Sunday, November 30

Attitude of Gratitude Challenge - the end? or just the beginning?

I am truly amazed that I made it through the month.

Today, the final day of November 2008, I am grateful for:

1. This Attitude of Gratitude Challenge. Some days were easier than others, but each day has been a blessing. I echo my good friend's wish – that I will continue to look for the blessings that surround me, even though I’m not recording them here on my blog.
2. Text messaging. I know it’s not a face-to-face conversation, but I love that I was able to have a very nice conversation with my nephew throughout the day today – a conversation in which I didn’t offend him with my playful teasing (I forget that he can be sensitive sometimes).
3. Experiences – good and bad, we are a sum of not only our experiences but also how we react to said experiences. As much as I hate trials and hardships when I’m going through them, they have made me who I am today (whether that’s good or bad is open to debate ☺). I hope that I can continue to grow from whatever life throws at me and that I can keep a positive outlook on life.

In September 2005, The Profound Power of Gratitude, President Thomas S. Monson quoted this newspaper story from several years ago:

The District of Columbia police auctioned off about 100 unclaimed bicycles Friday. “One dollar,” said an 11-year-old boy as the bidding opened on the first bike. The bidding, however, went much higher. “One dollar,” the boy repeated hopefully each time another bike came up.
The auctioneer, who had been auctioning stolen or lost bikes for 43 years, noticed that the boy’s hopes seemed to soar higher whenever a racer-type bicycle was put up.
Then there was just one racer left. The bidding went to eight dollars. “Sold to that boy over there for nine dollars!” said the auctioneer. He took eight dollars from his own pocket and asked the boy for his dollar. The youngster turned it over in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters—took his bike, and started to leave. But he went only a few feet. Carefully parking his new possession, he went back, gratefully threw his arms around the auctioneer’s neck, and cried.
When was the last time we felt gratitude as deeply as did this boy? The deeds others perform in our behalf might not be as poignant, but certainly there are kind acts that warrant our expressions of gratitude.

Saturday, November 29

Only 2 days left

Today I am grateful for:

1. A friend that I haven’t seen since high school who took time out of her day to help me move.
2. A friend of my brother’s who took time out of his day to help me move.
3. My two brothers who took time out of their day to help me move.

It’s so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted, and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted. How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our hearts and souls. I would remind all of you that if we’re ever going to show gratitude properly to our Heavenly Father, we should do it with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—because it was He who gave us life and breath.
--David B. Haight, Were There Not Ten Cleansed?

Let the thanksgiving continue

1. Playing games with the family – Tonight my brother and his family met at my mom’s for Thanksgiving, part II. After dinner – if you read my blog yesterday you’ll know it wasn’t made up of leftovers – several of us played Phase 10. We had the normal cheating, competitiveness, and gloating – that is normal, right?
2. Time to relax – haven’t had much of that lately, but it’s so nice to have a few minutes to sit, think, breath and just try to recuperate.
3. My Savior, Jesus Christ. I love Him. I am so grateful for His perfect example, for His love, and for His atonement.

Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality.
--Dallin H. Oakes, Give Thanks in All Things

Thursday, November 27

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday.
There are so many things to be grateful for, and today should be the mother lode, but I’m going to keep it short (and thanks to Miss L for the comic).

Today I am grateful for:

1. Unconditional Love
2. Marriott’s Thanksgiving buffet – this was a first for us, this year. I must say, today was probably the most relaxing Thanksgiving we’ve had. It was nice to be able to calmly eat and converse without the worry of prep work or clean up.
3. Central Air – heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. No matter what the weather is outside, I can maintain an even temperature inside. Perfect!

[Gratitude] is a quality I have found in every happy person I know. It is a quality that instantly makes a person more likable and more at peace. Where there is an abundance of [gratitude], there is happiness. Where there is an absence of [gratitude], there is often sadness, resentment, and futility… Those who live in thanksgiving daily, however, are usually among the world’s happiest people. And they make others happy as well.
--Joseph B. Wirthlin, Live in Thanksgiving Daily

Wednesday, November 26

Short and Sweet

1. I'm grateful that I was able to fill my car with gas for less than $20.
2. I'm grateful for Flour Girls & Dough Boys Artisan Bakery & Cafe. This new discovery is how I can survive not having a Panera nearby. Their Asiago Bread and Mint Brownies are to die for.
3. I am grateful for snugly blankets.

This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.
--Thomas S. Monson, An Attitude of Gratitude

Tuesday, November 25

On the 25th day of Gratitude

My online subscription to LDS Living came today with an interesting story on “The Power of Thank You.” ‘tis the season, I guess.

1. Holiday Weekends – I know I’ve already expressed my gratitude for weekends, but Holiday Weekends are a horse of a different color. Since my company gives us Thanksgiving off as well as the day after Thanksgiving, that’s four (count them 4) whole days off, hopefully giving me time to rejuvenate for the following week. Of course, that isn’t going to happen, right?
2. Web sites that facilitate searching and travel – Again, I know I’ve already expressed gratitude for the Internet (thanks Al Gore, right?), but this is more specific. I’ve just been given a spur-of-the-moment international assignment for the weeks of December 8th and 15th. However, the hotel where co-workers have stayed is unavailable for the time period I’m going to be there. I know the general area in which I want to stay, so I was able to use Google, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, you name it, to try and find an inexpensive yet acceptable hotel for two weeks. I guess I’ll find out when I get there if it truly is acceptable.
3. Leftovers – I made a really yummy hamburger and macaroni dinner the other night. Since I’m cooking for one, of course I had leftovers. So, I get home tonight after another crazy busy day, and I’m not in the mood to cook, and I’m trying to be frugal so I don’t want to get take-out, and voila! Leftover yummy hamburger and macaroni! Love it.

“Gratitude works because, as a way of perceiving and interpreting life, it recruits other positive emotions—like joy, contentment, and hope—that have direct physical benefits... We have also found that when people experience gratitude, they feel more loving, more forgiving, and closer to God.”
--Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis

Monday, November 24

How did it get to be the 24th already?

1. I am grateful to be able to volunteer for Make-A-Wish. What a great organization! Each time I read the volunteer newsletter, or read an email about a child’s wish being fulfilled, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of all those who make it happen.
2. Smiles – it’s amazing how much an attitude can change when someone smiles.
3. Sunshine – two definitions: the shining of the sun; direct light of the sun, or brightness or radiance; cheerfulness or happiness.

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, November 23

Many thanks

1. Hymns of Praise – I love the calm feeling listening to such music provides.
2. Gold Bond Foot Cream – quite the salvation for dry, cracked heels. I’ve tried several products, but this has worked the best for me.
3. I am grateful for my knowledge that I am a daughter of God – a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and who wants my happiness and joy.

Psalms 100
1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Saturday, November 22

This, the 22nd day of Gratitude

1. Individuality for women – I’m reading a book (A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray) – it’s a great book so far. It takes place in old-world England where the only reason girls were educated was to make them better wives. I found the following interchange enlightening – it takes place between two students after an impromptu conversation with a teacher: “I found it all very interesting,” says Felicity. “My future husband won’t,” Cecily grouses. “He’ll want to know that I can draw something pleasant to impress our guests.” I’m so glad that I can find things interesting outside of what my husband would find interesting. I know, I know, I don’t have a husband – but if I did, I could.
2. Laurenda’s quote from yesterday’s blog: “Difficulties are opportunities to better things; they are stepping stones to greater experience. Perhaps someday you will be thankful for some temporary failure in a particular direction. When one door closes, another always opens.” --Author Unknown
3. Fantastic Sam’s. Hair stylists who actually listen to what I want done with my hair? Now there's a novel thought.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.
--G. K. Chesterton

Friday, November 21

Edward is hot

Today I am grateful for:

1. Entertainment - It may be shallow, but I appreciate being entertained by good, quality television shows and movies. Of course, "good" and "quality" are subjective terms and what I find to be quality entertainment can be different from someone else. This came to mind today because Amanda and I watched Twilight. LOVED IT!
2. Patience - meaning, people with patience because I sure don't have any. I'm working on that, though, and some days are better than others.
3. I couldn't sleep this morning, so I decided to run errands - it was fairly early. As I was out and about I witnessed a beautiful sunrise. Had I not be driving, I would have taken a picture. I'm sure the other drivers on the road are grateful for the fact that I didn't try to take a picture and drive at the same time. Oh, so I'm grateful for beautiful sunrises.

“The deepest hunger in human beings is the desire to be appreciated.”
--William James

Thursday, November 20

The 20th, really?

1. Good memories – Tonight I made a stir fry for dinner. I know you’re asking what that has to do with memories. Well, I made it from one of my mom’s recipes…a recipe we used to make all the time when I was in high school. As I was chopping the carrots (yes, it’s true, I actually ate carrots this evening of my own free will), celery, onions, etc. I remembered many of our family dinners. So, not only did I have a delicious meal, but I also had great memories to go along with it.
2. Lip balm – I live in such a dry climate, my lips would shrivel up and fall off (wouldn’t that be a sight?) if I didn’t have a constant supply of lip balm. C.O. Bigelow® is my current favorite.
3. Fun co-workers. A friend/co-worker sent me the following saying: “my work friends are the reason why I love my job.” I couldn’t have said it better.

"The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!"
--President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939]

Wednesday, November 19

Yes, I'm a nerd

Having just spent 13 hours at work, my first items of gratitude are techie software things that helped keep the 13 hours from becoming many, many more:

1. notepad ++ – a free source code editor. This little application let me look at all of the invisible characters in a text file I was working with until I found that annoying character that was causing my problem. Without this app, I’d still be at work banging my head against a brick wall.
2. Text Translation Preview – a little feature in one of my company’s applications that allowed me to easily preview my progress rather than use the 20-step process it would have taken without this feature. Twenty might be an exaggeration, but not much.
3. Totally not work related, but I’m thankful for my mom’s home teacher. He and his wife are so good about visiting my mom each month. Not only does he visit her, but he takes a genuine interest in making sure she’s OK. Scot is awesome – I know my mom appreciates him, and thus, I appreciate him.

"We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way. Appreciation is a wonderful feeling, don't overlook it."
--Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 18


I got an email this morning from LDS Living Magazine that had an article entitled "Gratitude First." Well, of course I was interested, so I read it. What a lovely story. You should read it!

1. Water – I don’t have to fetch water in a bucket. I don't have to fetch water from a well, outdoor pump, or (egad!) a river. My water isn’t the color of rust. I am so happy to be able to turn on a faucet and get as much water as I can drink. Just writing about this is making me thirsty.
2. The First Presidency of the LDS church – President Monson, President Eyring and President Uchtdorf. I love, admire and respect these men. I love listening to and then re-reading their talks. I know they are men of God.
3. Fluffy pillows – pretty self-explanatory

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
--Frederick Keonig

Monday, November 17

Day 17 and counting

Today I am grateful for:

1. Snow-capped mountains – need I say more?
2. Daylight Savings Time – What? We’re not on Daylight Savings Time, you say? Exactly my point. I miss it.
3. Coupons – I’m trying to budget better and spend less. It was a great feeling watching the grocery total go down little by little as the cashier scanned my coupons.

I remember hearing in a talk that the more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring to our mind other blessings. The more we are aware of to be grateful for, the happier we become.
--President Ezra Taft Benson

Sunday, November 16

I can't believe I've been doing this for 16 days

Some of the things I've been grateful for this month have been shallow and materialistic, but you know what? It doesn't matter. I'm grateful for them, so why not list them? Life is made up of important, significant things as well as smaller things that help simplify this crazy life we have to live. Why not be grateful for them all?

1. I’m grateful to be able to attend church. This is the first Sunday in November that I haven't been on an airplane, so I was finally able to attend my church meetings. Granted, I had to leave early due to a headache/migraine (see item #2), but I’m grateful for the meetings I did attend.
2. Aspirin (Tylenol, Advil, insert your favorite aches-and-pains medicine here) – I woke up at around 4 or 5 a.m. with a splitting headache, and I knew right then it was going to be a whopper of a day. But I was able to take a couple of Tylenol and go back to sleep for a few more hours. I love that we have medicines to alleviate pain.
3. Laundry detergent – I love the smell of freshly washed laundry. Hopping into a bed with just washed sheets? Awesome.

"Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted--a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
--Rabbi Harold Kushner

Saturday, November 15

But wait, there's more

1. I’m not sure if this is a fair thing to list, but in honor of the new James Bond movie, this weekend I am thankful for Daniel Craig (yes, Kris, I stole this picture from your friend's blog). He is about the hottest James Bond EVER! Hey, I don’t have a husband to be grateful for, so cut me some slack. ☺

2. Weekends – What a relief to have two days off of work (as long as I’m not traveling over the weekend for work) to relax, catch up on stuff, attend church, and take a breather. Weekends rock!
3. I have been very remiss in mentioning my gratitude for The Book of Mormon. I am always better able to cope with life when I read The Book of Mormon daily. As Kris mentioned, it really is a source of peace and answers that I need so desperately during these crazy times.

Instead of a quote, I’m going to share an email my niece forwarded yesterday – I find it very fitting for the theme:

I dreamed that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."
I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed
"How is it that there is no work going on here?" I asked.
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.

"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."

Friday, November 14

14 days and counting

1. Food Network channel – I love this channel – good shows, good hosts (Alton Brown is my favorite), good recipes. This morning I had breakfast at a place profiled by Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives called The Dor-Stop Restaurant. Raspberry French Toast to die for.
2. Cell phones – My flight from Pittsburgh to Atlanta was delayed, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to make my connection out of Atlanta. I was able to use my cell phone to quickly find a nearby hotel, call for reservations (and a shuttle), and verify my flight schedule for tomorrow morning. Ain’t technology grand?
3. Family – siblings, in-laws, nieces/nephews, in-laws, great-nieces and great-nephews (gulp!). We’re all crazy, and I love it! My youngest nephew got his mission call today (Zurich, Switzerland) and I was able to participate in the conference call as he opened and read his call for the first time. What a great experience to be able to share that with him!

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.
--Ralph H. Blum

Thursday, November 13

Thankful Thursday

I had to visit my blog today to see what I have already listed – it’s quite a list. Again I have to say that I really enjoy doing this. Thanks to Laurenda for passing along the idea. And thanks to Amanda's fam for taking up the challenge. I love reading your daily lists!! Those two “thanks” were just freebies – here’s today’s list:

1. Modern Transportation – cars, airplanes, light rail, metros, you name it, anything that can get me to my destination quickly. Of course, this isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy transporting myself the old fashioned way by walking, riding my bike, etc.
2. Rain – As long as I don’t have the expectation of people letting me in their house (think mission), I love walking out in the rain. It rained like crazy in Pittsburgh this morning, and I loved it.
3. Health (thanks for the idea, Deanna) – I can walk, run (I CAN run, that’s not to say I do a lot of running), think, speak (sometimes before thinking), hear, see, hike, swim, etc. There are people who can’t, so I count this as a great blessing.

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.
-- Ralph Marston

Wednesday, November 12

Day 12

1. Restaurant Delivery – it’s so nice to be able to relax (read be lazy) at the hotel and have someone bring food to my door.
2. Humor – my friend Kris mentioned this yesterday in her blog (which I didn’t read until today), but I thought of this today all on my own. The guys I work with in Pittsburgh are so funny…even grumpy Bob. And, as Kris says, laughter and humor are contagious – so spread the humor!!
3. My dad – he passed away in 1992, but I think about him and miss him every day. He was (is) a great example of love, tolerance, faith, compassion, dedication, work, courage, service, and the list goes on. I’m totally bawling so I better leave it at that.

"This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.
"We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues"
--Thomas S. Monson, "An Attitude of Gratitude," Ensign, May 1992, 54

Tuesday, November 11

November 11th

I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 11 days – it really has been an eye-opening experience. It's quite touching to spend my day looking for my three things. Sadly, like my friend Laurenda, I think of things throughout the day, but when it comes time to blog, I completely forget. And I know they were good things, too. Anywho, what am I thankful for today?

1. My friend’s mom accepted the Attitude of Gratitude challenge, and she mentioned something we should all be thankful for (especially today – Veteran’s Day). I am grateful for all of the men and women who have ever served this country – WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and today. I thank you.
2. My job. I may get frustrated with it at times, but I’m glad to have it. I enjoy the people I work with AND I’ve had the chance of meeting fantastic people from all over the world.
3. Windows (windows as in “an opening in the wall of a building, the side of a vehicle, etc., for the admission of air or light, or both”, not computer Windows – come on, I’m a Mac girl). Sounds dumb, I know, but when I’m working in my office, I don’t have any windows remotely near my office. However, today, I had to “share” an office with a gentleman in Pittsburgh. His office has nice big windows. As I looked out the windows that opened so beautifully on the… building next to ours (I did seem some tree tops and some fall leaves), I was grateful that I wasn’t surrounded by four solid walls.

Thanks to our Father we will bring,
For he gives us everything.
--Robert Louis Stevenson (Children’s Songbook, pg. 20)

Monday, November 10

Obrigado, Спасибо, Ευχαριστίες

That's Portuguese, Russian and Greek, in case you wanted to know.

My friend Kris has started her Gratitude challenge, and she has inspired me to go a little deeper in what I'm grateful for:

1. Good friends. As I look back on my life, I have always been blessed with great friends. Friends who make it easier for me to be the person I want to be. Friends who love me no matter what. Several of my friends have been my friends for YEARS!
2. The world – I know that sounds kind of all encompassing, but let me explain. In the past four days, I’ve been in three different states. I’ve seen the beautiful, majestic mountains of Utah; enjoyed the warm weather in Texas (can I iterate again the awesomeness of wearing capri pants in November and NOT being cold?); and stood by the three merging rivers of Pittsburgh. There is SO much beauty to enjoy in the world – how can I express how much I love seeing it all?
3. People who are willing to pay a compliment to a total stranger. I need to be more like that.

"Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.
Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.
Thankfulness may consist merely of words.
Gratitude is shown in acts."
--David O. McKay

Sunday, November 9

Danke, Grazie, Merci

I wish I could say that this Gratitude challenge has rid me of all tendencies to be easily annoyed, but alas, I can’t. Maybe by the end of the month? OR, more likely, this will be a work in progress for a while. But I am working on it.

1. Clothes that don’t require ironing!!
2. Panera Bread
3. Awesome hotel staff. When I checked into the hotel in Pittsburgh, I asked if I could be in a room on the “quiet” side of the hotel. There’s a bar on one side of the hotel and rooms on that side tend to be noisy. The only room on the quieter side of the hotel (although, with the Steelers game tonight, I’m not sure if any room will be quiet) was a more expensive room…with a jacuzzi. Well, the nice gentleman at the front desk upgraded me to this room at no extra charge – at least that’s what he told me. So, not only do I get a room on the “quiet” side of the hotel, but I also get a room with a jacuzzi. What a nice young man!

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
--Melody Beattie

Saturday, November 8

Day 8 list

1. Chocolate Mint Brownies. I know I already said I was thankful for chocolate, but these are in a class all to themselves. Yum!!
2. Tivo/DVR/whatever you want to call it. I LOVE that I can (easily) record my favorite television shows and watch the on my schedule. Not home on Wednesday night for Pushing Daisies? Not a problem - it’s recorded. LOVE IT!!
3. Running water. Nothing happened (thank goodness) to make this stand out today more than any other day, I just realized how much I would have hated bathing out of a bucket.

Of all the "attitudes" we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.
--Zig Ziglar

Friday, November 7

Day 7's giving of thanks

I’ve set a precedent now – if I skip a day, I’ll feel guilty. So, whether you like it or not, I’m going to continue with my daily giving of thanks.

1. Christmas music. I know what you’re saying – I said it myself: isn’t it too early for Christmas music? As it turns out, no, it isn’t. I was driving home from the airport this morning, scanning through the local radio stations when I ran across a Christmas song – actually, several stations are playing Christmas music now, but I digress. After my initial “it’s-too-early-for-this” reaction, I started singing along (notice how I didn’t CHANGE the station?). Immediately (and I mean immediately) the annoyance I felt toward the driver of the truck and trailer who just cut me off disappeared. It was awesome. So, I sang Christmas music all the way home.
2. To go along with the Christmas music, I am grateful for my hearing. What did you just say?
3. I drove my mom to her local library tonight so that she could get her library card. I had mentioned the Gratitude Challenge to her earlier. As we were getting out of the car, she stopped in the parking lot, looked over at the sunset and said, “you should be thankful for that,” pointing to the gorgeous sunset. She’s right – I am thankful. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera. But wait, fortunately I did have my iPhone, so enjoy!

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”
--Margaret Cousins

Thursday, November 6

What I'm thankful for, November 6th

1. Different cultures (and food). This week I've eaten Vietnamese, Chinese Dim Sum, and Turkish food (really yummy)!

2. I love that people of differing opinions (sometimes VERY differing opinions) can still be friends.

3. e-mail. It's so nice to have almost instantaneous communication with people all over the world.

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more.

--Brother David Steindl-Rast

Wednesday, November 5

Thanks, Day 5

Can it really be the 5th of November, already? Although finding things to be grateful for today was difficult, it was equally rewarding. What a difference it made in my attitude when I consciously looked for things to be thankful for. This in contrast to my attitude when I wasn't consciously looking.

Day 5 list:

1. (since it snowed in Utah today) The 4 extra days of capri pants, short sleeves and flip-flops.
2. Getting in touch with old friends. Thanks to one of those networking websites, I have recently re-connected with friends from high school, my mission, work, etc. It's crazy, I haven’t been in touch with some of these people since the 80’s or 90’s. It has been so much fun!!
3. Comfortable shoes. Standing in front of a class all day (on a cement floor) tends to get uncomfortable after awhile.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
--William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, November 4

I'm not stupid... really!

I like to think that I’m a relatively smart person. While working at the Houston Chronicle, I park my car in a parking garage. Yesterday, as I was returning to my car after a long (not really so long) day of work, I got to the elevator of the parking garage and all I saw were two red buttons, neither one looked something I should push.

I sat (well, stood) looking around, perplexed, for at least a full 2-3 minutes trying to figure out where the call button was for the elevator, until, finally, another person arrived to push that small, almost invisible button UNDERNEATH the two red buttons. I laughed all the way up to the 5th floor. I had to get a picture of it today.

Gratitude, Day 4

Yesterday I was thankful for things because of their absence at the time (i.e. a comfortable bed and good, clean books). Today I decided to be thankful for things that ARE. Here’s what I came up with.

1. People who go out of their way to help perfect strangers – I’m teaching classes in Houston and one of my students (who happens to be the food critic at the Houston Chronicle) took several minutes out of her day to make a list of restaurants that I had to visit – “you HAVE to have a good time while you’re here.” My friend/co-worker Lee and I went to a Vietnamese recommendation this evening. YUMMY!!
2. Decreasing gas prices. I drove by a gas station this evening where gas was $2.09/gallon. I leapt for joy (on the inside, of course, as I was driving at the time).
3. That I live in a country where every citizen, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc. can exercise the right to vote (or NOT to vote, if they so desire). Even if, sometimes, people vote the wrong way. ☺

“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”
--Sarah Ban Breathnach, in John Cook, comp., The Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd ed. (2007), as quoted by Thomas S. Monson

Attitude of Gratitude, Day 3

I must thank my friend Laurenda, again, for this great opportunity!

1. A comfortable bed to sleep in (which I don't have at this hotel right now)
2. Chocolate
3. Good, clean books - I've had to throw away two in the last two days because of bad language. Why is it so hard for some authors to write books without sexual references and f-words?

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
--John F. Kennedy

Monday, November 3

Attitude of Gratitude, Day 2

I'm not sure if I'll blog about my three gratitude items every day, but today I'm thinking "why not?" Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

I flew to Houston yesterday. Now, I fly all the time, but yesterday, as I looked out the window, I was really struck by the beauty of the sky - probably because of this challenge. So, for day 2 of my Attitude of Gratitude challenge, I am grateful for:

1. Beautiful cumulus cloud formations
2. Blue Sky
3. LDS General Conference Ensign editions

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


Saturday, November 1

Attitude of Gratitude Challenge

My friend posted this on her blog, and since it seemed like such a good idea, I have shamelessly plagiarized it (my friend shamelessly copied it from an email sent to her, so it's a challenge several times removed). Anyway, here we go:

Announcing the November Attitude of Gratitude Challenge
Participation is voluntary.

How it works
Each day during the month of November, send me an email (but feel free to include other people, not just me, if you want).

Each email should include three things for which you are grateful.

The term "things" is used here to encompass a myriad of stuff including, but not limited to: a certain set of circumstances, an event, an inanimate object distinguished from a living being, possessions or effects, a deed or act, a product of work or activity, an idea or notion, a piece of news or information, a person, a memory, anything that makes you smile.

It will be fun, but challenging to come up with three original things each day. Try not to repeat entries.

* The email should be sent by midnight each night. If you miss a day or two, no biggie, but you have to make it up, no skipping!

"Gracias, danke, merci—whatever language is spoken, "thank you" frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey toward perfection. There is a simplicity—even a sincerity—when "thank you" is spoken." --
Thomas S. Monson, "The Profound Power of Gratitude," Ensign, Sep 2005

My Three Things for November 1st:

1. I'm thankful for Costco - is that dumb?
2. I'm thankful for the Internet
3. I'm thankful for my mom