Gratitude Rocks! My Favorite Grateful Journals!

Gratitude Rocks!

As you can probably guess, I’m a big advocate of keeping some sort of a journal, thus the name of my blog, but if writing in a journal doesn’t suit you, may I suggest that at the very least, you’ll find that keeping a gratitude journal is good for your soul.  Seeing my life through the lens of gratitude, I am more willing to count my blessing and recognize the genuine goodness in others…and myself.  I also find that I can even experience gratitude in some of the most unexpected and difficult moments.
Living a life of gratitude quote.

Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of phycology at University of California, Davis, is a leading scientific expert on gratitude.  In his book, “The Little Book of Gratitude” Dr. Emmons shares his research-based tips and benefits for keeping a gratitude journal:

  A conscious decision to record gratitude seems to improve a person’s overall happiness in life–you’re focusing on the good!

•  Gratitude journals are a great way to help you see those good things in your life as gifts…doing this helps you relish them more and guards against taking them for granted.

  Elaborating on one or two specific things you are grateful for, rather than making a lengthy superficial list, gives more depth and meaning to keeping a gratitude journal. 

•  Reverse psychology suggests that one of the ways you can create a more grateful outlook is to reflect on what it would be like if you didn’t have some of the blessings you enjoy each day.

•  Research has found that writing in a gratitude journal more than once or twice a week was counterproductive to the overall gratitude experience.  This might be because evidence shows that we tend to adapt to positive experiences quickly and can become numb to them.  Try to savor the wonderful experience of gratitude and make it special!  

In looking over this list, I realize that keeping a gratitude journal helps me be more intentional in appreciating the relationships and experiences I have and how they truly create joy in my life!

Being truly grateful!

My Favorite Gratitude Journals!

You don’t need to buy a fancy journal to record your gratitude entries, the important thing is to make a habit of paying attention to events in your life that inspire gratitude and write them down.  If you are in the market for a gratitude journal, however, here are a few of my favorites…

Gratitude Rocks journal.

Gratitude Rocks” by Café Press.  This journal is just fun!  The bright novelty look can’t help but inspire you to want to write down what you are grateful for.  It seems like it would be the perfect gift for any teenager or “young at heart” person in your life!  (That should cover about everyone!)  I’ve found this at specialty stationary boutiques or you can purchase it here.
Gratitude journal.

“Life Is Pretty Amazing”  by Kikki K.  If ever there was the perfect statement to motivate you to keep a gratitude journal, this journal has it in spades.  Some of the pages come with inspirational quotes to get your grateful juices flowing and there are a few different formats for writing down your thoughts too.  You can buy the newest edition of this creative journal here.

Gratitude journal calendar.

“Gratitude Calendars + Journals” by Printables and Inspirations.  My mother used to keep a yearly calendar that allowed enough space for her to write a line or two of her grateful thoughts each day.  If this sounds appealing, you will find a beautifully designed, free download here.

Anthropologie journals.

“Monogram Journals” from Anthropologie.  I always think a personalized journal makes a great gift for that someone special.  These ones from Anthropologie have a colorful leather-look cover and come with a gold pen.  You can check off your gift list by getting some here.

Gratitude journal.

And lastly, “Instant Happy Journal” by Karen Salmansohn.  For a unique twist on a gratitude journal, this one promises to amp up your ability to notice and create more joyous moments in your day.  This journal also has fill-in dates, so you can write and reflect at your own pace.  I talked my cute hubby into doing this journal together.  While he doesn’t write in it as often as I do–his insights are thoughtful and funny!  Get it on Amazon here.

At the very least, I think keeping a gratitude journal can help lift our spirits and inspire us to look at life’s everyday challenges with a more positive perspective.

Gratitude is the memory of the heart quote.

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?  Please share any ideas you have on making it a good experience and you might just find yourself getting one of my favorite gratitude journals!

–Love, Mary

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

Although I’m a firm believer that we should give gifts of love all year long to keep our relationships strong…Valentine’s Day definitely offers the perfect opportunity to find great gifts from the heart for those we love!

Valentine Gifts From the Heart!

My mom always gave such fun, clever gifts; she often told me that when you thought about the stage of life the person was in, as well as a few things they loved, then combined it with a little personal flair–gift giving was easy!  My husband and I have found that we love to give gifts where we get to share experiences and adventures with those we love.  With these things in mind…here’s a few gift ideas from the heart that you could adapt for the Valentines in your life!

Gifts Of Time For Those Deep In The Trenches Of Parenthood!

I remember when I was a busy, young mom with one child or another pulling on my leg or screaming at the top of their lungs for attention, one of the best gifts my husband could give me when he got home from work was a grocery sack containing one of my favorite magazines, accompanied with a few special treats…the best part was that he’d take the kids outside to play for awhile or take them to get a fun treat of their own while I enjoyed an hour or so of uninterrupted time to myself!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

If there are any young mothers in your life–pick-up a fun magazine or two at the drug store, (in this digital age, it’s probably rare that they get any of these) take her kids for an hour or so and let her enjoy some much needed time alone!

Valentine's Day coupon.

On a weekend, you could arrange to tend the kids so that both parents could go to lunch–your treat!  Time together as a couple is always a welcome gift for busy, young parents.

(Click here for some other fun ways to get your cupid on as a couple!)

Curly Girl card.

Once in awhile you could even arrange for the husbands to watch the kids so the two of you can go out together! 

Gifts Of Togetherness For Our Children And Grandkids! ♥ 

Valentine’s Day certainly doesn’t need to be an extension of Christmas for our children and grandchildren, but it can be just as special when we consider each child and their unique personalities.  Much like their adult counterparts, I think kids just love spending time together doing fun activities!  My husband and I love sharing experiences with our kids and their families.

Bountiful Bowling! www.mytributejournal.com

A Valentine’s Day bowling date complete with fun prizes or monetary gifts for the most strikes, the lowest score, the best form…etc. always proves to be a good time!  Hamburgers, French fries and root beer floats are also a good addition to this celebration! 

I have a friend at work who does a progressive dinner with her kids the weekend before Valentine’s Day, each sharing their culinary talents on the part of dinner they’ve been assigned.  How fun does this sound!  I can’t wait to do this when my children all live close by–I can just imagine the great conversations and laughter we’ll enjoy!

Chocolate Trifle Dessert www.mytributejournal.com

Whether you do a progressive dinner or simply plan on a romantic dinner for two, serving this Chocolate Trifle will give you your Valentine’s Day chocolate fix.  (Find the recipe here.)

Heart art puppets! www.mytributejournal.com

In the past, I have put on “heart art” puppet shows with my grandchildren.  So much fun!  (You can get the details here.)

A Valentine Tea Party! www.mytributejournal.com

Hosting a fun Valentine’s tea party is also a fun way to give from your heart to those you love.  (Check out the fun here.) 

Gifts Of Loving Care For Grandparents And The Elderly! ♥  

Time flies when you’re having fun…and in a blink of an eye it seems the demands of young children, job workloads, and other time crunches no longer occupy your days as they once did.  I believe the benefits of being committed to our families and other responsibilities during the earlier stages of our lives is that the rewards come back ten fold as we get older.  One thing I used to love to do for my parents, especially when they couldn’t drive long distances to come visit us, was to take the holiday fun to them!

XOXO Plates for blog entry

A fun meal served in their home on festive dinnerware accompanied with some lively conversation, always proves to be such a great gift for those loved ones that will always hold a special place in our hearts!   (These unique XOXO plates are from Pier 1 Imports.)

Gifts From The Heart!

Another neat gift idea from the heart for grandparents or an elderly neighbor would be to get your kids involved and prepare a fun Valentine’s countdown where you include homemade cards, recent photos together, and maybe a hardware gift card for grandpa and a special shopping date with grandma.  I think they’d love some coupons for helping them with a few jobs around their house and yard that they could redeem as needed throughout the year. 

Valentine's Words of Wisdom book.

A unique gift from the heart would be to make a collection of the wise advice your parents have given you over the years and jot them down in a special “Valentine’s Word of Wisdom” booklet.  How surprised will your parents be to find out that you not only listened to them…you actually learned a thing or two as well!  (I found this cute heart notebook in the Etsy store FavouriteNotebook.) 

A favorite piece of advice my father once told me was…“Remember, romance doesn’t start in the bedroom!”  Wise man that dad of mine!

Valentine Gifts Just For Fun!

Valentine’s Day also seems like the perfect time to put a little creative spin on our gift giving–letting those we care about know that although day to day life requires us to be responsible adults most of the time…we can always enjoy a little frivolous fun sometimes too!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

♥ One of my very most favorite Valentine gifts ever, was when my cute hubby bought us aprons and a night cooking class at a local kitchen store.  Seriously, so much fun!  (It was fun to stock up on a few new, much needed kitchen accessories after the cooking class too.)

♥ “642 Things About You” (That I Love) is a fun, quirky love journal for you and your loved one to fill out together or individually as the mood hits…it’s full of random questions (precisely 642) that will have you laughing…and reflecting on why you love that person so much.  (Here’s a couple of sample questions: “What you said that made me laugh when I first took you home to meet my parents.” / “If our relationship had a mascot, what would it be?”)  So many fun ideas–if for no other reason than to have a good laugh together–this is a great Valentine gift from the heart!  

 ♥  I learned from my sweet mom that no gift is ever complete if it isn’t accompanied by a heartfelt note–long after the gift is forgotten, the thoughtful expressions of love in a note live on in our hearts! 

♥  We’re all trying to stick to our New Year’s diets, (well, sort of) but any gift that includes miniature Valentine candies is a fun gift to receive, especially when it’s given with a cute heart tray or container!    

Whatever you do for those you love for Valentine’s Day, it will be perfect as long as you include lots of…..

Valentine's Day Gifts from the Heart!

I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope it’s filled with some of the people and things you love the most!

 I would love it if you’d share a fun personalized gift from the heart that you’ve given to your special loved ones.

–Mary 

Thankful Giving!

Thankful Giving!

Love it or loathe it…..seeing a myriad of department store displays welcoming the Christmas season long before November even gets underway is all too common in the retail world!

Christmas store displays!

Like many of you, I look forward to Thanksgiving as a holiday to just “breathe, so to speak, and think about the many wonderful details of my life that I’m thankful for before the Christmas season gets underway…so perhaps, at the very least, the upside of being inundated with holiday overload this time of year, (and its making its appearance earlier every year) is that it makes us all try harder to find ways to really celebrate the season of thankfulness and giving!

 Thankful Giving!

A neat trend I have noticed lately in many social media circles and even in some retail marketing advertisements, has been the celebration of “Friends Giving” an adaptation of the Thanksgiving mindset that shows there’s some conscious effort being made to give some thoughtful observance to this special time of year!

In my desire to make Thanksgiving season more meaningful for me this year, I’ve decided to use this fun idea and do a little “Thankful Giving” of my own for many dear friends and loved ones!

Thankful Gift Ideas:

My mother was a huge advocate that gifts should be given with some thoughtful consideration and should be accompanied with a heartfelt note to the recipient, expressing gratitude for their influence in your life.  With this advice in my mind, here then are some gift ideas I’ve found that I thought would be good for thankful giving.

Craftberrybush "Thankful" pillow.

Even if you aren’t one to go all out with your holiday decorations, a festive pillow with a fun greeting sets the holiday mood and greets visitors with a warm welcome.  I love the watercolor print pillows by Craftberrybush sold by Society 6.  The pillows are beautifully made and reasonably priced, and very fitting for a Thankful Giving gift to a good friend or family member when accompanied by a note listing some of the reasons you’re thankful for their influence in your life!  

Ann Romney's memoir "We're In This Together!"

All political pandering aside, if you have a friend who has shown strength in the face of adversity or a loved one who has helped you get through some tough challenges, then Ann Romney’s new book “In This Together” is the perfect Thankful Giving gift. 

In her own words, Mrs. Romney says, “A lot of people talk about the transformation that throws you a curve ball, and the big one in my life was my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.  With all the blessings I have had, MS has been my greatest teacher.  It has taught me about faith, compassion, and serving others.  I’ve met many people along the way who’ve shared and demonstrated enormous resilience in the face of challenges; their stories gave me strength.  In sharing my story, I want to give others hope as I’ve been given hope on this journey.”

   How wonderful would it be to share with a friend or loved one the ways you’ve gleaned strength from them on the inside cover of this book–it will be a most cherished gift!  

Thankful Giving! (Plaid Scarves)

I love gifts that provide memorable experiences, so how fun would it be to give some pretty plaid scarves that are so popular now, (Target has some really great choices) for your Thankful Giving gift, with a fun note attached that tells the recipient that you want to plan a time to go on a morning or evening walk together, followed with getting a cup of hot chocolate afterwards.  More memorable than the scarf perhaps, will be the conversation shared–especially when you tell them how thankful you are for their friendship!  

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Obviously, it goes without saying that I always think some sort of Gratitude Journal makes for a great Thankful Giving gift, and I especially like this one by Studio Oh.  Share your grateful thoughts about the person you’re going to give it to on a page or two, then wrap it up with some colorful pens and a fun treat–and there you have it!  Wouldn’t you love receiving this?   

Thankful Giving! (Celebrating You Cards)

Do you remember receiving one of those folded chain letters that got passed around your classroom in grade school, that you then had to share with at least one other friend?  When I saw this darling box set of cards with their simple drawings and sayings, celebrating what is good and decent in all of us, the thought came to mind that I would take the first card and write a note on it to a friend, then tie up the rest of the cards with a ribbon and tell her to pass on some fond sentiments to another cherished loved one, and so on…an ongoing Thankful Giving chain of sorts–may it never end! 

(It’s sort of ironic that I bought these cards quite some time ago–long before the tragedy that befell Paris this last weekend…so they seem more poignant than ever before now, and serve as a bittersweet reminder of a lovely and simpler time, one that I pray can somehow be restored.  Perhaps concerted efforts of Thankful Giving from each of us is a good way to start!)   

Now for the good news–my Thankful Giving gift to a couple of you is that I’m giving away two of the Thankful pillows!!  All you have to do to enter is make a comment here about a Thanksgiving tradition you have or a neat Thankful Giving gift you have received.  You can also visit my Instagram account here, like the post and tag one other friend.  Like my “Lucky Day Giveaway” last March, my cute hubby will exert his most trusted efforts on your behalf and pick winners at random.  Good luck and please know that I’m so thankful for all my readers and any comments that are shared to help us all live and learn better!

(Giveaway is open until Wednesday evening November 18, 2015, 10 pm–MST.  Available for mailing in the U.S. only.)

feelinggratitude

Feeling so grateful, thankful and blessed!

–Mary