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 -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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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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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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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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Appreciating You and the Year that’s Passed on New Years Day

2016 New Years

 

Wow! It’s 2016 already. It definitely feels as though the years go faster and faster as I grow older. I guess our parents and grandparents were right about that. Sigh… If only there were a way to slow things down or better yet pause from time to time.   November and December felt especially quick – how about to you?

Before I go any further… Happy Happy New Year!  
I especially send my biggest thanks to you, my followers, for helping make 2015 my best year of blogging.

So the stats: In 2015, I published 37 posts and had over 2,000 visitors and gained 15 new followers (that I know of). I’m humbled. I’m so glad that my writing resonates with so many of you and that many (because you’ve told me) have found useful tips on my favorite topic Thank you notes – as well as for acts of kindness.

I love writing and sharing my thoughts with you, and hope you’ll continue to follow me and my goals of showing and sharing my appreciation of what I have and to others for all they do.

Here are the 5 posts I enjoyed writing the most this year – take a 2nd look – or a first one if you didn’t catch it the first time.  And please…. share your thoughts on topics you’d love to read about or send a link to something you think I’d enjoy. I love getting feedback and info!

  1. Thankful Thursdays. These were a new feature for me this year and I posted 10 issues this year. Here are my top 3 Thankful Thursday posts.
  2. Improve Your Relationships By Showing Your Appreciation at the Holidays This was my first cross over post in which I paired my professional expertise along with my love of sending holiday cards out each year as a way to say thanks.

  3. Goodbye Lovely Summer makes the list because I just love summer and these images give me some warm as the cold of winter is upon us. (Yeah I know it was in the high 60s a week ago today! I almost considered going swimming! – but winter is likely here and here to stay.)
  4. The Just Because Note is something I like to do, but candidly could do it more often as I didn’t quite hit the consistency of 2-3 notes/month – though one note I did send rekindled a friendship that had been dormant for almost a decade.  Perhaps adding this to my top 5 list here will help inspire me to plan better in the coming year.
  5. November’s World Kindness Day. While this was written to celebrate a specific holiday, it’s a reminder that Random Acts of Kindness (ROAKs) can be done quite easily so why not put these into practice all year long.

 

So which were your favorites? I’d love to hear.

I wish all of you only much success, happiness, and the ability to share your appreciation with those you care about, those you meet, and those you work alongside each day. You’d be pleasantly surprised how great saying and sharing your thanks either outwardly or via an act of kindness can make you feel.

Happy 2016!

yours,
TAF

 


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Thankful Thursdays November 26th Edition

What better Thankful Thursday than the original – Thanksgiving.  This is a VERY special episode edition of Thankful Thursdays, as I decided to primarily post linksturkey that focus on saying Thank you, showing your gratitude, about giving back and a way to change the way you think about the holidays.

So before you go into a food-coma from all of the dishes that make your family’s Thanks-/friends-giving special, I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy these 6 links that make me smile on this Thankful Thursday and accept my heartfelt thanks!

Thankful Thursdays: My tribute to stories and videos that exemplify appreciation, those that have moved me, and other people making a difference.

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Thankful Thursdays October 22nd Edition

Happy October everyone. Halloween is just around the corner (and so is Dia de los Muertos)! I love this month — fall has finally kicked in, the leaves are changing and everything seems to be ‘pumpkin’ flavored.  Plus the smell of burning leaves and wood stoves…… ahhhhhhh.

This month’s Thankful Thursday is a little different in that the first three ideas/pieces are taken from a great post by Katie Dupere that I found on Mashable. I loved her research (and compilation) about putting an appreciation twist to Halloween so much that I had to share some of it.  She listed six ideas and I shared three of them, but I have provided a link to her complete list too.  As each is a story in itself you’ll see why I needed to pass it along.  

 

Time to sit back and enjoy these five links that make me smile on this Thankful Thursday — (My tribute to stories and videos that exemplify appreciation, those that have moved me, and other people making a difference.)

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