An Attitude of Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!! Partly because I get the pleasure of going to the home of my Aunt and Uncle, who have a beautiful home and who spare no energy in preparing a beautiful table (see above) and amazing meal for us to enjoy together.  Here are more photos of the amazing home!

 Or maybe the reason I love Thanksgiving so much is because we have the added excitement of our annual family golf tournament each thanksgiving morning complete with a HUGE (I’m talking PGA size) and very official looking trophy with each of  the winning team members names engraved on it year-after-year.  And keep in mind that many of these team members have never played golf before and this is their once-a-year effort at the sport! Here are a few photos from a couple of years ago taken by our good friend Michael Baxley.  It was unseasonably hot that year.

Here is my cousin David William with my nephew Hudson looking on.

And my brother, Lang.

My dad (and Hudson again).

And cousin Elizabeth, now on the golf team at SMU! Go Mustangs!

 And if food and golf were not enticing enough, we also have a fabulous wine tasting paired with gourmet hor-d’ouevres before dinner.  And each year we discover some fantastic new varietals! One of my favorite reds, a Pinot Noir by Kosta Browne, was a discovery from last year’s thanksgiving tasting.

But the real reason  that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, is that thanksgiving, for me,  is a day of love and fellowship with the people that I care for the most in the world. It is not diluted with getting wrapped up in things like buying gifts or spending a lot of money.  Now don’t get me wrong…I love a good occasion for gifts and spending money and Christmas happens to be my second favorite holiday for many, many reasons, but there is just something about a holiday that is totally focused on counting the many blessings that we each have in our lives!!  And I never even really thought about the fact that America was the first country to have a holiday based solely on being thankful until I heard it said that way in so many words while watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special last night with my daughter. But that even reminds me of one of my many gifts…living in this great country of ours!!

Every single day, I think how amazingly grateful I am for all of the wonderful things in my life!!  The list is so long that you would not even believe it, but it starts with my husband, daughter, parents, family, friends, and runs the gamut through my successful company and all the amazing things that are on the horizon in 2009 for my business, including a new book and a product line for a national manufacturer. 

These things are what make me get out of bed each day. And belive me, I really am aware of how fortunate I am!!! And I am such a beliver in having an attitude of gratitude! I write thank you notes everyday…literally! And if I can’t think of anything to be especially thankful for that day, then I thank someone for just being a part of my life and for making it just a little bit more pleasant than the day before! My staff practices this gratitude discipline every day too!!  And just the act itself makes their lives a little brighter each day because it forces them to focus on the good in life as opposed to getting bogged down in negative thoughts and emotions.  And the most fun part is that we all get the pleasure on a regular basis of getting a “thank-you for our thank-you”! And let me tell you from experience there is no better feeling than that! To hear from a customer service rep who is in tears because in all of 20 years in this industry, they have never been written a thank you note and that we changed their entire attitude about an often thankless job” is a gift that gets us all through a few more demanding days at the office.  I highly recommend this practice!! It certainly will touch your soul and lift your spirits just like another of my favorite disciplines, yoga.

And speaking of yoga…during this season of thanksgiving, one group of people that I am especially grateful for is my amazing staff!! They make me look good everyday.  And talk about giving me 150% percent…these people are so dedicated and they really believe in the vision that I have for my company! You cannot buy that kind of dedication and loyalty.  They are employees who act like owners and there is little that I can do to repay this sort of committment to me and my firm!!  But as a little token of my gratitude in honor of this Thanksgiving week, I had the pleasure of inviting my yoga teacher, Holly, to my office yesterday to give us a “private” group lesson.  And we had it right there in the design office!!! We moved the meeting table and turned out the lights except for a couple of low wattage lamps, we lit candles and turned on my “yoga” music, and we turned the ringers off on the phones, and for just one hour…we focused entirely on ourselves!! We focused on releasing all the tension and stress associated with being a “care-giver” for 40 wonderful clients, and we turned all of our energies inward! And let me say, it was one of the best experiences of my life!! Talk about girl bonding!! Not a word was said by any of us as we listened to the soothing instruction by Holly’s oh-so-calm tone, but no words were necessary!! There was so much unspoken gratitude that could be felt in the room.  Gratitude for the opportunity to take this well-needed break, gratitude for Holly and her knowledge of the practice, gratitude for such an amazing place to work, with amazing co-workers and amazing clients! There was gratitude for this holiday season, and our families, and our friends! Gratitude for our bodies and our health. Gratitude for life and all the blessings it brings and for the challenges too!

So just in case I did not verbalize it, even though my gestures may have gone without saying, I want everyone to know that I am totally thankful for my staff!!  They are a group of 8 amazing women that certainly add to the joys of my life everyday!

And I am also thankful for my Wonderful Family, Friends and Clients and to all you faithful readers of my blog and for the exciting things I will be able to share with you in 2009!! Happy Thanksgiving! And may you experience an Attitude of Gratitude this holiday season and into the New Year! Believe me, your life will never be the same!!

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