Thanksgiving…The day to celebrate “Gratitude”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it gives us all the chance to reflect on the things that we are grateful for.

Today is a reminder of the importance of gratitude.

Since 1621, our ancestors in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving. Historically, throughout Europe, festivals were held after the harvest to give thanks and celebrate together as a community. Native Americans also celebrated the harvest season.

We continue the tradition today nearly 400 years later, but for most of us, when we hear the word Thanksgiving, we usually think of turkey and stuffing, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, football and gatherings with family and friends.

We all know that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, but yet many times in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget the importance of gratitude, not just on Thanksgiving, but every other day as well.

It’s not surprising that the most successful and happiest people on the planet are also the ones who practice gratitude on a regular basis.

However, let me ask this question, Why is it that the most grateful people are also the most successful and the happiest?

Which came first, the gratitude or the success?

Are these people grateful because they’re successful…

or successful because they’re grateful?

According to hundreds of successful Life Coaches, authors, and psychologists, everything starts with gratitude.

Gratitude can turn fear into trust and has the power to turn ordinary into extraordinary.

There is no better way to adjust our attitude than through the practice of gratitude.

If the statement,”What we focus on today grows into our reality tomorrow“, is true, then we really need let our hearts and our minds overflow with gratitude.

For no matter where we are in life, there is always a reason to be grateful.

Always.

And when we practice gratitude, everything else lines up for us almost magically.

However you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving today, consider starting a new tradition in your family. As you sit together with your loved ones, go around the table and share out loud something that you are profoundly grateful for in your life at this very moment. Feel the joy that it brings to you in just thinking about it.

My oldest son, Tyler, challenged us all last week to change the way we say our family prayer at the dinner table. His challenge was to NOT “ask” the Lord for anything for the rest of the month, but to instead just say “Thanks” for things during our mealtime prayer. 

His challenge has been a blessing in and of itself.

As I have listened to my children list the things that they are grateful for during their prayers, my heart has been filled to the brim.

I have witnessed the fact that they are happy.

 They are my teachers. Seeing life throught their eyes has allowed me to experience a whole new world.

They are my heart and soul. So to hear them thanking the Lord for their blessings has been so sweet.

I have also realized that I worry too much about whether or not I am a “good-enough” parent or not.

If their prayers are any indication, I am doing a great job, and they are very happy and content.

This practice alone will shift your energy from where you are to where you want to be.

There is nothing more powerful, or nothing more effective at bringing happiness into our world, than to start by being thankful for where we are right now.

Often, by praciticing gratitude, the very things you desire just “appear” in your life. I never dreamed that I could have a relationship with a man that I trusted with my heart, my kids, my life… but this year, that is exactly what I have found.

I have worked and drempt, and prayed that my business would succeed, and this year it has!

So many things that I have longed for are appearing in my life. But, they did NOT begin to appear until AFTER I had learned to let go of the need for them, which allowed me to just settle into a place in life where I was thankful for what I already had, and no longer felt unworthy of more.

As we enter into this beautiful holiday season and into the new year, let us remember to practice gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

Let gratitude be the first thing on your mind when you wake in the morning, and the last thought you have as you drift off to sleep each night. And thank your higher power for these blessings. 

Talk about it, share it with your loved ones, celebrate it and you will be blessed with even more good things in your life. Speak or type the words of gratitude that are filling your heart.

Make this the first day of a daily practice and watch what happens. Then Next year on Thanksgiving, look back, and I am positive that you will see what I have seen.

Your blessings MULTIPLIED!

After all, we can all learn something from the most successful and happiest people in the world…

Remember that it all starts with being grateful for the many blessings that we have right here, right now.

As you celebrate this beautiful day, may you remember that we have so very much to be grateful for and may your blessings be abundant throughout the coming year. It all starts with simply taking the time to practice gratitude as a way of life.

 I am grateful to all of you that read my Blog every day.

Please leave a comment below, and share this post with your friends and family today. Let us all know here on the blog what you are grateful for, and don’t forget to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you!

Happy ThanksGiving,

Melaniethanksgiving image

UN-attachment…the Secret to LIFE

“It costs too much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the courage to pay the price. One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace life-like a lover.”
Morris West.

 

Today I want to write about the things in life that we ATTACH ourselves to, and why letting go of those attachments can set your life on FIRE!

Like many fairy tale stories, the tale of Rapunzel has a deeper meaning to it.

It is really a story about self-image.

She is a young lady, locked in a tower, imprisoned by a witch who constantly tells her how ugly she is.

One day a handsome prince passes the tower and tells her how lovely she is. So she lets down her hair so he can climb it and rescue her.

It is neither the castle or the witch that has kept her a prisoner, but the belief in her own ugliness.

Once she recognized her beauty, reflected in the face of the Prince, she recognizes the fact that she can be set free.

We all hold ourselves prisoner by allowing the “witch” inside our minds to hold us prisoner.

We allow people or situations to “contain” us for fear that if we move outside of the box they are holding us in, we might fail… at least inside this box, we have some predictability. This is the lie that hold us prisoner.

BUT…

What if, you let go of your attachment to predictability and gave fate a chance?

Our happiness and our free self-expression is much more assured if we can let go of end results; work toward our goals and NOT be imprisoned by them.

We love the people who are the least concerned about making an impression. They have let go of any desperation for affection, so they can now automatically have that very thing; affection!

People who make lots of money have usually started to make that money when they stopped WORKING for it! In other words, they find something they love to do and devote their attention to that thing, and the money begins to flow automatically.

Brenda and I are seeing this in our painting business.

Once we decided to let go of the fear that people would laugh at us, or that we would fail…once we “killed the witch inside our head, Humpty Dumpty Mural magic began to make us money, and continues to grow rapidly.

In a sense we need to be able to live without something in order to have it. Once we can let go, we place ourselves in a position of great power. Successful businessmen have counseled for years that the secret to securing that BIG DEAL is to release the deal- to become totally un-attached.

Once we have done the work, whether it is work on ourself image, on our family, on our career, our love life, whatever..it is time to relax, and just let the results happen in their own time.

You need to trust and have faith!

If you go out and plant a tomato crop, and then keep digging up the seeds every twenty minutes to see if they are doing their “THING”  you will NEVER get to sit and enjoy a ripe, juicy, red tomato fresh off the vine.

We all need to learn to relax a while. Let nature take its course.

Things change.

Life is dynamic.

That is what makes it so beautiful and also so unpredictable.

Let change prod you into action.

Do all the work necessary, and then RELAX!

 

“You are a part of the universe, no less than the stars and trees, and you have a right to be here. And whether it is clear to you or not, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”  Desiderata

Life in itself has no real value.

Just because you are here does not mean that our lives have any value.

Ultimately, only we decide whether our Time here on Earth will be a time of joy, or whether we will be trapped in the tower our whole life.

We get to choose to either allow the witch inside our own mind to convince us that we deserve to be trapped and then go on miserably living our lives alone and isolated.

OR

If we are going to let down our hair.

See our greatness reflected in the faces of our loved ones, our Savior, and ourselves, and set ourselves free.

So in conclusion, I just want to remind you that, life was not intended to be easy.

Struggle is the only way to grow. You can’t build a muscle until you put it under pressure, and the same is true of our mentality.

In loving and caring we risk. Telling another person , “I love you” can be risky business, but the rewards can be fantastic.

Being different is risky. But, it can also mean that you can be yourself.

The dangerous and difficult occupations are well rewarded. In fact, the universe is continually encouraging us to stretch, to climb, to be extraordinary!

To gain, we must risk.

To learn to walk, we must risk falling and getting hurt.

To make a dollar we must risk losing it, and the people who make the most, risk the most.

To have a chance of winning the race, we must also risk losing it..

We really do have a choice in life…

Stay in the tower…

100_0748or let our hair down!

Life itself is a risk…so lets all go out there today, give thanks for all our blessings, and climb out on that limb and pick some fruit!

God Bless you this Thanksgiving.

So Grateful for life lessons…

Last night as we were painting projects for an upcoming craft fair, Brenda and I were reflecting on all the changes we have experienced in our lives this year.

This year has been one of those years that when you look back on it, you realize that you LITERALLY are NOT the same person you were at this same time a year ago.

We have changed in every way two human beings can change.

Our business is growing so fast, and we feel so blessed because of that.

We have finally reached the point where people recognize the name HUMPTY DUMPTY MURAL MAGIC,  and know that when they hire us, they are hiring professionals that will create their vision in their homes in a way that they will treasure for a long time.

We have made connections with some of the most amazing people this year that have enhanced our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Their friendship is a treasure that we thank the Lord for daily.

But I think the biggest lesson that Brenda and I have learned this year is this…

No matter what life scenarios or predicaments you’re in, just think of two words… adventure, adventure.

We’ve heard the song, “Que será será, whatever will be, will be.”

Yet whatever is going to be, doesn’t always have to become what is expected.

Fate, destiny, karma, miracles, chi (qi), the Force… they’re all intangibles in the invisible energies of the world/universe, yet their narratives, stories and conclusions are as visible as the ways they’ve been written and lived.

We can’t stop the next day from happening, yet if you’re willing to work hard, you can prepare for the days ahead knowing that we can influence fate and destiny.

If something truly exists (ghosts, reincarnation, life energy, chi (qi), etc.), it exists whether you believe in it or not.

Clichés like, “Live every day like it’s your last,”

“Life is too short to stay angry,”

and “Appreciate life while you have it,”

are reminders about life, living and love that are easy to ignore because many get wrapped up in making a living, looking for love, and not enjoying life.

Take time to reflect on what is truly important in life.

Thus, if being on your cell phone/online, catching the big game, or going out with your friends are often more important than speaking or being with your spouse/kids/soul mate, then maybe you don’t value the people you love as much as you should.

There’s always another game, call/text or friend, but not always another love.

This year has taught us this lesson very powerfully.

Earlier this year I experienced a betrayal by a man I had agreed to spend my life with. He stole a large sum of money from me and then lied to try to explain the theft.

In the past, I would have been devastated. But my reaction to this event showed me just how far I had really come this year. I looked him in the eye and told him to leave and never speak to me again. I explained that I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity…something that up till that time I had NEVER demanded before. I had always allowed people to take advantage of me because I was afraid that if I stood up for myself, they would be angry with me and leave me…

Now, my feelings are different. I now respect and honor myself enough to not only stand up for myself, but to actually tell them to leave my life if they cannot do the same.

By learning to honor and respect ourselves, Brenda and I have created an environment where we are literally surrounded by people who are doing everything in their power to help us succeed.

People who value our talents, and see the benefit in helping us succeed.

Brenda and I have both taken some of the principles that experts advise on having a good marriage and have integrated them into our working relationship.

Principals such as:

When tough times invade your working relationship, remember why you joined forces in the first place and draw from that power of unity, happiness, devotion and love to get through.

Your business partner is the most important person in your business. Never say anything about them or do something with another person that you wouldn’t say or do if your business partner was standing next to you.

Consider that successful business partnership is not always about looking at each other but looking in the same direction.

Deeds speak louder than words and at the end of the day the greatest gift we have is helping others.

Figure out what you need in life as compared to what you want in life. The quicker you find a life’s purpose the faster you’ll enjoy both.

Things you think are excuses for failure can be reasons for success just as your perceived weaknesses can turn out to be your strengths.

Longevity is not the key, but living long and healthy.

Also, regardless of your health situation, providing you don’t wait too long, there’s always something that can be done to improve it. (We have both worked together to regain our health, and have both successfully lost over 30 lbs ea. this year.)

Each end is a new beginning and good always follows bad.

Finally, to me, a true martial artist is one who learns not to fight and learns to heal rather than hurt.

We have also taken these principles and used them to enrich our relationships with our families, friends, and co-workers.

The other thing that I honestly believe that we have learned that has allowed our company to flourish is the fact that the CEO of HUMPTY DUMPTY MURAL MAGIC is the Lord, Jesus Christ.

He is the head of our lives, our business, and most importantly our hearts. Every job we do, every person we meet, we behave as if he were right there beside us… Because he IS!

We would just like to thank everyone who has believed in us, and helped us grow.

It is our prayer that next year at this time, we will be looking back again and giving thanks for all the changes and breakthroughs we have had AGAIN100_1091.

Here’s to the Future!

Because I have been given much…

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

– Meister Eckhart

I love this quote and want to use it as the starting point for my blog today. 

Yesterday I talked about having a thankful heart.

So today I want to expand on that idea, after all, this is the week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Many days,  I try to humble myself and hold a 2-minute gratitude session. I simply sit or kneel, with no distractions, close my eyes, and think about what I’m grateful for and who I’m grateful for.

I don’t do it every day, but let me tell you, on the days I do, it makes me very happy.

It seems that the longer I commit to this practice, the more I find myself looking forward to it, and the less I forget to take this time each morning for gratitude.

Why should that be?

Why should the simple act of thinking about who and what I’m grateful for make such a big difference in my life?

Just a few reasons:

Because it reminds you of the positive things in your life

Because it turns bad things into good things

Because it reminds you of what’s important.

Because it reminds you to thank others.

Taking time before I start my day to just quietly pay attention to the blessings in my life, literally prevents me from getting stuck in that “Pity Party” mental attitude that would be so easy for me to slip into.

 There are days when the task of being a single mother with four children to feed and provide for seems like an insurmountable task to me.

No matter how hard I work, there never seems to be enough money to cover all the needs of my family.

Providing for 5 people all by yourself can be an overwhelming job at times.

So, as you can see, the reality of my life, like so many of yours, is a life of constant worry and struggle. 

That is why no matter how busy I am, or how long my TO-DO-LIST is, I always make time for my two-minute GRATITUDE SESSION.

 

What do I give thanks for, privately, in my little gratitude session? 

It varies every day. But some of the common things that seem to come up every day for me are:

I thank my loved ones, for all they do to me. I have been blessed to have a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and I thank God for them daily. I am also surrounded by amazing friends who support and encourage me in my dreams.

I thank strangers who’ve shown me little acts of kindness. These acts of kindness are to me, like Angels from Heaven stopping by to let me know I am loved.

I thank God, for the life he’s given me. I thank him for giving me another day in this world. I thank him for providing me the opportunities that have allowed me to be a good provider for my children.

I thank people around the world for the things they’ve done to make the world better. I give thanks to the Military for the protections they provide to us every day.

How to Live a Life of Gratitude
The thing is, simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much (especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge difference.

If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my suggestions:

  • Morning gratitude session.
  • Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one-act can make a huge difference.
  • Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it.
  • Give thanks for “negative” things in your life. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I am going to end this blog today with one of my favorite Gratitude Prayers. The Author is Unknown, so I don’t know who to give thanks to for this prayer, but there are days when this prayer is the best I can do during my morning ritual because, lets face it, there are days when it really doesn’t feel like there is anything to be thankful for.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

    Be Thankful

    Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
    If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

    Be thankful when you don’t know something
    For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

    Be thankful for the difficult times.
    During those times you grow.

    Be thankful for your limitations
    Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

    Be thankful for each new challenge
    Because it will build your strength and character.

    Be thankful for your mistakes
    They will teach you valuable lessons.

    Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
    Because it means you’ve made a difference.

    It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
    A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
    also thankful for the setbacks.

    GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
    Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
    and they can become your blessings.
    ~ Author Unknown ~

     I would love to hear your thoughts about this blog. Please share it with your friends and families.
  • camera download 402Lets start a Gratitude Revolution!

                                                                                                                                        

 

Color ME Thankful.

We are all grateful when all is going well for us, but can we say the same on our disastrous days?

Since this is the beginning of the week where we celebrate THANKSGIVING, I wanted to talk about thankfulness. To do this I want to talk about things in life that are not good together…

For example:

Long-tailed cats and rocking chairs? Bad combination.

Bull in a china shop? Not a good idea.

Blessings and Bitterness? That mixture often does not go over well with God.

Combine Heavenly kindness with Earthly ingratitude, and you can expect a sour concoction. Gratitude does NOT come naturally, but self pity does.

“Grumbles and Mumbles”...Nobobdy ever has to remind us to utter those. But all to often we need to be reminded to say “Thank you!” 

Why is that? The grumbles often don’t mix well with the kindness we have been shown, yet that is our natural response to life.

Maybe we need a spoon full of gratitude it just might do us more good than that infamous “spoon full of sugar”!

In the book of Genesis, we read of a man, who to me epitomizes the concept of a gracious life.

Joseph.

His life was filled with good reasons to grumble, yet he rarely ever did. His faith was his strength.  If ever there was a man who would have been justified in having a bitter attitude, it was Joseph. Yet his story is filled with examples of his gratitude.  In fact he made two very grand gestures of gratitude to the Lord when he names his two sons. Menasseh means, ” For God has made me forget all my toil and all my fathers house.” His other son was named Ephraim. His name means, ” For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

Do you think that God noticed his gesture of gratitude? I do.

There is a second story in the bible that I would like to paraphrase today. It is the story of the 10 Lepers that the Savior healed. He blessed all 10 with renewed health. He told all 10 to go find the priest so that they could be declared CLEAN.

All 10 Lepers obeyed and went into town so that the Priest could utter the words that would allow them to rejoin their families, and rejoin life in town.

(You can find this story and read it in detail in Luke 17:11-13)

But most of you will be familiar with the ending. Only 1 out of the 10 returned to thank the Savior.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus shouting, ” Praise God!” The irony of this story is that the grateful Leper was a Samaritan. The other nine were Jews.

It is easy for us to speculate.

Some were now WAY to busy to be grateful. They probably planned to thank Jesus, after they had found their families, doctors, dogs, parakeets, and neighbors…

Some may have been too cautious to be thankful. They guarded against joy, kept their hopes down- after all, whats too good to be true usually is, Right!

Others may have been too self-centered to be thankful. The sick life was so much simpler. Now that they were healed they would be expected to go find a job, play a role in society, and FUNCTION.

Others may have been to arrogant: We were never that sick. Given time, we could have recovered. With proper nutrition and rest we could have accomplished this on our own.

Too busy, too cautious, too self-centered, too arrogant… too close to home!

I don’t know about you, but I could relate to the 9. How many times in life have you been blessed with a kind gesture, and you were too busy, cautious, or arrogant to express gratitude?

For me, way to many to even count.

Why is it that in life you can witness two people in identical situations, and one is grumbling, the other is expressing gratitude?

I am starting to understand that the difference is in our perspective.

If you allow your mind to see each day as something that must be endured, you will most likely be grumbling your way thru it.

On the other hand, if you view life as a gift, you will have a smile on your face and a prayer in your heart. You will greet your fellow-men with an attitude of gratitude.

If you feel that life owes you something, brace yourself for a life filled with sour-hours.

You will NEVER get reimbursed.

The sky will never be blue enough;

the stake  won’t be cooked enough;

the universe won’t ever be good enough to deserve an exceptional human being like you.

You will snap and snarl your way to an early grave.

However…

Thankful people focus less on the things they lack and more on the blessings they have.

And why shouldn’t we be grateful?

Jesus cured our leprosy.

Sin had cankered our soul and numbed our senses. Yet Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we could walk away healed.

So what about the days in our lives when disaster strikes… because it eventually will?

What about the nights we can’t sleep and the days we cannot rest?

What if the economy crashes?

What if you lose a parent, or a child?

Grateful then? Jesus was!

The night that he was being betrayed, he broke bread and offered thanks. (1 Cor 11:23-24).

It is not very often that you will ever find the two words, “betrayed”, and  “thanks” in the same sentence, much less in the same heart.

Judas and Peter both sat at the table beside Jesus, he knew that one would soon betray him, and the other would deny him.

Yet he broke the bread and gave thanks!

In the midst of the darkest night, he still expressed gratitude.

That example has carried me through my own darkest nights. That is why I am writing this blog today. It is one of my deepest hopes that the trials in my life can serve as a lesson for someone, and prevent them from suffering the pain that my choices caused me.

I have learned the hard way that the only way to truly LIVE, to really be ALIVE is to live life with an attitude of gratitude.

To strive to see the blessings in my everyday occurences.

To feel the Lords hand on my shoulder in all things.

To know that for his children who love him, he works all things together for their good.

Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff.

To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments.

To rehearse His accomplishments is to discover His heart.

To discover His heart is to discover not just good gifts but the GOOD GIVER.

Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and helps us exchange bitterness for something better.

This year on Thanksgiving, try to commit to a life that is focused on the blessings, not the trials.

A life that begins and ends each day in prayer, thanking the GOOD GIVER for all his blessings.

Try to be like the 1 out of the 10, who remembered to thank the healer for his health.

Set aside your busy, cautious, self centered, arrogant life, and be the one who went back!

Happy Holidays.snowman trio finished