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Sarah Bentz writes: One great idea came a few years ago, to share entries from my Gratitude Journal ... lots of wowmen are keeping them these days at the urging of Oprah and every Women's magazine article on finding happiness etc. Each night all year I write 3-5 things, small to large, I'm grateful for in the day. Then in Novemenber I sit down and start highlighting those that express the best of the year and reflect time with friends and family. I type them up and start deleting until it fits on a page. It is a wonderful way to be reminded of all we are blessed with and to express gratitude to friends and family for the many ways they bless our lives.

Here is her 2007 letter:

Be glad of life because it gives you a chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.
~ Henry van Dyke
These are but a few of the countless Blessings of 2007 we are eternally grateful for:
  • Doing the Mummers' Strut in an unseasonably warm City of "Sisterly" Love
  • Seeing Mom and Dad's pictures of Vietnam
  • Relearning the power of Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust
  • Moving Kate into a car booster seat she can buckle
  • Serving Nana Birthday cake made with the cherries Ben and I picked
  • Viewing the lunar eclipse at Mr. Z's
  • Playing golf in Bermuda while whales breeched off Elbow Beach
  • Watching Ben's magic show review with Kate as tap dancing assistant
  • Experiencing PEEC's new facilities and showing Ben and Kate where their mom and dad met
  • Attending a Mothers' Day Tea hosted by Ben's class in a dress Mom bought me in college promising it would last a lifetime
  • Setting a Personal Record under 25 minutes in the T and H 5k
  • Catching the proud gleam in the kids' eyes while Pop-Pop sang on stage with Cantate Carlisle
  • Playing golf at Fox Chase with Arlene, Bonnie and Barb
  • Watching Ben's theatrical performance of "banana phone" at his pre-school graduation
  • Pulling-up crab traps in Cape May
  • Delighting in the beautiful Iris from St. Louis
  • Gathering with our church family in worship and fellowship, especially at Appalachian Trail Hikers' Dinners
  • Witnessing the frog rescue operation by Ben and Kate at the pool
  • Attending Dickinson's 15th Reunion to find so many friends who still inspire me
  • Sitting in the backyard with my best lifetime friend, Virginia
  • Praying between Mom and Dad at St. John's
  • Square-dancing in a barn full of support for Katharine and Ross
  • Kayaking with Kate, a trooper even when we rolled it
  • Spotting the elusive loon on Lake Morey while pontoon boating with the Bentz Family
  • Riding the Ferris wheel with the Dugans in Ocean City
  • Pulling into the house on a paved driveway
  • Teaching Vacation Bible School
  • Taking a sunset canoe cruise with Eric on Laurel Lake
  • Sitting on the sidelines for Ben and Kate's first soccer practices
  • Oooing and ahhing over Ben's $2 bill straight from the Tooth Fairy
  • Twirling sparklers in the backyard celebrating "the best summer ever"
  • Sending Benjamin to board the bus a confident and excited Kindergartener
  • Picnicking with Ana Paula and her family from Brazil at Bushkill Falls
  • Visiting with Lois, Chick and Bruce on Becca's Pine Street porch
  • Cheering Benjamin on as he took off his own training wheels
  • Welcoming Otto, a five year old rescued cat, into our home and our hearts
  • Harvesting tons of pumpkins from the new patch
  • Holding Athena Aurora Rose Raley-Doty, my new niece, for the first time and sensing her sweet, gentle Spirit
  • Retreating with Stacey, Kim, Heidi and Ann for laughter and sharing
  • Expressing gratitude around Arlene's bountiful table
  • Singing Christmas Carols as one of the kids on Santa's Cape May Trolley
  • Looking forward to the year ahead with so many Blessings yet to come

Wishing you the best of Blessings and the peace of Gratitude in 2008.

[Written and contributed by Sarah Bentz of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.]

[Ed. Note: Sarah used a format that works well on paper but not as well on the web, alternating between regular type and italic for each item, with an asterisk to separate them, no paragraph breaks but 1.5 line spacing. The Word document is handsome. Here is a sample:

* Seeing Mom and Dadís pictures of Vietnam * Relearning the power of Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust * Moving Kate into a car booster seat she can buckle * ...]

This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.

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This page updated: June 21, 2014