I started a gratitude journal in the form of this handy, dandy thanksgiving calendar. I’m enjoying it a lot because I’ve found that when I’m irritable or starting to get frustrated about something that is going wrong, I end up reminding myself to find something to be thankful for. Since this is making such a difference in my life and my outlook on life in general, I thought I’d share ten things I was thankful for in the month of January.
1. Crock pot meals: these are a true lifesaver when it comes to both adults and most of the teens in the house working and/or going to school. It’s sometimes much less work & the end result is less stress and work on everyone.
2. Alone time: stolen moments of alone time are divine. And I got to have some recently when I got off work early.
3. Martin Luther King Jr. / dreams: I’m extremely thankful for a man who gave his life to fight for freedom and the concept of life dreams.
4. Date nights: when you’re married to my husband (like I am LOL), date nights are awesome. We have the best time together.
5. Flight benefits: put travel into the realm of possibility.
6. Book club: it’s fun to go out with a friend, read books together, and hear what others think of said books.
7.Lunch breaks: for years I didn’t take a lunch break. I worked through the noon hour instead. In my new job, I’m learning how to take a lunch break and put that sixty minutes to good use for writing.
8. Not getting into a car crash: we had a few days of freezing rain last month and I came rather close to being a passenger in a car accident. Not fun. I actually braced for the impact and am thankful it didn’t come.
9. Quiznos: I hadn’t realized how thankful I could be for Quiznos until I went to town to grab some sandwiches for the family and there was no Quiznos there. Lame. You’d think there would have been an announcement of some sort about that.
10. A no-show appointment: because sometimes another therapist’s no show appointment means your life gets a little bit easier.
Focusing on being thankful for the little things in life can make a big difference in a person’s attitude, outlook, and life in general. Give it a whirl and see what you think. What are you thankful for today?
A while back during a writer chat, I was inspired by a writer friend to create #WriteJar. Since early October when I started doing this, I’ve been hit or miss on several occasions. Some days I write a lot and other days I don’t. The money I “earned” from writing has all been spent. Mostly on cab fare. As for earning money for various writing accomplishments, didn’t happen much. I still avoided the things I don’t like to do as much as writing.
Just prior to the start of 2015, I decided to revise my #WriteJar system. I stopped using cash to avoid borrowing from the jar whenever I was short a dollar or two. I also scrapped the idea of earning more for the more difficult tasks. What do I do now? I’m glad you asked.
Sticky notes. I use sticky notes to keep track of when I’ve written. For each episode of writing per day (I tend to write in small chunks (thanks #10MinuteNovelists!), I take a small sticky and list three things:
· The date
· The number of words I wrote
· My mood while writing
The first two things on the sticky are pretty self-explanatory. As for tracking my mood, I find this important for days when I’m really struggling to write. It’s a way to look back, reflect, and encourage myself through the hard times. Like on January 29th, 2015: I wrote 398 words during my lunch break. My mood was “sad, down.” Is 398 words a lot? Not really, especially if I compare it to the days when I’ve banged out 5k words in a few hours. The point is, I wrote despite feeling sad and down. On January 1, 2015: I wrote 3,041 words. I started a new story idea and wrote “done” several times as I checked off corrections made in my novel. My mood? Determined.
See how it works? Since I started this on January 1st, I’ve put thirty sticky notes in my #WriteJar. There will be another one in there by the end of today.
Since I still love the idea of a reward system, I plan to reward myself after I have fifty slips in the jar. Right now, I have my eye on a pair of boots. I’m a sucker for a pair of cute shoes. Probably I will keep the rewards to a limit of $50 spent, which makes each slip of paper worth $1.00. Will I get rich with this system? No. Will I learn more about myself, my moods, and get some writing goals accomplished in the process? Yes. And I’ll reward myself with cute shoes, books, and maybe a writing conference along the way.
Are you a writer? Consider joining the #WriteJar revolution or the #10MinuteNovelist group. Write some. Reward yourself.
1. Dreamer: because we don’t do it often enough and we should and because sometimes dreams do come true.
2. Shawshank Redemption: because sometimes life is a prison and we need an example of how determination, grit, and ingenuity can get us out of it. Besides, if you don’t stay true to yourself, who will?
3. The Pursuit of Happyness: because honestly, it doesn’t come to us any other way. Just ask the guy who hasn’t worked for it.
1. Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon. I think this book spoke to me just because of how it was written. I found several aspects of the book very relatable.
2. The Firm by John Grisham. I’ve read this book several times over. I love everything about it. Suspenseful. Intriguing. Genius.
3. Write by Karen E. Peterson. It was this book that helped me to get my first book written, albeit still unpublished. It was through reading this book that I was first able to start looking inward to find out why I was not getting anywhere with my writing.
4. This Much I Know Is True by Wally Lamb. I received a copy of this book as a gift for my birthday several years ago and loved it so much that I not only read it several times, but I bought a second copy to loan out to others. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to get a copy.
What are some of your favorite books?
The closest I ever came to rubbing elbows with a president was in the fourth grade. It continued through high school because the boy my best friend’s mother said was likely to become a future president was in the same school / same grade I was in until we graduated. He might have been the student body president at one point during our high school career too. Those days were a long time ago and the memory is a tad bit fuzzy.
R.D. hasn’t become president yet, but he was quite presidential in an intelligent, well respected kind of way during the early nineties at BHSN. He was an all-around good guy. Which may be why he never became president of the United States. I know; lame presidential type joke there.
While we may not agree with every president who has graced the White House lawn or taken up two terms in office, you’ve got to admit, they’ve got a hard job. It takes guts to run for office and even more to win an election and hold down the fort of this great nation. So, in honor of our American presidents, here are a few of their famous quotes listed in order of their presidential terms:
1. George Washington: took office April 20, 1789 / left office March 4, 1789
“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
2. John Adams: took office March 4, 1797 / left office March 4, 1801
“I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough…the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.”
3. Thomas Jefferson: took office March 4, 1801 / left office March 4, 1809
“When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.”
4. James Madison: took office march 4, 1809 / left office March 4, 1817
“Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”
5. James Monroe: took office March 4, 1817 / left office March 4, 1825
“Attacks on me will do no harm, and silent contempt is the best answer to them.”
6. John Quincy Adams: took office March 4, 1825 / left office March 4, 1829
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
7. Andrew Jackson: took office March 4, 1829 / left office March 4, 1837
“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
8. Martin Van Buren: took office March 4, 1829 / left office March 4, 1841
“The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity.”
9. John Tyler: April 4, 1841 / left office March 4, 1845
“I can never consent to being dictated to.”
10. James K. Polk: took office March 4, 1845 / left office March 4, 1849
“No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure.”
11. Zachary Taylor: took office March 4, 1849 / left office July 9, 1850
“I have no private purpose to accomplish, no party objectives to build up, no enemies to punish –nothing to serve but my country.”
12. Millard Fillmore: took office July 9, 1850 / left office March 4, 1853
“An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.”
13. Franklin Pierce: took office March 4, 1853 / left office March 4,1857
“If your past is limited, your future is boundless.”
14. James Buchanan: took office March 4, 1857 / left office March 4, 1861
“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”
15. Abraham Lincoln: took office March 4, 1861 / left office April 15, 1865
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
16. Andrew Johnson: took office April 15, 1865 / left office March 4,1869
“Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.”
17. Ulysses S. Grant: took office March 4, 1869 / left office March 4, 1877
“I have never advocated war except as a means to peace.”
18. Rutherford B. Hayes: March 4, 1877 / left office March 4, 1881
“He serves his party best who serves the country best.”
19. James A. Garfield: March 4, 1881 / left office September 19, 1881
“If wrinkles must be written on our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.”
20. Chester A. Arthur: took office September 19, 1881 / left office March 4, 1885
“Madam, I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damn business.”
21. Grover Cleveland: took office March 4, 1885 / left office March 4, 1889
A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.”
22. Benjamin Harrison: took office March 4, 1889 / left office March 4, 1893
“The bud of victory is always in the truth.”
23. Grover Cleveland: took office March 4, 1893 / left office March 4, 1897
“Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.”
24. William McKinley: took office march 4, 1897 / left office September 14, 1901
“War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.”
25. Theodore Roosevelt: took office September 14, 1901 / left office March 4, 1909
“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”
26. William Howard Taft: took office March 4, 1909 / left office March 4, 1913
“Politics makes me sick.”
27. Woodrow Wilson: took office March 4, 1913 / left office March 4, 1921
“I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.”
28. Warren G. Harding: took office March 4, 1921 / left office August 2, 1923
“America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration.”
29. Calvin Coolidge: took office August 2, 1923 / left office March 4, 1929
“Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.”
30. Herbert Hoover: took office March 4, 1929 / left office March 4, 1933
“Being a politician is a poor profession. Being a public servant is a noble one.”
31. Franklin D. Roosevelt: took office March 4, 1933 / left office April 12, 1945
“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
32. Harry S. Truman: took office April 12, 1945 / left office January 20, 1953
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
33. Dwight D. Eisenhower: took office January 20, 1953 / left office January 20, 1961
“You don’t lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.”
34. John F. Kennedy: took office January 20, 1961 / left office November 22, 1963
“Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country.”
35. Lyndon B. Johnson: took office November 22, 1963 / left office January 20, 1969
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
36. Richard Nixon: took office January 20, 1969 / left office August 9, 1974
“Defeat doesn’t finish a man –quit does.”
37. Gerald Ford: took office August 9, 1974 / left office January 20, 1977
“Truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.”
38. Jimmy Carter: took office January 20, 1977 / left office January 20, 1981
“We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.”
39. Ronald Reagan: took office January 20, 1981 / left office January 20, 1989
“Trust, but verify.”
40. George H.W. Bush: took office January 20, 1989 / left office January 20, 1993
“The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change.”
41. Bill Clinton: took office January 20, 1993 / left office January 20, 2001
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person.”
42. George W. Bush: took office January 20, 2001 / left office January 20, 2009
“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
43. Barack Obama: took office January 20, 2009 – present
“Yes, we can.”
Happy President’s Day, everyone. Whether you’re working today or have the day off take a minute and remember to be thankful those who have served as president and spend a minute praying for Obama and his family. It doesn’t matter if you agree with his political views or not, a person in that position needs all the prayer he can get.
1. I love just about any kind of seafood. Crab legs, shrimp, and stuffed salmon. I even tried fried oysters last year. They are amazing!
2. Chocolate. Need I say more?
3. Soup-stew. This is my own creation. I love soup, but I like it to have a lot of stuff in it. The thicker and chunkier, the better.
4. Ice cream. Homemade but not vanilla. I like the kind that has chocolate bits or cookies or whatever else they can find to put in there. Like everything-but-the from Ben & Jerry’s.
5. Mexican food…specifically homemade tortillas or tamales. It’s like the good parts of my childhood all over again.
~people who love to eat are always the best people. ~julia child
1. Greece. The pictures I see are just so pretty. I think it would be amazing to travel there some day.
2. Pennsylvania. We went once on a family trip and had a great time. I would love to go again…and I need a new Intercourse hoodie & blanket.
3. Vegas. People think I won’t like it, which makes me want to go more.
4. Gulf Shores Alabama. I’ve been there a few times with the hubby & kids and I’d love to go back again. I think I missed out on a lot of fun in previous travels because I was more focused on getting there than the journey of getting there. I need a do-over.
5. Spain. It sounds romantic.
6. The east coast. Aside from a trip to New York several years ago, I’ve never been to some of the other states up there like Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. I’d love to go there.
1. For my children to grow up to be upstanding citizens. I know that life throws curveballs at us all the time, but I want to know that my kids have internalized the teachings we’ve tried to instill in them over the years and do good by God, themselves, and society.
2. To be a published author. Who am I kidding? I want to be a bestselling author.
3. I want to have a beach house someday where my kids will bring their families for get togethers and holidays.
4. I want to learn to play the cello or the guitar. I’m really not sure why, but it’s been on my mind for a while.
5. I want to leave a legacy. Growing up I had a lot of strikes against me that I had no control over, yet I’ve overcome a great many of them. I want young people to know that just because of the cards they were dealt in life, doesn’t mean they can’t achieve greatness or see their dreams come true or do something amazing with their life.
6. I want to take a $1,000.00 and just buy books.
7. I want to buy my husband the perfect gift someday. He’s such a great gift giver & I’m not so much.