Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thank You For Friendship!

I am thinking today of my friends

I am thankful for childhood friends, some I have no idea where to find them now, some I see on occasion; they have left a lasting mark in me, and it is somehow comforting that they know things about me that would be lost, without their memory of them.

I am thankful for my warrior friends; those who at some point in time helped me to fight and win a battle in my life

I am thankful for forever friends, it may have been yesterday or even years ago that we were together, but no matter; each time we meet it is as if no time has passed

I am thankful for work friends. Within the confines of our work-space we speak a language understood and appreciated by an elite few

I am thankful for neighborhood friends. We talk of the weather, and who has planted what, and of our pets and parents, and of the children and how they have grown; or simply wave to each other now and then

I am thankful for church friends. Be our relationship close or casual, we share the unquestionable connection of a common faith

I am thankful for internet-only friends; we don’t really know each other but somehow we form a bond

I am thankful for friends old and new, casual and intimate, long term and short term; those who accept me as I am, and those who constantly challenge me to be better; who laugh at my jokes, and who make me laugh; who are friendly for a particular reason or season, or who stay for life; friendship of any size and shape, for any length of time, is a precious gift

I am thankful that God is a friend. He understands me even when no one else seems to. He is always near even when I feel abandoned by all others. He listens. He hears. He has the answers to my questions -- He is the answer to my questions. His friendship is forever. His love never fails.

Have you lost a friend? Are you feeling alone? My prayer is for a new friend to fill that void in your life. And I pray that you will understand how much God loves you, and that He is indeed a friend you can count on.

Until next time,
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.”
~ Irish Proverb

If you haven’t already done so, consider taking The Thank You Challenge!
Order your book @

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gratitude Transforms The Ordinary

A very long day!
Thankful for a time to rest.
Too tired to think.
Thankful for a warm bed and a roof over my head.
Too tired to write.
Thankful for inspiring thoughts already on paper, to cut and paste for you:

“It is a delicious moment, certainly, that of being well-nestled in bed and feeling that you shall drop gently to sleep. The good is to come, not past; the limbs are tired enough to render the remaining in one posture delightful; the labor of the day is gone.”
~ R. Leigh Hunt

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
~ William Arthur Ward

“Thankfulness removes the rust from the mind, lubricates our inward machinery, and enables us to do our work with fewer creaks and groans. It has the power to change a community, to promote health and morality, change attitudes, change situations, and change us! Thankful people live longest here on earth, and afterward in our hearts.”
~ Author Unknown

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
~Thornton Wilder

Sweet Dreams
Talk to you tomorrow,

Take The Thank You Challenge
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thank You for Wisdom

"The years teach much which the days never knew."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am thankful today that there is Wisdom outside of my limited self, that I can learn from my mistakes, and that life has much to teach; that God has given us a past, a present, and a future, and that we can choose what good to hold on to from the past, what evil to let go; and that each day is new with no mistakes in it, yet.

"I have a treasure chest inside my heart, my head
It’s filled with precious memories, and with thoughts bigger than me
When I run across a moment that I want to hold on to
Or find a gem of understanding, or a nugget of truth
I open up my treasure chest, and store it there

Once in a while when I am low, or if I can’t seem to think
Or when I have a question that’s too large for me
I open up the treasure chest and begin to rummage through
I pull out a memory, a nugget, a gem, and I visit them again

Sometimes It’s a happy place, this treasure chest of mine
Sometimes it’s sobering
Sometimes I learn a lot by reconsidering
And sometimes, I just enjoy the visit"
~ Connie Ruth Christiansen

WISDOM From the Dictionary:
1)      The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight
2)      Common sense; good judgment

WISDOM From the Bible:
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
~ Proverbs 9:10 NIV

"If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you."
~ James 1:5 GWT

"No man was ever wise by chance."

Talk to you tomorrow,

If you haven’t already done so, please consider taking The Thank You Challenge!
Order your book today:

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Perspective-Reality Check

Sometimes it's good to stop!, and take a few moments to think about what really matters.

A friend of mine spends her days, and some nights, providing resources and shelter to men, women and children who are homeless. Today she posted the following short true story on Facebook. As I read this story my heartstrings were tugged, not just for compassion, but also for a perspective-reality check...How many blessings we so often take for granted!


“These are the words of someone who came into TFH (The Father’s Heart) today:

“I was walking around, wandering; wet and cold; trying to find a place to keep dry. Then I ran into someone who told me about this place...It’s amazing here! I can’t believe what you do here! I had a job, I had my own place, now I’m couch hopping, just barely surviving! Thank you for being here!”

We gave words of encouragement to her, a warm coat, bus tickets, help with I.D., a sack lunch, a hygiene kit, and a hug to go, sharing Jesus with her…Thank you Lord, for your many, many divine appointments!!”
                ~ Teri Gant
                   The Father’s Heart Ministry
                   Clackamas, OR 97015

A simple story, a profound message! Notice the “thank you’s.” They speak volumes if we will listen.

Until Tomorrow,

To learn more about The Father’s Heart Ministry, go to:

If you haven’t already done so… Take The Thank You Challenge!
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why Be Thankful When Everything is Falling Apart?

When the sun is shining, the birds are singing, life is happy, it's easy to feel thankful. But what about the times when life breaks your heart? What then?

Bad news, sickness, financial trouble, broken dreams, broken relationships, broken homes, broken hearts; We are confronted with these enemies, and most often we don't seem to have a better choice than to use all of our energy to fight back.

When my heart or my body is broken, I don’t feel thankful.
I may feel anger, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, pain, unforgiveness, loneliness, disappointment, a sense of abandonment, hopeless; and some days I don’t seem to feel anything at all; but I don’t automatically feel thankful.
It’s difficult enough just to get out of bed in the morning, to put one foot in front of the other --Who has the energy to be thankful? I may feel the need to keep going or even to smile, for the sake of my family, or for guilt, or for necessity, or to try and keep hope alive, but giving up is often a more ready feeling than thanksgiving.

Sure, I might be able to find some reason(s) to be thankful, even in the midst of the most miserable of situations. But why should I? If the way I feel is the only consideration; if negative circumstances are the focus, then there actually may be no reason to be thankful.

Thankfully (no pun intended), there is a reason to be thankful that trumps every single one of our very real feelings of sorrow.

Thanksgiving is a reason in and of itself!

Thanksgiving is power! It is powerful to break the chains of sorrow! It is more powerful than our feelings! The problem is that unless we actually activate thanksgiving, it has no power;
the problem is that since we don’t feel thankful, we may not choose to activate this power.

Activating the power of thanksgiving is often a choice, not a feeling!

If I do choose to (grit my teeth and) activate thanksgiving, I activate a power against fear, depression, anger;
And I activate a power of forgiveness, faith, hope, love.

And more good news!: The more often we make the choice to be thankful, the more we begin to actually feel thankful, even when suffering comes.
This results in a more ready thank you when sorrow knocks at our door.
And a more ready thank you means a more ready power --- power which infuses us with strength to fight the enemies of suffering, and win!

We are not alone in our life-battles – thanksgiving is one of our allies.

So where did I come up with this theory?

From experience (even for the most analytical mind, some things just work, no explanation needed);
From watching others (noting the contrast between a bitter and a thankful life);
From listening to the counsel of those wiser than I;
And from the one place that I go to time and time again to find the answers to life’s most difficult questions – the Word of God.

One of my favorite scriptures regarding the power of a thankful heart is this:

“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."
~ Psalm 50:23 NIV

It is true that God in His wisdom has allowed suffering on this planet. We may never know why. But it is also true that for suffering He has provided a remedy.  He has provided that thanksgiving releases His power! The power of Love (God is Love). The power of Light (God is Light). The power of Truth (God is Truth). The power of a way out (God is the Way). The power of Peace (God is Peace).

When sorrow and suffering are at your door, when the last thing you feel like doing is being thankful, make a choice to open your mouth and say thank You anyway!
Open your mouth! Release The Power of a Thankful Heart!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
~ Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

In every trial, trouble and sorrow, as  you pray for His help, offer your thanks, and be amazed at the peace of God, which is beyond our understanding! (Philippians 4:6-7)

God is bigger!

Talk to you tomorrow,

If you haven’t already done so, consider taking the Thank You Challenge! Order your book @

To learn more about Thank You 1095-Take The Thank You Challenge! Watch this video clip:

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Say Thank You to Someone by Actually Listening to Them

Words are powerful to either build or destroy. To listen and actually hear what is being said will always build up.

Day 7-- Today I sit at the keyboard and find that my mind is a fog. At first I try to pull something out of the fog. And then I remember the first rule of communication; that there are times when to not speak (or write), is the best course…when quiet and listening are better.

And as I sit thinking about listening, I suddenly have many things to say (smile). Listening can turn everything around.

Listen… to the sounds of life around you – there is so much music we often miss
Listen to your kids – they speak a wisdom lost to most adults
Listen to your friends -- actually listen, not just converse
Listen to your pets-- animals communicate with a unique style of love
Listen to those you love -- show them your love by hearing their hearts
Listen to those you don’t even like -- even they have something valuable to say
Listen to God -- He is ever speaking Life and Love and Light

Take the time to listen and you may have a friend for life.
Take the time to listen and you will gather insight.
Take the time to listen and wisdom will be yours.
Take the time to listen, it may open up a door that has been closed for a very long time.

Take the time to say thank You to God by listening to the incredible sights, sounds, people He has surrounded you with.

Take time to recognize a person in your life; someone perhaps you have grown use to, and that you think you know them oh-so well, and maybe they have something hidden in their heart that they long to say... say thank you to them for their presence in your life; say thank you by taking the time to listen and to hear.

Talk to you tomorrow

 "It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

If you haven't already done so, consider taking The Thank You Challenge!
Order your book today @
To learn more about The Thank You Challenge! book, watch this video clip:

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Someone Should Write a Book!

Day 6 -- What if I had never decided to be that someone?

How the 'Take The Thank You Challenge!' book came to be... continued from day 2 of this blog.

As my year long thank you journey progressed, and when I would have difficulty thinking of a new "Thank You" to add to my list, I would often think Someone should write a book! I thought about it quite often, but for some reason I never considered being the someone.

Several years later, I had taken a leave from teaching and was having some success as a writer. One day I was searching through a pile of books when I ran across my Thank You journal. I stopped what I was doing, sat down and flipped through the pages -- it made me happy. And again I thought Someone should write a book! And then for the first time, I asked myself a very important question: Why don't I be that someone?!

And so I began to be that someone. I had no specific plan, no outline, no perfect picture of the end result, I just started writing. And I started researching what other people might have to say about being thankful. And I was delighted and a bit surprised to find documentation of so many moving, and funny and motivating quotations, poems, speeches and short stories from some very wise people. I began compiling a collection of this wisdom, and adding thoughts of my own here and there.

Slowly over a period of two years, the book began to take shape. And so did the picture of the end result -- the purpose of the book. It would be more than a source of thank you motivation; It would be a challenge! A thank you challenge!

What if I had continued to think Someone should write a book. What if I had never decided to be that Someone...?

What if the idea in your heart is only in your heart, and nowhere else? What if you are that someone!?

"A limit on what you will do puts a limit on what you can do. Other than that, all things are possible."
~ Author Unknown

"To accept and to live who God created you to be, is gratitude."
~Connie Ruth Christiansen

Talk to you tomorrow! :o)

If you haven't already done so, consider taking The Thank You Challenge! You can order a book @

To learn more, watch this Youtube clip: 

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Live Your Life As a Thank You by Living Your Dream!

Day 5 -- My challenge to you today:
Live your life as a "thank You!"
Live your "thank You" by finally taking a step towards that dream in your heart!

We are created to create! We are made in the image of the Ultimate Creative Mind!. Dreams and ideas are bits and pieces of His thoughts living within us. To stifle those dreams and ideas is to reject a precious Heavenly gift.

Most dreams are not realized because of fear (fear of failing; fear of rejection; fear of looking foolish; fear of not finishing; fear of a let down when it is finished; fear of success; fear that it won't be good enough when it is finished; fear it will take too long; fear that it will not take long enough and I won't be ready for the results of it; fear of not having the resources to begin; fear of not having the resources to finish; fear that it's too soon too start; fear that it's too late to start; fear that the opportunity has come and gone; fear of being too young; fear of being too old; fear of not being attractive enough; fear of not being strong enough; fear of not being smart enough; fear that the dream is too big for you; fear that the dream is too small to be important)

Fear is a common and sometimes overwhelming excuse... but it is never a good reason.
Fear will stop you if you let it... Don't let it!

I leave you today with some wise thoughts to ponder as you take steps towards chasing your dreams!:

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."
~ Eward Everett Hale

"I am so thankful for the adventure; that God puts dreams out in front of us and then provides us the imagination, wisdom, courage and strength to chase those dreams until we catch them."
~ Connie Ruth Christiansen

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
~ Psalm 37:4 NKJV

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
~ 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

"Thanksgiving is a good thing. Thanks-living is better."
~ Author Unknown

Talk to you tomorrow. :o)

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to Take The Thank You Challenge!
Order your book at

To learn more about the book, check out this Youtube clip:

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Choosing To Make A Thank You Difference

Day 4 -- Choosing To Make A Thank You Difference

Maybe it was because I had too much sugar yesterday, maybe it was because one of my cats woke me up every few hours during the night, just to say "hi,"  (actually "meow," but we know each other well, and I can interpret), maybe it was because I have WAY to much on my plate these days, or maybe "just because," today I woke up agitated and irritable; I woke up behind schedule; I woke up wishing I did not have to wake up...Ever have one of those days?

Before I left the house to run errands (emphasis on the "running"), I made a decision that the way I was feeling would not dictate my response to other people (especially my response to those anticipated obnoxious sales people that follow you around the store talking in way-too-loud, high-pitched tones, with fake-enthusiasm (where DO they learn that squeaky voice technique?!) I knew for sure I would encounter at least one of them today, because I always encounter them when I'm having a bad day)

I made a decision to check my attitude (attitude is a choice, not a feeling, I always tell my kids, and my students, and myself) and to check my "thank You" barometer.

Each squeaky-voice person I encountered (and sure enough there were several) I forced myself to smile graciously, to look them in the eye, with kindness in my voice and to say "thank you" for their help (help which I did NOT ask for!).

Did my choice make a difference? Actually, yes it did! It made a difference within me -- It always makes a difference when someone smiles genuinely at me -- I received quite a few big genuine smiles from sales people and other shoppers, in response to my (forced) smiles and forced "thanks yous."  And it made a difference for at least one of those squeaky-voiced sales people. She seemd especially obnoxious to me and it took everything within me to make the best choices. As I forced myself to be kind, and to say "thank you," I watched her body language change from stiff to relaxed... I listened to the tone quality of her voice change from irritating to "normal"  and I watched a beautiful, genuine smile light up her face. And I walked away from that particular situation, actually feeling like smiling (instead of the forced smile-by-choice I had started with).

We can make a positive, proliferative difference by choosing "thank you!"

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare

"The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you." 
~John E. Southard

Back to my book journey tomorrow... well actually, I'm not sure what we will talk about tomorrow...  whatever "thank you" things are on my heart and mind, I suppose... maybe more about the book journey, maybe not (eventually yes, tomorrow, I dunno)...Hope that's ok with you (smile).


Take The Thank You Challenge! ORDER Your book today @

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making Each "Thank You" Count

Day 3 - Making Each "Thank You" Count

As my year long Thank You journey continued, and the number of entries entered the 100's++, it became more of a challenge each day to think of something new to post. Having recorded all the "obvious" things to be thankful for in the first few days, and then adding those things I too often neglect to be thankful for over the next few weeks and months, what was left? I sometimes found myself writing down "any-ol'-thing," just to fill up space on the page.

This is not satisfying! ...  I want to record "meaningful" rather than just random thanks?  I thought. Not that there is anything wrong with random thanks or thoughts, but I wanted the entries to come from the heart, not just the head. 

I started looking for inspiration beyond the obvious. I wonder if there's a book somewhere that specifically inspires to a list of "Thank You," I mused. I did some research and found many books about being thankful. I flipped through them and found ideas here and there that triggered an idea for my year-long list. And I found sites on the internet that were geared to thanksgiving. -- some great quotes and stories that pulled my thoughts in certain directions and gave me new "thank you" ideas. As I researched, I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for -- I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for, but I knew I hadn't quite found it.

I continued to find inspiration wherever I could, and continued to record my thanks, and continued to benefit from the heart insight that resulted from the daily recording of thanks... Time went by, I finished my year long challenge. I closed the book with a smile; with a sense of great satisfaction!!
I set the pretty little book aside, in a place where it would always be at hand to pull out now and again, to examine the contents, to remind myself of thanks.

It would be quite a long time before my personal year long challenge became the book I have on the market today... more about that in a later blog.

In the meantime, I've listed some "Thank You" thoughts below for you to ponder:

Talk to you tomorrow 

"If you have lived, take thankfully the past." 
~John Dryden

"Have you crossed over stormy waters to get to where you are? Be thankful for the Bridge that appeared to carry you over from there to here. Be thankful that you survived; that you can leave  those stormy waters behind, and that you have the opportunity, the privilege to move on to the next challenge."
~ Connie Ruth Christiansen

If you haven't done so yet, consider taking  the year long Thank You Challenge:
go to and order your book today. It will be a very satisfying journey!

Learn more about the book on Youtube:

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

How My Thank You Challenge Journey Began

Day two of my new blogging adventure:
How my "Thank You Challenge" journey began:

I forget where I was at the time, but I remember overhearing someone saying that every day they journaled what they were thankful for.

What a great idea! What fun!  I thought!
And so, I bought myself a pretty little notebook and began to do the same.
I will do this for one year! I challenged myself

I had no qualms about beginning... This should be easy! I thought. I have so much to be grateful for, and I'm a grateful person by nature!

At first it was easy -- I remember it was springtime; the sunshine, the flowers, the blue sky and clouds, my heart was light and thanksgiving bubbled out of me....I'm thankful for my beautiful daughter, for Tamu (the best dog in the world!), my home, my job, my health, the flowers, the trees, the ladybugs, the birds.... the obvious stuff.

As the days and weeks  passed by however, it wasn't always sunny, life wasn't always good, and being thankful was sometimes a challenge....

Intrinsically I understood that life itself was something to be grateful for, and that I am truly blessed; And of course I was always able to imagine how much worse off other people around the world, or even on the street corner, are compared to my blessings.. But even so, at times the "stuff" of life overwhelmed me to the point that being thankful was not my first thought, not my first priority, not even my desire.

There were weary days when I picked up my pretty little notebook and was tempted to fill it with my complaints, instead of my thanks. I was surprised on those weary days at how strong was my desire to abandon my thank you journaling. A few times that desire was so overwhelming that I actually did not journal my thanks...and then I would feel guilty for neglecting my pretty little notebook and so I would scramble to "catch up" the days I had missed.

I soon began to realize that the weary days would "win" over the thankful days, if I let them, and that because my brain has a tendancy to be obssessive about some things, it would be best on those days, to find a way to "get rid of" the complaints before I began my thanks... and so I bought another notebook (this one not quite so pretty). I kept it near the "thank you" journal. When I would feel the battle strong between the thanks and the complaints, I would pick up my ugly book, journal my complaints, shut the book up tight, and then pick up my pretty book, to list my thank yous.....
The shutting up of the ugly book with my complaints turned out to be emotionally cathartic. Ahhh. I thought, Now I know why people journal! (I had never been in the practice of journaling before this time).

My thank you list grew longer and more detailed, and this journey I had thought would be "easy"  and "fun" was turning out to be something much more. I began to understand some things of life that I thought I understood before, and I was being granted greater insight into the hidden things of my heart and soul.

That's it for today... I will sign in again tomorrow.

If you haven't already done so, consider taking the Thank You Challenge (go to to learn more, or Watch a Youtube clip about the challenge:

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Friday, January 13, 2012

This Is My First Blog...Thank You For Checking In

Hi! :o)  This is my first experience as a blogger...  I don't really know how it works, or what to expect, but here goes...

The Power of a Thankful Heart! What does that mean to you?
 My hopes for this blog (and again, I have no idea what to expect), is threefold:
1) To share bits and pieces of my heart with you regarding my  3- year journey of "thank you" -- It took me 2 years to write a new "thank you" book, and before that I spent a year "doing" what my new book challenges you to do.
2) To share thoughts with you from readers of my new book (Thank You 1095 - Take The Thank You Challenge!)
3) To hear from you -- To give you a chance to share your "thank you" stories, and to ask your "thank you" questions (is that how this works? Can we talk back and forth on this thing?)

If you are curious about the new book, you can go to to check it out.

Or, go to youtube and watch a clip about the book:

Ok, so now I'm pushing the "post it" button.... wonder what will happen next in this blog world?