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  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 12-29-23 – Looking Back on Gratitude Fridays 2023

“For last year's words belong to last year's language

And next year's words await another voice.” ― T.S. Eliot


I started doing weekly Friday posts Gratitude on October 9th, 2020. Julie had gifted me a web domain and used her significant skills to set up a site at My first post was not titled, but had a general theme on gratitude for simple things. Practicing gratitude has long been a part of my self-care. Putting down gratitude reflections on paper seemed like a natural progression as I worked on my writing skills. Over the next few weeks, I started to come up with themes I would reference in the title and to set the length of single-spaced page of one full page of writing, about 900 words weekly. The first one I did was the Lessons of Lincoln in December 2020 on leadership in difficult times.


Gratitude Friday has been a weekly muse now for 168 weeks. Over 125,000 words or a 500 page book. I have covered a lot of themes. I have learned a great deal, which is also part of the exercise. I enjoy researching topics I reflect on. One of the subjects that tends to run through all threads is addiction recovery. I am a person in addiction recovery. My identity is strongly associated with recovery as living in recovery has fundamentally changed how I think and act.  


Gratitude takes effort for me, which is part of why I do this weekly post. I have to work at gratitude. It does not come naturally. Gratitude improves my outlook. As a person in recovery, I cannot afford to be miserable, angry or to let myself slide into negativity for long periods of time. Practicing gratitude is linked to self-preservation. I am going to do here that thing we do at the end of every calendar year, a look back on my favorite posts of 2023. What makes a post a favorite? Often it is that in choosing a theme, I learn a new thing or through the writing process find a new way to look at something. One of things that make writing special is that it can help us reflect and consider things more deeply than other mediums. Even if no one reads them, it is a rewarding process for me.


Here are a few of those posts:

  • On February 10th Show Me, on the life and loss of one of the closest friends I am likely to ever have, Mr. Tweaks. The term “dog” just does not capture who and what he was to me. RIP dear friend, dear sir.

  • On February 24th, The New Street Radish Miracle of February 1990, which is the true story of my greatest lifetime physical feat, the accidental flight down an icy fire escape in which not only did I not die, but I landed it with the unlikely grace of a gymnast. You may see this one again, if you read regularly.

  • 0n April 7th A Mailman Who Made His Last Delivery, a tribute to John Prine, a remarkable musician. Writing this piece helped me learn things about him I had and would not otherwise have known. I know this piece resonated with a lot of readers, probably more people mentioned reading this post than any other over the course of the year.

  • On June 2nd, Devils Lake, the Star of the North and Its Healers, a lake in Wisconsin outside of Baraboo where the remains of three members of my family are. A place I never thought I would every see, but coincidentally within ten miles of a training I was asked to do.  

  • On July 14th Tribes of Inspiration, which was a reflection on some of our greatest thinkers and also for me on some of the interesting facets of my life over the course of those weeks in which I traveled to a number of places. I met some really interesting people and learned a lot of new things.

  • On July, 28th Six Months with a Rescue Dog, on our newest family member, Sumo who is the goofiest, emotionally sensitive fuzzy blanket loving dog we have ever, or perhaps will ever have in our humble abode.

  • On September 15th, The March of Time, a reflection on my father, his life and the mark he left on this world in his 90 years of life. His 91st birthday would have been this weekend. RIP, dad.

  • On October 6th, The Sphinx President and Resiliency, which I wrote after visiting the FDR memorial in Washington. It is perhaps our most underappreciated and out of the way memorials on the National Mall. It is remarkable in its design and how it communicates his life and contributions to our nation. Visiting it and writing this post led to me reading some books on his life. What a remarkable human being and one of our finest presidents.

  • On November 13th, If This Isn't Nice, What Is?, which is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut quotes I found after reading his book of the same name. It included nine commencement speeches that gave at graduation ceremonies spanning the years of 1969 to 2001. He was a gem of a writer.


To all seven of my regular readers, I have decided to do this weekly post for another year. So, bring on 2024. Thank you, Julie Miller, for this platform. Thank you, readers, thank you writing mentors near and far in time and place!  Grateful for all of you.

What are you grateful for today?  

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Dec 30, 2023

Perhaps you have inspired me to pick back up my radio show days of Gratitude Friday. The year long theme will be Why I'm grateful for a Campaign for 2024.

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