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

Negative Labels and Limiting Beliefs

Unique TwinsThis week I tuned into Joel Osteen’s television sermon about getting rid of negative labels. It spoke to me so much that I took notes, thinking that I’d get around to writing about it here.

So on what’s left of this Christmas Day/Evening, I am appreciating the way that Joel Osteen and others can deliver a message about a familiar topic in a way that it speaks to me in a new or renewed way. I always love Joel’s sermons as they are uplifting, positive and inspiring. I really love that he starts out with a joke, too. As a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, I am very aware of the value of laughter: it truly is one of the best ‘medicines’ out there.

But this post is about appreciating the message he had in this sermon: that of ridding ourselves of negative labels, often spoken (either directly or implied) to us by others in our lives. Then we embrace these labels to the point of making them our own “story” about ourselves. Below are some of the quotes from his sermon.

“You cannot stop the negative comments. You can’t prevent the negative labels, but you can choose to remove them.”

“Words are like seeds. If you dwell on them long enough, they will take root and become what is said.”

“The only power that that label has over you is the power that you give it.”

“The real battle is taking place in our mind.”

“Nothing that was spoken over you has to define you – even if it was from people who raised you.”

“You are not who people say you are…Hurting people end up hurting other people. Bitter people are quick to stick on those negative labels.”

So in other words, we have the power to choose to think and feel differently than any negative label has over us. It is in our hands. If we buy into the negative label or image of ourselves and keep repeating it, it does take root and becomes a belief that limits us. Limiting beliefs are often there because we feel we’re not deserving or worthy in some way. The negative labels are just examples of limiting beliefs like: others are better than us, that we don’t have what it takes to succeed, that we’re not good, pretty, handsome or smart enough, etc…The key to understanding how limiting beliefs restrict us from living life to the fullest is that they are not who we truly are! We are not defined by these negative labels. We are all worthy and deserving and we all have unique gifts and purposes in life. So look inside yourself for your own inner beauty and discover your gift to this life that you are.

Today I appreciate Joel’s sermon for reaffirming that message. I appreciate people like him and the venue he has to reach so many people through his ministry. It is truly a blessing and I imagine that there are others out there who were touched by his words of encouragement. If not, I don’t think he would have a ministry that is so large.

I am grateful today. I appreciate positive messages that change peoples’ lives, from different people who deliver the messages. The world is full of many “teachers” and I appreciate that as we don’t all learn in the same way. We are unique and need diversity to thrive. No one “label” fits all!

I am particularly appreciating my own knowing that I can choose to change any belief that may be holding me back from my highest potential, too. I appreciate that I have the tools I need for myself and to help others in getting rid of these limiting beliefs and creating new ones that are positive, loving, inspiring, uplifting and fun.

Now that’s a good thing to celebrate as I end this year and get ready for another!

I Appreciate Laughter – Day 30

Oh, do I love to laugh! And often! Laughter truly is the best medicine – it raises our joy, reduces stress, has physical and psychological benefits and helps to create a happier life. It’s playful and fun! It feels really good. That’s why I became a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader.

The thing about laughter that I’ve discovered from being a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, is that you don’t have to have jokes in order to laugh (although jokes can be funny). What’s really cool is that your body cannot tell the difference between “fake” laughter and “genuine” laughter – the benefits are the same. I’m sure you can relate to how contagious laughter is! I love that about laughter! Some laughs are just so fun that it causes us to laugh out loud, too. I appreciate laughs like that! I appreciate Laughter Yoga for its “contagious” qualities, too! hee hee

Today I am leading a VideoChat session of my version of Laughter Yoga at GoodVibeUniverity. Anyone is welcome! It’s free and only 30 minutes at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. We laugh on purpose to raise our vibes. I call it Giggle Fest & Manifest! You can join in HERE.