Today, I’m really excited to publish this blog post written by my good friend Ana. I asked her to be a guest blogger on my blog and I’m glad she sent me something to post. I really love what she wrote, here it is!
Hello everyone. My name is Ana, from Serendipity Flakes (and Disney and Sparkle) and I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Nicole. She’s a dear friend and even though we rarely see each other we do communicate frequently and have a great time whenever we do see each other (did I mention I helped her boyfriend plan the day he would meet her parents? – I met him in college and Nicks through Twitter at the time.) Anyways, now that you know that, when Nicole and I ran into each other a couple of weeks ago and got to talking about blogging she encouraged be to start writing again (which I did/am) and invited me to write about anything on her blog.
Boy was that tough. So many topics!! Psychology? Food? Travel? Dachshunds? My favorite socks? Why are pigs tails’ curly? – I finally chose appreciation as my topic and I hope to make this short.
A couple of days ago I wrote on my blog how grateful I am for various things in my life and I wanted to continue sharing that line of thinking. I recently read an old issue of O magazine that I inherited from a neighbor and found a quote from Oprah Winfrey that enlightened me. For this holiday season I share with you the following: “What I know for sure: Any act of appreciation affirms our connection to each other. Validates us. Expands who we are in the world. Deepens our spirit. And can turn an ordinary moment into any extraordinary peachy and praiseful day.” ((Winfrey, Oprah. “What I Know For Sure.” O: The Oprah Magazine. 2009: 232. Print.))
We all go through experiences, good and bad, that change us. 2013 seems completely different from 2012 even though day-to-day sometimes we think nothing is changing. Good things happened, like making amazing friends and traveling with my hubby, and not-so-great ones did, like making very difficult and life-changing financial decisions. But at the end of the day it has taught be to be so grateful for the non-material gifts that I have around me, the love of my family, hubby, friends and of course those four-legged children of mine. A simple smile means more than buying someone dinner, offering to listen to them over a cup of tea at home might be just what they need. During the holiday season we tend to get caught up in materialism, “I need 4 gifts for Sue.” “Bobby wants a new iPad.” “I can’t spend only $10 on Amy, what will she think if she finds out?”. The list could go on, so here are 5 (things? Tips?) to turn the holiday season into an act of appreciation.
- Spend a day with a loved one – no technology. Leave your phone at home or turn it off. Spend time talking with that person, you’ll survive not checking-in at Starbucks for the 20th time. Talk while you wait, people watch, talk about your past, share funny or embarrassing stories and treasure that moment. Life slips away from us and we don’t take time to slow down and just talk. Appreciate undistracted time with that person.
- Wake up an hour earlier a couple of days a week and appreciate being alive, have a cup of tea or coffee and gently sip it for a while. Think of your dreams for the next year, what you want to work on. Count your blessings. Appreciate who you are before even starting of your day.
- Make DIY treats. Bake with someone you care about, fight over them stealing chocolate chips or sprinkles. Instead of just buying a box of cookies or chocolates and giving them as a gift invite someone over and have a baking party. Appreciate being able to create great memories with friends and family that will last forever.
- Donate. I chose St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It doesn’t have to be a lot, even $5 helps any organization and you’ll be left with the amazing feeling that you made a small contribution to a good cause. Appreciate the feeling of giving back; know that any organization/entity’s day is made when they receive even the smallest of donations. We must give back to our community.
- Appreciate what you already have. Don’t focus on what you need or want. Sure, a few details here and there are nice. But the real meaning of the season is being with loved ones, so be thankful for what you have and turn this holiday season into one focused on appreciating the little things, non-material values, a giggle, taking a silly picture, fighting over the last cookie or creating small DIY gifts. Make every moment count; we never know when anything can change.
I hope y’all enjoyed my post. Have an amazing day and wonderful holiday season.