thanksgiving gratitude challengeAre you up for a Thanksgiving gratitude challenge? My Thanksgiving ritual for many years now has been to make a gratitude list and post it here on my blog. This helps me add meaning to a holiday that often focuses more on food, football and early bird sales than those people, places and things I am truly thankful for.

Compared to so many in the world, most of us are incredibly fortunate. While it’s hard to be grateful when we are in pain, or feel lonely, unloved or in the midst of a major loss, I truly believe that making a gratitude list will help make our lives a little less painful, a little less lonely and will perhaps even help us feel a little more loved, or at least more loving.

With that in mind, I invite you to join me for a one day Thanksgiving gratitude challenge. Make a list of the people, places and things you are grateful for today. Your list can be 3 things or 30 things or 100 things or more. They can be simple things like a good night’s sleep. Or complex things like solutions for global warming. You can’t get anything wrong here.

Use the notes app on your smart phone, or get some old-fashioned paper and pencil, or write in your journal. Try to write for at least fifteen minutes and see what you can come up with.

I make my lists as an exercise of spontaneity (or stream-of-consciousness, if you want to call it that) so my list isn’t necessarily arranged by order of importance, but the order in which it came to me. I rarely edit what flows from my fingertips. So sometimes it doesn’t make sense, and it’s not the least bit perfect, but here goes:

100 Things I’m Grateful For:

  1. my mate, my family–including the four-leggeds
  2. old friends
  3. new friends
  4. readers of this blog and my books–thank you!
  5. walks by the river
  6. the blue ridge mountains
  7. winter views
  8. a good walking stick
  9. toasted almonds
  10. good books with strong women characters
  11. my imagination
  12. chickadees
  13. downy woodpeckers
  14. river rock
  15. raspberry and banana smoothies
  16. organic Assam tea
  17. lunch with friends
  18. tea with friends
  19. visits with my daughters
  20. a good writing morning where I lose track of time until lunch
  21. emails from readers who love my books
  22. fearless women writers
  23. fearless writers of any gender
  24. people who don’t complain and persevere in spite of what’s difficult
  25. laughter
  26. people who laugh at my jokes
  27. people who make me laugh
  28. inspiring quotes from creative people
  29. creativity in general
  30. drawing, painting, journaling, drumming-all of it
  31. dreams in the night that give me characters for novels
  32. sparks of creativity that turn into books and articles and blog posts
  33. people who say “thank you” when I try to help them
  34. a kind word
  35. a genuine smile
  36. responsible neighbors
  37. breakfast for dinner
  38. a really good movie with strong female characters
  39. wise old women
  40. marriage equality
  41. back porches
  42. front porches
  43. a fire in the wood stove on cold evenings
  44. people who admit they can be wrong
  45. people who can admit they made a mistake
  46. people who ask for what they want
  47. acceptance
  48. authenticity
  49. courage
  50. soulful things
  51. mystical things
  52. mysterious things
  53. magical things
  54. things that surprise me in a good way
  55. people who make an effort to resolve conflicts
  56. people who listen well
  57. tenacity
  58. trees
  59. a good meal made by someone who loves to cook
  60. the latest auditory devices
  61. people with clear, strong voices
  62. handwritten letters
  63. books about symbols
  64. my favorite pens
  65. Orion magazine
  66. really good earthy poems that aren’t academic
  67. mentors online and in books (Austin Kleon, Brene Brown, Seth Godin, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Elizabeth Gilbert, etc.)
  68. TED talks
  69. Krista Tippett and On Being
  70. Dobra tea room or any place that specializes in a good cup of tea
  71. Brahms being practiced on the piano in the family room
  72. Rhythm and Blues
  73. Soul
  74. Jazz
  75. future son-in-laws
  76. a good restaurant
  77. art museums
  78. art galleries
  79. time to write
  80. a good story
  81. a good storyteller
  82. artists and writers who are excellent at what they do
  83. a walk on a beach when nobody’s around
  84. full moons on a warm night
  85. the sound of fallen leaves crunching under my feet on the trail
  86. the sound of the river where I walk
  87. the sound of small children laughing anywhere
  88. the smell of Christmas trees
  89. the smell of bread baking
  90. the taste of a good piece of chocolate
  91. dancing, moving, singing
  92. a comfortable reading chair
  93. wildflowers
  94. walking the dogs on a beautiful afternoon when I “should” be marketing
  95. resilience
  96. natural beauty
  97. our planet
  98. gravity
  99. blueberries
  100. What would you add?

If you’re up for this Thanksgiving gratitude challenge, get started and make your own list. It can be silly and fun, as well as deep and sincere. What are you grateful for? Feel free to share your list with me. Or if you don’t have time to make a list, what would you like to add to this one?


Here’s my one minute Thanksgiving video for you. Please enjoy!


P.S. I’m an ex-shrink who writes novels about resilient people. Check out my books here.

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