Tag Archives: gratitude

The Season of Gratitude

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Has anyone else felt that the holidays came at the blink of an eye this year? It was fall, and suddenly it is full-on Christmastime. I hope my American followers enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday as a time to relax, reflect, and spend time with family and friends. My holiday wasn’t necessarily relaxing, but I am happy that I made the most of spending time with family and friends throughout the week – from Ohio (Cleveland and Columbus) to Michigan (Royal Oak, Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, and Detroit!).

While it has been easy for me to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season, from travel planning, to shopping for gifts, to decorating my apartment, I wanted to make sure to spend time reflecting. After all, the holiday season for me is the season of gratitude. I wanted to share a few things that make me feel especially grateful this year and hopefully they will inspire you to think about what you are grateful for as well!

First, I am grateful for creativity. Throughout the fall I have had a huge craving for the arts. If I see or think of something creative, I want to try it! I made candles with my neighbors, which is surprisingly much easier than you would think. You collect old jars you have around the house, melt wax in a pan, pour wax into the jars, and mix in your favorite combination of scents from essential oils or spices (fun fact – turmeric is a great spice to color your candle), and voila – you have a candle! I also painted freestyle with my neighbors in our own version of a “wine and paint” party. This is much more budget friendly and intimate way to paint with your friends – you get to choose the wine, paint at your own pace, and be at the comfort of your own home! I practiced flow painting with family during the Thanksgiving – which was so much fun and also therapeutic. What could be more fun (from an arts perspective) than mixing paint with Elmer’s glue and water, combining colors in a cup, and pouring them onto a canvas in whichever order you would like? You would be amazed how quickly you can look like a professional artist through flow painting! And most recently, I decorated a gingerbread house with my dad so that we could share enjoying the Christmas spirit even though we live far apart. Through all of these experiences, I have found that the arts are one way for me to focus my mind on the present. It helps clear my mind even for a short moment – which frees up space for me to problem solve and reflect in my daily life. It is very rewarding to see the outcome, a tangible and visual example of my work. I look forward to continuing the arts in the new year!

I am grateful for home. I have realized how important it is to have a home – and I don’t mean a physical location. My apartment in Greenville feels like home with all the memories from loved ones, including furniture from my grandma, decorations from my travels, warm candles, and photos of important people in my life. Spending time in Michigan with family feels like home, because my loved ones make it home. Even as my relatives have moved locations, I still feel at home when we are all together. It is the sense of togetherness that makes a place home for me. I can say that my heart feels its best and the most complete when it has a sense of “home.”

I am grateful for flexibility. There is no better feeling than when I have options and I don’t feel “stuck” – whether that means in my life decisions, my daily schedule, or my travels. Flexibility and free time are incredibly liberating and are helping me as I plan for the future. I feel lucky that my job allows me to have work-life balance – to flexibly schedule my commitments at work and at home. I just started the book, “The Power of Now,” and through that I am already realizing that time is imaginary and we should never feel stuck in a situation. Everything can be much more flexible if we separate ourselves from time pressures and worries and focus on the present and what we truly want. I have a feeling I will write a post about “The Power of Now” based on how much it has inspired me in just the first 50 pages of the book.

I am grateful for friendship. As I have moved every year since officially being an adult, and often multiple times per year, I could not be more grateful for the friendships I have made along the way. New and old friends along the way have helped me explore new places, laughed with me on the good days, cried with me on the bad days, and reflected on life. Together we have shared experiences that have helped me grow and prepare for the next phase. I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be without them – thank you to everyone who has been a friend along the way – can’t wait for more adventures together!

What are you grateful for? I hope these reflections help all of us remember to pause and think about the season of gratitude. May the holidays bring you much happiness, joy, and peace this year!

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I Am Grateful For…

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With a little over two weeks until Thanksgiving, I am reminded about the importance of gratitude. I have decided to start the month by thinking about what I am grateful for every day. When I think about one new thing that I am grateful for every day, I am reminded about how lucky I am and I feel a boost of optimism in my daily life. I have expanded this reflection into a daily discussion with my boyfriend, which has been very enjoyable to reflect and think about everything that we love about each other. While many of our thoughts are personal, the effects have been so powerful, and I wanted to share the experience with you!

Source: thechineseconquest.com

Source: thechineseconquest.com

This post is an invitation to say “I am grateful for…” every day until Thanksgiving. And better yet, it is a challenge to think this way throughout the year. Where to start? Think about your health, your family, your friends, your job, your daily conveniences, your hobbies, your guilty pleasures…and you will easily create a list. Try discussing what you are grateful for with your loved ones. You will be amazed by the joy, healing, and memories you will experience!

For more inspiration, check out my previous post, Attitude of Gratitude!

inspirNational Quotes III

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One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was Change Your Life! A Little Book of Big Ideas, by Allen Klein. I am reading the book from cover to cover, but love that it is divided into sections in case I need a quote for a particular situation, such as “be grateful,” “alter your attitude,” and “dream the impossible dream.”

changeYourLife

Below are some of my favorite inspirNational quotes from the book, divided into sections and adding to my previous inspirNational quotes posts (I and II):

Actions speak louder than words. Alter your attitude:

“The most powerful thing you can do to change the world, is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, reality, to something more positive.” -Shakti Gawain

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” -William James

“Most people are searching for happiness. They’re looking for it. They’re trying to find it in someone or something outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Happiness is something that you are, and it comes from the way you think.” -Wayne Dyer

Be grateful. Believe in miracles:

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you”? -William Arthur Ward

“Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.” -Maurice Setter

“If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.” -Robert Quillen

Cultivate kindness and compassion:

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” -Don Swartz

“Kindess is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” -Jesse Jackson

Dream the impossible dream:

“A dream is in the mind of the believer and in the hands of the doer. You are not given a dream without being given the power to make it come true.” -Anonymous

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“All our dreams can come true – if you have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

I tweet inspirational quotes and articles often – follow @brittanyvb to see all the quotes and more information about my sustainability work. Also check out my new inspirNational Facebook page – “like” the page to see all of my blog updates and related articles.

I hope these quotes leave you feeling inspired and motivated to start the week. Happy Sunday!

Holiday Reflections

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And just like that, the holiday season is over! I’m sure we have all had some time to reflect over 2014 and dream about 2015 and beyond (or if not, I hope this post helps us begin the reflection process). I had a wonderful two weeks celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends. Below I am sharing inspirNational insights from my holiday celebrations that I would like to remember throughout the new year:

  • Discuss and share your new year’s resolutions with your family and friends. For the first time ever, I spent time reflecting and planning for 2015 with friends and actually wrote down my resolutions. I also divided my resolutions into categories (career, health, and relationships) to help me stay organized. By sharing them with my peers, I feel more accountable and having goals will help me turn my vision into reality.
  • Simplify your life. Think about what matters to you most and focus your energy in those areas. Avoid distractions and prioritize your daily tasks and expectations to help reduce stress and promote a positive lifestyle. I drank a Trader Joe’s beer called “Simpler Times” over the weekend, and the great name reminded me of the importance of simplicity in life. Throughout 2015 I hope to simplify my life by staying organized, decluttering, and prioritizing the activities and relationships that bring me the most joy and fulfillment.
  • Be grateful and share your gratitude with those closest to you. As we all know, life can change with the blink of an eye, so it is important to appreciate the things and experiences we have. This reminds me of a powerful quote – “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” – so we should be grateful for all that we have today. It is also important to express gratitude, whether that means saying “I love you” often, spending time with our loved ones, or giving gifts.
  • Maintain holiday cheer throughout the year. December holiday decorations help us feel spirited and festive, but when January rolls around and we take them down, we often lose the holiday cheer. If we think about it, though, the premise of the holiday season is to spend time with the ones we love, reflect on the year, and indulge in our favorite treats. We can maintain this holiday cheer by continuing to plan family and friend get togethers and continuing to decorate. I plan to have winter themed decorations until the next big holiday in order to avoid the winter blues and keep the holiday cheer alive.
Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

I hope these holiday reflections inspire us to begin the new year in a positive light. Happy 2015!

Attitude of Gratitude

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Source: Natural Solutions Magazine

Source: Natural Solutions Magazine

‘Tis the season to be grateful. Or I like to think of it as the time of year to remember that we should be grateful every day. An attitude of gratitude has helped me stay optimistic throughout my life, see the good in others, appreciate the small things, and make the most of each day.

I realize, though, that it is challenging to always have this attitude, so I began to research how to be grateful.

Oprah’s November 2014 Magazine featured an insightful exercise to help us cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Below is an image of the exercise that I found on the Silver Threading blog (it’s a fun exercise to try!):

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In addition, Jamelle Sanders wrote an inspiring article with Powerful Lessons in Gratitude. She explains how gratitude leads to success, keeps us humble, and helps us find more meaning in life.

Applying these concepts to my life, I realize more and more each day that I should be grateful. With Thanksgiving just four days away (can you believe it?), I am reminded to reflect on all the changes that have occurred over the past year. I am grateful to have time to notice these changes and how I have grown as a person. I am grateful for my loving family and friends, who have been supportive every step of the way. I am grateful for my boyfriend, who has helped me learn about love, relationships, and how special it is to be able to experience the adventures of life while growing with another person. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in sustainability consulting, where I have been exposed to several industries and learned how companies can have a positive impact on their employees, the community and the environment. I am grateful for the flexibility to have work/life balance, which has helped me practice new skills outside of the office, such as yoga and cooking. I am grateful for the ability to travel and find ways to make it affordable, which has encouraged me to learn about the world and apply lessons in my daily life. Last, but not least, I am grateful for this blog, which has enabled me to pause and reflect on my own life, capture thoughts from those who inspire me, and (hopefully) inspire others as well. Thank you for supporting my blog by reading this post!

As we approach Thanksgiving, it is important for us to take a step back and think about everything that brings us joy and makes us who we are today. What are you grateful for? How can you have an attitude of gratitude this year?