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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day

Last night I finished reading my first favorite book of all time. I'm so excited!  I love that I will now be able to answer the question: "What's your favorite book?" This is something that comes up a lot in conversations with me.  I'm guilty of asking anyone and everyone what they are currently reading.

Lawrence Hill's "The Book of Negroes" is outstanding. (Published under the title Someone Knows My Name outside of Canada.) Hill brilliantly tells the inspiring, heartbreaking and powerful story of Aminata Diallo. When we meet Aminata she is an eleven year old girl who is stolen from her small African village and happy childhood to be sold into the slave trade. As I turned the final page of the book, desperately craving an epilogue, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a note of thanks for the the privilege of being born a first generation Canadian to immigrant parents who proudly hail from Uganda. When I woke up this morning, the first day of a new month which is always invigorating for me, I was once again taken by an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

In 1996, during a spare period at high school I went home to pick up my choir music and I can't remember why but I switched on the TV. I caught a few minutes of an episode of Oprah. She had a guest on the show named Sarah Ban Breathnach author of Simple Abundance. Ban Breathnach introduced the idea of keeping a gratitude journal and taking the time to write down the things you were grateful for that day. I used one of my cahiers (earmarked to conjugate French verbs) to make my first attempt at a gratitude journal. I think I wrote something about being thankful for my friend Suzie for an amazing talk we had about our boyfriends. I kept the journal for a few days and then the momentum was lost. Here we are 13 years later. I've started many gratitude journals since then but have never kept a single one going for more than a week. I always thought it was because I didn't have the right pen or the right journal. I've tried every colour of pen imaginable, ball point, gel, multicolored, even my Dad's expensive Cross pen AND have had journals of all kinds - hard cover, soft cover, moleskin, covered in suede, covered in beautiful Indian fabrics - none lived to see a one week anniversary. In February, I gave my good friend Rishma a gratitude journal of her own for her birthday. I even took the liberty of creating some entries for her thinking that would motivate me to continue with my new journal. I don't even know where it is now...

I've resigned myself to the fact that I am not one to put pen to paper and record my thoughts. I've always been better doing it face-to-face or with a keyboard. And so I invite you to my blog. This is my latest attempt at a gratitude journal. This is my place to share and reflect on the people, places and things that bring joy, laughter, love, light, happiness and inspiration to my life. It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day is named after my second favorite song Lovely Day by Bill Withers. I can't help but grin ear-to-ear and sing along every time I hear this song.

I hope you will share with me what has made your day...a lovely one.

PS. What's my favorite song you ask? Diamonds and Pearls by Prince. My brother Karim bought me the cassette tape when the single came out and I fell in love. I once listened to it on repeat for 5 and half continuous hours.


Karim Kanji said...


This is awesome! I need to ask u where u found these templates....

good job Faiza!

bklyn76 said...

now i'm really excited to read book of negroes! i never knew you didn't have a favorite book, but it makes sense. ;) i'm looking forward to reading more of your gratitude journal.

Faiza said...

Hey KK,

I found this template at

I'm still searching for the right template for me.


Nibs said...

I'm just starting Part 4 of The Book of Negroes..its fabulous.

Have I told you I took a course with Lawrence Hill when I was in High School? (He's from Oakville). If I haven't, remind me to tell you of his fabulousness next time we get together.

Great blog!!

Roxy said...

Hey Faiz,
As my attempt at blogging has sadly gone by the wayside (much like your gratitude journals...), I look forward to reading yours! Can't wait to read this book!

Faiza said...

Nibs - I want to hear all about his fabulousness. I have a bit of a crush on him now!

Roxy - Bring back PlanetRoxy!!! It was sooooooo great!

Sylvie said...

I can so relate about buying and starting journals... I've had many, including many pens, markers, crayons, you name it. One day I think I'll pass down my unmarked journals to my nieces along with the crayons for future craft projects.

KKM said...

Faiza... this blog made my day a lovely one! I've just finished a stretch of work this week that felt unrelentless and break-less, and this reminded me to be grateful! Also, Kaycie is obsessed with chapstick today and her lips smell so berry-licious and that made today lovely too!
- Kirsten

zohra said...

this is a great start Faiza, you write so well. can't wait to hear more and be inspired, as i always am, by you.

ps, can i borrow your book? ;)

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It's so nice to hear from you! Hope your day is a lovely one!