Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.

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“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”

Simon Sinek

Underneath everything, I am a Girl Scout at heart.

I believe in kindness, perseverance, hard work, loyalty and honesty.  There is nothing that can convince me that tomorrow will not be another day, and every day the sun rises is another opportunity to do the best I can to make that day the best day possible. From making sure my kids have their favorite jackets, to calling a friend, to being extra nice to the cashier at the grocery store, to giving my last ounce of energy at the end of the day for something good.

I can even remember the Girl Scout motto after all these years: “To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

These were the words I learned when I was a kid, and they stuck with me well into my adulthood. Even when life has been hard, when we have been worried about events, after we suffer losses caused by malice, or even when we witness horrible acts by individuals…I sincerely believe that overall, the people of our world want it to be a better place, too.

So when I found out about Giving Tuesday, I was all over that.

 

“#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.”

Before we start the holiday season, let’s begin by giving.

1. Giving Tuesday.org

https://www.givingtuesday.org/organizations#block–join-the-movement

Giving Tuesday began in 2012, “Created by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impactat the 92nd Street Y—a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back.”

They utilized new tools, such as social media outreach, in order to join individuals, families, nonprofits, businesses and corporations through the gift of giving.

2. Give Local.

https://www.givingtuesday.org/whats-happening-near-me

Giving globally is a great way to extend your reach of love, but we would all love to give to our communities as well! This is a great opportunity not only to give locally, but also to see what unseen needs there are around you!

3. Give With Your Heart, But Be Smart

https://8bitdigi.com/2016/11/25/charities-gamers-could-support-on-giving-tuesday/

Giving is one of the foremost tenants of happiness in life, but being foolish about giving doesn’t help anybody.  Throwing money to the wind won’t fund the new playground for children, or provide hot meals for the homeless. Be smart about how you give. In particular, give to what means something to you. For example, when I was a kid I broke my leg pretty bad and was stuck in the hospital for a good long while. Those hospital walls get tedious after a few minutes…which is what Child’s Play seeks to conquer. They are an organization that provides video games and gaming support for children who are staying in hospitals. The gift of childhood should be available for every child, and this is one way to give it back.

4. #GivingTuesday

https://twitter.com/hashtag/givingtuesday?lang=en

Twitter is such a megaverse of a place. I may be a little old-school, because sometimes I don’t even know what is happening on Twitter until the 5 o’clock news tells me that President-elect Trump has posted his life story on there. Nevertheless, Twitter is an amazing resource for our new day and age. Hashtag GivingTuesday is a great place to get started with ideas for giving.

5. Don’t Know Where To Even Begin?? Try Searching Your Favorite Actors…They’re On It!!

https://storify.com/unfoundation/celebs-get-out-the-give-on-givingtuesday

Honestly, I live a pretty small life. I raise my kids, I go to the store, I tend to my gardens…it is hard to see what is happening in the bigger world around me sometimes! Celebrities are fantastic at connecting homebodies like me with bigger campaigns out there!

I mean, how could I not be interested in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Giving Tuesday ideas…

https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/803512414994046976

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Pomeranian Puppy is Grounded. FOR LIFE.

IMG_3312.jpgThis is major bed-head.

I have been awake since 4:30am.

I would like to praise myself for training myself into being a morning person, but this is a process which has taken a lot of time, many years, much grit and more determination than…someone who is very determined. I can’t think of anyone who was more determined than me right now. I am way too tired to think of a correct simile for this one.

Nevertheless, after Thanksgiving break I had grandiose plans to get this week started on the right foot, with a good night’s sleep and a good agenda for the morning…which are each slowly fading into my cup of coffees.

Any notion that I had regarding “positive productivity” or “cheerful behavior” seem like fanciful dreams this morning.

You see, I have on my hands a Pomeranian puppy.

Not only do I have on my hands a Pomeranian puppy though. I have a Pomeranian puppy who broke both of his front legs last week.

Saayyy  Whhhaaaaaattttt….hold on, I’ll get to it.

So, I have a very cheerful, adventurous, excited Pomeranian puppy who LOVES LIFE WITH ALL OF ITS TINY LITTLE BEING…whose front two legs are in splints. This Pomeranian puppy is healing exceptionally well, and by all things considered is doing very well considering he believes we are playing a sick joke on him by binding his feet (since his tiny little memory has forgotten already that he has little teeny broken bones in there).

He is eating very well, which is a fantastic sign: even though he insists I must only feed him those small pieces of turkey in which I hide the 1/4 tablet of pain medicine, and fails to recognize his normal puppy kibble as a viable food source. (so, that isn’t happening and he has come to realize that Mom is way beyond the sympathetic-babying stage in her life, and he is enjoying his kibble…and not being hungry)

The little man is drinking water like a camel, which is also a good sign. He is on schedule for his nap times and bed times. He is happy during the day, now that he has accepted his new life as a robot, and all in all things are going well for someone who just broke both of his two front legs…OMG.

However, this puppy is also not able to get some of his puppy energy out. At all. So, some nights are better than others.

Tonight, for example, was not one of those better than other nights.

Little man and I have had plenty of bonding time this morning since he was far more awake than all of Asia at this hour.

So, what happened????? I have never had a serious pet injury before, so this is really taking the cake.  And I wish I could tell you something catastrophic happened, or a meteorite landed on his legs, or he fought a dragon to defend our house and this was the price he paid for his steadfast loyalty…

I have never had a serious pet injury before…because I have never had a 4lbs dog before.

A well bred 4lbs dog from a reputable breeder who has not gone the way of inbreeding has the advantage of having a good heart, good lungs, good organs, no glaucoma, no hip or joint problems…

but a 4lbs dog has bones the size of toothpicks. Because he’s small, and his bones are small.

So, for instance, if someone dropped him on a basket, and he jumped off the basket…that fall/jump would be all that is necessary for a 4lbs dog to break the radius/ulna and ulna bones in his front two legs.

Yes. Really.

I just could not believe this was happening, as I carried my broken, screaming, terrified mess of a puppy to the pet ER with similarly terrified children in tow.  No one had been playing rough, there was no chaotic moment involved, everyone was having a good time…until our home was filled with the thunderous, ear-splitting screaming of our beloved puppy after he landed on our extremely soft and plush carpet.

How do you break a dog??  How do you break a dog that jumped 2 feet down???!

Well, it turns out that’s pretty par the course for toy puppies. I spent all night, cradling my wounded and wailing puppy in one hand, and typing into Google “Pomeranian puppy leg breaks” with the other.

Pomeranian puppies have insanely small and thin bones for the first year. The vet said, for context, that they are bird bones: thin and porous. After a year, their bones will be much thicker and it seems these minor falls don’t have such a major impact. However, until then it is best to keep their unbounded excitement on the ground and not in mid-flight off a couch, or off your lap, or off the stairs, or off your other dog, or off the bed, or off a basket.

The nice thing is, since my Pom is only 4 months old he will heal very quickly. We are looking at probably 4 weeks, maybe 5 tops, until his legs are fully healed. I heard between 2-4 weeks in a few places, but I also think rushing bone healing is a dumb idea that will just lead to more breaks and injuries in the future; so, best wait a little longer.

We have another X-ray appointment for Little Man in two weeks, and we’ll see how things are going.

At home, he is relegated to sleeping, sitting and hobbling. I have also lowered myself as a person and bought a legit dog-purse so I can still take him for walks; just with my legs doing the legwork for him. The kids are being exceptionally gentle with him, as is to be expected, and my cat believes this was all the karma she wished upon her tiny canine overlord. To her credit, though, she is leaving him alone. For the most part. At least as much as a conniving cat can leave her prey alone while he is weak and recovering.

I fear much jousting will be done once Little Man has his legs back.

Until then, I sit, quite awake in the black of the morning, in my favorite black leather reading chair, drinking my favorite black coffee under one of my favorite blankets, letting Little Man sleep contentedly at my feet.

On the floor. Where he is going to stay for the rest of his days.

 

 

5 Things We’ll See In America After Hillary’s Defeat

 

1. Confederate War Reenactors are replaced with Hillary Campaign Reenactors

I gotta admit, growing up on the beaches of LosAngeles was pretty sweet. Warm sands. Sunny skies. The crisp water of the ocean always at your beck and call. Totes sweet. Unfortunately, it also meant I didn’t have the foggiest clue what “The South” was. You mean…SanDiego?? No, my good natured hippie love-child, The South which will Rise Again. Or at least once a year when thousands gather together for Reenactments.

“You mean they’re LARPing…?”

Yeah…kinda…except they take it WAAYYY more seriously. Don’t you get around to making fun of their grandfather’s authentic Civil War musket. They’ll mess you up.

I am kinda figuring we are going to see something similar in the future with Hillary’s camp. The streets of Portland will be overrun with protestors handing out bottles of Chardonnay. Arts and Crafts tents will be erected to make paper mache sculptures out of shredded emails. Maybe a crystal bouncy house to let people jump in Hillary’s Fortress of Solitude…

“Hillary’s Campaign Will Rise Again…Together This Time!”

2. Bill Moves Into The Playboy Mansion

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He stays out too late, got nothing in his brain, that’s what people say, that’s what people say. He goes on too many dates, but he can’t make them stay…
At least that’s what people say.

Can you imagine Bill on his own? No, I mean really on his own. Right now he is living in his luxurious penthouse apartment at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock. Hillary lives in her Whitehaven house, also named the “Fortress of Solitude.” I imagine the Playboy Mansion, nestled in Beverly Hills, would be the nerve center for a man seeking flocks of vapid vixens until his dying breath.

3. FBI Director James Comey Renounces America, Moves To Canada

Quebec or British Columbia….”

First and foremost, I don’t think this would ever happen. James Comey is more American than apple pie, and the idea of apple pie leaving our great nation is just unthinkable.

Unless….

Clinton spent the last who knows how many years tearing the apple pie apart, it might not feel as loved as it once did. Maybe if she blamed this apple pie for her career path failure, or  flying off the handle at the pie on her iPhone before finally chucking it into Hudson River, crying to the media that it was the one who lost the World Series and if it wasn’t for this apple pie we’d still have Crystal Pepsi…

I don’t know…maybe this isn’t as far fetched as I thought.

Ne laissez pas, Comey!!

 

4. Chelsea Runs For New York Senate. Remembers She Hates Politics. Joins A Build-A-Bear Workshop For Inner City Youth Instead.

Listen, Chelsea isn’t a bad person. Honestly, I think she is the nicest Clinton on the face of the earth. She has a good heart, she is wicked smart and she is a good mother. I applaud her for her loyalty and devotion to her parents as they chase their dreams! However, she does not have a single muscle of politics in her body, and the campaign trail would chew her up and spit her out. I doubt this will be the last we see of her though! Let’s just hope she uses her time in charitable ways…that won’t destroy her.

 

5. We Will Finally Get A Woman President. For Serious, This Time.

Hey, don’t discount it. It could happen!

It costs about $1 Billion dollars to get into the White House, as I have stated before.

Taylor Swift is getting close to that kinda dough.

Could you imagine the fleet of albums she would crack out if she had to deal with Congress??

 

Wild Horses Couldn’t Tear Me Away…From America

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Oddly enough, and most surprising to myself more than anything, I have become a creature of routines.

I say oddly enough because the thought of being a person of routines gives me an ache in my soul unlike no other. There are just too many wild oats in my free spirit to enjoy the impression that I could be someone who wakes up at 6:30am, drinks one and a half cups of coffee by 7:15am, turns the T.V. on at 5:00pm to watch the news every night, and finally brushing my teeth at 7:45pm in order to go to bed at precisely 8pm.

Every day. For the rest of my life. Until I die.

Why don’t I just give up on life altogether, if I am going to go that route, I figure. The idea of living a completely predictable, routine, boring ass life absolutely kills me.

I can wholeheartedly say that there is nothing in my fabric of being which urges me to live a boring life.

One of the lowest moments of my life was many years ago.  There was one day I remember quite clearly,  when I realized I had been doing the same thing, every Sunday, consistently, for a year.  I remember walking through a door one particular Sunday morning, it was Mother’s Day actually, and realizing that I had gone through this exact same door at the exact same time to do the exact same thing with the exact same people and have the same conversations that morning as we had 365 days before.  I couldn’t believe I had come to this stagnation point…on my own accord. It was not forced upon me.

I stood in this place where I was not growing or learning or feeling because I thought it was a safe place at the time. I was just showing up because that was the routine on Sunday.

There is nothing like kicking your own ass for being a fool.

“If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.”
Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

 

And yet, I have become a creature of routines in this season of my life.

The difference between routine and routines is the delightful flexibility of routines. It is not the same routine, it is an efficient amalgamation of possible ideas available through which I can continue to grow, learn and ultimately understand myself.

Change is essential for growth. If we do not change what we do or how we perceive things, we are going to exhaust our opportunities to become a better people and a better nation.

As Rick Warren has said, ““We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”

Furthermore, Rabbi Noah Weinberg says,”People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake. Actually, the failure to make decisions if one of life’s biggest mistakes.”

What I know about myself, more than anything else, is my deep, undying love for new ideas.

The truth of a veritable person is not in the brilliance of their successes, nor is it amassed in their refusal to decide one way or the other, but it is in the the core of their fabric of change.

Jared Diamond painted a stark picture of cultures which could not sustain themselves in his book, “Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed,” (link).  Diamond wrote in grave detail how the various Viking settlements throughout Greenland and Canada lived and died, depending on the settlers’ ability to adapt to their new environments:

“[T]he values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.

It is no coincidence that the societies which refused to change and instead clung stubbornly to values and routines which were successful in their former land, died quickly and thoroughly when seeking to live in a new land with new resources and a new environment.

The origins of America began with the course of course correcting. From religious freedom, to abolishing slavery, to women’s suffrage, to the founding of individual freedoms to the pursuit of happiness. America is not a nation untarnished. But it is a nation of continued change and a break from values which may no longer be useful given new environments with new resources.

This all being said:

It has taken a long time to process the election.

It was beyond my wildest imagination to see Donald Trump as our nation’s leader. Never in my most peculiar dreams would I have seen Trump as the resident of our White House. The house on the hill had always been the home for diplomats, politicians and lawyers: not reality stars.

And yet, the majority of America believed that he and his family should reside there and lead us and our future into new directions; with the hope of prosperity and, ultimately, the pursuit of greater happiness.

I may live in a forest on an island now, but I grew up in Lawndale. It is in the middle of the concretes of LosAngeles, a couple blocks away from Compton. It was a good life, honestly, and I enjoyed the range of concrete to the beaches to the backsides of the hills in Malibu to the sweeping open skies which gazed upon us.

But my childhood was a long time ago, and I am now raising my children somewhere completely different. Instead of wide swaths of concrete, we have long dirt roads leading into cedar forests. My children will not seek out salamanders in the tiny Malibu streams, as they are now on the lookout for coyotes and barred owls. Our beaches are lined with well worn rocks, rather than the golden sands of California, and we spend our time watching the dynamic PNW weather patterns, instead of living in the perpetual sunny 78F of LA.

I did not vote for Trump, yet I have many friends who did.

Some of these friends have also moved their families to different places in order to try to find somewhere in America where they can find employment, or safe neighborhoods, or good schools, or a better future.

Many of them have not found this. They instead have found more unemployment and have had to move again to find a home even more affordable. These families I know are eager to find the American Dream, and it is nowhere to be found.

I cannot condemn anyone for their vote, and I empathize with the Americans who voted for Trump, because it is clear there was a reason they did. Some think they voted because they simply did not like Hillary; others believe it is because America is full of deplorables.

I am absolutely certain of one thing. America is not overflowing with misogynistic racist bastards.

Oh sure, there are a few.

There are Americans who are marching with flags on top of buildings, or hanging nooses from trees above Trump signs, or threatening students with deportation. There are Americans who believe fear and intimidation will drive their mission of power and control, and they might believe this is the fabric of our nation.

It is no surprise that people have used fear and intimidation as resources in the past, and I have no doubt it will be used in the future. Fear keeps the marginalized reluctant to speak up, and intimidated by violence. We have seen some Americans use these resources of fear and intimidation during this election, and in some places it has become an honest concern, particularly among women and minorities.

But at the same time, I have seen even more Americans step up.

This is an unusual time in our nation, and under new leadership there will be change. The norm of politics is going to change, and we aren’t entirely sure how this is going to play out. Will we be safer? Will we be in peril? Will the patterns of violence emerge as they have in the past, or will we adapt to a new environment and succeed, as we have done before?

For the next 4 years, I will still live next to my neighbors who voted differently than I did. I am still going to run into them at Costco and Safeway. Our kids are still going to play together at the park, and we are all going to complain about the long, dark days in the middle of PNW winter that begin at 3:30pm and end somewhere around 8am, if we’re lucky.

For the next 4 years I will do exactly what I was taught in my blue-collar home down in Lawndale, CA.  I will love every single saint and bastard in this wonderful country.

I am going to honor this country by respecting our next President and his cabinet, even if I still cannot believe he is going to be our President.

Because that’s what America means.

It means that we the people are responsible for taking care of each other when times are hard, when times are confusing and when we don’t get along.

When Ruby Bridges walked boldly into her new school, she was surrounded by crowds who refused to change…and by people who wanted change. In the end, it took her first steps to get us there and we have been a better nation ever since.

I don’t know how this next year is going to turn out.

But if I know anything about the fabric of America, I know we have always adapted to new ideas in spite of fear, intimidation, confusing times and uneasy times. I know that this holiday season will bring families together and soldiers will come home. I know there will be groups and organizations who will continue to bring donations of jackets to the homeless this winter, and Turkeys to families this Thanksgiving. I am sure when our children are at school, they are going to continue to learn about the solar system and create dioramas in shoeboxes for class presentations. I am positive we are still going to shop at Target when we need something, and we are still going to complain about the never ending traffic on the way home. We are still going to love the people around us, regardless of who they are married to, and we are going to stand against bigotry, hatred, misogyny and violence together.

I love America, even when things get confusing or weird. I love America because I know that even though there are a few bastards mixed into the bunch, it is a nation of people who believe we will adapt to new changes and new people, together.

America has always been a nation of progress, and it is filled with people who absolutely believe in the hope of a better future.

All the wild horses of Montana couldn’t tear me away from that.

 

Veteran’s Day: A Day of Remembering

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-John McCrae, 1915

During World War I, Major John McCrae was a young Canadian military doctor and artillery commander. He served in the same artillery unit as his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, in the Second Battle of Ypres.

In 1915, McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for his friend, as the chaplain was attending other serious matters on the battlefield.

After laying his body to rest, overwhelmed by the death of his friend, McCrae’s heart poured out the moving poem we now know as “Flanders Fields”.

It gave us the red poppy to remind us that peace will continue, even after the entire world is at war:

In British Commonweath Nations, “…Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.”

While in the United States, we know it as Veterans Day. “[F]ormerly known as Armistice Day, [Veterans Days] was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.”

If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.
― Michael Crichton

Every soldier holds a story in history, and each poppy is our way of remembering, and respecting, their stories.

1. History.com: Veteran’s Day

There are always new things to learn about days we celebrate. For instance, Veteran’s day was originally “Armistice Day,” as November 11, 1918 was the day when WWI ended. As years went by, Congress made the honorable decision to change the day to “Veteran’s Day” in order to honor every man and woman who have served our great country.

2. The Origins and History of Veterans Day

3. Teaching Kids About Veteran’s Day

4. Veteran’s Day Facts & Worksheets For Kids

5. Arlington National Cemetery: Laying of Wreaths on Veteran’s Day

Poms Need Their Walks. Lesson Learned.

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I am a woman of agendas and routines.

Not by nature, but by necessity.

My inner nature thinks that doing things by the seat of my pants and in a more spontaneous fashion is the right way to do things. It’s a little more fun, a lot more exciting and you just kinda let things happen as you go!

I call it my Squirrel Philosophy: HEY LET’S PAINT! ON A BIKE! WAIT, LET’S GO TO THE BEACH! WITH OUR PAINT..LEAVE THE BIKE! YAY!

You also never get anything accomplished. And you wear yourself out from high-energy spontaneity all the time. And you kinda look like a spaz (gotta keep that on the down-low, if you know what I mean).

So then all you have are long, draining feats of failed free-spirited dreams. And that’s no fun.

So, to combat this dichotomy of “free-spirited creativity” and “utter, utter failure with everything I do,” I started creating agendas for myself.

I remember in college, at the height of literature classes, I would mark down hour by hour when to write, when to eat, when to sleep, back to writing, walk outside briefly to remember that the world does not end in my little apartment, and then back to writing. In the end, I had my degree and most of my sanity (and an extra 10 pounds from stress eating, but that’s not important).

Anyway, so over a decade after college and I am a pro at agendas. My meal planning is on an agenda, house cleaning is agenda’d, homeschooling is agenda’ed to the point of mastery…and my Pomeranian puppy is on an agenda.

Because…why wouldn’t you?

Bed at 11, no more potty breaks at 4:30a.m. (yay!!), up at 7:30a.m. and straight into the bathroom for puppy pad, walk at 10, nap at 11, play during the afternoon, nap at 4, long walk in the evening and hang out until bedtime again.

But you miss one day of the agenda  and everything goes to pot. Which is what happened last Saturday.

We went to the zoo, which is one of my favorite places in the world; but we can’t take our little dog with us. So he stayed home.

Even though I took him for a little walk and tried to get back to our agenda when we got home, the little guy was thrown off his routine…and proceeded to tell us about his opinions on the matter all night long.

No sleep for me.

Thankfully, I have LEARNED FROM THIS, and I have stuck to the normal routines like CRAZY, and everything fell back into place.

No more sleepless nights.

But the long walk is mandatory. Ain’t nobody got enough coffee for sleepless nights.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-9-43-31-amYou gotta admit, he’s pretty good company even at 3am.

 

Counting Gratitude

 

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“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

I don’t know if you have seen the “First World Problem” memes. They’re hilarious…in a “well, that puts things into perspective” kind of way.

Some are rather basic, “I’m hungry, but I already brushed my teeth”.

Others are daily frustrations, like “My barista didn’t even bother to make a design in the foam,”

or the even more insufferable: “The pizza box doesn’t fit in the fridge.”

Now, we all know the world is not going to fall apart because we didn’t get to eat more after we brushed our teeth. When we stop to think about the bigger picture, the size of the pizza box is not even in the frame.

When it comes to thankfulness, I know I fall short on a daily basis.

As a homeschool teacher for 5 kids, full time kitchen-chef, event planner and organizer, and paltry laundress…my days begin before the sun and end well after the stars.  My schedule is full to the point of overflowing, and I know I am not the only one in this camp.

We’re busy people, and at the end of the day I am wondering if I can stay awake another half hour, not whether I appreciated the people around me.

When I do stop to think about it, I find my happy places.

My daughter’s mighty hugs this morning, my son’s ingenuity this afternoon, the smirk on my husband’s face when I tell him my crazy (brilliant) ideas of cheap vacationing in Iceland… the abundant food in our kitchen, the couch we sit on while watching a movie together, the working heater in our home to keep us warm, and a home to shelter us all.

November is a perfect time to reflect on what we have, and to appreciate the loving people around us.

 

  1. Thanksgiving Gratitude Printable Calendars

http://www.proverbialhomemaker.com/thanksgiving-gratitude-calendars.html

This is pretty straightforward, for those of us who need things to be uncomplicated in order for them to make sense. These are printable calendars to guide us through thanksgivings each day of November. Step-by-step, this is a very easy way to find gratitude at the beginning of the holiday season.

 

  1. Give Thanks All Month Long

http://gratitudechallenge.com/downloads/gratitude-calendar.pdf

I liked this one because it is not only straightforward, but there are action points along the way. Some days there are ideas to “Write about something you feel grateful for in your life today,” while others are, “Take a few minutes to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.” Small actions can mean the world to someone in your life.

 

  1. Thankfulness Chart for Children

http://ministry-to-children.com/thankfulness-chart-project-for-children/

The best way to help a person develop a habit of gratitude is to teach them when they are young. Working together with children to build a Thankfulness chart is not only crucial for them to understand what thankfulness looks like, but they will see how important it is for you to be thankful as well.

 

  1. Gratitude 365 App

http://gratitude365app.com/

Some people are not as old-school as I am, and would rather not actually print out a calendar or write thankfulness notes in a notebook all month. Some of you need something electronic, and for that there is an answer. So, I am grateful that there is an app for the techie people in my life!

 

  1. Thanksgiving Advent Calendar DIY

http://happyhomefairy.com/thanksgiving-advent-calendar/

I am actually going to do this one with my kids. I am an old-school teacher at heart, and if it involves construction paper, project board, tacky glue and safety scissors…I’m all in.

This is a good project for kinesthetic learners, especially, to get their hands on the words they are thankful for. And at the end of the month, you will have a finished project you worked on together!

That is quality time with your child you can’t buy at Michael’s 🙂