5 Unexpected Moments You Should Handwrite a Thank-You Note

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If you’ve been listening to this podcast and reading my blog, you already know that there is GREAT power in gratitude. It can transform your day, and if you practice it every day, it can make you a much happier person. In fact, on every one of my business cards for this venture is written one of my favorite quotes “It’s not the happy person  who is grateful, but the grateful person who is happy.”

It’s so very true, and so when I came across a cool little article from Huffington Post, I just had to share. You see, gratitude doesn’t just have the power to transform you, it can a transform others as well.

Showing gratitude in just the right way at just the right time can be one of the most valuable gifts you can give someone. So, here are 5 Unexpected Moments You Should Handwrite a Thank-You Note:

1/When a co-worker is there for you. Do you have someone at work that takes the time to give you a listening ear, a caring heart, a hug, or a laugh? Show them you really appreciate them with a little thank you note on their desk. It will let them know just how much you care.

2/To your parents for doing more than you ever realized. What’s the most thankless job in the world? You guessed it—being a parent. From going to countless sports events to helping with homework night after night. Write a heartfelt thank-you note to your parents for giving you a beautiful life, loving you unconditionally, and teaching you more than you know. You can’t imagine the impact it will have on them.

3. To your everyday helpers. Think about those day to day people that help you function in life: your dry cleaner, your mailman, (here in Florida) your pool cleaner, or your babysitter, whoever. Leaving a “just-because” thank-you note is the perfect way to foster your relationship with these everyday helpers in your life and show them that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

4. To your best friend who is there for you every day of the year. Sometimes we forget what’s right in front of us. Let your best buddy know how much you appreciate them by dropping them that unexpected note that’s both silly and sweet. Don’t forget to throw in a cool or fond memory that sticks with you.

5. To that teacher who stuck with you all these years.We all have mentors and people in different stages of our lives that lift us up and help us pave the way into our future. Some of the most impactful people who helped you along the way are those teachers who are still in the back of our minds. Why not reach out and send a note to them at school, thanking them after all of these years for the support, good advice and guidance that has helped you become the adult you are today.

We all have the ability to unleash great power with just a little gratitude. Go ahead and do it today. It will brighten your day too!

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The Benefits of Loving Like Jesus

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One of THE best books I’ve ever read is called “Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does” by Jon Weece. It’s really a primer on how to get in the habit of loving people like Jesus did. The book’s author, Jon Weece, has so many wonderful nuggets of truth like “As adults, we’ve become a culture of human doings, when we were designed to live as human beings...the verb to be is a verb that flows from the blueprint of our Designer.”

At the heart of this wonderful little book is how to put love into action. Jon Weece says “one of the best ways to start a conversation is with a question: Is there anything I can do for you today? It’s quite biblical, really. Paul exhorts us to “share each other’s troubles and problems” (Galatians 6:2 TLB).

Weece says “the alarm on my phone rings at 3:16 every day in honor of John 3:16. Jesus died so I can live. So at 3:16 every day, I sent a text or an e-mail to someone I know, letting them know that I love them.

It’s really pretty simple, the more loving you are to others, the more love you will receive.

Weece is the head pastor at Southland Community Church, and every year that have what they call “Jesus Prom”, it’s basically a night for folks with special needs to enjoy the FULL prom experience. The Tim Tebow Foundation offers something just like that, called “Night to Shine”. One one night, churches across the world give a once in a lifetime experience to tens of thousands of these honored guests.

For my Bay County, Florida friends, If you’d like to be part of this weekend’s “Night to Shine” event, they probably still need male volunteers to help make this night truly special. For more on that click HERE

I hope you can volunteer. I hope you can read this book. Because wouldn’t the world be a MUCH better place if we all learned to love like Jesus did?

 

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Doing Disney On The Cheap!

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Our family lives in Florida, and if you have kids that grow up in Florida, you will try your best to make a trip or two to Disney World. Granted, Disney makes it a little easier to do that with their annual passes, but still a trip to Disney, if you’re not careful, can totally wreck your budget.

So, my wife Leanne (a veteran of many trips to Disney)  posted a very cool blog entry on her favorite travel hacks for the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Again, I would encourage you to read the entire article, but here are some of the highlights:

1/Park Passes. Tickets are a small fortune but there aren’t many ways to get around that one. One thing we do in order to save on tickets is to buy the cheapest season pass available and plan to make our one Disney vacation into at least 2 vacations. If you time it right, you can use the tickets the first year and then go back a second year before they expire to take advantage again. That cuts your cost in half!

2/Getting There. If you live within driving distance of Orlando, then obviously that’s your cheapest option. If you must fly, take advantage of Southwest‘s awesome promotional flights. They often discount round trip flights to under $100 round trip. Even better, sign up for their branded credit card and receive bonus miles that you can use to purchase tickets for free (taxes not included). Delta also offers nice sign up bonuses on their American Express branded cards. You can also sign up with Delta for their dining program for free or shop through their online portal and get bonus miles without a credit card or having to fly.

3/Accommodations. Lodging is the next big expense on your trip. We have stayed both on and off Disney property.  Staying on property is great when you don’t have a car because Disney takes care of all of your transportation (including from the airport). They have an extensive bus system that runs throughout the resort, as well as the monorail, which runs between some of the higher end resorts, Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The disadvantage to the system is that at some of the resorts, you will have to wait a while for the buses and may share a bus route with another resort which can prolong your travel time. Staying on property also means you will not have access to off-property dining, grocery or convenience stores. You can, however, bring some food items as most properties now have at least a small refrigerator in the room. Others have microwaves as well. The food courts have toasters and microwaves that can be used by anyone.

We like to stay off-property for the most part so that we have access to restaurants and grocery stores. Our favorite place to stay is Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. You can get a great price on these condos if you look on VRBO or look for people selling their timeshare weeks. Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is actually located on the Disney property, though not owned by Disney. You can rent anything from a studio to a 3 bedroom condo that includes a full kitchen, laundry and an amazing jetted tub to rest your feet after all that Disney walking! The property has several pools, a lazy river, water slides and mini-golf. There is a grill area for grilling out and several restaurants and bars on site. Be aware this is a timeshare resort so they will bug you when you first get there to sit through a presentation, but that’s not required.  You’ll need a car unless you pay extra for the bus provided by the resort. Another area that is our favorite to stay in is the Lake Buena Vista area. There are multiple hotels in the area and several chain restaurants. Best of all, it is located about a mile from Disney Springs so you can take an extra day (or two) to visit Disney without having to buy a ticket to the parks. There are amazing shops and restaurants at Disney Springs along with street entertainment and more. It is so fun to just walk around with an ice cream and people watch. Plus it has the world’s largest Disney store and a huge Lego store. I like to use Priceline to find a cheap hotel for us to stay in Lake Buena Vista. I often use Name Your Own Price when I want something really cheap. We once stayed at a hotel in the area for $36 a night and that included breakfast!

4/Food. I have already covered the on-site microwaves, refrigerators and food court conveniences. Another trick that we like to use is to bring crock pot meals. I have never tried to use a crockpot in a traditional hotel room but we have used it at the cabins at Disney and at the Bonnet Creek resort. This is by far, the easiest and most convenient way to cook dinner for your family at Disney. Trust me, you will not want to cook at the end of a day spent walking all over the parks. A crockpot meal is perfect because you can put the ingredients together in ziplock bags before the trip, freeze them for travel and then dump them in the crockpot each morning before you head to the parks. When you return, you have a healthy, delicious, home cooked meal and you don’t have to fight the crowds at the restaurants or eat greasy food all week. Breakfast items are easy to pack and can be eaten in any hotel room and lunches can be made and taken into the park. We almost never buy food in the parks because that’s a pricey proposition.

Hope this helps you have a fun-filled, memorable time at Disney without breaking the bank!

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Man with Alzheimer’s Forgets He’s Married, Proposes and ‘Weds’ Wife Again in Tearful Ceremony

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I know first hand the day to day struggle of caring for a loved one with declining memory. My father came to live with our family back in 2010 after he had been afflicted with dementia, and those were some of the most stressful, but also some of the most joyful and bittersweet times of my life. You never knew what each day would bring, and it taught us alot about flexibility and sacrifice.

There’s a wonderful story in People.com about Michael and Linda Joyce. Alzheimer’s disease has taken Michael memory. But there’s one thing he’s remembered after all these years: he’s head over heels in love with his wife, Linda.

68 year old Michael was diagnosed with the illness in 2010, and has forgotten that he and Linda married in 1984. So, he proposed to his wife again — and the New Zealand couple wed a second time near a picturesque lake in their Frankton neighborhood.

“He got up, but he looked different. He looked quite anxious, like he was trying to tell me something. I jumped up and I held his hand and I said, ‘What’s wrong, darling? What are you trying to say?’ ” Linda tells PEOPLE, noting that Michael’s ability to speak is very limited. “He said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I was absolutely blown away … I said, ‘Of course!’ and his eyes filled up and he held me.”

Last Saturday, they renewed their vows in front of their loved ones in an emotional ceremony.. “When I had to repeat my vows, I was very emotional and my voice broke,” she tells PEOPLE. “I said I was going to love and honor him through sickness and through health, ’til death do us part — and that’s the part that choked me up.” Linda says, “I was overjoyed, overwhelmed and very ecstatic. I really was. I was elated,” she says. “Michael was completely relaxed and happy.”

She says, “It’s been very difficult physically and emotionally. You’ve always had this partner that you shared everything with. Decision making … I don’t have that with Michael. I have to make all the decisions for both of us because he doesn’t have the ability to communicate verbally. There’s no conversations between us anymore,” she tells PEOPLE.

She adds: “If I lost him I’d be absolutely, totally devastated. He’s my world.”

This story makes us all reassess what love is truly all about. God bless you Linda for your sacrifice and all the wonderful care you show your husband. We should all hope to be so blessed.

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9 Things to Do When You Can’t Sleep Because Your Mind Is Racing

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So, when we’re young, we hate going to bed. We avoid it like the plague. Then, when we get older, sleep becomes more and more precious as we age. It really is one of the most important factors in what kind of day we have. So, don’t you hate it when you try to go to bed at a reasonable hour, so that you can be refreshed and ready to go the next day, and you just can’t stop your brain? You toss and you turn, thinking and thinking. What do you do?

Older generations might tell you to “try counting sheep”, but I came across a great article in Time Magazine that has some other recommendations. I really like most of them. In all, they give us 9 things to do when you can’t sleep because your mind is racing, but I’ll give you some of my favorites:

Make a to-do list. Many of us can’t fall asleep because we’re too busy thinking about tomorrow and all that it may bring us. So, if you didn’t manage to be super organized and write that “tomorrow to do list” before you get to bed, get OUT of bed and clear your head with all the things that will concern you about tomorrow. May I add that you should try to make sure that you exhaust each idea or item on the to do list BEFORE you get back in bed, or you will re-think each item to death.

Read a book—but nothing too exciting Experts say this is a great way to “re-direct you brain” to think about something neutral instead of all of tomorrow’s nagging concerns. Those same experts caution that it should be something that’s not too stimulating and won’t get you worked up about something else. For many of us, reading in bed for about 20-30 minutes should do the trick, but if that’s not working, get out of bed and go read somewhere else. And, did I mention? You should really read an ACTUAL physical book instead of the digital kind, because those have been stones to disrupt sleep.

Listen to a podcast! How great is this?! Now, this didn’t come from me. Podcasts or audiobooks can take your mind off your worries as well, and they can be good alternatives to reading if you don’t want to turn on a light or strain your tired eyes. You can use headphones to listen without disturbing your bed partner too. Just like books, find a topic that’s not too exciting or upsetting. That’s why MY PODCAST is perfect!

Pray. Now the article recommends meditation, which certainly has its place, but if you believe in God, Pastor James MacDonald recommends the optimal way to pray: on your knees, out loud, with a list. So, take the time to make a list and give God all of your concerns and pray for everyone you know that needs it. That will not only clear your mind, but your heart and spirit as well.

Oh yeah, and my wife Leanne highly recommends taking Melatonin each night to help you fall asleep faster.

 

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