It’s Thoughtful Thursday! This gift is always “enough” !

It’s September 1st and while others are mourning the loss of summer I am relishing that things will get back to a regular rhythm. The kids are back in school  (or in my case the grandkids), there will be some really gorgeous fall days and crisp mornings and I, for one, am ready for the change of seasons.

Our family will kick off the fall by celebrating my Dad’s 90th birthday.  I cherish this time I have with my parents and know that each day is a gift.  Except for some hearing issues and forgetfulness my parents are doing well.  The internet and “the facebook” baffle my Mom.  My Dad does know how to send an email or play solitaire on his computer.  Downloads confuse him but then they sometimes hang me up as well.

My Dad requested no gifts for his birthday.  He just wants to be around family.  I actually had to convince him that a family gathering would be nice ( he didn’t want a party).  In the end it was a matter of semantics as we are having a party but not using the “p” word.

Despite my mothers confusion about computers she is aware of Amazon and will ask me to order things.  Recently it was a gift for a friend who is turning 90.  My mother was concerned it wasn’t “enough” of a gift.

We have all been down that road before.

I really dislike the notion of any gift not being “enough”. Who decides what is enough?  My parents are actually pain relief going to the party which in my mind is gift enough but my mother would not let it go.

Finally I came up with the perfect addition to the gift.  Feel free to steal this and use this as we approach the holidays.  It is definitely the quintessential one size fits all and will be universally loved by all who receive it.

I told my Mom to write Sylvia a note and include all the special memories they have shared and why her friendship and connection through these many years has meant so much.

It is one thing to know this.  It is one thing to verbalize it.  Having it written down adds a new dimension.  It can be read, and reread, held close to the heart and touched.  Running a hand over a written note can be soothing and a connection can be felt to the words and the time and sentiment that went in to writing the words on paper.

[bctt tweet=”A handwritten note is a gift that fills the heart. It can be read, and reread, held close to the heart and touched. It’s connecting your heart to theirs with words.” username=”jenniferbross”]

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I’m pretty sure something like this can’t be bought at Amazon…or at any store.

Not to spoil the surprise but I know what I want to give and receive as a gift these coming months..and it is more than enough!

Now you know what to do…go out and make it a Thoughtful one!!

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Look up for some awesomeness!!

I have done a lot of traveling in my lifetime.  Often not very exciting places but between being a military wife and business I have been in lots of different locations  and in quite a few airports.

Lots of changes have happened especially over the last few years.  Gone are the banks of payphones and in their place are “charging zones” for our various electronic devices.  People still bury their heads in books or e-readers.

The nosy person in me loves it when people bring real books.  I love to see what people are reading!!

And for those of you who are curious ( aka nosy, lol) about what I have been reading, here you go:

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The other thing people bury themselves in are their phones.  Row after row of people with their heads down, totally oblivious to the people around them.  I have even spent a whole flight sitting next to someone who never even said “hi”.

I am here to tell you that you are missing out on a whole lot of awesomeness.

When we traveled to Italy two years ago I learned quickly to always look up.  The ceilings in the historic and non historic places always had a story to tell of craftsmanship, beauty and brilliance.  It started to be the first thing I did when we entered a building.  I was never disappointed.

Sometimes I saw incredible artwork:

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So Gorgeous!!!

 

And sometimes we were entertained by a lively conversation complete with hand gestures!!

Wish I knew what they were saying!

Wish I knew what they were saying!

Being in Italy and knowing that if I failed to look up I would miss out on so much instilled the habit of looking up and all around everywhere I am, especially in crowded places like airports and coffee shops.

That one simple habit has filled my heart more than once.

Just last adhd month I was waiting to board my flight and saw an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair parked at the gate agents podium.

He was all alone.

It is almost always easy to start a conversation with an older person.  They love to talk.  This gentleman made it easy because he was wearing a Marine Corps Hat.  A quick “Semper Fi” and we were off and running.

His name was Marvin, he has five kids, told me all about his military service, his farm, his deceased wife, and the fact that he just turned 90!!  I told him both my parents turn 90 in the next 6 months.  He smiled and told me not to tell them but the truth was ( his words) “Its all downhill once you turn 90”  He said it with a smile and I promised not to tell.

He was a delight and far more entertaining than my phone and certainly enriched and touched me in ways the internet never could or will.  My only regret is we didn’t get a photo together.

Other past encounters include a woman dressed to the nines with most impressive jewelry.  She was a blind pianist. I also met a guitarist from the group “White Snake”, a delightful artist from Florida, a retiree with a broken leg moving to Chicago, an inspirational speaker who had a good experience as a foster kid and was paying it forward as a speaker and advocate for foster children!

As much as I love getting a handwritten letter the other part  of this  is interacting with the people around us.  You just never know who you will meet, how you will touch their lives in that moment or maybe forever or how they will touch yours.

Now go out and make it a Thoughtful One and remember to Look Up!!

 

 

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Feeling a little stressed over the holidays..then it is time to…

“Disclaimer”  Since I am dedicated to NOT make myself crazy I am being a good environmentalist and recycling a post that I wrote at this same time last year.  I had to laugh when I reread it because my tree is up, lights on and once again it is surrounded by boxes of decorations….some things never change 🙂  Enjoy!  Also begging forgiveness from my daughters for giving them that *&*%$#$ Elf on the Shelf several years ago..yikes!

Join me for a  little cup of self compassion and letting go.   At the risk of getting horse whipped by Elf on the Shelf and shamed by Pinterest addicts I will share with you that Christmas is not my favorite holiday.

Pause for a collective GASP!

I mentioned this to a few of my friends and was dutifully shamed since evidently I am suppose to LOVE everything about the holiday and put up my decorations mid November.

I think not.

I don’t LOVE everything.

What I do love is the spiritual side, advent and getting together with family, and pulling out the faded construction paper ornaments with macaroni and toothless grins from long ago.

I love the music…in December and not before.

What I don’t love are the little voices in my head that constantly barrage me this time of year:

  • Did I remember everything and everyone?
  • Wait where did I put this gift…did I even buy it or did I just think I bought it?
  • It’s Dec. 10th and my tree is not up..what’s up with that? ( It is actually up with a trillion boxes surrounding it full of ornaments yet to be hung)
  • The sale ends tonight, must hurry, must bake, must do everything

and the quintessential:

 “What’s wrong with me, everyone else seems to do this without breaking a sweat”

I actually know the last one is not true, it just feels true.  Especially when I hear things like this starting on Nov. 29th:

“My shopping is all done, cards are ready to be mailed and I just baked 15 dozen cookies”

And me….I am thinking ( among other things that can’t be written here):

“Wait, I haven’t even finished digesting my Thanksgiving dinner and you are all ready for Christmas?”

And then to console myself I have another piece of pie.

So what does all this have to do with Thoughtful Thursday?

Aside from starting a support group for those of us who would like to celebrate Thanksgiving and then ease into Christmas then the  best we can do is really, really practice self compassion and let go of what does not serve us.

Take a breath, have a cup of tea, keep it simple and do what brings you joy.  Elf on the Shelf might need to take a vacation this year..or permanently.

If you have small children think about what you remember about Christmas.  I bet you hardly remember the gifts but you do remember your Grandpa’s laugh, fun with your family or making cookies with your Mom ( just not 15 dozen and slice and bake work just fine)

As for me, I am putting a mute button on all those nagging questions that run through my head, making a cup a tea and hoping I don’t trip over all those boxes around the undecorated tree as I go to the kitchen.

Make this Thoughtful Thursday about you today!

P.S. Written quickly so all my typos and grammatical errors are my gifts to you!  Phew..

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday: Remember these two words…

Do you remember when the letters of the alphabet finally made sense?  When you finally realized that if you put those letters in a certain order they actually made words.  Words that you could read?

It’s a powerful moment.

That moment came to me in first grade and the word was “Jump” !  I often wondered why I remembered this moment so clearly and even what the word was and the excitement I felt that this reading thing, these letters, that word finally made sense.S059QDGBOG

So  many years later I realize that making that leap from just letters, to words, to reading opened up an entire new world to me.  It’s like an exciting trip I’ve been on that never ends.

Even if you don’t like to read or write, words will excite you in other ways.  What new parent doesn’t get excited over their child’s first word?  Just recently my grandson started saying “Grandma”.  Up until that moment, for some reason, he called me “Grandpa” 🙂 It may seem like a little thing but when I walked in and he said “Hi Grandma” my heart sang.

This morning as I was scrolling through my mail I ran across a piece of art by Kelly Rae Roberts.

It simply said these two words:

LOVE WIDE

It stopped me in my tracks.  It said to me we can love in all directions.  We can really love wide with all our words.  Make them big, make them simple but spread them widely to your friends, family and strangers.  Spread them via snail mail,  texts, or emails.  Leave them on post it notes for people to find on windshields, in desks, in pockets, on steering wheels, in lunches, on coffee cups.notebook_pen_hires

 

Better yet leave them for strangers to find.  Imagine finding a note under your windshield wiper that said “you matter” or “you are loved”.  Those could be the only kind words that person encounters today.

Those words, that small gesture won’t be forgotten.

So this Thoughtful Thursday love widely with your words however you choose to do it.  I’ll bet the thought of  this just made you smile!

As always, go out and  make it a Thoughtful One!

 

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Are you guilty of this bad social media habit?

Social media has led me  to  develop some bad habits.  Shocking I know.  Let me just add those to the list of my less than desirable habits that even annoy me.  The top of that list is forgetting to close cupboard doors  (or any door for that matter).  I have been painfully reminded of this many times when I have banged my head into the open cupboard door.  My friends would say that explains alot 🙂

As far as social media goes I often fall into that mistaken belief that everyone I know and care about has seen my updates or photos.  This is especially true of big events ( weddings,baptisms, birthdays)

I KNOW lots of my family and friends are not on social media and yet I still forget.

If you are thinking “Well these friends and family just need to get with the times and jump onto social media”, remember that for some ( especially older relatives like my parents) it is just not going to happen.

AND social media is a poor substitute for a REAL phone call, a REAL piece of mail and a REAL printed up photo.

So here is where it gets really cool.  You can use social media to send a real printed photo postcard. Honestly I just discovered this so I am going to experiment with the different apps to see which ones I really like and in a week or two will share this with you.

One  app that I know is great is Kicksend.  It will send photos from your phone to a local place to be printed up and then you can just pick them up.  I have a couple of friends who use this on a regular basis after having their photos lost on their phones.  There is nothing worse than realizing you just deleted a photo you loved or your favorite two year old got your phone and cleared it for you.

Toddlers are pretty tech savvy these days.  Remember the 3 yr old who bought a car off of Ebay?

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

So if today is not the day to send a photo then  pick up the phone.  Let someone you love know you are thinking about them. If someone keeps popping into my thoughts I KNOW I need to talk to them.

The whole purpose of Thoughtful Thursday is to make it a day to remind you to connect with someone.

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!  And if you find an app you like please share!

It’s Thoughtful Thursday..an easy way to make a difference


Take a minute and think about someone who made a difference in your life.

Chances are you just smiled.

You remember how happy it made you, how it changed you or how loved you felt that they took the time to do something for you.

Was it a huge thing like Oprah did when she gave away those cars?  Or was it something on a smaller scale?  It might have even been something they did without  realizing they made an amazing impact on your life.

While we would all like to have the ability to do really BIG things most of us can’t give away cars or houses or fancy vacations.

If you go back to the first question and remember what first popped into your thoughts it probably wasn’t something big.  It was probably something much smaller and doable and yet it was still HUGE to you.

This past Monday I had my day all planned and it was going to be so productive.  I got up early, I ran, I cleaned up and I sat down to work.  My computer had different ideas about my day.  I spent all day Monday, some of Tuesday and will spend a little bit of today getting this one issue,that could not be ignored,fixed on my computer.

Monday was NOT a good day.  Fortunately I did not also have to suffer through “crunchy coffee”.  If you missed out on that adventure go here.

So after some mind bending hours in front of this blasted machine I took the dog out since his little dance could not be ignored . I got the mail and my day turned around when I found these:

 

Letters for Thoughtful Thursday

 

Neither one of these friends could have possibly known what kind of day I would have when their note arrived.  I tore into them, read them several times and now they sit on my desk and make me smile.

They made a difference by taking a few minutes to write me a note.  It wasn’t a car or a house or a vacation but it might as well have been because that is how huge it felt to me on Monday.

Want to make a difference?  Make a list ( either written or in your noggin) about all the ways you can turn someones’ day around.  A smile, a note, holding the door open, a compliment, a post it note on the steering wheel or someones’ desk.  A lunchbox note for someone who might never expect it.

FYI we never grow too old for lunchbox notes.

Watch it come back to you in so many great ways including just making you smile when you think of the person finding the note, seeing your smile or savoring your compliment.

Now you know the drill.  Go out and make it a Thoughtful One!! 🙂

Living Single while Very Married: Hellos and Goodbyes

One of themes throughout our relationship has been the many hellos and goodbyes !  I can best sum them up with this thought I posted on facebook when saying goodbye yet again:

The hellos get sweeter and the goodbyes get harder…

   Our first true goodbye after we were engaged  is still as fresh as when it happened on July 5, 1978 .  We knew it would be several months before we saw each other again.  I remember the date not because I have such a great memory but because when I went back inside the house after seeing Paul off I found this written in my “Nothing Book”.  What he wrote was really something!photo (20)

.…”goodbyes, however temporary are often painful…the months ahead will be rough but nothing in this world comes easy, especially the items we treasure most….

And so began a series of Hellos and Good-byes…Navy Deployments etc.  Most hellos were fabulous..the goodbyes not so much.  Out of it we learned to treasure our time together, trust decisions that needed to be made and made the most of what communication methods we had at the time which mostly consisted of the good old fashioned letter.

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There was one deployment where the only way to communicate besides letters and the rare phone call was over some sort of radio frequency that came over the phone.  I remember how strange it was to say “I love you” “Over” but I hung on to it.  Plus Paul sounded just like Mickey Mouse.  When he finally called on an actual phone about 2 months later and I heard his real voice I cried.

And with goodbyes come some really sweet hellos.  I am fortunate to have a photo of one of the sweetest hellos we ever had.   February, 1984, Barbers Point, Hawaii  Our oldest was almost three, I was very pregnant with our second as in about 10 days away from having her.  The photo says it all:

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That is a little of our story of hellos and goodbyes.  I would like to say we were well prepared for our present adventure but there have been adventures inside the adventure.  Most have been pretty funny ( so thankful for that) others not so much but holy cow have we learned a lot.

I’ll end with some wisdom from Winnie the Pooh.  For a bear he sure has a way with words!  pooh goodbye quote

Be on the look out for my next post as we start this new adventure with the quintessential ROAD TRIP!! Woohoo!

The Worst Excuse Yet for Not Exercising..but funny!

I’ve heard a lot of excuses for not exercising and I’ve come up with many on my own.  Some of the excuses are valid, others borderline on “the dog ate my homework” “the dog ate my running clothes, shoes, water bottle..”  Wait , judging from the puppies I have had that one might actually be true.  🙂

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The one I heard recently was the best yet.  Well maybe not the best but the fact that it came from a guy makes it pretty unbelievable.

If it came from a woman it might fly but only a little.

Am I being sexist here?  You bet!

Just to be clear, this is an absolutely true story.  Talked to the person who actually witnessed it.

So this guy goes to his boss and starts complaining about one of the guys that works out at the company gym around the same time he does.

The boss is listening to this guy  complain and the guy won’t shut up . He just drones on and on and finally makes his point.  The boss is multi tasking, sort of just humoring this chronic complainer while shuffling papers. When he hears his actual complaint he looks up and just says:

“Get Out”!

His complaint?  One of the guys on the treadmill smells so bad that it keeps Homer from being able to exercise.

I’m not sure which is funnier..that his boss told him to get out or his excuse for not exercising.

IT”S A GYM  If there is one place you can stink, it is THE GYM.  I stink in the gym..not as much as the guys but I know I do and it’s okay.

Now if the guy was sitting next to him at work and stinks..I get it..make the boss tell the guy to go shower and get some deodorant but its THE GYM!

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When I heard this all I could think of was a bit comedian Jeff Foxworthy does about the difference between men and women and smells.  Women are totally grossed out.  Guys..well guys smell something like old gym clothes in a bag, and they say something like “Woohee that smells bad” and then walks over to his friend and says’ Hey Jimbo..ya want take a whiff”  like its a badge of honor.

I think the boss had it right.  If you can’t take the smell then “Get out”

I’m off to the gym.  If you need to find me I’ll be the stinky one.