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I’m in a unique and special free-writing group. Our rules are quite simple. We follow Natalie Goldberg’s practice of doing timed writings.

I bring in prompts, which are sentence starts like the ones in my book. One woman reads one, while another woman sets a timer. When it goes off, we go around the circle, reading what we wrote. We don’t comment. Sometimes we respond to each other’s writings during the next round of writing, offering sympathy, understanding, and occasionally offering advice, if it is requested.

After eight years, I think of these women as my writing sisters. We’ve seen each other through relationships, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and endless stories of child rearing and adolescent angst.

Since we’re a writing group, we’ve also seen each other through publication. One person published a memoir with Simon & Schuster. Another’s been in over 15 anthologies. Two more have published memoirs. One has written a self-help book. One is a blogger. One owns an e-zine.

Gratitude Sunset By Gail

A couple of years ago, a member named Annie began making lists to organize her thoughts and stimulate them. Her lists worked so well for her that we’ve all tried them at one time or another.

So, in honor of Annie, here’s a gratitude list that will probably morph into more as one idea leads to another in an ongoing spiral of thought:

  1. I’m grateful that I chose to be my mother’s caregiver.
  2. I’m also grateful those days are over. It’s nice to be living proof that there’s life after caregiving, and I am grateful that she is no longer in pain.
  3. I’m grateful that I’ve found a new level of happiness since I married my husband, Richard. There’s no one else in the world quite like him and our story is a source of joy and amazement that I may soon be telling the world.
  4. I’m grateful that Richard keeps reminding me that you don’t lose until you quit trying.
  5. I’m grateful for Mikko McPuppers, an aging shih tzu, who has kept me company since I adopted him six years ago. He’s my first dog ever.
  6. I’m grateful I no longer have to sit in commute traffic on my way to a face-to-face job.
  7. I’m grateful that I can pick and choose my jobs and do them from home.
  8. I’m grateful for all the books that are sent to me for review, and for the fact that Richard, who used to listen to books on tape, started reading some of the ones I’ll never get to.
  9. I’m grateful that I have the basics. I’m not scrambling for food, clothing, or shelter. I have a belief system, a sense of integrity, and more than one purpose in life.
  10. I’m grateful for the weather—the way the sun can bake my skin and the way a wind can cool it off.  I’m grateful that there is more beauty than ugliness in my world.

What are you grateful for right now… at this exact moment? A spouse, a child, a job, a philosophy, a phone call, a text, an unexpected “thank you”, a snack, a plan, or something I have not listed?

Gratitude lists are a great way to journal. I’d love to read yours. Make it short or long. Make it simple or go off on tangents. Gratitude lists are a great way to  reminder yourself of everything that’s right in your life. What will go on yours?

Not sure how to start? Begin with “Today I am grateful for….”

Post it here or send it to me at [email protected]. One of you who submits a list will win a free copy of my book, You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers!

Photo Credit: Gail Lynne Goodwin

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B. Lynn Goodwin is the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, available on Amazon. Her stories and articles have been published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career; We Care;, Friction Literary Journal, and The Sun.

A former teacher, she conducts workshops and writes reviews for Story Circle Network and InspireMeToday. She’s working on a YA novel and brainstorming a memoir.

She’s the owner and editor of Writer Advice. Writer Advice recently celebrated its 16th year and runs contests for aspiring and published writers as well as sharing useful tips from experienced writers.

For more information, please visit

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. How beautiful your post. I am grateful for many things, but right now I am grateful for being who I am today. For facing my fears and listenting to my husband that I have to go over the bump. I am so grateful to be alive and learning each day.

    God bless, Jessica

  2. Thanks, Jessica. Like you, I’m grateful to be alive and learning, and I’m grateful to those who came by on the Fourth and blessed our condo and pool with their presence.

  3. Today I am grateful for waking up in a warm bed with a roof over my head and knowing that I will be fed, clothed and cared by the Universe for this day and in the future.

    Today I am grateful for waking up with eyes that can see the beauty of nature around me, ears that can hear the melodic warblings of the birds, lungs that can breathe deeply of the fresh life-giving air everywhere and lips that can sip gently on the most perfect of soothers – clear, clean water.

    Today I am grateful for waking up soothed in the bosom of my family, surrounded by a world of people whom I choose to call friends – all are lesson-givers and comforters to me.

    Today I am grateful for waking up with a faith that uplifts me, inspires me, stretches me and provides all the answers I will ever need on the meaning of life to me.

    Today I am grateful for waking up knowing that I only need to believe and all is given to me -that I am allowed the sweet luxury of choosing how my life will be today and every day.

    Today I am grateful for waking up healthy and able to read/write and enjoy the bounteous grace that permeates the whole of life.

    Today I am grateful for waking up as me with my life and my gifts.

    Today I am grateful for waking up.

  4. Wonderful list, Jenny. Thanks so much for sharing it here. I, too, am grateful for waking, and when I wake tomorrow, it will be to write with the Berkeley Women I wrote about in the article.

  5. I am grateful for my life, the journey that I am on finding happiness. I found the secret aand it is to be grateful. Thank you Father God for life.

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