I practice gratitude every day, so when Thanksgiving comes around, it is just like brushing my teeth to take time to acknowledge all in my life that I am appreciative of.

You see, I am a member of a tribe of gratitude list makers. I post what I am grateful for (and why) daily.

The “Grat List” that I am a part of was the brainchild of the wonderful fitness expert and life coach Erin Stutland. I joined it in 2011, when I regularly took a live Shrink Session class she was teaching at the time, and it has been a blessing ever since. (More about Erin’s class and how it changed my life here.)

The Grat List is a place to share gratitude, as often as you wish.

Some, like me, post pretty much daily.

Others pop in as they want or need to. “Need to grat!” “Feeling down…time to do a grat list!”

It is so much more than a space for expressing gratitude. There’s no one way to share, but somehow the format has evolved into writing a list of ten gratitudes, ten things to be excited about, and some brags thrown in for good measure.

What’s beautiful is how the list has become a virtual safe space, a place where we share wishes, heartbreak, fears, dreams, successes, prayers and, above all, love and support.

We ask “the list” for good thoughts or prayers, advice and help. We hold each other’s dreams and hold each other up.

I am ever grateful today, and every day, for the Grat List and its magic and power, and all of the souls- past, present and future – who make it the beautiful safe space it is. (Super extra gratitude for Erin, who is about to give birth to a real living child soon!”)

Here’s my list today:

I am so grateful:

To be alive, for my health, for my returning vibrance so that I may do the things that give me joy, for the wisdom of my body because she has healed so many times, for my huge heart because it keeps me loving this life, for my husband, who is so loving and wise, for Miracle, our cat, for her furry love and unconditional love, for the ever-flowing abundance within and without me, in every area of my life, for our warm, live-filled home, for fresh, healthy food and clean water, for the privilege of being able to do what I love for a living, for music, and how it connects me to my soul

I am excited:

To be flexible and of service today, to pick up the Irish family members at the airport, to see my sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, to enjoy a beautiful home, to share a loving afternoon and evening of laughter, to get there and back safe and sound, to make cole slaw late tonight, for Julia and her exciting audition Monday, to help her prepare, to get off book for the web series shoot, to work on the audition sides with joy and ease, for JC going to Hawaii, for Shayna’s song to win the contest!!

I brag that:

I love Life and Life loves me

I am enough just as I am

I am connected through words and this blog to amazing people like you!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: gremlins

Grat Lists Galore

Since 2011, I have been practicing gratitude by writing a daily gratitude list.

It has been transformative.

Each day, I list ten things I am grateful for. I then list ten things I’m excited for. And (hardest of all,) three brags.

I post it to a Yahoo group started by a mentor/friend.

Each day, I get emails containing the posted “grat” lists of others.

It is amazing to have the daily reminders of appreciation for the small and big things in life. It helps keep my focus on the positive.

The way I am wired, for some reason, I have the tendency to focus on the negative: what isn’t working, what’s not going right, what I did wrong, what I do not have/is missing in my life.

The grat list keeps me looking for what is going right, what I do have, what I can appreciate right now.

One of the great parts of the grat list community is how it has become a virtual safe space where we can share whatever we need to and receive support or whatever we may need. It is a “no guilt, no judgement zone,” a place to be totally honest. It is not about being cheerful and positive, it is about being real.

I may go through dark times, but I can always find some things to be grateful for. That my limbs function. Sunshine. Clean water. That I woke up.

And, through our grat list group, I am never alone. Sometimes, the others’ lists keep me from falling into isolated despair. I may be down and another’s good day holds hope for the inevitable upswing that will come if I hang in there, a fact that is easy to forget when left to my own devices.

I am truly grateful for the grat list group, and all that the practice of gratitude has given my life. It is a powerful muscle that I plan on keeping supple.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: gratitude


The smell of a baby’s head

A small young nephew or niece reaching for your hand on a walk or fighting to sit next to you at Thanksgiving dinner

Watching your lover sleep

The way taking a breath in connects us to everyone who has ever lived and letting a breath out connects us to anyone who will ever live

The genuine eye contact and smile exchanged with a total stranger

The satisfaction of taking something you have just baked from scratch out of the oven

The way cooking a family recipe can conjure up sense memories and connection to past generations

The moment of relief when you sense what could have become a conflict dispenses

The time spent with a loved one during their end of life processes, sitting and listening, sharing precious moments

What would you add?

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: priceless



There is a life force within

It has seen me through

Black-pitched soul’s dark nights

Days so thick with despair

I could barely breathe or move

Sometimes it was so very close

If not for that push inside

To continue on this journey

The pull to end it could have won

But something in me wants to live

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: continue

Savor-ful Things

A kiss

Coming in to the air conditioner from sweltering heat outside

Time with a loved one

The sunset

A thank you

A heartfelt apology

A compliment

An unexpected but needed rain shower that breaks the humidity

A stranger’s smile

Someone holding the door open for you

The moment you free your body from tight clothes or shoes

Watching your lover, child or pet sleep

Holding their hand (really hold it)

The sound of their voice (one day you may long to hear it again)

Their touch

Being really listened to

A deep sleep

Getting lost (because you are never really lost, you’ve just found a new way to go)

A good laugh

How it feels after anger dissipates

A happy memory

A rainbow, anytime, anywhere

The stars in the sky

Being applauded in any way for any reason (exception: sarcastic applause)

That smell of breakfast

The smell of coffee

A pet’s demand for your attention

A really good turn of phrase


Long sips of cool water

Any moment in which you feel loved

Any moment you feel connected to the world

What would you add to the list?


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: savor

Hope Springs

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: crisp

Crisp twenties so new that you have to separate them from themselves

Freshly cleaned laundry, folded neatly

Dry cleaned sweaters in plastic protective wrap

Kittens or puppies sleeping on or near each other

Baby animals, period

The release of the receptacle handle after returning library books in on time

A blazing sunset that stops you in your tracks and out of the fray of the day

A child’s unrestricted peal of laughter

The rise and fall of a sleeping baby’s belly

The moments just after re-organizing my purse

How gum tastes in the earliest moments it is in your mouth

A blank spiral-bound notebook or college-ruled yellow pad of paper

Walking out of Starbucks with that little green stick plugging up the hole, keeping the heat in

Discovering urban art in unexpected places

Budding flowers

A plant’s leaves reaching towards the light

Sharing eye contact and/or an experience with a stranger on the train, in passing on the street or in a line anywhere

Seeing someone drop trash, thinking they don’t care, and then seeing them pick it up and put it in a receptacle

Feeling heard after a grueling session with any company’s customer service on the phone or on-line, coming to a solution that actually feels fair and human

Those little plants fighting to sprout in-between cracks in the sidewalk

Spreading tree branches that snake between fences, around posts, and survive

Same-sex toddlers holding hands un-selfconsciously, line partners as they pass with their class on the streets of NYC


#itsthelittlethings #findinghopewhereyoucan