Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 17 - Thank you Cards

Gratitude is free and easy to give.  I'm not sure what happened from the time my kids were raised until now but I did make them write Thank You cards and tried to instill the value of this small act of gratitude.  To be a recipient of a gift is an honor and no one should take any small gift for granted.  I still write Thank You cards and I wish my kids would still write them too.  There's something to be said for old fashioned penmanship.  It's easy and free.  (Except for the stamp to mail it.)  Coach K says the best way to show someone respect is to give them your time.  When miles are between you, the time you give to sit down and write a thank you card to someone who thought enough to give you something is the least we can do, right?  Yet time and time again we are too busy to do it.

I've been in positions during employment to help others.  A few have been grateful and made a point to thank me.  I know that this begins a solid foundation of trust and loyalty in working relationships.  I'm fast to help these few individuals anyway I can as they have shown me that the help is appreciated.  When we are unemployed, these type relationships are harder to form if we don't seek them out.

John Klalik was having a rough patch in his life, his law business was failing, his girlfriend left him, his kids were estranged and he was forty pounds overweight.  During a desperate walk in the hills on New Year's Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn't have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had. He started writing Thank you notes to people in his life that did little things to make a difference.  One a day, it started with the lady who greeted him by name at the local Starbucks, the piano teacher that gave his daughter piano lessons and to his customers that paid their bills early.  One day at a time it lead to 365 thank yous that transformed in to his new book called 365 Thank Yous.

He noticed that the more he was thankful for, the more things came his way.  When he thanked his clients, more clients came.  Oprah said something similar and asked her viewers to start a gratitude journal.  This is a great way to notice the little things that make our life pleasurable and not concentrate on our woes.  Being unemployed it's easy to get to a place of bitterness and ungratefulness for our circumstances.  This is in itself a self-fulfilling downward spiral.  Anytime I'm having a slew of bad luck, my closet gets cleaned.  Bags of clothes go to the Good Will and Salvation Army during these times.  Inevitably the law of reciprocity holds true and I'm eventually right back up on my feet and able to buy new clothes or again in a position to help others financially. 

The irony sometimes is that the same people we help aren't the ones that help us and the same people that help us aren't the ones that we help in return.  It's all a big universal circle.  You've heard of the term Pay-it-forward.  This is what keeps the chain going. (Remember Chris who helped me complete the quarter set for Jula and didn't ask for anything in return?)

I truly believe that if you are in line at a grocery store and you have only one quarter in your purse, and the person in front of you needs that quarter, giving it freely will ultimately end up being more than the 25 cents when you need it.  The return gift may be in the form of a stranger helping you if your car breaks down on the road.  It may be receiving a check in the mail that you didn't expect.  It may be a gift of food from a neighbor.  It could be a gift of getting exactly what you need  just when you need it.  This happened to me.  I've seen it time and time again.  After subscribing to this theory I've been the recipient of charity many times just when I've needed it.

One time when in the store, a person behind me in line saw all my groceries and give me a $5 coupon.  She said, "You need this more than I do."  It was like getting a cash donation of five dollars.  People have given my children things I couldn't have afforded when they needed it.  At the age of forty-six I had never had anyone cook me breakfast.  By opening my doors to the foreign exchange students, I woke up on my Mother's Day to a breakfast from heaven. The beauty of having my kids from Brazil and Germany giving me the breakfast I never had even from my own children was so rewarding.  They couldn't believe that I had never had breakfast made just for me before. All I can say is Thank you not only to the kids but to their mothers for raising such wonderful young adults.

Recently I ran out of my Thank You cards. I went to a yard sale and I found not one, but twenty Thank You cards for twenty-five cents.  This was my sign from the universe to keep sending a formal signature of gratitude to those who continue random acts of kindness.  For nothing more than doing the right thing, I don't want to be the one to break the chain of good karma. I want another smiley face made out of food!....maybe someday.

Smiley Face on the right from Felipe.

Smiley Face from Jula

My first breakfast made for me on Mothers Day.

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