the habit of gratitude and joy list monday

I've been battling some negativity lately. I think a lot of it has to do with the weather (we had an unusually cloudy and rainy summer that carried over into autumn, too); any day that the sun was out, I noticed an amazing shift in my mood.

sunflowers, autumn, seeds, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's not just the weather, though. There are other factors, situations that are making me take a step back and do some (perhaps too much) thinking.

I know I've written about negativity and moods before and not too long ago shared some ideas for battling them, but since then I've been doing something else that has helped tremendously. Each morning as I'm waking up I lie in bed and practice gratitude. I push away all of the other thoughts and instead, give thanks. Listing as many things (situations, feelings, people, thoughts) as I can. It's a good way to start the day.

Just yesterday I (finally) switched my Joy List writing to the end of the day, keeping my Joy Journal (and a pen) on my bedside table (I'd been meaning to do that for a while). So now my day is bookended with gratitude and thoughts of joy.

pineapple sage, autumn flowers, autumn garden, salvia, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

We're all in this together. All trying to find our way. Make meaning of our lives. Connect. I truly believe that there's so much we can learn from one another. I share my stories here, with the hopes of inspiring you. Inspiring you to live a more joyful and creative life.

Helping you to live a more joyful and creative life is why I've been doing the Artist Interviews and Sketchbook Conversations, too. I hope that they do. Help you. Make you think. Inspire you.

Recently Dana Barbieri has been painting what she calls Joy, Gratitude, Appreciation lists. You can see them on Instagram (this, this and this are some examples) and on her blog (here and in a video here). What a beautiful, creative, active way to celebrate and be thankful.

Perhaps I will work on painting a list, too. But it's also gotten me thinking. Joy, Gratitude, Appreciation... there are so many ways of honoring it. If you're musical you could sing it. Your gratitude, joy and appreciation can be infused in anything you do. Exercise. Cooking. Cleaning. Gardening. Walking the dogs... All it takes is awareness. And practice. Any new habit takes time.

lantana, autumn garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I hope today you'll take the time to create your own Joy List, your own meditation on gratitude and appreciation, in whatever form works best for you.

Joy List Monday: 

a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day

My list:

  • a sunshiny morning (3rd day in a row!!!)
  • the lingering beauties in the garden, spared so far from frost
  • a fun dinner at a newly re-vamped restaurant in town with my parents and Matthias
  • bringing my houseplants (and a few geraniums) inside for the winter and taking cuttings of a other things, too
  • painting and my newest watercolor (more on that on Friday)
  • being inspired by other creative people
  • a weekend of cooking and eating (and lots of garden fresh produce)
  • putting the finishing touches on my Autumn Newsletter (JOYletter!)
  • walks with the dogs
  • wearing layers
cuttings, plant propagation, impatiens, fuchsia, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Have a lovely week!


  1. You have a wonderful joy list Anne! For me, keeping busy is a way of keeping negative thoughts at bay. Life hasn't been great for me this year (on the relationship or employment front) but I have chosen to battle on regardless and do things that make me happy (creating things!) The house needs a good cleaning and sort out but that isn't my priority at the moment. There will be time for cleaning- but not just yet. I hope that your autumn days ahead have more good bits than not. You have achieved so much this year Anne. Be proud of yourself!

    1. Thank you, Simone.

      Keeping busy is good, too, especially when you're busy with fulfilling, creative things!!

      Housework can always wait. :)

      I really appreciate the reminder and encouragement. Sometimes it's easy to forget!

      Have a joyful rest of your week!

  2. It's cool enough to turn the fans down or off . . . makes me sad but I do love autumn.

    1. We've had chilly enough days that I've thought about turning on the heat, though we did hold off. Autumn is always a mix of emotions, don't you think? Enjoy the loveliness of it!

  3. I wish I could pack up some of our gorgeous Vermont foliage and sent it your way, Anne. Photos don't even do it justice. I hope someday you will find your way here and we'll be able to soak it all in.
    It is extraordinarily mood lifting. xo

    1. Oh, thank you, Karen. Vermont is a lovely place. I really enjoyed visiting years ago as part of an eastern road trip. I'd love to go back someday and would be delighted to experience your bit of earth. :)

      We have some lovely foliage here, too, though the trees are each going at their own tempo.

      So glad you're having a beautiful autumn! I know you love it so!

  4. Oh I know, dark mornings and dark evenings.
    Thank goodness for candles and we have a fireplace.
    We will have our first hard frost tonight. I guess Winter is getting closer.
    Winter is my favorite season, because of my love to c-c ski. I do love warmer days of course, not -40! ;-)
    Take Care!

    1. It's funny that I find these shorter and shorter days a bit of a shock. It happens every year and yet each time it's new and different.

      Glad you love winter. I like some aspects of winter, but generally it's my least favorite season. I'd rather be out in my garden surrounded by flowers! :) Let's hope Wisconsin has a sunny, snowy and not too frigid winter (my favorite kind!) this year. :)

      Have a great weekend!


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