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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

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I walked into church the other day and saw this door to the Bishop’s office and had to stop.  It had Activity Day girls written all over it (figuratively and literally)!  It’s an easy spin-off of the “Heart Attack” idea (click here for previous post) and the purpose was written right there.  The girls had been learning about the role of their priesthood leaders and wanted to thank them for their service.

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I can see how the activity might have gone….

1. A short lesson about the roles of our priesthood leaders, emphasizing their service and our need to recognize that.

2.  Discussion about how to express that in a note.

3.  Writing notes and drawing pictures to attach to the Bishop’s door.

4.  Sneaking into the church to leave some love for the Bishop and everyone who happened to walk by that door!

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This activity makes my brain start working on all of the ways that a “Heart Attack” type activity might be modified to accomplish different needs in Activity Days.  Certain women or families who have influenced the girls could be the target.  Girls who maybe don’t come to Activity Days but we want to welcome in.  Widows, widowers or single parents.  Teachers.  Primary leaders or music people.

Anyone could be the recipient of this service project at any time of the year. You don’t have to just be grateful in the fall – gratitude is a message for 365 days of the year.  Add this activity to your calendar – it’s a keeper.

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My husband, Jason broke his neck when he was 15 years old.  About a year into his new life he came to a crossroads where he needed to find a way to take his hope in his future life to the next level.  He pulled out a piece of paper and numbered it from 1-100 and started writing down the things he was grateful for.

The first 25 were easy – food, family, a home, a bed, friends, etc.  The next 25 were also pretty easy but more specific.  The third 25 started getting difficult for this teenager to think of.  76-100 were a test, indeed.  He was thankful for ketchup, lightbulbs and  and the posters on his wall.  If he could see it then he wrote it down.

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It’s been about 27 years since that first Gratitude List was created in the bedroom of a 16-year-old.  Many Gratitude Lists have been created since in the Hall house.  I go through this process on a regular basis.  It has taken different forms over the years – I’ve made lists of 1-100.  I’ve kept Gratitude Journals like these for a year at a time.  My first Project Life album was dedicated to finding something I was grateful for each day and taking a photo of it.  Click on my “Project 365 of Gratitude” category for past posts about this project or look at this post or  this post or this post to see why I love using Project Life as a gratitude journal.

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I believe gratitude is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal in the battle against discouragement, negativity, heartbreak, depression and every life challenge that we can face.  It is a life skill that takes practice in order to become strong.  As a habit, it straightens our spines, clears our minds and opens our hearts to hope.  Simply said, gratitude overcomes negativity and creates joy.

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Take a moment this holiday season to write down what you are thankful for.  Make a list of 1-100.  Your children can be very successful at this activity as well, even if you break it up into multiple sittings.  Post your list somewhere that you can look at often to remind you of your blessings.  Big things, small things – include them all on your list.  Mine had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Bettona Pants from Athleta.  When we choose to be grateful for things like that, it’s easy to be grateful all day.

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Another way to do it is to write down something you are grateful for each day for a month.  See how it changes your heart, your attitude, your outlook on daily life, and how you interact with others.

I’ve added some shapes to my Silhouette store that will help you with your gratitude lists.  I hope you enjoy them!

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We are finally to my favorite time of year – the season of gratitude and family.  Giving thanks is a tool for me.  I believe it is the guaranteed way to banish any negative thought, feeling, attitude, or circumstance.  It’s like a magic trick.  Creating quotes about gratitude is like breathing for me.  I am inspired as I work on those words and thoughts and it helps me remember to focus only on the good in spite of difficult challenges or struggles.

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Jason is home for about a week as we wait for yet another surgery and another six-week stay in the hospital.  The last surgery failed and after 13 weeks in the hospital, he was able to come home for a little break before the next round begins.  The surgeon is confident that it will work this time….after three surgery attempts and six out of the last 12 months spent in the hospital, we are praying and hoping that this one will work.  But in the middle of it all there are so many things to be grateful for.  Big things, small things, miracles of every shape and size that happen on a daily basis that happen so often in the form of other people.

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We are grateful for our family, our neighbors, our friends – both nearby and far from us.  Cyberspace connects us no matter where we are and we feel the love and support from all fronts.  Thank you.  We feel loved in so many ways and that brings us such joy and hope.  Thank you!

I hope you are inspired by my new quotes located in my Silhouette store and will be available soon at loriwhitlock.com’s SVG shop.  It’s project season!    Enjoy these quotes for all of your thanksgiving projects.

I am grateful for you!

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About a month ago my mother handed me a $20 bill and a tiny frame with a little post-it note attached.  It said, “Stop It.”  “Blue and green.” “Small.”

It was her way of telling me that she wanted the words from Dieter Uchtdorf’s latest talk designed in some lovely way for her home and was willing to pay for it.  For Mother’s Day, I made this project for her and wrapped it up in a polka-dot bag with her $20 tucked inside.  To be honest, I love being able to give something that a person really wants so it was my pleasure to create this little treasure for her…minus the frame, minus the payment, and minus the blue and green color combo that she requested.  After all, I had thought of something so much more beautiful.  And cool.  Yes, I had to make my Mom’s gift cool.  She may be in her 70s but she doesn’t act like it so why should her home decor?

This phrase was just a part of a bigger message that has been put together nicely here by Nick Sorensen, but I like these two simple words – I think they can stand on their own.  I believe that everyone has something in their life that they want to change or improve and these six letters are a gentle but clear reminder to stop whatever it is we are doing in favor of making a change.  Chewing your nails, eating a bucket of fried chicken every day, choosing negative comments or thoughts…we have to just stop it, right?  Motivation doesn’t come simpler than that.

My Silhouette files this week were inspired by this project.  You get a variety of Lace Background Patterns (Chevron included) and Stencil Phrases in current themes to pair them with (Father’s Day, Graduation/Congrats, Thank You, Love Life).  I also threw in some borders and blank frames because I know how much we all need those as well.  They match the Artisan Chain design.  Hooray!

LACE PATTERN BACKGROUNDS

STENCIL PHRASES

ARTISAN FRAMES AND BORDERS

How did I make Mom’s “Stop It” wall art?

1.  Scaled Chevron Lace pattern to be 4″ wide and cut it out.  Cut out a background square as well.  White-on-white again – could anything be more beautiful?  And subtle.  She knows what it means and why she is inspired by it.  It doesn’t have to scream at her to get the point across.  Soft, lovely, approachable.

2.  Cut a piece of chipboard 4″ square and mount solid square and chevron pattern to it.  Cut out “Stop It” phrase from “Love Life” shape file.  Remove words from phrase (ungroup and highlight words then delete them) and cut out an extra solid oval.  Mount it behind the phrase so you can see what the words say.  I used a very, very light blue color.  Just a tiny bit of contrast to be able to read the words.  Again – subtle.

3.  Punch two small holes at top of 4″ square and tie a ribbon through to create a hanger.  The ribbon is the pale shade of blue I used behind the words.

Tiny.  Lovely.  Sweet.  Subtle.  Perfect.

She loved it so much more than how it would have looked in her fancy frame.  Dieter Uchtdorf’s wife is her friend so she asked for one more to give to her.  High praise, if I do say so myself.  Use any of the Lace Background Patterns and Stencil Phrases that I have uploaded this week in my Silhouette store to create a project just like this, a card for Father’s Day or Graduation, or just to say that you are grateful.  You’ll want all of the files this week – lots of uses and lots of choices so add them to your library and start creating.  Click here to go to my Silhouette store.

As you can see, I’m in love with white-on-white right now.  It’s so clean and fresh.  Check out this great technique while using color here at Inspiration Ave.

Happy cutting!

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Yes.  I’m on a letter-size card kick.  I just love the perfection of this size of a notecard and how easily it fits into a regular business-size envelope.  Simple.  Oh, these look so yummy all lined up together – a phrase for everything.  Possibilities?  Yes, these create possibilities.  And love.  They are all about giving love.  Simply.

This week in the Silhouette store you get 10 sets of cards – all with a different theme and unique phrases.  Here’s what I would do.  Throw those puppies into your cart, get them in your library and cut out a couple of each.  Then stick them in a business envelope so that you can see the words when you flip through them and slide that envelope into a special spot in a drawer or on a shelf to reach for all year long.  Any occasion, any time of year, pop out one of those cards, jot down a note, stick it in a business envelope (or have some of these envelopes cut out already!) and you’re ready.  All it needs is a stamp and an address – or not, depending on where it is going.

Done.

Sometimes we don’t have time to cut out a new design at each moment that we need something to give. These cards solve that problem.  (Whether you need them to or not – they will solve that problem for you.)  Click on each of the above images to head straight to the store.

You will also see some delightful little swallows (Vintage Swallow, Vintage Swallow Perched and Vintage Swallow Perched 2), the perfect Bracket Frame Set and a Thick Flourish Set that match my monogram cards.  A little bit of everything this week.  Click on the name or image to find them in my store.

Oh, how could I forget my favorite shape of all – “Thank You Lace.”  What?  What does that mean?

lace + thank you = Thank You Lace.

This collage of gratitude bundles up all that you would want to say in one 5×7 shape. Perfect for a card but I’ll show you how I’m going to use it in a couple of weeks.  I think it deserves to be framed.  More on that later….

Happy cutting!

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Sometimes I think my life is hard.

Like last night when I was running to the bathroom to throw up because of food poisoning and Cole was crying in the kitchen because he thought it was a race and I had left him in the dust.

Or lots of times when I have to fix a “quadriplegic emergency” – which actually could be anything from nursing a bedsore to running to the garage because Jason has gotten stuck on the ramp.

I saw a story today about a family who has eight children, four with muscular dystrophy.  As the line of family members traveled along, with three wheelchairs interspersed, I said to Jason, “Just when I thought my life was hard.”

I don’t know what it is like to deal with many of the trials and challenges that people face in this world.  But I do know what it’s like to live with someone in a wheelchair.  And while our lives are rich beyond measure, there are still hard things.  No matter what adversity you might face or what joys you experience, there are still hard things.

But I am so grateful today.  Not for the food poisoning.  Not for the “quadriplegic emergencies.”  Not for the three-year-old always wanting to “win” whatever competition he is participating in.  I’m grateful for you.  For your stories.  For your moments of strength that beat out the moments of struggle.  The smiles in spite of the circumstances.  The life lived well – or as best as you can live it at the moment.

The picture of the jar of butterflies that I used in my last post came from this etsy shop.  I used it simply because I liked the picture for what I was trying to say about my One Little Word.  Today, I still like it.  I like it so much that I just bought those little butterflies.  And I can’t wait to receive 100 butterflies in my mailbox.  I know.  Now you want some, too.

Lucky me.  Life isn’t so hard after all.

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Jason and I love to go to Broadway shows.  When we lived in Connecticut we were just outside of New York City and would head into Manhattan on a regular basis to check out the new plays and shows.  We started collecting the window card posters of our favorites, thinking that we would use them someday in our home.

Someday has arrived.  For Christmas to each other, we decided to frame our window cards so that we could put them up in our home.  We have this big tall wall that is right in front of you when you go down our stairway.  It’s a challenge to know what to do with a space like that but inspiration struck and we decided to put all of our window cards there.

Collections have the most impact when you group them together so we chose 18 window cards, had them framed all the same and then sat them on the landing in piles until I could put them up.

They sat there….and sat there….and sat there….for the last month and a half.  I admit, I was scared to put them up.  I knew we wanted three columns and six rows but I was nervous about getting everything straight and evenly spaced, etc.  Plus, the top row would end up about 18 feet above the landing and I was a little apprehensive of that height.

Last night we had our neighbor, Kevin, come over to fix a few things for us and Jason asked him to help us put the pictures up.  I had gotten halfway up the wall with the first three rows – and trust me, there were many more nail holes in the wall than just the nine that were supposed to be there.  It was really hard to make them look right!

But Kevin, a true professional, pulled out his level and his laser surveyor (I wish I had one of those!) and went to work measuring and marking until he had nine more holes placed in the wall – the top three rows.  When I handed him each picture I was shocked and DELIGHTED to see that his system of measuring and planning lead to perfect placement of each picture – on the first nail hole try.  I felt like I was watching our own show on HGTV.  Kevin was a rock star.

So now we have all of our window cards up on the wall and they look stunning, if I do say so myself.  And Kevin’s perfection on the top three rows help my rows look even better.  As a whole, they really make an impact.

Thanks, Kevin.  I’m grateful that you stuck with us so long to hang our pictures in such a professional way.  I’m grateful that you are so easy-going and kind.  I’m grateful that now we have such great memories in a place that we can enjoy them every day.

And I’m grateful that you were the one on top of the ladder instead of me.

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