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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The Appreciation Factor’s Turns 5!

5th-anniversary

Today is the The Appreciation Factor’s 5th Anniversary!  

Wow! Who knew when I started this blog in 2012 that I would still be here 5 years later. Well….I’d hoped I’d still be here, but you know best intentions and all of that. Here we are, 80+ posts later.

When I started out, I knew that I wanted to create a blog about a topic I was passionate about, so it started with talking about the importance of writing Thank you notes. However, I wasn’t sure that there would be enough content around just writing about thank you notes and I decided to expand it to “sharing appreciation,” but truly it became the overarching topic of appreciation.  I also knew that to some degree I couldn’t worry about whether others disagreed with me or not.  As I’ve stated in the “about me” page, I primarily write to share my passion about appreciation and gratitude, but I also want to offer a point of view that you may not have considered, or tips to help you share your appreciation.

I’ve been really happy to find ways to expand on my “how to write”/”why write thank you notes” posts to cover Things I Appreciate, like Día de los Muertosfall, beach etiquette, my fitness quest (still going strong by the way!), New Jersey and many more. You may have also seen two posts where I was fortunate to partner with others.  The first as a guest blogger on The Cutie Life, and more recently where I featured etiquette coach, Janet Parnes.  Both were extremely rewarding and I’m in talks with other bloggers and professionals to do more!

Two other additions to the blog that have become favorites of mine are Thankful Thursdays where I curate stories and/or videos that I feel exemplify appreciation, have moved me, or talk about people making a difference; and the second where I write about showing appreciation, especially in the form of Random Acts of Kindness (ROAKs) and promoting Giving Tuesday.  Both I are causes anyone can do, and both help make the world a better place.
The Future

I hope to continue to share some fresh posts on the topics above, and come up with new ones. Part of the challenge fun about having a blog is that you can come up with new features, approaches or even a new direction.  I hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride as I go into my 5th year, as well as share my posts with others, on your blogs or via Social Media, or not… as I’m content to have you simply read and enjoy them.  I’m appreciative of all of my followers, and really at the end of the day, if I’ve made you think about something in a new way, or supported a viewpoint you already have, then I’ve already done what I’d hoped to do.

 

Content/Compensation Free:

One additional thing that I wanted to clarify.  At times I will promote a brand, site, product etc.  At this time, The Appreciation Factor is not written for financial gain. I write it to support my passion for all things appreciation and writing.  I am not paid, nor do I receive any products to talk about. Candidly I have considered this option and I’m not against this approach as I’ve thought about a post/partnering with a paper company or another service that promoted appreciation, gratitude and thanks yous, but to date, I have not.  Should this ever change, I will absolutely let you know, and be very clear about it in the post.
What this means: Unless I state otherwise, all opinions are mine and I’m not compensated for any links or clicks you make on The Appreciation Factor.  Feel free click without worry and the ability to see that related content on a separate tab. (A pet peeve of mine are posts that take me away from the content I’m reading just to sell me something. Perhaps that’s how one is “supposed to do it”, but it’s just not for me.) I hope this encourages you to click, read, and share to your heart’s content.

 

Please, please, please don’t hesitate to also share your ideas. While I’m always searching the internet and news for stories and topics, I may miss something. Let me know if you see something you think I should share or a topic I should cover. I love hearing from my followers.

 

Best wishes, and many thanks to each of you. Here’s to 5 more years! (Hey I can dream can’t I?)

K

 


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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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