Gratitude and Creativity: Thank You Card

These days it’s so rare that we receive anything but bills and junk advertising in our mailboxes. However, today there was a lovely surprise waiting when I opened my mailbox. I received a thank-you card in my mail. Receiving it made me smile from ear to ear.

Someone who will always be special to me sent me the card: my nephew. He wrote me a personal message of thanks. I’m so glad to know that he’s cultivating his own practice of expressing gratitude while he’s so young.

I have a bit of a thing for thank-you cards. I always have a bunch on hand at home to send notes to people when they do something nice for me. Sometimes I send a card or note for no reason at all except to let someone know how much they mean to me.

I’m sharing this because I feel so happy and proud of my nephew; and I want to encourage everyone to send a card or note to someone to let them know you care. If you don’t have cards think of another way to express gratitude for having her/him in your life.

Thank you S for your thoughtfulness

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Today I’m Reminded…

Today – and most days –, I’m reminded of a woman who I was fortunate to know in my lifetime: She was my Great Aunt M and she was one of the most kind and loving people I’ve ever known. Today is the day she was born and I prefer remembering it than dwelling on the day I witnessed her passing away. Even though I live thousands of miles away from where she once lived, and can’t place yellow flowers on her grave, I pay homage to her memory as often as I can because I learned so much about compassion and unconditional love from her.

She was the kind of person who, although quiet, was strong. Not everyone can survive being put on a ship alone as a young adult and sent thousands of miles away from your family to make your mark in the world. Not everyone would have been able to thrive in a place where they knew no one, but had to prove themselves knowledgeable and capable of saving lives from the very first moment they reported to a new job, but she did. Every person whose life she touched, in even the smallest way, still remembers her. The goodwill of her deeds still lives on in the community where she lived, eventually married, and raised her children.

I’ve been the beneficiary of that goodwill each time I’ve visited her small town and someone has made the connection between who she was and who I am. The pride felt in those moments is overwhelming, and added to the love and respect I already felt for the woman who loved me my whole life. It also made me feel more fortunate that what I know of her came to me, not from her professional life, but from moments that are more intimate. Times where I was fed favourite meals by her, walking with her through the streets of her town on cool summer mornings, sharing cups of tea with her dearest friends after shopping in the local market, or receiving small gifts that always arrived in time for my birthday.

Her memory keeps me positive because every time I think of her I know that somewhere inside me lives the things she taught simply by living her life. I know that I can be strong and survive anything life throws my way. When I am fearful, I know that the courage I need to overcome whatever I’m facing is within me. I know a smile and words of kindness can go a long way to make another person’s day or life better. When I am sad, I have wonderful happy memories in which she lives that I can recall. I know the value of doing good in the world because her work and its legacy live on. Most importantly, I know what it is to be loved unconditionally and what can come of giving love in the same way.

Today I honour the memory of my Great Aunt M and I am grateful I had the opportunity to know her.

 

 

InkTober: Day 22 – Little

Yesterday I wrote about focusing on the big picture in life. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the importance of the little things we do or say to deepen the connections we have with others. One of the little things my parents taught me as a child is most important, is saying ‘thank you’. When I went with my parents to dinners or other events at the homes of friends or family members, I was always expected to personally thank the hosts for their hospitality before walking out the door. If I forgot, my mother would make a point of sending me back into the house to say these words, “Thank you for having me for (insert name of occasion).”

When I was a kid, I hated doing it, especially if it was the home of someone who made me feel uncomfortable or they served food I didn’t like. Not to mention that I saw it as another aspect of my strict upbringing where I felt my parents made an unnecessary fuss. However, as an adult I recognize the value of what my parents taught me. People appreciate small gestures of gratitude and thanks. Whether it’s the manager who interviews you as a potential employee – I always send a ‘thank you’ note or email after an interview –, or the friend who lifts your mood when you need it most. Showing my gratitude in a tangible way is ingrained in me.

I keep stashes of ‘thank you’ cards at home and I’m always drawn to their beautiful designs and packaging in stationery stores. Although, I don’t believe it’s necessary to spend money to say thank you. A handwritten note or letter goes a long way in these times of electronic communication. Besides, you never know how much such a little thing as letting someone know you appreciate him or her can mean; and the best part about expressing gratitude is you don’t have to wait until a person does something for you. You can simply thank them for being a positive presence in your life.

InkTober - Day 22 - Little