The Appreciation Factor

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


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a little while ago, but truly when you think about it, when is showing appreciation, gratitude or kindness EVER out of date?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


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Best of All…. the Fall

Fahhhhhll…. Is anyone else loving how the fall foliage has remained on the trees much longer this year? I know I am. Apparently the fluctuations of warm weather and lack of frosts are the culprit – which doesn’t bode well environmentally, but, well, I’ll take it if not simply for its beauty.

As you may know, I’m a proclaimed beach girl, so summer is my go to time of the year, but fall…. well fall has always run a close second and perhaps at times takes the lead before the approach of May/June when it summer becomes the front-runner once again.

I think I enjoy fall so much because for me, fall is the time to start anew – perhaps more so than January 1st.
Likely this harkens back to my school days, which I somewhat dreaded, yet looked forward to for the fresh start they brought.  Fall was a time where you could reinvent yourself, try something new, fall in love, or just gain a new perspective. Plus, well, I’m also a fan of fall sports.

ygm-fall-quoteI also love fall for the dramatic visuals it gives us.  As someone who once lived in an area that didn’t have distinctive seasons, fall was definitely the one I missed the most. You may think that living in spring/summer all of time sounds ideal, but really, at least for me, I missed the change to crisp cool weather and the red, orange, yellow, and even the brown, foliage.  I longed for crisp cool days where I could pull on a cozy sweater and boots and explore hushed woods and leaf-strewn pathways vs. sandy beaches and sun-baked terrain.

There’s something magical and overwhelmingly peaceful about walking on nature trails in New England in the fall and stopping to hear… “nothing”… well not nothing, but possibly a slight breeze, a bubbling brook, and/or the rustling of leaves. For me, it’s like time momentarily stops and a calming sense of peace overcomes me.  I’m overtaken by the beauty of the colors, the earthy smells, and a feeling of how grateful I am to be there in that moment, appreciative of being alive, and enjoying fall in all her splendor.

 

The last two weeks I’ve been changing up my exercise routine to include more outdoor walks along many of the Trustees of the Reservations trails and local land trust parks. I’m in awe and have an appreciation of the beauty I’ve encountered. Here are just a few snaps. (Check out that one leaf pic – it was LARGER than my head!!!)

 

fall-collage

What about you… what season is your favorite?  If you love fall like me, what do you appreciate about it most?

hemingway

 


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600

Just an update for those who’ve been following my fitness quest

Today #

600-days                                                                                                                                                                      is in the books.

I know I should be doing the #happydance

 

giphy

and appreciate what I’ve accomplished but, candidly the last 100 days haven’t been as great as the first 500. My interest and drive has waned and waistline is starting to expand.  Still I’ve not stopped.

For me, I’ve found that once you start something/a goal, it’s hard to stop – or better said, difficult to justify stopping/not working out, simply because I want to watch something on TV or “just don’t feel like it.”  I also haven’t completed the goal started eating healthier, “as planned.”  While my weight loss has stalled and started to go in the other direction, despite working out, I can get down right discouraged.  But hey… the harder and longer workouts I was doing aren’t happening as frequently as they should, and are replaced by “easier” walks, so I really have no one to blame but myself.  (Yeah… I’m finding that I’m not as nice to myself about this.)  Still I can say to say that I have done something – like a 20-30+ walk or workout video every day since March 8, 2015. That’s something and I know I’d be in worse shape had I not been doing anything at all.  I just need to get psyched up and motivated again… perhaps that’s also why I’m blogging about it, to regain that excitement.

 

What’s Next

Next week I’m trying a new food plan – it’s a two-week boost process where I’ll eat healthier, through the omission of several favorite “food groups” – like whole wheat and dairy. It does allow for snacks of pickles, nuts, and certain veggies – Yea!! – but am not a fan of plans that deny things.  For me, it makes me want them more.    Still maybe this is what I need to do to get me back on track. My current goal is to make it another 112 days and complete to 2 years straight.  That’s not many days at all when you think about how many I’ve done so far. I want to do this, but I would love to do this with a little more gusto and enthusiasm.  Despite what many in my position could feel, I have not become excited to work out or necessarily look forward to working out. I wish I liked it more. Maybe it’s that I’ve gotten in a rut with the approaches I’ve been taking and I want to change that.

So if anyone has any tips to stay motivated, tapes/exercises that would make things fresh again, or just personal stories to share, please do. I could use the additional support and motivation.

And finally… I’m also hoping to get back in to blogging more often.  I know several of you have said that they’ve missed my posts.

Fall is usually my reset or renewal time period, but so far, it’s been more sluggish  than anything else.  I love writing about appreciation and am hoping to find fresh stories and topics to share, not all have inspired me in a way that I’d hope to inspire you. So here too, please send any suggestions my way – I’d be happy to credit you/your blog if you have a post to share, or follow-up on a topic you propose.

2 years… I’m gunning for you.


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It’s that Time Again When The Radio is Taken Over

It’s the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  A time for giving, showing kindness, and making and buying gifts. Part of your holiday rituals may also include Christmas music (songs and carols).

Do you know the difference between a carol and a song?
Quite simply, Christmas carols are typically religious in nature – think Holy Night.
Christmas songs on the other hand are secular and have no real spiritual or religious affiliation.

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Goodbye Lovely Summer

Alas summer has ended and fall has started today.  I’m a little sad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of fall.  I appreciate the feeling of starting anew (sort of second new year if you will), the changing leaves, the pumpkins, Dia de los Muertos, football games, the Head of the Charles Regatta and even that soft oversized sweater.

But oh the sweet days of summer when all seems right in the world. Visions Memories of languid days spent on the beach, sunsets, tans and swimming, oh glorious swimming in the ocean. (The last I will miss the most.)

So just a quick tribute and farewell to my favorite season with a picture collage and quote.

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.”
~ Helen Hunt Jackson

Summer 2015 RecapFrom Left to Right, Top to Bottom Row by Row:
Row 1: 1. Let the games begin. Heading to MV on the boat,  2. An understated Memensha Sunset,  3. An unexpected surprise in nature uncovered during a walk,  4. SUP for 2 hours!
Row 2: 1. Dinner trying to escape,  2. Caught and enjoyed by sunset,  3. The Ag Fair flower exhibit,  4. Sunrise on vacation (Yes! One of my 101 goals accomplished!)
Row 3: 1. Beetlebung with Blanc De, Blue and the lanterns,  2. Found art on the beach,  3 & 4. Fireworks captured in August (the best time)
Row 4: 1. Waning July sunset,  2. SPOTTED! Art on the unexpected palette (Read More),  3. A last Monarch butterfly this past Sunday 9/20,  4. Ferry Goodbyes (The wake on the last trip this summer.)

 

Oh what a season you’ve been.  Thanks summer. Can’t wait to see you again next year.

 – TAF


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Beach Etiquette – When close is TOOclose

Oh the joys of summer and crowded beaches.  Before you hit the sand with your cooler, fav beach chair and sunscreen (which should have been listed first!), do you know your beach etiquette?

I’ve ranted about shared my thoughts on this topic before, but in the Triple H (Hazy, Hot and Humid) days of August beach etiquette seems to disappear as space becomes limited, patience runs thin, and dare I say the feeling of entitlement of beach space rises.

For those not in the know:

Beach Etiquette: Allowing the proper amount of space between bathers on a beach. Ideally a minimum of 5 feet on each side.  See photo

Optimal Space

 

Now I know that in August (or even in July for that matter), space on the beach is at a premium, but I’m amazed as the sheer lack of consideration some families and groups can show when it comes to how close they choose to sit and/or set up their chairs and towels next to other beach-goers – especially singles and couples.
They just don’t seem to have or follow beach etiquette.

 

On a personal note, I have felt overly afflicted by the lack of  beach etiquette and often find myself crowded by large numbers of people. It’s almost as if as a solo beach-goer there’s a neon arrow above my head saying – “HEY BIG GROUPS GET AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN TO ME. I WON’T MIND BECAUSE I’M ALONE TODAY.”

This is of course not true, but it does seem that I have an above average knack for finding myself in situations where, despite how empty or how much available space is on the beach, that couples, groups and families seem to gravitate to me and put their things down within 2-3 feet of me. (No I’m not exaggerating.)

That said however, I’ve been talking to others who travel to the beach solo and they too have noticed this phenomenon. Solo beach-goers do seem to be encroached upon more often than groups. REALLY!

Do you find yourself “attracted” to the single on the beach and
tend to set up your things by him/her or do you look for a spot that has good clearance?

I think many some do this as they worry less about disrupting or annoying the single person, but would think twice if the group was larger OR, maybe I am over thinking this and in truth, they’ve given it no thought or simply like that spot. Regardless it’s a challenge that I face each summer and it’s seemed even more challenging this one.

Here are some examples I saw just this week. (You be the judge):

I was stunned to see this group set up less than a foot away from complete strangers. (And there was plenty of beach space not too far away.)

I was stunned to see this group set up a foot away from complete strangers. (And there was plenty of beach space not too far away.)

 

Here a group sat practically on top of a couple! I would have likely said something and/or moved.

*Note while you cannot see it – there was lots and lots of space for people to spread out just a little further to the right and to the left.

Now I know many of you will say, “What’s the big deal?” or even, “Do you own the beach?”  (Hey I’ve even been asked this by these offenders, when I’ve diplomatically asked them if they could move over a bit, or candidly said, “Don’t you think you’re a little close?”)  NO, I don’t own the beach, but I do find this to be a personal space/common courtesy issue, and what I refer to as beach etiquette.

I think it comes down to appreciating the personal space of others. Sure the beach can be crowded and perhaps 5 feet isn’t always available, but sitting on top of someone can’t be fun for you either.

 

Perhaps it’s also because I’m such a beach person – getting on the beach around 11/11:30am and staying there until 6pm – and I greatly appreciate my time there to disconnect which is why it’s so upsetting.  I’ll have come early to pick out the perfect spot and am happily reading or relaxing in my personal space, only to find myself suddenly in the middle of yelling kids, rowdy adults, and the drama they’re openly sharing.  It’s not fun.

If this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, another way to look at it is this:  Would you casually sit next to someone at a table without asking if you could sit there or if the seat was taken?  It’s the same courtesy you would show in these instances, just in a beach setting.

 

Here are 5 tips I’ve come up with to help you follow good beach etiquette:

  1. Be considerate of the single bather.  Perhaps they don’t want to enjoy your vacation, screaming kids, in-laws, crazy drinking buddies or your tales of the “wild night” you had last night.
  2. If asked if you can move over – remember it’s just a request – it’s not an ultimatum, nor an encroachment on your civil liberties.  It’s a question and it gives those you’re putting your stuff “on top of” the option to move if they must. (Personally I can get annoyed if I have to move.  I’ve been there longer and then feel pressured to move simply due to a lack of beach etiquette.)
  3. If there is a lot of space on the beach, kindly do not crowd the single/double beach goers. There’s clearly room for everyone, so why not find a bigger spot where you can spread out?
  4. For the single beach goer – AVOID open spots by the entrances. While tempting, these seem to be a magnet for large families/groups to park their stuff – likely because there’s so much of it and they don’t have to walk any farther.
  5. Also for the single beach goer – Try to spread out your belongs in a long of a line as possible – it gives you room to move if encroached upon. (Note: I have considered one of those fences or cones – don’t laugh! – but that did seem to be going a bit over the top! 😉  )

 

What do you think?  Do agree with following beach etiquette or are you a park your stuff where you please kind of beach goer?
Have you been the victim of bad 
beach etiquette? (I’m especially curious if you go solo, if you find yourself a victim more often.)


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Shore to Please

LtoR: Belmar, Wildwood, Atlantic City

Left to Right: Belmar, Wildwood, Cape May

I’m a Jersey girl, born and raised. While I don’t live there anymore, I’m still fiercely loyal to my great home state and have to say, “People… if you would just drive 15 mins past Newark Airport you’d start to see why it’s called the Garden State!  We have some beautiful towns with lush lawns and farms.  I’d also like to add that it is “NEW” Jersey, not simply “Jersey,” and “No. We DO NOT all have an accent.” See NJ Pride.  I warned you. 

Today is all about my appreciation of a specific 127 miles of New Jersey.

 

It’s Better Than it’s “Reputation”

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100 Days – Who Would have Guessed?

A few posts ago, I’d shared that I’d been feeling challenged and a little overwhelmed. Today I reached a goal I didn’t think possible and which has really given me a boost.

 

Back in March, I’d been working extremely hard on a professional goal, yet hadn’t seen much success when my career coach suggested I take a step back, as well as incorporate/make time to exercise to help create some balance in my life. If you know me, I’m not big in to working out. It’s just not my thing.  However, as you may know, when you don’t work out and you still eat the things you love that aren’t always terribly healthy, well let’s just say, you can experience growth. I’m not talking about the good kind as in mentally, spiritually or professional. We’re talking girth.

Sigh…..

I left my meeting with him saying, “Well why not? Exercise cannot hurt. A plus, I’ll gain my wardrobe back.”
That was day 1.

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