Habits, whether good or bad, start off as thin as a single strand of hair – easy to snap. However, if we continue with the behavior, that same strand-like habit will grow to be strong and sturdy like chain links – difficult to break. Having an attitude of gratitude is a habit. This is a habit that I am constantly working toward; it is not easy. It takes work. It requires reflecting, sifting through life experiences, and being aware that there is value in all my interactions. It is not easy to be in gratitude when negativity steps in, when there is illness, death, or when bad news comes our way. However, I know if I search within, there is always something for which I can be grateful.
Over the years, I’ve attempted to keep a gratitude journal, but after a short period, the journaling of my thoughts became a dormant idea. Some time ago, I heard about the gratitude jar and I promised myself that I would start one. I don’t need a journal or a jar to express my gratefulness, but this tangible means of reflecting helps me to recognize my blessings and joys.
The birth of my Gratitude Jar was on January 12, 2016. See photos at the end of this post.
My first note of gratitude:
This evening I spent some time with Rosh as she worked on her “bottle this feeling” jars. Her “About” page on her website talks about how being grateful contributes to your happiness – what a beautiful reminder for me as I bottle 101 thoughts in my head. I am grateful to my daughter for reminding me to live with an attitude of gratitude.
Here is another note from January 16th
I’m in gratitude for…
I have decided to grow the habit of being in gratitude today and every day. I find that being grateful brings me joy. Although I do not write gratitude notes with pen and paper daily, I write them with my reflections and actions.
Today, among other things, I am grateful for your friendship, my health, and the peace, joy, and positive energy that surround me.
Thank you for visiting my blog!
You’ve got to face your fear! I’ve heard this many, many times and yet I cannot face my fear. I’m limited by this terrible fear I have of dogs. I say it’s a phobia. My children tell me all the time that I need therapy. I agree. My friend, Pauline, over at The Contented Crafter, recently wrote about her cute and adorable pet puppy, Siddy and I am having fun with him from afar, but I know in my heart if we ever meet, I will close my eyes and cower behind Pauline or anyone or anything that would offer some measure of protection.
I’m often asked if I was bitten by a dog as a child. No. I was chased a few times and that scared me half to death. I don’t enjoy walking in the parks when owners have their dogs without a leash. If I’m invited to someone’s home, one of the first questions I ask, “Do you have a dog”? Hosts usually put their dog away when I visit, but I’m consumed with guilt the entire time and I want to leave as quickly as possible. Not a good way to have fun.
Many years ago, when my son was a baby, I pulled up on my driveway and as I got out of the car a little puppy came up to me. It startled me so much that I climbed on the roof of my car and waited there until a jogger passed by and took the puppy away. Thankfully, it was just about a minute, however, that minute felt like hours.
Another time, when I was a cashier, a customer’s dog (pets were not allowed in the store) came into my cashier register area and scared me so badly that I jumped over the grocery slide. I was ignited by fear.
The only time I was not scared of a dog was about six years ago when someone close to me was in a threatening situation and I was entirely focused on her safety.
I want to be able to pet a dog. I want to be able to have a puppy sit with me. I want to erase my fear of dogs!
Do you have an intense fear of anything?
Today’s post is dedicated to Kate Sarrami from Toronto, Canada.
Most pre-teens want to snuggle up in bed on a Sunday morning, especially on a cold Sunday morning, but not Kate. This morning, while most of us were still in the Land of Nod, Kate stood alongside her mother, my childhood friend with about 7,000 other participants to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10 K. Kate, the athletic 12-year-old could not resist the mother-daughter running challenge her mom proposed to her a couple of months ago.
It was a mere two degrees Celsius when they arrived at the starting point armed with their running attire, warm smiles, and enthusiasm. The weather was no deterrent to Kate. She was pumped. It was her first official running event and she could hardly wait for the wave of runners ahead of her to step over the starting line. She was all ready to go…ready to hit the asphalt and to cross that finish line before her mama. She did! With a delightful smile on her face and joy in her heart, Kate crossed the finish line in 51 minutes and 34 seconds. As for her mom, she clocked in at 58:56.
Congratulations to Kate for her perseverance in her first running event! Hats off to Kate!
In response to a statement I made last Saturday night, I received this text from my youngest on Monday, “Gym today with me n sis”. I promptly replied, “I have lots of work to do, go ahead without me”. Not long after, my phone rang and Rosh, my eldest, in a firm voice reminded me that I promised to go with them as a guest. I tried my best to get out of that promise to no avail.
At 6:45 P.M, I trudged to the car. It was as if I was being arrested and carted off to prison. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see so many people on the machines and immediately felt all eyes on me. Not really.
I asked for a tour of the facility, not from my daughters, the gym cops, but from an employee. I wanted an official tour so I could ask lots of questions, delay the exercise, and evade their watchful eyes.
After about half hour of touring, questioning, and going over the membership fees, the younger gym cop came up and accosted me. She wanted to know why I was going over membership fees when her gym plan included a guest. I humbly stated that I was simply being polite. I was given a stern warning to get moving. I obliged.
It was a pretty easy decision about the cardio machine. I chose the bike. I spent another five minutes sanitizing it. Well, it was really the tour guide who did the work. As I climbed on to the bike, I gave big, cheery wave to the two gym cops who responded with thumbs up and delightful smiles. I set the timer for a whopping 20 minutes and I rode that bike like an Olympian, or so I thought until I saw the results. What?! Only 67 calories in 20 minutes? I gave myself an “A” for effort.
The gym cops were pleased that I went with them and my heart swelled with pride that my daughters have become my role models for exercising.
Have you ever tried to avoid exercising the way I did?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 is World Kindness Day. In honor of this special day, I’ve collected a few quotes to share with you. The counselor at my school shared this video clip with me and I want to pass it along.
That best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.~ William Wordsworth
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.~Dalai Lama
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.~Kahlil Gibran
A kind word is like a spring day.~Russian Proverb
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.~Seneca
Why seven? Why not ten? Seven has a nice ring to it!
1. Be a coffee fairy. Surprise a co-worker with cup of coffee from his favorite coffee shop. Your heart will smile when you see the joy this simple, inexpensive act will bring to him.
2. Write a “just because” note to someone. Last Thursday, one of my students brought a handwritten note for each of her classmates. The smiles that lit up their faces were invaluable. I took a photo of the class holding up their letters because I want a tangible memory of her thoughtfulness.
3. Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line, especially if they have just a few items. This happened to me earlier today. This act of kindness brightened my afternoon.
4. When the children are standing outside of the grocery store with their fundraiser chocolate, buy one and then give it back to them to resell. It’s a win-win situation (at least for me) I don’t need the extra sugar and they get an extra dollar.
5. Pay a compliment. Whenever I wear my coral blouse to work, I get lots of compliments. Each compliment brings a smile to my face and brightens my day.
6. The next time you take a digital photo of someone, add a cute frame, speech bubble, or caption before sending it off.
7. Be optimistic. Your positive attitude will rub off. It can be hard at times, but when things are challenging, remind yourself that you have the ability to find a good outcome. A positive attitude is a sure brightener!
When you brighten someone else’s day, the light reflects right back to you!