The Gratitude Project concludes.

November 27, 2008

Illustration by Sally Mara Sturman,
Illustration by Sally Mara Sturman,

It’s Thanksgiving Day, so I thought it a good time to conclude my little Gratitude Project. I have to say, I am so impressed by you people! It’s been a pleasure every day to turn on the computer and see what people are thankful for. I’ve learned so much and I’ve been so inspired by everything I’ve seen here.

Two things strike me as I go down the list of comments for each day–we are amazingly diverse. And we are remarkably consistent. We love our families, first and foremost. Our pets and our friends rank high. Mothers and husbands seem to be in a class by themselves. We’re thankful when somebody has a good opinion of us. We’re filled with hope, even when times are tough. Some of us even found the bright side of being laid off or surviving lousy economic times. We love books like there’s no tomorrow. We love comforting things to eat and drink. We adore the beauty and drama of nature–sunshine, starlight, a blustery wind, a storm. We’re thankful for our health, and even on days when it’s not so good, we’ve been able to find something to be grateful for anyway.

We meet people who strive every day to make the world better in whatever way they can, and we value them. We’re grateful for people who make the grand gestures–like fostering children–to the mundane–driving a friend to an appointment or covering for someone at work.

I loved hearing from the young hip ones telling us about Scrivener and Fuze. And the wise women of all ages reminding us of the things that really matter, everything from hugging a child to Dulce de Leche coffee creamer. I loved the intriguing, even cryptic comments, and the creative acrosstics. I loved the comments that made me smile or even laugh out loud.

What a great group! We are writers, dreamers, lovers of beauty. We are thankful for families, friends, beauty, health, meaning.

The one thing I didn’t get from the postings: stuff. Money. Sure, we’re grateful to have full bellies and a roof over our heads. But if there was a gratitude post about a THING, it was because the thing does what it’s meant to do–a car heater turns on, a hair product works, a pair of shoes feels comfortable, a sweater feels soft.

I’m not seeing anyone here who is grateful for a thing because it enhances her status or makes her seem superior in some way. In the hundreds of gratitude comments on this blog, we never once went there. Yay us!

We are so mentally and emotionally healthy here it’s driving me crazy.

So here is what I’m going to do, and I hope you’ll do something similar. I’ve bought a purse-size, skinny datebook for 2009. I’m not going to use this to record appointments or reminders or deadlines. This particular book is for one thing and one thing only–gratitude. On each date square, I will write down three things I’m grateful for each day of the year, starting now.

Many thanks and many blessings for your participation. And Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Susan– Thanks for encouraging us to think about Gratitude, and how it figures into our lives. I am glad you feel well enough to work. How is the left arm doing, anyway?

    Tomorrow is my daughter, Elizabeth’s, 27th birthday. I am so glad we
    got to spend last weekend with her!

    It’s the first Sunday in Advent. I am going to hope for peace on earth.

  • Well, here it is, “Black Friday” and I am just getting back to the gratitude list after two days on the side track and it is, of course, over…..and I am soooooo sad as I will miss my new freinds and their input..

    I have been so blessed by everyone here so I thank all of you for your thanks-livings!

    As always, Susan…you and your millions of creative genes (and jeans!!) are such a blessing ….and this month of thankfulness was the “bestest”. Thank you !

  • Susan, thank you so much for this exercise in gratitude. Sometimes, when you’re up to your ears in alligators, it’s hard to remember to be grateful for the swamp and its inhabitants, so to speak. Sometimes it was hard to articulate just what struck me as most important on any given day, and as I struggled, I kept coming back to the basics – the things you mentioned above, family, health, chocolate, etc. Things are just that – things, and while they certainly have a place in our lives, essentials are called that for a reason.
    Thanks for the idea of the purse-sized book for 2009! If I can remember that long enough to get it on my list, I know just the one to pick up at my Hlaf Price Book Store. It’s covered with cats, and I find that purrfect.
    Finally, I’m grateful for the day that was mine today. The food was good, the company was good, and the rewards were even greater. My dishes are done – all two loads of them, for which I’m grateful. All the furniture is pushed back into place. The guests for whom we provided transportation are safely back in their homes, and when driving in the Dallas area, that can be quite a feat, in and of itself. It’s definintely something more to be grateful for.
    Once again, Susan, thank you for a great idea!
    Wishing you and yours, and all my new “friends” a happy holiday season,

  • Susan this was a great way to spend a few minutes each day. We don’t in our busy day to spend even a moment to be grateful for somthing each day.

    I am grateful to Susan for makeing me realize that I do have a lot to be grateful for even though sometimes I don’t think so.

    I am grateful for all the funny or thoughtful email I received today. Means somebody is thinking of me.

    I am gratful for living in a time where we have good medical care. I just watched Livinging in the Time of Cholera. Would not have wanted to live in those times when sickness would run rampent and where you had litte chance of survial.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the US and to all the fightning men and woman who could not be with their families today. Keep them in your hearts and prayers.

  • Susan, thank you so much for providing the means for us to list our gratitudes on your blog. I found the entries touching, eye-opening, and funny. I would read other’s comments and go, “Oh, yeah, that’s another thing I’m grateful for! So each post, each comment became a blessing that multiplied. I think I am going to make myself a gratitude booklet for 2009–thanks for the idea.

    And now, here are my final 3 gratitudes to close out the Gratitude Project:

    –I am grateful for the National Geographic Society, for their magazine, and for their Web site, all of which continue to inform and entertain with the most amazing pictures. The pictures from their 2008 photo contest are amazing.

    –I am grateful for audiobooks because I have little reading time anymore. They entertain me during housework, when I’m washing dishes or mowing the lawn, when I’m mucking out stalls or pulling weeds, and sometimes I have them playing in the background because I like the voice droning in the background–it’s like I have company when I’m feeling lonely.

    –I am grateful for allergy pills, without which my life would be miserable.

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, and to those who are not Americans and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving anyway.

  • Me again, excuse my grammatical error, s/b I will bring … today.

    Just saw the prettiest little baby girl – Kilah, unique spelling for a little one.
    Lots of hair, perfect little nose, a tired Mommy and Daddy.

    Hope you are all enjoyed the ‘bird’

  • Yes, Thank You Susan –

    Here is to all my American friends & family, a very Happy Thanksgiving and be blessed in the coming year.

    Last three things (on this blog) I am grateful for:

    A new healthy baby girl Kayla Maureen born just after 4 AM this morning, 7 lbs 12 oz. Her middle name is for her paternal grandmother who died from cancer 3 years ago. Yay to Sabrina and Chris, I will be bring some Girlie baby clothes to the hospital to day.

    Always my family – a very good man, two wonderful sons who have grown to be loving, caring and handsome young men, two beautiful daughter in laws, who are very smart, caring, and love me, their mother in law.

    The sun is still shining and there are bright blue patches of sky. I will continue to remember to be grateful every day. Thanks again Susan and to all who blogged. Well done.

  • It was fun! I did list 30, but it was a hard task to mix the real, the fun and the silly.

    I’d like to say I’m thankful for a good night’s sleep, but I didn’t get one last night so I’ll be thankful that the baby REALLY LOVES BEING WITH US ALL THE TIME. Yes, that sounds nicer.

    I’m also thankful for family (though I may want to take that back in 5 hours).

  • 1. for Susan for posting this challenge, it is always more powerful to write them down

    2. for an invigorating walk on a snowy golf course this afternoon with my faithful, hairy friend

    3. for a contented, peaceful mind

  • This has been a wonderful exercise – thank you Susan for the encouragement and forum to do it. It has been very interesting to read everyone’s list each day – thank you everyone for sharing !

    Happy Thanksgiving to all !

    Janesville, CA

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