November, 2009:

Holiday Help


It is all too common to experience bouts of inadequacy during the holidays. Most of us have experienced plenty of days when everything seems a bit difficult and no one seems to notice, or care, that we are struggling. Worse yet, we allow these feelings to be magnified this time of year when we believe others are celebrating joyful relationships with family and friends, while we struggle alone.

Here is a practical guide to avoiding potential holiday despondency:

  • Own your situation and surroundings. During the holidays, or any other time for that matter, be where you are because you want to be there. If you are in a position of having to honor an obligation, remember why you chose to see it as an obligation and how it is important to you.  It’s easier to find gratitude when we take responsibility for our own choices.
  • Acknowledge those around you. The quickest remedy to feeling unappreciated is to express appreciation for someone else. You will quickly forget how badly you feel about yourself by brightening someone else’s day.
  • Plan ahead to connect with those you love. Schedule in 2 or more events where you will have meaningful connections with people who are special to you. Whether it’s through a conversation, a party, or a simply sharing a laugh over a movie, knowing you have plans to celebrate your connection with others will brighten your winter days and keep the negative talk at bay.

Remember, you are loved! Sometimes, it takes a little extra effort to feel whole.  So why not take that extra effort for yourself today?  You are worth it!

Gratitude Post #6

Alas, we have reached the final week of gratitude posts. I hope you have enjoyed this tradition as much as I have. I also hope this has helped you to see your life with a little better perspective. Let’s all commit to stay more aware of the good in our lives and help to share that with others. Week 6, here goes:

  1. I am grateful to be physically, spiritually, and mentally healthy and fit
  2. I am grateful to have a beautiful family to share my life with
  3. I am grateful to have crossed paths with so many wonderful people
  4. I am grateful for all of the vocational opportunities I have
  5. I am grateful for the perspective I have gained from some trying experiences in my life

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Holiday season. Take the time to share joy and happiness with anyone you come across. This is one way we can all make a difference.

Transformational Relationships

“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.”

The transformation of your life is constant. There may be times when this is more dramatically evident, but the process is ongoing. As a self-aware creature you are given multitudes of opportunity to recognize this fact. There is no greater reflection of your sustained metamorphosis than your relationships.

The connections you build and maintain have lasting and permanent effects. More than you remember the events of your life, you remember who was there. You recall how these people made you feel. You reminisce about situations that involved those who have had influence over you. Nothing stands out more than who you have loved and with whom you have celebrated. These memories, and the awareness of these connections, have the power to change the course of your day. For this you are undoubtedly grateful.

Someone is grateful for you, too. You are the central figure in someone’s warm recollections. The role you have played in a person’s decision to alter the course of his or her life has been vital. Although to grasp this is sometimes difficult, it is important.

  • Smile more, it is infectious.
  • Joke more, you are funnier than you think.
  • Share more, your experience is valuable.
  • Hug more, physical contact solidifies connections.

You can either be an active participant in your relationships or a passive by-stander. The only difference is in the small actions you take to make someone else feel just a little bit better or make their life a tad easier. The most powerful way to thank those who have helped you is to be of service to others.

Gratitude Post #5

Wow, this is #5! Unbelievable, for this project there is one more post next week. I’ll say it again, but thanks to everyone who has participated. Maybe we can think of something for the upcoming holiday season? I, for one,  will be posting tips every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so stay posted! So on with the gratitude!

  1. I am grateful to be able to connect with people through collective gratitude
  2. I am grateful to have so much support in pursuing my dreams
  3. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to live in so many places in our beautiful country
  4. I am grateful so many people are willing to share their experiences in order to benefit others
  5. In deference to my blog post yesterday, I am grateful for my chickens!

I look forward to reading your posts soon!

From the Beaks of Chickens

There is a video version at the bottom if you prefer. The approximate video time is about 2 minutes. Enjoy!

A few months ago my wife and daughter decided they wanted chickens. They had just come home from visiting some friends of ours, who happen to own some fowl,  and were inspired. Far be it from me to deny the desires of my wonderful family, we bought some chickens.

I must admit, it is a lot of fun. These birds would never be accused of possessing great mental strength, but they are definitely entertaining. Their life is very simple; they scratch the ground in search of tasty morsels, they find comfortable patches of dirt in which to lay, and occasionally leave us an egg. However, there are some things I have learned from watching my feathered friends:

  • There is a certain poignancy to their simplicity. The chickens are aware of their purpose in life and they fulfill it. No games or machination; they just do what they do.
  • Whatever they do, they do together. Chickens, like people, are social creatures. They have their disputes and disagreements, but are able to move past these discrepancies to fulfill their purpose.
  • They enjoy their lives. These are some pretty content little creatures. Again, it’s not like they are operating at a high cognitive level, but ignorance can be bliss.

So keep things simple, cooperate with those in your life, and enjoy yourself. The more we can live like chickens, the better.

Gratitude Post #4

In this, my latest installment of the Gratitude post, I am going to focus on some aspects of my work that I absolutely love. I can’t wait to see yours!

  1. I am grateful to be in a line of work that allows me to build lasting relationships with some extremely interesting people
  2. I am grateful I constantly have the opportunity to provide support and guidance to folks who are always looking for ways to improve themselves
  3. I am grateful my job involves a lot of laughter
  4. I am grateful I get the constant reminder that no matter what I place value on, my success and happiness will ultimately be defined by the relationships I build and maintain
  5. I am grateful I get to share my thoughts of gratitude with you because I know  for right now we are connected by appreciation

I hope you get the opportunity to pass it on. The more people we have thinking about gratitude, the better.

Gratitude Post # 3

As a reminder to all of you, I am continuing a tradition I learned about last year from Tia Graham. The tradition is posting a five item gratitude list every Wednesday up toThanksgiving. So far there are several others joining in, so enjoy reading, and hopefully participating, in the spread of gratitude. Here’s my list for the week:

  1. I am grateful there are so many ways to meet and connect with people today
  2. I am grateful I have had the opportunity to attend several events this year at which I have met so many new and fantastic people
  3. I am grateful for the smell, taste, and effect of my absolute favorite beverage……COFFEE!!!!
  4. I am grateful to be alive at a time when there are so many technological breakthroughs
  5. I am grateful for my wife’s discovery and research in to urban homesteading. The garden and the chickens have provided many family bonding opportunities and endless entertainment!

I can’t wait to read your lists, they are an inspiration!