Living a Grateful Life Offers Many Benefits

Originally published on November 26, 2014 in the Macoupin County~Carlinville Enquirer~Democrat Newspaper

The month of November is typically a time to give thanks.  Are you sharing gratitude during the eleventh month or all year long? Perhaps you and your family will express gratitude on Thanksgiving Day as you gather together to share a special meal.

There are so many reasons why it is important to show sincere gratitude. It’s not as simple as stating, “Hey, thanks!” A concerted effort of acknowledging gratitude and expressing your appreciation with sincerity offers many benefits. Doing so consistently will change you for the better.

Sure, the recipient appreciates and benefits from the gratitude that you share from your heart. However, do you know that you too will benefit from thanking family and friends, and colleagues? Doing so will put you on a path of better health. Research proves there are benefits of giving thanks. Recent studies support that the expression of gratitude can have a profound and positive effects on our well-being.

The expression of gratefulness, is not only good for your mind, it is good for your physical well being. Those who express thanks and praise experience an increased boost in energy level and feel a stronger resilience. Experts believe that grateful people are healthier and are associated with reduced blood pressure and stress hormone levels, and a stronger heart. 

One becomes more resilient as our brains become wired to seek out the positives when one notices the kindness and gifts from others. You will be healthier and happier, simply by noticing and sharing gratitude with those around you.

Improved relationships are another perk of expressing gratefulness. Expressing gratitude with a positive attitude is just being a nice person that family and friends enjoy spending time with. When one feels appreciated, others are more likely to share appreciation in return. The feel good chemical, dopamine is triggered in the brain, of a benefactor upon receiving gratitude and the back and forth of kind acts continues. Individuals who do not express gratitude with others, become disconnected with life, and suffer the consequences, such as anger, loneliness, sadness or even an unhealthy immune system.

There are millions of reasons to feel grateful. Giving thanks and being thanked, are just as important as giving respect and feeling respected. The idea of expressing gratitude should not be considered as one more self improvement. Being grateful and thankful is an opportunity to reflect and think about family, friends and the many acts of kindness and all that they do for you. All of these admissions and affirmations connect us with our loved ones and those we care about. 

Acknowledge all of the reasons for thankfulness, whether big or small on Thanksgiving Day and every day of the year. Time to be a healthier, happier, and nicer person. Share gratitude and you will feel grateful and improve your life. Gratitude feels good. Don’t pass up an opportunity to voice gratitude.              

Sue Leopold 

Macoupin County~Carlinville Enquirer~Democrat Newspaper
Our Thanksgiving Table is Filled with Gratitude

Look All Around and Be Grateful

Today is today, and it is a gift.” Tomie de Paola

Look and Be Grateful is just one of hundreds of beautiful picture books written by Tomie de Paola. The message of this book is sweet and simple. It is an ode to gratitude and mindfulness that includes brilliant illustrations.

Look and Be Grateful Created by Tomie de Paola

As a creator—a writer and painter, I have the ability to communicate meaningful thoughts and feelings of gratitude through the written word with pen and paper and with paints and brushes. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love of writing with readers. I am grateful to gift my creations to family and friends.

Watercolor creation by Suzy Leopold
Inspiration by Tomie de Paola

Every day is a gift to be grateful for.

Book Giveaway: I AM ODD I AM NEW by Benjamin Giroux

Ten-year-old Benjamin Giroux wrote a picture book, I Am Odd I Am New. The illustrator is Roz Maclean. Today it makes its debut published by Schiffer Kids.

I Am Odd I Am New

The book includes a foreword by the National Autism Association. the story is about how Benjamin feels living in a neurotypical world.

2021 #PB Chat Mentorship

A 2021 PB Chat Mentee Banner & Badge

2021 #PB Chat Mentee

Hosted by Justin Colón, the 2021 #PB Chat Mentorship Showcase took place during the week of October 18th -23rd. Sharing the outstanding stats:

23 mentees/showcase entries

36 industry guests—14 editors and 22 agents

118 requests made

The most requested manuscript received 18 requests for a picture book manuscript about a Latnix autistic child and his emotions and joys. All children must see themselves in picture books.

91.30434782608695% of the entries received at least one request.

I am excited and grateful for six requests—four literary agents and two editors, who requested to read the entire manuscript.

I led with the story: SEEDS OF HOPE: THE SVALBARD GLOBAL SEED VAULT. The pitch for this nonfiction picture book is:

Chiseled in a mountain deep in the Arctic lies the world’s largest seed bank, built to withstand natural and man-made disasters. Inside, below-freezing temperatures preserve millions of seeds from seven continents, safeguarding crop diversity and securing the worlds’ future food supply. Welcome to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault!

Such an excellent opportunity to work with Rob Sanders, an award-winning author. His guidance helped me to grow as a writer during the mentorship program. Not only did Rob go above and beyond with detailed suggestions, he encouraged me to make revisions to make my stories shine. Additionally, I developed confidence as a writer.

November 1st was submission day. I sent a batch of seven query letters. Time to read, write, and create while I wait as I continue along my writing journey.

A GROG Roundtable Discussion

Setting SMART Goals supports my writing. These goals are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Creating a set of short-term and long-term goals helps me to stay focused, organized, and gives me a clear sense of direction with writing projects. After a goal is achieved, I often revise and adjust a set of SMART Goals for further success.

SMART Goals Examples & Nonexamples

Read more from writers of the GROG Blog at

2021 #PBChat Mentorship

The 2021 Picture Book Chat Mentorship hosted by Justin Colón is coming together. I submitted all of my materials for the upcoming 2021 Picture Book Mentorship Showcase. The dates for the showcase are October 18th through the 22nd.

I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn as writer. Thank you, Justin, for all that you do for the kid lit community.

About Justin

I submitted a nonfiction picture book title, pitch, and an excerpt with the first 100 words for my manuscript SEEDS OF HOPE: THE SVALBARD GLOBAL SEED VAULT.

My additional materials included three additional picture book pitches. One is a nonfiction picture book biography, SAMUEL BERT: THE SNOW CONE KING. The second story is a lyrical picture book manuscript, TAKE A WALK THROUGH THE PRAIRIE. A fiction picture book was part of the the submission, NO SEED LEFT BEHIND.

I am grateful to my mentor author Rob Sanders. Thank you, Rob, for many pieces of wisdom about the craft of writing. This teacher needed a writing teacher like you.

A Book on the Craft of Writing


Written by Verylyn Klinkenborg, Vintage Books, 2013.


I read numerous books on the craft of writing. This one is powerful.

”No other book, old or new, is well reasoned as this, as entertaining or as wise. Best book on writing. Ever.” —New York Journal of Books

Sharing a book recommendation on the craft of writing. Read more on the GROG Blog.

Summer Writing

A cinquain is five-line poem inspired by nature. 
Sharing the steps to write a cinquain poem:

  • Line 1: One word title, a noun that identifies your topic
  • Line 2: Two adjectives that describe your topic 
  • Line 3: Three -ing verbs that describe action
  • Line 4: A phrase that describes something about your topic 
  • Line 5: A noun that is a synonym or another way to name your topic


Green, tall

Growing, Cascading, Swaying

Many birds like to nest


For additional information, read the a post on the GROG Blog.

#PBChat with Justin Colón

#PBChat is a community of picture book creators hosted by Justin Colón. Every other Wednesday Justin hosts a chat on Twitter. A kid lit industry topic is tweeted. Authors, illustrators, writers, and illustrators participate with tweets about the craft and business of picture books.


Once a year, Justin sets of #PBChat Mentorship Program. In the spring 585 creators applied for the mentorship program. Twenty-three mentors volunteered to share their time and expertise. After reading the mentors’ bios, I selected three authors as a potential fit. I completed and submitted an extensive online application on April 30th.

On June 30th I was tagged in a tweet indicating I was selected as a mentee! My mentor is author Rob Sanders.

The mentorship is a three month program. In November, Justin will host a #PBMentee Showcase. Forty + agents and editors from top agencies and publishing houses will read manuscripts that were revised and polished during the mentorship. The manuscripts must be ready for submission and may be selected for the possibility of publication.

I am honored to be a mentee to Rob Sanders. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer.