Gratitudes #501-627

Here’s the latest on my list. See it grow HERE.

  • Beach houses
  • Remembering great times with great friends
  • Being there for someone’s breakthrough
  • “If you don’t like where you are, change it. You are not a tree.”
  • Seeds sprouting from a small plastic cup
  • A boy with his dog
  • Learning to open my mind
  • Learning to open my heart
  • Having a camera in my purse when I need it
  • Christian’s “Cinimin Milk” creation
  • The moment when 1 thing makes everything else make sense
  • Opening Day Baseball Games
  • Organ Music at Busch Stadium
  • Legends of the Game honored well
  • Wedding photos
  • A dear friend PREGNANT!
  • Hope for Flowers, by Trina Paulus
  • Crying in the Shower
  • Hearing an old song you’ve forgotten about
  • “You are Good, and your love endures forever”
  • Picking the healthy option … and liking it
  • Giant paperclips and other oversized silliness
  • Big Announcements
  • Feeling at home in my home
  • Alone time
  • Together time
  • That I’m NOT in Junior High anymore
  • Prom photos
  • Remembering High School fun
  • The fresh scent of cleaning supplies
  • Foods on a stick
  • Backyard barbecues
  • Little cousins walking hand in hand
  • The courage that comes from having a cousin go first
  • Simple family fun
  • Carousels
  • The smell of fried foods
  • Kids on rollercoasters
  • The Tilt-a-Whirl
  • A lit ferris wheel at night
  • A finished publication in your hands
  • The Message version of the Bible
  • Teamwork
  • Being inspired, not jealous, by the success of others
  • Funny field day games
  • Bouncy houses
  • Rubber chickens
  • Eating with chopsticks
  • Sushi
  • Being afraid — and doing it anyway
  • The end of a long road
  • Free lunch
  • The sacred opportunity to mourn with friends
  • The relief of letting go
  • Easter egg hunts with fruit snacks
  • A schedule that lets me pick Christian up from school
  • Christian requests The Beatles
  • Ninja cupcakes
  • Roller Skating birthday parties
  • Disco balls
  • Being in the thick of God’s presence
  • Finding that thickness in unexpected places
  • Jeff Deyo songs
  • Magic shows
  • Boys in Scout uniforms
  • College t-shirts
  • Keys to a new home
  • New friends
  • Old friends
  • 7-year-olds at hockey games
  • When you actually learn a lot from a required course
  • Never being too old to learn
  • Finding the right logo for my new business
  • Launching A Coach in Your Corner Life Coach business
  • Hearing the stories of missionaries
  • Grilled veggies
  • A bonus diet Coke
  • Chai Latte
  • Five Minute Fridays
  • Finding lost keys
  • A house on a golf course
  • The first golf outing of the year
  • An 18-hole personal best
  • Thunderstorms that cool and clean
  • Discovery
  • Feeding alpaca from your hands
  • The super softness of alpaca fur
  • A peacock in full display
  • 1st grade farm field trips
  • Prayer partners
  • Shorts weather
  • Progress on big projects
  • Meeting with like minds
  • Mercy
  • My first paid coaching client
  • God’s provision … again and again and again
  • Inner Peace. Real.Deep.Peace.
  • A bird’s nest on our porch
  • Caterpillars on our tree
  • Weather forecasting groundhogs
  • Chocolate chip pancakes
  • Lazy weekends
  • Finding enough change at the bottom of your purse to get a drink at the vending machine
  • Ferry boats
  • Seagulls who catch bread midair
  • Jelly fish
  • Seahorses
  • Thom & Christian fishing together
  • Mother’s Day morning on a beach pier
  • Homemade Mother’s Day gifts
  • My son thinking I smell mostly like salt
  • Being a Mom
  • When Plan B is super fun
  • Movies that make me cry
  • Being with friends who are crying at the same movie
  • Movie quotes that connect people across the miles
  • Idea Jars
  • Beauty from ashes
  • Vulnerability
  • Goosebump moments
  • Counting down days to summer vacation
  • A really clean chalkboard
  • Comments on my Blog (hint, hint … leave yours below)
  • The smell of fresh laundry
  • Friday Nights
  • The wisdom of Brian Tracy
  • Remembering how good it feels to record the beauty in my life!

Finding Christmas Beauty


 Christmas is a time of wonder, beauty, magic, love. It’s also a time of hustle, bustle, To Do lists, one thing after another.

How do we focus on the first without being overwhelmed by the second?

First, get everything out of your brain. How often do the thoughts of “don’t forget to…” and “after this I have to…” rob you of focusing fully on any given task? Give your brain a break! WRITE IT DOWN!

It’s called a Brain Dump and it works on so many levels. Grab a blank piece of paper, or a voice recorder, or a Word document and start to dump what’s on your mind. In bullet form, write down everything you feel you have to do this holiday season. Cooking. Gifts. Cards. Decor. Events you want to attend. Parties to host. Loved ones to call. Groceries to buy. Items to pack if you’re spending the holidays away. Gifts left to buy. Everything. Dump it out of that brain!! One coach says it this way, “Half the anxiety you feel about the things you want to get done is that you aren’t doing anything about them.” Just writing them down is taking action. It’s doing something. And your mind and body respond to that momentum, propelling you towards getting things done!

Next, look at your list through the lens of Martha Beck’s 3 B’s. Anything on the list that brings a good feeling, do it as immediately as possible. For the rest…

  • Can you BAG it? I’m willing to bet there are a large number of things on that list that are more about expectations – your own or others’ – than they are about things that HAVE to be done. Would it forever alter your life for it just not to get done? Is it really important to the experience you want Christmas 2011 to be? If not, bag it! For example, when we pulled out all the decor this year and put up the tree, I found myself uninterested in decorating much of the rest of the house. I grabbed the stockings and the nativity scene for one area, but the rest I just put back in storage for another year. I’m not expecting Martha Stewart anyway. It was Ok to BAG IT!
  • Can you BARTER it? If it’s important to have done, who can help you with it? Maybe it’s a family member who just needs to be asked. Maybe it’s worth paying someone to do. Whether it’s deciding to cater your party this year instead of cook it yourself or let your kids stamp the Christmas cards, you probably have more help available than you thought.
  • Can you BETTER IT? It must be done. And it must be done by you. Some things are just like that. So, how can you better the experience so it doesn’t seem like such a drag? The house needs to be cleaned, for example, and you decide not to barter that out. Put on Christmas music and have fun with it! Make it a race. Let yourself watch a favorite movie after it’s all done. There is almost always a way to better it!

Finally… Decide how you WANT to feel this Christmas. Stressed? Blessed?

At the end of the month, what do you want your gratitude list to look like for this season? Write it down now and then use it as a treasure hunt list. Here are a few items some friends and I decided we want to experience – really SEE, HEAR, FEEL, SMELL, TASTE – this Christmas.

  • Twinkling lights
  • Homemade ornaments
  • O Holy Night
  • Santas with real beards
  • Cookies
  • Pine trees
  • Live Nativity Scenes
  • Elementary School Christmas pageants
  • New pajamas on Christmas morning
  • Caroling
  • Soft snow falling
  • Wearing red
  • Fun holiday jewelry
  • “O come let us adore Him”
  • Hearing the Christmas story
  • Hallmark movies that make you cry

Think on THESE things, and you’ll have a BEAUTIFUL Christmas!


Put a Pause Button in Your Life

Maybe I’m the only one who needed to hear it. Somehow, I don’t think so. Especially when I opened my Five-Minute Friday assignment to read “Tired.” Write 5 Minutes on the Topic of Tired. (Which I did here.)

Rest is Good! There is Power in the Pause. And it seemed like I had heard that before. Oh, wait, I wrote that before! (Reprinted below.)

As we talked about meditation on Scripture, on Godly Thoughts, in our Small Group this week, it was overwhelmingly clear that most of us don’t get enough rest in our lives. Not just sleep. Not just sitting still. But real quiet time. Resting of the MIND.

But oh, how God meets us in that place. So I want to be there. I invited you to be there, too. Rest.


Power in the Pause

Originally posted at JustBeBeth In Gifts of Imperfection Project on September 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

If you listen closely enough, there is an inherent pause in the nature around us. Just a moment of total silence between the crashes of ocean waves. A second at the end of your exhale before the lungs fill again. A winter hibernation before the spring thaw. Even a hurricane is dead calm right at the eye.

Nature seems to know instinctively — there is power in a pause.

So why do we as humans so often race right past it?

This month, in my continued study of Brene’ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, the focus is on cultivating Calm/Stillness, one of the 10 guideposts for living a Wholehearted/Authentic life.  As Brown says, calm is about “Letting go of anxiety as a way of life.”

This is about more than sleep… though we often get too little of that as well. It’s about pause, stillness, calm, breathing. Only in still waters can we see a real reflection of ourselves. In the waves, even in a ripple, the image is distorted at best; invisible at worst. And only through times of reflection, of quiet, of peace do we REALLY see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Only here do we REALLY LIVE! And, it is here we give ourselves the energy we need to tackle the rest of our lives as well. Not without anxiety or stress, but in spite of the anxiety and stress.

A pause can be useful to gather your thoughts, send up a prayer, reassess a situation, notice something new, hear God’s still small voice, find a moment’s peace, or just give yourself a well-deserved break.

So I’m going to seek more pauses in September. Breath deeply 3x before I make a phone call. Recite a favorite verse or quote at a red light. Close my eyes for 30 seconds after I park and before I head into the office in the morning and my house each evening. Seek at least one item of beauty that crosses my path every day. Be willing to call a time-out and hit the reset button when I need to.

Thanks for taking a pause to read this blog. Will you join me taking more time-outs this month?

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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Awareness Technique


Beauty through Photography

Taking photos is a great way to see the Beauty around you in a new way. In fact, it’s a great way to catch beauty in some of the places you least expect. Give it a try… you don’t have to have a fancy camera or a lot of training to get some great shots. Just grab your camera, shoot A LOT, and see what you get.

Here are some of my recent favorites.


New Friend Friday! Meet Sandra Joseph

It’s New Friend Friday!! Where I introduce you to a fellow Beauty Hunter … God Sighter … Joy Giver … Girlfriend in Gratitude. One of the most exciting things to me on this journey is the other people God is connecting me to in a most beautiful web of wonder and amazing for what HE does everyday. All around us. When we pay attention.

So please meet my friend Sandra Joseph. Author of the Recognize & Remember blog. Please: go poke around her blog, sell hello, and tell her you Found Beauty in her today!

My Q&A with Sandra…

* Briefly describe how “Recognize & Remember” has become the theme of your life.
I have always had a tender heart towards remembering and as I have journeyed through difficult times, I learned that if I purposely recognized  and recorded experiences when God has been faithful, those memories help me remember that God will continue to be faithful in my present situation.

* What do you hope readers will get from your blog?
My blog is more for me to process my thoughts and life experiences into words and to record my recognizable moments.  When others read my blog, my hope is that they will see a not be impressed by me, but with all that God is doing in my life.  Recognize and Remember encourages others to remember God’s faithfulness by recognizing God’s work in their life, recording it in some manner and then remembering it when life becomes hard. I also write about Mothering, MOPS and DaySpring’s Blessings Unlimited Business since these are part of my life as well. 

* What was one of the most unexpected things you’ve learned as you focus on Recognizing?
Although it should not be unexpected – I am still amazed at the speed of life.  When I started writing my blog, my 3 daughters were all in school (grad school, college and high school) and now 2 of them are married, 1 is engaged and we have a 1-year-old Grandson.  If I had not taken the time to recognize moments during these years, it would have flown by without me recognizing how God has been at work. 

* Tell us about a time you recently Recognized a special moment you Recorded.
When my youngest daughter was a Senior in High School, her busing situation did not work out and so I drove her school to and from (an hour each way).  At first, I was frustrated at being obligated for 2 hours each day, but throughout the year the Lord showed me what a blessing it was to have undivided time with her each day.  When she graduated, I made her a little photo flip book of all the sites we saw each day, and then I wrote a blog post about it which you can read here .  Even now as I read it again, it makes me remember and rejoice.

* Please share 1 tip for Recognizing & Remembering in everyday life?
We allow our lives to become so busy with things that don’t really matter.  Truly the relationships in our lives are the only investment we make that have eternal value.  So take the time to invest in your relationships by recognizing one thing what God is doing or has done in your life, record it in some manner (a photo, a blog post, a written journal or a scrap of paper in your Bible) and then ask God to remind you when you need to remember that He is faithful.  The simplicity of this is to just do it however you can and trust the God is going to use it in your life (and probably others) in the future.

The story of how Sandy & I know each other is truly one of God’s guiding. We met through our work but became friends because of our passion. For God. For tasting His goodness. For telling the truth about the hard stuff. For helping others see God’s faithfulness. Check out one of the posts that will really show you Sandy’s heart: That Woman in the Grocery Store.

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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in New Friend Friday, Something Beautiful


New Friend Friday! Meet Kolette Hall

Welcome to New Friend Friday. Each week, I introduce you to a fellow Beauty Hunter … God Sighter … Joy Giver … Girlfriend in Gratitude. One of the most exciting things to me on this journey is the other people God is connecting me to in a most beautiful web of wonder and amazing for what HE does everyday. All around us. When we pay attention.

So please meet my friend Kolette Hall, author of The Art of Choosing Joy blog. Please: go poke around her blog, sell hello, and tell her you Found Beauty in her today!

Kolette with her husband Jason
Consider today a 2fer Friend day because you’ll want to check out Jason’s story, too!

My Q&A with Kolette…

Briefly describe how “The Art of Choosing Joy” has become the theme of your life
I have always been an optimistic person.  My mom described my personality as “sunshine” when I was young and I have a deep belief in the power of making the personal choice to see good even when it is difficult.  I have also always loved to create things and so while developing my artwork, I have learned that life qualities are also something that can be developed into something that are a part of us.  Joy is a choice and the creation of art is a luxury so why not marry the two and bask in the luxurious creation that comes from choosing joy?

What do you hope readers will get from your blog?
I started my blog because I wanted a place to record my thoughts and share a few ideas.  I had no grand plans.  I wanted people who enjoyed my work in the crafting industry to be able to find me and a blog seemed to make sense.  However, when we found out that I was expecting our little boy after 16 years of marriage and a few rounds of invitro, my blog changed.  It still had its original kinds of posts but I began to use it as a journal to record this new role of motherhood that I had taken on.  I hope that readers of my blog will find a new perspective, a positive way to approach life, ideas to live realistically, some creative things to do, but mostly encouragement to enjoy life even when it is hard.
What was one of the most unexpected things you’ve learned as you focus on Joy?
At certain points in our lives, we think we understand certain things.  We think that our life’s experiences have taught us plenty and that we are pretty knowledgeable.  As I have continued to get older and continued to have challenges and blessings, I realize that my understanding of “joy” has evolved to become even more than I thought it was.  I’ve had to work harder to choose it and that has made me stronger in many ways.  I thought I knew what choosing joy was…but I have realized that there is still so much to learn.  I’m grateful for that.
Tell us about a time you recently Found Beauty/Joy
If I’m not finding joy every day then I’m in trouble.  That’s just me.  It’s a gauge for my disposition.  I can tell that if I’m not looking for beauty or joy enough then I start to feel bluesy or sad.  When I feel like that I know I have to step up the finding joy part of my life.  I have been very sick over the last year and a half with pancreatitis. I recently had a major surgery done and because my husband is a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, our little 2 1/2 year-old is staying with Grandma and Grandpa till I can do a little more to care for him.  He came to visit and we spent time sending matchbox cars down the racetrack – starting on top of the ottoman and crashing them into the fireplace at the bottom.  When he left (and after I napped!) I looked around and thought about cleaning up the toys.  I decided to leave the racetrack with the pile of cars at the end just like they were because they reminded me of him.  He’ll come home in a couple of days and everything will be cleaned up like it usually is, but for now, the mess makes me happy and so it’s staying!
Please share 1 tip for Finding Beauty/Joy in every day life?
You have to CHOOSE to see beauty.  You have to CHOOSE to feel joy.  There is always something to complain about.  Always.  The hard part is in making the conscious choice to find beauty and joy instead.
You are teaching a VERY exciting online class with Big Picture Scrapbooking entitled Giving Well. How does Giving Well add to the Joy of Our Everyday lives as well as those we gift?
My workshop “Giving Well 2011” is in its third installment for a reason. (Here’s a peek at the projects.)  I have a theory about gift-giving.  It’s all about making it meaningful.  If the things that we give to others have been thought about and personalized, we feel more love toward that person.  In turn, the recipient feels more love from us.  It’s a simple philosophy but one that is rarely taken the time to put into practice.  That’s why people keep coming back each year – they know that they will get simple ideas for crafting gifts but more importantly, they know that they will learn a little bit more about how to give joy as well as give a gift.  Personalized, meaningful, gift-giving.  What could be more joyful than that?

Beth’s Note: I have been honored to know Kolette over many years and various stages of her story and mine. I can truly say she is one of my heroes in the Art of Choosing Joy, even if I never told her so. I know you’ll love reading her story and insights. Here are 2 of my favorites that match our Finding Beauty theme: Balance Theory & Toddler Time.



Here’s the latest on my list. See it grow HERE.

  • Backward Baseball caps
  • Holding the opposing team short on 4th down
  • Wild mushrooms – even the ugly ones
  • Enthusiastic & ENCOURAGING sports parents
  • Max Lucado books
  • Wireless Internet
  • Underdogs who win
  • Soldiers in uniform
  • Morning light through church windows
  • Screaming with 1000s of others in a stadium
  • An overtime win
  • Our God reigns Now & Forever
  • That I’m covered in your love
  • That I have tasted and seen that God is good
  • The weight of all our sin upon your shoulders that we should be called your sons & daughters
  • That what was once crimson is now white as snow
  • That I get to watch God’s love unfold
  • That you let me call you Abba — Daddy God
  • That in You we live and move and have our being
  • That in every breath, I am breathing in your grace
  • A greenhouse of mums
  • Foods that taste like pumpkin
  • Wild daisies on the side of the road
  • Orange bushes at the Robeson off-ramp
  • Bananas to hand a homeless man
  • Pig races
  • Christian on a pony
  • Simple pleasures like playgrounds
  • Roosters
  • When your camera battery goes dead but it doesn’t matter because your heart can hold it all
  • Each and every time I get to see the ocean
  • A really good sandwich
  • Boats with clever names
  • Reading with Christian
  • Getting to be The Mom
  • Puppies with giant paws
  • The smell of coffee
  • Red barns
  • Fields ready for harvest
  • Old farm equipment
  • Cotton
  • John Deere tractors
  • The Honor & Tradition of the military – even in something as tragic as funerals
  • Chris Tomlin songs
  • YouTube
  • Fog hanging over the early morning fields
  • Laughing a silly pet greeting card photos
  • Sleeping ferrets
  • Pet stores where they keep cute things to visit so you don’t have to bring them home
  • Made-up songs
  • When the weather is better than the weatherman said it would be
  • The last out
  • Being challenged to push to the next level
  • Being able to help people in tough situations
  • Surprise parties
  • Feeling at peace
  • Giving up the struggle part of struggling
  • A rainbow on a WV mountain
  • A fall leaf in a running gutter
  • Mountainsides in full color
  • Mom&Dad at a World Series game in St. Louis
  • Grain elevators
  • Illinois fields of corn
  • Kentucky horse farms
  • Thinking about Steak n Shake milkshakes w/o having to eat one
  • The many, many kinds of clouds God made
  • Private jokes between sisters
  • Official state songs
  • God Bless America sung by veterans
  • When the traffic-stalling accident is on the OTHER side of the Interstate
  • Seeing the #28 – Anywhere
  • Scrappy Cardinal baseball
  • Pregame World Series hoopla
  • State Welcome Centers
  • Clydesdales
  • Jokes at the expense of the Cubs
  • How little things feel like home, like Hucks gas station
  • The Arch in the distance
  • Staying in a hotel long enough to unpack
  • Emily’s wedding weekend
  • Meeting a dear friend’s soon-to-be husband
  • Picking up right where you left off, even if it’s been 10 years
  • Sunlight through the curtains
  • Mississippi riverboats
  • Engineering marvels like the Gateway Arch
  • A beautiful fall day
  • Seeing new things in a city I’ve visited dozens of times
  • Rotunda art
  • A foundation dyed Cardinal red
  • Finding our commemorative brick at Busch Stadium
  • The view from 630ft above the Mississippi river
  • Hotels with swimming pools
  • Pizza cut into square pieces
  • A really good meatball sub
  • A day with no schedule
  • Free beer at the end of a brewery tour
  • A dear friend’s wedding day!
  • Hugs from old friends
  • Bubbles
  • A beautiful mix of tears & smiles during a wedding ceremony
  • Flowers in fall colors
  • The Trumpet Voluntary
  • A super-proud father of the bride
  • My Dad praying at Em’s reception
  • Being called Daughter #2 by your friend’s mom
  • Conga lines
  • Dancing with my son
  • Giving myself permission to be silly on the dance floor
  • Sunday morning on the prairie
  • Waking up between my husband and my son — how did I get to be the luckiest girl in the world?
  • Soft socks
  • Gas station coffee
  • Beau Monde seasoning and how it makes me think of my Grandma
  • My parents dancing next to Emily’s
  • Holding hands in the car
  • Comfy car-riding clothes
  • Huey Lewis & the News
  • Racing Christian to the car
  • Cattails
  • A glass-blowing demonstration
  • Handmade art
  • Bees on Flowers
  • Ladybugs
  • Thinking of Emily in Hawaii with her new husband
  • Driving through tunnels
  • Wedding cake (even if it’s just the smell)
  • A great logo
  • A highway rest area right when you need it
  • Great gas mileage
  • People who are really dedicated to their job and go the extra mile
  • Remembering not to give up too soon
  • A nap in the car
  • Gas station snacks
  • Finding cheaper gas in other states
  • Analogies that work!
  • Tenderness
  • Watching true artisans at work
  • Planning a garden
  • The last leaf on a winter bare tree
  • Discovering local farmer’s markets
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Awareness Technique

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