Gratitude Journal – Prompt #11


Photo credit: Pedro Lastra/

What holiday are you grateful for?

30 Days of Gratitude

Day #11 of the 30 Days of Gratitude prompts asks us which holiday we appreciate the most. My answer is that I enjoy most of the ones we celebrate here in the United States.

Holidays usually mean time off from work and the fast-paced lives we lead. However, getting ready for the celebrations themselves is  a lot of work!

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorites. Who doesn’t enjoy a day filled with delicious foods, family, and playing board games or watching football?

I have fond memories of waking up to the sounds of pots and pans banging around in the kitchen. The unmistakable aroma of stuffed turkey wafted up the stairs, as I scrambled out of bed to watch the Macy’s parade on TV. I marveled at the size of the giant balloons and always wished I could be in New York City for the festivities.


Against the cacophony of the hand mixer and other assorted sounds, I could hear my mom and grandma in the kitchen, sometimes in disagreement about how to prepare something. My dad would warn us not to get “underfoot.”

I helped set the table using the good china and fancy cutlery. A cloth table cover and napkins were used and some years I even made small place cards. We lit the candles with their autumn flower rings, enjoying the smell of cinnamon and apples. My mother served wine and even the children were given a small glass. I didn’t care much for the taste in those days, but certainly enjoy a good Cabernet today!


We looked forward to the yummy desserts, as well. Apple pie was my favorite and I came to appreciate pumpkin pie with a “healthy” dollop of whipped cream. There were usually cookies, a nut roll, and other assorted goodies.

All of these memories come flooding back as the sights, sounds, and smells occur every year. Of course, the setting has changed and the people have grown up and grown old. Some are no longer with us. 

What remains the same is the emotions that all the familiar sights and sounds evoke. These feelings of anticipation, gratitude, and nostalgia are an important part of the magic that makes holidays so special!

Happy Thanksgiving!













Gratitude Journal – Prompt #8


Photo Credit:  Annie Spratt/

30 Days of GratitudeDay #8 – What book are you most grateful for?

One of the advantages of the 30 Days of Gratitude Prompts is that they help us realize how lucky we are. Here in the United States we have easy access to books and reading materials of all kinds. Public libraries offer residents a wealth of resources: fiction, non-fiction, reference, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, CDs, DVDs, and the list goes on. The First Amendment guarantees our right to read whatever we want; the government cannot choose for us through censorship.

I developed a love of reading as a child that has stayed with me into adulthood. Once again, when asked which book I’m most grateful for, it’s difficult to choose only one. I’ve read so many that delighted and enlightened me. Between many text books, Bible stories, leisure reading, and others, I’ve learned a lot about life. 


One of my earliest favorites was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I saw the movie when I was ten years old and read the book a few years later. The dramatic courtroom scene left a lasting impression that shaped my feelings regarding race relations and equality. It helped me realize that some people are unfair and dishonest, while others are trustworthy and believe in justice for everyone. Atticus Finch, the children’s father and attorney fighting for a black man wrongly accused of rape, became one of the best known protagonists in American literature, as well as my hero.


Because of my age at the time, I identified with the children in the story: brother and sister duo, Scout and Jem, and their neighborhood friend, Dill.The storyline had quite an impact on me. It takes place during the Great Depression and I was fascinated by the world they lived in. I also enjoyed watching how they entertained themselves and interacted with each other and the adults around them. The reclusive neighbor Boo Radley mystified them and was subject to their wild speculation. Convinced that he would harm them if given the chance, they learn a valuable lesson about judging people based on unfounded fears rather than facts. 

The memorable characters and compelling storylines made this novel the classic that it is. I absolutely love the book and movie version and am thankful for the wisdom and sense of justice it taught me. I’m a better person for having read it and that’s truly something to be grateful for!

Carpe diem!


Gratitude Journal – Prompt #7


Photo credit: Michal Jarmouk/

Day #7 – What memory are you grateful for?

30 Days of Gratitude

Today marks Day 7 of the 30 Days of Gratitude Prompts. Like the others, it’s impossible to narrow the choices down to only one. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, “gratitude enlightenment” is about realizing the great number of choices we have. 

And I have many happy memories. Birthdays, holidays, school events, sleepovers, ice skating, sled riding…the list goes on and on. 

But, one of my many favorites is summer vacations at the beach. I was five years old when we took our initial trip to Florida. I remember my first glimpse of the ocean. There was water as far as the eye could see, all the way to the horizon and beyond. The sheer size of it amazed me. I loved how the waves never stopped rolling in. We spent hours riding them on our rafts, trying desperately not to capsize.


We also enjoyed playing in the warm sand, building castles and searching for shells, delighted when we found small crabs and jelly fish. 

Bologna sandwiches somehow tasted better at the beach, despite the sand that always managed to find their way between the slices of bread. 

Sometimes I would lie on my towel, close my eyes and just listen. The hot, tropical sun warmed my bones as the sounds of the surf and seagulls lulled me to sleep.


Of course, it wasn’t all magical. There were painful sunburns and bouts of car sickness and swimmer’s ear. There were fights with siblings and jellyfish stings. Occasionally, a wipeout while riding the waves caused brush burns, swallowed saltwater, and more than a few tears.

But, the memory is funny that way. It’s selective and we tend to remember the good stuff over the bad.

I believe this is one way that we unconsciously choose to be happy.

These wonderful memories were the beginning of my love for the beach. Returning year after year reinforced the feeling that I belonged there. They add to a wealth of other happy memories for which I’m truly grateful.

Spend some time today thinking about a favorite memory of your own. It may help to make a difficult day a little brighter or a good day even better!

Carpe diem!