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Descent of Madame Saqui, surrounded by fireworks, 1822, Thomas Kelly (Publisher). New York Public Library/public domain.

Hello friends! I’ve been thinking back to first falling in love with MDK, and how quickly it became that all-important third place for me. 

I’d been online since 1990 (because college, not because I was ahead of the curve on my own), and I’d been meeting other knitters from the jump. 

But MDK instantly felt very different to me. It was more hospitable and more, I will just say it, of a community. 

And so constant! A lot of the internet has come and permanently gone—just ask the Wayback Machine. But MDK is still here, a core of continuity.

Anyway, that got me thinking about our discussion last month, on building a collection of “positive reference experiences” aka the Win File. I thought what if, in the interest of continuity, we just kept going?

And you don’t stop

If you didn’t read last month’s column, the Win File is a collection of things that went well, large and small. Some people wrote about using their best things, instead of saving for a rainy day or another Great Depression. Others spoke about noticing delights (hat tip to Ross Gay), “glimmers,” and things we’re grateful for. 

No quota and no cap. Just directing our attention, as often as we think of it, to what’s working. And as one of the commenters pointed out, anytime we’re drawing breath, more is working than isn’t.

It’s gonna have an effect

When people say you can change your world with the power of thought, this is the kind of noticing they are talking about.

Your world will not be transformed comprehensively and instantly. But imagine how you’ll feel one year from now if every single day you make a written note of some positive experience, some grateful noticing.

How fast will it get easier to notice the good stuff? When will the scales tip? We don’t know, but…maybe as soon as tonight.

Togetherness=a totally free force multiplier

If this idea seems too lightweight, or too heavy, or just improbable, consider this: We are already here together every month. In our improbably kind corner of the internet! 

Let’s use this little community we’ve got, because togetherness makes everything easier, funner, and more successful. Let’s keep our lists going, and let’s keep checking in with each other, here, every month.

We have a lot to talk about this year on MDK. I can’t wait to report on “scarcity brain” next month. But I’ll also check in briefly on our Win Files. Hearing how your wins stack up will help us all see more of our own.

Let me know your thoughts below. If you’re inspired to join in and leverage the power of positive noticing and also community, tell us in the comments what you’ve got your sights set on, be it gratitudes, glimmers, or something of your own invention.

About The Author

Max Daniels is a research-based life coach whose weekly emails make us laugh with recognition and rethink everything we thought we knew. Her new book is Meals at Mealtimes. What a concept!


  • This month, I started bullet journaling after doing the online introduction class with Felix Ford . I discovered her through MDK. Already, exploring monthly (or really anytime) pages along with Victory pages at the end of the month, has encouraged me to look at the progress and good things happening in my life. She is so kind, courageous, talented and gentle that my time with her was well spent.

    I’m grateful to MDK for bringing Felix into my life!

    • Me too!! I love Felix’s approach and how much she both makes it our own and reassures us that any way we do it is the right way. That was always a stumbling block for me.

  • I finally took and just completed the 9 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course I’ve wanted to take for years. Created by Jon Kabat Zinn, it’s a game changer. I am grateful for having opportunity and space in my life to do so.

  • I want to notice the little wins. Really notice and note them. Not just a glance but a full on LOOK.

  • I read “The Gratitude diaries” recently and was inspired to start my own so at the end of each day I list three things I am grateful for.

  • A beautiful sunrise this morning! Whenever I see a beautiful sunrise or sunset, I stop and savor it for a minute or two. My efficient brain is always telling me there’s lots to do, but I realized some time ago that the only time you can experience a sunrise or sunset is in the moment you see it. It will be gone in a minute, and you can’t just file it away to look at later. It’s helped remind me to slow down and notice things in the moment. Especially beautiful things!

  • Max, I am grateful for your blog which gives me smiles !!

  • Yesterday I was together with both my daughters and my 3 baby Grands! Family + together = Grateful. Love.

  • Not to sound too Pollyanna, but sometimes I think of what I call my “micro-gratitudes”–as I get up in the morning, I look at everything I’ve been gifted in just the first few minutes I’m awake: woke up (good start); inside in a bed instead of on the concrete clutching a newspaper trying to stay warm with my few possessions in a shopping cart nearby; walk into a bathroom where the plumbing works (the house and mine) with running water, electricity; and go to the kitchen where the cats sit in their spots more confident that a meal is coming than millions around the world who are food insecure or actually starving. And even on the most difficult days I try to remember the line from Bonnie Raitt’s song “God Only Knows”–“The worst of life looks beautiful as it slips away in full retreat”–it’s just great to be alive.

    • Beautiful!

    • Love this!
      I woke up happy that even though my back and hips hurt, I’m still able to get up and get dressed and go for a gentle yoga class. Without that, it’s hard to knit or do other every day activities. Now I’m sitting in my favorite chair with a glass of tea and a small french bulldog in my lap, trying to figure out a new knitting pattern (why short row increases in front of the sweater?).

      • Fitted sweaters sometimes use short rows to accommodate “the girls” – the knitting equivalent of darts if you were sewing a blouse, but instead of pinching away fabric at the sides, you manufacture fabric for the center. Clever, eh?!

    • You nailed it Cynthia. I try to remind myself on a daily basis how damm lucky I am.

      • Sorry but I’m going to share maybe too much. I’m late to this discussion as I traveled to visit my longest friend…we graduated from nursing school 48 years ago this May. We have lived close —all through the years not by miles but by spirit. Today I focus not on her rare cancer or the fact it returned just at its five year mark but that today before I left her we encouraged a young woman who said “oh I’m just a student nurse”. I will be grateful they stopped her bleeding so it did not rob her of more energy. Grateful that she told me to seek a glimmer to share with her from my way home. Grateful that as I drove along in the middle of nowhere there was a ranch pond and a single glorious blue heron…my glimmer to share with her as I told her I arrived home safely and wished her a goodnight.

        I so thank all of you for being here.

        BTW Mary Earle….i came home to SAT and a feeder lined with Lesser Goldfinches!!!

        Gotta catch up on my Crowberry Sweater knitting!

    • Thanks for reminding me of these good things, esp. the cats.

    • Lovely!!

  • I was a late commer to MDK. From the first intro to MDK I knew it was different from other knitting communities. I look forward each day to learning, enjoying and being inspired by the contributors .
    I love that MDK has had the longevity and support keeping it alive . MFK is a valuable community

  • I am grateful for MDK and enjoy all the blogs, particularly yours, Max. And I have Ross Gay’s first Book of Delights on my desk and start most days with reading one of his entries — making me smile and appreciate all the delights around. Today I celebrate the amazingly smart and brave writers, Max and Ross, who make my life so much richer. Thank you!

  • I’ve been knitting for about 10 years and am grateful for MDK and the inspiration and good feelings I get from the daily post and community comments. I feel like I belong here.

    Yesterday I took a big step toward fulfilling my dream of becoming a weaver. I bought a beautiful rigid heddle loom and took an all day workshop. My first project looks a lot like the first scarf I knitted. I wish I’d kept that scarf. I love that I know I’ll get better.

    Four of the six new weavers yesterday were also knitters. Maybe the MDK will one day include weavers.

    Thank you all to everything you bring to me daily.

    • I love the idea of adding weavers! Knitting led me to spinning and now rigid heddle weaving!

  • Several weeks ago I stumbled across an old journal from 2013. I called it my Three Good Things journal. Everyday I wrote down three good things that happened that day and one thing that I was looking forward to for the next day. I read several pages of the journal and remembered what life was like back then and promptly bought a new journal (a Star Trek one this time) and started a new Three Good Things journal. Some days it’s a challenge to think of three good things and I have to remind myself that good things can be really small also. Like having tummy leftovers for dinner. Leftovers are my favorite food because you don’t have to do anything for them! It’s like free magic food!

    • I like that! Free magic food – the best!

    • I do this every day, too (well, the three good things), right before bed, then my day ends on a positive note. Even if the only thing I write is, “It was a bad day, but it’s done now and I got through it – well done me,” that’s a good thing and it makes me feel better.

    • Yummy leftovers.

      • I prefer “tummy leftovers”!

  • A recent bout of norovirus recalibrated many things for me. A glass of water and a crisp apple give me enormous pleasure and happy gratitude.

  • My eyes are always wide open to glimmers. I’ve been enjoying these magical snippets of life for many years but just recently learned to label these moments with the glimmer word. MDK is a major glimmer by bringing me so many new things and experiences that I’d never find on my own. Personally my glimmers are nature related. The pair of mallards walking across our neighbor’s front yard, the bluebirds flitting across my path, the rosey sunset yesterday.

  • Caring for my much loved mother in law with advanced Alzheimers teaches me to live in the moment. Small tiny bits of joy making her smile or hum are sheer, beautiful simple joys to me.

  • For many years, I wrote down at day’s end 3 things for which I was grateful. Stopped that practice at one point during the pandemic. Then I began noticing how inconsequential things started bothering me. Went back to practicing gratitude. The habit affects my attitude, especially on days that have been a challenge and one of the “gratitudes” is as simple as, “I am grateful for a delicious cup of tea”.

  • Using the Win file to help me accept the limitations of aging.

  • Made a trip into Boston Saturday to attend a Jon Batiste concert. ( i do symphony and chamber concerts,with an occasional jazz event). This trek over the St. Patrick’s weekend ( for the past 23 years march 16/17 mean stay off the streets after dark and praying all my family does so as well). So this was a big win… we didn’t drive as we treated ourselves to a hotel within walking distance of the venue and were out of the city before the parade craziness began. It was a wonderful concert. Jon Batiste is an uplifting high positive energy performer, incredible musician and a gift to our world. Explore his music . There’s a film The American Symphony, netflix(?)…

    • I just came here to say that I watched American Symphony on Netflix over the weekend, so good. All of life happening at once, the good and the bad, can be overwhelming. He’s so young yet he has learned how to stay afloat and yes, stay human.

  • I am really happy when I open email and there is a column from you. You always strike a chord with me. Last month’s column was one favorites Looking forward to “scarcity brain”.

  • My joy level gets lifted daily by the three crazy cats we recently adopted. Their ability – no it’s actually a NEED – to play is a great motivator for me to stop, get down on the rug, and dangle felt mice, throw balls, or pull a strip of fabric selvage that delights them no end. And then I get purring furballs to pet as a bonus!

  • One day I was in the grocery store in a crap mood for some reason and I decided then and there I would give someone a compliment and smile. It worked. The other person felt better and so did I. I try to remember this.

    • Good one! I find this to be an extremely fun secret mission when out and about 🙂

      • My ‘secret mission’ is to notice store workers behind counters who appear to be recent immigrants. I
        gently inquire (with a smile and quiet voice) if they are ‘new’ to
        the U.S. If they nod or say yes, I smile broadly and say, “Welcome! I am very happy that you are here!”
        It never fails to elicit a smile, and
        I feel that I am doing something
        concrete to rebuild the American

  • Before I fall asleep each night I count my blessings. You can call them wins, glimmers, or gifts. Yesterday I had so many, including finishing a swatch for a sweater I hope to make. I haven’t got as far as writing them down yet. When I do that will be another win. Thank you for the encouragement.

  • Remember, there are no such things as leftovers, only extra servings!

  • I live in San Antonio, and spring is definitely here, despite occasional nights in the 40s. This morning, I saw a lovely pot bellied goldfinch on the thistle sock, and it made me laugh out loud. That fellow chowed down on thistle for a full five minutes. It was a delight to see that bright gold belly!
    Thank you for reminding us of the cumulative, restorative effect of attending to these lovely small moments of joy and delight, hope and kindness.

  • I love so much that this community is more than knitting, it reaches beyond into so many other flavors of mental wellness.

  • A new section for my bullet journal: ‘Glimmers’. I love it! Thank you Max

  • Yes, MDK everyday—always a bright spot, so grateful! My spirits were lifted this morning when trying on a swtr vest (after blocking, disappointingly 2” wider & taller), that fits just fine! On to finishing edges & buttonbands. I am confused as it was carefully planned (1+1 still equals 2, right?), w/lrg gauge swatch & checks along the way, then blocked as small as reasonably possible. Knitting can be mysterious & thankfully forgiving at times.

  • My greyhound has wedged herself between the couch and the coffee table with front paws crooked to be patted while I read this. She’s giving me something to write about and she gives me so much

  • I often stop walking to note the birds. I saw 6 turkey vultures soaring this morning.

  • I love this community, and the inspiration I get here. Right now, it’s a reminder of the Win files – I need to give myself permission to celebrate my wins more! Today, I took the time to do some yoga and then meditate in a spot of sunshine on my bed, instead of either diving straight into work, or doomscrolling the news – a win! So grateful to have the flexibility (both temporal and physical) for even a few yoga poses, and to meditate with a happy cat nearby and singing birds outside my window.

  • I have been circling back to the concept of gratitude and related positive noticing since I read The Happiness Advantage many years ago. Shortly after that, I had an experience in which acknowledging gratitude and reframing really turned what would otherwise have been only crappy into something that I could manage and that was an exercise in reminding me of the goodness in my life. My attention to this ebbs and flows, but when it is flowing, it is always for the good. I will join in!

  • The timing of this piece is so needed. I have been traveling in NZ for the last 8+ weeks and schedule to head home to TX next week. The dread of returning to the craziness has started to weigh on me. Thank you for a reminder of how to combat it!

  • When I take my daily walk I concentrate on looking around and noticing all the beauty of nature. I live in the PNW and I look at the Puget Sound and am lucky enough to see Mt Rainier in all its majesty on a clear day. I’m trying to practice mindfulness and gratitude.

  • I find briefly ignoring my mind chatter(it doesn’t ever really stop) to get present to a beautiful moment is worth trying for every day. I do it with my grandsons for that tiny moment when they aren’t the chaos boys and I see the beauty and magic of childhood. If I’m lucky, I also get a picture.

  • Thank you for this fantastic, enlightening, targeted message today. I can take action to continuously improve in a positive manner with your insights. What a relief:)

  • I recently discovered MDK and love it so much! I’ve had a goal of knitting a sweater for the last 2 years but always felt unable to do it. But when I saw the Bang Out a Sweater in a Month on MDK and that they had a course with Lorilee on how to do the sweater, I knew this was my opportunity. I purchased the gorgeous yarn and have loved the class and support from MDK. I now have at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the sweater done – I’m actually doing it thanks to MDK and Lorilee!

  • I recently discovered MDK and love it so much! I’ve had a goal of knitting a sweater for the last 2 years but always felt unable to do it. But when I saw the Bang Out a Sweater in a Month on MDK and that they had a course with Lorilee on how to do the sweater, I knew this was my opportunity. I purchased the gorgeous yarn and have loved the class and support from MDK. I now have at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the sweater done – I’m actually doing it thanks to MDK and Lorilee!

  • Some years ago, in mid-December, I came around a corner, and just as I did, somebody’s outdoor holiday lights lit up. It felt like they were waiting for me, and I turned, and they said, “Here she comes!” and lit up. Then it occurred to me that that’s actually true – people don’t light up their houses for themselves; they’re inside where they can’t see the lights. They do it for us, who are passing by. And so now I also say thank you when I pass a beautiful outdoor show, whether it’s lights or a garden or whatever.
    Also noticed that when driving, I noticed the red lights, because they impeded my progress, but not the green lights, which helped me on my way. So I trained myself to say “Thank you!” to all the green lights.
    To help me keep up a gratitude practice, I have a gratitude buddy. We email/text our gratitude lists to each other, which helps me be more consistent with actually writing it down.
    And I highly recommend reading 365 Thank Yous, by John Kralik. It’s a memoir about putting his gratitude in the form of thank you notes, and how life-transforming it was.

  • I feel overwhelmed by a lot right now, but earlier I found an 8 year old document we needed for a grant. Saved the team a lot of time and hassle, and it didn’t take me a lot of time or hassle. that’s a win

  • The amaryllis I bought 2? years ago from MDK is fixing to bloom! For months I’ve been tending its flaky dead looking bulb and suddenly it’s shot out new leaves and two flower stalks. What a symbol of hope and renewal!

  • Thank you Max. I love reading your ‘Inspirations’! Speaking of ‘glimmers’, this month I started writing in a journal titled ‘Glimmer – Find Your Light’ which is a guided journal for healing through grief. We lost our 35 yr old son on Dec 29. Its helped me to find things to be grateful for. The journal and knitting a wedding blanket for our other son are 2 of the things that keep me going

    • We never loose them–only sight of them. They’ve gone ahead-over that hill, around that bend

  • Embroidering and seeing a design emerge. Remembering that “the mark of the maker” is a good thing and evidence that my makes weren’t made in a factory.

  • Pollyanna was my favorite movie then my favorite book a long time ago. I think it’s time for me to realize she was right and her quest for eternal optimism is a great goal.

  • A friend on Facebook started a gratitude post at the beginning of Covid and we are now on day 1465 of posting gratitude posts. It has made me more aware of my own life and surroundings and I’ve become friends with a couple of the posters. What a gift it has been!

  • I love that when in spring you can get all the weather. And the flowers and the trees are growing and flowering.

  • My husband and I recently celebrated out 50th (How did THAT happen?!?) wedding anniversary. Several years ago, I was annoyed with him one day because he was doing some task or other in a different way than I would. I stopped in my tracks and realized that we are 2 different people so, OF COURSE, we approach almost any task differently! Noticing that and sharing it with him has transformed it from a point of contention to something we laugh about together. And to my joy and surprise, sometimes his method is one I’d never have thought of, and it works better too.

  • Today it’s raining softly in Southern California and I’m grateful for that. Getting ready to plant this year’s tomatoes soon. A dear friend is recovering from pneumonia and we helped her adopt a new kitten recently. That helped her get through the illness and I’m grateful for that. My kids and grandkids are thriving and I’m enjoying my yarny adventures. Thanks for the reminder to look around. We all need to be aware of the beauty and abundance all around us…in nature and in our relationships. ❤️

  • I do this daily via my 5 year journal. It is just a few lines a day – I note the weather, something that was great, something that needs work and 3 things for the next day. Love it and can’t wait when I start seeing a yearly pattern.

  • Listening to the songbirds sing. Such an amazing sound! And I’m so lucky to live in a place where I hear it as I wake up in the morning.

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