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!