Does it age me to say that I’m grateful for the internet? What an amazing change from slow dial up connections, to the ever-on broadband connections, to widely available wi-fi, and take-it-with-you 3G. It has dramatically changed our lives along the way. Information is enormously more accessible to all of us, and our connections with others, stronger. And without it, I would not be giving thanks via my blog!

The Internet: A Decade Later

Browse more data visualization.

;

Recently moving out of state has made me more thankful than ever for friends. Both my “old” friends, and the “new” ones that I am making now. Both precious.

I doubt anyone would contest the importance of friendship. It is crucial for our wellbeing. It’s effects have been documented for health benefits — from depression and obesity, to happiness in general and being engaged with your work.

If you want to read some of the findings about the importance of friendship, look at the study of friendship that author Tom Rath conducted and talks about in his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without. Or visit the Mayo Clinic for their perspective.

But, in the meantime, be grateful for friends…

I love that I live when I do. I crave the innovation that surrounds us. And the technology that changes how we live and function on a constant basis. I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be living.

Here’s a glimpse into the future, as envisioned by Corning Glass.  This is an updated video that they put out this year.  If you’re not one of the 21 millions people that saw the earlier version on YouTube, then check it out too…  if you’re like me, you are exhilarated each time you see it!

A Day Made of Glass 2

A Day Made of Glass 2

On this twenty-fifth day of my gratitude journal, I choose love.

Most of us are still stunned by the tragic Connecticut school massacre. Over the next few days and weeks, there will be many discussions, many opinions expressed, and much speculation on how such a thing can occur. And many attempts to place blame. And we all hope for real, actionable solutions.

But for today, I choose to focus my gratitude on love. The unfailing love of God; the unconditional love of a parent. The enduring love of my husband – even when I’m in a less than lovable mood. The encouraging love of friends. The love of my dog, that makes me want to be a better person. And the kindness of strangers.

Love is all around us, and if we talked as much about love as we do about anger, hate and violence, maybe the world would be a better place. Acts of kindness, generosity and love happen every day. We see them at work, at the store and on the street. Even security cameras capture them. But they seldom get our attention.

In this world where violence makes headlines, I choose to vote with my wallet. I refuse to support filmmakers for their attempts to engage me in violent entertainment. I don’t buy gifts – toys or for real – that promote destruction.  I won’t encourage app designers by downloading games of brutality.

I’m not alone in recognizing the strength of love.  The World Needs More Love Letters is dedicated to spreading encouragement through anonymous love letters.  Good Is describes themselves as a “global community of people who give a damn”.  And Random Acts of Kindness, a sister site of Values.com, is a great place to get inspired to create acts of kindness.

What are your sources of inspiration to choose love?

Good health is usually top of mind when we tally up the things we are grateful for. And we are often reminded that everything else we have is nothing if we do not have our health. I am indeed grateful for my robust health and the ability to physically do whatever I want. I appreciate that I have not yet encountered any physical limitations — even though I’m quick to admits that I’m not the same person I was in college!

During the past few months, I have had several friends experience health issues. Some of them have a long road of recovery ahead of them. Some have won a significant battle with illness this year. Some have lost that battle.

It’s never too early to start appreciating your good health, and to work harder to preserve it. Here are a few of my favorite health- related blogs and newsletters that I follow.  Maybe they will inspire you too…

Dr. Weil’s Blog

Time Magazine’s Healthland

The Happiness Project Blog by author  Gretchen Rubin (check out her book by the same name, if you haven’t already read it)

Daily Cup of Yoga

We’ve had six different homes since we’ve been married.  In different subdivisions, different cities, even different countries.  But we’ve never really lived in a neighborhood where the residents bonded and took the time to get to know each other.  We are very fortunate to be in a place like that now.

Girl’s Night Out every month, Fourth of July Fireworks, a fall Bonfire and Chili Fest, the Christmas Cookie Exchange.  But not just organized events.  There is the offer of help in shutting down the sprinkler system for the first time.  A rototiller when it’s time to plant the garden.  Someone to accept a delivery when you’re away.  An extra egg when you’re short one for the recipe.  It’s people getting together to put up the Christmas lights at the subdivision entrance.  Attending a play that one of the neighbors is performing in.  Or an impromptu Yappy Hour with our dogs.

What a huge difference it makes to be surrounded by engaged and friendly neighbors!

 

Growing up, our house was pretty quiet.  Not a lot of kids.  No pets.  And not much music.

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I saw a real contrast in how we listened to music.  For him, music was almost a constant.  A background to his every activity.

Music is pretty amazing.  It’s mathematical and wildly creative at the same time.  I am in awe of people who the natural gift of creating it.  And I can no longer imagine a world where I did not have music every day.

I recently heard of the idea of creating the soundtrack of your life.  A sort of timeline of your favorite music over the years.  The music that has shaped you.  Billboard Magazine will help you create one here.  Love the idea!

And if you don’t already have a passion for music, consider the health benefits of music