With Halloween behind us, November starts the holiday season–or so say the stores. I saw all sorts of Christmas stuff on my November 1 grocery trip. But before Santa and the tree comes Thanksgiving.
Though it was far from my favorite holiday growing up (it put my birthday, which is of course my favorite holiday, in the shadows, and I’m still no fan of turkey and stuffing), it has become near and dear to me. Gratitude is essential for living a positive life, and Thanksgiving reminds us of that.
As I got to thinking about Thanksgiving, I came across this list of gratitude journal prompts, one for each day of the month. Even reading them made my heart swell with gratitude and joy as answers came to mind. So I thought I would write them out here, so that you might read them and get inspired to do your own 30 days of gratitude–over the course of this month or maybe just over the course of a few days, like I did.
What smell are you grateful for today?
Oatmeal raisin cookies. When I went shopping at Sprouts this week, bulk raisins were on sale and I like to keep them on hand. When I opened the bin, they were so fresh and fragrant that I was immediately reminded of oatmeal cookies (and I went to buy some bulk oatmeal, too). My grandma generally made either oatmeal cookies or health cookies (spoiler: they weren’t that healthy, but they did have wheat germ in them), and the smell always reminds me of her. Reminds me of home.
What technology are you grateful for?
I’m not much of a tech guru, but I am pretty thankful for the internet in general. I’m also grateful I didn’t grow up with it.
What color are you grateful for?
Purple! My very, very favorite color. I’m grateful, of course, for the wide range of colors in the world and my ability to see and enjoy them, but purple is extra pleasing to me. It’s funny how much delight I get from a purple object, be it a mug or my purple pants.
What food are you most grateful for?
Nachos. (No judging.)
What sound are you grateful for today?
My dog has this toy with a low-pitched squeak that sounds sort of like a duck. That sound makes me laugh–he loves that toy.
What in nature are you grateful for?
All of it, but I’m always especially awed by the ocean. I could stare at it for hours.
What memory are you grateful for?
Oh, so many. So, so many. Life has been beautiful.
What book are you most grateful for?
How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. It was my first introduction to the yoga sutras, and it changed the way I look at yoga and at life.
What place are you most grateful for?
What taste are you grateful for today?
Kombucha. I don’t drink it very often (I need to start making my own), so I absolutely love it as a treat.
What holiday are you grateful for?
Christmas. It’s my favorite because it’s a long holiday. (Sometimes a little too long, when it starts in October, but still.) The parties, the gift giving, the treats, the traditions–I love it all.
What texture are you grateful for?
A horse’s nose. It’s the best. I’ve loved the way their noses feel my whole life, and I’m so grateful that I know what they feel like.
What abilities are you grateful for?
Writing and moving my body. Both have served me well, both personally and professionally. This whole blog came together because of my love for both of them.
What sight are you grateful for today?
I went with Brent and Maximo to the dog park. Usually they go alone in the mornings, as I’m generally at the gym, but it’s Saturday and I was free to go along with them. Watching him run and play is so much fun.
What season are you grateful for?
Summer! Of course, summer in Vegas is a little extreme, but summer in a place with all four seasons is the best (as long as you don’t have to stay for winter). I love the long days and the warm weather, and the stillness of the early morning when the birds are singing. Summer in a rural area is even better.
What about your body are you grateful for?
The way it grows and changes. It has looked and felt so different over the years, depending on what I was asking of it. There was my high school sports body, my I-just-discovered-pilates body, my college-era kickboxing instructor body, my now-I-lift-weights-all-the-time-body, my ballet lesson body, my marathon runner body, and now my F45 body. I’m so grateful for the way it adapts to what I ask of it.
I’m also overwhelmingly grateful that it’s generally well and healthy and strong, and that it has carried me around the world.
What knowledge are you grateful for?
That I don’t know everything.
What piece of art are you grateful for?
A Lion Hunt by Peter Paul Rubens. I was traveling a lot through Europe, stopping at art museums every chance I got, and I fell in love with Rubens and his work. A Lion Hunt was the first painting I ever saw and recognized as his, even though I’d never seen it before and hadn’t yet seen the placard that says the title and the artist. I had become familiar enough with his work that I knew it was his, and that was a neat moment for me. See the painting here.
What touch are you grateful for today?
Brent’s. 6.5 years later, those hugs are still the best.
Who in your life are you grateful for?
If you’re in my life, in any capacity, I’m grateful for you. I’m glad you’re here. Even the people I might consider “troublesome”… 😉 Who knows how things would have been without you?
What song are you most grateful for?
Hmm. Maybe “Push” by Matchbox Twenty. It’s not my favorite song of theirs, but it’s the first one I heard and it jump-started my love of that band. I can remember so many moments, starting in seventh grade, when that song was playing.
Also, a piano piece called Music Box Dancer. When I was a promising young pianist, it was the first rather masterful piece I ever memorized. It won me a couple of musical competitions and I played it as a guest in a musical/comedy show that people paid to see. 🙂 It gave me something to pull out of my hat when someone (usually a grandparent figure) said, “Play us something!” That was a long time ago. I haven’t owned a piano as an adult and couldn’t call myself a pianist anymore.
What story are you grateful for?
Wow, there are so many ways to look at this question. There’s this story of my life that I’m writing day by day, which I’m pretty fond of. There are stories I love to tell about the Smithwick fort and the time my brother accidentally used the wrong restroom in Austria that represent experiences I am grateful for. There’s The Giver, Everything is Illuminated, The Discovery of Heaven, Sons and Lovers, A Separate Peace, and Love in the Time of Cholera, stories that make my breath catch. There’s Dear Zachary, a story you can watch on Netflix, that made me cry (ugly-cry) from the love.
What tradition are you grateful for?
Growing up, I loved Christmas Eve. We’d go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house (next door), open presents from the grandparents and Aunt Judi, eat fudge and divinity, and then have what we called “cracker supper” which was basically an extravagant cheese-and-crackers arrangement. We’d go back to our house and were allowed to open one gift of our choosing from each other.
What challenge are you grateful for?
Marathon training. I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but doing that helped me redefine what I’m capable of and who I am as an athlete.
What moment this week are you most grateful for?
My Tuesday and Friday yoga classes. Both had more than 20 students, and there was such a powerful energy about both of the classes: everyone there was focused and receptive. And on Friday, one student told me he’s closer to another of the gym’s location, but he makes the drive specifically for my classes.
What form of expression are you most grateful for?
For my own purposes, writing and acting. It’s been a long while since I’ve done any acting, but it was such a phenomenal workshop for experimenting with emotions and human interaction.
What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for?
My electric toothbrush. It times me for two minutes, which I know I don’t give my teeth when I brush manually, and I feel it does a much better job overall.
What small thing that happened today are you grateful for?
I wrote a blog post for a client, and they gave it five stars and left me a really nice comment about how much they like it. That makes my day, especially because I know it’s easier for them to just buy it and not take the time to leave comments.
What friend/family member are you grateful for today?
My F45 family. I love my fellow trainers and our fantastic members. It’s an incredibly supportive community, and I genuinely miss them when I don’t see them–like today and tomorrow, I’m running instead of doing F45 workouts, and I look forward to Monday and the opportunity to see them all again.
What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for?
I think I answered this already. But another one? I’m patient and super-slow to anger.
What are you grateful for?