Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Star Struck January 7, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:03 pm

3 kings gps

Webster defines “epiphany” as an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. You know, “I was driving to work and had an epiphany that I need to take next week off.”


In Christianity, today is the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the visit of the Magi, or the Three Kings, to the infant Jesus. It is customary to have you home blessed today and in some cultures, to jump into freezing cold water. (Does my New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge count?!) It also traditionally ends the Christmas season.


The Three Kings followed a star to find the Christ child and in his homily yesterday, Pope Francis asked “what star have we chosen to follow in our lives?”


Tough one, right?


The world tells us to follow the money and strive for success and power. I don’t necessarily strive for power but I do want to be considered successful in whatever I do. Sadly, I also often follow the wrong “stars” and as Pope Francis reminded us, “Some stars may be bright, but do not point the way.”


Hello Hollywood.

Hello sports.

Hello music.

Hello politics.


Think about it, the Three Kings were just that, kings, but they knew there was a king of all kings born and they actually brought Him gifts. I’ve always used this idea, that Jesus got three gifts, as reason why Kristen to this day only gets three gifts each Christmas. But for the rest of the year, what gifts am I striving for and what gifts am I giving to others? What stars am I following?


Calm and humble life


Thank you Einstein. Well said. As I recently blogged, we are a restless bunch and calm is often what we strive for, but how do we get there? I’m no math person, but I agree that when things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting. Start following the right stars.


First of all, eliminate junk from your life and things that tear you down rather than build you up. You know what and who they are. If you’re not sure, what do you think about most? That, my friends, is your treasure, your heart, and the star you are following. If it’s junk and if it tears you down, peace out. Get rid of it. Remind yourself that some people are so poor, all they have is money.


Impressed by...


You may also want to ask yourself:

“What will I be remembered for?”

“Whom do I envy?”

“What do I lie about?”

“What will I do today that will make me proud in a year?”


The answers may be hard to admit or address, but they reveal what stars you follow and what presents you give.


The Pope went on to instruct us not to thirst for arrogance and riches, but instead hunger for humility and helping the poor. As you do so, you just might become the star in someone else’s life and will discover the epiphany of following the right star. Lead the way. Shine bright.












The Hearts of Buffalo January 5, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:56 pm

Let’s just say me and “squib kicks” don’t get along. My Sooners should have never done one at the end of the Rose Bowl first half last Monday and my hubby’s Buffalo Bills probably should have during their game against the Tennessee Titans back in January 2000. But enough of my bitterness, it’s time for some cheering and who better to lead us than Buffalo Bills fans. You know, those die-hard and hearty people who will do this for their team…


Bills fans1


Call ‘em crazy, but as impressive as that is, what Bills fans are doing right now is even more impressive. They are making a difference in kids’ lives $17 at a time.


Do what?


Yep, it’s true and is the story nightly news is covering and is revealing the hearts of Buffalo in a year when the NFL could use all the positivity it can get.


Lemme explain.


The Bills had not been to the NFL playoffs in 17 years, the longest drought going into the season. The last time they were there, it was that game against the Titans, now infamously known as the “Music City Miracle.”


Buffalo had taken the lead with a field goal that put them ahead 16-15 with 16 seconds left in the game. But, instead of kicking perhaps a squib kick to run out the clock (the hair on my arms is actually rising right now), Steve Christie kicked it away and the rest is NFL history and infamy. Tennessee ran the ball back for a TD and won the game 22-16. The Bills haven’t sniffed the playoffs since.


Until now.


Thanks in part to the Cincinnati Bengals.


Granted, the Bills did their part by beating a team they cannot stand, the Miami Dolphins, in an early game last Sunday. Ironically the score, 22-16, was the same score as the Music City Miracle. Only this time the Bills were on the winning end. But they weren’t safe yet. They desperately needed another team to lose and that team was the Baltimore Ravens who were playing the Bengals. With a win, the Ravens would take the last playoff spot. With a win, the Bengals would go home anyway. The Ravens had everything to win and the Bengals had nothing to win. And the Ravens had the lead as time wound down.


This is where the magic happened. On fourth down and with 53 seconds left in the game, Bengal QB Andy Dalton threw a game-winning TD to receiver Tyler Boyd and just like that the Ravens were out and the Bills were in. For the first time in 17 years.


Soon after the immediate celebrations ended, Bills fans everywhere did something that is just as impressive as Dalton’s pass: they started donating to his AJD Foundation, which benefits seriously ill and physically challenged kids and their families en masse. They were that grateful for his heroics and they wanted to show it.


The story gets better.


They donated $17 apiece, you know in honor of those 17 years. And in living up to Buffalo’s “City of Good Neighbors” slogan, to date those $17 donations…more than 14,000 of them…have totaled over $300,000. Even Dalton is amazed and Tweeted his appreciation.


“Buffalo fans are a class act. They’re helping out a good cause. It’s been fun to see the reaction that we’ve gotten from them.”


I can say first-hand that yes, Bills fans are a class act. They are loyal to a fault and some of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve met. In the middle of their team’s glory, they are thinking of others even with tongues firmly planted in cheeks. And they are not done. Donations keep rolling in and they’ve also started rolling in to Boyd’s YouCaring page that offers recreational football leagues for kids in Pittsburgh. That number is now over $50,000.


“Thank you to the Bills entire fan base,” Boyd Tweeted out. “What great people you are. We have reached our goal!”


Dalton and his wife have since purchased five billboards in the Buffalo area, thanking the fans for their support and #billieve is trending. Nothing could make me happier (okay, maybe one thing, but again, breathe out the bitterness, breathe in the Bills) and this is a girl who watched those Bills lose four Super Bowls in a row. Yeah, this family knows all about football letdowns but still, if you’re a Bills fan, you always billieve.


You also love your wings, so what better way then to also thank the Bengals with some wings?


Bills promise wings


As promised, those wings are on their way. 1,440 of them. Personally I think it should have been 1,700 but who’s counting?


Wings from Bills


Now the Bills are off to play the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC Wildcard game. I’ll be thinking of all those Bills fans as I eat wings, root against my beloved Dede Westbrook, and hope the Bills win 22-16 or by at least 17 points. It would only be fitting.


Let’s go, Buffalo.


That Little Four Letter Word December 20, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 11:22 pm



I’ve been known to throw down a four letter word every now and then and I definitely have my go-to one. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. Stub your toe? Let it rip. The car behind you doesn’t let you in? Verbal road rage ensues. My team throws an interception? Locker room talk at its finest.


F-bombs and potty talk notwithstanding, I’ve discovered there’s another four letter word that has me twisting and shouting: MORE. Yep, the word “more” my friends, is a certified four letter word. And it’s stressing me out.


It’s something society throws in our face. You should work more. Make more. Do more. Achieve more. Succeed more. Post more. Want more. Buy more. Exercise more.


Yes, I long to be that girl who wants to exercise more, but I also want to laugh more. Share more. Enjoy more.


Tis the season for more, but often not in a good way. This is the time of year we inevitably spend more and want more. We do more and go more. We make ourselves crazy trying to achieve more and perfect more.


More presents to buy and more packages to mail.

More parties to attend and more outfits to purchase.

More gifts to make and more cookies to bake.

More decorations to put out and lights to hang.

More internet sales and social media posts.

More time to spend on things I seem to not have time to spend on.


It kinda makes me BLUE and results in another four letter word: BUSY.


I don’t like busy. It doesn’t inspire or impress me. It makes me unsettled.


Still, I do want more.


More time to relax.

More down time.

More time to reflect.

More money to donate.

More friends to share with.

More family members nearby.


I also desire more HELP and more TIME.

I crave more pure joy and way more simple CALM.

My body tells me I need more REST.


I could also use a lot more yoga. A four letter word that centers me.

I would also like more time to READ and to WALK.


Why do the holidays create more stress and less gratitude? Wouldn’t it be nice if we instead focused not on MORE but on another four letter word: LESS?


Less stress.

Less to do lists.

Less errands.

Less expectations.

Less noise.


To accomplish this, we need to implement yet another four letter word: STOP.


Stop the crazy.

Stop the self-induced pressure.

Stop trying too hard.

Stop keeping up.

Stop the madness.


If we must have more though, how about more LOVE?

I love that idea.


How about devoting more time to PRAY?

Answered prayers, right?


Ironically LOVE and PRAY are both four letter words and if practiced consistently, just may create that calm we all crave.


So, let’s let go of the musts and shoulds of our lives, if even for just a few moments each day, and focus instead on the reason for this season of more.


We don’t need more, we need to love more.

We need to appreciate more.

And we need to slow down more.


Can I get an AMEN?






Peppermint Just For the Health of It December 16, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:10 am

Candy Cane bowl by Lisa Sieczka via Getty Images


Something about candy canes just makes me smile. I particularly love their red-and-white striped pattern as I love stripes, I love patterns, and I love me some red and white! I remember my mom hanging them on our Christmas tree and although I don’t follow her in that practice, I do have a festive vase of them sitting on my kitchen counter every Christmas. Funny thing though, I really don’t like to eat them. I just like to look at them. Maybe I should rethink this though, as peppermint like the kind found in candy canes, actually has some major health benefits.


Are you feeling stressed and anxious during the current and crazy holi-daze? Are you maybe drinking a little more alcohol than normal at Christmas parties? If you’ve said “yes” to any of this, you might also be suffering from a tension headache, commonly brought on by stress and alcohol consumption and oh so common during the holidays. Well, guess what? Peppermint can actually ease those tension headaches! Ahhhh…just breathe!




Yep, study after study show that rubbing a topical peppermint oil on your forehead and temples can reduce headache pain as well as any over-the-counter pain reliever. And it smells so good!


In addition to drinking and stressing more this time of year, you might also be eating more and perhaps even eating things you don’t normally consume. Maybe before you head out to another party or before opening that cookie jar, take a whiff of peppermint oil or even a candy cane as just smelling peppermint has been shown to curb cravings and appetites.


If you do enjoy a little feeding frenzy but then encounter a little rumblin’ in your tumblin’, no worries, as peppermint is also known to tame tummy aches. In fact, the mint can help with all types of stomach problems, including nausea, heartburn, menstrual cramps. and even irritable bowel syndrome. One Italian study found that IBS symptoms were significantly reduced among 75 percent of those who took peppermint oil capsules while an Australian study discovered that peppermint actually activates an anti-pain agent in the colon and soothes inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract.


Tis also the season for colds and flu, but before reaching for cold medicine to clear up your stuffy nose, reach for peppermint instead. Although it may not always open your nasal passages, it magically tricks your mind into thinking it has. The key is menthol, which peppermint is chalk-full of and is what makes all those over-the-counter meds smell so yummy and minty.



If you’re feeling aches and pains or if you’re exercising more to work off those candies and cookies you’ve been eating, you may be a little sore. Peppermint can help here to, as it has a cooling effect when topically applied for muscle ache, stiffness, and even nerve pain.


Another health benefit of peppermint is that it boosts concentration and has memory-enhancing properties. This is good news to all you students out there studying for finals and for anyone finalizing year-end budgets, reports, or simple “naughty or nice” lists. Peppermint scent can actually give someone a mental perk, resulting in greater alertness, increased motivation, and enhanced performance. So powerful is peppermint’s punch, that some schools have been known to out peppermint candy during test periods!



I pretty much swear by my Young Living peppermint oil and use it often. I massage it into inflamed or sore areas and joints to ease inflammation, arthritis symptoms, and tendonitis. I also rub it on my forehead, temples, sinuses, and neck for headache relief, respiratory issues, and general stiffness. If I’m feeling particularly stiff or achy, I might use another essential oil made specifically for injuries, but I always top it with peppermint because it smells so good! Its scent is also I regularly diffuse it.


Peppermint oil also boasts a high concentration of natural pesticides that help repel some insects, including pesky mosquitos. If you do get bit by something, rub some peppermint oil on the bite area to relieve itching.


Candy cane cocktail

Finally, let’s not forget about the plant’s cooking qualities and culinary uses. Fresh or dried peppermint, as well as peppermint extract, are common in herbal teas, ice cream, candy, jams and jellies, and many an alcoholic drink. A Moscow Mule or Mojito without mint? Nyet! You could say this is peppermint’s “in” season, as you find it in everything from peppermint Kisses to peppermint bark to peppermint room candles. Peppermint as an ingredient doesn’t’ stop in the kitchen though. It’s a main ingredient in many a chewing gum, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, and soap.


So why peppermint? No one really knows, other than it’s a natural plant full of natural benefits. Scientifically, peppermint is actually a hybrid mint, meaning it’s a cross between watermint and spearmint. It contains way more menthol than spearmint and enjoys widespread cultivation worldwide. Even in my mom’s flower beds in Santa Fe.


To this day I will pick a leaf off a peppermint plant and eat it, reminding me of doing so as a child. My mom always grew mint in our yard and would use it in her sun tea.


It’s actually easy to grow and will grow almost anywhere. It develops best moist places with part-sun to shade and a good supply of water. Being that it’s a hybrid, it’s typically sterile and doesn’t produce seeds. It grows “like a weed” though by spreading its branches, meaning each new plant grows from a fragment of the parent plant.


Candy canes without quote

But back to the candy cane. Did you know the flavor of peppermint is similar to hyssop, which is also a member of the mint family and was used in biblical times for purification? The shape of the candy cane also religious undertones, as it was intentionally shaped to symbolize a shepherd’s crook, the very shepherds who were among those who witnessed the birth of Jesus and a reminder that like the Good Shepherd parable, Jesus protects us like His little lambs. The red and white colors of a candy cane are said to represent purity and love. And finally, what do you get when you turn a candy cane upside down? The letter J. Whose name starts with J? Jesus!


So there you have it. Candy Canes represent Christmas and they could very well have the healing qualities of peppermint. What’s not to love, right? Now where did I hide that peppermint bark?










A Tree At Last December 10, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:29 pm


So many of you already have your Christmas trees up, but if you’re like me and you’re just getting to it, consider yourself a late bloomer! We got our tree today and now it’s time to light it up.


A few years ago I decided to not put any ornaments on our tree. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas ornaments and have boxes full of them. Childhood ones. Many I’ve gotten travelling. Some were gifts. Others I just saw and had to have. But, once our nest was empty and I was the sole tree decorator, it was just too much to handle. Hanging all those ornaments and finding room for them on the tree didn’t bring me joy anymore, it just stressed me out. And then there was the laborious task of taking them off, wrapping them up, and boxing them. Squeal! So, momma made the executive decision that from here on out, our tree would just have lights. Lots of them. Tons of them. Maybe for some people, too many of them. But, I found that sitting in a room with nothing but the tree lights on is quite soothing and simply beautiful.



Putting those lights on said tree is another story. There are so many methods and strategies. In the past I went the route of going “round and round and round” with strings of lights but I’ve learned to instead work vertically. If you mentally divide the tree into triangle shaped sections and hang the lights up and down, it’s a bit easier and the result is stunning. Start at the bottom of the tree and be sure to push some of the lights into the inner tree to create depth. Voila!


Getting the right lights is also important. I previously preferred all white little twinkly lights, but am coming around to multi-colored ones too. Growing up we always had those old-school colorful bulbs and I can just picture how beautiful our tree was with them and tons of icicles. I don’t do icicles anymore but I still treasure the memories of them.


So for lights, keep in mind that incandescent bulbs cost less than LED ones and have a warmer glow but LED bulbs use less energy, last longer, and come in both warm and cool glows. You pick! It’s best to use all the same brand of lights if your goal is a tree filled with a similar glow and bet on 100 per lights per foot of tree height.



When it comes to plugging those puppies in, always think “safety first.” Use only properly-wired extension cords and keep all lights away from any flammable objects, including gifts and tree skirts. I’m obsessed with a three plug-in kit I bought a few years back that allows me to simply push a button on the remote and turn on three separate outlets. There are also foot-powered cords that make turning on Christmas lights easy.




For us, it’s always been a real tree. Both my husband and I grew up with real trees and have kept that tradition for the 30+ years of our marriage. There are pundits for both. Surprisingly, opting for the real deal isn’t as environmentally harmful as one might think. In fact, producing an artificial tree takes almost 10 times the energy as growing a live one. And did you know trees in a tree farm are trimmed once-a-year so their branches make the triangle shape we all love? It takes about eight years in a farm or forest for a tree to be ready for our Christmastime homes. If you do go the real tree route, be sure to recycle or compost it properly.


Holding all your ornaments and strings of lights is a tough job for a tree branch. Spruce trees are full-bodied and strong and their branches seem to hold even the heftiest of ornaments while Fir trees are often more expensive than other evergreens but they generally hold their needles the longest.



So why do we put up Christmas trees anyway?


The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things like gingerbread and apples. In Victorian times, trees were decorated with candles to represent stars. In many parts of Europe, candles are still used to decorate Christmas trees. The first trees were often topped with a figure of the Baby Jesus but over time angels or stars became the norm and still remain so today.


Many also believe the custom began many moons ago when St. Boniface, who was a priest form England, traveled to Germany to convert the pagans. He found some success but many still worshiped what they considered a sacred oak. He is said to have come across a group of pagans about to sacrifice a young boy while worshipping an oak tree. In anger, St. Boniface cut down the oak tree and, to his amazement; a young fir tree sprang up from the roots. They became followers, decorated the tree with candles and St. Boniface showed them that unlike the oak that lost its leaves every year, the evergreen’s leaves remained year round. This, he said, is much like the life Jesus offers us: never ending and always there.


As to why we puts lights on our trees may go back to none other than Thomas Edison, who put some of his new electric light bulbs around his office. In 1890 the Edison Company published a brochure offering lighting services for Christmas. These electric tree lights grew in popularity when President Grover Cleveland decorated the White House tree with lights in 1895.


So there you have it: Christmas trees 101 in a nutshell. How lovely are their branches.





The Kardashian Mystery Solved December 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:51 pm



Spend a weekend with a female between the ages of say, 10 to 30, and you’re likely to catch at least one episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” If it’s just one, consider yourself lucky. This was me over the weekend as I spent it with my 24-year-old daughter who is a long-time Kardashian fan. Yes I’ve tried and tried to convince her of all the reasons to not like them; all to no avail. Fellow Kardashian haters, I tried.


So, I decided to change hats and see them through her eyes. It was eye opening.


I realized that yes, she loves their fashion and their fame, but what she really loves is how close a family they are. I asked her this and she totally agreed.



Think about it as a girl. You have fortune and fame, but most importantly you have four best friends who have your back on everything. Everything. Each one has a ginormous house that they all just flutter between; open doors and open kitchens to boot. They sit around in those beautiful Mackenzie-Childs bedecked kitchens with those perfectly arranged cookies in a jar, eating delivered or chef-prepared salads, and visit. Just visit. Think bedroom or dorm room in the real world. That’s what they do. Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they cry, sometimes they argue, and sometimes they bond. What girl doesn’t want that?


Then there’s their mom, Kris, the brains behind the botox. Full disclosure, Kristen often calls me Kris or “momager” because she says as much as I hate to admit it, she would be in what we like to pretend is our “celebrity squad” and that deep down I do like her. Plus, her real name is Kristen. Okay, I’ll play.


So first the hair. I’ve loved Kris Jenner’s signature short hairstyle for many years. I had it once, gave in to peer pressure and let it grow out, but I may go back to it soon. I also like her fashion and décor style 80 percent of the time and her obsession with Mackenzie-Child’s “Courtly Check” matches mine. I share her love of black-and-white everything as well as large framed old-school Barbie photos and framed family photos. She’s also an admitted control freak, as am I. This became crystal clear in a recent episode when Kris moved her aging mom from San Diego to a condo near her and wanted all the decorations to be how she wanted them. That would be me. On two fronts. I would love to be able to move my mom near me in a safe and monitored fabulous place when needed but I would also want to do it up how I want it.


Then there’s the Bruce Jenner ordeal. Who didn’t feel at least a little bit sorry for Kris? So you’ve been married to this man for many years and somewhere along the line you find out he isn’t seeing another woman, he wants to be a woman! And it all plays out on national TV. Yes, I know, they’ve chosen this life but let’s be real, that was rough.


Speaking of men, do they really keep up with those Kardashians? Not at all. It’s a world run by a momager and her five daughters. This is yet another tidbit not lost on young woman watching. I detest the fact that it all started with Kim’s sex video but props to Kris for brilliantly spinning the family situation in a way any Washington D.C. politician would envy. Today they are a multi-million dollar corporate brand of woman. An estrogen empire. Yes, I get the whole “but they have no real talents,” but is it not even a wee bit impressive that a group of six women with no talents have somehow duped us all into buying what they’re selling? That, my friends, is girl power.



Consider this, the show is currently celebrating 10 years of production. TEN YEARS! And each Kardashian gets paid hundreds of thousands just for showing up at various appearances, whether it be opening a club or debuting a product. And perhaps most amazing is the fact that they make mega bucks just for posting something on Instagram. Kim receives half-a-million dollars for every sponsored post and the rest of the gang gets anywhere from $150,000 to $400,000. Bananas!


It didn’t take long for young Kylie to say adios school and hello solo success. At just 20-years-old, they youngest of the clan topped Forbes’ youngest high-earning celebrity list with a net worth of $50 million, thanks most in part to her popular Kylie Lipkits. Truth be told, I tried some of Kristen’s and they’re good. Real good.


But, the Kardashians aren’t just rich, from most reports, they are nice. Yes they can be trashy (note to Kim: you’re a mom…please stop with the nudies) and filthy-mouthed (just stop!), but you rarely hear of any mean girl or substance abuse behavior.


Men need not apply in the Kardashian world though. Rob, the sole brother, is somewhere off camera figuring out his life with Blac Chyna; Scott, Kourtney’s baby daddy, is battling addictions and the fact that he’s the only white male amongst the group; Khloe’s ex Lamar Odem was last seen in a Nevada brothel in a near OD state; and Bruce, well we all know what happened to him. That leaves Kim’s hubby Kanye West who seems to always have issues of his own but who also stays clear of the film crew. Maybe he’s the smartest one of the male bunch.



But, I can’t write a Kardashian blog without mentioning what really annoys me about them: the level of fakeness they present to the world of young and even mature girls. Yes, their family dynamic is real, but nothing else about them is. Each one of them has the looks, so why can’t they just be happy with what God has given them? So much of them is fake: their extension-heavy hair, their tightened and tanned skin, their ridiculously plumped-up lips, their over-sculpted bodies, and even their lashes. They’ve had implants in everything from their cheeks to well, their trademark “cheeks.” It’s all so unreal and unattainable for the average Josephine. When you have an army of glam squads, personal trainers, and surgeons on command, of course you’re going to look good. The rest of us, not so much. It’s anything but reality and I wish they would put the brakes on some of it.


Young Kylie is probably the worst, with Khloe coming in a close second. I do admire Khloe for her workout ethic, but c’mon, do we really believe her “new bod” is all due to getting on a treadmill and going to a Pilates class? As for Kylie, nothing on her is real. She is a shell of her former face and it’s sad. To be so young and so unhappy with how you look is just tragic. It’s also not a good image or message to give to young fans, or even 24-year-old fans. Now that she’s unwed and pregnant, maybe maturity will come by way of motherhood and she will find her real soul.


More likely is her baby will be welcomed with open arms into the ever-growing family, ensuring years more of Kardashian spawns. It’s all about the family, and in this season of wishing we were all near family and of opening our homes to family members, how bad can that be? Maybe it’s really not their fame that we envy, but their family. They definitely have family in check. Still, I can’t promise I’ll be keeping up with those Kardashians but I’m pretty sure millions of others will.


Thanksgiving All Year Long November 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 1:00 am

Gratitude is peace


Thanksgiving is officially over and now it’s a full- throttle Christmas mode. But how ‘bout we say goodbye to the Thanksgiving holiday for a year but not the idea of being thankful? Everywhere I looked the past few weeks I saw the quote “There is always, always, something to be thankful for.” If that’s so and if so many people believe that, why is it we celebrate thankfulness only one day a year…a day that is immediately followed by a day when we go on shopping frenzies to buy all those things we think we have to have and things we think might make us happy? Does having more equate to more happiness? Does being happy equate to being thankful? Do things that frustrate us have to make us unhappy? Not always on all counts.




Today I’m thankful my internet was not connecting to the very computer I am writing this on. Yep, you heard right: I’M THANKFUL MY INTERNET WAS OUT. What in the world? Call the troopers and call me crazy but first, let me fill you in.


Our house sitter/dog sitter extraordinaire, John, has been helping us set up a new TV for the past two days. This has involved DirecTV set up, “smart” TV controls (and tutorials!), universal remote formatting, and a few modem resets. Come to discover that those resets wreaked just a bit of havoc on my desktop computer. No worries; house sitter/dog sitter/fabulous TV installer John is also an IT expert. Can I marry this guy now? After a few quick checks and resets, I’m up and running. But, not before learning something very, very important. And a little bit alarming.


While checking my modem and internet connections, John asked if I by chance had another Ethernet cable. First of all, “Ethernet cable” is somewhat akin to Russian to me, but I knew I had a bin of cables and cords that he could go through. In that bin was also an old MacBook battery. This, my friends, was not a good thing. John proceeded to let me know the dangers of said battery (similar but waaaaay bigger than all those phone batteries not allowed on airplanes) and that it already showed clear signs of “inflation,” which could have caught fire, exploded, and basically caused a whole lot of damage. So, as worried as I was about my internet going out, I suddenly considered it a “God wink.” Had the internet not sputtered, the battery would not have been discovered, and who knows what might have happened. As John said, “things always happen for a reason.”





Trials are not usually the places in which we find gratitude. Instead, they try us and they frustrate us. It’s much easier to be grateful when everything is going smooth and life is good. But there will always be challenges and obstacles in our lives, so it’s high time we focus on what we are thankful for year round and even in the midst of trials. There are so many things we can and should be thankful for and they deserve more than just one holiday in November.



As Jimmy Buffet sang, we need to change our attitudes. This is also the philosophy behind a great book titled “FISH!” In the bestseller, a high-stress and non-energetic corporate office team is compared to the fishmongers in Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market. They may not have the most sought after jobs, but they are famously happy and thankful for their place of work. It’s a philosophy filled with lessons of being grateful and joyful.


Lessons learned.



An attitude of gratitude should be our goal and it starts with both the head and the heart. If you think you are blessed, you’ll likely feel blessed. If you love more than you long, you’ll feel loved. If you fill your life with things and people the build you up rather than tear you down, you’ll feel positive and thankful. Maybe instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses” you might ask yourself if the life you are living is a life you would want someone else to have. Chances are your life is pretty darn good on many levels so being thankful for it is Plan A. Plan B is to make “thanksgiving” a reason to celebrate 12 months a year; not just one day a year.


So before you go out, stress out, and max out your credit card on holiday shopping and entertaining, sit back and be thankful…truly thankful. Be thankful you have a job even if it’s not your dream job. Be grateful you have a place to live even if it’s not your dream house. Be appreciative that you have a car rather instead of complaining about traffic. And always remember that so many out there have less than you but could very well be more grateful and happy than you.


And if you have a John in your life, be sure to be thankful for him too.