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Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.

– Rumi

If you’re on social media, you may have seen posts from your friends declaring what they’re grateful for followed by a variation of the hashtag, #30DaysofThanks. I’ve joined this challenge over the years, and it’s one of my favorite practices to participate in during November. You don’t have to be on social media to reap the benefits of this 30-day challenge. Grab a notebook or a journal and write down what you’re thankful for today. Open up a new Word document on your computer, or the notes app on your phone, and type out a list of your blessings. Take a few moments for yourself every day to speak your graces aloud or silently in your heart. Turn the practice into a game of blessing others by choosing a random act of kindness to perform every day this month.

No matter how you recognize what you’re thankful for, there is a myriad of ways to begin a gratitude practice. November is when I take on the challenge because it helps me to get in the right frame of mind for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving Day, and centers my focus in the right direction for the Christmas season and the stretch of weeks counting down to the end of the year. In all the years gone by, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling grateful that 2020 is nearly coming to a close.  

To inspire your thankfulness challenge, here is a sampling of the graces I’ve already written and shared during this first part of November:

November 1, 2020

I am grateful for another day to hope, wish, and dream; for, even in the midst of a pandemic, intrigue, creativity, and passion are not masked. “For your heart is like a flower as it grows, and it’s the rain, not just the sun that helps it bloom.” – Charles Fink 

“Dandelion Wishes” by Autumn Purdy

November 2, 2020

I am grateful for the trials I’ve faced, for living through them I have been humbled, strengthened, fortified, and beautified. “The human capacity for burden is like bamboo—far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.” -Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper 

“Fragile Heart in Sand” by Autumn Purdy

November 3, 2020

I am grateful for Mother Nature’s abundant, glorious gifts. I’m thankful, no matter the time, place, or setting I’m in, I can go outside, fill my lungs, calm my mind, impress my heart with the essence of Earth’s beauty. Today, especially, I plead you to go outside. Find some peace. Walk in awe. Look up. Let go. Be filled with wonder. Breathe in hope. Then, carry that calm with you as sustenance for Election Day. “It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.” — Mary Oliver, Invitation 

“Duck Lake Skyscape” by Autumn Purdy

November 4, 2020

I am grateful for what I have to look forward to today, beginning with a morning walk in a local park with dear, old friends. “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller 

“Tree-lined Walk in Fall” by Autumn Purdy

November 5, 2020

I am grateful for the four decades I’ve lived. Although I miss the fluidity and grace of my twenty-something form, I’m thankful for the slow and steady pace of midlife, the break from keeping up appearances, and the wisdom that comes with age. “When you’re young, there’s so much now that you can’t take it in. It’s pouring over you like a waterfall. When you’re older, it’s less intense, but you’re able to reach out and drink it. I love being older.”— Sigourney Weaver, Esquire, January 2010. 

“Quenched Pine” by Autumn Purdy

November 6, 2020

I am grateful for the gifts of faith and resilience, for my inner-strength and empathetic nature, for all the intricate threads that knit together my uniqueness. “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” ― E.E. Cummings 

“Schiller Park Rower” by Autumn Purdy

November 7, 2020

I’m grateful for this gorgeous day, but more thankful for the time I spent in the sunshine with this beautiful daughter of mine. “I’ve come to understand that art is awesome and beautiful because it’s a reflection of life – but it’s just a reflection, and the real thing is my daughter.” —Chance the Rapper

November 8, 2020

I’m grateful for the chance I had to reflect upon, in the quiet morning light, all I hold dear as I sent up hopeful prayers for peace and positive change, the kind of lasting, impactful impression that I know begins with me. I’m thankful I can look back and figure out how to right the ways I’ve done wrong, to make positive next steps, to share from my privilege and abundance, to choose love every day and live love like it’s the verb that it is. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace of earth, the peace that was meant to be.” – Sy Miller & Jill Jackson 

“Peaceful Proclamation in Westerville” by Autumn Purdy

November 9, 2020

I’m grateful for the poets, and I’m thankful for the librarians, teachers, and professors in my life who opened my eyes to their works. I’m grateful for the hardbound copy of the Best Loved Poems of All Time that lived on the bookshelf in my childhood homes for as long as I can remember. I’m thankful I found Langston Hughes’ poems when I did. His poetry first blew me away in my junior high school English class, and my affinity for his words deepened as I studied his verse in The Harlem Renaissance course I signed up for as an English major at St. Vincent College. I’m grateful I can return to his words and be astounded every time. “Go home and write / a page tonight. / And let that page come out of you – / Then, it will be true.” – Langston Hughes

“Langston Hughes Poem, Framed” by Autumn Purdy

O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

– William Shakespeare