The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


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Send a Little Love – 30 Day Letter Challenge

This gem is a share/inspiration from Mail More Love’s/Devoted Diarist’s Rhea Abramson. Since stumbling across her blog a few months ago during National Letter Writing Month (April), I’ve been an avid reader and follower of her blog and Instagram posts.

*Check out the Instagram account (Devoted Diarist) for her envelope artwork – I want one!   You’ll also likely be inspired by some of the card designs (and designers) she features! I know I was. (DearHancock anyone? Love those bunnies!)

While I haven’t quite taken on the 30 day challenge, (I’m struggling to find 30 people to write to, or 20 for that matter!) I love this idea. As a lover of sharing appreciation and all things handwritten… I WILL find a way to participate. (She has great tips in putting everything in reach!) It just may not be this month/summer.

Without further ado, Rhea’s recent post on a Summer Letter Writing Challenge  (Thanks Rhea!)

 

 

I began my foray into writing a letter every day with a 30 day snail mail challenge back in July of 2015. Here is a FLIPGRAM of the 30 days. That adventure filled my world with gems I never expected to encounter. My own stationery business, a snail mate, friends near and far, a Letter […]

via Summer Letter Writing Challenge — Mail More Love


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Thankful Thursdays -June 22nd Edition

Happy summer!  I’ve been looking forward to the first day of summer for a long time. As I said to someone yesterday on the phone, I may like the first day of summer even more than my birthday!

 

I’ve got some great Thankful Thursday stories to share today.  You’ll note that two are around writing; I was more inspired by National Stationary Month than I realized.  Two others focus on middle schoolers really stepping up.  As you know, Thankful Thursdays are stories, people, companies, and videos that move me, and which exemplify appreciation, kindness, or those making a difference in the world.  These five stories really spoke to me and I hope they’ll speak to you too!

As an added bonus that’s in honor of summer, I’ve included a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca, courtesy of the How Sweet It Is blog.

 

We’re Really Just All the Same

I found this on Twitter in May, and it still moves me every time I watch it.  A girl in Birmingham, England came to school with a new prosthetic blade.  How did her classmates react?

Watch this video to find out:

Thanks to www.someecards.com for this story

 

 

They Say Middle School Can Be Cruel, But This One has Kindness In It

We’ve all known that group in middle school who always has the best and most expensive things and who seem to look down on those who don’t.  In this case, one who had a lot, shared a lot more.   Instead of continuing to allow a younger classmate to be bullied and made fun of, an 8th grade boy gave a 6th grader a pair of his Air Jordan’s that he’d only worn a few times! (FYI: Some Air Jordan’s cost over $125!)
His parting comment: “…remember this day for the rest of your life.  No matter how many bad people there are, there are always people that will help you in the long run.” WOW! Such wise words from an 8th grader.

Click this link to read the whole story.

 

 

A Letter Makes A Difference – Girls Love Mail

Ever since National Stationery Month in April, I’ve candidly become a bit obsessed with cards and letter writing – much more so than what I expound upon here at The Appreciation Factor. I’ve told you in the past how much impact a handwritten note can have, so you’ll quickly see why, this story about Girls Love Mail, an organization that sends handwritten notes of encouragement to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, made such an impact on me.

 

I think I’m going to have to write a few letters myself for Girls Love Mail and join their 2017 Miles of Mail campaign (as of this post, Girls Love Mail is on Lap 2 with over 9,400 letters received, and over 92,000 have received a letter since the group’s founding in 2011!)  Truly, when more has a letter meant so much?

 

 

Putting a Spin on a Serious Topic

While you may have distinct opinions on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and it’s depiction of a girl who commits suicide and who she blames, I promise this is not story is not a downer.

Much has been said about 13 Reasons Why and how it glamorizes suicide.  I personally did not have that take away but I know younger audiences could walk away with different ideas from this program. This is why I wanted to share a story of Oxford, Michigan, who turned the story around to be, 13 Reasons Why Not.  The school wanted to address suicide, bullying, depression and other challenges teens face, with a positive twist.  Select students from Oxford High School were picked to tell their story and to thank a friend/friends for bringing hope and inspiration to their lives.

You can listen to this NPR Youth Radio feature: 13 Reasons Why Not (Listen here).

 

Rocks Can Make a Difference

One pile found on Martha’s Vineyard. Source: Backwater Trading Co.

Ever a fan of acts of kindness, this one won me over immediately. It’s probably because I also collect rocks – primarily heart-shaped rocks, but still find a nice rock can really make my beach day – even one without any writing on it.  The thought of finding one with an inspirational message… wow!

It all started when Meagan Murphy wrote some inspirational messages for friends on rocks she found on her local Cape Cod beach.  Inspired by the positive reactions she received, she started leaving inspiration rocks for strangers to hind on her local beach.  So many people were moved by them, that they started to leave their own.

Now formally, The Kindness Rocks Project (www.thekindnessrocksproject.com) it’s expanded across the US and rocks have been left/found in over 10 countries!
There are two goals of The Kindness Rocks Project:
1.  Inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way
2.  Recruit every person who stumbles upon one to join in the pursuit of inspiring others through random acts of kindness.

What a great reminder to always act as kindly as possible, and share inspiration in places one may not expect it.

How can you get involved?  Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate – no registration is needed.  Simply decorate a rock and leave it for the next person to find. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

 

And as a special treat a recipe courtesy of Jessica Merchant of How Sweet it Is

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca (frozen non-alcoholic drink)

Source: How Sweet It Is (Jessica Merchant)

Serves: 4         Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
– 1/2 Large Watermelon, Seeded and Cubed (about 4 cups)
– 1/2 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest, plus extra for topping
– 3 Tablespoons sugar
– Pinch of salt
– 4 Cups Ice
– Garnish: Lime and Watermelon wedges

Directions:

I’ve tried this and it’s Ahhhhhmazing! Can’t wait for the really good summer watermelon to come out! I’m also thinking about adding some Mint to this too!  Let me know what you think!

What did you think of this issue of Thankful Thursdays?

Have a link you want to share for my next issue of Thankful Thursdays – Share it in the comments section.


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Put the Phone Down

While this may not be popular to say, I have to say something.

I’m not big on smartphones, nor candidly, the biggest smartphone user. I don’t text all that often and can’t stand it when I receive one- or two-word texts or even four texts to convey something that could have sent as a single text.  And don’t even get me started on the emoji only texts.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to cell phones, in fact, sometimes there’s nothing more I enjoy than calling up a friend and catching up on the fly.  But… I primarily prefer to use the phone to call people, not to do the myriad of other things that you can do with it. Perhaps I’m missing out, but I’m not inclined to think so.

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Thankful Thursdays the April 27th Edition

There have been unfortunately several days this month, where I’ve been a bit uncertain, the path rocky, and unknown. However, as I’ve navigated my way towards what will hopefully surely can be only better days ahead, stories like these always lift me up and inspire me. They also reignite the gratitude I have for those around me and for those who support me. Thanks for stopping by for this issue of:

 

Thankful Thursdays

Stories, People, Companies, and Videos that move me and which exemplify appreciation, kindness, or those making a difference in our world. 

 

Boston Marathon

source: ABC/WCVB

In New England, April is synonymous with the Boston Marathon. Everyone shows their hometown spirit and they are extra friendly to visitors.  Patience abounds.

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Drop “Me” A Line – It’s National Letter Writing Month

April is National Letter Writing Month. Get those Pens out!

If I could, I’d have this song playing while you read the post. It’s cathartic to me and oh so clever, even if it’s not exactly mimicking putting pen to paper.

 

If you’ve already heard about National Letter Writing Month, my apologies, I know I’m a little late to the game.  Once I heard about it however, of course I needed to share because HELLLLOOOO, this is so up my alley.  How better to show your appreciation than with a handwritten note.  (Candidly – this celebration also reminded me that I need to write more notes all year long.)

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Thankful Thursdays the March 30th Edition

Squeaking in a Thankful Thursdays edition. Thankful Thursdays Logo
With so much activity on the world-wide web and social media these days it’s great to see that kindness, positive words, and ways to show appreciation are still out there.  

I know that a couple of these stories happened a little while ago, but truly when you think about it, when is showing appreciation, gratitude or kindness EVER out of date?  Maybe one will inspire someone for next year.

So without further ado… Here are some great links I’ve found that support Thankful Thursdays – stories, people, companies, and videos that move me and which exemplify appreciation, or those making a difference in our world.

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I want to take a moment to thank…

I love books. NO REALLY. I LOVE them. I also consider myself a voracious reader, and back that up with the fact that I read Every. Single. Day.  Sometimes twice a day.  I’m an old school reader in that I prefer physical books and won’t use an e-reader. I enjoy the musty smell of older books and the feel of the page beneath my fingers.

Candidly if I hadn’t chosen appreciation as my blog focus, I probably  would have gone with books.

There’s something that I cherish about books that ties directly in with my passion for appreciation and that’s the Acknowledgements page(s).

What are those you ask?  You know the place, where authors have the chance to say thank you to everyone who made it possible to get this book into your hot little hands. Here’s a sample:

FYI: It is intentionally blurred and redacted. You’re eyes aren’t tricking you!

 

Sometimes the Acknowledgements page(s) is/are the best one(s) to read in a book.  Here’s why I think so:

  • The writer has publicly thanked someone for their support and/or efforts. I love this monumental act of showing one’s appreciation.  It’s permanent for all to read for as long as there is a copy of the book available.  On these pages, you learn about the author’s friends, family, and writers who inspired them. Sometimes I wonder what criteria the author used to pick who was mentioned.  There are also instances where I believe that the appreciation shown on these pages may stronger than what she/he may have expressed in person.

 

  • You can learn about the how and why the author approached the book’s topic or plot they way they did. I love this behind the scenes look.

 

  • I’ll let you in on a secret.  I also read these pages to see if there is someone I know. I occasionally see the name of a writer or celebrity I like or a name that is the same as a friend of mine. I’ll pause and ask, “Is it MY friend or someone who just has the same name?” Inquiring minds want to know!

 

  • Finally, as I aspire to one day write a book, I’ll ask myself, “Who would I include in the Acknowledgements page?”

 

The Acknowledgements Page(s) really make me happy in general.  As I said, I love that writers are taking the opportunity to show their appreciation for those that made the book happen.  Plus it’s written, albeit typed, but it’s kind of a written thank you note — a thing that’s near and dear to my heart.

 

 

What about you?
Have you ever taken the time to read the Acknowledgements page in a book  or when you finish the last page you are “done.” Mic drop!  

If you haven’t read an Acknowledgments page might you do so now?
While I have read some good Acknowledgments pages, I unfortunately did not save any to share with you, but maybe you have read some that had stood out for you. If so, let me know!