Turn around

wp-1477057896733.jpgAs I was walking to work the other day a lot of things were floating through my head — how much I had to do, my task list, my next paper due in classes, my novel I need to get finished, etc. And then I realized, I was allowing myself to drown in that moment of “I have so much to do.” Immediately, what came to mind was the “Turn Around Don’t Drown” phrase. Which, by the way, is a great marketing campaign — never drive into water. I’ve linked the campaign above. It’s important information and I want to give proper credit.

With that said, as my mind was swirling and planning out my day, I was missing out on some precious unplug time. I didn’t even look up at the beautiful trees on campus or stop to smile at a stranger — things I love to do. And in that moment, I told myself to “turn around.” I put my phone back into my pocket (which was open to my overused calendar app) and I just walked. I breathed in the air. I took the long way to my office and I got to enjoy the campus fountain and chat with a couple of faculty members. I took a photo and put it on my blog page. By the time I got to my office my mind was clear. My day didn’t seem so busy and the task list didn’t seem to daunting. I was ready to tackle my busy day at a job I love and yearned for some many years to obtain.

In that instant I was able to turn my mind to gratitude. I gave thanks for the wonderful universe which provided me with this incredible day and the ability to get to my incredible job.

So, take some time to turn around today. Take a deep breath and give thanks. Gratitude helps and it truly matters.




Grateful for knowledge


Last night I turFullSizeRender 6ned in my final assignment for the semester, my first semester as a grad student in creative writing. There was quite a bit of celebrating as I hit the submit button, I admit, but also a bit of sadness.

This semester has been a mixture of emotions. I have been out of school for several years, since having earned my MBA. Working at an educational institution, I caught the thirst for knowledge again and decided to pursue another degree — creative writing — while working my full-time job in marketing. I took two classes this semester — one online and one in person. I remember my first class and a wave of gratitude came over me for the knowledge I had the privilege of acquiring. And, believe me, I know what a privilege it is to be able to learn.

Then, reality set in. Assignments started to pile up and I evenings and weekends were consumed with reading, writing and researching. I admit the gratitude waned a bit and I started to have a love-hate relationship with my classes (as most students do). I even dubbed my homework spot in my house “the cave.”

But, as the semester wrapped up, I started to feel sad. I’ll never get a “first semester back” with these classes and my fellow students again. Yes, there will be another semester, but none will ever be quite the same.

I’m so grateful.

To my cheerleaders who had to listen to me groan as I spent hours in my cave, thank you.

I’m so grateful for the gift of knowledge and so grateful for the semesters to come.

Kindness. Matters.

img_2288Today, while in a restaurant that was busier than normal due to a weather-related event cancelation, I witnessed several scenes that made me realize just how much kindness matters in this world we live in.

We managed to claim a booth in the seat-yourself restaurant, which had not been cleaned up yet. The diners before us left the worst mess possible. I felt sad for the waitress as she came over looking frantic trying to make sure we had a clean place to eat. I could tell it had already been a rough breakfast shift for her and the others. It took a while to get drinks and much longer than that for food, but, I knew this was going to be the case. I didn’t mind. I took the opportunity to take a break from the cold rain, the hustle of homework and just enjoy the company I had.

At a table in front of me I witnessed a lady yell at a waitress because her food took too long. The waitress politely apologized and walked away. The lady continued to sit at the table looking angry. I turned to my own waitress, thanked her for her hard work to which she replied “thank you. It’s people like you that are understanding that make this bearable.”


Similar scenes like this continued to play out — I wondered what would happen if every table was a little more understanding. Or if the circumstances were reversed and they were the ones having to deal with people just like them.

Another scene played out at a table across from me where a customer was very loudly airing his political beliefs, making sure as many people heard him as possible, even looking around to see who might be paying attention. I won’t go into detail as I do not want to polarize my blog, but his words were very unkind, inhumane and insulting. And it made me so sad. I do not understand the need to spout hate, sending a series poisoned arrows out to see how many people you can hurt. What is the purpose of that? What kind of person do you have to be on the inside? I believe it must be a very dark head space in which to live in…But, that’s not really what I came to write about.

Moments like these remind of who I do NOT want to be — it reaffirms why I do what I do — by writing handwritten thank you notes, by leaving my gratitude cards in places like that busy restaurant and other random acts of kindness that I choose to do quietly without anyone knowing. People that I encountered and listened to today are my inspiration for spreading kindness.

I hope if you’re reading this you’ll consider performing a random act of kindness or simply saying thank you to your busy waitress or anyone else who is in the service industry. Reach out to someone who is hurting. Take chocolate to a coworker having a hard day. Send an email to a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Or a host of other kind acts.

Friday, I wrote a thank-you note to a colleague who had sent popcorn to our office. She emailed me, thanked me and said the note wasn’t necessary. To which I replied “it was TOTALLY necessary.” What I didn’t include on this email is kindness, which took the form of that thank-you note in response to her popcorn she sent, is absolutely necessary in this world.  Kindness matters. It really matters.

600 days of gratitude

wpid-20150805_065052.jpgA couple of days ago I hit day 600 in my personal Facebook gratitude posts. SIX HUNDRED. Six hundred days of posting what I’m grateful for. Six hundred days. That’s a lot of days and it blows me away that I’ve kept it up this long. Call it dedicated, compulsive, whatever, but I’ve never been sorry I’ve kept it going this long.

The only break I’ve taken since I started these some 600 days ago is when I had surgery last month and once I was back online, I simply started where I left off.

Every 100 days or so, I try to explain how I got started and why I do this. I started this nearly two years ago as part of a 30-day Thanksgiving challenge. I had attempted it before but it never stuck — it never became a habit to me. A couple weeks into the challenge, my father was killed in a house fire. Those were dark days for our family and throughout the days of aftermath, I found things to be thankful for — even in the darkness.

December rolled around and I wasn’t ready to stop. So I kept going. Thirty days turned into 60. Sixty turned int0 100 and now I’m past 600. For me it’s a daily time to reflect on one thing I’m thankful for. Sure there are days I put more effort into it than others. And sure, some days I post just to get my daily thankful in. After 600 days, you’re going to have days where you do it just to get it done. But, it’s a part of my daily life now and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Continuing these thankfuls have kept me centered on gratitude. You can find gratitude in the darkest of situations — and yes, sometimes you have to really flipping work for it. For me, gratitude doesn’t just happen. Just this morning I was driving to work with a lot on my mind and feeling very ungrateful and disgruntled. Between surgery recovery and some other challenges, I’ve been exhausted and overwhelmed, especially this week. These words from another blog came to mind: “Fulfillment and happiness in everyday life doesn’t just happen.  We have to work for it.  We have to make choices.  Part of that is choosing to be positive and not feed the fear and anger.”

Pretty much sums it up. Credit for blog above: I Got A Dumpster Family. I’ve been a reader of this blog for years. You should too, you won’t be sorry. You can find the complete post from her blog here.