I will do just about anything to see ALL the monuments wherever I am traveling. Caveat to that is if I'm pulling the camper, I can't very well whip over to the side of the road to see the historical marker sign. But if I'm out and about, heck yeah, I want to see them all!
So I have to tell you about my adventure today.
I went out in search of the Oregon Buttes, that the pioneers used to guide them on their way. They could see them for miles and miles and pointed their wagons right at them to help them navigate the South Pass. (This was the only place they could get through the mountains) It was a landmark that way a high priority for them to see, and so it became so for me.
I was GOING to be content, grabbing some picture from a distance, but a woman that was working at the visiter's center of the South Pass City, told me theres a little known road that could get me closer.
I asked, "Are there signs?"
She said, "Yeah, I mean, you'll have to look for them and then there's a monument..."
There it was... I had to do it.
So I take off down this dirt road... I can see them... WAY off in the distance... I could have been, should have been happy with that... nope. There's a monument.
Make a left at the highway. Once you pass the rest area and cross over the Sweetwater River, you'll make a left.
Uh... no signs.... I go a little further, cross the Continental Divide... Now I KNOW I missed it.
Turns out the only sign of any kind, is a street sign. So, I head down the gravel road in search for the monument.
It said it would be about 10 miles, so I knew to be patient. I was only going about 30 mph, and the roads twisted and turned every which way, uphill, down hill... and I could see the buttes in the distance, getting closer, and closer...
I am snapping pictures left and right, because I just can't wrap my head around all this beauty. It's just breath taking. I'm stopping, taking pictures, inch forward...
I'm getting some really amazing shots of these buttes and then the gravel road turns to a dirt road. Pause. Do I go? Do I turn back? There is literally. NOTHING out here. No humans, no other vehicles, no phones, gas stations, or cell service.
Maybe the monument is at the base of the buttes? That's how it's been at all the other places... I keep going and then, suddenly there's a heard of pronghorn antelope! I've been waiting my whole trip to see these!!
I finally decide to stop and turn around and am looking for a safe place to do this. This road is NARROW! So I slow down even more and then around the next bend, is some of the most beautiful scenery!! I know I keep saying that, but in my head, I can't understand how the next curve can be more beautiful than the last curve!
And then I think.... NO ONE gets to see this! This stuff, right here... this is like a private show! I am literally in awe, I can't even describe it.
I had to upgrade my cloud storage after this trip!!
Okay, okay, let me fast forward, so the dirt road eventually PASSES where the base of the buttes would have. been. (I never got to the base, but the road I was on. was now veering away from them all together. I had to turn around... no really, i mean it this time. So, reluctantly, I did.
I drove a few feet and a pack of wild horses WITH A BABY runs across the road in front of me!! Omigoodness! It was so ... so.... I couldn't get out my camera fast enough. I did get some, but... again... this was just for me.
I had to give up the monument, and while I might have been disappointed for maybe a minute, so many other things made this side trip SO worth it!! The views, the scenery- these mountains were painted!!! They had blue and red and peach colored stripes!! My God, is an awesome God. And they are hidden back here along a long, long (LONG) dirt road. I feel so very priviledged. (I will be sharing many of the photos in the History Revisited facebook group if you're curious.
On the way back, after getting back to the gravel, I look to my left and down this tiny little dirt driveway, is a stand. I start cracking up laughing. Is that my monument???? I whip the truck and pull up next to it. There it was... my monument/plaque to let me know how important the Oregon Buttes were to the pioneers.
And to think... if I HAD found the monument when other normal people would have... I would have missed the whole show.
And if just this story alone, doesn't have you believing in miracles and that He watches every step... then here's the rest of the story.
When I'm almost home, a warning light pops up on my dash. I can't do anything right now, so I go straight back to the campground to look it up. Tire pressure.
I'm so tired and worn out from this trip, but decide to go check it out, because I have another long drive tomorrow.
My rear tire on the driver's side is FLAT. Not low... F. L. A.T.
I call the good folks at the Roadside Service, I pay lots of money to every year and they send a guy out. Fixed. No problem.
But- IF that tire would have gone flat out there on that dirt road... I would have been in serious trouble. There was no phone signal. There were no cars passing by. There was nothing.
I am so thankful that God was watching over me and got me safely home. I do believe in miracles because I witness them on a regular basis, this time, today, they were happening to me.
I've never been so happy to do the dishes!
I have been without running water for a little over a week now and nothing makes you more grateful for the things we take for granted like having to be without them!
The hose for the water going into the Beach House busted and the hot water heater decided to call it quits as well. In all fairness, it was over thirteen years old, so it had every right.... however...
I ordered the necessary parts thinking that they would be here in two days (I mean that's why we pay the extra for Prime, right?) only for it to take five days. Ugh.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to function with no access to water? No bathrooms, no showers, no clean dishes, no coffee, no cooking, cause you can't rinse your dishes, (it IS sugar ant season and they are everywhere here in the South!!), no drinking water, no washing your hands.
There were times I would absent-mindedly still turn on the faucet expecting magic to happen...
Today, my hose came in. I hooked that sucker up so fast and turned on all the faucets just because I could... and water came out. It was a miracle! I heated some water up on the stove and set about doing my dishes. Such a glorious task that I will not complain about ever again! (Okay, at least for a week or so...)
This got me thinking about all the things that we take for granted. Being grateful doesn't have to be for something amazing or life shattering! Sometimes I think that we need something short of a miracle to remind us to be thankful. And then we chalk it up to luck. But life, in general is filled with uneventful days sometimes blending one into another. And yet, in the midst of our complaining and trudging through what feels like mundane lives-even on the worst days- we wake up in the morning, and our eyes take in the sights around us. Without any extra thought or effort from us. We take in the inside walls of our home. We're surrounded by "things" that bring us joy, comfort, security. Our heart is beating and directing our insides that serve us the best that we can.
And when we get out of bed, our legs support us and keep us upright. We flip the switch and darkness becomes light. Pushing a button gets the brown, flavorful liquid of life bubbling and gurgling away.
Take in that deep breath... because you can.
Feel the rain on you skin. Close your eyes, hear the birds sing their songs.
What are some of the things that you are thankful for that you take for granted?
The love of a faithful pet? The sweetness in your children's faces? (No matter how old they are.) A best friend? A key that turns the motor over on your vehicle? Tastebuds! A well-prepared meal. Money enough to cover the bills. That hidden money in a coat pocket. A reliable job.
Everything might not be where you want it to be at the moment, but there is SO much that you can be grateful for every single day. Every. Single. Day. I mean, I still don't have hot water, and I probably won't for a while until I can afford a new hot water heater, but life is still good.
Life is so good.
Don't let a day slip away without taking notice of those things that make your life just a little bit better.
What are you grateful for today? Right now, in this moment?
What Do You Really Want?
It seems like a simple enough question. What do you want? I mean, what do you really want? Have you given yourself permission to even think about it?
I now live on an island. Everyday if I drive more that a few miles, I will inevitably go over a bridge. Looking over the edge of that bridge knowing that the ocean is just a bit away, fills me with joy. Seeing the sunshine bounce off those beautiful blue waves just... does something for me. Simple right? It was a need that I didn't know I had. This time last year, I had to ask myself that question. What do I want? What do I REALLY want? All I knew was that I was cold, and didn't like it. But I didn't know what it was, specifically, that I wanted that would make me happy.
And when you first ask it a whole bunch of "superficial" answers come up. I want cake. I want a million dollars. I want that new dress. I want to travel the world. I want, I want, I want... and then, if you keep at it, you dig a little deeper.
I want more time with my children. I want to sleep peacefully at night. I want to live in a warmer climate. I want to write and write and write... and yes, if you keep going, it gets deeper still. You start to realize those deeper needs; the important ones that get glossed over as we push through our daily routines.
It's hard to look in the mirror and realize that you are not where you want to be. But you can't change that, until you know what you want. So I offer this exercise up to you.
Take out a sheet of paper and write. I WANT...
Then, set a timer for three minutes and write. Write everything you want. Even if it seems outrageous. Even if it seems selfish. Even if it seems impossible. Write. Don't pick up your pen from the paper until the timer goes off. Don't worry about being descriptive or specific or spelling or what anyone else might think. This is for you. Write.
If you get stuck, answer these questions, but keep writing.
Where do you want your finances to be? Where do you want to be health-wise? Who do you want to be with? What items do you want? Where do you want to live? What do you want to own? How do you want to spend your day? What do you want to do to earn an income? How do you want to spend your down time?
Dig deeper. How do you want to give back? How do you want to continue to grow? How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to affect others in your life? How can you show love to others?
When you have finished, choose the top ten things that matter the most to you and re-write them on another clean sheet of paper. This time around, we are looking for balance. Find at least one thing in each category. Finances, relationships, recreation, health, career etc...
You can't find happiness if you don't know what it is. It's like trying to hit a target that you know is "out there" but you just can't see it. Bring it in to focus. Once your brain knows what it is looking for, it will switch gears to try and get it for you. (You have to take the steps to get there, of course...) But the brain will start thinking of ways to get you what you want.
I believe that our purpose here on earth is simple. We are here to give back. Whatever gains you have been blessed with, give some back. I'm not just talking about finances. Giving of your time, your knowledge, your resources, your love... give what you have and it will be returned to you ten-fold. I know this to be true for a fact.
And the other thing, how do you want to grow? I believe that if you get all the best "toys" and are living the biggest house, it will never be enough until you find balance. And part of finding balance is to make sure you're always growing. Learn new things, see new places, meet new people, strive to become a better you.
Okay... sorry, back to the exercise.
Take your ten things in your various categories and write a sentence or two about WHY you want these things. Unveil your heart. Again, this is only for you. Why do you want your top ten list? Your brain functions on reason more than want. So write down the reasons you put this on your top ten. (It would be helpful if you write down more than "just cause". -Can you tell I'm used to working with teenagers? Lol!)
Then, when do you want them. Write a time line for each of the ten items. (You might need to be a little more realistic on this one. If you want a million dollars, it might need a bit more time to show up than 24 hours!)
And then, read your list. Every day. Every night before you go to bed. Keep those things in your mind. And slowly check them off when they come into your life. (Then replace them with new things!) Trust that the future you want WILL come to pass.
Yes. Yes. A lot more goes into getting what you want other than making a list. But first thing before all else... you have to know what you want.
So, just for fun. Take a few moments and spend them on yourself and discover what it is that you want.
Some things you may realize that you already have in your life but have perhaps taken them for granted. This is the time to freshen up or take a new look at what's around you. Maybe you don't want things to change too much, but you just have to love (or find new ways to love) what/who you have a little more.
I knew I needed a different life, but I didn't know what. It wasn't until I saw that I really needed to do some major changing to clean out the toxicity in my life, that I could make those changes. And I did. I see the ocean (or at least arms of it) every day. It was one of those things I wanted. Really wanted. And I am happier for it.
I check my list everyday and am pleased to say that I cross things off and replace them with new items all the time. It works to corral your focus and really get what you want.
So let me ask you... What do you want?
(Did somebody say cake?)
Simplify Your Life By Letting Go
It goes against everything we believe in. Letting go...
Hold on. Hold on tight. To everything. The more the better, right? Sometimes we get blinded by this theory. I'm not saying to sell all your stuff and move into an RV or anything... who does that? (teehee!) But if we take a step back and look at our lives in a different light, what can we let go of to make a little more breathing room? Thinking room. Living room. Loving room. Here's a list of a few things that came to mind when I was thinking on the subject. See if you agree.
Let Go Of Your Yesterdays- Let the past be in the past. Been there done that. Learn what you can from it but then, let it go. Don't carry around regret, guilt or bitterness. Don't carry your past into your future, it blocks you from new experiences and from clouds your judgement. We all make mistakes. Learn from them and then let them go. (For more help in this area, go here.)
Let Go Of Negativity- Let the glass be half full. Let there be a silver lining. Look for the good and you will find it. Look for reasons to be grateful instead of complaining. This slightest shift can do amazing things for your outlook.
Let Go Of Self-Doubt- Stop talking yourself OUT of living! Take a risk! Take a chance! What's the worst that can happen? You have been given the life you have to enjoy it! So get out there! What are you missing out on? What have you always wanted to try! Let this be your year! Stop looking for reason why you CAN'T! Take action! Go ahead, take that first step!
And since we're taking chances now...
Let Go Of Perfection- Not everything we do is going to be perfect. (Is anything we do perfect?) Don't expect it to be perfect. We are human. Enjoy the things you do in your human imperfect-ness. By taking new chances, that opens us up for new mistakes... it's okay. You're expanding your boundaries. You are on a continuous learning journey. Embrace it and don't expect it to be perfect.
Let Go Of Sources Of Stress- Chose people to be in your circle that will feed you and encourage you. If they suck the happiness from your very soul, it may be time to let them go. It may be painful at first, it's tough to change, but if it for the greater good, then go for it. A bad attitude is like flat tire. You can't go anywhere until it's fixed. So fix it and move on and away from those nails in the road. Chose to be around people that will lift you up, not stress you out.
Let Go Of Living For Others- Make yourself a priority. Love begins at home in your heart. If you can't love yourself, how can you expect others to love you. People will take and take- as much as you are willing to give them. Give of yourself, but be sure there is plenty left for you. Follow your own dreams. You are the only one that can live your life and if you are so busy living it for someone else, you are going to miss out on so much!
Let Go Of What's Not Working- Change is good. Not everything nor everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. People come and go, experiences come and go, life is a steady flow of change. And that's okay. See what is and what is not working for you at this juncture in your life and trim the fat where it needs to be trimmed. If it is not moving you forward, it is most likely wasting more time than it is giving you benefit. Let it go.
Hopefully this gives you the motivation to let go and simplify your life in order to enjoy it all the more! Have a happy day and a love-filled life!
The other day, I went out into my back yard and there, going up the step in the mix of some boring weeds, I saw the most brilliantly colored flower. Nothing has ever grown there before and I wondered what it was doing there now! It was so simple and beautiful and thought surely is was sent to grow there to give me a message.
So, I wondered what kind of message it could be? Let me give you some back-story... I feel closest to God when I am out amongst nature. I feel He is near me and I am more open to hearing his messages. The breeze suddenly feels like a caress. The birds sound like a choir. The colors seem so intense that I feel like I disappear. I don't feel this way every time I go outside, but I know that if I am troubled, that's where I meet Him. And he will comfort me. He will ease my pain. He will scold me. He will give me direction. Not that He whispers to me or anything... I've asked repeatedly for Him to send me a text message, but He must not like that option for me... Any-hoo.... So I feel this random flower was "sent" to tell me something.
Maybe, to look for the rose among the thorns? That would be the obvious choice. And sometimes I do need to be reminded of that. I can get pretty crabby some days and only see things that just irritate the tar out of me and only witness the annoying things about people, but sometimes, hidden underneath the perceived "annoying" there is something truly beautiful there just waiting to be noticed. It was there all along. I just needed an attitude adjustment to see it.
Or maybe, it was stop and smell the roses? Again with the roses? The point being that sometimes I get so busy and forget to notice the small things that make me happy. The little things that remind me why I work so hard. A sunset. The smile from one of my kids or grandkids. An ice-cream sandwich. I am pretty busy... I do work a lot and forget to watch the sun set...
How about, God has it under control? He took the time to create this beautiful, perfectly made flower and bring it to my attention. He's got the whole world in His hands. My troubles are nothing compared to his power and compassion. No problem is too big or too small to take to Him.
But no... none (or all) of those. Because as I was working all day, the next chance I got to go outside and check on my pretty little surprise, it was gone. Orange petals had fallen to the concrete and the center hung low. My conclusion was that the lesson must be: Nothing is promised. You don't know how long you have to appreciate the things and the people around you. Your world could change in an instant.
Yes, that must be it. The flower was here, and when I thought I could appreciate it another day, it was gone. So I pass this lesson on to you. Love those around you. Never let them doubt for one minute that they are important to you. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunsets. Kiss the babies. Take nothing for granted. The very breath you breathe is not promised. Make sure you use every one as if it was your last. Let no words of ill-will be said to those you love. Always be the best person you can be from one minute to the next. Life is short. Too short.
Forgive. Be thankful. Be kind. Show love. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't live a life of regret. Live every day to the fullest. And even if your day consists of having to go to work, or another day of boring mundane activities, do your best to find the joy in every day. There's a reason you are, where you are doing what you're doing. So when you go to bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to be thankful for all the good things in your life. :)
Birthdays mean different things to different people. There was a time that I preferred not to celebrate my birthday and would allow the day to just come and go as if it were just another day. Then I decided, wait a second! It's NOT just another day. I have made it a WHOLE additional year! And if every day is a gift! That's an extra 365 gifts given to lil ol me.
These days, I celebrate my birthday. I am having the time of my life! I've reached the age that the tiniest things don't stress me out. I find beauty and love all over the place! I know that worrying is just a waste of time. I have made mistakes, but they didn't kill me and have taught me many, many lessons. I have done the best I could with the resources I had to be the best mother I could be. I have grandchildren... I enjoy the fact that I have been granted another one. I may not do anything big, or public, but there will be cake.
Cake means there is something to celebrate. I am something to celebrate. I am loved. I may not have accomplished every thing I have set out to do, but I've been given another birthday to keep trying.
I have lived a full life and in case this IS my last birthday, I'm not at all upset. I can look back and see all the wonderful people who have shared my life in the past and how they have made a difference. Some have stayed for a long time, others for only a season, still others were merely a blip on the screen, but I'm a firm believer that people come in to your life for a reason.
So, I am happy that YOU are in my life. Thank you for being a part and helping me to continue to fulfill my dreams and help others along the way. I am happy that this is where my life's path has lead me. I am looking forward to what the future has to offer and I promise to be grateful for all the moments in between.
Today is my birthday. Celebrate with me. Appreciate all the things that have happened to bring you here. Love the people that are in your life now today and all your yesterdays. And above all...Eat cake!!
What is success? Is there just one answer? If you get if wrong are you doomed to failure for the rest of your days? I think not.
With the beginning of a new year people tend to reflect on their life. Where are they going? Where have they been? What's worked and what hasn't. What happens next. I think we all strive for success, some more than others. But in the end, we want to look back on our lives and say ,"Yes, I was successful".
The common answer for "What is success?" is usually equated to making money. Lots of money. Ridiculous amounts of money. Success equals riches. But hopefully after reading today's article, I hope you will view things a little differently.
So what is success? I'm going to tell you. And I think you might be surprised by my answer.
Success Is Perception. You're idea of success and someone else's idea of success could be completely different. When you look at other people's lives and are perhaps unimpressed with what they have achieved you may be shocked to find that they are gleefully happy with the abundance of success they've had. Something as regular as cooking a meal for a large number of people comes as second nature to a person that comes from a large family or works in a restaurant, but could have been a major challenge for the new bride that is taking on Christmas dinner for her new in-laws and her own family. If she doesn't serve the turkey raw or the potatoes lumpy and keeps the tiered cake on top of each other, that... is success.
Success Is Personal. Success can only be found by pursuing your own dreams, not by following the dreams others force on you. Meaning, you and only you can decide what success means to you. I met a man once who became a doctor. His father was a doctor, his brother was a doctor his grandfather was a doctor, even his daughter was studying to be a doctor. He had his own practice, the nice home, the nice car and all the other cushy stuff that comes along with it. By anyone else's standards, he was a success. But by his own, his was living his father's dream for him. He wanted to work on cars. Rebuild cars. It wasn't until he gave up his practice to "retire" and built a garage in his backyard and started to rebuild his first car, that he considered himself a success. His path to "success" was a long time coming.
"Success is when you've reached a personal goal."
- Katherynn Bourgeret-Caldwell
Your vision of success is completely your own. You may achieve the exact same thing as someone else and not feel anything, because it wasn't what your idea of success was. You're idea of success may be as simple as a balanced checkbook, filling up your day planner with activities or owing a Lexus. Whatever you have in your mind that is success, will have a greater impact on you than fulfilling someone else's goal list. (Which is why they say if you don't have a goal for yourself, you'll be helping someone else reach their goal!)
Success Is Satisfaction. There is no point in being rich if you can't enjoy it. I'm sure you've heard of the people who've "made it". They reached that such-n -such dollar amount and are considered successful, but they are so busy working that they can't even enjoy their success! If making more money is going to be your idea of success then absolutely, go for it! but I can't help but feel that you're are more likely to enjoy the "rich" part if you enjoy the getting there part. Do what you love and you will be "rich". Know when it's enough. Don't lose your happiness for the sake of your success.
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
- Dale Carnegie
"Success is measured by your happiness and not the material things you have in your life."
Success Is Happiness. The truth is, we have little successes everyday. As we lay our head on our pillows at night, if we were only to take a moment and reflect on the things that happened that day, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we found many, many successes that we just forgot to celebrate. If you are pushing and pushing toward a goal and it has lost it's happiness factor, perhaps it isn't for you. Even if it's something mundane and unexciting as eliminating debt, it should still bring you some joy. It might mean that you have to work extra hours, (not fun) or cut back on your spending (also not fun) but if you don't feel a sense of accomplishment watching that big overwhelming number get smaller and smaller, then it's not bringing you happiness. And you should perhaps find another way to reach that goal.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, your large goals are made up of smaller, achievable, daily goals. Learn to recognize the daily successes you reach and be happy. It's not worth it in the long run if it steals your happiness.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you'll be successful."
Success Is Sharing. Success can be learned. We are not all born knowing that we can have all the things we want if we just go after them. Some have been trained that you get what you get and that's all there is. That makes me so sad. There are hundreds upon hundreds of examples out there of people who came from nothing and have made something of themselves. They became successful. They could go to sleep at night knowing they did what they needed to do to feel successful.
Success is Action, Determination, Passion... success is all those things but it is also learned.
One of the best ways to enjoy your success is to share it with others. Don't keep it all to yourself. Teach, help others to rise up from where they are and be the person they want to be. When you help others get to where they want to go, the universe gives back to you. And while that may sound like mumbo-jumbo, I promise you that it is fact.
Be grateful for your successes. And make sure the people around you, the ones that helped you get there know how much they mean to you. Give. Share. Teach. Show gratitude.
"Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success is how you treat other people. Your family, friends, co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way."
Success Is A Continuous Journey. Success should never be considered a one way street. It's more than one street. It takes alleys and intersections, mountains and valleys. It goes up and it goes down. It is never-ending. One success will lead to another. You're constantly building and growing and learning. And when you reach your life goals... make new ones. Keep doing the things that work. Cut out the things that don't. Nothing stays the same. Be flexible and always hunger for more. If you reach your life's goal and then quit, watch and see how fast everything will unravel! You have to stay in the game. Keep moving. Keep growing. Keep setting new goals.
"Success is not final: failure is not final; it is the courage to continue that counts."
Success Is Balance. To me, this is the meaning of success. You can have it all, and you should strive for that.
Money - Happiness - Family & Friends - Security - Health - Peace of Mind - Hope
You need all these things to be balanced and feel successful. Take even one off the list and you are thrown off-balance.
If you have all the money you could ever want, but you have lost your family in the process, that is not success.
If you have the biggest mansion on the street but have worked yourself to near death, and you are alone, that is not success.
If you stole the money to get that need met, you would have it, but you would no longer have peace of mind. You'd always be looking over your shoulder, wondering when you'll be caught. That is not success.
You have reached your goal but have lost everything else in the process and finally you lose hope. That is not success.
We all know examples of the above stories. The news and celebrity magazines are covered with them.
Balance is the key to success. You need happiness, health, enough money to not have to worry, security, friends and family, when you lay your head down at night you have peace of mind and hope. You need a little bit of all these things to find true success.
Not everyone's list will be prioritized in the same way, but every one of these needs should be met for a balanced, successful life.
If you are struggling to make ends meet, then I can see how finances would be top of the list, but don't sacrifice the other items to secure more money. There is nothing wrong with wanting money. There is nothing wrong with wanting lots of money. The problem comes when that's your only focus, and it will cost you in the long run.
Your list will change in its order, but if you find happiness in each of these, you will be truly successful indeed.
"What money can't buy...
Money will buy you a house, but it won't buy a home,
Money will buy you a companion or followers but it won't buy you a friend,
Money will buy you a bed, but it won't buy you a good night's sleep,
Money will buy you a good time, but it won't buy you peace of mind."
Coming soon, I'll discuss the critical success factors to help you reach every goal on your list!! Be sure to stay tuned and check back often!
The topic of being grateful is one that I feel is so vital, that I touch on it in every one of my seminars and workshops. I call it the Attitude of Gratitude. It's a way of thinking that impacts your whole life. Not just for one day a year but all 365. Whether I am speaking to children, parents, teens, couples, or co-workers, gratitude is a topic that has the power to change the attitude and atmosphere of a relationship. Any relationship. And even the way we think and feel about ourselves. Of course, this seems to be the perfect time of year to blog about it. In fact, I think you might be a little disappointed in me if I blogged about anything BUT thankfulness this close to the holiday with Thanks in its title.
Thanksgiving is a time for families and feasting and while the commercialized version of the holiday spawned from football and kicking off the Christmas season, let's take it back to what WE have come to celebrate Thanksgiving for. Being thankful and giving thanks.
You know, this isn't just a once a year thing, though. You could get those warm fuzzy feelings all throughout the year. In fact I encourage it. When we put on a thankful attitude, it takes the edge off of the negative things that are thrown at us on a daily basis. The harsh realities of life don't sting nearly as bad when we can reflect how good we really have it. How "easy", by comparison, our lives really are. There is and always will be someone that is worse off than we are or have a more difficult life. Having an attitude of gratitude makes our hard times a little easier to get through.
Tell them. Show your appreciation. Literally, Give. Thanks. It's something that we take for granted. People do nice things for us all the time and we pay little attention to it. Make it your habit to show thanks. And when someone shows you grace, or forgiveness or an unexpected kindness, make sure they know that you know. This is often overlooked in the home and the workplace, but when you change your perspective, and take the extra time to see that there are good people around you doing nice things let them know you appreciate it. Even if the nice thing wasnt' for you! If you "catch" someone being nice to someone else, acknowledge their kindness and thank them for it.
Look at it this way. When you do something nice for someone, and they are sincerely grateful if they let you know it, you are more likely to do nice things for them again in the future. Because it feels good to be appreciated. And so it goes, back to the old rule "you reap what you sow" "you get what you give". Give thanks and more will be given to you to be thankful for.
Keep Score! Having a tough time getting started? Just try and thank ten people for something every day. Let the words just come out of your mouth. It may feel awkward at first, but soon, you'll find yourself being thankful for even the tiniest things.
If you are having find yourself running out of people to thank, start texting! Emailing! Snail mail! Mom is an easy one, you could just thank her for being "mom". Thank your co-workers for their great job! Thank your friends for just being there. Thank your family for years and years of putting up with you. Thank our soldiers for keeping us safe and letting us live a life of freedom.
When it's all said and done and you have a few months of ten thank-you's a day, let me tell you, that feels pretty good. It gives you a glimpse at the "bigger picture" when you are thankful for all the paint brush strokes it took to create it. Just try it. You'll thank me later!
Being thankful is to take the time to realize all the wonderful things you have in your life. Right down to the air in your lungs, the blood pumping through your veins and even the sun shining in the sky.
It is so easy for us to be harsh with ourselves and the world around us. We have grown into a bitter and judgmental society. We complain about the things we don't have and it never seems like we have enough. When you look at life in that way, it's true, you WILL never have enough. But for all the things you think you are lacking, what someone else would gladly give for the things that you have and don't appreciate. The shoes on your feet. The roof over your head. The food that you're throwing away because you just can't eat another bite.
So when you look at yourself in the mirror and focus on all your flaws take just a moment to think of how lucky you are to have a body that functions and takes you places. How you're home may not have the finest furnishings but it keeps you warm and safe. How you may have to eat the same left-overs for the third day in a row, but you have food to eat to keep you healthy.
I am certainly not trying to paint a morbid picture here. Quite the opposite. So many people think that it has to be something big before we can feel thankful- a huge spread of food on that chilly November holiday, a big promotion, a new purchase- but it's the little things. Every day.
You are a wonderful person and there are so many wonderful things about you that I bet you forget about it. I am thankful that you are who you are so I can just concentrate on being lil ol me. Appreciate you. Appreciate your talents and skills and personality. Be thankful that you have gotten this far in life and that you have faced any number of trials and tribulations to make you who you are today. I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you have found me and are reading my works and have allowed me to touch your life in whatever capacity. You be thankful for you, too. Because without you, someone would be very sad.
And while you are rolling your eyes and checking your watch while your in-laws quibble, or your grandpa falls asleep on the couch and snores, or your crazy uncle wants to tell you about his newest, greatest... thing; while your aunt wants to love and kiss on you with her slobbery lips and while the conversation may bore you to tears, remember; these are your people. Your family. This is where you come from. Find something- even if you have to dig deep- to appreciate about them. Keep looking. It's there. They are the only family you have. And no one lasts forever. Find it. Appreciate it for yourself and then... tell them.
Keep Score! As you lay your head down on your comfy pillow tonight take a moment to think of all the things you can be thankful for. The big things, the little things even the tiniest of things. Change your perspective. See the world as a place that's always trying to do good for you and to you!
While I am grateful for this once a year reminder I am hopeful that it jumpstarts your perspective to be thankful and give thanks every day. (Oh yes, and you know that the "Give love, get love every day of every year" is coming for the next whopper of a holiday, so hold on to your hearts, cause it's-a comin!)
In the meantime friends, have a wonderful, healthy, happy, fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday!!
You're turn! What are you thankful for? What can you give thanks for that you didn't notice before? How can you change your perspective at the workplace, at school or at home to be more thankful?
Please share and comment below!