5 things I am grateful for today:
1. Cee Loo Green’s Christmas albumn
2. the perfect weather today
3. shoes, having comfy shoes that I am able to walk or run or simply keep my feet warm
4. green tea
5. yoga, good for the body and the soul
5 things I am grateful for today:
1. the world can be small- ran into the ONLY people I know in Portland at the convention center
2. my friend Kari who researched on her own all these different things to help me in my life and gave me some great advice
4. Jimmy Johns veggie sandwich… yum (was so happy there is one by my house, reminds me of good old Bowling Green)
5. warm fireplaces
5 things I am grateful for today:
1. trees outside my home office window
2. hot baths when I am stressed
3. library books
4. candles that smell like coconut
5. Amanda Borders for inspiring me to do this and always being positive
So it is now November and we all know what that means, time to get the holiday music going and Christmas tree up… OK, I know I am guilty of this as many others are. We have Halloween and we skip over Thanksgiving, except, the 2 days we shove food in our face and relax… BUT… let’s use this month as a time to show gratitude and thanksgiving.
I recently attended this workshop on happiness and being productive (two things that are important to most people). It was discussed that simply writing 5 things down once a week for 3 months that you are grateful for produce happiness that last for months after. That is crazy!!! And so stinkin’ simple. I literally left the meeting, went to the store, bought a journal and have been trying to write down things that I am grateful for.
What if this month we all do that… there is something to say about STOPPING AND SMELLING THE ROSES!!! There are the obvious things people would think, but look around you, are you grateful for trees, a pretty day, a child smiling at the table next to you, a song on the radio, a surprise from a friend, hot water… find gratitude and the small and big things and you will be a happier person.
Even, if you barley recognize Thanksgiving and already have Christmas music on and garland wrapped around your neck, challenge yourself to acknowledge the GRATITUDE. Write what you are grateful for on here, or my friend Amanda is writing on her twitter page every day something she is grateful of, If you have fbook make that your status,instead of your political views. Just be grateful- aware and appreciative of a benefit!!
Take 10 minutes out of your day, walk to your kitchen, grab a trash bag and fill it with brand new or gently used stuff, take a photo, email it, donate your bag, spread the word to everyone you know.That is it. It is that simple.
Your spark can become a FLAME and change everything.
Everything starts as a small idea. Most of us sit back in wonder when we learn of some big movement and plan that people are doing to impact the world. We always wonder why we didn’t think of something that simple, or throw our ideas or plans out to the world. So that is what I am doing.
A month ago I traveled to San Francisco and worked with tons of amazing groups and met lots of cool people. One thing that stood out to me from that trip was a story I heard. Mark Scandrette (who is the coolest, most inspiring, fun person… Look him up!!!) shard that his family and several other families donated half of all their belongings. They decided to live a more simple life and realized they didn’t need everything they had. This stuck with me. It is so true, we all have way to much stuff, hence why we are always looking for more closet space, extra storage, price tag left on items, ‘finds’ that people forgot they owned.
Now I don’t have enough stuff to be able to give away half of what I owned, but I got to thinking about if everyone I knew, and they knew, and they knew, gave away at least ONE trash bag full of good items. It is such an easy task, and yet no one is walking around challenging people to do this. I have already filled 4 trash bags full of good items (my goal is 7 bags). That is all I can do because I am only one person… but then I thought, what if everyone did this, that would be so much stuff to be able to bless others with. What if we could get 100 trash bags full (that seems easy), what if a thousand (if enough people participated and told others this too could happen)….
In the Central Coast I will be taking items to the Achievement House. I am passionate about this place for a few reasons. I, personally know several people who struggle with mental disabilities and am so grateful that they have a support system to help them out. I believe that people are meant to live in community and contribute to society. Often times if a person struggles with a disability they are tossed to the side with no opportunities. This gives them an equal chance to succeed.
We at NCI Affiliates and Achievement House are dedicated to providing services that encourage & support individuals with disabilities, so that they may successfully achieve their personal & professional goals.
To create a caring and supportive pathway to success for people with disabilities so that they may build upon their individual strengths and gain the confidence they need to lead fulfilling and successful lives.
In Los Angeles I will be donating to Out of the Closet. Living in LA for many years I have been to this store several times. I had NO idea how awesome of an organization. They are apart of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation where you can have free STD and HIV screenings. You also can get your prescriptions filled for FREE!!! 96 cents on every dollar made by Out of the Closet directly go to the treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS, WOW!!!!!
I will come and collect items from people I know in the Central Coast and Los Angeles (and possibly the bay area!!). If you don’t live in these areas, don’t know me or really like a different organization all are ok. Please take a photo of you with your trash bags and email it to me firstname.lastname@example.org. This is important because I want us to see how an idea so simple and small can be spread.
It struck me hard when I pondered the concept of keeping happy memories vivid. That even now thinking of past events that made me happy will make me happy in this moment. Yeah, we kind of all know that, but yet we are taught to always be looking forward and not stuck in the past. One area in particular really hit home with me-the idea of my father. I think I could talk to someone for hours on how mean my Dad was, nonexistent, or hurtful. In fact, I had such a bad relationship with my Dad I tend to not even think about it.
Once I started college, I made my Dad just irrelevant. I would see him when I would go home, but that was more of a reason just to be able to see my Mom. My Dad got diagnosed while I was in college with Alzheimer’s. For several years he functioned ok. Then when I was about 23 he started getting a lot worse. My Mom was too young to retire so I moved back to KY for a short time to help her with him until she could get partial retirement. I did this for her, because she is a saint. I had to search deep in my soul for newfound compassion for him, since I was his caregiver. I found it because I just viewed him not as the same person. We had some great times and some bad times in those months. It is probably one of the hardest things I have done to date, but I did it.
A few years after that when I was 27 we put my Dad in a nursing home, he was just to far along for any one person to take care of him. I remember the day we put him in the home talking with the head of the nursing home and her telling the first signs of the disease. She said they become disinterested in things they were before. Everything becomes to much for them. This rocked my world because when I hit about sixth grade Dad had checked out and said he was too tired to be involved and come to our sporting events, plays, functions, ect. Could my Dad have gotten sick then? Its so easy to think of it the other way, that he always was a jerk. It makes grieving easier. The idea of grieving someone fun, good and loving and loosing them that long ago so hard.
The concept, though, of recalling happy times to boost my present happiness is hard when it comes to him. But I am going to try to make it a point. Maybe I will ask family members to share stories from when I was younger.
My favorite story to hear about my Dad loving me, was one I didn’t know for years. When I was a little girl I loved performing. I would put on shows in my backyard, in dressing rooms while trying on clothes, in the grocery store. The world really was my stage. Well, one year my Mom took me to see ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. i had never seen a musical before and it changed my life FOREVER. We eventually got season tickets and saw lots of shows. I learned later that it was my Dad’s idea for her to take me. That he felt it would be a way to explore and encourage my interest. My Dad help lead me in my career path without me even knowing.
I know there are other stories, but that is the one I share for now.
I, also, am encourage and respect my dear friends Angela and Jenna, who also have a father who is sick in a different way. They have had a hard time over the years taking care of him and listening to his ‘me’ stories, but they have always had the courage to go back and see him and take care of him. I challenge/encourage Angela and Jenna to ask the same questions that I am and think of the good times instead of the bad.
What are other people’s stories of recalling the happy times??? It doesn’t have to be in relation to a bad memory, instead its about constantly being happy by thinking of the past, instead of dwelling on whatever is not currently good.
The happiness project speaks of resolving to have a house of treasured memories. Family traditions are so vital. With the season of Thanksgiving approaching us, I wonder what is everyone’s favorite family tradition (doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving related) and what is a family tradition you would love to start, either with your family now or the family you will have one day?
My family use to go to our farm in St. Louis every Easter. We lived in Kentucky so it was about a 5 hour drive each year. On the drive my parents always had a contest between the kids of who could see the arch first. You pass a McDonald’s arch close to the real arch in St. Louis, and I would always yell that I found it. Of course, I always got disqualified by doing this!
On Easter morning we would get up around 4 am and get ready for the sunrise service at the local church. It was always so beautiful, no matter how painful it was to wake up that early. I would always sleep in the car on the way there. After the service my family would drive to our farm in Wildwood. My Mom or Dad would always walk my sister, Amy, and I on a walk down the road, while the other ‘checked’ to see if the Easter bunny had come. (This continued long after we didn’t even believe in the Easter bunny anymore.) Once they finished ‘checking’ we would run back and collect the Easter eggs all over the farm.
I am so grateful for this experience because this family tradition was different from anyone that I knew. It was unique and important to us and that is what made it so special. Years later I still smile and miss this tradition.
I often think about what tradition I would want to start one day when I have children. I always imagined having a family day where everyone had to stay in their pj’s all day and we would watch movies, eat bad food and laugh with each other. Each member of the family could pick out a film and we would watch them together.
My husband started the tradition, before we were married, to do the 12 days of Christmas starting on Dec. 1st. It was such a fun way to celebrate in big and small ways the holiday season. He wrote me a poem, got a bag of purple m&m’s (purple is my favorite color), a note of encouragement,cooked me a dinner, ect. I hope to continue this with each other and then one day do the 12 days for our kids.
Do you ever notice that any books about wines are pretty boring? They discuss the regions and what awards different wineries have won and so on, which is great, BUT who truly cares! Some people do. Having lived in the wine region for a few months I am blown away by what people know. I took a ‘wine around the world’ course and some people in my class could taste blind and know the type of wine, the region in the world, the vineyard and the vintage… I kid you not. So, impressive, but most of us will never be that way.
I became interested in wine when I went wine tasting for my friend’s 30th birthday or when my family and I did a mini-trip to wine country. All we could tell is if something was good or if was bad. The thing that most of us remembered is which was FUN, which had cool decor, or interesting bottles, or a beautiful tasting room.
So this became my mission. I know a lot more about wine (not an expert, but am knowledgeable). I worked at a winery and have taken class. I am setting out with friends to go wine tasting and am going to report back, not on which is greatest wine we’ve ever tasted (sure we will tell you that too) but which are fun to visit and create a great experience. This is what most people want anyway. Please feel free to join in and write to me and tell me the wineries that you love and why!
Here are a few selections from some of my friends to do list (I won’t post all of them or some of the secret ones, but there are some funny things). I want to hear YOURS, as well. Write a few ideas down and send them!
Bobbie 02/24/2006- Bobbie is the best about her’s. She will call me to have me read her list again to her, so she can get to checking more off
see a Broadway show go to Ireland
open a unique kind of business
write and illustrate a children’s book
cut all my hair off
be able to do the splits
sew one full outfit on a sewing machine
run in a US Olympic trial
have a 70′s roller skating night
meet a President of the United States
eat a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream
sail with a handsome man on a yatch, while wearing a white dress
work in a zoo
write a book
plant a gardern
have a winery
competive ball room dancing
coucil teens in Africa
get my Masters (in fact she is working on a PHD)
write a book about sports for girls
Go to Venice with someone I love (haha she might not check that off, she went with her sister and me… we count right?
marry someone who is spontaneous and best friend
Jonathan (didn’t write the date)
see EVERY country in the world
have a map on my wall that covers the whole wall and lights up
live in a houseboat
be in a band
go ice fishing
never have a 9 to 5 job
be apart of witness a miracle
see the 7 wonders of the world
be a healthy old person
learn to play the guitar
adopt a kid
Matt Guy 12/09/08
give away half of my salary
go to a Conan O Brian taping
watch Arrested Development movie (YEP its going to happen)
be interviewed on a tv show
shave off all my hair
have a yoga retreat studio
Jeff C. 12/17/09
own a house
be in a play
fill my house with my own photography
live in Costa Rica for a month
fly a plane
give away a million dollars
be a dynamic writer and speaker
be buff before bald
find the perfect woman (and it seems like he did, in the beautiful Holli)
dunk a basketball
In 2005 my Mom and I drove across county from California to Kentucky. Along the way we wrote down funny road signs, town names or anything we saw. By the way, my Mother is a great travel partner, I highly recommend going somewhere with her if you know her!!
We both wrote down the things (big and small) that we wanted to do in life. This is way before ‘The Bucket List’ came out, and it is not suppose to be a bucket list. I am a firm believer in living life to the fullest and never waiting to do all the things, travel to the places you want, talk to the people you want to: until the end of your life. Embrace now with no regrets and stop worrying and just do what you want.
Over the years I have wrote down so many of my friend’s list. It is such a fun activity to do with friends, it is a way to get to know someone better and inspire someone to think deeper for him or herself about what they really want out of life. I eventually want to turn this into a fun book!
Katharine Hepburn said ‘If you always do what interest you, at least one person is pleased.’
Here is mine from 10/02/2005 ( I have bolded the ones that I have done):
go to Hawaii
run a marathon or a half marathon
hike a hard mountain/ or something similar to this
go to Egypt
go to the Holy Land
sing a solo on front of 1,000 people at one time
take hip hop classes
learn to tango
dance in the rain with that someone I really love
live in a foreign country for a year or two
have a kid one day
go to Africa and help people
stand on a Broadway stage (even if I am not performing)
see all 50 states in the USA
go to Italy or Spain (I’ve been to both!)
become an activist for a specific issue
go to Australia
be a backup person on a cd or a show by clapping, snapping, laughing, or saying some random phrase
coordinate a huge event (party or wedding) for someone else
start a world traveling group
be able to sing the fast song from Thoroughly Modern Millie as fast as the guy can
go up in a hot air balloon
go to Cedar Point theme park
see New York City at Christmas Time
learn how to drive a stick shift
get in a van with friends stopping anywhere we felt like
go to Japan or China
be on The Amazing Race (well I ended up working for someone that won an Emmy for it, haha)
go see an Opera
go to the Celebrity Center for Sciencetology so I can actually know what they believe
see the AFI top 100
take a Seminary course ( I ended up with my Masters in theology of the arts)
My Moms to do list 10/02/05
go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
travel to Alaska
go to an island resort
learn the rest of ‘God Bless America’ in sign language
get a new car and take off across the country
visit all 50 states in USA
write the funny Sprint commerical I thought of
plan a 2006 vacation