Thursday, February 13, 2014

Create a Sharing Thanks Journal with someone to cultivate a Grateful Heart

I am very thankful for this very special Christmas gift given to me by my daughter Liz. She made me a Sharing Thanks Journal. I love her heart design and the picture of us she printed to adorn the inside of this very special journal. The best gift of all was that we used the journal together to practice gratitude. She wrote the first entry listing four things she was thankful for and passed the journal back to me. We use the journal to share what we are thankful for. It has helped me practice gratitude and has helped me and my daughter connect on a deeper level. It is wonderful to have a dialogue where we share our blessings. I love writing my thanks and sharing what brings me joy. It could be a beautiful sunset, or a kind smile a stranger gave me. I love learning about what my daughter is thankful for.

I recommend sharing a journal with someone special to help your gratitude practice. It will allow you to focus on counting your joys and help you connect to someone in a loving and positive way.  I encourage you to find a gratitude buddy and start a sharing thanks journal with them. What you share with each other should be private. 

Open your heart to gratitude by sharing it with a friend or a loved one. Wishing everyone a loving Valentine's Day. Celebrate all the love in your life not just the romantic love!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sharing Thanks for Duracell's: Trust Your Power - NFL's Derrick Coleman, Seattle Seahawks

Sharing thanks for this Superbowl Commercial that tells the inspiring story of Derrick Coleman, a hearing impaired football player for the Seattle Seahawks. I love that they used Derrick Coleman's voice in the spot to tell his story. Derrick chose for people to know him as an NFL football player, a goal he worked hard to achieve despite his obstacles. I'll be rooting for Seattle today! I have a soft spot in my heart for this team. My daughter Liz is also deaf and wants to be known as a film director or actress. She knows how Derrick feels about batteries that help her hear with her cochlear implant everyday!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sharing thanks for relaxing with art at MOMA with friends

Photo by Ellen Birch. Taken at the Museum of Modern Art Water Lilies room.

Art evokes emotions with color and light! To establish a grateful attitude focus on the beauty that is available to you everyday. Notice the light, and color of a moment. Sit and breathe in the beauty of that moment. Carry the picture of the moment in your mind and use it to bring you to a relaxing state of mind. I had many wonderful moments this long weekend. 
  1. I was thankful to be able to spend Sunday with my good friends at MOMA! We were energized by art and learning about the artists. One of our favorite places to go is the Water Lilies room at MOMA. The colors are mesmerizing and reflective. We sat in the room and soaked in the beauty and light of Monet's genius. It is one of the most relaxing places in New York City.
  2. I was thankful to have a good belly laugh with my friends. We went to a modernist art display and were chuckling over a piece of art work that resembled a stainless steel  garbage can. We struck up a conversation with 2 gentlemen who told us a funny story of how they were looking at something in a Swedish museum and were told that it was the radiator heating the room. This struck me as completely hilarious! My loud belly laugh got a stern, "SHHHHHHH!" from the museum guard in the room and we were asked to stop laughing. Of course, this made us laugh louder so we exited the room to avoid being kicked out of MOMA! 
  3. I was thankful to get lost in Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night painting! It is one of my favorite paintings that is in MOMA's permanent collection. I love the dazzling colors of the sky evoking a dream world.
  4. I was thankful to my husband for giving me a Membership as an early birthday present. I really enjoyed spending the day with friends, immersing my self in friendship and art. Loved having a light lunch in the cafe, toasting friendship with Persecco. Thanks to Ellen and Liz who are dear friends. Every time we get together it feels like a celebration of sisterhood. I am fortunate to have such kindred souls to share and celebrate my life and love of art!
I invite you to share a gratitude moment you had this long weekend in the comments. I love hearing about what your thankful for!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Start a gratitude habit for a happier healthier 2014!

The Emmons Lab from the University of California has done a lot of gratitude research in the last decade and has found that the simple act of saying ThankYou  has many health benefits. Want to keep those New Years Resolutions? Then learn to say thank you! In one study people who kept gratitude lists were more likely to make progress toward achieving important personal goals over a two-month period compared to participants who did not keep gratitude lists. To learn more about this ground breaking gratitude research listen to Robert Emmons himself!

I'm devoting the Month of January to help you start a gratitude habit! Each post this month will focus on techniques that will lead you down the road to thankfulness! I invite you to try these exercises!

The first exercise is to start your day by waking up to gratitude!

When you open your eyes to wake up, continue laying down in bed and take a deep breath.

Breath in a "Thank You"
Breath out a "Thank You"
Breath in a "Thank You"
Breath out a "Thank You"


Take several breathes and then let the simple joys your grateful for flood into your thoughts.

This is an energizing way to start your day with a positive outlook!

Try it, and please share your experience on sharing thanks in the comments or by tweeting @sharingthanks #startgratitudehabit

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sharing thanks for a Happy New Year, 2014!

Happy 2014! I look forward to sharing the new adventures I will be thankful for in the coming year. Let the good times roll. There is something liberating about putting on silly hats and tumbling into a photo booth! I love this crazy, silly photo of my family. This photo reminds me of many happy moments I was thankful for in 2013. In celebration of the New Year I am going to write some blog posts on how to add a dash of gratitude into your life. Being grateful is a choice and a mindset that can be developed by anyone, with practice.
Here are the grateful moments in 2013 that this photo reminds me of.

  1. I was thankful to celebrate the wedding of my nephew Nick to the incredible Jess! The wedding in Philadelphia was a joyous event. They had a photo booth at the wedding with some silly accessories that led to many fun family photos. Our family gathered and danced the night away and toasted this beautiful couple.
  2. I was thankful my daughter Becky had a wonderful summer learning experience in London this summer. If you notice, she has a Bobby hat in the photo. She took a video production class at the University of Richmond near Kensington Garden. She loved exploring London and met some wonderful new friends.
  3. I was thankful to be able to play Neil Sedaka's "Manhatten Intermezzo" this year with the South Shore Symphony. It was wonderful to meet Me. Sedaka who came to our performance at the Madison Theater and shake his hand. Growing up the song, "Breaking Up is Hard To Do" was a favorite.
  4. I was thankful to have some good old fashioned family fun this year. I enjoyed our simple Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh at Becky's apartment. I loved seeing "Elf" at the Benedum Center. It was a thrill to see Becky perform at Heinz field in the marching band and see her beautiful face on the diamond vision screen.
I invite you to share a family memory you were grateful for in 2013. I hope you will enjoy my upcoming blogs posts to start a gratitude habit in 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sharing thanks for homemade gifts from the heart!

A journal half homemade by my daughter Liz
Sometimes the best gifts are those that come from the heart. This year my husband's family decided to do a homemade gift swap at our after Christmas party. I enjoyed watching my daughters and husband figuring out what they could make and bring for this gift exchange. It was fun to watch everyone around the kitchen table making their homemade gifts for the party! I've been busy enjoying the holidays, seeing close friends and family. I have so many reasons to be thankful, its difficult to pick just 4 for this post!
  1. I am thankful for all the gifts I have received this holiday. We are a family that is a tapestry of religions. Our best holiday is when we are all together celebrating! I loved hearing all of the voices at my Christmas Eve Party belting out  "Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah!" and "The 12 Days of Christmas" I was thankful to do a bit of reorganizing before the holiday party and found Holiday songbooks I had made some years ago. I was so happy to bring them out for the party. I love playing the piano with a group of enthusiastic singers behind me!
  2. I am thankful to my husband's family who gave our "Yankee swap" a home made twist. My daughter Becky knitted a beautiful scarf, and made a cool refrigerator magnet from a picture taken at my nephews wedding. My daughter Liz made a collage of memories of our Crab fest!  My husband made a tote bag with "Shore Nice to Sea You" ironed on to remember many happy family trips down at the Jersey Shore. I was inspired by my daughter's friend Shannon. Shannon is a very creative young women who makes  beautiful handmade gifts every year. This year she gave my daughter Becky a painted canvas with a quote from her favorite actor. I decided to borrow her idea and painted a favorite family phrase that my daughter Becky said when she was younger at my father-in-law's birthday. I thought it was as perfect quote for this handmade gift exchange. "Is it just what you wanted? WELL YOU GOT IT!"
  3. I am thankful for the new Sharing Thanks journal my daughter Liz made me. We are going to use the journal to share thanks with each other this year. Liz made the first entry in the journal and I am looking forward to sharing gratitude with her all year.
  4. I am thankful to my husband who decided to give us a great experience gift by taking us all to a broadway show. We are a creative family and we love seeing shows together. Our most precious gift is spending quality time together as a family.
I invite you to share a gift you received that you are thankful for!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sharing thanks for Best dog Vines of 2013

I am a dog lover! Seeing this short compilation of cute dog vines made me smile. If you enjoy this please share a smile with someone. I am always thankful for a chuckle or a smile. I loved the dog whose best friend is a hairless cat! Here is what I am thankful for today.
  1. I am thankful for safe travels that brought my two girls home from college. Thank you Mega Bus, whose bus from Pittsburgh was almost an hour early. Thanks to Jet Blue. They wisely cancelled the flight from Chicago on Saturday. They rescheduled Liz for a flight home on Sunday. I recently watched Loved Actually which opens and closes with families and friends reuniting at airports. There is a special magic when you reunite with loved ones.
  2. Thanks to Dr. Cornell who did my Mom's hip surgery. The nursing staff at the Hospital for Special Surgeries is phenomenal. My mom is happy to get a new hip and is on the road to recover.
  3. Thanks to the nice folks my dad and I met yesterday while waiting for my Mom to be out of surgery. We enjoyed talking and meeting some new friends in the Patient waiting area.
  4.  Thanks to my husband Spencer who fixed our beloved dog key holder! I really appreciate all the handyman work he does to make our home nice.
What are you thankful for today? Share your gratitude story in the comments.