Think about it!!

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WOW!! I just found the above quote and it made me truly think and say WOW!! Think about it. What were you truly grateful for yesterday…today…tomorrow. We definitely take a lot for granted and this thought stopped me in my tracks. My mind began to race thinking about my prayers from yesterday, how I didn’t include my dog & how different my day would be right this minute.

Think about it!! Did you Thank God for your family, the love you share, your warm home, your healthy bodies, the car you drive, the plethora of food we can pick out at our grocery stores, the clothes that warm our bodies on a cold night, the heat that runs through our homes, the water that effortlessly comes when we ask, to be able to see our children smile, to hear the love of our life laugh, to smell the fresh air of fall…there are endless things that we take for granted. This quote was a good aha moment for me. I definitely will be going deeper with my thanks and gratitude today. How about you??

I wanted to add some additional images and thoughts to make you think about this beautiful season of gratitude.

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ImageThis was another aha quote for me. This is so true. Think about all the things we take for granted—when your husband holds your hand or opens the car door for you, the love he has when he looks into your eyes, the hug from your child, the warm shower you enjoy every morning, the amazing technology that is boundless and available, the people who lift and love you, having your family close, enjoying a bottle of clean water, turning on light, etc.

My husband went to visit a friend who lives with his family on a 200,000 acre cattle ranch, in the middle of Wyoming. They invited them into their home that was warmed only by firewood. The home they lived in was over 200 years old, they lived off the land—every bit of it. My husband mentioned to me how hard it would be to be dusty and dirty all the time, to work so hard from morning to night. We both sat grateful for our heated home, our running water, to be clean from a warm shower…

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 I hope we are always mindful of this thought. It is so easy to take for granted or abuse those we love. The other day my daughter was having a bit of attitude & not being very nice to me. When her Dad asked her why she was being so mean to me, she said, “because Mom is always there & I was just feeling stressed.”  Remember to be kind to those who are your family. LOVE, it is a blessing.

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This made me think of the thousands of people in the Philippines and the desperation of how tragedy affects so many. It makes me mindful of praying for those in need all around the world. We have no idea how blessed we are. We take it for granted.

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 This really reminds me of the beautiful saying in the movie Shall we Dance…We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”  Those who journey with you.

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 There are definitely moments where you feel so alone & I have always been truly grateful to look to the heavens and pray for guidance, direction, peace. Being able to pray, you are never alone.

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Happy month of gratitude and giving thanks.

Ways to get a Little more GRATITUDE, with a little less GIMME

Next week is the beginning of the beautiful holiday seasons, a time when families gather, friends enjoy one another and there is a special feeling in the air. The holidays are always a very special, magical time in our home and I am always looking for ways to bring in a little more peace, a little more giving, a little more gratitude to avoid the “gimme” attitude.

I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas to get you thinking of some things you can do to bring your family a little closer this holiday season.

To find a little more Gratitude and Thanks this Thanksgiving:

ImageLegacy Letters: Have each member of your family write a nice letter to one another & gift it to them for Thanksgiving or keep it until Christmas. My parents usually have each child create a scrapbook page of history from the year full of images and highlights from a few of their favorite memories throughout the year as a gift to them.

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Family time capsule: My sister-in-law just did a time capsule for her one-year-old, so this idea could be used on a variety of occasions. You could have everyone bring something that was impressionable from the past year–news this year, a picture of their family, a piece of jewelry that holds charms symbolic of each member, favorite stuffed animal or toy, letters, a magazine, something that would tie this year together & mean something to each individual. You could do this as individual families or with extended family. Make sure to include a list of questions like “What was your favorite thing that happened this year?” “What wishes do you have for next year”  “What is a meaningful memory you have from this past year”…

ImageFun Random Acts of Kindness Kit: this looks like a lot of fun. I found it on uncommon goods.com but you can buy it on amazon or other retailers.

ImageGIve said the little stream: I don’t know why I always think of this childhood song when I think about giving. Just last year I came across the actual book that shares this beautiful song.

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I was then looking for a inspiring video of this song and came across a beautifully done version in Korea. I wanted to add it here because it was done during a time of turmoil and war–to me it has a loving, peaceful message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMNSChEydSo  Help us pray for peace always. Help us give peace and love freely.

GIVE: GIve to feel peaceful. Give to get healthy. Give to spread love. Give because it helps you feel GOoD (helps you feel GOD).  Here are some ideas to get your giving: Donate clothes. This is a great time to go through the closets and get rid of summer clothing, old shoes and coats that don’t fit any longer. Give warmth! Help someone. Do you have elderly neighbors that need leaves raked or may need a warm blanket with a side of hot cocoa mix. Make a snuggle care package for someone in need. Put together a pair of warm socks, gloves, water bottle, granola bar & a message of hope. You could also buy a few sleepingbags and donate them to a local organization or someone on the street. Help out a single mom. My sister is in the middle of a divorce & she is always in need of a break. Reach out to someone near you that is a single parent and offer them a break. Bake something for your local awesomeness. We love firefighters and police men who take care of our neighborhoods, so we enjoy baking up something and taking it into the dept. for everyone to enjoy. Make someone smile. You could just smile–that is always a good thing. But you could also have your kids draw a smiley face on a piece of paper and leave them on random cars. Create a crunch pack for college kids. My two nieces just moved to the area and are starving students, so they loved and appreciated the small snack pack I gave them. Find out from the dorm office or school if there are some kids in need & leave them a bag of snacks to help them get by. Get Artistic. Have your kids create works of art to donate to the elderly homes. Think of how much they will love the decorative trees and christmas scenes your kids will create.

Here is a good link to some additional ideas that are GREAT to get your family serving for specific organizations. Great info. http://www.newdream.org/blog/fun-holiday-service-projects-for-you-and-your-family

ImageGratitude rolls: I do love this idea. I am doing it this year!! We can never be too thankful for food and sweet wishes of thanks. Here are a few links for different directions and recipes: Enjoy  Dinner Rolls  http://www.howdoesshe.com/delicious-dinner-rolls/       Sweet Potato Rolls http://www.lifewiththecrustcutoff.com/sweet-potato-gratitude-rolls/

ImageFood: Food is always something that brings family together, so pull out some yummy recipes and get your family cooking together. Find recipes online and begin to dabble with your own culinary artist within!! Try new things and make it an occasion. It can be a Monday night “Mom & kids stir up something good night” or a  Tuesday “Try something new night”…it doesnt have to be JUST Thanksgiving. Make any meal an occasion just being together. I have been working harder on this area—because I am NOT a cook, but I am trying to make it a cooking adventure!! and I have been including my little girl in on the fun. Whether it is one night a week or seven–make it special!! It has been proven that sitting down for a family meal helps families, and especially helps our children.  Here are ten benefits from webmd of having family dinners: Everyone eats healthier meals, Kids are less likely to become overweight, Kids are more likely to stay away from cigarettes, drink alcohol, use drugs or try marijuana, School grades will be better, You & your kids will talk more, You will be more likely to hear about any serious problems, Kids will feel like you are proud of them and there will be less stress and tension at home.      *picture is Banana Bread pudding—just sounds yummy!! here is the linkhttp://3boysandadog.com/2012/11/banana-bread-pudding-thanksgiving-recipe/

Well, that is all for today. I will keep posting some more ideas to help us with gratitude and not gimme attitudes.

Happiness to you today.  -Heather

Give the gift of gratitude

Imagine…One evening you gather your family around the dinner table and celebrate life with a little cake. Not just any cake, a gratitude cake.

This cake is going to help your family remember the wonderful things within your lives. You will put the cake in the center of the table and light a candle in the middle of the cake. As the candle burns everyone will take a turn sharing something they are grateful for within their life…a highlight from the day, friends they appreciate, stories of kindness, little things they love, moments with family, etc. Then after everyone has shared in the gift of gratitude, the candle has melted down and the wick is out, end with a little piece of cake.

This will be a beautiful gift to bring your family together. Enjoy your time together.

Give Thanks during the month of thanksgiving.

gratitude journaling

To live a life of gratitude

is to open our eyes to the countless ways

in which we are supported by the world around us.

Such a life provides less space for our suffering

because our attention is more balanced.

We are more often occupied

with noticing what we are given,

thanking those who have helped us,

and repaying the world in some concrete way

for what we are receiving.

 -Gregg Krech, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace & the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection

Gratitude Journal

The process.

The process of journaling is a way to free your emotions on to paper. It is a way to connect with your thoughts and view them with a different perspective. Whether you are angry or loving–it is a conversation with yourself. The thoughts, feelings and questions can be freeing. Writing in th morning is the best time to write and connect on a deep level.

Wayne Dyer always quotes…The Morning has secrets to tell you, do not go back to sleep. I believe this, your mind is still partially asleep & if you have ever been up at 3am, you find this quiet, this clarity, this creative outlet that springs awake.

Not that you have to journal at 3 in the morning, but that does happen.

Questions to help you ponder

Sometimes you may have a hard time thinking of something good to write about because it is often easier to write your feelings of anger or sadness, so here are some suggestions to get you thinking good thoughts when journaling. Always begin with five things you are grateful for –this will help you get in the right place emotionally to share what you feel.

What do you truly appreciate about your life right now?

What gifts and talents do you feel you have been given?

What makes you laugh. smile. What do you love.

Write about one of your happiest memories.

What would you do if failure was not an option?

What do you love about yourself?

Who do you think you are?

What did you love when you were a child?

(play. art. imagination. friends. building things. dressing up. etc)

What’s stopping you from discovering your passion?

List five things that you desire for your life.

What are 5 things people compliment you on.

If you were to die tomorrow, what would you not regret doing?

What does security mean to you?

What are three things you have learned about yourself?

List ten highlights within your life?

List five things to do this year to continue personal growth…books to read, courses, goals, retreats, etc.

Think of five people you have read or learned about that you feel have mentored your life.

What did you take away from them?

My Personal Tips and Tricks: Every evening my family gathers together before bed and we share three or more things that we are grateful for from the day. We brake it down by person and each person shares what they were grateful for throughout the day. Things like: I am grateful I got to go to the art museum with Mom today.  I am grateful for long walks through the forest. I am grateful for a job. I am grateful for beautiful music. I am grateful for a healthy family. I am grateful for Dad being home…Each day is different.

Then we each have our own personal journals where we share our feelings or answer personal questions. On my daughter’s eighth birthday I created a Self-Love journal for her. I peppered the pages with personal questions that she answers when she feels like journaling. It is another place for gratitude and personal reflection. 

I think getting grateful with your family is a good place for a gratitude journal.

-have a grateful day.

The gift of gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.    -Melody Beattie

Gratitude is a gift that helps us begin to notice the little things we take for granted every day. It gives us the opportunity to be grateful for the simple and overlooked. A warm shower becomes a blessed rain, a cozy blanket feels like a comforting hug, a smile becomes a connection. Gratitude makes us awaken to the true need we have within to be aware of all things. To begin to see beauty in the smallest of places, to listen when the winds blow, to take the time to walk with a child, to truly feel a sense of gifts found in all things. It is the mere truths that push us from being petty within our thoughts and actions. Gratitude is a reminder of what is important in our lives. It helps us overcome the trap of selfishness and moves us to the vision of what life blesses us with.

When someone sits down to write or reflect those things they are grateful for, it is impossible to dwell on the negative because the focus is on the good things within their life. Gratitude helps us unlock the little things that make a difference. Give thanks in every breath you take, every loving kiss, every memory you can make, every morning you awake. Give thanks. It truly is the little things that make life beautiful.

What five little things can you write about today?

 Gratitude makes your life better…it is a fact!! If you took the challenge of writing down five things a day you were grateful for within ten weeks you would be 25% happier. Do you believe it? Try it!According to a study done by Robert Emmons and Mike McCullough (from the University of Miami)… At the end of the 10 weeks, participants who’d kept a gratitude journal felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the future than participants in either of the other two conditions (negative group and a neutral group). To put it into numbers, according to the scale we used to calculate well-being, they were a full 25 percent happier than the other partici- pants. The study also noted those in the gratitude condition reported fewer health complaints, exercised more, and also got a better nights sleep. -Greater Good, Pay it Forward, Robert A. Emmons

 

Gratitude Challenge

My first post is about gratitude. I know everyone is talking about gratitude, but I am not sure anyone is actually taking it to heart. So, I am going to put a challenge out there to anyone who would like to join.

THE GRATITUDE CHALLENGE…

November is the month of giving thanks and we often neglect to take the time between the hustle of the holidays to give thanks. I would like to invite you to take a gratitude challenge through the month of November.

Keep a journal or notebook by your bed and each evening before you go to sleep write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. That is it!!

This is also a wonderful exercise for kids. Gather your family around your bed and ask each person what they are grateful for & keep a family gratitude journal.

It is a small thing that will make a big difference. You will feel more connected, grateful, loving, happy and truly be in the spirit of giving thanks during the season of Thanksgiving.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking…grateful for my healthy family, my breath, that I can walk and run, have food readily available at a grocery store, warm home, warm showers, clean drinking water, fingers that can write, to be able to go to school, parents, to be able to see and hear, for friendships, for pets, books to read, inspired people, hugs, someone to love, favorite foods, music, freedoms, sunsets, stars, the sun, to be creative, to have a talent, nature, religion, to make my own choices, the gift of life, etc.

Happy gratitude!
Please do the 30 day challenge and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your comments. Let me know if you felt more happy, connected, thankful.
Have a beautiful Thanksgiving.