40 Happy Thanks

Happy 40th Anniversary to my extraordinary husband, my sweetheart, my handsome man, my love who is compassionate giving strong intelligent witty quirky generous, my most dreamiest-prayer-answered man. The one I adore who loves God and family and friends with grace and humility and dignity.

1 Thank you for your love. This statement really sums up everything.  Your love has carried me, nourished me, shaped me, encouraged me, comforted me for 40 years. And every day you say it: “I love you.”

2 Thank you for your faith. You have a quiet, unshakable faith in our Lord. You love God and you follow Jesus.

3 Thank you for your wisdom to say, “Plan A is always love and prayer.”

4 Thank you for our sons. What joys, what blessings. And thank you for living by example. Whew, my heart. Infinity emojis.

5 Thank you for your affection. Those kisses! Those hugs! Swoon! And not just for me. For your children. Your grandchildren. Family!

6 Thank you for your belief in me. You never said, “You can’t be a mother. You can’t have a baby. You can’t have another baby” because of my limitations.

7 Thank you for your support.  Because when I wanted to stay at home with the children, you said “yes, you can do it.” Because when I started my business, you were my advocate and encourager.

8 Thank you for your forgiveness. Boy, I sure screw up a lot and it’s a relief that you forgive and we move on.

9 Thank you for lifting me up. Literally, when I’ve stumbled and face-planted. Spiritually, when I’ve doubted what’s next. Emotionally, when I’ve felt flattened. Always, you’re there to pick me up.

10 Thank you for being fun. Your humor. Your imagination. You are my man-kid.

11 Thank you for your brilliance. You are scary smart and I’m in awe that you know so much stuff.  You are the valedictorian of Household Bigger.

12 Thank you for your wit. Like when, just concerning the temperature of the house, I ask, “Are you hot?” Short pause. “Uh, that would be your call, wouldn’t it?” Short pause. Short chuckle.

13 Thank you for your compliments. You are quick to tell me I’m beautiful and sexy. That amazes me. I’ll put on lip gloss for you.

14 Thank you for compromising. I’m the extrovert; you’re the introvert. And yet, you’ll go with me to parties. It’s a gift to me.

15 Thank you for your respect of my individuality. See above. You let me be who God created me to be.

16 Thank you for listening. Because, mercy, I’m a talker. But never once did you say talk to the hand. And never did you say I told you so.

17 Thank you for caring. Oh my, especially during my awful morning sickness. And then there was that whole menopause thing. And now this whole getting old thing.

18 Thank you for (getting better at) communicating. Well, we have to have something to work on. Ha.

19 Thank you for your generosity. Not only do you listen and buy presents of things your family will like, you find little gifts for others, friends, co-workers, and even children of my friends. I love that you’re The Lego Man to many small people.

20 Thank you for your patience. Slowly, she turns. Step by step. Inch by inch. (Embarrassing homage!)

21 Thank you for your compassion. For considering others before yourself. Not being hyperbolic…

22 Thank you for your thoughtfulness. Your kindness. It’s there. For so many. <insert excessive punctuation>

23 Thank you for making ordinary moments into happy moments. Strolling the aisles of Target. Watching Fred Astaire films. Sharing a grilled cheese sandwich. Daily being.

24 Thank you for working things out. When we are mad and frustrated and annoyed with each other. Over big stuff. Over petty stuff. We work it out. Together.

25 Thank you for your quiet steadiness. Your guidance. My North Star.

26 Thank you for protecting me.  And I don’t just mean from spideys and all things crawly, but for protecting my heart.

27 Thank you for providing for your family. You always worked hard, and in jobs that were often challenging. But you went to work every day and rarely complained. I admire that.

28 Thank you for hot beverages. Michigan Cherry Coffee. Vanilla chai.

29 Thank you for facing problems with me. When there are events and circumstances and days that drive me to chocolate and Peeps and gluten and bacon, you held my hand and don’t let go.

30 Thank you for wiping away my tears. I am one leaky, emotional, sentimental, easily bruised, tender, mess of hormones. And you hand me tissues.

31 Thank you for accepting me just the way I am. No lie, I have issues. And you love the tattered package that is me.

32 Thank you for enjoying my company. We are all weird in some way.

33 Thank you for cheering for my teams. Well, at least the Ball State Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts. And all U.S. Olympic teams, especially curling. (And then there’s your teasing/tolerating/tormenting of my obsession with the Chicago Cubs.)

34 Thank you for smiling. And. Those. Blue. Eyes. You still melt my ice cream.

35 Thank you for going with the flow. Your mother’s advice.

36 Thank you for doing housework. It makes me the envy of my friends. High five.

37 Thank you for sanding all my rough edges. I give you a million points.

38 Thank you for your TLC, your attentiveness. Your sweetness to ask: “How can I help you?” “What do you need?”

39 Thank you that your heart is my home. Every place with you is a happy place. I love you so much my heart could explode into a bazillion pieces of joy and happiness.

40 Thank you for your true love/twue wuve. Because it’s not about how many days, months or years we’ve been together, it’s about how much we actually love each other every day.

What could I possibly give you to thank you for so many ways you’ve blessed me with your deep affection, your thoughtfulness, kindness, and praise? What could I possibly offer to thank you for all that you’ve done to brighten my life with your goodness and to make every day so much fun? There is nothing on earth I could give you that could ever be worth even part of all that you are, so what I will give you is all of the love in my heart.

Preach

Some days I want to move my Happy Day Moment to the side and create a Preachy Day Moment.
Some days I just want to get up and start preaching. Preach Jesus.

Preach Love
Preach Forgiveness
Preach Faith
Preach Miracles
Preach Prayer
Preach Grace
Preach Truth
Preach Peace
Preach Reconciliation
Preach Mercy
Preach Healing
Preach Kindness
Preach Respect
Preach Generosity
Preach Compassion
Preach Acceptance
Preach Second Chances
Preach Goodness
Preach Sacrifice
Preach Caring
Preach The Golden Rule
Preach Empathy
Preach Gratitude
Preach Friendship
Preach Laughter
Preach Strength
Preach Humility
Preach Hope
Preach Giving
Preach Encouragement
Preach Wisdom
Preach Courage
Preach The Good News
Preach Joy
Preach Life
Preach Jesus
Preach Love

Some days I just wanna preach.

Project HDM: 10 Years

Ten years.  Yes, it’s been a decade of posting a Happy Day Moment on my Facebook page. April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2020.  Yes, that’s 3,650 consecutive days of discovering and recording a “moment” each day that reminded me to be grateful, to live with gratitude. {Yes, you can applaud/throw confetti/send chocolates and/or vacation packages …. 😊}

Why did I begin this social media project?

With so many Facebook posts that were negative, complaining, even whining, I was determined to use my status as a more positive platform.

My goal for this project was to make myself focus on some “moment” during each day where I could be positive, thankful, and “happy” that I was alive. To slow down. Just for a bit. And be grateful.

Throughout these postings, I’ve experienced days with moments of love, joy, celebration, laughter, happiness – unexpected moments. But I’ve also had some days that were really crummy and achy and some that were soaked in sadness, loss, sickness, grief and disappointments.

In every day, yes, every day, however, I found that “moment” that I could call forth as “happy.”

This experiment has been profound for me. For most of my life I’ve had a glass-half-full attitude, even when a diving accident as a 13-year-old left me a diagnosed quadriplegic. I’ve learned what being grateful can do, embracing each day. Life can be hard. I know.  But every day that I choose to look for the happy, the good, the blessing, the love, the joy – shifts my heart and my head into a better place. A place of gratitude.

Quite simply, it’s become my tool to keep track of the good things in life. No matter how difficult and defeating my day can sometimes feel, there is always a “moment,” something to feel grateful about. We can all be grateful.

While it’s tough to find that “moment,” that “something” to be grateful about during a rough patch, it’s not just another “easy to say, but hard to do” action – it can actually help rescue you during a storm.

Even more than that, regularly finding a “moment” and identifying the good things in your life can help prepare and strengthen you to deal with unexpected heartache and pain.

We all have own challenges and difficult days. Yet, even in my darkest days, my instinct is to feel grateful for the things that I do have and for the things that are going well. I let gratitude be the doorway to hope; once hopeful, I find strength and the will to take one small step that moves me to better and easier times.

It’s God’s way. It’s who we can choose to be. Grateful.

For in writing good words, for finding “happy” moments and sharing them, I’ve discovered that I’m more thoughtful, more encouraging, more inspired, more aware – of the goodness of life all around me.

I know it’s rather grandiose of me to think that my small little space, my Facebook presence can make a big change in how others think about gratitude, but if I’ve learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that when it comes to talking about living with gratitude, and about how we use our words – we can’t do it enough.

Words. Matter. Even on Facebook.

Words we write. Words we say.

Every year has its negatives, its disappointments, its regrets, its sorrows, its pains, its losses.

Yet, every year (if you choose to discover) has its positives, its joys, its celebrations, its wins.

Some years have more milestones than others: personal physical mental professional relational emotional financial spiritual. Some years prayers are answered; some years there is more waiting.

This identifying and reporting a Happy Day Moment has become a spiritual practice, a habit…and my super power is believing that we can all find a Happy Day Moment. The daily practice, the discipline, the routine of choosing to look for the positive, being grateful, not always focusing on the negative, has changed me. Forever. Strengthened me to face … anything.

I take note of my gratitude for a moment in the day when things are good, or I feel blessed, or I merely remember that I’m alive. Mostly, the moments are tiny and commonplace, not usually moments of grandeur or enormous successes. They are moments of small human connection, that smile, that morning kiss, or a sudden bit of humor, or a child’s laughter, or the elderly couple holding hands, or the glimpse of a cardinal on a branch, or even a moment of peace during a hectic day. Then, sometimes they really are monumental moments: 30 years married; 35 years married; births of grandchildren; husband’s retirement; new job; son’s career and new home; Cubs win the World Series.

Throughout these years, however, I’ve noticed that I’m capable of finding happy moments smack in the middle of the tough and painful and hurting and grieving moments. The comfort from a friend when I’m sad can be a happy moment, right in the midst of a very hard time. The kindness of someone bringing a cup of coffee when I’ve had a stressful and exhausting day can be a happy moment. The prayers from those who know my heartache can be a happy moment.

Yes, life is still good and there can still be gratitude, even when difficult stuff happens. This practice doesn’t shield me from the hard times or a denial that dark times will always exist, but acknowledging my “moment” brings me unshakable joy and gratitude for the miracle that is my life.

Becoming aware of a happy day moment takes a personal effort, paying attention to the instances of the blessings of life, shining a spotlight on the small good things.

It’s impossible to think negatively when you’re focusing on the positive.

It’s impossible to have an attitude of lack when you’re embracing abundance.

It’s impossible to be judgmental, resentful, or quarrelsome when you’re thankful for your relationships.

It’s impossible to miss the lessons when you give thanks for your difficulties and obstacles.

It’s impossible to miss the moment when you’re present and grounded in each one as it comes.

I know I can keep my humor, my perspective, and my patience regardless of how my day (or life) evolves.

The key is gratitude.

After years of leaning into gratitude, I know I’ve only scratched the surface of this powerful principle. I realize my pursuit of gratitude isn’t an accident, as much as preparation for what has come my way during these last few years. Preparing to see me through – because when it comes to the struggles of life, we need gratitude to be our companion.

Because this is what happens:

Words of gratitude lift us above circumstance.

Sometimes the wall of difficulties we face appears too tall to scale. But the presence of gratitude lifts and carries us. We become stronger, more agile, infused with what we need, not just to face the barrier, but to search for a way around or over that we hadn’t considered before.

Words of gratitude refocus our attention.

They change our perspective.  We’re never off on the wrong foot when we step out in gratitude. We can’t think negatively when we focus on the positive. We’re less judgmental, resentful, or divisive when we’re thankful for our relationships (especially the complicated ones). Sometimes it’s easy to focus on our hurts or sorrows and miss all of the other places that good things are happening.  It’s possible for good things and hard things to co-exist in our lives. We show wisdom when we can focus on being thankful and noticing the good, instead of concentrating on the bad.

Words of gratitude bring us joy.

Those who live in gratitude have the most joyful lives. It’s impossible to miss the joy when we’re on the lookout for blessings. We won’t miss out on the moments when we’re present and rooted in each one as it comes.

Words are powerful. Even words written in a Facebook post.

Let’s make our words a powerful happy mission.

Let’s unleash the power of gratitude.

My mom – always my Happy Day Moment

I had not intended such a long silence in posting to my website. Life. Sometimes it gets. In. the. Way.

But today I must post this celebration of my Mom’s 85th birthday. Mom always seemed to be what I needed. Probably what you needed, too. Thank God. My mom – always my Happy Day Moment.

Her gifts. Her talents. Her abundance. Her love faith hope — what she has, she always gives.

Her heart has what we need

Do you need a hug, a card, a ride somewhere? She’s there – with love and friendship, wisdom, and words of hope/encouragement. Always hugs and fun, laughter and joy. Always peace and kindness and goodness, faithfulness. Always gentleness and graciousness, abundant generosity and courage.

“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

Her spirit has what we need

Do you need healing? Are you hurting, sad, lonely, grieving? She will share her Jesus, her faith, her prayers – always, everywhere, over the phone, her laying on of hands (even in supermarkets), her scriptures, her “sermonettes,” her fasting, her interceding, her anointing, her service to build up the body of Christ.

“So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

She also has things we need … and she shares!

Her kitchen has what we need

Are you hungry? She’ll bless you and the furnace repairman and the lawn care helper and just about anyone with her baked goods. Cookies/muffins/pies/banana bread/soup in the freezer. And she’ll deliver! Maybe there is chicken and noodles, or maybe lasagna. But always crackers and snacks in the cupboard. Everything. In. The. Fridge.

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” ~ Hebrews 13:16

Her closets have what we need

Are you going somewhere special, not time to shop? She’ll offer jackets jackets and festive apparel (all the holidays), shoes .. oh, the shoes (even sparkly ones), scarves, and every top you could think of, coats, and bangles and bling.

“Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.” ~ Luke 3:11

Her purse has what we need

Are you sitting beside her at a meeting/church/ballgame? Find yourself lacking some essential? Just ask Mom! She’ll pull out her handbag! She’s hand you a Kleenex. Always tissues. (sometimes tucked in her sleeve), comb, Wintergreen Life Savers, nail file, sewing kit, measuring tape, chapstick, pens, paper, coupons, toothpicks, aspirin/Advil, lotion, band-aids, safety pins, and perhaps a granola bar. Perhaps even cash.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:15

Mom’s got your back. With an embrace, a cheerful remark, a Word from the Lord, a Tupperware of cookies, a Christmas sweater, a packet of tissues. She’s got you. (And I didn’t even mention the decorations/baskets/candles/etc. in her two garages…)

Mom pretty much has it all. And she has always given her all. Her purpose to bring glory to Jesus.

The gift of Barbara Kehoe.

“Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above.” ~ James 1:17

Happy birthday, beloved Momma! I am living with gratitude that you are my mother.

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s choose

Moments. That steaming cup of coffee in your hand. That smell of bacon floating through the house (even better, that taste of bacon). That waggle of the basset hound on your neighbor’s leash. That fiery sunset blazing across the evening sky. That giggle of the toddler in the shopping cart in front of you. That mother cooing and calming her infant in the diaper aisle. That simple “sweet dreams” uttered at the close of day. Moments. To. Notice. Moments to be thankful. Moments to live in awareness.

You can do it. You can pause and notice and grab onto the precious moments of this life and stop being distracted with the things that don’t really matter. You can live with gratitude. Even in the hard places.

For this month of November, this month of Thanksgiving, let’s choose to be fully alive, to “SEE” [detect, observe, witness, recognize, comprehend, appreciate] the Moments in our daily lives. For these thirty days, let’s choose …

To focus on doing the things that will matter forever.

To see and feel and listen and touch and taste.

To attend to relationships.

To give grace and forgiveness instead of anger and blame.

To forego judgment and embrace understanding.

To regard kindness and patience and faith as essentials.

To surrender the need to always be right.

To understand the value of time, that life is short.

To silence distractions.

To realize that some risks are too important not to take.

To stop worrying about failing and to start doing.

To Love because in the end, there is nothing else.

To. Keep. Loving.

In. All. The. Moments.

For this month of November, when the hourglass of 2020 is sifting to an end, let’s choose to …

Be willing to love.

Be willing to be loved.

Be willing to know.

Be willing to not know.

Be willing to say yes.

Be willing to say no.

Be willing to protect.

Be willing to let go.

Be willing to hold onto.

Be willing to rejoice.

Be willing to pray.

Be willing to be thankful.

Let’s choose. Love. Let’s see love. Let’s be love.

God’s Love.