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LETTER: Thank you for reading, Bow Valley

Editor: This letter is a thank you note to the Rocky Mountain Outlook for being a community newspaper and for offering me the gift of column space for the past 30 months. Thirty months of writing; six hundred words per column; eighteen thousand words of

Editor:

This letter is a thank you note to the Rocky Mountain Outlook for being a community newspaper and for offering me the gift of column space for the past 30 months. Thirty months of writing; six hundred words per column; eighteen thousand words of published writing, and more than 200 hours of effort. As of December 2021, the gig is over.

Thanks for printing my words each month, as I tried to make the pitch for "community investment of the relational kind." This work has been a privilege, a responsibility and often it was grunt effort of dogged determination. As each deadline loomed, my goal was to encourage positivity, kindness, gratitude, and community-mindedness. Nobody said it would be easy.

To all of the readers who have stopped me at the grocery store or sent me a text or an email of encouragement, "Thank you!"

To the high school English teacher who told me that she used the column as a teaching tool, "Wow!"

To the two readers who courageously wrote to me, advising that I had written something that had disappointed them – good for you! It was a noble act to take the time to write your thoughts, state your case and invite me to accept the criticism in the spirit intended. I did and I am wiser for your honesty and trust. Thank you.

I have learned a lot during these past 30 months. Words do matter and an independent community newspaper is a treasure – thanks for doing what you do, Rocky Mountain Outlook. Obviously, we can dwell on hardship, negativity, anger and worry – a cycle that brings more anger and produces more cardiac disease. Or we can smile more, sleep better, track our reasons for feeling grateful, lower our cortisol levels and keep these words top of mind. Human. Kind. Be both.

For those who care to stay in touch, please sign up for my newsletter at www.grassrootsgratitude.ca. The entire collection of past Outlook columns can be found by clicking the tab "Field Notes and Anecdotes".

#grassrootsgratitude

Lorraine Widmer-Carson,

Banff