Enjoying an Attitude of Gratitude

Life is good!
Life is good!

Filled with gratitude this morning.  Maybe it’s the sun shining through the windows.  Maybe it’s listening to streaming seasonal songs and singing along every once in while.  Maybe it’s the joy of knowing that I am very fortunate to have a wonderful relationship, amazing friends, and family (both right here in Whitefish, and a number of other places on the planet), and work that keeps me thriving and fully alive!

It’s not like it’s all bliss.  No, I am still fighting cold-like symptoms. I haven’t completed a number of things on my to-do list, and I am missing my BFF, Sooke.

However, I am grateful and that sure seems like something to write about.

This time of year is one that I enjoy.  I know many people struggle with the commercial side of these holidays.  Still, there are so many things I enjoy:

  • the lights – both inside and outside of our home!
  • the crazy decorating ideas and light of folks around the town
  • amazing Holiday celebrations – Yuletide, Crushmas (a new addition to Whitefish in the winter), the Whitefish Winter Stroll, holiday parties with friends – just to name a few!!
  • egg nog and various other holiday treats
  • watching movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and other seasonal favorites.
  • Skyping and chatting with friends far away
  • hearing how others celebrate
  • warming up by the wood stove and enjoying a hot-toddy
  • snow falling (okay not quite enough that – right now – but it will come!)

I am sure there are many more things I could add.  But really what I love about this time of year is that I regularly tear up and feel my heart thumping away with the joy of being human, being here on this earth with all the challenges – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

A dear friend, Ben Wong,  once told me, when I was struggling with some dark moments and just wasn’t sure I’d ever be loveable, “Susan, you don’t need to be loved – simply feel your loving.” That’s just it. This time of year I feel my loving very loudly! Thank you, Ben!

Indeed, we are spiritual beings having a human experience!  It’s a gift, even when it’s hard and sometimes it’s the hard times that bring us closer together and invite transformation.

Merry, Merry! May you find your moments of joy and gratitude throughout this holiday season and well into the new year!!

I would love to hear what brings you joy and gratitude this time of year – even through your struggles.



Bah Humbug to First Impressions!


This post all started when I was investigating some leadership development sites.  Various post kept pointing to programs like,  Dale Carnegie, How to Win & Influence People and another program about the importance of the first impression and how one most smile and be positive. Slowly, as I read on, I noticed my inner gremlin rising. So, I plugged in a request to Google, “images for a grumpy person’s self-development,” the cartoon above was what came up.

I loved it.

Truly, I have never had any desire to beat someone to death with a chair.  I think my most violent act was in a high school basketball game, delivering a elbow to the face of a overly-tight defender.  I do believe she got a bloody nose. So maybe I am prone to wild, erratic elbow gestures in the heat of competition.  Also, when I did play Rugby in college, I discovered that I love tackling, especially in the mud! So there is a bit of a wild, woman in me.

Really though, I don’t have a death wish for anyone.

I do have a strong personality, well…apparently.  I am fairly certain that I generally fail at making the best first impression.  I tend to forget to look people in the eye, or reach out my hand to shake, or even smile, and if I try to fake it, well, that is just scarey. Often, if I am busy, or on a tight time frame, I forget the importance of common social gestures like, “How are doing?” or “Are you excited about the holidays?” This is also true in email. CrisMarie often reminds me to start with something personal or nice,  before I launch into my request, comments, or reply.

It’s not that I am intentionally mean or disinterested.  No – that’s not it at all.  I simply imagine that whoever is on the other end of my conversation, be it in person or in an email, wants me to get to the point.

So when I read these books or posts that seem to imply that my face and my first impression is going to determine my success in life, business and/or relationships, well, I get grumpy and am more inclined to be aligned with the Tasmanian devil above!

I believe too many people, that know how to win and influence people, or make a great first impression, are NOT the ones that will sit with me in a fire, or love me even when I am sad, fearful, or grumpy.

I am not saying grumpy people are the best choice either.

I don’t think that a successful life and/or relationship are built by first impressions, and that my best friends, business partners, and long-lasting connections have more often come from those people that took me a little longer to get to know and appreciate.

Some of them, I may even have had a few violent thoughts about, or they have had some violent thoughts towards me. Yet, in our willingness to check things out, and be curious, have discovered that first impressions aren’t always accurate. Thank goodness.