The whole of life is found in the details.

The whole of life is found in the details.

The whole. The sum. Add up the details and you’ll find your whole life. Details make up your life. Little things. Begin to pay attention to the details of your life.

Change one detail at a time to build a life that’s a whole lot more. Details make up the whole.

  • smells, sights, sounds – what could you add or replace to build a better whole?
  • inspiring people: who can you follow on social media that will add to your life something special? Who will you no longer listen to? It’s up to you – you’re in control.
  • where will you go for ideas? What are you reading and watching? What is filling your brain? Examine what you can add or replace to introduce ideas of peace, or joy, or wonder or inspiration or hope?

Little details make up your whole life…

Examine the details for clues on how to make each moment of your life more… and that’ll add up…

Details make up the whole of your life - what needs to be added or replaced?

What you see above begins with pinholes in the paper. It gets better with colorful embroidery floss and a needle. And then one stitch at a time something pretty shows up, till the whole project has a purpose.

That’s just like our lives…

Where and what we choose to put into each little spot determines our outcome. Right now I’m occupying some of my time with a few items that make up the whole:

  • writing words. One word at a time. (Yes, still working on a resource for you to make it easier to tell your friends how thankful you are for them.)
  • playing piano. One note at a time. Trying to get all the notes right to make a beautiful sound together.
  • making and crafting. One item on a page to make a whole that’s pleasing to the eye.
  • packaging and sending. One person at a time to try to bring a smile to their heart even in this COVID mess.
  • caring. For Rob – trying to speak his love language. And one grand at a time. (Usually. It’s easier.) Meeting the needs of our lovely little granddaughter and an amazing grandson.
  • eating. One good thing at a time. Replacing sugar and processed carbohydrates to make a better whole. (And there’s a whole lot of me. LOL)
  • watching and reading. Replacing everything I take in with something that’ll make my heart lighter and more optimistic. We watched this movie with our adult children and smiled together. Good message about what really matters in life. And… this is the daily devotional I’m re-reading to keep my thoughts centered on what really matters.

What are your details?

What needs to be added – or replaced to make the whole thing much better?

Thank your friend – 5 Ways to Say Thank You even in a Pandemic.

Thank your friend – 5 Ways to Say Thank You even in a Pandemic.

“Thank you, friend. You’re precious to me. I value you and our friendship.”

Even though reaching out to your friends may feel like a herculean task at this time… here are 5 simple ways to say “thank you!”, even in a pandemic. And there are benefits…

What is a friend?

Maybe we all have our own definition of what a friend is or what friendship means. Maybe our definition has changed over time. Or not. However, regardless of the definition we put to the word, thanking our friends means we demonstrate their value.

To whom would you want to say “thank you” for being my friend? Can you think of a few?

5 Ways to say “Thank you!” to your friend.

I’m going to simplify a complicated topic and try to make it easy to do. To that end, I’m borrowing from Gary Chapman’s work. So, here they are:

1. Invest time with your friend.

Even with this pandemic, technology makes it possible to see each other face to face. Have a coffee/tea date and chat. Here are 36 questions to make the conversation even more interesting. You will honor your friend and demonstrate how grateful you are for your friendship if you make a deliberate time to connect with the purpose of thanking her or him.

2. Tell her or him you’re thankful for the friendship and why.

Firstly, use words. Write them down. Or speak those words. Or do both!

Make a list of all the ways you’re thankful for your friend. Write a card. Make a call and tell him or her.

3. Send a gift.

Specifically, it doesn’t need to be expensive. But make it personal. The gift becomes a tangible indication of how much you value your friendship. You could buy it, or make it. Does your friend have an Amazon gift list? Ask!

Additionally, you could give something fun like these and buy one for yourself too, and wear them when you’re together! Can you imagine a Zoom meeting where you’re both wearing these? A talented friend makes these and they’re so fun…

4. Use your time to do something specific and helpful for your friend.

Gary Chapman, author of the concept of The Five Love Languages calls it an “act of service“. Could you bring supper to your friend? Or clean their car, weed their garden, or go to the post office or some other action ? Maybe shop and deliver their groceries? Even in this time period – or if you’re far away from each other – there are ways to order a GrubHub supper, or groceries through Instacart or have a service come and wash the car, do yard work etc… you’re limited only by your imagination!

5. And lastly, give a hug or pat on the back or some kind of (appropriate) physical expression of your heart.

During these times it’s tough to do this “physical touch Love Language” if your friend is far away or either of you is in quarantine. We’re not supposed to be doing the close physical contact stuff.

However. But. You could “outsource” your hugs. —LOL —

What do I mean? Make a plan with someone who can hug your friend, and have them hug your friend on your behalf! Make the experience into an event. Use technology to set up a meeting – arrange ahead of time with the person who is in their “bubble” – and do a virtual, surrogate “hug” with your friend!

And here are the benefits: demonstrating how much you appreciate your friends will lift everyone’s spirits!

Let’s lift each other up.

Why? Because friendship is even more important in this time! You are in control of nurturing your friendships. So, say thank you to someone you value!

Come on… which friend will it be?


(Specifically, leave their first name in the comments and pick one of the five suggestions from above. To that end, I’ll leave the first comment myself with who and what I’m going to do!)


Here are 5 ways to say "thank you" to your friend --- even during a pandemic you can do these!

PS – I’m working on a new resource just for you to help with #2 — a way for you to easily develop a way to tell your friend exactly which character qualities you value about him or her. It’ll have the exercise, a list of 265 character qualities to choose from, and even a few templates to print out, (my own designs), write your note, and send to your friends! Stay tuned…

Steady On

Steady On

Steady on, dear heart.

It’s all going to be OK.

You’re resilient and strong and can do this!

Steady ON!

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!

Steady On - it's all going to be OK - be resilient and strong

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.

Remember:

  • You’re loved…
  • you look for things to be thankful for…
  • you feel the value of being encouraged & encouraging others
  • and you take action every day toward your goals!

Till we meet again along the way – Steady ON!

Thankful for laughter.

Thankful for laughter.

Laughter – the joy of laughing. What makes you chuckle, guffaw, chortle, giggle, snicker, shriek, or roar with laughter?

Be thankful for the laughter in your life!

Firstly, you could list all the entertainment which makes you laugh. Many have favorite comedians and movies that make them laugh.

Then… make a list of people in your life who make you laugh and for those you love to laugh with – even if it’s been a bit of a while since you visited together.

Add these lists to your gratitude journal…

(I find myself smiling as I think of those beloved people who make me laugh. If you find it difficult to make this list, then perhaps it’s time to seek out additional friends?)

It’s a privilege to laugh within a group.

Maybe invite some friends to bring over a movie to watch where you can all laugh together. Or do a YouTube search, taking turns playing funny videos…

It’s good to laugh.

Are you joining in?

Gratitude Improves Attitude!

Making a gratitude journal – a collection of areas in which you feel thankful – is a powerful way to accelerate the positivity in your life.

Go deeper – learn from those who have practiced this action of gratitude…

Two of my favorite books about people who used a year to explore gratitude are: “How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan

and “A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life” by John Kralik

If you’d like to start your own Gratitude book, here are a few prompts from the series #30daysofthankfulness:

Be thankful for your favorite food!

Be thankful for your favorite food!

Be thankful for your favorite food – what is it? Spicy, sweet or salty?

Do you have a particular food that rings your bell, when you smell it cooking it causes you to salivate, or you obsess over? I’m guessing that you – like me – may have more than one favorite.

In case you need some prompting, here are some favorite food items that might be on your list:

  • chocolate – in any form
  • scalloped potatoes
  • cheesecake – what kind?
  • pizza – wood-fired, Chicago style or loaded?
  • a thick slab of Prime Rib
  • bacon
  • chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • Caprese salad with extra basil
  • poutine (for me, the perfect one is from Harvey’s in Canada)
  • sushi
  • french onion soup
  • pancakes
  • grilled cheese sandwiches
  • mac and cheese
  • lobster dipped in clarified butter
  • homemade jam on warm toast
  • popcorn
  • garlic shrimp linguine
  • hamburgers
  • Charcuterie plate
  • french toast with real maple syrup
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • spaghetti and meatballs
  • tiramisu
  • hot wings
  • ice cream – what flavor?
  • watermelon
  • pot roast
  • sweet-potato casserole
  • cashew nuts
  • meatloaf
  • milk and cereal
  • chocolate pudding
  • sub sandwiches
  • turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Bread. (I’ve never met a bread I didn’t like!)
  • lightly steamed broccoli with a drizzle of lemon butter
  • ribs slathered with sauce
  • ramen noodles – the authentic kind
  • sloppy joes, dripping with goodness…
  • and what else would you add to the list?

I’m guessing this list barely touches on some of your favorites!

Record your favorites in your gratitude journal – and maybe even have them (or at least one) for supper! <wink>

It’s always a good day to eat your favorite food!

Here are more prompts in the series #30daysofthankfulness:

There’s real power in going through all the areas in which you’re feeling thankful – let’s play together!

Thankful for old experiences and stuff!

Thankful for old experiences and stuff!

Thankful for old experiences, stuff and… you knew this was coming, right? After all, we just thought about what new things, people and experiences we value!

Of course, we need to also record those long-time precious parts of our life!

People

Who in your life has stood by your side for a long time? Perhaps they’ve already passed into eternity, but you know they’re still interested in you and love you from there. Make a list. Think through all your life stages… childhood, teen years, as a young adult and beyond. You’re going to find certain people have played a part in your life for years and years. Others have popped in and out again… they all have great value. Be thankful for those old friends and mentors.

Thankful for old experiences…

What experiences have you had on an ongoing basis?

  • Perhaps it’s as simple as baking (or eating) the same Christmas cookies year after year… the familiar taste, smell, and love wrapped up in something sweet.
  • Consider the traditions in your life... what part of those experiences do you treasure?
  • What about performances? Do you play an instrument? Or sing? Each year, from my earliest memories, we had a Christmas program at our church and in larger and smaller ways I participated over the years. (One year I even made a small dent in my stash of fabric to make costumes for the children…) The experiences surrounding Christmas Programs at church hold many ways I feel thankful. Somewhere in storage, there’s a box of Christmas music… I need to pull it out for our grands.
  • And reading and re-reading the same book over again. Maybe it’s a children’s book you’ve read to your children and now to your grandchildren. Maybe it’s a book you revisit each year at a certain time… The experience of refreshing those particular words becomes part of who you are as a person… (For example, this is a book I recommend to everyone for its tongue-in-cheek style that prompts me to examine my own negative tendencies as a disciple of Christ.)

In addition, consider past experiences, those once-in-a-lifetime events, which will never show up again. Be thankful for those special moments also.

Stuff

Old stuff. Be thankful for all the old stuff in your life. New is great, but sometimes that special blanket, or dish, or cup that’s been a part of your life from youth onward has great memories. I just came back from my mother’s home. She’s sorting through her stuff and it’s really hard to let go of all the stuff with good memories.

To combat some of her (and my) melancholy I’ve begun a new hobby – Junk Journaling. (Crafting a book using recycled, found and memorable items used to record ideas, quotes, memories, etc.) I’m incorporating things like the cards from my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, some fabrics from worn-out linens, and more into this new art form.

Thankfulfor Old... these cards are from 1983 - my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. My mother kept them and it's time to let them go - but I'll use the images in future journals.
Thankful for Old… these cards are from 1983
– my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
My mother kept the cards but now it’s time to let them go.
To honor my grandparents and those people who wished them well,
I’ll use the images in future “junk” journals I’ll be making…

I can’t keep all the stuff – but I can be thankful for it as I use bits and pieces!

What about you?

What long-term people, experiences and things are you thankful for in your life?

Take note! Write them down.

Thankful for old - all the experiences-people-stuff - #30daysofthankfulness

There’s such value in watching the process of a thankful journal take shape…

Need a new way to record your thankfulness?

Try this simple Gratitude journal to list those items for which you’re thankful each day.

Thankful for Old - Daily Gratitude Journal - simple way to collect and see all you're grateful for - #30DaysofThankfulness
Affiliate Link to this journal – https://amzn.to/2OCRxSG

Or, if you want to read, consider and focus in greater depth, then this other Gratitude focused book called “One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces” is wonderful. It’s written in a lyrical style with lots to “chew” on and space at the end of each devotional to write your own thoughts. (I’m a fan of this author.)

Affiliate link to this journal: https://amzn.to/2QSbOqn

Here a few more prompts from this series:

Thankful for New…

Thankful for New…

Thankful for new… what?

What’s new in your life?

  • Stuff. This could be about the littlest thing, such as a new box of tissues. Hey! I bet you’re feeling a unique sense of gratitude when you’ve just sneezed, and, sitting by your side is a new, full box of tissues to meet your need! It’s also perfectly fine to include on this list the new things you’re anticipating… Be aware and give thanks for even the essentials in your life.
  • Experiences. What have you just done that you’ve never tried before? Have you just eaten sushi? Or learned a dance step, or been to a great movie, or… Being filled with thanks for new and lovely experiences is essential for living a grateful life! Big or small, let’s keep track!
  • People. Who have you just met that strikes a spark in your soul? Surely there will be at least one new person – even if that meeting was fleeting… Rob and I have been traveling and we’ve met some really fun and interesting people. I don’t know when we will connect again, but boy-oh-boy am I thankful for these special people. They’re the secret sauce in my life!

What about you?

In what way are you thankful for new…

Leave a comment – and add to your thankful journal!

Thankful for new stuff, experiences and people - and more!

30 days of thankfulness —

Join in – here are a few more of the articles in this series:

Want to play? Find a piece of paper, or a notebook, journal or even download and print this free PDF to record all of what you’re thankful for. The beauty will build as you look at the many areas in which you’re feeling thankful.

Giving Indiscriminate Thank-You’s Everywhere

Giving Indiscriminate Thank-You’s Everywhere

Giving your thanks indiscriminately – be thankful and share that attitude without judgment -everywhere! I challenge you…

This is especially fun if someone isn’t helping you at the moment but is actively making a difference in where/what they’re doing.

Notice, and say “thank you”!

It costs nothing to say “thank you” to those who serve:

  • the cashier at the grocery store
  • a barista who is making coffee
  • your spouse, for all he or she contributes to your life together
  • a trash collector
  • your children for making you smile
  • the shelf-stocker in a store
  • friends who you value
  • city employees who beautify the surroundings
  • the mail-carrier
  • a delivery person
  • health care providers
  • pizza delivery people
  • and anyone who is active in their profession…

Make a habit of throwing out “thank-you”s indiscriminately!

In the book, “A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life”, in amongst other revelations, John Kralik set out to write 365 “Thank You” notes.

He, of course, wrote to all the significant people in his life, but quickly needed other options. I remember chuckling as he described writing a thank-you note to the person who would receive a bill he was paying… Imagine their surprise!

Are you playing?

If you’re playing the 30 Days of Thankfulness – writing down all you’re grateful for in one place – then make this an entry:

Record all those friends or strangers where you said “thank-you” to today!

Here are some of the other prompts:

Thankful for your Accomplishments

Thankful for your Accomplishments

Accomplishments – what have you completed that you’re thankful for? Do you feel a sense of satisfaction about something you’ve done?

We all have failures in our life. That’s normal. Failing is part of being human. Too often the first that comes to mind are those items which we regret, or didn’t do, or haven’t excelled at in comparison with others.

Stop!

Today I want you to tuck those negative thoughts away.

Far away.

Today be thankful for your accomplishments!

We all have accomplishments that we can list.

  • Where have you succeeded?
  • What have you completed?
  • Who has benefited from what you’ve done?
  • There are areas in which you’ve had influence that are better today because of your presence.
  • You have contributed in places, with people, that no one else could have done.

It’s not necessary to make a big splash to be considered a success. Even the smallest pebble will create ripples when dropped into a pond.

The ripples from your accomplishments have value!

For one who cooks supper each day for decades – that’s an accomplishment! (Don’t laugh. It’s not an easy task for some of us to be consistent!)

Raising children is an accomplishment. Nurturing a marriage is an accomplishment. Caring for a parent is an accomplishment. Singing in a choir is something for which to be thankful. Paying taxes, learning a new skill, voting, improving your bank account, making something useful, writing, giving up a vice, being optimistic even when life looks dreadful, getting up early to exercise, trying once more at that thing that seems too much…

The list of accomplishments is long for every life!

Take a new look at what you’re involved in and celebrate!

Be thankful you can do that one thing… it’s an accomplishment!

Join in on the #30daysof thankfulness. It’s amazing to see your list of what you’re grateful for grow and grow and grow…

Here are a few more prompts from this series:

Be Thankful for H20

Be Thankful for H20

H20 – water. Consider all the ways we are privileged to use water. Turn on the faucet and there you have water.

We disregard the free-flowing availability of our H20. No walking down to a stream to fill our buckets. No pumping by hand at a well. We turn on a tap and there it is!

Washing, cleaning, preparing food and all kinds of activities would be extra challenging if, firstly, we needed to go get our water!

Be thankful for H20 – hot & cold!

Even more miraculous is the opportunity to have hot water flowing from the tap.

Next time you take a shower or relax in a bath, take note of the flowing hot water. Consider how thankful you are it’s there…

In what ways have you used water today? Make a note and give thanks!

A Story from Haiti

Our son and daughter-in-love participated in a non-profit video shoot in Haiti. Part of the trek included time far up in the hills where there is no running water.

People walk down, down, down, through the bush to the river far below to collect their daily water. Often it’s the children who carry heavy buckets back up the hills to home.

One day, Alex accompanied these children to film the process. He chose to wear sandals/flipflops. (As he tells the story he usually pauses to tell the listeners that wearing flip-flops isn’t a good idea!)

The group collected their water at the river and began the uphill walk on the rough trail back to the village, carrying their jugs.

Half-way back up Alex stumbled and fell to the side of the path. His feet and legs were muddy and messy from the fall.

He began brushing at the dirt, and before he could react, one of the young boys, carrying his family’s water in a heavy jug, poured water over Alex’s legs to clean them.

That young boy didn’t hesitate to share this precious resource. Alex says he wanted to tell him to save the water that they’d just walked 30 minutes to collect, but the boy gave too quickly…

Think about it. Would you be that quick to share a precious resource you’d just walked 30 minutes to gather?

Watch the video!

The boys at the beginning of the video were a part of the above story. Enjoy the faces of Haiti that Alex filmed…

Hope for Haiti Foundation

Alex and Alisane climbing high to get some good shots.
Alex connecting with the kids.
On the way to the village – through the river to get there!
Thankful for H20 - just think of all the ways in which you use water - isn't it wonderful to have it on tap?
Thankful for your Hobbies

Thankful for your Hobbies

Thankful for your hobbies. What’s a hobby? It’s an activity that isn’t work. It’s pleasure. <wink>

If we’re being specific or legalistic, then a hobby is something that’s supposed to be done during your leisure time. Most of us have little time we’d consider as throw-away leisure-time, so I’m going to make the term “hobby” as loose as you choose. The only thing I’d say is that it needs to be something you find pleasurable.

Thankful for your hobbies.

Now, before you say that you don’t have any hobbies, I’d like you to consider:

  • Do you sing in a choir?
  • Enjoy cooking? Baking?
  • Do you like to send snail-mail cards?
  • What about organizing and improving your environment?
  • Do you make things? Take photos?
  • Read, read and read some more?
  • Garden or nurture plans inside?

Many activities you enjoy could be considered a hobby!

Record all your hobbies – they’re activities you’re thankful for! Here are more ideas on what to find your gratitude attitude in…

Take note of all your hobbies - it's another way to demonstrate gratitude. We all are given gifts, so rejoice and be thankful for your hobbies!

Thankful for Safety

Thankful for Safety

To be thankful for safety we first need to be aware of our vulnerability. I’m imagining we are all, to some extent, aware of how fragile our safety in this world is…

As I write this post, it’s November 11th. In the United States of America, it’s Veterans Day. In Canada, Australia, and the Commonwealth of Nations this date is titled Remembrance Day.

Where you live, is November 11th dedicated to those who fight, or have fought, for your safety – freedom?

Regardless of the date or the title of that date, we all have someone in our life who has championed our safety.

Perhaps they are closely related or a friend who served in the military. Maybe they don’t have anything to do with the military, however, that person has protected us: physically, mentally or spiritually.

So today, we can be…

thankful for safety and those who provide it.

Who will you be referencing in your journal about thankfulness?

thankful for safety
thankful for safety - who has provided for your safety - either mentally, emotionally or physically? Record their names in your Thankful Journal!

Continuing in our 30 days of thankfulness check out these posts!

Are you recording your answers to these prompts? The power is immense when you can see all these items in one place after 30 days… I’m encouraging you to try. It’ll be worth it!