Thank you…please

By Stacy Thompson

I have too many pet peeves to count – some are fairly typical, such as slow drivers in the left lane, constant interrupters and people who talk during movies.  Others are more particular and slightly more unusual, such as the use of the word “irregardless” (I know it has been deemed a word, but it still bugs me), shows about law firms (glamorizing a fairly unglamorous job while making it seem as if all problems can be solved within an hour) and people who leave those little plastic covers on the backs of watches, electronics or glass (I’m looking at you, Mom & Dad).  But one thing that genuinely makes me happy each and every time is when I receive a “thank you” note in the mail.  Yep, good old fashioned, snail mail does the trick, and as much as I fought the order to write said notes as a child, I have found that sending them brings as much pleasure.

In this graduation season, wedding season and given that birthdays tend to fall in every season, I encourage you to not only consider putting pen to paper, but to make your day better by doing so – it’s easy, it’s fast and it costs next to nothing to accomplish this minor task that will brighten a day beyond measure.  Here are a few pointers to making the most of your notes:thank-you-515514_1920

  • When traveling or around town, look for notecards that mean something to you – whether sketches of your alma mater, watercolors that calm your soul or logos promoting your business, easy access to blank notecards will make the drafting much easier and less of a hassle.
  • Pre-purchase stamps so the actual mailing is even easier – who wants to stand in line at the post office or remember to stop by the kiosk to purchase the stamps??
  • Write a draft—re-read and then write it again – crossing out, liquid paper and a delete key are not an option – make sure you know what you want to say and how you want to say it before you put pen to paper.
  • Open with a salutation that fits your relationship to the thank-you note recipient – is this a friend, family member, future employer?? Cater your opening to reflect how you would greet them in person.
  • Make your message personal – if you’re writing to thank someone for a gift, specifically mention the gift itself and how you plan to use it or why it is important to you; if you’re writing to thank someone for a meeting/interview, make mention of anything you talked about or any specific details that were important to you.
  • Be informal, if appropriate, and add your personality and language to the note – best to write it as if you are thanking the person in person—your note will stand out, be memorable and will put a smile on the recipient’s face much as it will yours.

So take a page from Jimmy Fallon and write a thank you note whenever you receive a gift, a kind action or memorable meeting – you’ll make your momma proud!!

10 Things I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving

By: Katie Austin

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and sadly, I think most of us are focused on Black Friday deals and the materialistic side of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends, taking time out from our busy lives to show our gratitude and reflect on all that we have been blessed with.

Recently, I took a few minutes and jotted down ten things that I am thankful for.  It only took a few minutes and when I read what I wrote down, I had a different perspective.  My list is below and I think you will find a few that might be on your list, too.

  1. Be thankful you woke up to see a new day. Not everyone gets this opportunity.
  2. Be thankful for family and friends who love you.  My family and friends have been there with me through thick and thin. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.
  3. When your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend is in a bad mood or giving you a hard time, be thankful for having love in your life.  There are many people who will spend this holiday season alone.
  4. Be thankful for the ability to pay your bills and have a roof over your head.  People will spend this holiday season sleeping in homeless shelters, not knowing where they will stay next.
  5. Parents who raised us, changed our diapers, and put up with us as we found our way through our teenage years.  If they are no longer with you, take a moment to be thankful for the time you had with them.
  6. When you’re stuck in traffic, be thankful you have a car to get where you need to go and money to buy gas.  When I think about this one, it reminds me of how I used to have take the bus. There is nothing like standing out in the rain, watching others drive by in the comfort of their car.
  7. Be thankful that you have children to love and who love you, and remember that at least some of the time, they do get along.  If you do not have children, be thankful for the children in your life and the positive role model you can be for them.
  8. The ability to see the beautiful world around us.  If you get a free day, drive up to the Asheville/Greenville area and you will see the most wonderful colors of the season!
  9. Be thankful that you can read these words.  So many are unable to read and we take literacy for granted.
  10. Be thankful we live in a country where we have opportunities and the freedom to make choices. It could be far worse and I feel that better days lie ahead.

When you sit down with your loved ones for your Thanksgiving dinner, be thankful for everyone and everything that has made it possible. Cherish the time spent together and soak up all the day has to offer.

What are you thankful for?  Please post it here in the comment section so that we can grow our list of things to be thankful for together.

Wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving holiday filled with many wonderful memories!

Grateful Expectations

By: Shannon Shull

I recently read an article in a magazine that discussed the importance of fostering a thankful attitude in children. If our children don’t absorb the value of thankfulness from us parents, teachers, mentors and coaches at an early age, then who will it come from?

The ability to be grateful for the good things in your life is an important part of a person’s character. If us adults show and share our own thankfulness, hopefully the children in our lives will learn to do the same and even be a healthier individual for it!

When we have a tough day, those of us who are optimistic tend to remind ourselves that it could always be worse and that compared to some, we have it made. I think if we take the time to recognize the good in our lives instead of giving so much weight to negative aspects, we can think ourselves into positive health, which will eventually allow more positivity to come our way. The mind-body connection is so incredibly strong! I know that if I repeatedly tell myself that I’m going to get sick and focus on not feeling well, then guess what happens? I inevitably get sick! If I tell myself that I will be just fine and focus on strength and healing, I open this amazing door that seems to allow my body to actually get better.

Studies show that positive thinkers are healthier and less stressed. And I betcha they have a lovely effect on those around them too!  So as we strive to be grateful examples to the children in our lives, we can positively affect the adults in our lives, too.  Thankfulness is addictive! And the best part? Counting your blessings is FREE!

So here’s a thought – why don’t we make every day a day to give thanks? We all know that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all the goodness in our lives, but shouldn’t we take note of our blessings on a daily basis? Here’s a challenge for us all: starting on Thanksgiving, let’s encourage the children in our lives AND the adults to have an attitude of gratitude! Check out these fun family activities you can do to help inspire thankful thinking:

ABC Journal of Thanks

Designate a small notebook as your ABC journal. Have your little ones practice writing the alphabet, and help them draw a picture of something they are thankful for that begins with each letter. Don’t limit this journal activity to just the kids! Set a positive example and do it, too! Have fun cutting pictures out of magazines to represent what you’re thankful for or draw pictures yourself. You will treasure this special ABC Journal and will enjoy looking back on it in later years.

Wreath of Thanks

Transform a bunch of clothespins into a fun way to mark down what you’re grateful for. To make it, paint some clothespins, and once dry, attach them around a wire wreath frame. Cut a heart out of thick cardstock and attach to the center of your wreath. Write, “I’m thankful for…” on the heart and then customize each clothespin with a different moment of gratitude. You can pull out this ultra special wreath every year to celebrate your thanks!

Our Daily Thanks

Make a gratitude calendar. Make a base (you can use foam core or a poster) and use mini craft envelopes or regular small envelopes to represent each day of the month. Each day, every family member puts a note in the envelope describing something they are thankful for.  At the end of the month, entertain each other by opening the envelopes and reading aloud the notes of thanks inside. This will not only instigate conversation but inspire everyone with an air of positivity!

Fabric of Life

Dress your table with a plain tablecloth. Fill a tumbler, large cup or bowl with permanent fabric markers and encourage everyone to write or draw one reason for thanks on the cloth each day. You’ll end up with a linen full of gratitude for your Thanksgiving feast or special dinner.

Sunflower Plant of Thankfulness

Transform a paper plate into a blooming sunflower plant filled with black bean “seeds” and card-stock “petals.”

To make it, paint a paper plate black, then glue black beans to the center of the dry plate. Cut out enough petals from yellow card stock to fit around the rim of the plate. Think of thankful words and phrases to write onto each petal, then glue the pieces to the rim. Make the stem by painting a paint-stir stick (found at the hardware store) green, and embellish it with sticker letters and raffia.

Remember: Don’t limit your thankfulness to one day. Let’s carry out an attitude of gratitude throughout the entire year!