Hello there – what makes your heart race, your eyes sparkle, and puts a spring in your (metaphorical) step? I’m guessing we all have a few passions that make our personal and professional lives unique. So what are yours?
What are you passionate about?
Yup. Ended a sentence in a preposition. Perhaps I should have phrased it: “About what are you passionate?” — LOL — Regardless.
My husband and I have a wubbie* show. The Big Bang Theory. In one episode a character is dissatisfied with not being passionate about topics, unlike her friends who are science/tech nerds. She eventually identifies something for which she has a passion. Can you relate?
Do you find it difficult to pinpoint your passions? Or not?
Maybe you have a career that’s your passion. Or your family has all your attention and you realize that nurturing is your focus. Some have hobbies they can talk about ad nauseam and wherein they lose track of time.
Saying Hello – What’s your passion…
In business circles, there’s a term called an Elevator Speech. It’s basically a very, very quick introduction to your passion. People hone their elevator pitch/speech constantly and memorize or internalize it.
The idea is that in the space of less than a minute they’ll be able to introduce their strengths or passion to a person of importance.
In the blogging world, we put this information on our “About” page. (Or in our side-bar.) When I’m reading online I always look for clues to who the person writing is, and what words they use to identify themselves. Do you do that too?
If you had to introduce yourself – quickly – what would you say?
My passions are obvious: writing, family, optimism, thankfulness, and encouragement. I’m also passionate about my faith – hence the Scripture verse I’ve adopted as my focus.
Of course, I have other passions. I’m guessing we all have those that we don’t mention in an elevator speech or on a quick About Page…
What else do I love to do? I’m a voracious reader in many, many areas, I “play with paper“, I love to travel (we spent years living in an RV traveling the USA – that was a bucket list item) and more.
There’s always more, isn’t there?
We’re all unique and complex people.
What’s your “hello” speech? How do you introduce yourself?
Leave a comment below and introduce yourself! Say hello!
(*FYI – “wubbie” in this instance means something that brings comfort, like a child’s fuzzy blanket. We use this show (The Big Bang Theory) as a way to just unwind and we’ve seen each episode in 12 seasons so often we can quote the lines before the character says them. I’m guessing you’ll see this trait as quirky, odd, or oddly endearing. I’ll let you choose. LOL )
Make something yummy and healthy for someone else… it’s summer in the northern hemisphere of the globe. Our fields are full of the bounty of nature. Fragrant herbs, luscious fruit, and tender vegetables – they’re all available to bring a smile to someone’s face. Deliver a smile with food!
(Rob made me oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries for breakfast – I was smiling!)
Introducing more smiles into our world could be a good thing, right?
And though you may be wearing a mask to show how much you respect and value the people you meet, your eyes are the clue you’re smiling…
So – what will you do to bring smiles to someone’s face today?
All these things brought smiles to my face this morning. My little granddaughter makes my face hurt from smiling – reading God’s Word makes me feel good – reminders around my house (that card with the happy sun has been on my shelves for years)…
Ask your family if there are things in your home that make them smile. You might be surprised at their answers…
Respite – what is it? It’s a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.
What’s your way to find respite?
In what way do you take a moment to recover after something unpleasant? Here are a few ideas:
Take a breath. Just breathe deeply, with intention…
Enjoy a cup of tea. Mint, chamomile, or peach. (Or coffee…)
Think – reflect – on how very much God loves you…
Dig in the dirt – pick some flowers…
Send a note of encouragement to someone…
Listen to beautiful music or play that music using the talents you’ve been given…
What else can you think of doing for a moment of respite?
Want a copy of the ways to find respite? You can download a free PDF HERE of the list below.
None of us could ever have imagined all that 2020 has held. I must confess that this time has caused me some angst. Not because my immediate life has changed, but rather because all around me is changing. And I’m contemplating the idea that my environment won’t “go back” to what it once was…
This never-again idea of what may become normal first crept into my imagination after visiting a restaurant… the place which was once teeming with energy, this formerly full and bustling space, was now quiet and muted. Only a few people sat at the designated “socially distanced” tables. And I felt so sad. I thought of the restaurant owners – will they ever again have the experience of the hustle necessary for a full restaurant with the underlying hum of humanity? Or is this experience going to remain? And then I thought of the other parts of life which may be impacted…
I needed a rest from my thoughts…
I’m imagining you all have had your own experience dealing with the possibility of a new normal… It may not be very pleasant pondering.
Has it been difficult facing your thoughts of what comes next?
One of (the many) writers my husband reads and shares is The Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell. At the end of March, there was a post about a dairy farmer’s path to success that Rob read to me and it’s stuck.
Included in the article is the phrase, “Steady on.”…
Yup. Steady can be our pace as we all walk through this unique time.
Read the rest of Dan Rockwell’s post HERE. You’ll find it encouraging and insightful!
I’m doing #the100dayproject with a glassine envelope and tag every day for 100 days. It’s part of my desire to improve at Junk Journaling. Playing with paper, and making hand-made journals from scraps, found objects and unique things that would otherwise be thrown out.
To deepen my skills I’ve been watching many, many videos on YouTube to learn how, and so did my own little “craft with me” video about this tag. If you’re interested, you can watch the video HERE.
you look for things to be thankful for…
you feel the value of being encouraged & encouraging others
This man was born into slavery, sometime in the 1860s. From there, regardless of societal hurdles, he contributed in amazing ways to the benefit of all. He was both a scientist and Christian – melding the two beautifully.
Although he could have pursued wealth, instead he sought education and knowledge to help all those around him by sharing what he learned.
“If I know the answer you can have it for the price of a postage stamp. The Lord charges me nothing for knowledge, and I will charge you the same.” he wrote.
Read more of his words HERE. Simply start where you are!
Below you’ll find images with some of his wisdom – I encourage you to read about George Washington Carver. It’ll inspire you!
Start where you are.
…the further anyone gets away from themselves, the greater will be their success in life… You can’t get very far in life if you don’t get away from self… and see a richer and broader horizon.”
~ George Washington Carver
“It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobiles one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”
~ George Washington Carver
“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the ways of doing it are revealed to me.”
~ George Washington Carver
Are you ready to begin?
Connect with a friend who can encourage you.
Help others with what you’ve been given.
Ask God to reveal to you His purpose for you and your life.
30 Days of Hymns – this was my September personal challenge to do something consistently over a 30-day time period.
To practice this skill, I chose to tailor my social media posts on Facebook to map with our church’s small group exploration of the book, “Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church” by Keith & Kristen Getty. We are looking at what makes singing as a group so powerful – and necessary.
Below are the songs. I need to say a big “thank you!” for the help from friends on Facebook who shared their favorites. It was poignant to read the comments on all the hymns. And fun to know that most people, as they read the lyrics, were actually singing them in their own mind. See – it doesn’t matter whether you have a “good” voice – your heart knows how to praise through music!
With this in mind, if you don’t know the listed hymn, I encourage you to use YouTube to find a video. And if you find reading the Bible intimidating, reading hymn lyrics is an easy way to orient yourself toward God’s Word, as most hymns have direct Scripture references.
Hymns are inherently positive!
Many in this list of 30 are old, old songs – and a few are from the songstress Fanny Crosby. Below the list, you’ll find images to correspond. Feel free to use them for your own, if one is a favorite. (I used CanvaPro to create each image.)
Want some ideas to challenge yourself next month? Read 31 ideas/options: click HERE.
(PS – I’ve begun a new personal challenge to send 31 snail mail cards to connect with others. This corresponds to #15 on the list!)
October 2019 is just around the corner. Yes, there are all these autumnal colors and themes floating about in social media, in the stores, and probably in our workspaces and homes. That’s all good.
Noticing the change in the seasons is important – it identifies how time is moving forward, even if you’re experiencing what I am… 90-degree weather. <eye-roll> Or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere of our world, October is heralding the arrival of new growth. (Because we have flipped seasonal experiences.) If you’re closer to our equator, then likely there are few weather indicators to show a change in seasons…
October is almost upon us.
A new month.
31 days to make a difference in your own life, and those around you!
How will you begin? And end? What’s going to be different, noteworthy, and extraordinary in this next month?
Invitation to challenge yourself!
31 Days of …
How will you fill in the blank? What’s on your agenda? Here’s your invitation to challenge yourself:
With what would you like to challenge yourself? It’s personal. But we all still have 31 days – it’ll either be more of the same, or it can be MORE!
more activity: dancing, walking, stretching, travel, exploring, adventure…
enhanced well-being: in positivity, prayer, eating, tidiness, relationship building, thankfulness…
Our lives are built with small habits. 30 or 31 days is a way to practice. In which areas could you enhance your life?
In the next few posts (before October) I’ll suggest some ideas. I invite you to choose ONE. Yes, just one. A single challenge for your own October.
Leave a comment with your ideas!
In September I challenged myself to post on Facebook a different hymn each day. This is part of my desire to enhance my own ability to follow-through over the long term and to make time to explore a facet of my faith. One challenge. Multiple gains.
Near the beginning of 2019, I read this book. It’s filled with 500+ random ideas on where to challenge yourself. I believe we can do (almost) anything in the short term… and isn’t our whole life filled up with little increments 60 seconds at a time, 1440 minutes a day, 52 weeks, 4 seasons…
What are you developing with your little increments of time?
His words hold answers to mysteries, they cause me to stop and wonder and then make me smile. I feel encouraged.
Sometimes a phrase causes me to take a breath – stop – and give thanks.
This is one of them.
Courage, dear heart.
Encouragement has the word “courage” embedded. Undeniably, reading with a positive focus will encourage you, and ultimately cause you to feel courageous.
That’s why I like “children’s” literature. Most times authors write with a bent toward encouragement. It’s rare to feel discouraged after reading a child’s book. Have you noticed? Pull out a few of your childhood favorites, and experiment…
The quote above is from C.S. Lewis’ book “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” in the Narnia series. There are 7 books in the whole story about the land of Narnia. And it’s just as relevant for adults as it is for children. Never, ever, feel like you’re too old to read a child’s book. We’re all children at heart!
Specifically, I like to read this series in chronological order – but everyone has their favorite way to read. C.S. Lewis wrote and published them differently from the land of Narnia chronological order, and expected us to make our own choice in where to start. Wise man.
Aslan in Narnia
If you step back from the Disney movie versions of these movies and read the original book series, you’ll realize, eventually (or possibly very quickly) that Aslan is special.
Ultimately, discovering why that’s so will be a beautiful adventure, should you choose to accept it…
In the meantime:
My wish for you today is to hear that small, still voice whisper…
Just some thoughts to ponder: take a look at the first 3 lines.
I think what Tolkien is saying
is that just because something seems one way,
does not make it true.
For me, it’s the last line which holds a key: “deep roots are not reached by the frost“.
I feel it sums up the first three statements.
If we deeply understand the “why” we are doing something, that specific understanding can hold us safe from anything which would freeze us out, stop us, or derail our purpose. It’s part of having those roots that reach downward.
Even if you don’t “glitter” you still have gold!
When you are going deep through age and strength, your contribution will flourish!
Do. Not. Quit.
Don’t stop what you’re doing even if others can’t see your glitter, or criticize your wandering, or if they question your age. Be strong.
And then your deep roots will hold you secure.
Are you finding it hard to keep going? Need some encouragement? Read this.
As you strive to go deep, remember, being optimistic is a strategy, and it can be learned. The benefits are great. One part of the strategy to be optimistic is to focus on thankfulness.
Quick! For what are you thankful right now? Find three things… they can be simple, or complex. Remembering your “why” you’re doing things can be prompted by your thankfulness. And thankfulness grows deep roots.
Do you keep a journal? Maybe add some “thankful” notations!
Writing or recording what you’re thankful for doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated.
Got a smart-phone? I use the app Gratitude 365. (It’s free.) Or you could just put three things into your calendar (online or paper).
Learn how to be optimistic. Basically, you aren’t required to be born a positive person – optimism can be learned. Don’t give up just because you’re not good at it! Because there’s a way to…
Learn how to be optimistic.
But how, you ask?
If I’m being candid with you, (and my husband, Rob, can attest to this,) compared to some others, I am not naturally a positive person.
Did I really say that?
Yes, I did. I’m a learned optimist.
It’s a choice.
I believe anyone can learn how to be optimistic, and with deliberation, choose to act that way.
If so, then all of us can take action in a strategically positive way.
In all areas of our lives:
in how we think about ourselves,
as we talk to ourselves (our inner dialogue),
how we make choices in our life,
when we interact with people,
in our business world, church world, and family,
as we pursue our side-hustle, our hobbies,
and/or entrepreneurial life,
while setting and embracing our goals – large or small
and everything else life holds!
Here’s the path – with 4 aspects – on how to learn to be optimistic:
1 – Begin with love.
Start by feeling love for yourself. (Yes, it’s a journey.)
Firstly, I believe I was born on purpose and for a purpose. As were you! No person is an accident. Everyone has value.
For all those mothers who long to get pregnant, and parents who are trying and trying to conceive a child, this concept of a child being born on purpose is real. (As is the heart-wrench and ache when a child dies before you can hold her or him in your arms.)
Plus, as a Christian, I believe God loves me. He loves you. There’s a plan for us. As a great example of true, perfect love, Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His life in a horrible death for no reason other than He loved me. And you. And everyone. All people. Regardless. (If you’re looking for a romance story, the Bible is the ultimate one.)
Maybe your life thus far hasn’t shown you much love. If that’s the case, I just want to tell you:
It’s not the end of the story!
You can feel loved. There’s time.
Just as you have time to love others. It’s a journey.
Gratitude is so much more important than the world around you wants you to believe. Being thankful is a special sauce, a magic formula, the ultimate elixir on the way to being positive.
How do you track your thankfulness?
Being aware of what you’re thankful for is one thing. Because of this, it’s powerful when you see all the items concretely logged with writing or images.
Whether you use an app, a journal, a planner or a plain old notebook, keeping an ongoing list of all the items you’re thankful for on a daily basis is important!
Did you hear that?
I can’t think of another way to state it. Make it a habit at the beginning, middle or end of a day to list what you’re thankful for. Begin recording your thankfulness.
I challenge you to start with a list of 100 items. A while ago Rob and I did an exercise like this together and it was so much easier than it seems… From this, we realized that the greatest to the least little item provides many, many reasons each day to give thanks.
” Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Therefore, you can learn how to be optimistic if you use gratitude as a tool!
So, being loved and being thankful. Right.
And after that – what’s next?
3 – Being encouraged and encouraging others helps you to learn how to optimistic.
Thirdly, what is encouragement?
“Encouragement: words or actions that give someone confidence or hope and words or actions that help something to happen.”
~ from MacMillan Dictionary
To learn how to be optimistic means you understand the importance of encouragement. Encouragement is an action. It’s having hope for the future. People who are positive-focused know how to help themselves and others make something happen – something good for the future.
Optimists are confident that if they keep trying and continue to persevere, regardless, there will be an improvement.
And once an optimist is feeling hopeful, then…
4 – Optimists take action.
Lastly, some of the skills on the path to learn how to be optimistic are the ability to make a plan, work the plan and take action on the goals that’ll get you to the finish line of the plan. Does this sound familiar?
What if things don’t work out? Failure is part of the plan – it’s gonna happen, and optimists who take action have contingencies at hand to fail forward.
So, if something doesn’t work out, the optimist finds another way.
Above all, it’s about taking action – not getting stuck in inertia or analysis paralysis. Equally, if a positive person does get stuck, they look for help from another encouraging person! Do you have someone like that in your life?
Are you someone who takes action? Is there a chance you’re also a learned optimist?
Being Positive on Purpose
All in all, life isn’t always what you expect. There are curveballs…
It’s important to realize there are days, weeks and even years where being optimistic is hard. At times it feels almost impossible. I get it. I really do – due to circumstances we all encounter, I’ve experienced it and it’s difficult to be optimistic when in crisis. (Especially if others around you expect optimism from you and you’re feeling like you’re running on empty.)
What can you do when it’s hard to be optimistic?
Actively seek support. To clarify, surround yourself with people, activities, and resources which will support you in practicing:
loving yourself and others,
being thankful – in all circumstances,
accepting encouragement and giving encouragement,
and taking action.
To be transparent – that’s why this site was born. I needed something to keep my focus on remaining and then growing in being positive. So, that’s what PostiveThanksLiving.com is for… it’s for me and you!
On the positive side, there’s no end in learning to be optimistic.
You just get better at it. Certainly, it takes ongoing practice, but the benefits of practicing optimism impact everyone around you for the better.
Indeed, it’s not going to hurt anyone if you learn how to be optimistic… in fact, it’ll help make the world around you a little better!
Happiness is fleeting. In my life, the feeling of being happy shifts like the weather – the only surety is a change in and out and in again of happiness.
I’m imagining you might relate? It’s rare for anyone to be happy every day. (By-the-way, being joyful is a different story from the average happy moment. Read some thoughts about JOY here.)
Most of us merely want to have more happy days than we’re already experiencing.
Just like choosing to live in one part of the continent with more days of sunshine, than a different part of the continent with fewer sunny days, we do have the choice to structure our lives to experience more moments of happiness.
Is every day sunny? No. Will every moment be happy? Of course not. However, you can…
Structure your happiness – 100 days experiment!
Just so you know, I don’t think you need a special book, app or planner to take action toward structuring more happiness in your life. Purchasing something isn’t necessary. You could design your own map, print your own tracking pages, or just use a plain notebook to make notes.
The idea is to have a plan and then track progress over a period of time.
I ordered the 100-day Happiness Planner for my birthday a few years ago. It was during a hard time. No tragedies – just life.
During this time I felt like I needed to take strong, decisive steps to structure my days to include opportunities to feel happy. I looked at many programs, considered creating one of my own, and then – for my needs – I decided to invest in the 100-day Happiness Planner.
This resource provided certain properties I needed:
a short period – 100 days is just over 3 months – to try new ways to structure my days/weeks and experiment with specific goals
no particular dates (undated) so I could write in my own dates and begin/end as I chose.
opportunity for reflection – questions and room to journal my thoughts
planning space for daily and weekly events
space to record thankfulness every day/week
a way to track what I was learning via Scripture and actively listening in church services
positive affirmations (although, I replaced some with God-honoring statements for the ones I didn’t like.)
This site, PostiveThanksLiving.com grew out of my time working in the 100-day Happiness Planner.
What do you need to structure happiness into your life?
More happy moments may not happen all by themselves. Sometimes we need a boost, a trigger, or a tool.
I hope this site, which grew from my time of reflection, can be a boost and trigger for your life. My goal is to provide positivity and gratitude prompts so we all have what we need to add some happiness into our life.
What other tools to structure happiness could you use?
Maybe you need to focus on adding some healthy boundaries to your life? This is a good book to learn how to do that.
Perhaps you feel it’s time to pursue deepening your marriage.
Rob and I talk about this book with couples all the time. It’s practical and easy to implement, no matter in what state your relationships exists.
Have you ever done a “vision board”? In simple terms, it’s a collection of photos/images of what you’re working toward pasted or printed onto one paper. (I couldn’t find a resource to link to here, so I guess I’ll be creating one in the future!)
What other tools do you need?
Leave a comment – what has helped you find more happiness in your life in the past?