What are You Grateful for Today?

Dear Readers,

I saw the above phrase on Facebook courtesy of Beach Cottage Life and it prompted me to reflect on how I spent this past Christmas Day.  From two different friends, I received invitations to spend part of the day with them.  Being away from my blood family (since I feel when you choose friends well, they become your extended family), these were perfect ways for me to be surrounded by people I care about and not dwell on not being home in San Antonio.  Today I am grateful for my friends who think enough of me to include me in their family gatherings.  I started the day by attending church, and then had lunch with one of the most thoughtful and best individuals I know, Terri Moyer.  I ended the day by having dinner with another friend, Connie Lang, and her family.  There were kids enjoying both their toys and hanging out with cousins, sisters harassing each other (all in good fun) and wine enjoyed by all.  By the time I left her house, my mouth hurt from laughing.  Not a bad way to spend Christmas.

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I am thankful for my health, my faith and for knowing that I have the power to change my surroundings.  I can choose to keep looking back on the past in a negative way or look ahead and concentrate on the positive and endless possibilities that await me.  Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful that in 3 days I will see my sister, parents and 2 of my nephews and niece.  

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and were surrounded by those you loved.  If you care to share what YOU are grateful for today, I would love to hear it.

Sincerely,

Mary

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Daily Dose of GFH: Gratitude, Forgiveness and Humor

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For most of my adult life, I have been a morning person.  So getting up to be at work by 8 a.m. isn’t a big deal.  When you haven’t been sleeping well, however, getting up for a 7 a.m. ashes service can be a struggle.  I won’t lie, when the alarm went off yesterday around 5:30…there was a definite temptation to go back to bed.  Then I remembered my hectic schedule and how this was the most convenient time to attend the service…and more importantly, that I needed to start off the season of Lent on a good note.  I parked my car and ended up seeing two friends from softball.  I hugged one as he went off to work and then sat with his wife for mass.  What’s that expression about things happening for a reason?  Yep, really works.  Fr. Thomas Boyer of St. Mark the Evangelist has a great way of getting to the heart of the matter in his homilies.  He has that ability to make one zone right in on what he is saying.  You don’t get distracted when you listen to him.  At the end of his homily yesterday, he brought up how so many of today’s television ads revolve around pills that promise a quick fix to a problem.  I’ll paraphrase here but I remember him saying something like this: “All we see today are ads for pills for some disease or disorder.  I want you all to take a daily dose of GFH during Lent.  Gratitude, Forgiveness and Humor.”  He had referenced each of these earlier in his talk and noted how important each of these are to our daily lives.  Gratitude…being thankful for everything you have and all the blessings you’ve been given.  Forgiveness….forgiving yourself and others.  It is what Jesus would do.  Last, but certainly not least, Humor…being able to laugh every day will not only keep your sanity but also help you keep perspective.  If you can’t learn to laugh at yourself or things that happen, you’ll end up being negative. 

As I write this, it is day 2 of Lent.  I have decided to give up guilt for Lent.  I want to leave the past in the past.  I can’t change mistakes I’ve made, things I’ve said or the way I’ve acted.  I have taken the time to admit my mistakes, asked for forgiveness of those involved…..the next step is to move on and try not to repeat the same actions.  Letting the guilt reside in me will do no good, only harm.  This Lent, I am asking that God help me get rid of the guilt and make smarter, healthier decisions. 

So, as I conclude, I want to share my GFH for the day: I am grateful for the people in my life, I will work toward forgiving myself and I will definitely keep laughing at goofy things I’ve done or with others.  Life is way too short not to find the humor.  I love making others laugh and look forward to incorporating that into this Lenten season. 

So what are you waiting for….have you had your dose of GFH today?

Sincerely,
Armed with GFH in Norman

Are You In?

One week has passed since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Though we as a society may never understand the “why” behind what happened, we have had a week to go through the various emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, shock.  One emotion many have embraced, thanks to the prodding from Ann Curry, is love.  Thanks to Curry’s push for random acts of kindness via Twitter using the hash tag #26Acts, the country and even beyond, have reached out to do good for others…maybe friends, random strangers or even organizations.  Just as Maya Angelou states, “When we know better, we do better.”  This is so true…..when we know of what needs to be done, we do it and we feel great about it.  I know when I do a nice gesture for others, my spirits are immediately lifted.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have loved hearing about the stories and following the tweets on Twitter….but what scares me is that these good deeds will have an expiration date.  Think about this for a minute…September 11th, 2001 for example.  Following that horrific tragedy, America became more, well American.  We all went out and bought flags to fly outside our houses, we cherished our families and appeared more patriotic than ever.  Why do we as Americans not sustain this need to do good all year?  Why does it take a tragedy like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for us to commit ourselves to doing 26 acts like Ann Curry suggests?  If you simply look around, there are ample opportunities to share your time and money year round….wouldn’t it feel great to have done a random act of kindness every day?  This doesn’t have to involve money either.  Soon, many will go back to our normal day-to-day activities taking care of ourselves and occasionally thinking of others.  We don’t set out our days with the intention of “what can I do for someone else today?”  Why not? 

My hope is that this time around, our mindset changes.  Wouldn’t it be a great way to honor the 26 children and adults who lost their lives just a week ago?  Children eager to learn and make their mark on the world…adults who chose a profession not for the pay, but to make a difference.  Let’s make them proud and continue that effort.  One last note…many people no doubt have blogged and written on this topic but I would suggest you taking another minute to read my friend’s posting on taking responsibility and stepping up.  Thanks, Carmen!

What will your #26Acts be?  We have today…make it count.

Sincerely,
“I’m in” in Norman

Expressing Appreciation

Yesterday during the football game, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who also happens to be a mentor to me.  She was reliving some stories of past positions she has held.  A remark she shared made me smile and will stick with me.  She referenced that people like to be told ‘thank-you’ and feel appreciated.  It’s such a simple gesture but yet can make a huge difference.  I was reassured in that moment that I’m not the only one who still gets a good feeling when I hear those simple words.  Whether you did a small favor or played a key role in a project someone was leading, it is still nice to be told that someone is grateful for helping them.