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Posts Tagged ‘thank you’

img_2350I know I was raised in a different era. No cell phones, no Instagram, no social media outside of a party line. Don’t know what a party line is? Google it. Oh yes, no Google, either. Side note: Google would have saved so many arguments in my family. And IMDb – my dad and I “discussed” movies, actors, etc. ad nauseam. That little app would have come in so handy. I digress…

One of the skills my mom instilled in me, and I attempted to instill in my boys, was to write thank you notes. After receiving Christmas and birthday gifts, I provided kid-friendly cards for them to write a short little “Thank you for the…” They did it (eventually), but it was a battle most of the time. It wasn’t that they weren’t grateful. But the process of actually putting pen (or pencil) to paper was agonizing. Like I was asking them to rake the yard with a toothbrush. Tears, grumbling, scowls, sometimes outright defiance. I’d find their little stack (five, at most) hidden in their school work or under a stack of magazines. “Oh, I thought I finished those.”

I tried to make it easier (at least on the postman) – I wrote the names and addresses. Then I wrote out a sample of what to say…eventually it was, “Just write one sentence. Just one sentence. It’s almost March!” And then- I gave up. It wasn’t worth it. The battle had worn me down. I went from insistent that they provide a hand-written note to “just call Grandma and tell her you like the sweatshirt.” Just an acknowledgement of her act of kindness.

Fast forward 15 years – I know longer worry about my kids’ notes of appreciation. They thank me all the time for things I’ve done for them, or gifts I’ve given. But more importantly, I know they have a grateful heart.

Those excruciating sessions of writing thank you notes taught me one thing: showing appreciation, saying (or writing) “thank you” isn’t always easy, but it’s always necessary. Maybe not for yourself, but for the person who is on the receiving end. My mom (and mother-in-law) were thrilled to receive those painstakingly printed notes. They knew I forced the kids to write them, but I’d still see those little smudged letters pinned to a bulletin board or affixed with a magnet to a refrigerator. Everyone appreciates being appreciated.

We all have people in our lives who would love to receive a little recognition…an acknowledgement that they are not forgotten. Think of it as sparking joy without emptying your house. Surprise someone with a text or phone call. What a wonderful way to fill your Facebook or Instagram feed with love and good will. Take a moment today to tell someone “thank you.” Or go the old-fashioned way and write a note. The post office still sells stamps.

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dirty socks

I am a blessed woman. I know it. I’m a “there’s always a silver-lining” kind of person. Makes my kids crazy sometimes. I’ve always said things are never as bad as they seem. But there are still times when I’m overwhelmed, when I can’t see anything except the chaos around me. And I let myself get sad. I start thinking “poor me.” I begin to believe the lies – you know the ones…”I’m alone, I’m going to fail, I’m not good enough, I can’t do it.” In this case – I – is the operative word. I’ve become self-absorbed.

It’s in those moments when I desperately need to look outside of myself. When I feel the pull to look inward, I fight it…with everything I have. I go to my “Gratitude Fix.”

Ann Voskamp calls them gifts. In her book entitled “One Thousand Gifts,” she challenged me to live fully right where I am. I read the book a few years ago and took her up on her 1000 gift dare. I opened a brand new, clean notebook, ready to fill it with beautiful expressions of my heart’s cry of gratitude. I decided to come up with 10 to 20 new entries each day. It started out pretty easy. I could think of a lot of things I was thankful for…air to breathe, a house to live in, a husband who loves me, clean water to drink. But after the first fifty or so, it started getting a little tougher. That’s when I began to look at the smallest of items as blessings, as gifts, in my life.

My notebook began to fill up. A thousand gifts takes a while to compile. I began to really look for things to be thankful for. My senses became more attune to the blessings all around me. My eyes got sharper. I saw my mundane life in a new way. I viewed circumstances in a different light. I heard smaller sounds. I tasted more clearly, felt more deeply, inhaled new aromas.

Thank You, Lord, for the dirty socks left in the living room (which means my kids have enjoyed their day and have feet to wear socks on).
Thank You for garbage to haul outside (meaning I have more than enough food to eat)
Thanks for toilets to clean (Thank You God for Indoor Plumbing!)
Thank You for that first daffodil in the spring and the sounds of cardinals in the trees.
Thanks for bunnies who race with me down the trail in the wee hours of the day.
Thank You for the aromas of lilacs, and baking bread, and burning leaves, and freshly-laundered sheets.
Thank You for the taste of peppermint or that first pungent sip of freshly-roasted coffee.

You should try it sometime. If a list of one thousand seems overwhelming, do half of that or a quarter. The point is to look beyond the obvious and see the hidden hand of God. You are blessed. Now it’s time to realize it.

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