I’m most of the way through my November project, Cathy Zielske’s 30 Days of Thankful. In her words:
“It’s a month-long project to document what you are grateful for. You can log things every day, every few days—whatever you’re moved to do. You take photos as you go and combine them into an album. It can be whatever you want it to be.”
It can be about the big things – family, food, clean water, work, home, loved ones. Or it can be about the little things, the random things, the silly things. It can also be about turning bad things into gratitude – being thankful that a bad thing wasn’t worse, or that you learned something from a difficult experience. Each day can be about one thing or many. There are no thankful police.
This project carries on right from where Week in the Life left off.
My first 10 days of entries range from thankfulness for sunshine to modern lightweight irons, from democracy to fancy grocery store and Goodreads. I took photos of things during the day and chose one photo to focus on each day. One weekend day I didn’t take any photos, but it was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so I snagged a few images from google. I could have chosen an older photo and a generic gratitude, but growing up in the post Cold War era is definitely a privilege worth noting. (Sorry the photo below is a little fuzzy – its not your eyes).
By the way, Day 3 was very popular on instagram. It’s my Goodreads shelf of books read, sorted by date. I just took a screenshot of it. I love having a beautiful virtual shelf for all of my kindle library books, so colorful and full of good memories of good stories. I did the same kind of card for my year-end summary for Project Life last year, probably after seeing someone do something similar with Goodreads or Pinterest. Please feel free to steal the idea for your own memory keeping project.
Days 11-18 included a TV show, a movie, a book, a museum, a library program, and some weather/scenery. Most of these shots were instagrams. I love instagram for sharing little thoughts about my day, so I didn’t really need to take pictures specifically for this project. When I’m thankful for a book or TV show I often phrase it in terms of thankfulness for the people who created it, the people I went with, and thankfulness for the thing of beauty itself. I tend to find that once I start writing I can think of several things I am thankful for in each photo – sunshine, a warm coat, a friend, a view, the walkability of my town, and so on. Many of these entries had enough specific detail about the day that I could have used them as regular Project Life entries (but as I explain below I decided to do this in addition to, not instead of, PL).
I’m using my colorful stickers to add a little bit of zip to my regular simple layouts. On day 17 I couldn’t find number stickers in fun colors (I run out of 1s and 2s so quickly! Someone needs to manufacture pretty alpha/number stickers for PLers) so I used some white stickers I had and colored them purple with a watercolor crayon. I love it! If only I wasn’t almost out of white stickers too…
On days 19-22 I still haven’t run out of steam. I snagged a friend’s picture from the internet for day 20 to illustrate how glad I am that I don’t live in Buffalo, and although I didn’t say it, the thankfulness for her being a friend is implied (when I look at the picture – but maybe I should have added a “poor Katie” caption for the benefit of other people. Assuming this is for other people…) I didn’t get the mall walking picture I intended to use on day 21, but the mall picture I got will do. I enjoy having a fun picture – I would have wanted to include most of these pictures from this project in my album anyway.
I actually get to document 2 photos a day in November – I also have my regular Project Life pages interspersed between these pages to roughly match up week by week. I wasn’t sure that I would do PL as well, but I found that I needed to tell different kinds of stories about what I did during the week in addition to these little snippets.
I usually do my cards in Photoshop Elements every few nights. I started out having the file open and ready to go each day, but these last few days I’ve had to catch up on a few missed days. No problem – it only takes a few minutes to choose a photo, drop it in, and add journaling. I print at home, so I can do that any time. It’s easier to wait a few days and print a couple of pages and add stickers all at once. But it’s not a time consuming or difficult project.
I’m not much into the American thanksgiving tradition. I’ve never kept a gratitude journal. But I’m not finding this difficult to do. I guess I’ve become a more positive person in my early-middle age. (I’m planning to last into my 90s, so I’m at the beginning of my middle years, as much as my Mum is probably shaking her head “no” reading that!) I can spin with the best of them, but I’m not finding much need to spin anything. Life is good.
I’ve got plenty of things I can be thankful for in this last week. I should squeeze in something about my family. And this lovely little house. Maybe the pug? (if I’m feeling charitable, or if she keeps me warm on a cold day). And I should be grateful for online shopping because I’ve got Christmas almost completely wrapped up already and I’ve barely set foot in a store. I’d rather walk the mall for exercise than shop there.
I have another week to go, and I expect it will continue to be pretty easy. I guess these daily documenting projects work well for me. I’m glad I decided to give this one a go this year. Thanks CZ!
And thanks to you for stopping by.