wn entry · writing

What are you thankful for?

My placecard from the first Thanksgiving I hosted at our home in 2009. Ruth knew I was excited about the holiday and purchased me a set of turkey placecard holders, which I'm planning to use (for the third time) this year.

November is always the busiest month of the year for me.  When I was teaching full-time, November meant Parent-Teacher Conferences (and NCTE starting in 2007).  Now that I’m out of the classroom, November means consulting appointments, speaking engagements, and NCTE.  My husband and I also host Thanksgiving in our home each year so that means November is also about planning for my favorite non-religious holiday.  If I don’t stop to slow down, breathe, and count my blessings, then November feels incredibly stressful.

In November 2009, I jumped on the “Thankful November” bandwagon on Facebook.  This November is the third time I’ve been posting thankful status updates on my personal page daily.  I am sharing the ones I have written, up through yesterday, below.  It feels good to stop, reflect, and think about what I’m truly thankful for every day, especially when all that seems to be top-of-mind is prep work, travel arrangements, and trying to figure out how to sneak my daughter’s antibiotic (for her ear infection in two weeks) into her mouth.

In addition to posting the updates on Facebook, I’ve taken the time to do some additional writing, privately, about my thankfulness topic of the day.    I have found the extended writing to be extremely gratifying since it has allowed me to extend my thinking about what I’m thankful for.  I have come to believe that taking time to write about what I’m thankful for makes me want less.  It helps me understand that I have everything I need right here, right now.

There’s nothing official you have to do to jump on the thankful writing bandwagon.  You can tweet your thankful thoughts, post them as status updates, or write about them in your notebook or on your blog.  In addition, you might want to encourage your students to write about the small things they are thankful for this year.  Perhaps they’ll want to share their thankful writing around the Thanksgiving table with their family members and friends.   

As promised, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve been thankful for during the first twelve days of November.  As you’ll see, some are material things (like finding a dress for my friend’s wedding), while most are things that money cannot buy (like time spent snuggling with my daughter).

So far this month, I’ve been thankful…

…that dinner was prepared for me when I got home from doing a presentation at the JCC (11.01.11).

…for finally finding a dress for Emily’s wedding, which is just a few days away (11.02.11).

…to have a washing machine at home (11.03.11).

…for the freshly baked whole wheat challah that I just picked up for tonight’s Shabbat dinner (11.04.11).

…for mornings like today when I get to snuggle in bed with Isabelle (11.05.11).

…my little plan of of doing everything an hour later for the past three days, in order to outsmart the time change, worked.  Isabelle awoke at her normal 6:20 a.m. today.  Whew (11.06.11)!

…for my inlaws watching Isabelle last night while we attended Emily’s wedding in Boston.  We had a wonderful (first) night away as a couple.  However, it was WONDERFUL to be reunited with our sweet baby again (11.07.11).

…for the right to vote (11.08.11).

…that Isabelle slept an extra hour ’til 7:25 a.m. this morning.  I really needed the extra hour of sleep!  THANK YOU my dear little one (11.09.11).

…for having a mother-in-law who values reading aloud to Isabelle as much as I do (11.10.11).

…for the men and women who have served our country (11.11.11).

…that the three of us had a quiet, uneventful, and delicious dinner out this evening (11.12.11).

What are you thankful for?

8 thoughts on “What are you thankful for?

  1. Thanks for posting this! Something easy to remind us how wonderful life is. Three years ago, at the urging of my mother, I started a “Grateful Journal.” I write five things I’m grateful for each night right before I go to bed… it serves as a diary and a recap of how blessed I am. Plus it gets me to write a few sentences (or paragraphs) each day if I don’t find the time otherwise. =)

    P.S. Hope this weekend finds your daughter feeling better.


    1. Mariah:

      “A Grateful Journal”… how wonderful!

      Thanks for the well-wishes for my daughter. She doesn’t like her new medicine either, but she’s taking it. Hopefully it’ll help!


  2. What a beautiful table setting! You could add your impeccable taste in design to your list of things to be thankful for 🙂

    A colleague of mine has her students keep a gratitude section in their writer’s notebooks all year. These items are often a valuable springboard to writing topics. We just can’t stop and think about what we have to be grateful for too often, can we?

    Tonight, as I work on guest teacher plans for later this week, I am thankful that an outstanding retired teacher will be leading my classes while I am at the NCTE convention. I will be able to attend sessions worry-free thanks to her!

    p.s. Good luck with the medicine. Remember, when you feel like you are being cruel, that she will not remember this medicine when she is a teenager!


    1. Thanks Cindy.

      BTW: Tonight was a battle of the wits. We tried EVERYTHING to get the medicine into her system, but she refused to let us. Score one point for the baby. Back to the doctor tomorrow…

      See you on Friday!


  3. I love your idea and think I may use it this next week on my message board our side my classroom. It will be great to see what my 4th graders are thankful for over a series of days.

    Side Note: on the getting a young one to take antibiotics – both my children had earaches. We got the antibiotics in capsule form broke it apart and put it into their favorite baby food fruit sauce (for us it was baby food apricots). The kids did not complain, they got a bit of fruit and no red dye in the medication which helped my daughter who reacted to it with hyper activity.


    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for the tip. My daughter has her second ear infection in two weeks (It’s probably the same one as the first one. I’m guessing the Amoxicilin didn’t work.) and she’s sick of the medicine in the syringe. Last night we tried putting it in diluted pear juice and that seemed to work. Not sure what tonight will bring. Fingers crossed!

      My best,


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