Counting our blessings, both at work and at home

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” An easy thing to forget in the “busyness” of our daily lives is to say thank you.

A couple years ago, the Gratitude Challenge made its way through social media channels, and it’s become a November tradition since. Folks pass the challenge baton by asking friends to post things for which they are grateful. The person who started the Gratitude Challenge was trying to encourage people to count their blessings. Since this is the week of Thanksgiving, and with this in mind, I’ve written my annual list for things that matter to me and for which I am truly grateful.

  • Family — I’m grateful that my family has my back no matter what I’m doing. They applaud the good things and they forgive any mistakes. Every now and then they remind me that it’s okay not to be superwoman every minute of every day. I’m blessed to be able to work with some of my amazing family. We’ve had our own up-front and personal lesson in why it’s important to keep family and friends at the top of the importance list. Our son, David Blaine Gray, developed epilepsy when he was 23 years old — epilepsy doesn’t regard age as a stumbling block — and he died from a grand mal seizure at 33, back in 2002. He was a talented comedian with a brilliant career ahead of him. My husband, Dave, and I, and our three daughters, were his best cheerleaders. We know we were blessed to have him for those 33 years.
  • Faith — As I grow older, my faith has become more important to me. Faith in God, faith in my fellow human beings, and faith in our country.
  • Home — We have lived in many homes and places over the years. Madison has been our home for over 40 of them. In that time we’ve taken many trips for both business and pleasure, and each time we’ve returned we breathe a sigh and say, “There’s no place like home!”
  • Good friends and neighbors — How lucky are we to have people to depend upon when needed. I’m grateful that I’m blessed with a circle of friends, both personal and business, who add daily joy to my happiness level.
  • Workplace — I’m grateful that we have a great workspace where our whole team can accomplish good work for our customers.
  • Loyal customers — How thankful I am to have the pleasure and the good luck of being able to work with great customers, many of whom have become “friends” over the years and who act as our champions by telling others about our company.
  • The people who serve us — Our regular UPS and FedEx folks, and our letter carrier, all deliver smiles and sometimes a bit of nice conversation. I’m grateful for these folks who have to go out in all kinds of Wisconsin weather to make sure our stuff gets to us on time.

Gratitude is part of the Universal Law of Attraction that says “like attracts like.” We create what we focus on. When we think about all the blessings we have in our lives, we automatically begin to draw more blessings to ourselves. True gratitude isn’t making a list like mine. True gratitude is an attitude — a mindset of thankfulness. Leah K. Steinberg, in her blog Wings for the Heart, says, “Take time to reflect on the good things in your life, not just today, but every day. Really let yourself feel the goodness and love surrounding you.”

Everyone has things for which to be grateful. One thing for which I’m grateful, today, is that I can take this opportunity to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

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