The Appreciation Factor

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


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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a little while ago, but truly when you think about it, when is showing appreciation, gratitude or kindness EVER out of date?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! 


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Random Acts of Kindness Week 2017

This week is Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) Week (2/12 – 2/18).  It all leads up to National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Friday, February 17th. However don’t forget about the 18th!  

 

While not confirmed, it’s believed that Random Acts of Kindness originated when Anne Herbert wrote, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a Sausalito, CA restaurant in 1982 or 1983.   Later when Random Acts of Kindness, True Stories of Acts of Kindness, was published in 1993,  it set off a chain reaction of support.  Americans were inspired to take part after TV, radio and newspapers broadcast/published segments and articles on the subject.  

 

To me, practicing RAOKs is akin to showing appreciation. You’re appreciating those around you by letting them know how much they mean to you – even strangers to whom you may be wordlessly saying, “Hey. I see you! We’re in this together. Here’s something nice for you.”  So I try to practice carrying out random acts weekly, but I am always up for focusing my efforts on a greater scale when this week focused on kindness comes along .
You may feel overwhelmed by the task I propose, and are saying, “What can I do?” or “I’ve never done anything like this before.”  Never fear I have a few ideas for you.

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An Appreciative Valentine’s or Any Day

So I’m sort of on the fence about Valentine’s Day. It could be due to the fact that I’m unattached at the moment and everyone else around me has someone special, but I don’t think my dislike of chocolate and roses, two main staples of this Hallmark holiday, helps.

Still when this holiday rolls around, I can’t help but be a little inspired by all of the craftiness heartsyou see in the blogosphere, not to mention the increase in popularity of  things to do for
“Galentine’s Day.”

(For those who may be confused: Galentine’s Day is the day where you celebrate your girlfriends. As per Parks & Recreation, where it’s said to have originated, it is celebrated on the day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th.)

 

Appreciation – It Doesn’t Have to be Reserved for February

I love to show those I care about how much I appreciate them, and while I may not get on the whole Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day bandwagon – and neither should you if it’s not your thing – I thought perhaps I’d turn this into more a heart-themed appreciation post.

I’ve come across some great homemade ideas over the years.  So why not skip the card aisle this year and show your love and/or appreciation on February 13th OR February 14th (as we’ve become trained apt to do) or just do these at any time.  Just saying… break the mold once in a while.  Appreciation is a year-round thing. 🙂

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Thankful Thursdays the January 19th Edition

Happy Thankful Thursday my wonderful followers.  I also wish you a Happy 2017. Still can’t believe it’s 2017!Thankful Thursdays Logo

It’s true what they say, the years do fly by faster as you get older, BUT we still need to make and take the time to be grateful and show kindness.

 

 

I thought for this Thankful Thursday, I would share some links that I’ve been seeing and things that I’ve been doing around gratitude. I’ve really seen an influx of ideas this January as well as a BIG push for “writing” thank you notes — It makes me excited and grateful.  I think starting out the new year with these good intentions is a great way to go, as the new year can really be challenging and overwhelm for some people. This helps put your priorities in a good place.

 

52 Things in 52 Weeks

This year, in addition to creating a 52 things in 52 weeks list (a much more manageable task than I think the 101 things in 1001 days I tried before), I’ve committed myself to several things around showing gratitude. Here are just a few on my list:

  1. Write at least 3 things per week that I’m grateful for – this has proved to be a little harder. Not so much as in coming up with things, but remembering to write them down!!
  2. Write 52 Thank you or Just Because notes – I’m on track having written 6 already!  I want to get better at writing more just because ones!
  3. Volunteer for 5 Events w/ increased contribution over 2016
  4. Splurge on flowers for myself 1x/month – a little bit of self gratitude can go a long way!
  5. Complete 365 Rock Your Happy Challenge
  6. Complete a 100HappyDaysChallenge in words/pictures

BTW: I got the amazing idea for 52 things in 52 week from the L is for Lucy blog.  Here’s her 2017 list.  Want to make your own?  I don’t think it’s too late to do it as 1. You can likely knock off more than 1 in 1 week for a few weeks OR who’s to say when your 52 weeks must start. Maybe you like to start anew in February or in your birthday month!

 

 

365 Rock Your Happy Challenge

You might notice #5 that talks about the 365 Rock Yourself Happy Challenge.  This is a great challenge by Bree of Baked Bree and Kristen of @dineanddish.  Each week, I get 7 tasks, one for each day, to complete.  “The prompts are little things that are doable, simple, and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes each day. As they say, “Little things that potentially can have a huge impact in our everyday lives.””
Tasks range from doing things for yourself to prompts of doing things for other people.   I signed up as I wanted to start making small changes that make me happier and I was even MORE pleased when I saw how many acts of kindness and gratitude that they include each week. It’s a win win for me.

Definitely consider signing up for this 

 

 

Happify Happiness Compliment Chain

The Happiness Compliment Chain is a site I found via my #365RockYourSelfHappyChallenge.  Developed by Happify, it’s one of the easiest ways to brighten your day and someone else’s.  The idea is centered around sending a genuine compliment (in note form) to someone and thereby creating a Kindness Chain.  Happify’s thought is that “kindness is contagious and we want to make it easy to spread.”  The Kindness Chain is set up to reach numerous people. Here are some compliment “messages” you can choose from. Once you select the one you like, you have the option to write your own messages or use their template version (See the sample below.)

pic courtesy of happify.com

fill-in-the-blanks

 

I’ve sent 8 already — just sent another one while writing this post.  It is kind of contagious.

 

 

Pictures courtesy of happify.com

 

 

Connect with someone you love

This is a great idea that requires intention and mindfulness.  You may need to “schedule” it until it becomes a habit.
Per Camille Styles one of the top 10 successful and happy women do each morning is connect with someone they love each day.  Her suggestions: “Whether it’s a breakfast date with your partner or a tickle session with your kids, connecting with someone you love first thing will set your priorities and remind you of what’s really important. Even if the morning is really busy, try to sit down for a few minutes over breakfast and talk about what’s going on in each others’ lives.
I love this idea.

 

 

Performing Random Acts of Kindness

If you’ve been following me long (It will be 5 years in 2 weeks!!), you know that I’m a HUGE supporter of performing Random Acts of Kindness aka #ROAKs.   Sometimes the challenge with these can be the lack of ideas of how to execute one.  Well fret no more.  In this week’s #365RockYourselfHappyChallenge I am tasked with “Doing a Good Deed.”  Fortunately I had something in mind, but the girls provided me with this link to The Random Acts of Kindness Blog. How I didn’t see this particular site before when I’ve promoted ROAKs, I don’t know, but it’s amazing!

Some “topics” you can choose from:

  • Ideas You Can Do with Your Family
  • Ideas for Strangers
  • Things to Do at Work
  • Things to do Online
  • Sports

I was pretty impressed with the Sports option on myself. (These include cleaning gym equipment and cheering on a teammate).  I think I would add, “Make a sign cheering someone on,” or “Wishing him/her good luck before the game.”  The other idea I can’t wait to try is donating books to (in my case) a Little Free Library and a year of thank you notes (as listed in my 52 things list.)

ANYONE can perform a random act of kindness and it really does make a difference in your life and to those you’ve done it for.

 

Other things worth noting

On LinkedIn I’m seeing a growing number of articles that promote the Handwritten Thank you note. Just today I read one by  in reference to meeting for Coffee. Check it out here.
Not sure how to write one? Check out my detailed posts here (Why you should hand write them) and here (Tips on writing a memorable thank you note).

Did you notice all of the brands/companies that sent Thank you Emails or had an “Thank-you” message as a stand-alone commercial during the holidays and in the first few weeks of this year? I did, and I was impressed. I’m definitely more inclined to shop at a store that appreciates me.

 

What additional ideas do you have for sharing kindness, happiness and gratitude?
I’d love to hear them and share them in an upcoming Thankful Thursday’s issue!
Drop me a note or comment below.