Friday, November 6, 2015

Man's Best Friend Is Something To Be Thankful For

Hello Friends!

The month of November is a time when we do a lot of reflecting on the things we're thankful for.  How many of you do the "let's share what we're thankful for" routine around the Thanksgiving table? It's a great exercise, and while some of us may be uncomfortable being put on the spot, we typically can come up with something to say we're grateful for fairly easily. Which is a great thing!

This time of year, we also feel stressed out - it's the holiday season for crying out loud!  There's a huge meal to plan, family visiting, which adds it's own interesting spin on stress. Then there are decorations to start putting up and gifts to buy to be ready for Christmas or Hanukkah, cookies to bake, parties to plan or attend, etc...  One of the best ways to deal with that stress is to continually remind yourself of the things for which you are grateful.

If you've seen my "about me" section on my website, I mention our sweet dog, Emmy.  She's a Chocolate Lab and is 14 1/2 years old.  If you know anything about dogs, you know that is quite an advanced age for a big dog like her. While she still gets around surprisingly well and seems in okay health (she does have lumps and bumps and an occasional limp or twitch - but don't we all!), we do realize that our days together are numbered.

My point in all this isn't to be sad or morose, it's just to point out that because we know our time with her is limited, we do our best to enjoy and be grateful for each day that we do have!  Dogs have such an unconditional love and are always happy to see you. When we leave, Emmy sleeps right up next to the door so she knows the moment we return home, then she'll bring us a bone with her tail wagging so hard it may fall off.  She inherently knows how to show us that she's thankful!  

It's very hard to get a picture of Emmy!  She always knows when you're taking one and turns her head away - I guess she's shy!  But this was one I caught of her when we were at the lake, her favorite place in the world, where she was hanging out with her friends and just relaxing.  She loves nothing more than being in the middle of things!

(She does look a little disturbed or stressed here. I think it was because she didn't want her picture taken!)

Emmy and I in action - her "scarf" is reflective, isn't it cute? :)
Emmy & I walk every morning (unless it's raining... we don't want to melt!). We don't go as far or as fast as we used to, but it's a great time for us to spend together, we get fresh air, she gets her pees and poops out. :)  I really enjoy the time to think about whatever is going on that day. I also make sure to focus on what's going on around us in that moment - the trees are beautiful, the birds talking to each other, waving or saying hello to the neighbors as we pass.

Her most absolute favorite place in the world is on her morning boat rides with her "dad."  When we're at the lake, after our morning walk, P takes Emmy on a boat ride.  They have a route they take, and most of the time she spends at the front, looking out, paws hanging over the edge, with her ears flapping in the breeze, just taking it all in.  It's really the sweetest thing ever!

This is after one of their boat rides.  Our house is on a big hill, and it's hard for her to walk up it these days so P taught her to ride in the golf cart.

Weeeeeee!  So much fun (and so much easier than walking up that crazy hill)!

So this holiday season, let's practice remembering the things we're thankful for, instead of getting so caught up in the craziness.  Here are a few ideas if you're struggling with this: 
  • Easy stuff: if someone does something for you, say "Thank you!"  Even if it is just holding the door open for you or handing you your Starbucks
  • Also easy, but sometimes doesn't feel like it - if someone compliments yousay "Thank you!" and don't discount yourself ("oh, this old thing?").  They went to the effort to say something nice to you, so say thanks!!
  • Take an old notebook that's just laying around the house and make a Gratitude Journal. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just regularly write in it the things you're thankful for, big or little
  • In bed every night before you go to sleep, think of 2 things you appreciate from that day - might help you get a good night's sleep and start the next day off better, too!
  • Post something you're thankful for each day on your favorite social media avenue every day this month - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever.  I've seen several people doing this on Facebook - it's a great idea and spreads goodwill to others.
As I mentioned earlier, because we know our time with Emmy is limited, we do our best to enjoy and be grateful for each day that we have. In reality, our time together with our friends and family is limited, it will end someday, so use this as a reminder to live each day to it's fullest, tell your loved ones you appreciate them, and be thankful for each moment.   I appreciate you and your support!!!

How will you practice remembering gratitude this month (and beyond!)?  Tell me something you're thankful for!  Please share in the comments. 

Have a great week! :)

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