Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Meditation: Top 5 Thankful Thoughts

"My old dream was self-centered; my new dream is service oriented. And the baseline of this sounds cheesy, but it is gratitude. That's right. Simple gratitude. When I find that I focus on what I'm grateful for, the things I already have, the glorious and healthy body in which I reside, life opens."
In light of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I want to focus on GRATITUDE. This quote from Mastin Kipp (if you haven't already signed up to receive his Daily Digest...what are you waiting for?!) is awesome and he always keeps it real. Recently, I was keepin it real with one of my gal pals, T.A. about things we were grateful for...whenever anyone asks you this question of thankfulness, gratitude, counting blessings (especially around the holidays) everyone seems to give the same standard answers which probably look something along the lines of this:
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But these are GIVENS! These are the wonderful foundations we often take for granted. So, we are all grateful for these standards, let's dig deeper! Why are we grateful for family? What makes them so special? How has good health truly impacted your life? Take a moment today to slow down and quantify and glorify these gifts into the daily encounters they are. The little things that I REAAAALLY appreciate, actually add up to the BIG things, called LIFE!

So here are my top 5 specific things I am grateful for today, and that continue to open up my life everyday.

1) Hula hooping. Yeah, betcha didn't see that one coming! My mom recently introduced me to the workout of hula hooping, believe me, I laughed, just as you probably are right now. It's completely ridiculous and an activity most of us haven't attempted since we were little rugrats. You feel awkward, silly, and over the top....and it's totally awesome, plus a FABULOUS core work out!!! Definitely recommend getting back in touch with your health and fitness in a fun and light way. It will make you appreciate the fact that working out doesn't always have to suck, you can slim down your belly and hips as you swivel to some jams, and help release your pent up frustrations after a stressful work day! Check out Gabby Bernstein's book: Add More ~ing to Your Life for other suggestions of how to add more action and happiness to your life (Thanks for the recommendation, Allison!)
Proof, hooping makes you laugh and your body feel good
2) My sister's phenomenal cooking skills. Seriously, this girl has NEVER cooked up a bad meal before...even at 2am after a night of festivities...she's the only person I know that will not only insist you eat a good "snack" before bed...but she turns it into a gourmet creation... she's not gonna zap something in the microwave for you. No, she goes all out to make a tasty surprise--like the fresh thick toasted sandwich with mortadella, cheddar and spinach she just popped in the broiler for me during the wee hours of Sunday morning. She serves up dishes, snacks, sammies--you name it, straight from the heart. Her thoughtfulness to serve a good meal to her loved ones at any time of the day or night fills me up, but also nourishes the spirit. Best.Sister/Cook.EVER.
3) Being included in friends' big life events. Okay, we already know we're all thankful for our friends. But what about pulling off the surprise of a lifetime...and witness the shock and elation on your gal pal's face as she walks in after accepting a surprise proposal from the man of her dreams, to be greeted by her friends & family waiting for her. Yes! This weekend my good friends Julie & Ryan got engaged, and we were all so thrilled to be included as part of the special occasion. All those nights of hanging out with them and witnessing the sparks lead to what we had all been rooting for--a spectacular engagement between two hilarious and genuinely great human beings! So thankful I got to share in part of this new chapter of your lives!

Congrats Ryan & Julie!!

"Bling bling!"
Supppper jazzed for Julie! Congrats lady!!!

4) Sweet finds at Marshall's that make you stop and say, "Wow, Marshall's, sh*t just got real. Thank you." I discovered this gem while recently perusing the aisles of Marshall's. It pretty much jumped off the shelf and smacked me upside the head. I needed it--figuratively and literally. The past few months have certainly been shaken up and very challenging in some aspects of my life. And yet, simultaneuously--it's terrific, and life is opening up in ways I never imagined either. Even when things don't go according to the original plan, there is always a much BETTER and BIGGER plan that's unfolding and gently guiding you without you even knowing it! As Mastin put it "my old dream was self-centered; my new dream is service oriented." Life suddenly becomes way more rich when you come to the realization that "Your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be!"

5) Meeting new great people in Cleveland at events that benefit our city and its residents. This past weekend, I participated in our YP Pantry "Give Thanks" event at a local church. We distributed a hot meal, canned food, to-go food, fresh produce, and some well wishes to people who've fallen down on their luck. My job was to help make 70+ bagged peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We then helped serve nearly a 100 people hot meals. The pastor of the church informed us that despite distributing food 4 times a month for the past 18 years, they only had the opportunity to SERVE meals to guests twice, the other times people had to stand in line and wait for a plate. People were so thankful and appreciative to have someone serve them at a table setting. It was a truly humbling experience, not only was I thankful that I've never experienced the burden of worrying about where my next hot meal is coming from, but also because it validated the fact that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Everyone! 
Peanut butter jelly tiiiiime!
Photo source: YP Pantry Facebook Page
Not only was it incredible to be able to give back and help others in need, but I also met & chatted with some great new friends from YP Pantry too. Win, win! Be sure to check out our next YP Pantry event in which a portion of your bill is donated directly back to the Cleveland Foodbank. Join in the festivities and true holiday spirit by contributing to a worthy cause while enjoying Christmas Ale, cookies, and ugly Christmas sweaters. A lot of great things to give THANKS for here in CLE!
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So, what are your top 5 thankful thoughts for today? Daily acts of service, faith, inclusion, health and fitness contribute to our overall well-being. Break down the clich├ęs, get to the nitty-gritty things that help you grind through the day, and take time this week to say THANK YOU for all the little things that really make a BIG difference in our lives!
Here's a final sendoff...of JESSICA'S daily affirmations. LOVE it! (Thanks, T.A. for getting me hip to the other thankful Jessica!)


  1. As always, I love the Monday meditations! That video is all kinds of amazing. Great seeing you at the Foodbank volunteering!

  2. I always love your posts but this one in particular is great! I want a hula right now.


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