Wednesday, November 6, 2019

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward 

November is the month of two major events - my birthday and Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for another birthday (67) - the eighth one since my husband died - but I find that every day, regardless of the month of the year or the day of the week, I have learned to count my blessings far better than I did when I was younger

I had to retire in 2011 when Scott was dying, and we had 11 months together.  Then came the blur of funeral arrangements, clearing the house, fixing the house, selling the house, looking at condos, moving to a condo, and settling in.  I had a few good years, but in 2014, the pain of arthritis caught up to me. I have been dealing with some serious and some annoying health issues for several years, and when a person does not feel well, their entire perspective is skewed.  I decided several years ago that no matter how I felt, I was going to be thankful for small and large things, and show gratitude by speaking it aloud by myself and in front of others. For example, I had a chance to play golf at the end of October - and it was 68 degrees!  I was grateful that I shouted out to my foursome, "Thank you, Lord, for an October golf game in beautiful; weather with good friends." Much to my surprise, the group echoed my thoughts with thanks of their own. 

It feels really good to say THANK YOU aloud, even if no one is there.  I actually say it several times a day. 

I also like the idea of old-fashioned thank you notes.  In this age of memes and texts and emails, a handwritten thank you note carries a strong message of acknowledgement.  A person actually sat at a desk, chose a card, composed a message, and write the message just for the recipient.  Then the sender took the additional responsibility to locate an address and zip code, place a stamp on the letter, and mail it in a mailbox. 

Writing a thank you note takes a lot more effort than writing an email, and the effort is worth it.

I have saved so many thank you notes during my lifetime.  From my 37 years of teaching, I have thousands of notes from students and their parents, telling me that I made a difference in their lives. During low points in my career, I would reread some of the notes to lift my spirits.  Can't say I ever did that with an email or text message.

What are YOU thankful for this month?  Why not share your gratitude in a handwritten note?  Do you have a former teacher who made a big difference for you - and you never said THANK YOU?  Teachers love to receive notes from former students, and to find out they are still remembered.  If you are lucky enough to have parents who are still alive, I know they would love to read a thank you note from you.  What about an older sibling or mentor? What would you write to them?

In full disclosure, writing a thank you note feels just as good as receiving one! Just try it, and you will see.

This November month of Thanksgiving is a perfect time to write and send an old-fashioned handwritten thank you note.   I hope you write one - you will be surprised and pleased after sending. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  and a company called GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
 Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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