Things I’m Thankful for that I Once Took for Granted

November 22, 2011

In my younger days I obsessed on things I did not have, focusing both eyes on what was missing in my life. I believed I could achieve success by setting goals and then working hard to fill the voids, to reduce my deficits and ultimately to obtain more possessions.

Now I’m wiser and realize I have always been surrounded by vast abundance. Though it sounds like a cliché—especially at Thanksgiving time—I have so much to be thankful for, including the following items that are so obvious I have tended to take them for granted:

  1. My mom. Okay, I never took mom for granted, yet I assumed she would always be there. Just two years ago, mom sat at our Thanksgiving dinner table. She shared stories, told jokes and inquired about each of our lives. She was a great mother and I always knew that. Only since her unexpected passing, though, have I become fully aware of how thankful I am for the profound influence she had upon me and my family.
  2. My eyesight. I never thought much about my vision until a melanomic tumor on my retina claimed the use of my left eye. I share that information not out of self-pity—I don’t feel sorry for myself and neither should you. Quite frankly, I don’t spend much time thinking about what I’ve lost. Instead, I focus on what I still have—vision in one eye that allows me to drive, to take photographs and to enjoy the beautiful world surrounding me. For that, I am truly grateful. Read the rest of this entry »
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Giving Thanks for Clichés

November 22, 2010

I‘m thankful for clichés. They save me time because I can “copy and paste” them into any daily situation. They keep me from having to think deeply. They conserve creativity for some future time when I might need to be more creative.

Clichés are like an old pair of shoes. They’re comfortable, despite the obvious holes. They get me where I’m going, assuming I have a destination. They appear stylish, or at least they did years ago when they were new.

I like the way clichés cleverly coagulate the flow of communication. My favorite clichés fall into these three categories:

  1. Verbal clichés. People who speak in clichés think they are thinking outside the box. In business, clichés are like the leaves of autumn—everywhere. Even in church I’ll hear someone with the voice of angel offering up a trite prayer that sounds pious and impressive. I pray that God will find sincerity in the hearts of those who find comfort in worn-out phrases.
  2. Photo clichés. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. A nonprofit newsletter publishes a photo of a check presentation. A website shows photos of formally-dressed people who paused long enough at a charity event to “say cheese” in front of a camera. Facebook photo albums show groups of friends scrunched around restaurant tables, flashing plastic smiles and clutching their beverages of choice.
  3. Resume clichés. I’m beginning to think that 100% of resumes and LinkedIn profiles say exactly the same thing. If you’re planning to update yours, let me save you some time. Copy and paste this: I am a highly motivated, dynamic self-starter, results-oriented, hard-working, dedicated, team-player with excellent multi-tasking and communications skills. I have ___+ years experience in fast-paced environments. (You’re welcome.)

At the end of the day, when you boil it all down, I have never met a cliché I didn’t like. Never being content to let sleeping dogs lie, I won’t beat around the bush. Clichés sell like hotcakes. You may try to avoid them like the plague, but I think using them makes a person sound as cool as a cucumber. I get up each morning on the right side of the bed with a commitment to seize the day. Because today is the first day of the rest of my life, I will give 110%.

Have a nice day!


Giving Thanks in the Tough Times

March 24, 2010

If you’re like me, there are times in life when you wonder if you’re caught in a bad dream. You want to pull the covers over your head and sleep it off, hoping you’ll awake to a completely different reality.

I’ve had three such times—1) being diagnosed with cancer, 2) losing a job and 3) dealing with my mother’s unexpected death last month.

Journaling is a practice that helps me get through those rough, white-water times. As I write, I deliberately focus on positive thoughts, thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for in spite of my circumstances.

As I’ve tried to mend the hole torn in my heart with Mom’s passing, I’ve developed a lengthy list of things that I’m thankful for. This has already been an essential part of my grieving and healing process. Here’s a partial list of what I’ve come up with so far: Read the rest of this entry »


10 Things I’m Thankful For

November 23, 2009

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I am reminded of the words of Melody Beattie who said, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” With a profoundly grateful heart, I share the following 10 things for which I am thankful.

  1. A job. I know far too many good and talented people who are unemployed. In graditude for my job, I look for ways to network with job seekers. I hope to encourage them and also to share what I’ve learned from my own career transitions.
  2. Holidays. Though I’m thankful for my job, I’m also grateful for time away from the office. Everyone needs a little downtime. I create pauses in my daily schedule to ground myself. I look forward to a weekly sabbatical away from work. And I enjoy the change of pace that a holiday like Thanksgiving can bring.
  3. My Family. Next month Carol and I will celebrate 35 years of marriage. This year we’ve welcomed two new members into our family—our son-in-law Nathan (Jennifer’s husband) and our daughter-in-law Annette (Bryan’s wife). We’re also thankful for our son Greg and his daughter Kayla, and for his new job as an elementary school teacher.
  4. My Friends. Friends are special, and thankful for each and every person in my life. I value the diversity of age, race, politics, religion, socioeconomic status, education and even personality. Together we share the adventure of life’s great journey, though we may be at different places along the path.
  5. Health. Good health is often unappreciated until it’s gone, but as a cancer survivor I want to live each day with an awareness of my health and well-being. (Living more healthfully will also be one of my upcoming New Year’s resolutions.) Read the rest of this entry »

Did Someone Forget to Say Thank You?

November 17, 2009

My family and friends live life to its fullest. They are thankful for the abundance that surrounds them and they articulate their thankfulness in countless ways. Often they simply say, “Thank you!” Sometimes they send handwritten notes or e-mails expressing their gratitude. Occasionally I’ve been given a Starbucks gift card in appreciation of a special favor.

Almost everyone I encounter has a special way of saying thanks.

On rare occasions, however,  I encounter someone who falls short, someone who fails to express gratitude. Read the rest of this entry »


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