Day 30 of Gratitude Challenge

As so today it ends. 30 days of gratitude. So many things to be grateful for in life. Throughout this challenge, I have tried to focus on at least one thing every day to be grateful for. Though there has been some overlap, there have been 30 unique things. Though initially, I struggled with new ideas, the reality is there is much to be grateful about.

For today, I have saved my best for last. The attached picture is of my greatest gratitude. She is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning. She is the last thing I think of before I go to sleep. She is constantly on my mind. She is my most ardent supporter and most vocal critic. She loyal, caring, and compassionate. She has her flaws but they don’t really matter to me.

To be clear, she is the person on the right in this picture. We have been together for over 20 years. Today I am grateful for my best friend and wife.

Today is also “Giving Tuesday” in the United States. This is an opportunity to support charities with gifts. Over the holiday season, I plan to make gifts to several charities and challenge all of you to do the same.

I am giving to Dakotabilities – This is where my brother lives and receives service. My oldest brother also received services here until his passing. It is an excellent organization.

I will give to Lifescape – Lifescape is a similar to Dakotabilities. It provides services to adults and children with disabilities. I have been on the Board of Directors at Lifescape for several years serving the last two years as the chair of the board. Tomorrow, I will chair my final meeting before passing the gavel to someone else.

I will give to The Center for Western Studies – I serve on Board of Trustees for this organization which is focused on “Improving the quality of social and cultural life in the Northern Plains … achieving a better understanding of the region, its heritage and its resources … and stimulating interest in the solution to regional problems through the application of knowledge areas of concern to the Center for Western Studies.”

You may give to any organization you wish but I challenge you to give AND post about it. Not to brag but to encourage others to give. I truly believe that gratitude and giving is contagious.

Day 29 of Gratitude Challenge

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” – Mitch Albom

Those that know me, know this topic is a bit more complex for me than others. Though I am unbelievably grateful for my birth mother, this post will focus on my adoptive mother.

The picture above is of my mother long before she ever knew I would be a part of her life. My mother was an amazing woman. While growing up, she was always there for our family. She always put our needs ahead of hers. She did so many things but mostly she made me feel safe and loved. Today, I am grateful for my mother. Take time today to be grateful for your mother. Focus on the good.

Day 28 of Gratitude Challenge

First, I would like to say how happy and thankful I am that Michigan beat Ohio State yesterday. I truly don’t measure the value of my life based on a sporting event, but it felt good to cheer them on to victory. Pair it with a Minnesota Vikings win over the Green Packers a week ago – GOOD WEEK.

Yesterday I wrote about my gratitude for pictures. They capture moments and trigger memories. The picture attached to this post is of my father at the helm of his sailboat. What strikes me about this picture is the joy and happiness in his face. Clearly sailing was one of his joys. I wonder what he is thinking about in this picture?

However, this is not the father I remember. My father was a strict perfectionist. He demanded a great deal from us. But he never demanded more from us than he demanded of himself. Growing up with him was very stressful. Unfortunately, some of these traits have passed on to me (I am sorry to my family).

That said, my father gave his all for our family. He loved us deeply and was driven by a need to provide for us. He didn’t always express his love in a positive way. He taught me many lessons and played a major role in shaping me into the person I am today. There is no doubt I am a far better person because of my father. I wish he was still here. I could chose to focus on the negative aspects of my father. Today (and hopefully other days going foward), I choose to focus on the positive impact my father had on my life. I am grateful for my father. The good, the bad and the ugly. Take time to grateful for your father today.

Day 27 of Gratitude Challenge

There are are only a few days left in the gratitude challenge. Back on Day 4, I asked you to be grateful for happy moments or memories in your life. The last couple of days we focused on family.

Today, I am grateful for pictures. Pictures can capture moments reminding of us memories. The picture with this post captures a funny moment in my life. For whatever reason, we thought it would be a good idea for my sister to curl my hair. The picture was taken by mom with her beloved Polaroid instant camera (this was a big deal in the 70s). Honestly, for a long time I was embarrassed by this picture – perhaps I still should be. But when I saw yesterday, I smiled.

Today, I am grateful for pictures. I am grateful for the moments that pictures capture. Take time today to find a favorite picture (or two). Post the pictures and tell us why you are grateful.

Day 25 of Gratitude Challenge

Today is Thanksgiving. It is a day where we celebrate the blessings of the last year. I plan to spend the day eating with my family, watching football, and cleaning the house for The Gathering. I’m going to take several moments to be grateful for the gifts of the last year.

Here are a few things I am grateful for, over the last year:

  1. Family
  2. 20 years of marriage
  3. Family
  4. Graduation of youngest son
  5. Visiting oldest son several times
  6. Youngest so goes to college
  7. Improved health
  8. Return to the classroom
  9. Return to the office
  10. 1st shot
  11. 2nd Shot
  12. Booster shot
  13. Ginger – The best mini golden doodle

I am grateful for those who read this blog. What are you grateful for? Today, I challenge you to make a gratitude list and post it.

Day 24 of Gratitude Challenge

“To live would be an awfully big adventure.” Peter Pan

Today focus on the greatest gift we have – the gift of life. Simply being alive is a gift. The world isn’t perfect nor am I. It is easy to focus on the negative and what we don’t have. Today, take moments to be grateful that you are alive.

Day 23 of the Gratitude Challenge

Short post today – Today, the weather forecast for the upper plains is unseasonably warm with no precipitation. I am grateful for this weather today. My youngest son is driving home from college. Additionally, my students will driving home for Thanksgiving break today. With the great weather forecast, my son and my students should have fewer problems getting home. For that, I am grateful. I also hope to take a walk outside and enjoy the weather.

Day 22 of the Gratitude Challenge

Everything is better after the Minnesota Vikings defeat the Green Packers. Also, it is Thanksgiving week. For many in the US, this means at least one day off from work, spending time with family and friends, shopping, and overeating. It also means that one can begin to listen to Christmas tunes.

My Thanksgivings as an adult are not the same as those of my youth. Growing up, our family celebrated Thanksgiving with another family (in later years, we added another family). We rotated which family hosted the meal. After the meal, the kids would play games while the adults debated and solved the problems of the world. I really miss those Thanksgivings. I am so grateful for those Thanksgivings.

In recent years, my family and parents in-law have gathered for a Thanksgiving meal often while watching the Detroit Lions play. We will do the same this year. In addition, my wife’s extended family gets together on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for what is known as The Gathering. The Gathering usually consists of three generations brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. Usually there are about 25-30 people in one place telling stories, eating, and laughing. Though it has been a part of my life for over 20 years, it still feels like a new tradition to me.

This year, we are hosting The Gathering. It is a lot of work to prepare for the event. My wife does an amazing job of coordinating all the details. And so our week will be spent preparing and gathering with family.

This year, I am looking forward to this week. Our youngest child be home for a few days. We will get at least two fantastic meals. We will spend time with family and friends. So today, I am grateful for the week to come. I am also grateful that Vikings defeated the Packers What’s something you look forward to in the future?

Day 21 of Gratitude Challenge

I read this quote the other day “When in doubt, just say thank you. There is no downside. Are you honestly worried about showing too much gratitude to the people in your life?” It made me think do I say thank you enough? The answer is no. There is little downside to showing too much gratitude

Today, pay attention to how many times you say thank you. Make an effort to say it more often and see what happens to your mood and those around you.

Thank you to those who read this blog. It probably helps me more than it helps others. But I am grateful to be able to share some of my stories.