Thankful Tuesday

Sometimes it’s challenging to be grateful.

It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to feel down. It’s easy to feel shorted in life. But, when reading about hungry children, seeing a homeless elderly person, or talking with a sick parent, suddenly you realize how truly lucky you are. You see beyond the car not starting, the tough day at work and the extra five pounds. And all that you have to be grateful for comes into focus.

Wouldn’t it be great to harness that clarity and spread that slap-in-the-face gratitude all the time? I wish to be that way. I also wish to be able to give at a level that could eliminate the homelessness, hunger and disease that plagues so many. But, you know the saying, wish in one hand …

So, instead of wishing let’s get started be grateful and giving, shall we?

Today, I am thankful:

  • for having to pull my car window up manually (like pull the glass with my hands b/c the motor-thing in the door is broken)
  • for this inspiration to keep writing, even though I know I’m not yet where I want to be
  • for the health my little family enjoys
  • for dealing with the feelings and emotions of an 18-month old’s emerging personality
  • for my weird, still-not-flat, c-section stomach that holds on to an extra five pounds
  • for the challenges of the 9-to-5
  • for this video that reminds me of how little others have and how silly it is that I keep complaining about my car window or the 9-to-5
  • for having the food that fuels me and keeps this extra five pounds around
  • for the little kids standing at the bus stop today reminding me of how quickly my 18-month old will grow up
  • for attending a luncheon to learn about ways to give
  • for never having anything to wear
  • for being so busy I feel overwhelmed
  • for the spouse cooking dinner and keeping that extra five pounds around
  • for feeling uncertain about the future
  • for a house to clean and all that laundry to do – even though I allegedly never have anything to wear
  • for rarely being bored thanks to all there is to keep me busy
  • for good girlfriends to share a night out with
  • for discovering that there’s more to everyone’s favorite frenemy, Dwight, in real life
  • for being inspired by so many
  • for slowly, but surely, finding faith again and starting to feel less anxiety about the future
  • for my legs, feet, lungs and determination to run even though I’m perpetually tired and sore
  • for babies and puppies
  • for really, really good music to keep those runs going
  • for still thinking my eyes are too close together
  • for realizing I get a lot of sleep for being a parent so I shouldn’t really be tired
  • for seeing things a little clearer after a run (even with my too-close together eyes)
  • for siblings and parents and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and in-laws and children
  • for life

Thankful Thursday: Suspended Coffee

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I read the story below today and it filled my heart with hope and faith. I love the concept of ‘suspended coffee.’ After reading it on A Well Traveled Woman, I searched for the original source and was delighted to read this press release from Starbucks offering a suspended coffee program in London. The original suspended coffee concept started in Naples, Italy and it’s quickly catching on. There’s even a Facebook page for the idea. Talk to your local coffee house and let’s get the program going here in the US!

Today I am thankful for this story and coffee! Happy Thankful Thursday!

We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table, two people come in and they go to the counter: ‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.

I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?”
My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.”

Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks, ‘Do you have a suspended coffee?’

It’s simple – people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it.

Image and story source.

Thankful Friday

Who says we only have to be thankful on Thursday? Since I missed yesterday’s Thankful Thursday post, I thought I’d share what I’m most thankful for today.

Since I’ve returned to work and officially become a ‘working mom,’ finding time to blog, workout, and keep up with everything else has become impossible. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the future holds and keep going back to this post, trying to figure out how to manage all the different aspects of life that are important to me.

While I’m uncertain about how long it’ll take to prioritize and create a schedule that works for my little family, I am certain that I couldn’t have survived the last two weeks without one person. And that was this lady:

My Mom.

Mom stayed with the spouse, baby, and I for the last several weeks so that she could help me transition back to work full-time. Without her here to calm the little one when he was upset, run to the store for groceries or diapers, or take me out to lunch so I could take a break, I wouldn’t have survived my first two weeks of the balancing act that is now my life.

She listened to me vent, gave me advice, and nodded in agreement when I explained irrational fears and worries. She changed diapers, warmed bottles, cuddled the baby, and took him on walks. She gave the spouse and I several nights ‘off’ to enjoy dinner out, a concert, and even attend a meeting or go fishing (I didn’t go fishing but that’s what the spouse did with some of his free time).

So, on today’s Thankful Friday, I am so very thankful for my mom (who is celebrating her birthday today!). I’m thankful for her time here, the example she’s given me to be a good mom, and for her love.

Thank you, Mom!! And have a wonderful birthday!!

Tough Times

Lately, it seems that in every direction I turn, I stumble upon someone dealing with an incredible hardship. Whether it be an illness affecting them or a loved one, lost employment, relationship difficulties, or financial troubles, it seems that a lot of people are battling a heartbreaking personal war.

Maybe the world has always been this way and social media, email, and smartphones have given me more access to those who are struggling. Maybe I’ve finally started to listen to others in a way I that haven’t before. Maybe life just gets harder as you get older. Whatever the reason, the burdens being carried by so many souls in my small part of the world seem to increase every day and I want to help.

How? Well, this is where you come in. This morning I spent some time reading a wonderful blog, Everyday. by Linda. As I read through her struggle of how to show her support to two families in need, she reminded me that we can all help our neighbors, friends and family by giving of our own talents, giving time, or by just listening.

Remembering this simple truth got me thinking about how to help those I know are in need….but I want to take it a step further. I started to consider all those who are struggling with battles so personal, none of us know about them. How can we begin to help them?

Well, I challenge all of us to make a conscious effort to be kinder, to express more gratitude and to think of others before ourselves. I think the simplest gestures can help people in ways we can’t imagine. I think we can touch the lives of countless people (many who may be struggling silently) and maybe we’ll begin to see an increase in positive, rather than negative, news.

So, let the gal with two screaming kids and cart full of groceries go before you in the checkout line. Pick up the tab for the guy behind you at Starbucks. Text a friend you haven’t talked to in a while – tell them when you think of them, you smile. Instead of complaining about your day, tell someone one good thing that happened (seriously, if you woke up and had access to breakfast, you’re doing better than most).

And always, always, always say thank you. Thank you to the clerk, to the bank teller, to the barista, to the doorman, to the cab driver, to the waiter, to your coworker, to your friends, to your spouse, to your kids.

Spreading gratitude and kindness is a lot more impactful than you think. Let’s see what we can do.

via Etsy.