100 Days of Gratitude…the front 9

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about expressing gratitude. It started because I was frustrated and venting about some stupid things regarding family and she ever so subtly dropped in a question about whether or not I kept a gratitude journal. This is whBuddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.y I love her…it was just the reminder I needed about what is really important in life! So I decided to track 100 days of gratitude and share this with you in sets of 5-10 days. Take care of the mind, take care of the heart, take care of the body…health really is a package deal!

Day 1: Today, I have to say I am grateful for the motivation of my 5 a.m. class at work. Kettlebell circuit down, 150 burpees down. In turn, I am grateful for the capability of my body to be able to do these exercises! What a blessing it is, to be fit and healthy. One of the greatest stories my boss tells is about a patient he sees who is confined to a wheelchair and talks about how much she would love to do just one burpee. I WILL NOT WASTE  the incredible gift of a healthy body!

Day 2: Today my patience was tested while trying to manage some things with work, while also having my niece, Emma, and the baby. My first thought was that I was really grateful for coffee, without which I may not have survived my morning. But after I managed to escape to work, (I practically ran out the door) I have found myself wishing I was at home with my family. So today I grateful for the wonderful time with my niece Emma. She has taught me so much in the short time she has been here, she has made me laugh and helped me re-develop a sense of humor about certain bodily funtions. After repeated instances of “crop-dusting” you do eventually have to laugh…

Day 3: I am kind of liking the fact that I have to do this even on stressful days. Keeps my mind working towards the positive and that always feels like a step in the right direction. Today I am grateful for my little sister Mallory, who will rearrange her whole life to be there for her family and the people she loves. We can all learn a thing or two from her, and I am so looking forward to spending the aftegratitude-quotes-attitude-quotes-A-moment-of-gratitude-makes-a-difference-in-your-attitude.rnoon with her!

Day 4: A bittersweet day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece after her week long visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. Times like this really make me think about how unfair it really is for families to be so far apart. So today I am grateful for the love I have for my family, for the connection we have even though we are so far apart. I would so much rather feel the pain of saying goodbye than not know the powerful feeling of a love that makes you miss someone enough to cry when they leave.

Day 5: Today I am grateful that it is Friday. This day seems to put nearly everyone in a better mood, which in turn makes the gym members happier. The tone of the whole day is changed by the mere fact that the end of the workweek is here. A testimony to the power of mindset. I love that I can say this even though I have to work for a bit tomorrow, so I guess I am also grateful for a job I love!

Day 6: I got to spend the WHOLE DAY with my little Charlie! We went to work for a few hours, stopped at the mall, went for a walk and she watched me clean the house. 🙂 I am so grateful to be a mommy!

Day 7: Grateful for a lazy Sunday, Netflix and the ability to just shut down and enjoy snuggling my baby on the couch. Un-productivity has never felt so good!

Day 8: Hit the ground with both feet running today and have spent most of the morning yelling at the dogs and making a bijillion work phone calls. Grateful that I can do most of this work from home where can still here the chatter of my baby, where I can stop and pet my fur babies and where the coffee is already paid for.

Day 9: I have been thinking too much this morning. Specifically about, no matter how bad we think we havegratitude-quotes-1 it, or how bad our day is, there are just so many people out there who are worse off. Kids who have to go to school on an empty stomach, people in other countries who live in unsanitary conditions, people in abusive relationships, people loosing loved ones, people who will live their entire lives feeling sorry for themselves and thinking the world owes them something, people who will never know what it feels like to wake up in the morning feeling good; good about themselves or in good health…Today I am grateful for so many things! The roof over my head, the ability to forgive myself for past mistakes and to learn from them, the freezer full of food to feed my family, a happy healthy baby, a loving husband, a close-knit family, and the grace of the God it has all come from.

Until next time readers, please take care of your body, your mind and your heart!

 

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I have recently had the pleasure of getting to spend a week with my 9 year old niece. Emma was so awesome to have around! She spent most of the time toting Charlie around, dressing her and playing with her. Her little feet running through the house, the occasional “crop dusting” followed by hysterical laughter, the extra hugs and of course a few complaints really added a wonderful element to our home. It was a sad day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece at the end of her visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. This is actually something I often think about. It really is unfair for families to be so far apart. Unfair and unnatural as far as the history of our species goes.

I can narrow this feeling down to the love/hate relationship I have with technology and its various forms. On one hand I am grateful that we FaceTime skypehave the ability to travel to and stay in touch with our loved ones from afar; we even get the visual aspect with things like Skype and FaceTime. On the other hand I also feel that it is technology that has driven us not just further apart, but further indoors as well. We sit under artificial light, plastered in front of some various screen that omits more artificial light (and Lord only knows how harmful the EMF’s really are) completely changing the way we  socialize as animals. Emma knows this innately. It was evident in her response when I attempted to cheer her up saying, “we can talk and FaceTime any time you want.” Her reply? “It’s not the same!”

And it isn’t. Yet so many of us trade real life face time, actual social interaction and human connection, for time in front of a screen. Social networking is not socialization folks and we are designed to NEED the latter! If you feel like something is missing in your life, maybe it’s time to put the phone down, turn off the TV and get your butt out the door for some time with family, friends and heaven forbid, some sunshine.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of technology. I just think it needs to be treated with some caution and respect. Take this blog for instance. I love that I can write my thoughts and share them with so many of you with just a few clicks. I love helping people even if it is just through introducing some new ideas. If it weren’t for technology I would not have had access to the many articles, blogs, books and podcasts which have in turn, helped me. While I really love the action of reading a book (the actual hard copy where pages have to be turned) I also appreciate how accessible things like Nooks and Kindles make books. My husband is a second grade teacher and I once heard him say, in regards to having eReaders in the classroom, that it is “such a great way to get as many books as possible into the hands of our children.” I could not have said this better.

But back to caution and respect. I truly think we need to make a point to disconnect. Almost everyone I know runs around all day with a cell phone in their pocket, a tablet in their backpack and a computer at work and at home while sitting in a building or a home with WiFi, televisions and microwaves. Myself included. (Although I apply some caution here and try to keep the direct contact with my body limited. More on this in a moment.) Technology has grown so much so FAST that it nearly impossible to tell the long term effects of being surrounded by it all day. EMF’s are real, and while I am no expert, everything I have read and heard about them lead to a few key points:

  • They are everywhere (natural and manmade).
  • They affect our bodies in different ways.
  • We do not know if they affect us in a bad or a good way.

This is a lot of unknowns. I am not comfortable with unknowns. So what do we do? Let me hear it folks, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. And by respecting respecttechnology, I just mean take the time to understand it. Put it in it’s proper place and time. Exercise caution around something that really is powerful and can have a powerful affect on our lives. For the readers who have stuck with me this far, I am going to assume you are intrigued. So I will offer you my tips for disconnecting!

  • Stay informed and educate yourself! Don’t take my word for it, utilize your technology and look into it yourself.
  • Get your phone out of your pocket. Seriously. Just keep your stuff as far away from your physical body as possible.
  • Get a wired headset (bluetooth does NOT count) or use speaker phone. I love my Apple headphones.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone in your room. At the very least, don’t put it right by your head. Ideally, give yourself one room that is free of technology. The bedroom is perfect, you don’t need it while you are sleeping and the artificial light messes with your sleep anyways. That text message and Facebook notification will still be there in the morning, I promise.
  • Turn off all technology an hour or so before bed. Find some other way to wind down! Remember books? Take a hot back, read to your kids, sit outside and watch the sun set if the weather allows…(Now I know that this can be hard, and some days not possible, especially if it is part of your job. Consider f.lux for your computer and orange glasses to cut back on the blue light that affects your sleep. Yes I am this big of a dork.)
  • Turn off your WiFi at night. You don’t need this while you are sleeping either.
  • Spend time with PEOPLE. In the flesh. Where you can touch them, see them and hear their voice all at the same time. I read something somewhere about a party where people had to leave their cellphones at the door. What a great idea! I can remember being with a large group of my friends and still pulling my phone out to check it at regular intervals. There was hardly anyone left to text me, but I was still checking. In hindsight this just seems crazy.

Thanks for sticking with me readers! As always, I welcome questions and comments. I do enjoy a good discussion!

Lessons in Love

I think it was four or five days ago when Kevin said something along these lines: “Our anniversary is next week…and we didn’t request the night off or anything.” My reaction was something like: “Wow, it’s like this Wednesday right? Or is it Thursday?” It is crazy how life seemIMG_9520-2s to run away from us sometimes. I have noticed that over the years I seem to care less and less about celebrating my birthday. But I honestly don’t think anniversaries should fall into this category! So I would like to take the time on our nine year wedding anniversary to share some things I have learned (and am still learning) about love over these years.

Love is not something you fall in and out of, it is a choice you make every day. The love we have for our spouses can only become unconditional love when we choose to put them in the highest priority, second only to our relationship with God.

When you put your spouse in this postion, above kids, above friends, above activites, EVERYTHING underneath that relationship benefits and falls into place. (Easier said than done, as demonstrated in the opening conversation.) This is the relationship that sets the standard for our children for the rest of their lives, and I fully intend to continue to grow and be the best wife I can be so Charlie can learn from this. I try to remind myself of this everyday.

The grass wouldn’t be greener on the other side if you took care of the lawn you already have. Nurture your relationship! You have to spend time together to grow together. Learn from each other, don’t say things to intentionally hurt the other and don’t engage in hurtful conversations that arise. Don’t be afraid of change! If something is not working, work to change it! (Move the sprinkler, so to speak.)

But don’t try to change them. Any changing that will be done is not in your hands, it is in Gods hands. I pray all the time for patience and acceptance, and my belief in the power of prayer has made all of the difference in the world.

And now dear readers, feel free to tune out…but the rest is for my husband:

Kevin, thank you for always being there for me over the years. I have seen the furious devotion you have for me arise in even the darkest of times. I know that you truly love me with all that you have!

Thank you for always supporting me through some of the crazy ideas I have had over the years. I know I am one stubborn girl and there are always the things you have fought me tooth and nail on from your end, but you have never tried to stop ME from trying and that has made all the difference. (How can we ever forget the bakery “career”…epic fail…)

Thank you for making me a mother! Since our daughter has entered the world, I have felt the happiest times of our marriage and gone through one of the darkest times of our marriage. That little light in the center of our world has been more incredible than words can ever describe and I know that whatever trials enter our life we can always endure together, as a family.

Thank you for being such a great father! It has been incredible to watch you with Charlie. There are so many stories I hear about how some fathers won’t change diapers or are not even really involved with their kids at such a young age. You are the exact opposite and I am pretty sure I have fallen even more in love with you over the last six months.

And lastly for now, thank you for being YOU. You make me laugh, you make me smile, you always keep me on my toes, you make me crazy, you helped make me into the ME I am today.