101 Things I Appreciate from 2016

At The Rose Bowl game

Inspired by Jeannette Maw’s post on 99 Ways 2016 Rocked It, and from my first ebook written years ago, 101 Ways to Uplift Your Spirit and of Those Around You, plus the fact that I’ve been quite silent here for months, I decided it was time for me to sit down, reflect on this past year and give it a huge dose of appreciation! So here goes:

1. I appreciate having a healthy 2016. It feels good!
2. I appreciate starting the year in California and ending it in NYC. Coast to coast, baby!
3. I appreciate having traveled to my loving home state of Iowa in between.
4. Speaking of travel, I loved spending time at Christmas with my kids in Iowa!
5. I loved their visit here in April, too!
6. I can’t forget the summer visit I made to Iowa, plus the September weekend visit.
7. I got to see my Iowa Hawkeye football beat Iowa State in September. Go Hawkeyes!
8. I loved having my daughter and her friend here in September and going to the Rutgers vs. Iowa football game, too! Go Hawkeyes!
9. While we didn’t win, I had an awesome time at the beginning of the year with my friend Sue and her hubby Tom in California! Go Hawkeyes!
10. I really love my alumni club people here in NYC. We have so much fun at game watches and I’ve made some amazing friends.  Go Hawkeyes!

Are you noticing a trend? I love my friends and family and my Iowa Hawkeyes! 🙂
11. I appreciate the two trips to Vietnam I made in 2016.
12. I love the colleagues that have become my friends in Vietnam. They are very special people.
13. I got to experience Emirates airlines for the first time in 2016 and liked it so much, I traveled on it again.
14. I loved my desert safari I did in Dubai! Who cares if it was tourist-y? It was a ton of fun and the desert was absolutely beautiful.

The Arabian desert

15. I appreciate my friend Deborah and her daughter, Becca, for catsitting for me on my trips. It is so kind and helpful, and saves me money, too.
16. I appreciate having Jessica house and cat sit for me when Deborah, Becca and I went to Ann Arbor to get away, too! That was a win-win for all! And I got to see two friends I haven’t seen in a long while! 🙂
17. I love Vietnamese food. It’s so fresh and healthy.
18. I appreciate having fresh coconut water straight out of the coconut when I’m in Vietnam, too.
19. I appreciate that we finally figured out how to get a credit card for my office! It has generally made things much easier when buying things for our programs and traveling.
20. I also love Vietnamese coffee! How delicious!

Another trend? Let’s see, I love Vietnam, the people, the food, the hospitality, the travels I’ve done in 2016 there from my work (and the credit card I can now use) and the cat and house sitters who help support me while I’m gone. And my stopover in Dubai was awesome as well as my little get-away to Ann Arbor with my friend and meeting up with old friends!

21. I appreciate the 4 seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. I love the change and when I’m tired of one season, it’s really not long before another one comes along.
22. While it fell on a weekend time when I didn’t have to work, the big snow storm at the beginning of 2016 was gorgeous. I appreciate being warm inside, until it was time to be out in the elements again.

Someone else did all this work!

23. I appreciate not having to shovel sidewalks – one of the many benefits of renting!
24. I appreciate people who come around to help dig out our cars, too. It’s definitely worth the price and my back thanks me for it.
25. I really loved the hot weather this summer, too!
26. I appreciate the longer days of summer for the sounds and sights and fun one can have outside.
27. The spring flowers were so fragrant this year!
28. And the fall colors seemed to last a long time this fall. It was so beautiful, and especially on the campus where I work.
29. The ferrel cats in my neighborhood were well fed throughout all seasons, thanks to the former tenants and neighbors around.
30. I enjoyed my first year through all 4 seasons at my newest apartment.

Trending? 4 seasons, new apartment and feral cats, but more importantly, I’d say #appreciation is trending! 🙂

31. I appreciate warm showers.
32. I appreciate special soaps – especially the handmade ones.
33. I appreciate organic food.
34. I love that I can grow some food indoors in my apartment.
35. I appreciate hot water.
36. I appreciate clean water!
37. I love the walks on the boardwalk here I did in 2016. It’s a beautiful walk and feels great to hear and see the waves wash in and out while getting some exercise.

Staten Island Boardwalk (at the fishing pier)

38. I appreciate the inspiration from my friend Judi this summer in buying myself a FitBit for my birthday.
39. I appreciate having another birthday in 2016!
40. I appreciate growing older but having people think I’m younger. hee hee

Trends? Water! Good food! Walks along the beach! Being youthful!

41. The presidential political race brought out extreme varieties of opinions from people all over the U.S. and abroad. I appreciate the often unwanted contrast for the clarity it gave me on who and what I wanted.
42. I appreciate Bernie Sanders for inspiring a younger generation during that process. He also inspired me. And wasn’t it fun when that bird sat on the podium while he was giving a speech and the campaign created a Birdie sticker? I got one!

Birdie sticker

43. I appreciate my right to vote and appreciate that I voted. I always do and it is a right that I do not take lightly.
44. I appreciate the role of social media for the ease in contributing to causes and in gaining awareness about issues.
45. I also appreciate the resources out there online in which to verify the real news vs. the fake news.
46. I appreciate knowing that I usually feel a whole lot better when I don’t tune into the news everyday. I appreciate that I exercised that often during 2016 and turned it off.
47. I appreciate my ability to be quiet, sit still and meditate. It was often needed during 2016 and I appreciate using those skills to stay sane! lol
48. I’ve had a lot of fun watching the comic skits on this year’s election!
49. I’ve really enjoyed many conversations on Twitter as well.
50. I appreciate having hands and fingers that work perfectly to use a remote, to type on a keyboard, to grab a utensil, to handwrite in a journal and for many other reasons. I love when I remember to appreciate the little things like that.

Politics trending?! Who would have thought that? lol

51. I love conveniences in this modern world of ours.
52. I love Amazon Prime for the delivery of items quickly and with free shipping.
53. I love delivery of good food from Fresh Direct.
54. I’ve loved trying out the food boxes where you cook the meals and I’ve tried quite a few. My favorite is SunBasket because I can order Paleo meals that are all organic and non-GMO.
55. I love that I still have more food box services to try! New businesses keep popping up!
56. I love this city that never sleeps! There are many conveniences to living in this city.
57. I appreciate the Staten Island ferry for its 24/7 service and for the half-hour increments late at night. No more waiting an hour when I’ve just missed that 12:30 a.m. boat!

On the Staten Island ferry

58. I appreciate my NYCID card and the cultural benefits it has. I appreciated become a member of the Brooklyn Public Library this year.
59. I really am enjoying my Theatermania Gold Club membership, too! I’m getting to see many events and performances for the small fee of $4 or $4.50. It’s a deal!
60. I appreciate the shows on Broadway I saw this year. There were quite a few and I’m blessed to be here to enjoy them.

Trending #NYC #conveniences #Sunbasket #Broadway #StatenIslandFerry

61. I love how quickly Zelda adapted to my new place this year. What cat wouldn’t love the bountiful of windows up high, with eagle-eye views of treetops, birds and squirrels? She’s got her CAT-TV on all day! 😉
62. I love how Zelda talks with me and all the cute noises she makes.
63. I love taking photos of Zelda, and appreciate how she seems to really love the camera/phone!
64. I love Zelda and her boxes, too.
65. I appreciate finding an easy way to make a little hide-out for her that I saw on Facebook, using a t-shirt and a box. She climbs in there sometimes and thinks I can’t see her. hee hee
66. I love Zelda’s personality and how she tries to escape to the ground floor of my building, knowing perfectly well that it’s against “the rules.” She meows and eventually comes back up the stairs, talking all the way. It reminds me of a little kid whose has cookie crumbs over his/her face and says “Who, me?” when asked if s/he took a cookie! Ha! She’s like a little kid some times and makes me laugh.
67. I love snuggling with Zelda. She particularly loves laying over my leg and stretching out her paw.
68. I appreciate how much Zelda loves to be brushed, too. It helps control the fur and makes her coat shiny and bright.
69. I appreciate the love that pets give so generously and how they bring out the love within us.
70. I appreciate having a cat again after many years without a pet. I also appreciate cat videos on Facebook! They’re the best!

Yes, she’s trending! #Zelda.

Zelda claiming the pillows as hers!

71. I appreciate the “firsts” I had this year.
72. I rode a camel.
72. I drank camel milk.
73. I toured the Arabian desert.
74. I rode down the Mekong Delta and through narrow passages in a small boat.
75. I met Cindy from my appreciation group.

Cindy and me at NY harbor

76. I met up with a family member and met his spouse here when they were in NYC.
77. I ate at several restaurants in Iowa City I’d never eaten at before.
78. I optimistically bought tickets to the Big10 championship game early, thinking Iowa would be there.
79. I easily sold those tickets once I knew Iowa wasn’t going! lol
80. I tried a couple of veggies I’d never eaten before from my purchase of a winter  “stock-up” veggie sale through a local co-op.

Trending #firsts

81. I appreciate the friends and coaches I have in my life.
82. I appreciate Jeannette Maw and everyone at GVU!
83. I love Ming and her Reiki Fur Babies, and her and Amina’s Being Present to Serve.
84. I love being a part of Andy Dooley’s Vibe Tribe.
85. I love that my Facebook group  “41 Days of Appreciating Rampages.” While it’s not always very active, I appreciate the energy of the group and when some of us get inspired to post our appreciations more regularly. It’s a great group of people in there!

41 Days FB group on wine barrels
41 Days of Appreciating Rampages Facebook group

86. I love, love, love the women in the special secret Facebook group of appreciators. You know who you are!
87. I appreciate the new Facebook groups I’ve been part of this year, too.
88. I appreciate the Sunday #SpiritChat community on Twitter. It’s a great community of beautiful people.
89. I love the Laughter Yoga community! hee hee
90. While he transitioned in 2015, I’m still inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s works. He lives on in so many ways through his work and through Hay House and his family members.

Trending #coaches #appreciation #laughter #inspiringpeople

And last, but not least, are 11 more “little things” I appreciate. If I sit and savor just the thought of these things and moments, appreciation flows very easily.

91. The sound of the birds chirping and singing.
92. A cat’s purr and especially when it’s right up against my ear.
93. That swaying movement cats make right before they’re going to pounce on their “prey.”
94. The sun peeping through the clouds after a rainy or cloudy day.
95. The warmth of the sun through my bedroom window, heating up my bedroom with its rays.
96. A teapot whistling as I know my cup of tea will soon be ready for sipping!
97. The morning smell of freshly brewed coffee.
98. The sweet touch of a loving partner.
99. A hand-written card in the mail from a loved one.
100. Drawings and art projects I have from my kids that they made.
101. The excitement of a new season of Iowa Hawkeye football! Go Hawkeyes! 🙂

Iowa-Michigan State Oct 31 2010
University of Iowa Hawkeye football – Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa

I Appreciate My Freedom of Choice

Flags at Washington MonumentToday is Independence Day in my country and I’m reminded that “freedom” means so many things to many people.  I do appreciate that I live in a country where the ideals of freedom are engrained in our constitution. The Bill of Rights contains 10 amendments, some of which protect our freedom of religion, speech, and the press.

But this post isn’t about our constitutional freedoms, but rather an appreciation of how I always have freedom in my choices of how I react to any given situation. Observing social media outlets, I see some strong opinions expressed and sometimes hateful remarks towards others who disagree with these opinions. I’m reminded that we all have freedom to express what we believe, but we don’t have to agree with everyone. We get to choose. That’s freedom right there.

I appreciate that when I read or see hateful messages on social media, I can choose to ignore them. Things I don’t want or that cause me to feel negative feelings are called “unwanted contrast” in law of attraction circles. I appreciate the feelings that sometimes result from reading hate-filled comments as opportunities for me to focus in on what I truly want. I appreciate that I have learned the value of unwanted contrast in creating a more happy life.

Anytime we’re faced with something or a situation that causes us to have strong emotions of dislike, anger or other negative feelings, it’s an opportunity for us to exercise our freedom of choice: you can either simmer in those emotions and let them get stronger or practice focusing in on the opposite end of refining what you want. I’ve found that when I find myself getting heated up with passion about unwanted contrast, it’s a good time to jot down the opposite of what I don’t want, which is what I’d rather see and feel.

Once I’ve clarified what I want, I can exercise my freedom of choice in taking softer steps in getting there.  It might mean that I stop looking at social media for awhile, or that I don’t talk or associate with a certain people for awhile (until I can clean up my energy about them), or that I turn off the TV, or that I just distract myself with something else. I might meditate, go take a nap, do something that’s fun, pet my cat, talk to friends and family, or any number of things. I use Abraham-Hicks’ tip of reaching for that feeling of relief to move myself up the emotional scale into a better feeling place. I appreciate these tools for the happiness that I enjoy from using them!

I always have the freedom of choice in my relief from unwanted situations, and you do, too. Some people may interpret my reactions to people, things and situations sometimes as uncaring when I don’t engage in augmenting the negativity of the situation. But I do care – I care how I feel, I care about others and intend for their happiness, too, and I know how my happiness is dependent on me, just as yours is dependent upon you. I care enough to not let outside events destroy my well-being.

We always have a freedom of choice in how we react to anything, even in the most horrific situations. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl expressed this beautifully in these statements:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

I appreciate my freedom of choice. I appreciate it so much as it’s contributed greatly to my personal growth and made me a much happier person.   I appreciate that you don’t have to agree with me, and that’s just fine. We travel our own journeys in life and I appreciate all the people who have contributed to mine in all ways: the good, the bad and the ugly. For all these situations have served me well in learning how to appreciate any person or situation. I’m happy and looking forward to more freedom of choices in my life for the growth that they foster in me.


I Appreciate Websites That Work

IMG_1212 (1)I appreciate websites that work! I’ve had my main website off-line for some months and got some help from my host a few weeks back but some items are still not working.  My pages (albeit 1) keep giving me the error page.

While I could get help for this again, I’ve been busy with other things so I will fix it when I make time for it.  I appreciate that I can relax in the knowing that it will work out in the end.

This unwanted contrast really makes me appreciate websites that work, like this appreciation blog! This free blog has always been rock steady – always there, always working. I appreciate the ease and flow of these free services. I appreciate wordpress dot com for its ease in making a blog or website and I appreciate that I can easily change the look of this site and it all works.

When we run into things we don’t like or want, it’s always an opportunity to appreciate what is working or on what we already have. Technology does make our lives easier in so many ways! Computers, cell phones and social media have added many things to our lives to appreciate.

BUT, writing this quick post has caused me to reflect on the number of times I complain about my computer at work: it’s slow in booting up, it crashes often and forces me to re-start, or a program just freezes. There are a lot of glitches. And I’m not alone, as others in my office complain of similar problems.

What can I appreciate about all of this? For starters, we’ve gotten to know the cool people in our IT department over the years and they’ve gotten away from their desks and traveled to ours. – Stepping away from your desk is a healthy thing. 🙂 – Every staff member in my office can rally together in the collective desire for an improved efficiency of computers. That’s a lot of energy for an improved system just waiting for us to align to.  We get opportunities to share our appreciation of the IT staff when they “fix” the problems, too. Collective appreciation makes everyone feel good! When the computers are “down,” we have opportunities to engage with one another, make a phone call and reach out to someone, step away from our desks, and take a break from looking at the computer screen all day. I can appreciate those moments for that.

So in the spirit of appreciating websites that work, I also am appreciating all that unwanted contrast at work because I also realize how much of what I have at home works like a charm: every time! I have 2 computers, one that is older but still works and a laptop that is fast, efficient, cool and fun. I so appreciate that. I appreciate the fact they are mine. There are people who don’t have computers so I don’t take that for granted.

So the next time I find myself complaining about the lack of speed of my computer at work, I will remember this post and it surely will make me smile as I remember that unwanted contrast is just an opportunity to appreciate what is working. And there’s a lot in my life that works: even if I can’t get to all the pages of my main website yet!




I Appreciate Different Cultures

Open Heart Culture I just returned from a business trip to Vietnam and did a stopover in Dubai on the way home. The photo I took of myself was from the desert safari I took while out in the Arabian Desert.

I appreciate that I have a job in international education that allows me opportunities to learn about and meet people from all different cultures. I appreciate expanding my own world by experiencing the world of others. These experiences have allowed me to grow in so many positive ways and contributed to a greater sense of my own self-awareness. Exposure to other cultures both in my own country and abroad has served me well in knowing myself, in developing empathy for others, in understanding different points of view, and how life truly is better when shared with others.

Engaging with people from other cultures has led me to have a deeper understanding and awareness of how cultural perceptions can cause miscommunication and misunderstandings.  It has helped me to be a better communicator with all kinds of people and to engage in conversations about culture that help me grow and learn more. I always welcome an opportunity to share with others and to learn from them. I really appreciate my field of international education for I am always learning from all the people I meet around the world.

I love people, I value diversity and I value a world filled with acceptance and peace. I appreciate exposure to different cultures and engaging with them as an avenue to bring me and the world a bit closer to each other. I really appreciate my life in international education and it is my hope that every person gets opportunities to engage positively with others who may be different from them, as these are opportunities for personal growth. They are also opportunities for contributing to world peace and understanding.  Life would just be plain boring if we were all the same!












Let’s Celebrate The Lottery Winners

Photo courtesy of PHPhoto.org
Photo courtesy of PHPhoto.org

The Powerball lottery jackpot is expected to reach around 1.3 billion dollars this week, the highest in all the world’s history of lotteries. When you talk to people, there’s excitement in the air with people dreaming and sharing what they’d do with their winnings. You also hear the nay-sayers, too, who point out the odds of winning.  Those nay-sayers are my unwanted contrast and a reminder that I love to bask in the feeling of fun, excitement and celebration of winning. Feelings of excitement for what is to come and for the possibilities of realizing dreams is what makes playing the lottery fun for me. It unites strangers in conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I see clerks smiling and laughing as they give out tickets, too. Everyone is talking about it, so people are more engaged with each other. That’s such a good thing to see and feel. I appreciate how the possibility of winning a lottery jackpot brings people together in a vibe of excitement, joy and fun.

When I turn on my TV or am on the internet, I hear and see stories of past lottery winners who either lost it all or are in debt. I’m really tired of hearing these negative stories! Aren’t you? Wouldn’t it be nice to focus on stories of all those people who have won the lottery that are doing quite well? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear their stories of how they paid off their debts, set their families up in an abundance of financial security, took their dream vacations of a lifetime, bought a house, gave generously to causes they care about and other success stories?

Pointing out the odds and focusing on the people for whom handling all that financial abundance didn’t go so well is taking away from the good vibes of excitement, fun, and the joy of winning. It creates doubts, fears or a let-down, frankly, if you allow others to influence you about your chances of realizing any of your dreams, whether it’s winning the lottery or going for that dream job, for example.

Instead, let’s celebrate the winners! Let’s celebrate that we are in it to win it! After all, you have to play in order to win. Let’s celebrate that we have the finances to play and be happy if we win or not! Let’s not judge who wins or wish for a group to win it, as opposed to an individual. In law of attraction terms, that’s splitting up your energy of being happy only for certain people, so you can’t possibly attract pure joy in that. Let’s be happy for whoever wins!  Let’s celebrate the joys we’ve had in the journey of playing the lottery and be happy, no matter the result.

We’ll all be happier when we quit casting doubts and fears about our chances in life, when we quit feeling jealous of what others have and we find a way to celebrate the little things in our lives and exercise our imagination about what is possible.  Appreciation is our best friend for happiness. I celebrate whenever I find money, even a penny I find on the ground. I celebrate I have the funds to pay my bills, too.

So celebrate and appreciate where you’re at right now. With the lottery jackpot being so high, I celebrate that I can stretch my imagination of what I’d do with all that money and stretching my imagination is something to celebrate! I’m appreciating and savoring the fun in all of this, just as I do when I find a penny on the ground. And if you can’t feel excitement for finding a penny, I suggest you start a daily habit of appreciating. When you appreciate daily, you may just find more pennies or a dime. Or maybe that lottery jackpot! Can you imagine? I can!

So let’s have fun and celebrate the lottery winners, no matter what!

To the Hawkeyes.

I appreciate this team and this post! Here’s to both of them!

Joe to the World

I woke up this morning, still in disbelief. I checked Twitter, Facebook, ESPN; they all confirmed what I had hoped was merely a bad dream.

The Hawkeye’s run at perfection is over. And as reality sets in for me (while, admittedly, my denial persists), I take to the only outlet I know: writing melodramatic, over-emotionalized, hyperbole-laden monologues. Sue me.

This monologue, however, is less never-ending list of what-ifs and hypotheticals, and more a toast to the best damn thing to happen during my college career:

Here’s to the 12 teams the Hawkeyes played first this year. To the 12 teams who, despite their best efforts, could not overcome the mighty Hawkeyes.

Here’s to the burning heat of September games and the freezing snow-covered games of November. To the fans that refused to leave night games and who shivered through snoozers to sing “In Heaven there is no Beer.”

Here’s to the 2014…

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