taking stock of daily joys


What are your thoughts on “gratitude” journals?


I’ve been vaguely tempted to keep (or, let’s be clear, attempt to keep) one over the years. But honestly? They seem like too much work. The thought of finding something to be grateful for — every day — feels a bit too big, and way too vague.


Here’s a more concrete alternative that I’m trying instead…


At the start of pandemic lockdowns, and for months since, a friend of mine has posted daily lists of “Things I did today” on Facebook. When this project of hers began, these lists were filled with the mundane — often boring — minutia of being stuck at home every day. Even now, she mainly focuses on the little things. And this, I think, is where the real benefit of her list-making shines through.


While we’re each trying to cope with devastating natural disasters, political unrest, protests, and more — all while facing an uncertain economy and the effects of a global pandemic — it’s often the little things that save us, day in and day out.


These things may seem inconsequential at first, but they are likely the very things that bring you the most joy and keep you grounded. And these “small comforts” most definitely need to be recognized and celebrated.


Again, this list is not meant to include any big accomplishments but is, instead, a way to remind you to appreciate life’s simple pleasures and small joys.


I’ve posted some of my small-daily-joys lists on the Read. Purr. Facebook page, and here are a few selections …


Things I did {on Monday}:

Wrote several hundred words about gardening as meditation. Ate leftovers. Went for a golden-hour walk.


Things I did {on Thursday}:

Unwilling to say goodbye to summer, ate an open-faced tomato & mayo sandwich. Gave our boy Leo Kitty lots of belly rubs.


Things I did {on Saturday}:

Discovered a beautiful & delicious new coffee shop. Made deviled eggs for lunch. Finished reading a book (while sitting in the breeze on the porch).

finding comfort in simple joys …


Whether you share them with anyone or not, I hope you might keep your own lists as well.  



“We have the power, even in this Age of Anxiety, to enfold ourselves in small comforts, in the joy of tiny pleasures.” (Margaret Renkl)


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Welcome to the online home of The Novel Cat, where reading, relaxing, and snuggling with cats are a way of life. I’m Jennifer, and I help former and aspiring readers maximize life’s simple pleasures — like the joy of savoring a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (both mental and physical) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”


“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

Marcel Proust

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Helene Hanff

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Elizabeth von Arnim

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Neil Gaiman

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Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim