Ask Me About My Gratitude Journal

Ask Me About My Gratitude Journal

By Hikari Loftus

A couple months ago my husband returned from a work wellness retreat and tossed a blank journal in front of me as he unpacked his bag. “That was meant to be a gratitude journal. You can keep it.”

And if our lives were a Thanksgiving Hallmark film, every night I would sit patiently in our bed waiting for my “too-cool-for-gratitude-journals” husband to climb in, and cheekily coax him into writing in the journal with me. (And somewhere in all that a Thanksgiving miracle would occur thanks to the journal and the film would eventually flash forward 50 years to our lost and troubled grown child finding the journal and turning his life around. NOT that I’ve given this any real thought or anything…)

Truth is, I cannot resist a fresh journal and I took it pretty eagerly, ready to fill it with all my lists and scribbles. The only problem is I’m such a rule follower.  So when I opened that journal to scribble some idea or thought into it, I couldn’t, knowing it was meant to be a gratitude journal.  Instead I sighed, dated the top of the page, and wrote down every thing I could think of that I was grateful for that day. And soon it became a daily personal routine (and since I live in the only rental that allows dogs, but also has cream carpet, you better believe my Bissel carpet cleaner gets a lot of mentions).

So in honor of this Thanksgiving holiday, and because I’ve had a lot of practice, I thought I would share a couple of things I’m grateful for using quotes from my favorite books.

    “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

    I am so thankful for the online book community. Logging onto Bookstagram often feels like walking down a long hallway lined with friends and familiar faces—people who have become part of my daily life and discourses. I have five best friends who I talk to daily. We know the daily struggles and annoyances each goes through. We celebrate victories together. And we all met online because we wanted to talk about books! This still some times boggles my mind— that some of the best and dearest people in my life are people I met in what is essentially a virtual book club.

    “We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.” Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire

    This Thanksgiving holiday marks the first year since my Grandma Maya's passing last November. This is my first experience with the grief that comes with this kind of loss, and as I think of her during this holiday season I am just so grateful she was my grandma. If there are good parts of me, she was part of making them and I’m grateful for years and years of amazing memories that I have to keep during this holiday season without her. 

    “Why were you lurking under our window?”
    “Yes – yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under our windows, boy?”
    “Listening to the news,” said Harry in a resigned voice.
    His aunt and uncle exchanged looks of outrage.
    “Listening to the news! Again?”
    “Well, it changes every day, you see,” said Harry.” Mr. WordPress J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    If you’re like me, then you know it’s best to keep politics away from holiday family gatherings. But I am grateful for all the opinions and information that we have such easy access too. This year I have been more active in my community and more informed on our country and world than I have ever been. Despite feeling angry and helpless half the time, I’ve also had my mind enlightened, my opinions changed, my understanding grown. Through all the conflicting information, I’ve better found my true ground and I’m grateful for it all, even for just that.

    “He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.” Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

    I am forever grateful to authors, book sellers, and librarians for the work they do to get good books into our hands. Books truly have made a huge part of who I am and how I think. Of the 86 books I've read so far this year, here are the six that have deeply impacted me: 

    Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik for examples of amazing, resilient, kind, strong, unflinching women. Reading these women bolstered and strengthened me in a way that I do not often get from book characters. 

    The Assassination of Brangwain Spuge by M.T. Anderson for being not only clever and beautiful with its mixed media format, but also a poignant reminder that there is more than one side of a story, and how our life experiences really do color the way we see the world.

    All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover, for helping me take a deep cleansing breath on my struggle with infertility. 

    Dear Martin by Nic Stone for sitting me down in the classroom of life and race and spelling out misconceptions and racism in a very clear and easy to follow way. This book addressed and explained several arguments that I had never been able to clearly explain on my own. 

    And The Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan,  for nailing what it often feels like to be mixed race and as reminder that there are so many people like me that feel the same way. 

    There are so many reasons for me to be thankful this year.  (extra shout out to my carpet cleaner) And as I spend time identifying them every day, I understand why the practice was part of my husband’s work wellness retreat. I am happier, stronger, and feel ready to tackle what is important when I recognize all that I have to be thankful for. 

    Wishing you a happy and grateful Thanksgiving today!

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    About the Author

    Hikari Loftus is a bookstagrammer, voracious reader, journalist, writer, mama, med wife, Pug wrangler and food snob

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