Gratitude Rocks! My Favorite Grateful Journals!

Gratitude Rocks!

As you can probably guess, I’m a big advocate of keeping some sort of a journal, thus the name of my blog, but if writing in a journal doesn’t suit you, may I suggest that at the very least, you’ll find that keeping a gratitude journal is good for your soul.  Seeing my life through the lens of gratitude, I am more willing to count my blessing and recognize the genuine goodness in others…and myself.  I also find that I can even experience gratitude in some of the most unexpected and difficult moments.
Living a life of gratitude quote.

Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of phycology at University of California, Davis, is a leading scientific expert on gratitude.  In his book, “The Little Book of Gratitude” Dr. Emmons shares his research-based tips and benefits for keeping a gratitude journal:

  A conscious decision to record gratitude seems to improve a person’s overall happiness in life–you’re focusing on the good!

•  Gratitude journals are a great way to help you see those good things in your life as gifts…doing this helps you relish them more and guards against taking them for granted.

  Elaborating on one or two specific things you are grateful for, rather than making a lengthy superficial list, gives more depth and meaning to keeping a gratitude journal. 

•  Reverse psychology suggests that one of the ways you can create a more grateful outlook is to reflect on what it would be like if you didn’t have some of the blessings you enjoy each day.

•  Research has found that writing in a gratitude journal more than once or twice a week was counterproductive to the overall gratitude experience.  This might be because evidence shows that we tend to adapt to positive experiences quickly and can become numb to them.  Try to savor the wonderful experience of gratitude and make it special!  

In looking over this list, I realize that keeping a gratitude journal helps me be more intentional in appreciating the relationships and experiences I have and how they truly create joy in my life!

Being truly grateful!

My Favorite Gratitude Journals!

You don’t need to buy a fancy journal to record your gratitude entries, the important thing is to make a habit of paying attention to events in your life that inspire gratitude and write them down.  If you are in the market for a gratitude journal, however, here are a few of my favorites…

Gratitude Rocks journal.

Gratitude Rocks” by Café Press.  This journal is just fun!  The bright novelty look can’t help but inspire you to want to write down what you are grateful for.  It seems like it would be the perfect gift for any teenager or “young at heart” person in your life!  (That should cover about everyone!)  I’ve found this at specialty stationary boutiques or you can purchase it here.
Gratitude journal.

“Life Is Pretty Amazing”  by Kikki K.  If ever there was the perfect statement to motivate you to keep a gratitude journal, this journal has it in spades.  Some of the pages come with inspirational quotes to get your grateful juices flowing and there are a few different formats for writing down your thoughts too.  You can buy the newest edition of this creative journal here.

Gratitude journal calendar.

“Gratitude Calendars + Journals” by Printables and Inspirations.  My mother used to keep a yearly calendar that allowed enough space for her to write a line or two of her grateful thoughts each day.  If this sounds appealing, you will find a beautifully designed, free download here.

Anthropologie journals.

“Monogram Journals” from Anthropologie.  I always think a personalized journal makes a great gift for that someone special.  These ones from Anthropologie have a colorful leather-look cover and come with a gold pen.  You can check off your gift list by getting some here.

Gratitude journal.

And lastly, “Instant Happy Journal” by Karen Salmansohn.  For a unique twist on a gratitude journal, this one promises to amp up your ability to notice and create more joyous moments in your day.  This journal also has fill-in dates, so you can write and reflect at your own pace.  I talked my cute hubby into doing this journal together.  While he doesn’t write in it as often as I do–his insights are thoughtful and funny!  Get it on Amazon here.

At the very least, I think keeping a gratitude journal can help lift our spirits and inspire us to look at life’s everyday challenges with a more positive perspective.

Gratitude is the memory of the heart quote.

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?  Please share any ideas you have on making it a good experience and you might just find yourself getting one of my favorite gratitude journals!

–Love, Mary

Goals And Dreams For 2015!

Goals And Dreams Of 2015!

Happy New Year! Welcoming a New Year traditionally goes hand in hand with making resolutions, but I think I pretty well made my case on how I feel about New Year’s resolutions last year in this post.  For me, the term resolution suggests the need to make major changes–like maybe who I am just isn’t good enough.  Whereas, the words goals and dreams conjures up feelings of growth and adventure.  I would imagine that each one of us realizes that there’s always room for self-improvement, but often the way we choose to go about it makes all the difference in whether or not we will be successful in our endeavors!

Rather than beating myself up too much, if my personal inventory takes on a more positive approach, then when I set a few new goals, I’m much more likely to feel optimistic about my ability to accomplish them and ultimately I’ll be able to work harder at seeing some of my dreams come true.

Goals and Dreams 2015!

I came across this quote several years ago and tape it to the front of my journal each year to remind me that my biggest limitations are usually the ones I set for myself!

Take Time To Write Goals And Dreams Down!

Journal books.

Throughout her life, my mom always kept some sort of journal; she encouraged me to do the same, telling me that one of the first steps to accomplishing my goals and making my dreams come true was to write them down.  Of course, it also helps to be somewhat realistic and devise a plan of attack too.  I’m well aware that this isn’t rocket science, but good advice all the same.

Some Goal And Dream Books I Love!

I know there are a lot of resources out there for online journals now, but there’s just something about the actual written word that resonates with me.  I get a bit giddy when it comes to finding a fun, new journal to record my thoughts in each year.

  • If all you want is a basic pocket planner without any of the bells and whistles, so to speak, “Today Is The Day” planner by Galison Mudpuppy of New York is ideal. 

Pocket Planner

Pocket Planner

This handy planner is perfect for writing in day to day appointments and notes, but also shows a week at a glance, as well.

  • If simplicity is what you need in a journal, I love any of the “Jotter” booklets by Studio Oh!


The “Gratitude Jotter” is my personal favorite–there are some thoughtful quotes written on a few of the pages, subtle reminders to be grateful for even the very craziest of days! 

  • I picked up this little gem of a journal-type book recently to take the place of all the sticky notes I tend to have hanging around my desk.

Journal books.

I record inspiring thoughts and fun ideas I want to try in this journal–including pictures.  In one section I also keep record of some of the projects my husband and I do together around the house.  I even include product resources we used, paint codes etc. then if I ever need to refer to it at some point in the future, the information is all written down in one place–it also serves as a reminder of all we’ve accomplished, I often tend to focus on the next thing on our “to do” list instead of appreciating the things that are done.   

  • Santa gave my me and my husband his favorite journal pick for Christmas; I guess he figured that no matter how long two people have been together, there are always fun ways to learn new things about each other!

photo (100)

A lot of husbands out there might be inclined to do the exasperated shoulder shrug if they were presented with this journal, but it’s cleverly put together by Random House and as stated on the cover page, there are insightful questions that “ask you to reflect on your own life” while others “invite you to jot down something about your partner or write quick notes to one another” —then as the years go by you’ll be able to see how your lives evolve side by side…if nothing else, it should spark some interesting conversation!  Here are a few sample questions:  “If you could take a class on any subject, what would it be?”  Also, “Write the first sentence of your partner’s biography!”  One of my very favorite questions is asked on March 21st: “Where would you like to travel together?”     

  • Speaking of travel, the “I Was Here: A Travel Journal For The Curious Minded” by Chronicle Books, prompts venture seekers, whether near or far, to capture the unique details of their journeys!

IMG_441914785 (2)

My son and his wife are living in Germany while he serves as a dentist for the Army for a few years, so my husband and I are planning to make good use of this journal in 2015, since we are making plans to visit them this year!  I think I will send one to them too; every weekend seems to be an amazing adventure as they explore Germany and all the neat surrounding countries nearby.  

What I’m learning now is…

If keeping a journal isn’t your thing, I understand, I used to give my mom the teenage eye roll when she gave me a new journal each year.  But since I’ve had the opportunity to catch a more personal glimpse into her life through journals and other mementoes since losing her, what I’m learning now is we all have a wonderful legacy to record!

Share one or two of your goals or dreams for 2015 here with us and you may find yourself receiving one of my favorite journal picks!

One of my goals for 2015 is to be a little more fearless!

Be Wild and Wonder!

(Via Dreamstime)

Whatever inspires you to live well–I wish that and more for you this year!



Just Three Words!

Can You Describe Your Day, A Special Moment, Your Life in…

Just three words!

Good Morning America does a three word campaign every so often that I absolutely love!  (They’re sort of like shortened versions of Hallmark card advertisements–but with no less tears!)  It’s always so amazing to me how the use of just three words to describe a particular day, time period, or highlight in someone’s life can have such a powerful impact.  The insights and emotions behind the three words other people use can’t help but inspire you to think of some you’d choose to define your own life!  At the very least, I’ve learned that abbreviating the perspective on some of these critical times in our lives can give the outcome a more positive emphasis, I’ve needed that lately…

Have you ever had those times where all the aspects of your life seem to collide and generate real concern on all fronts?   During the previous few months, that’s where I’ve been–ugh!  Then I saw one of these “three word” segments on a recent weekend version of Good Morning America, and it gave me an idea–and the kick in the pants, so to speak, that I needed at the time!

Trying “Just Three Words” Approach To Journaling!

A few years ago for my oldest daughter’s birthday, we got together and tried out a new bread recipe.  Her new little baby cooed and slept in her infant seat by us as we made fresh loaves of bread and gooey cinnamon rolls!  It was simply one of those prized mother/daughter days that are so rare when your children grow up and have busy lives of their own!  A few days later, I had another neat mom “payday”,  when Malia gave me a wonderful note she’d written, accompanied by this Curly Girl notebook journal.

"Curly Girl" journal!

Obviously, I was touched by Malia’s thoughtfulness and started to use the booklet to record some favorite quotes I’d come across. 

Along with my usual notes written on my calendar, I decided I would also try and tackle my new-found desire to take inventory of my frenzied state of mind, by using this cute journal and take the “just three words” approach as I recorded my thoughts each day.  My hope was that by doing so I might reign in my worries a bit, and know better which ones were of valid concern and which ones I needed to just let go!

Here’s a sampling of a few things I recorded:

May 15, 2013:  “Helping Malia move!”  It was hard to see Malia and her cute family pack-up and leave their darling home that held so many memories for all of us!  The good news though, is she is moving closer to my husband and I, but they are temporarily displaced while they build their new home.

May 22, 2013: “Jake’s going to Oklahoma!”  Okay, so I used four words here–this was the day of the tornados in Oklahoma!  My son, Jake will be doing his year of extended dental studies in Lawton, Oklahoma–it is located down more by the Texas border, but still considered part of “tornado alley”!  There are some things you just can’t do too much about, so I had to focus on the fact that “Jake got accepted” to the study program that he wanted so badly and worked hard to get!

June 27, 2013:  “Mom died 8 yrs. ago!”  Again, an extra word or two, that’s why I abbreviated!  You just never get over not having those times, when as a daughter, you just want to pick up the phone or go see your mom and have a good “heart to heart” visit!  I also wrote “Married 4 years!”  Lucky for me, my youngest daughter, Mandi, and her neat husband, Cole, were married on this day four years ago.  It was an amazing, picture-perfect day of happiness and celebration–just the kind my mother would have wanted for such a special occasion! 

Mandi and Cole's wedding

I can honestly say that this little journal experiment has proven to be very valuable in helping me settle my brain vibes onto a much smoother course.  It’s been a good way to balance the best parts of keeping a “gratitude journal” with doses of reality–which is how I think journals should be written.

This “One Good Deed” journal, by Chronicle books, is another neat little journal I picked up recently at our local farmer’s market/craft fair.  I have always tried to figure in doing something nice for others in my daily life, but the suggestions given in this booklet help you “consciously appreciate yourself” better, and remind you to not be afraid to share with others “small actions that will have great impact!”   One Good Deed a Day journal!

Here are a few of the suggestions given in this journal:

“Be genuinely happy for someone!”

“Tell your colleague he/she is brilliant!” Since I’ve recently experienced some big changes to the “care paradigm” (who thinks up these phrases?) at the hospital where I work, this one hit me as particularly significant!

“Leave a favorite book on a bus!”

What I’m learning now is…

Life will always have it’s fair share of challenges, I need to be better at discerning which ones are worth losing some sleep over.  What I’m learning now is to let go of some of the worries and concerns that I can’t really do anything about!  "Let it Go" quote.

Please share the three words that you’d use to describe an event or special experience in your life lately; or perhaps you’ve been the giver/recipient of an unexpected good deed recently–I’d love to hear about any of them.  If you’re so kind as to comment, you might find yourself a lucky recipient of one of these fun, small journals!