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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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« 3 Simple Ways to Be More Thankful Every Day | How to Joyfully Embrace the Human Side of Organizing »

How to Better Experience the Season of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is this week. Did it sneak up on anyone else, or was it just with me? Several people I’ve spoken with are still undecided about their turkey day plans. My husband, Steve, and I are looking forward to hosting the family and spending time together. The grocery shopping has begun and the cooking will begin soon. With my attention these past few months on organizing our family home of 56+ years and preparing it for sale, I wasn’t sure if I’d have the mental bandwidth to host 22 people this year. However, it’s one of our family traditions, and I didn’t want to skip it. Instead of getting overwhelmed by my to do list, I’ve shifted my focus to gratitude. After all, isn’t that what this season is all about? Celebrating milestones, having family traditions, and finding time to be with loved ones are very important to me. This is something my family instilled in me.

While organizing my childhood home, I discovered some treasures that made me feel especially grateful. This week’s shares are about celebration and gratitude. Digging deep into the “stuff” found in our family home was at times an emotionally challenging process. Discovering treasures along the way helped me to better navigate the tumultuous journey. After I let go of a lot, what remained was a deep sense of gratitude.


Celebrating Milestones

One of the things that my parents believed in was celebrating. That included birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and any moment that marked a shift or important change- life’s milestones. My folks were masters at making us feel special. One of the ways my Dad did that was by making big posters to mark the occasions. With his great cartoons and bold lettering adorning large poster boards, he’d turn a normal day into something special. In this photo, we’re celebrating my brother’s 10th birthday with poster, balloons, and me (age four) with sunglasses. I’m feeling grateful that my parents taught us to honor and celebrate life’s moments.


Celebrating Travel

Aside from making special occasion posters for us, my Dad loved to sketch and doodle, especially when he was on vacation. He’d always bring a sketchpad with bottles of India ink, charcoal or watercolors. I have fond memories of being by his side and drawing together. In going through the family home, I found some of his sketchbooks. This is a drawing he did is of the Wellfleet home we rented one summer in Cape Cod when I was ten. I loved that house by the sea and the time we spent there together. They were such slow, leisurely, stress-free, happy days. I was so surprised to find this drawing. All those beautiful memories came flooding back of the family playing games together, making candles, walking along the beach, listening to my brother play cello, and eating meals at the long picnic-style table. Our family loved being by the sea. I still love the sea and am grateful for the beautiful memories I have of time spent there with my family.


Celebrating Generations

Getting the families together was important to my parents and their parents. While I don’t recall what the occasion was, I can tell from my face and body language (I’m the little one smiling in the front row,) that I am so happy to be surrounded by my siblings, grandparents and mother. My parents often gathered the family together and knew how important that was to maintain strong family bonds. I have warm memories of time spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m grateful to my parents and their parents for instilling the sense of family in me.


For those of you that celebrate, I wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving. Has getting organized ever triggered for you feelings of gratitude? What are you remembering? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (10)

I have to tell you this story because I can see one more reason why I like you so much! When my daughter was applying to a college in TX, she was asked to write about what cultural influences she was bring to the campus. This is tough for us as our family has been here forever and we have no ethnic traditions or special holidays or languages. I joked and said she could make "pigs in a blanket" for everyone:) Anyway, she decided to write the essay about coming from a culture of celebration, because we celebrate everything. We are always putting up decorations and blowing up balloons and making signs... anything to make a festive scene. As it turned out, she didn't get into the school, but she got in touch with her cultural heritage, and I think a culture of celebration is pretty fantastic!

November 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- Wow! What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I love your family's "culture of celebration" that your daughter identified. It's a fascinating thing when we start to really look at where we came from and the discoveries we your daughter finding the celebration traditions. It sure sounds like you created a beautiful, festive, loving home for your girls to grow up in. How lucky they are to have that.

November 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wow, your father is very artistic. I am also a big fan of having parties for big milestone events in the kids' life. They enjoy them and when I look back, I enjoyed creating the party for them as well.

Recently, I went through papers and binders from my business 10+ years ago. I found that I was grateful for the opportunity to serve other small business owners and individuals. And, was grateful to God for bringing forward the necessary changes to get me to where I am today.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

What a special and sweet walk down memory lane Linda! I think it's important at times like these to remember the past to help us embrace the present. What beautiful memories and thank you for sharing them with us!

November 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLiana George

@Sabrina- My dad went to school for engineering, but at one point he almost took a job as a cartoonist for Disney (I think.) He opted not to. I can only imagine how different our growing up would have been in Florida.

It's quite a fascinating thing looking back to see how the past has informed the present. I'm with you about parties...they are fun to go to and really fun to create. I can think of several blog posts you've written where you've given great tips for organizing and fun and unique event.

How wonderful that you spent some time going through your business history... and in that process found much to be grateful for.

November 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Liana- Definitely doing quite a lot of "walking" these days. You're so right that remembering and understanding the past helps us with the present. I normally spend more time in the now, but it just seems to be the time, due to circumstances, to spend some time looking back. They are beautiful memories (mostly) and I've had fun sharing them with all of you.

November 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

The Sunday before Thanksgiving is known as Pie Day in our family. We gather in my kitchen and make over a dozen apple pies. This year the final count was 14! We save some for the holidays and give the rest away to family, friends, neighbors. In past years the count has been over 20, but as you can imagine, folks have moved away, died, etc. In addition to Pie Day being a fun day of baking and eating together, it's also a time for us to remember our loved ones.

November 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Soboleski

A few years ago, my sister and I went through a box of photos from my dad and organized them by era. I recently wanted to find some photos of my mom at different ages, and was thankful that we'd done that, as I was able to find what I wanted very quickly.

At the same time, I was delighted to find a bundle labelled "Mummy's family" because I recently connected with some relatives on that side of the family (I think I may have mentioned that before) and one of them asked the others to scan and send her whatever photos and documents they might have on hand. I've pulled them out - now I just need to get scanning!

November 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Sarah- Pie Day sounds like so much fun! What a great and delicious tradition. I love how you combine all those great elements: tradition, togetherness, baking, eating, and remembering. And all it's around pie. Just beautiful.

November 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet- How wonderful that you and your sister organized the family photos together. There's nothing like that kind of shared experience to create even stronger bonds. And fantastic that your efforts rewarded you. You were able to easily locate the mom photos that you wanted. Isn't it interesting how we can connect with our relatives through photos? Lovely that you're going to scan and share your other finds with your newly found relatives.

November 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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