Gratitude Week: Love

Last year I ran seven straight posts on different things I am grateful for. This year I am writing three posts over the course of these two weeks. This is the final post of Gratitude Week 2010.

Gratitude Week 2010 has focused on Laughter and Tears, and today, the last day of Gratitude Week 2010, is Love. Of all the things this world has and can give, love must be near or at the top of the list. Love is the easiest thing we can share and give away.

As a human being, I have the ability and the willingness, but more importantly, the need to love. I have written extensively on love here, here and one of my favorites here.

Love, laughter and tears are the things that all humans have in common. I am grateful that I can love – and that I do. Thank you for spending this time with me. I appreciate your time. I appreciate your love. Thank you.

(flickr photo by Best Rated 1)

FOCUS: Love!

Selected Life Lesson
Never miss the opportunity to say, “I love you.”
-Linda L’s Life Lesson from St. Louis, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
Last week was Valentine’s Day. I hope you spent some time reflecting on your love for your special someone and those special people in your life who make every day amazing. We all need those kinds of people in our lives. They enrich us and we should strive to enrich them.

Love, in it’s simplest form is the most basic way to show compassion to another human-being. I strive to do that at least once a week – show someone close to me or even a long-lost friend that they mean something to me. It could be as big as an in-person hug, or a hand-written note. I’ve even been so simple as to send a text message with the ever-simple message of love and appreciation.

Imagine how much better the world would be if we all did that once a week. My good friend Tylor is coming to stay with me this weekend attend a conference here in town. We are looking forward to come coffee, some pizza and rekindling our friendship. I hope you can find some time to do the same this week. From me to you: Thank – You! You all mean the world to me!

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FOCUS: Battles

This Week’s Lesson
Know when to pick your battle & when to just keep your mouth shut and fly under the radar.
–Richard W’s life lesson from Des Moines Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
Anytime a personal or professional battle comes up, we always want to immediately grab our cell phone, our keyboard or our biggest, meanest words and fight back. I’m sure you’re laughing either out loud or to yourself right now… you can probably thing of a moment like that one.

It’s often said to not send angry e-mails and no matter the situation, to sleep on anything angry. I agree. Often, time cools our temperatures and helps us see solutions that weren’t there in the initial moment of anger. Time always clears the dark clouds. So… how can you start doing this today…?

Simple: extend a hand. Offer the hand of peace the next time you’re faced with a stressful situation. Maybe that person is even more stressed than you are and a friendly hand is all it will take to turn the situation around. And if it doesn’t help, at least you kept your cool. You’ll feel better after wards
and you’ll have strengthened yourself for the next battle that comes along.

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Live Today

*This post is the second in the Life-Debt Series. An inside look at living your life to its fullest.

On virtually every blog that I read, over the last three weeks everyone has been writing and reflecting about 2009 and what their vision and goals are for 2010. I was no different. I reflected on my 2009 and looked forward to what this year is going to hold.

With each new year comes a chance to re-evaluate priorities and re-align your life.

Over at Illuminated Mind, a recent post got me thinking about my own priorities. Last year I had a goal to read 12 books. I missed the mark by two. The reason partially is that I didn’t pick up a book the last two months of the year because I was working so hard to finish my own. I again have a goal to read 12 books this year and I’m heading into that goal with a full-steam ahead.

I have a stack of books awaiting my eyes. I am currently reading Andre Agassi’s Open and am enjoying not only the book, but the journey a book brings.

Last Saturday I was sitting in my reading chair (yes, I have one!) and just enjoyed relaxing with my book and a cup of tea. I plan on keeping reading as a part of my almost daily routine. It helps me. It relaxes me. It keeps my creative energy at the surface.

Reading is something I do to live. Yes, I have a reading goal, but I’m not thinking of it as something to “get done.” No. It’s a journey and something I’m doing to live my life and not let life live me.

What is one thing you do now that helps you live? If you can’t think of anything, what is one thing you could start doing to help you live?

(Flickr photo via Martha)

Sharing is Caring

Ever been at a staff or family lunch and heard an adult say, “You can’t have any of mine!”? If it is a kid saying it, it is funny. If it is an adult, it definitely comes off as childish. Some of you may have even heard a similar phrase last week over Thanksgiving.

I had a great time with some amazing people while there, everyone shared. We were together as one. When someone has that attitude, that something is all theirs, it puts a cloud over the group. It closes their doors – not literally, but definitely figuratively.

How can this have an impact on your life? If you have information or skills that others can gain something from, don’t keep it from yourself! Share. Help others grow!

(Flickr photo via efleming)

Can I Help You?

When was the last time someone you know came up to you, out of the blue and said, “What can I assist you with?” Maybe never…? Well, today is your lucky day!

So often, we’re called upon to help others and oftentimes we help. We’re conditioned to want to help our friends and co-workers. It’s in our nature. So for this week, I’m going to help you if I can. I can do graphics work, take a special photo for you, promote your book, your new song, give resume tips, or just pat your back! Whatever you need this week, I’m your guy.

Just leave a comment or send me a message using my contact form and I’ll be right there to help!

(flickr image via kandyjaxx)

FOCUS: Help!

This Week’s Lesson
The best four letter word is – HELP!
-Anonymous’ life lesson

Richard’s Thoughts…
This week I had to ask for help. I know… who knew Richard could do it?! But seriously… I had to ask for help because I got sick. The kind of sick where you can feel it coming and then when it does, it hits you like a ton of bricks. I spent Tuesday night on the couch in sweat-pants, a hoodie, under two blankets and taking copious amounts of medication trying to make me feel better.

This summer I also had to ask for help when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. Of course, it’s easier to ask for it when you need it, but sometimes, it’s nice just to receive a helping hand even if it is not necessary.

That helping hand can be in the form of a warm cup of soup to an ailing friend, or just a simple card in the mail letting someone know you’re thinking of them. This week, I wrote about it on my blog: Continue the Ripple of Kindness. How can you help someone this week?

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Animals Change Lives

We’re nearing the end of the 2009 One Stream promotion… and I wanted to talk about one last way for you to change the world. A great organization is helping families around the globe with something very simple: cows. Yes, Heifer International has “learned over the years that a holistic approach is necessary in order to build sustainable communities. So we’ve developed a set of global initiatives – areas of emphasis that must be addressed if we’re to meet our mission of ending world hunger and poverty and caring for the earth.”

And you can help! They take donations as small at $10 which can buy a sheep, a goat, a flock of chicks or even a pig. Check our their catalog of giving. One of the great features of this site is that you can gift someone a charitable donation and they can pick the project to fund for themselves.

We can all make a difference and I urge you to do something to help change the world today!

FOCUS: Your Ripples! (v2n24)

This Week’s Lesson
There is value in every helpful act – it is a ripple effect.
-Colleen N’s life lesson from Galena, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
Ahhh, the ripple effect of caring and kindness. It’s not a new or even novel concept, but as our busy lives take over our daily thoughts and actions, those simple acts of kindness

So what simple act have you done lately? What 30 seconds have you spent on YouTube that could have been spent helping someone else’s day? Or writing a hand-written “thinking of you” card or e-mail. All these simple acts make a difference and make an impact. About a week ago, I did just this. A friend of mine was moving to a new apartment, so I sent a quick card welcoming him to his new home. Nothing special, but heartfelt, honest and hopefully helpful.

So, what can you do? What helpful act can you do in the next five minutes to impact someone else? How about making it a weekly thing? Commit to a kind, helpful act once a week and watch the ripple!

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The Lost Generation

60 years ago, we found the “Greatest Generation” but it appears we are now finding the “Lost Generation.” It is a sweeping generality so I apologize but just keep reading.

Today marks the anniversary of my first experience with suicide. (I’ll preface that in a minute…) On September 2, 2000, my friend Steve shot and killed himself in the early morning hours. I’ll never forget that week. I’ll never forget that school year. I’ll never forget going to school the first day after his death.

We will never know what really caused his death and that’s not what today’s post is about. It’s about helping teenagers. It’s about saving a generation.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

* 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
* 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide.
* 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

While suicide does not seem terribly common, it is nevertheless a major cause of death. The CDC reports that it is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. The only two things that cause more death among teenagers are accidents (usually in the car) and homicide. And even younger children do not escape. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 14.

This is simply unacceptable. What is causing this major uptick, this epidemic-like rise in suicides among our youth?

I do remember growing up battling with my own depression and being suicidal. I will say it’s not a pretty place when someone reaches that stage. That’s where family, friends and love are all too important. We can not continue to allow this to happen.

Our call must be to be supportive, tolerant and mostly a friend. Then and only then can we stop this terribly tragic experience. Please be the best friend you can be to everyone.

*If you need to talk with someone, please call The Trevor Project. It’s free and confidential, 24/7.