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« How to Improve Life Balance When Organizing Your Stuff | How to Better Experience the Season of Gratitude »
Monday
Nov272017

3 Simple Ways to Be More Thankful Every Day

My heart is full and continues to grow with positive emotions. During the holidays you often suspend regular activities. You have more time with family and friends. You have more time for sleeping late or visiting places that you don’t normally get to go. In the past few days I’ve had a wonderful infusion of fabulous meals and conversations shared with loved ones. And it’s not over yet. It’s just beginning.

Over the past weeks, I’ve enjoyed sharing with you my journey of organizing our childhood home of 56+ years and preparing it for sale. While organizing my family home, I discovered many treasures. I’ve been sharing them with you. This week’s shares are about humor. There were many emotional moments while sorting through the family “stuff.” However, in between the tears, some of the treasures I found helped me to laugh. They also reminded me that humor was ingrained in our family culture. To this day there’s nothing I enjoy more than laughing so hard that happy tears stream down my face.

It’s easy to move quickly through our day and not stop to allow in joy or humor. Or we might allow them in, but not stop to fully appreciate and be thankful for them. These particular finds that I’m sharing with you, helped me to find laughter and gratitude in these darker moments. Be on the lookout. What discoveries are waiting for you?

 

Humor in Cartoons

My Dad loved to draw cartoons. All of the cards and letters he wrote to me were signed, “Love, Dad.” However, instead of actually writing out the word, “Dad,” he always drew a funny caricature of himself. The cartoons related to where he was traveling or how he was feeling like Daddy with Mickey Mouse ears when he was in Disneyland or Daddy with a red nose if he had a cold. I loved his funny “Daddy cartoons.” While going through our childhood home, I was constantly looking inside books at his inscriptions, or in letters to my Mom, or in his note pads for undiscovered cartoons. This sketch of him on a trip to Bali was one of the things I found. Gratitude and laughter flooded my being.

 

 

Humor in Attitudes

Going through the family photos was quite the project. There were thousands of photos from my parents and their parents. We were a well-documented family. Some of the material was organized and some was not. So particularly when I was organizing the memorabilia, I kept finding photos mixed in with those boxes. This photo I found is of goofy-looking me at nine months old. There are photos of my sister and brother from the same time period. They look so normal. Then there’s me with my wide-eyed, curious expression. It’s hard not to laugh at that face. My family often told me that I was the one that made everyone laugh. And with a face like that, I can see why. I realized that humor was something that was in me early on. So while there was plenty to be sad about, it was my sense of humor that always helped me through. I’m grateful to my family for encouraging this part of me and for giving me many occasions to embrace the humorous side of life.

 

 

Humor in Play

On this one particular day during the organizing process, I was having a rough time. Things were moving slowly, the rollercoaster of emotions and lack of sleep were wearing on me, and I was just feeling raw. I was preparing for one of the eight pick-ups from the junk removal company and clearing out a corner of my Dad’s office. There were a lot of old computer disks and manuals under his desk that had to go. After I cleared out the piles, I noticed a small dark thing on the floor. When I bent down to pick it up, I was surprised to discover one of my Dad’s little toys. It gave me a great and much needed laugh and a welcome diversion from the sadness I had been feeling at that moment. My Dad had many toys in his office, as do I. This was a lovely reminder that humor is always at our fingertips. This is the short video clip I took that day to share with my family, which I’m now sharing with you.

 

We come from many different family cultures. Humor was a big part of mine. I’m so grateful for it and how it helped me when I was growing up and even now as an adult. It takes a moment to pause and be thankful. There are many ways to notice and appreciate these moments of gratitude. It’s part of our human experience. What have you noticed? What are you feeling thankful for?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!

 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (10)

I often think our family is a bit too serious. We could use more humor. I absolutely LOVE that photo of you, and all of these little windows into your wonderful life. What a neat Dad! When I was growing up going to church, we passed a "friendship pad" where you wrote in your name and checked a box (so someone from the church could call you if you wished.) My Dad started drawing a little picture in the box, instead of putting a check. It became a family "thing," with all of us drawing pictures. I always wondered what the church secretary must have thought on Monday mornings! Reasons to be grateful abound if you look for them.

November 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- So glad to know that you're enjoying the "windows." And thank you for sharing YOUR window. I love your story about the friendship pad and leaving drawings in the box instead of a check mark. I bet the church secretary looked forward to seeing what unique things you came up with each week. So fun! I'm with you 100% with the bountiful reasons to be grateful. They are there all the time, especially if we take the time to notice and acknowledge them.

November 27, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I can so relate to your journey cleaning out the family home. I loved coming across the treasures when I worked on my mother's house. My mother kept very detailed scrapbooks of her travels. She loved to travel and have adventures in different parts of the world. I found myself getting lost in the pages of those scrapbooks on more than one occasion. I'm thankful to have them as I can see my mother in the pictures and hear her voice in the captions.

November 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Your baby photo made me laugh today. That is awesome.

When going through my parents' stuff after they passed, I found that the common theme was our immense love for one another and our self-improvement, even though we all had our rough edges we were willing to learn other ways to improve ourselves. And we didn't just want to educate ourselves, we wanted to help others to help them learn why they do what they do. I was grateful for the abundance and seeing that it is OK to improve ourselves. This ongoing theme throughout my childhood helped me be a life learner; willing to improve wherever necessary.

November 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Diane- What a gift that your mother left with her treasured travel scrapbooks. And how wonderful that you've returned to those many times to enjoy and remember her voice and being. We all leave pieces of ourselves in different ways. What a beautiful thing that she remains close to you through her words and images.

November 27, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Sabrina- I'm glad that I gave you a good laugh today. Yay!

What an amazing legacy your family passed on to you...love and self-improvement. And isn't it so interesting that you chose the profession you did of helping others to learn and work on their challenges too? You've taken the gifts from childhood and now share those with others. Just beautiful.

November 27, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, I love that photo of you as a baby! If it had been one of those games where you have to match the baby photo to the person, I'd have definitely guessed that was you. Thank you for sharing it - and so many of your other memories - with us.

November 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- Thank you so much. I'm glad you're enjoying these posts. That's so funny that you would have matched Baby Linda to the Adult Linda (if we had a matching game.) At one of the NAPO retreats that I attended, we had that very game. Everyone submitted a photo of themselves age 3 or under and then we had to guess who was who. Once we made our guesses and matched up the photos, we had to share why we chose a particular photo and what it revealed. It was a fun game even though I didn't do that well with matching people to their younger selves. :)

November 27, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I know how you are feeling! Humor has a way of changing our perspectives. I use it a LOT although my humor at times can be a little wonky!

I am grateful how you are sharing this journey with us. It's a rough road and you have "project managed" so much. It's a delight to know you and your family!

November 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- You're so right! Humor CAN change our mood and perspective."Wonky" humor works too :) And as we know, laughing is healthy for our minds and our bodies. I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying my posts about the journey I've been on. It's been wonderful having a place for some of these things to land and a forum to talk about them...and hear others' stories. One thing is for sure...many of you have walked this path before. I love hearing about all of your experiences too.

November 28, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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