Guest Blogger: Jennifer Stark Laber
In preparation for the upcoming season when we all are reminded of the many things we have to be grateful for, I have asked Jennifer (a very talented writer residing in Portland, OR) to elaborate on this topic. ENJOY!
How many thoughts do you have in one day? Really think about it, the multitude of thoughts and ideas bumping around in your head like the silver balls in a pinball machine; think about what kind of thoughts you have and where they bring your mind. Out of the millions of thoughts bouncing around, how do we take control of our mind and truly harness the wonder of the life force inside all of us? One of the very best methods to slow down the mind and to truly enjoy and appreciate the blessing of life is simple: ground yourself with gratitude. But HOW!, you’re probably thinking, in between wondering if your spouse picked up the groceries, and whether you need an oil change, and if it will rain tomorrow, and on and on. By making a few changes, you can truly find thankfulness in your heart, which will bring light and happiness into both your heart and your life! I know – it worked for me!
Robin Thomas suggests starting a Gratitude Journal. Find an empty notebook or buy a nice blank journal and fill it with everything in your life that you are thankful for. Write down the smaller things, such as being thankful for the fragrant rose that helped you slow down and take a deep breath, as well as the larger parts of your life, such as the ability to breath the air around you, or for the love of your family. The what is not important; if something creates joy or wisdom for you in life journey, write it down. You might be surprised at what comes up, and how much you have to be grateful for!
Spend Thirty Minutes Outside Every Day
Look outside your window. What do you see? All around us, no matter where we turn, nature offers a reminder of the splendors abounding on this planet. Try walking around a park, noticing the lush green of the grass, the sweet sound of birds chirping, and appreciate everything around you. Life is not just the hustle and bustle that often takes over. Be grateful for the amazing world around us. When life begins turning up the stress level and the thoughts in your head swirl in a raging cyclone, try taking a vacation into nature. A hike through the woods, a quiet campground fire, the sound of a gurgling river or the salty comfort of an ocean breeze will ground you and bring back the joy in life around you.
Pay It Forward
As you walk down the street, or sit on the highway in rush hour traffic, life may seem frustrating or unbearable. Then, a stranger gives you a real smile, or opens a door for you, or asks how you are. What a difference that little gesture makes! Suddenly, things seem a little better. Maybe you’ll even catch the bug and smile at another stranger. It really catches on. Everyday, try to do something kind for someone else. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line. Let the frazzled woman with the three small children go ahead of you at the grocery store. Give someone that really needs a hug a big bear hug. Give something away. Not only will you impact someone’s day, you will make a true change in your own life.
Create a Gratitude Board
Another easy – and fun! – step in cementing gratitude in your life lies on a blank piece of paper. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and some magazines and pull pictures that represent things that bring thankfulness and gratitude into your life. Maybe you find a grinning baby that brings a smile to your face, or perhaps you find a beautiful picture of a sunset. Figure out what really and truly makes you grateful and put it on your paper. Include words or phrases that you enjoy, too, and, when it’s complete, hang it somewhere where you’ll see it. It doesn’t have to be fancy – make it you! The images will be a daily reminder of the all that we have to be grateful for.
No matter which tools you decide to use or what you have to do, finding gratitude for all that is around and within you illuminates the good in us all, and the capacity for joy that we all have inside us.
Celebrate life, and see where being thankful takes you.
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." - Thornton Wilder
A special "thank you" to Mike at FeedBlitz for his inspiration for this piece!
In researching these delightful establishments, I've come across many Airstream diners. Following are some that I would like to share with you. If this gets your computer fingers itching to do some research yourself, please share your discoveries with us!
Along Florida’s Highway 30-A, nestled between white sand beaches and million-dollar homes, sits a collection of glimmering Airstream trailers that appear to belong to a different era of the Gulf Coast. The idea came to architect, Robert Davis, as he was developing Seaside. (Be sure and look up Raw and Juicy - they serve organic juice!)
There are five food trailers along the Seaside stretch of 30-A: Raw and Juicy, Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs, Barefoot BBQ, Frost Bites and The MeltDown (serving non-traditional grilleld cheeses) on 30-A. Sounds like fun! I may need to make a run down there to soak up some of that great Florida sunshine while sampling this "fun fare!"
Serving delicious hand-made crepes in a wonderful outdoor setting in South Austin is Flip Happy Crepes. Austin is known for their food carts and is probably the number 1 place in the United States to find them (aside from Portland, OR).
Then there's Skillet's in the State of Washington. They have two locations in Seattle and one in Bellevue. A sampling of their menu...maple braised pork belly and waffle with a fried egg on top to our burger with bacon jam, arugula, bleu/brie on brioche with beautiful hand cut fries. Sounds delicious!
One of Jacksonville's newest food trucks (not really a truck at all!) is Corner Taco. The Corner Taco resides in a shiny, 47-year old Airstream Globetrotter. Read all about the conversion on their website by clicking on the link above. And Corner Taco doesn’t serve your average tacos, either. Here, chicken, fish and beef tacos are all products of one simple principle: Handcrafted with ingredients you can pronounce. That’s the cornerstone of Corner Taco’s mission, as defined by chef/owner Chris Dickerson of Atlantic Beach. Everything in your taco is made from scratch – and made on site, including the corn tortillas.
I hope you've enjoyed this little adventure, and if you have any experiences you'd like to share, please comment below or drop me a line!
I recently read this article by Mike at Feedblitz; it made me stop and think.
A group of kindergarteners were asked, "Who can dance?" The children happily danced. They were next asked, "Who can sing 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat'?" The children laughed, sang and danced. Their magnificent human spirits were fully expressed.
The same questions were asked of a room of adults. "Who can dance?" No one danced. They were asked, "Who can sing 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat'?" There was silence. Their magnificent human spirits were fully suppressed.
So, what happened to our magnificent, wild human spirits? What happened to our unquenchable thirst for all that life is and all that it has to offer? How did we get here and, more importantly, "how do we get back?"
Mike suggests that the first step towards getting there is to reconnect with your inner magnificence and outlines four steps to get you started:
1) See the world through a child’s eyes.
Watch young children engage in all that is around them with wonder, enthusiasm, and love. Keep in mind that you were once that fully expressed and still possess the same spirit within you. Try and see yourself in them.
2) Remember your grandest moments.
Write down 3 life experiences in which you were a fully expressed, boundless, expansive human being. Note how you felt, what you were doing, what you were thinking. Then remember how amazing you are.
3) Create a gratitude list.
End each day by writing down 3 things that you find amazing about life on this planet, YOUR life on this planet. For example, the shape and color of an orchid, the birth of a child, the taste of an apple, a bird taking flight, your loving friends and family, etc. Be present. Be aware of the magic that is all around you.
4) Start the day on a positive note.
Get up on the first ring of your alarm clock. Immediately feed your mind with positive content. Read your growing gratitude list and add to it. Read your favorite inspirational book or listen to your favorite motivational audios. Turn off negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts throughout the day. You will be amazed at what a difference this makes!
Life is full of hugh possibilities - go out and grab yours!
This YouTube video depicts Paul Potts as he regains his connection with his magnificence - a most beautiful transformation! Enjoy!