Who Are You Hanging Out With?

By Shannon Boatwright

Ok, so I already had this whole idea ready, notes written and all, for a blog entry I was all into and passionate about. But then, I see this post on Instagram by Prince EA (@prince_ea) and I had to drop everything and write about this topic. The post said…

“Who are you hanging out with? There was a 20- year study done at Harvard, it said that your physical health is determined more by your relationships than the food you eat, the exercise program you’re on or the genes that you have inherited.”

SMiley

Wow. So on one level, YES, but Wow. Shocking to really think about. And I mean, really think about it…

#1 – How is your physical health?

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#2 – What kind of foods do you eat?

#3 – What kind of exercise are you getting?

#4 – Ya got good genes?

#5 – How are your relationships?

#6 – Who ARE you hanging out with?

 

This one has really made me think….

For me, as a public school teacher, I know my health is not as good as it could/should be. Why? Because, I’m overworked, overwhelmed and grossly underpaid. And let’s face it, I don’t have or make enough time for ME. Who do I spend most of my time with during the work week? Adolescent, middle school kids.

Of which, maybe 30% are well behaved, respectful children who make an honest effort.  50% are lazy, rascals that test a teacher’s patience at almost every turn. And 20% are inconsiderate, disrespectful punks that need a good dose of real discipline.  Add to that equation the fact that I’m a person of great passion and dignity, that cannot help but give 150% to my job – which means, I attempt to reach all these kids that I spend most of my time with during my work week.  It’s exhausting.

I should work out daily. I fortunately do a lot of moving within my school day, whether dancing, doing warm up after warm up with each class or simply being on my feet, walking the halls of the school or constantly dragging seating and/or set pieces around on my stage. But, do I do a focused work out just for me? Nope. Not usually. I’m always teaching or doing activity for something else/someone else. Do I need to make the exercise happen for me? All for me? YES!

Do I eat good? Sure, compared to most. I’m not a soda person.  I have my coffee every morning, usually only one cup. Do I put too much sugar in it? Yep. Two whole spoonfuls with French vanilla creamer. I can’t do it any other way. I’ve tried. I’d rather have no coffee, than have to endure drinking dirty water – aka black coffee. I discovered that firsthand when I did the Whole30 healthy eating program. My other drink of choice, besides a relaxing, lovely glass of wine, is good ole southern sweet tea. Which in my house, we only make green tea since the hubby has battled kidney stones. I like to think I do pretty darn good with drinking water. I have my days of course, but generally I do really well with drinking a lot of water because it just flat out makes me feel better.

Food wise, quite honestly, I don’t count calories and I take pride in the fact that I never plan to. I love food. I love to cook. I could eat pasta every day. But, the cool thing, … as you get older, you start listening to your body. At least I have. I’ve learned. I know when I need fruit. I know when I need veggies. I know when I need grains and/or red meat. I’ve learned to listen to my cravings. Even those rare times when I need chocolate. 😉 Our bodies speak to us. We just have to listen.

Do I have good genes? People tell me I do. I like to think I do. My family is beautiful, in my opinion. All mostly healthy people. Any critical issues, etc they have suffered from in my bloodline have been due to injury or sickness for the most part. No tragic hereditary ailments. For which I am incredibly thankful.

My Mama is beautiful. Fortunately for her, she has been blessed with a strong dose of the Italian bloodline of her family tree, which has graced her with gorgeous, dark skin that seems to age half the amount of time most normal people’s skin ages. Of course it helps that she takes amazing care of her skin. But she indeed has genes to thank for that. Me. I’m a different story. Though people constantly and consistently say that I look like my mother, it’s really only that my mother and I are two peas in a pod. We have the same mannerisms, the same manner of speaking at times… let’s just say we are artists born of the same brush. It’s a magical thing. But the reality of my exterior is that I have a lot of my father’s genes. And, my dear Daddy is of Scottish decent. Even some Irish may be in there. Therefore, yep, I am a true blond/auburn/strawberry little lady with white, freckled, easily prone to wrinkle skin.

Now fortunately, on the talent scale, I’d like to think I should be very thankful to have equal parts of both my parents, as they’re both very charismatic, outgoing, friendly, talented individuals. But I’ve come to the harsh reality that I just don’t have all the exterior genes that my mother has. I think the only Italian genes I inherited are definitely that of an interior nature, which is that I have a naturally determined, strong willed, very passionate, sassy temperament that either wows a person or scares them.

So all this being said, you’d think that all of this would have a heck of a lot to do with my physical health. I mean come on!

Yet this Harvard study stated that “your physical health is determined more by your relationships than the food you eat, the exercise program you’re on or the genes that you have inherited.

This is huge and I totally get it.

The reality for some people, despite what they eat, how much they work out or what genes they were graced with, is that they’re miserable. Their physical body may look good or their life may seem awesome to others, but internally they’re a mess. Is this because of unhealthy relationships in their lives? Ever heard the stories about the celebs, rock stars, actors, sports stars, dignitaries, etc who seem to have it all? Success, fame, power, riches….yet, they struggle consistently with emotional demons and some even end their own lives? Whew. Wow.

Yep. Doesn’t matter how fabulous the exterior may seem. It’s the relationships that mold the person.  Just maybe, the people we surround ourselves with…the people we have true relationships with, are what truly defines us.  ???   Hmmmmm…

Does my stressful job within the public school system affect my health? Heck yea it does. On more levels than I could begin to describe here. And, let’s face it, if I didn’t have the fellow teachers, the ones that have become truly best friends among the battlegrounds of public school, I would never survive the war that is public school. The relationships I have been graced with while soldiering through the dirty platoons of teacherdom, well, some of these friendships are everlasting. Seriously. I don’t know what I’d do without some of these fellow warriors I’ve had the honor and pleasure to work with. And during those school hours, despite the brats and rugrats I may have to deal with, I still build faith in my grand, underappreciated profession, thanks to the precious few students who make an effort, make me smile and remind me of why I try so hard to inspire.

And my family and real friends, my oh my, I could write page after page about the true family and friends that I have faith, security and thankfulness in knowing that they love me, they forgive me, they adore me, they have my back no matter what …it’s a truly priceless thing to know I have loved ones I can go to for support no matter what I may be going through.

I can absolutely attest to the fact that in my older, more recent years, I have become a healthier person due to the people I surround myself with. My husband, my Love… he makes me a better person. He adores and supports me in a way that words cannot begin to describe. Sometimes just the look in his eyes gives me the push I need to be myself and pursue my dreams. His genuine adoration and love allowed me to find myself. His humble, supportive, loving nature reminds me that it’s ok to put myself first. He has this grand ability to love me and allow me this priceless opportunity to be ok with sharing my talents. So I can say with utter confidence, when I hang out with him, I am complete. I am a healthy, awesome individual because I can be me.

Relationships? Are they really that important to our health?

Oh My Goodness, YES YES YES YES and YES.

So, who are you hanging out with??

Not Saying Good Luck

By Shannon Boatwright

 

I don’t say “Good Luck”.

I say “Make it happen. Earn it. Be excellent.”

Brendon Burchard

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Alright, so I like to inspire others – as much as possible. But I am also easily inspired. I like to find my own personal inspiration in the little things, the big things, the random things…you name it. A little inspiration can carry one a long way and have a priceless, lasting effect on someone. Therefore, it is my belief that an opportunity to inspire someone is never a wasted effort.

That being said, I came across this quote from Brendon Burchard and it has hit me hard, in a most positive, touching way.  I find myself telling others “good luck” all the time! Like seriously, when really thinking about it, I say this a lot to people. But does saying good luck really provide the support and encouragement that I’d like to provide to people in my life? Honestly… No.

Now that I think about it, I myself certainly don’t want to rely on chance or this idea of luck. We must create our success and allow positivity to guide us to our real winnings in life. Most things are just not a roll of the dice, or a scratch card, luck of the draw kind of situation. If I want positive things to happen in my life, I have to take a stand, share my voice, use my talents, and work for it to make it happen!  So I don’t want to encourage others to wait on or put stock in any kind of hope that they’ll simply “get lucky”.  I plan to make a conscious choice to not say “Good Luck” to others and instead, like Brendon Burchard, I will say “You got this! Be excellent, earn it and make it happen!”

Will you wait for good fortune to knock on your door? Or will you work hard to be excellent and make it happen?  How will you encourage others?

If Your Life Were a Movie…

By Shannon Boatwright

I recently came across a post that one of my dear friends shared on Facebook. It was an app that lets you choose one of your profile pictures to edit into a movie poster with other celeb quotes. The app states, “What does your Hollywood movie poster look like? See yourself as a Hollywood celebrity, starring in the movie of your life.”  This is enough to grab anyone’s attention because it’s just flat out cool and fun! For me personally, having lived in Hollywood and as a person who has made a career out of working in the entertainment business and the Fine Arts, well, I certainly couldn’t resist trying out this app! Needless to say, I had a blast playing around with integrating my pictures into a movie poster and checking out the celeb quotes they put on the posters.  Serious cool fun!

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But this got me thinking…if my life were a movie (which it certainly could be with all the drama, excitement, romance, hardships, soap opera & comedic moments!), what would people say about me? Would they consider me a great beauty? Would they claim that the world has fallen in love with me, that my power, beauty, strength, and kindness are mind blowing and give others hope? Would I be considered as having charmed the world? It’s something to consider for sure and goodness knows I would hope that at least a majority of the people that are a part of my life would think of me in some sort of lovely, positive light.

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We should all live our lives in such a way that our movie poster would possess quotes that share a small taste of who we are and the mark we make on those around us.  It’s something to strive for and always keep in mind.  If your life were a movie, what would the quotes say on your movie poster??

Never Enough

By Shannon Boatwright

When you are with the ones that you love so deeply, isn’t it true that you want all the time with them you can get? When we love so dearly, we cannot imagine our lives without certain people. There is never enough time, never enough moments, no matter what. We want to do, be and experience all that we possibly can with the ones that we love.Never Enough

When I think of my family, those special occasions when we get together, we don’t want them to end. Those times when family is accepting, loving, playing and having such a blast together, always seem to go by all too quickly.

When I think of my dearest friends who are like family, we seem to never get enough time together!

When I think of my precious children, there certainly is NEVER enough time.  Time is critical and there is absolutely never enough of it. They grow so fast, change so fast. I want to wrap them up in my arms and never, ever let go. There never is enough time spent with my angel babies. It is brutal, especially considering how quickly time seems to fly by.

And when I think of my husband, My Love, I want to experience so much together! Though I am definitely a woman who needs her alone time, I also cannot stand to be without this man. It’s crazy. I guess true love will do that to a person. There truly are never enough moments to satisfy my need to be with this man of mine.

I’ve written about the brilliant and amazing movie, The Greatest Showman, already. The inspiration this incredible movie provides seems to be boundless.  There’s not a song on that soundtrack that I don’t love.  First musical ever, in fact, where I actually, seriously love every single song!  And the first time I heard the song, “Never Enough”, I knew I had to sing it. It moved me and moves me still every single time I hear it.

I am blessed enough to have a very special relationship with my Mama. And I am beyond blessed that my fabulous Mama is so talented.  I was thrilled to have the priceless experience of performing this song while my Mama accompanied me on the piano. We ended up performing the song for my 8th grade honors students for an in-class talent show at the end of the first semester. It was such a special moment to perform with my mother for my students! The video here is of one of our rehearsals at home. You’ll see that my pup Monte has proven to be one of my very best audience members. Anytime I sing at home, he sits at my side and listens, occasionally giving me looks of complete adoration and utter love.  It’s pretty darn awesome.

My Mama is playing on the very piano that her grandfather gave her when she was a young child. To say it’s special is an understatement.  Now I don’t claim to be anything special or have a good voice, in fact I know it’s not anything of super star status, but I can say that I do love to sing and hope that those that watch the video will enjoy what they hear.

In thinking about this original song, at first listen, one may think, well that’s bold and greedy of this character to claim that life is never enough.  But those that go any negative route are missing the point completely and not truly listening to the meaning.  Check out these lyrics…

I’m trying to hold my breath
Let it stay this way
Can’t let this moment end
You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause darling without you

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough

For me
Never, never

When you look closer, the message is so clear and so beautiful.  We love so passionately, adore and cherish so deeply, that the world is not enough, all the shine of a thousand spotlights, all the stars in the sky, towers of gold, will never be enough to complete the need we have for those that we love, for those that truly complete us, for those that make our lives worthwhile.  We could have the world in our hands, achieving all the riches and successes life has to offer, but it all means nothing, because without those that we love so dearly, nothing else matters!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS_7xCJE5ro&feature=youtu.be

 

The Anxiety Monster

By Shannon Boatwright

Mental health disorders have been at the forefront of the social scene lately, creating a social awareness of the fact that they are very real and something that should not be ignored.  I personally have witnessed and experienced the harsh reality that is anxiety.

Over my lifetime, I’ve witnessed those I love, my precious students, and heard of others that suffer with this crippling thing that is anxiety.

Now let me point out – anxiety is a very normal emotion for any individual. And any health professional will tell you that. But, it’s when the anxiety literally disables you, making you irrational and consumed with fear, that it moves into the territory of being a disorder. Anxiety can take hold of some, making them so fearful of something that they become obsessed and can think of nothing but the impending doom they think a certain place, situation or action may hold for them.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “the term “anxiety disorder” refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry, and includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD),  panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias.

It’s a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety.

But you may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.”

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety#

Anxiety can be like a monster that grabs hold of you and sets in a fear that overwhelms you, making you feel helpless, with no sense of control. And you have no idea how to battle that monster.

I have known people in which the anxiety makes them immobile and just racked with fear – as if the place they dread, the place that has stirred this monster of anxiety, is like a haunted house waiting to eat them alive. Or cases when one’s own negative thoughts become so uncontrollable and real to them that they literally throw up. I have seen some of my smartest, most talented students become so ravaged with anxiety, not wanting to go to a certain class that they dread, that they literally cry at the thought of having to face going. To think that a feeling can literally make some people shake, become sick and throw up, even go into full on panic attacks, because whatever it is they’re so anxious about has plagued them so severely –  the monster physically takes hold and can wreak havoc on not just a person’s mind but their body as well. It’s almost unbelievable at times. The anxiety monster can take hold of someone’s sanity and make them a victim of its brutality.

So how in this world can we help someone battling the monster of anxiety? First off, NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, say, “Oh you’re fine! Suck it up. Get over it.” Even if you cannot fathom why an individual would be so anxious and upset over something that seems so simple to you, that is the worst way you could ever react. Want to send someone deeper into the pit of despair? Tell them they’re overacting, being silly, being ridiculous and that they need to get over it. You first have to understand that what they’re experiencing is real, serious and crippling. They need to know that they can indeed take control of how they’re feeling and in their moment of despair they need to be assured that it will pass and they will overcome it.  When braving the monster, one must face it, recognize it and then conquer it by replacing the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It’s almost like a process of training oneself to face the fear and then knock it out with positivity, all the while gaining self-confidence.

I want to scoop up those that suffer with such severe anxiety and beat down that monster that plagues them with my bare hands, diminishing its power forever. But, it’s just not that easy. Defeating that monster is something they have to face and learn how to battle. The best I can do is let them know that I’m here for them, always ready to provide positivity & support, and I believe in their power to overcome and gain relief.

A former student of mine, Jessi, battles the anxiety monster. She’s currently in the 9th grade and is an incredibly talented young lady. You’d never think such a beautiful, talented, seemingly confident student would ever be of the individuals that battle this disorder. She is one of my students who lived for the security, freedom and joy of drama class. One of my stars that actually wanted to come to school, only because she knew she’d get to come to my class. Acting and singing became her comfort zone. It was her savior and what helped her make it through middle school.  Another testament to how amazing, beneficial and powerful the fine arts can be! Well, my dear Jessi moved on to high school – a school that sadly does not provide a drama program. The absence of her outlet of security hit hard. She now attends online school and is pursuing acting classes and performance venues to hone her talents. She is a most precious young lady that I have big hopes for, that not only she achieve her dreams, but also gain the confidence to keep the anxiety monster at bay and eventually take complete control of it, not letting that monster ever bring her down or hinder her pursuits of happiness.

Jessi happens to be a songwriter and wrote a lovely, deep, confessional song about this very topic.  Her precious lyrics expose a reality of anxiety…to say I’m proud of her for baring her soul through her talents is an understatement. And the fact that she is sharing her message, her heart, and her voice through her music, is a priceless gift.  I’ll let her song speak for itself and hope that it helps others, allowing them to recognize the fact that they are not alone and they can indeed conquer their fears, taking control of the anxiety monster.

Jessi’s Song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezd6gvoa1t4

They say stop acting crazy
But I don’t think they understand the pain
They say stop acting like a baby
If only they could take a look inside my brain
I will try my best to fight this heavy feeling in my chest
But sometimes it’s too strong for me
And sometimes I can barely breathe
And I know, yeah I know that you’re here
Everyday I watch the time go by and I wonder (yeah I wonder)
If one of these days the world under me will just crumble (will just crumble like)
When they call me crazy
When they say I’m acting like a little baby
One day I hope they see that they’re not helping me
When they say stop acting crazy
But now I know they don’t understand the pain
They say stop acting like a baby
If only they could take a look inside my brain

Written and sung by Jessi Powers

 

Come Alive!

By Shannon Boatwright

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” 

– The Greatest Showman

 

I’m one of the millions that has fallen completely in love with the movie “The Greatest Showman”.  Yes, I am a teacher of the fine arts, so one would think, well of course you like the movie, it’s a musical! Anyone close to me knows that I am a huge fan of Hugh Jackman, yet that’s still not the main reason why I adore this brilliant movie.   I have fallen madly in love with this film and its music, because of its message.

 

Just take a look at the lyrics from the song, “Come Alive”…

You stumble through your days
Got your head hung low
Your skies’ a shade of grey
Like a zombie in a maze
You’re asleep inside
But you can shake away

‘Cause you’re just a dead man walking
Thinking that’s your only option
But you can flip the switch and brighten up your darkest day
Sun is up and the color’s blinding
Take the world and redefine it
Leave behind your narrow mind
You’ll never be the same

Come alive, come alive
Go and ride your light
Let it burn so bright
Reaching up
To the sky
And it’s open wide
You’re electrified

When the world becomes a fantasy
And you’re more than you could ever be
‘Cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open
And you know you can’t go back again
To the world that you were living in
‘Cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open
So, come alive!

I see it in your eyes
You believe that lie
That you need to hide your face
Afraid to step outside
So you lock the door
But don’t you stay that way
No more living in those shadows
You and me we know how that goes
‘Cause once you see it, oh you’ll never, never be the same
We’ll be the light that’s shining
Bottle up and keep on trying
You can prove there’s more to you
You cannot be afraid

Come alive, come alive
Go and ride your light
Let it burn so bright
Reaching up
To the sky
And it’s open wide
You’re electrified

When the world becomes a fantasy
And you’re more than you could ever be
‘Cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open
And we know we can’t be go back again
To the world that we were living in
‘Cause we’re dreaming with our eyes wide open
So, come alive!

Come one!
Come all!
Come in!
Come on!

To anyone who’s bursting with a dream

Come one!
Come all!
You hear
The call

To anyone who’s searching for a way to break free

Break free!
Break free!

I mean come on! Wow.  I’d say this song pretty much reaches out to about 90% or more of the population. How many of us live without following our dreams? How many of us do not live up to our potential?  We bottle things up, we live within ridiculous confines and stereotypes, we allow others to dictate how we live and hold us back from our own personal dreams; and this happens on levels small and large. Too many of us are asleep on the inside, thinking it’s our only option to live within the narrow minds of those around us. Don’t be that zombie, living day to day in a cloud of survival. It’s time to recognize that we do have the ability to create happiness and success for ourselves and break free!

Major cheesiness there, I know, I know. But listen, here’s why the messages throughout this entire movie are so powerful…

It’s all about being yourself. Your true self. And being proud of who you are. We’re all different and WE ARE MEANT TO BE DIFFERENT!  We all have different talents to share with the world, different amazing bits of beauty, inside and out, to share with others.  There is certainly more to us than living within the restrictions of what others consider “the norm” or acceptable.

This movie presents a message of acceptance and the fact that everyone deserves a chance to shine. And by golly, if there is a dream within you, one that keeps poking at your gut, mind and heart, that’s the world telling you to pursue it! At some point, you have to take the risks to follow your heart and give your dreams a chance. We’ll learn from failure along the way, but that’s how we create success! By allowing ourselves to experience the things that help us to reach our dreams, we will develop a confidence in our unique beauty and abilities.  BUT, we’ve got to take that step to flip the switch if we want to truly brighten up our dark days!

I think it’s time. Ride your light and allow yourself to be electrified. It’s ok to take baby steps as you redefine your life, but let’s get out of the maze and ride our light.

It’s time to…Come Alive!

The Last Thing You Were Truly Grateful for… What Was It???

By Shannon Boatwright

During the holiday season, though we’re consumed with Gift Wishes, massive To-Do lists, and the overwhelming feeling of never feeling like we have the time to do everything we always pledge to do better with the year before, you have to admit, it’s still always the season that wins our hearts.

Awesome Christmas movies, the school, church & other community performances and incredible special holiday events that make us think, make us feel, tug at our heart strings and create something in us that makes our hearts blossom in a way only the holiday season can do. If you have a heart, you know what I’m talking about. Those moments when the lump builds in our throats because a deeper meaning takes hold of us…

…whether it’s when Kevin from the movie “Home Alone” finally reunites with his Mama after successfully, comically pummeling the bad, robber guys…

…or when Buddy the Elf finds his Dad, inspires everyone around him with his joyful innocence, then helps to save Christmas…

…or when Clark finally gets his house lights to twinkle & gets his much deserved bonus…

…or when Cindy Lou Who helps to bring the Grinch to the good side and inspire his heart to grow…

I could go on and on! 🙂

Seriously, you know what I’m talking about… it’s just flat out the season that warms your heart in so many precious ways. Even the cheesy school performances can wet the eyes and fill your heart, no matter how bad the performances may be! It’s the thought and purpose that counts. It’s the coming together to remember the reason for the season. It’s the passion for giving and helping others. It’s that time of the year when you want all your loved ones right at your side. It’s the coming together to celebrate a beautiful season of love, giving and gratefulness.

So… amongst the busyness of the holiday season, what was the last thing you were grateful for? We can all name general things that we’re overwhelmingly thankful for, but without thinking too hard, what’s the last thing that happened to you that made you really stop and think, Oh My Goodness, I’m so thankful for _________.  Whether big or small, allow yourself to think on it. Allow yourself to take a moment during the holiday madness, step away from the commercialism, the shopping and party planning, and just really ponder those priceless moments that have warmed your heart and create a gratefulness in you that stops you in your busy tracks just a bit.

Just a few of my priceless moments…

Candy caneWhen my angel daughter and I get to spend quality time together and leaves me precious notes like the one you see in the picture that she left out for me this past Sunday…whew, talk about being overwhelmed with gratefulness!

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Candy caneWhen my angel son hugs and latches onto me, kissing me on the cheek, not because he wants something, but just because. When his 12-year-old boy self recognizes and compliments my hard work and is sincerely impressed with something I’ve accomplished. Those moments make my heart burst with gratefulness!

 

 

Candy caneWhen my amazing husband randomly comes over to me IMG_3908and sweetly, gently kisses my face and whispers in my ear, “I love you”.  And, the fact that no matter what or when, he can always tell when there is something wrong or if I’m upset or feeling bad. He has this beautiful sensibility and awareness…some sort of magical true love power of knowing me so well. I can even try to hide it, yet the man can always tell and is always ready and willing to listen, love and try to make me feel better. My heart melts with gratefulness!

 

 

I could go on and on and on and on, because it is in those priceless moments that we should feel real gratefulness. And at this time of year, it’s in these moments that we experience the reason for the season. The giving of our love, attention, time, efforts, togetherness and love ultimately can lead to an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness…if we simply take the time to recognize it.

So what was the last thing that happened to you that made you stop in your tracks and truly have a moment that made you say, “My goodness, am I ever grateful!!”