Tag Archives: thankful

Why Gratitude is the Best (and Only) Option

nov13_2016

Point to Ponder:
Who or what are you grateful for?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

This summer, during our Banff, Canada iGnite Escape, each evening we found ourselves relaxing in the outdoor hot tub that overlooked the mountains while playing a get-to-know-you card game. One card with a random question would be chosen and each of us would have an opportunity to answer it. The questions were innocent, fun, thought-provoking and a great way to learn more about one another. A few examples of the questions were: “if you got a tattoo, what would you get and why?; if you could choose to be a different ethnicity, what would it be and why; and when feeling down or depressed, what do you do to boost your spirit? My answers were I’d get a cross tattoo, I’d be Brazilian, and when I feel down, I write gratitude notes.

Keeping a gratitude journal or writing gratitude notes are two of the greatest antidotes to the blues. Personally, they pull me outside of myself and allow me to shift my focus to a person or persons who I am thankful for as well as for the blessings in my life. And, while life stressors are intense and heavy, what we focus on is what shows up, so to me, focusing on who and what we are thankful for is the only viable option. Or, if you need more proof to the power of gratitude, check out the scientifically proven benefits of gratitude from a 2015 article from Psychology Today.

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
  5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

iGnite believes in gratitude- living in and with it as well as expressing it. As a result, over the past four years and during the week before Thanksgiving, in all of our classes we have provided gratitude note cards for our members to write to anyone they want. As a result of our feel-good gratitude initiative, iGnite has mailed over 1200 gratitude notes that are delivered during the week of Thanksgiving, and after this week, we hope to make that number at least 1500.

Throughout this week, you will be given the opportunity to write a gratitude note or notes to anyone you’d like. All you need to do is have their addresses and we will make sure they have postage and are mailed by next Monday and received the week of Thanksgiving. If you can’t make it to class, I invite you to join our important and impactful gratitude initiative. Not only will your effort and words lift you up, but they will for sure lift up the receiver, and therefore the butterfly effect, the concept that small causes can have large effects, begins.


Action Item:
Use this week, the week before Thanksgiving, to write gratitude notes to those who you are grateful for.


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A Decade of Dedication

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As we continue to celebrate our birthday, we are highlighting the women who know iGnite better than anyone as they have spent 10 years of fun, friendship & fitness with this welcoming community. The “Fab 5” were part of Founder Neissa Springmann’s first class in October 2006 and are still here reaping the benefits of the whole-self approach to fitness and life. iGnite is beyond blessed to have them as cheerleaders and mentors for our members!

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The Fab 5 (l to r): Kathleen Parker, Cathy Johnson, Becky Heiser, Cindy Haeglin & Louise Pincoffs

Four of these amazing women are passing along some of the inspiration and great times that have come from being apart of the iGnite family…

Cindy Haeglin

IMG_7077.JPGMy earliest memory of iGnite… is of being with Neissa on the trail across from Austin High. We drug our big blue balls everywhere and skipped up and down the trail in the dark. Such fun we had!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through iGnite over the years…iGnite has taught me to love where I am in my life. Things are constantly changing. Sometimes I feel good about my body and sometimes I don’t. I no longer hyper focus but instead, just do the best I can and am thankful for all my blessings.

My favorite iGnite classes… are swimming and yoga. Swimming is a great workout when your joints start to get creaky. I think I will be able to do water exercise of some type for the rest of my life. Yoga is so good for stretching my body and calming my mind.

Cathy Johnson

ignite-cathy-oswalt-003-1I describe iGnite as…a nice group of women, of various ages, professions and experiences, who like to take care of themselves and enjoy exercising.

My earliest memory of iGnite…is being at the original location, which was beautiful, on Town Lake. All seasons were nice, the leaves in the fall, the steam coming off of the water in the winter and the first hint of green in the spring. It was a wonderful spot to relax after our workout. We also had to bring our own equipment, in an iGnite bag, which included a jump rope, weights and a big red utter ball.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through iGnite over the years…to keep on moving

My favorite iGnite class… is Betty’s dance class because it’s fun to dance! I love Betty and we all try to keep up with our “Rangerette.”

Kathleen Parker

I describe iGnite as…a positive outdoor fitness and wellness experience for women!! It is relational, uplifting, exciting, comforting, exhilarating, and so so FUN!!

dh000002-1My earliest memory of iGnite… is Neissa describing it when I was at her Westwood Kickboxing class. She was so excited to start a spiritual and positive outdoor experience for women, and all I could say was, “I AM IN!!” Then our first week started Monday, October 3rd, 2006. Our small group met at 6 am in the dark on an old slab down by the 1st st. bridge that was once a bridge barrier. We all had a big utter ball, and the wind would blow and we would run to catch our balls since we were literally located 5 feet from the lake! We used to bounce our big balls down the trail in the dark and people would just stop in amazement and clear the path for us. Then I remember we had a really cold first winter and one of our new participants was told to bring gloves, and she showed up in garden gloves and her fingers pretty much froze. We did not see her back again until Springtime!! For that first year, Neissa would literally hand us this brightly colored sheet of beautiful facts and things for us to think about and fill out for the week!! I read every word of every page and saved every weekly sheet until we moved in 2010!! So many great memories from ’06!!

My favorite iGnite class… is of course, LAKE ESCAPE!! This is where women are transformed into adrenalin rushing kids and have more fun than aloud to have on land!!
My second favorite class is POWER UP! I am so passionate about lifting weights to stay strong and bone healthy!! There is nothing more exhilarating than finishing a challenging weight/sprint workout!!!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from iGnite… is that RELATIONSHIPS are THE most important thing in life!! They bring you joy, comfort, happiness, warmth, love and a feeling of belonging. As one of our young adults told me, “Kathleen, have you ever seen a hearse with a tailgate hitch”?? I love that–nothing is as important as my relationship with God, my family and my friends.  Of course, the number 2 thing I have learned from iGnite is to HAVE FUN EVERY DAY–and get that fun rush of adrenalin in!

Louise Pincoffs

ignite-yoga-018I describe iGnite as… an all inclusive health motivator. Mind, body, and spirit!

My earliest memory of iGnite…is meeting at town lake across from Seaholm and playing all along trail with friends.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through iGnite over the years…stay positive, give it time, and surround yourself with friends who have those priorities!

My favorite iGnite class…Amy’s yoga and Molly’s cardio are in a tie! They are a weekly gift to myself.

My favorite memory of iGnite… Fun social gatherings because we have a chance to get to know each other better!


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Who are You Grateful for?

"We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."  -John F. Kennedy

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
-John F. Kennedy

Point to Ponder:
Who are you grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Who are you grateful for? If you are like me, I would guess that this is a fairly simple question to answer and that you could create a long list of people, however, it’s likely that these people may not hear or see the words “I am grateful for you” as much as they’d like to and as often as you feel grateful for them.

It was at this exact same time last year that we launched our “I am grateful for you”, week-long letter writing campaign, and it was nothing short of beautiful! As a result of you, our members, writing gratitude letters during classes, we mailed over three hundred notes by the Thanksgiving holiday. That was approximately 2.5 gratitude notes per person, which translates to over 600 uplifted and happy hearts — with both the sender and receiver experiencing the proven benefits of gratitude. Therefore, we are absolutely committed to making this a pre-Thanksgiving tradition! My personal goal is to crush last year’s number and aim for at least three hand-written notes per person.

iGnite is emotionally invested in your well-being and we believe that the act of expressing gratitude verbally or in a handwritten note has the power to repair relationships and transform lives. And because having healthy relationships is paramount to living a low-stress and fulfilling life, we have ordered one thousand cards and we’d love to have ZERO left over when you’re done with them! The only action required is for you to attend classes throughout this week, have at least three people in mind that you are grateful for, then fill out the notes & envelopes during designated class time. The postage and trip to the post office is on us!

Finally, there is one more thing that I encourage you to pay close attention to during and after writing your gratitude notes, and that’s how you feel. Because you will have just finished exercising and/or practicing yoga, your endorphins will be flowing and you will already be feeling great, but all gratitude research proves that the result of expressing gratitude is an increase in life-satisfaction and well-being. In fact, one fascinating and very relative study by Steve Toepfer, associate professor in Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University, found that “when a study participant wrote up to three gratitude notes about something that was important to them (not a generic “thank you” for you a gift, etc) the more they improved significantly on happiness and life satisfaction. The new and potentially important finding is that depressive symptoms decreased. Even more fascinating is that by writing these letters – 15 to 20 minutes each, once a week for three weeks to different people – well-being increased significantly.”

Gratitude. We can question its power and significance, but it’s all backed up by research. The more we express it, live in it and share it, the happier, more fulfilled and healthier we are. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the cheapest and most effective fix on the market. Unlike everything else, there are no crazy side-effects — with the exception of extreme joy — and we can access it at our disposal. Now that’s what I call some serious good news!

Action Item:
Think about 3 people who you are grateful for and write them a personal “I am grateful for you” note this week!

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It’s Not What You Endure, It’s How You Endure It

 

iGnite - unshakeable faithiGnite Members Christie Skinner (left) and Kerrie Pennington (right) at Christie’s home while the iGnite Community helped her sort through her salvaged items on Sunday.

“Forget what you can’t control and focus on what you can control: your attitude, your faith, and your perspective. Choose to make the best of every situation that comes your way.”
(Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
How do you tend to react when faced with personal loss or tragedy?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As our iGnite community received word of via email this weekend, on Tuesday iGnite member Christie Skinner’s home burned. Upon learning the news, I sent Christie a text extending my sympathy, care and prayers. Honestly, I was nervous to reach out because I feared my text would be burdomsome. But, I tried putting myself in her shoes and I knew that I would appreciate friends reaching out. I didn’t expect or need a response, though what I received just minutes later blew my mind. Here is our exchange:

Neissa: “Hello Christie, Kathleen let me know about your home and I want you to know how very sorry I am. I am so thankful you all are okay. Please know that Russell and I are praying for you all and will continue to pray for you throughout the recovery process. Know that you are loved and being thought of.”

Christie: “Thanks!! It’s pretty sad but it’s just stuff!! And amazingly we are in the process of buying a little condo on Lake Austin so God’s timing is really good!!”

Neissa: “Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

Christie: “You can bring me a Diet Coke on ice anytime you happen to be around.”

My initial reaction was, “Really? Did I read that correctly? How is it possible for someone to have lost so much yet have such tremendous perspective? And, she’s only asked for a Diet Coke? I can do that!”

I was briefly able to stop by Christie’s home today, Sunday, while our iGnite community helped her sort through her items. I’ve always thought that if a big project or job needs to get accomplished, the quick solution is a group of committed women. Indeed the job was getting done, and Christie’s spirit was contagious. She was positive, smiled and did what she needed to do. The entire sight was inspiring, like Christie’s faith and attitude.

I am always amazed by the events, circumstances and losses that the human spirit is able to endure. Most everyone faces some type of tragedy or difficult circumstances in their life, though what distinguishes one person from the other is not what they endure but how they endure it. The way I see it is we have choices: we can either (1) endure alone, without faith, think that life is out to get us, God is trying to punish us, give up and have a bad attitude — or, we can (2) let go of our pride, let others know how they can help us (even if it’s simply a Diet Coke on ice!), pray for unshakable faith, ask for others who have unshakeable faith to pray for us and trust in the plans that God has for us: a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

While we all will not experience the tragedy of a burned home, we all will experience loss in our lives. It is for this that having an unshakable faith, never underestimating the power of prayer, surrounding ourselves with a community of people who also have unshakeable faith, and trusting in the promise of a future is crucial. There’s no doubt that life is going to shake us over and over again, but it doesn’t have to break us. Thank you, Christie for showing us this!

Action Item:
Contemplate Christie’s response to the events of the past week and be inspired by her unshakable faith and ability to accept help in such difficult circumstances.

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I’ll be Honest, I’m Not Good at Change!

 iGnite - if nothing ever changed

Photo taken by founder Neissa in iGnite member Mary Bell’s flower garden while the Monarch butterflies migrated to Mexico. Be sure to be on the lookout for Monarch butterflies (iGnite’s chosen symbol for strength and grace), as they will be migrating and coming through Austin soon! Devastatingly, since 1990 about 970 billion Monarchs have vanished due to farmers and homeowners spraying herbicides on Milkweed. You can help by planting a lot of Milkweed, which serves as their primary food source, nursery and home.

Point to Ponder:
How do you cope with change?

by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

Change is very hard for me, and I’ve experienced a lot of it in the past three weeks. These recent changes aren’t happening to me personally, but rather to families very near to my heart — special friends who I consider family. As I mentioned in my journal piece about “connectedness,” when I love someone, I love hard, and I attach equally so. Hence, any event that alters that relationship is challenging for me.

I found out several months ago that my closest family friends in Austin were considering a move to Seattle, and my first reaction was an uncontrollable flood of tears. I cried thinking about how I would never get to see “my girls” as often as I would like. When I moved to Austin in 2006, I began babysitting for them. At the time, the oldest was nearly two, and the mom was pregnant with the little sister. I babysat two to three times every week, ate dinner with them, watched TV shows, spent the night, went to baptisms, helped at every birthday party, had Thanksgiving with them and had them as flower girls in my wedding. We actually are almost family — we share the same cousins, but we aren’t cousins, although the girls and I like to say we are 🙂 I have lived five minutes away from them for nine years, and could see them anytime that I wanted. I felt like I “grew up” in their house — as an 18 year old moving to a big city and a huge school, they were exactly what I needed. So, needless to say, their decision to move to Seattle really upended me, and the tears — both by myself and in public — continued to flow freely. I was hit hard with the feeling that a huge part of my heart and my life were leaving “home”. And I am crying as I write this because it is still so hard for me to think about, especially when I drive by their house and the two girls aren’t outside jumping on the trampoline with huge smiles on their faces. Although I know I can go visit them in Seattle anytime, and I will see them at Christmas, it is just not the same.

Then, when iGnite founder Neissa announced to our team that her husband Russell accepted a job in San Diego, my head fell to the table, and I cried so intensely…I even think I was dry-heaving! Neissa and iGnite have been the best thing to happen to me since I graduated college! I was very persistent with her when I was interested in joining the iGnite team, and she gave me a chance, for which I am forever thankful. I love her so much as a friend and a mentor, and I love her kids to pieces. I spent so much quality time with them over the summer, which was so nice, but that did make it slightly harder when they left. We swam at my pool, splashed in the lake, had dinner together and laughed a ton. My husband Clayton and I have conversations in “Malaine voices”, and we often catch ourselves saying things that both she and Durant say. We have enjoyed getting to FaceTime several times already, which was such a treat!

Saying goodbye to both of these families was tough — I cried in front of “my girls”, but actually held it together in front of Neissa and her family (I waited until I got in my car — which was not easy). Clayton has been telling me for months, “Molly, they both have to do this for their families. There is nothing to be sad about.” I completely understood his point about this truth, but I needed and wanted validation that my feelings were real. I got the validation I needed from sweet girlfriends, like Cary Fyfe and Kathy Huffaker, for which I am so thankful.

As I move forward and release all of my emotions, through either talking about it or crying, I am slowly learning to embrace this change, remembering that change is a natural and necessary part of life, and that where we all “travel” next will be good. I also try to remind myself of a quote that Neissa hung in her kitchen shortly after she knew that a significant change was coming their way:

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they are meant to be”.

Most certainly, this is a growth opportunity for me, and even though it very painful, I know these changes are part of God’s plan. After all, I now have two really cool (literally and figuratively) places to visit, and I am certain that travel is EXACTLY how this change is nudging me to move forward — ha! However, and listen carefully to this, I hope that everyone that I love now knows that they simply must not move, EVER, because I am currently maxed out on change 🙂

Action Item:
If you struggle coping with change, remind yourself regularly of this truth:
“Change is not something that we should fear.
Rather, it is something we should welcome. For without change,
nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom,
and no one in this world would ever move forward
to become the person they are meant to be”.

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Dear ____, I Am Grateful for YOU

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“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
– John F. Kennedy

Point to Ponder:

When was the last time you took the time to write and send someone a hand-written gratitude note?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I feel certain you’ll agree that receiving a hand-written note in the mail never gets old. There’s no doubt that computers and cell phones make it very convenient to communicate a nice gesture, but there’s just something extra endearing when we send or receive a hand-written note. Call me old fashion, but I think this is an extremely important action. Unfortunately, writing a note, addressing it, putting a stamp on it and walking it to the mailbox is no longer the way we do things, which is why taking the time to write a note is so very special. And, because during the month of November we are focusing on gratitude, this week we thought it would be appropriate to write gratitude notes.

If you attend any of our classes this week, we will provide you with gratitude notes so you hand-write that special someone a note. We will collect your sealed gratitude note and see to it that it has postage and is dropped in the mail so your special someone will receive your note by Thanksgiving.

To me, expressing gratitude on a daily basis is one of the keys to living a meaningful, connected and joyful life. However, our busy lives, daily challenges and stressors often cause our gratitude to get derailed and we forget to say “thank you,” so maybe remembering that science has proven that expressing gratitude has endless health benefits including increased energy, higher emotional intelligence, more forgiving attitudes, less depression, less anxiousness, more feelings of connectedness, better sleep and fewer headaches will help us stay focused on gratitude. Therefore, whether or not you are able to attend class this week, we encourage you to take the time to hand-write and send at least one gratitude note.

In the event you need help getting your gratitude flowing, below are our Leaders’ notes to the people in their life they’re grateful for, and know that we are grateful for you and so very grateful to have the opportunity to share life with you.
friendsDear Friends,
I am so grateful for the love and support you have shown me while dealing with the loss of my Mom. Your caring notes, hugs and listening ears have helped and continue to support and uplift me. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by strong and caring women who fill my heart with love and remind me how to fly again when my wings feel broken. I am so grateful for my girlfriends!
love, Amy

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Dear Mom,
I don’t think I have ever told you how thankful I am for you. Thank you for teaching me to be independent and for allowing me to learn from my many mistakes. Thank you for not saying, “I told you so,” even though I know that statement had to be at the tip of your tongue on more than one occasion. Thank you for your sense of humor and for the many phone calls when we laugh so hard that we have to hang up, gain our composure and call each other back. But most of all thank you for your unconditional love for me and my children.
I love you!
Betty

taylorjack_caryDear Taylor and Jack,
There are two beautiful tunes inside of me, and each began playing on the days that you were born. I couldn’t hear your music until I held you each for the first time, just a few days after you began your lives, but once I heard your notes and lyrics, they were lovingly familiar. These tunes changed as you grew…sometimes they were soft and soothing, bright and fun; and sometimes I heard songs that I did not want to sing along with. Thankfully, the music plays on, no matter what…stirred by your very presence, and I now know a beauty that is true and deep. Thank you for that, thank you for being my boys.
– Mom (Cary)
unnamed-56Dear Mom,
I am so grateful for you! I am grateful to you for all you did for Missy and me in setting an incredible example of how to be not only an incredible mother, but also a great friend and a hard-working, independent woman. Through your example, you taught us the importance of never taking ourselves too seriously, to laugh at ourselves and at hard situations, to always enjoy a good ol’ hamburger and potato salad, to maintain close friendships, and to not obsess over food, beauty or physique. I still can’t believe you never got angry when I was little and would call you at work asking what you were cooking that night! Now that’s incredible…I can only hope to be half the mother you are. I am so so grateful for all you’ve done and continue to do, so selflessly, for me. You’re my hero Mom!
Love you, Catherine
unnamed-57Babe,
I am so grateful for YOU! You bring joy into my life everyday. I love receiving a beautiful bible verse from you each morning when I check my texts. It makes my day! You support me in all that I do. Your unconditional love for all those around you is a perfect example of Christ in you. I learn so much from you even thought you are only 19. You make me want to be a better version of myself. Your integrity, values and beliefs are those of a person way beyond your years. I love that you love being on the lake with me! I will surf tandem with you any day! I am so thankful for you Babe!!
With much love,
Aunt Boo (Kathleen)

unnamed-58Dear Family,
I am so grateful to my parents who have held up carpool duty, so I can stay out of the car. My kids for setting the table, carrying their own bags and picking up the house because it is hard for me. I am grateful to my hubby for still making me feel good about me, when I don’t feel like myself. I am a lucky woman even when I am struggling and healing!
Meg

unnamed-59Dear Dad,
I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for you and mom and all that you’ve done for me for 26 years and for Clayton for 4 years. I know I talk to mom more on the phone (but that’s because we women like to gab and you are a quiet man of few wonderful words), but I am a total daddy’s girl. Thank you for supporting my dreams, for always encouraging me to work hard in a field I love, for loving me unconditionally, and for teaching me that “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. You are the best dad, and father-in-law around, and I am so thankful you are mine! Clayton also loves learning from you, and he’s going to have a wonderful example when we have children one day. I love you so much!
Molly
unnamed-60Dear Russell,
I do not tell or show you nearly enough, but I am so grateful that you are my husband. I am grateful for your relentless hard work to provide a great life for our family, as well as for your constant support of my goals and dreams. Thank you for believing in me and being my rock. You are an amazing man, selfless and giving husband and father and a remarkable human being. I am so proud of you and blessed to be married to you. You make me better and I am so grateful for you and the life we have together.
I love you so very much,
Neissa

Action Item:

This week, take the time to hand-write and send at least one person a gratitude note.

Thanksgiving for Adversity & What You Do AND Don’t Have

Fall Leaves

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
-Thornton Wilder

Have you ever reflected on your life and given thanks for what you do not have and for adversity?

For example, many years ago while suffering from a broken heart, I prayed over and over that my boyfriend and I would reconcile and live happily ever after. The boyfriend was not my husband, and I am off-the-charts thankful for what I don’t have: a bad marriage and a life that looks nothing like the one I now live, love and am infinitely grateful for.

Also, I specifically remember a friend telling me that she faithfully prayed to no longer have financial woes; however, following a substantial salary increase she was unable to budget and found herself back in financial struggles. This was a tough lesson, but she confessed that she now understands that the blessing of money comes with great responsibility. She is thankful for the tough lessons learned and lives a more financially accountable and practical lifestyle.

Thanksgiving is a joyful time that creates a desire to rest, reflect and give extra thanks for all of our blessings. However, I suggest we go one step further and give thanks for what we do not have, as well as for challenging life experiences.

It seems silly to be thankful for life’s hardships, but for me, they have shaped my life for the best, and provided me with much needed humility, gratitude and the desire and ability to connect and share with others.

Therefore, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am happy to say that I am thankful that I did not marry my high school sweetheart, did not succeed in New York City, and for not having to bake the Thanksgiving turkey 🙂  Have a safe & happy Thanksgiving!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Point To Ponder:
Are you as thankful for life’s challenges as you are for all of the good times?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Action Item:
Be grateful for the blessing of adversity, what you have, don’t have and for unanswered prayers.

To your health,

Neissa

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