, with our car heaters keeping us toasty from head to toe, couldn't help but share some of those same thoughts.
Actions spring from thoughts, so thoughts are a very good place to start.
We also appreciate those who donate to our food banks. It's a case of every little bit helps.
A can of food here and a can of food there may not seem like very much to the giver, but it adds up.
Unfortunately, many of us know it doesn't take much for the scales to tip from doing OK financially to needing some help. We're all subject to life's ups and downs.
So if you're not completely down, you must still be a little on the up side. If you can help a little, be grateful for the resources you have.
We're grateful for people's generosity all times of the year, but especially when it's cold.