2/8/08

Attitude of Gratitude - Another Balcony Girls Lesson (and new GIVEAWAY winner!)

It’s been a while since my Balcony Girls and I met, so yesterday was an afternoon full of excitement and anticipation as we came together to learn a lesson on gratitude.

Gratitude: A feeling of being grateful or thankful. It comes from being content and it comes from our hearts.

Not only did we have a festive Valentine’s Day party, but we went to Hoppi’s house (a real treat), where she taught the girls a valuable lesson – how to write a thank you note*.

Keeping gratitude in mind, how do you pen your thoughts to someone, thanking them for a kind act or a gift? Hoppi read from an old etiquette book examples of how, many years ago, people would write long thank you notes, which were quite detailed.

I wonder how many times I have thanked someone today? It seems like sometimes we go days without saying, “thank you.” When we lose the ability to say “thanks,” we start to get self-centered and “me” oriented. That is a sad state to be in.

When we forget to say “thank you” (or express appreciation), is it because we are afraid that someone else is somehow better than us? And we are less? Or is it FEAR (false evidence appearing real), or insecurity or competitiveness that has gotten in the way? (Very common with girls!) Or is it sheer thoughtlessness, that we don’t think of how a person sacrificed or put out for us long enough to be grateful to them for their effort?

Saying, “thank you” makes the other person feel special and spreads love. It also increases the chance that that person will want to do more good! It’s give and take – appreciation and giving thanks. There’s no competition involved!! Hoppi shared with the girls that when she puts a lot of time and love into a gift, and she is not validated in return with a “thank you,” it makes her not want to send a gift to that person again!

After the girls had their snack of mini hamburgers, chips and juice, I shared with them a little secret of what I often do when I lie in bed and can’t go to sleep! I pray, and then I start making a list in my head for things that I am grateful for. And people I am thankful for. Instead of complaining about what I don’t have, I’m thankful for what I do have!

Life does not owe us personal fulfillment, happiness or contentment. These are the results of gratitude. It all starts with appreciating what we have.

The obvious things we are thankful for are what we have (home, food, family) and what others do for us (trips, laundry, gifts, care for us)! But for Balcony Girls who are focusing on friendships, what about being thankful for support, encouragement, trust, and being able to share with one another?

Ending with this very mature way of looking at gratitude, I am hoping that the girls would grasp this concept and be able to take gratitude one step further (outside of themselves - it’s not always about me!) That they will learn to take the opportunity to help the less fortunate, whether with health, financial or social needs – and find that it is a privilege to share the burdens or pains of others.

I was so grateful to Hoppi for sharing her home, food and time with us yesterday, such beautiful acts of kindness. Along with a crazy work week for me, a Talent Show (pictures below) and a Balcony Girls meeting back-to-back, I found myself on overload, but blessed by Hoppi’s willingness to help me out.

Yes, an attitude of gratitude was instilled in our hearts, a perfect lesson for the Valentine’s season. We learned that gratitude does not end with our private thanks to God, but overflows to those who touch our lives.

(* I must say I have an exceptional group of young ladies – and their parents have already taught them what I am teaching. I am just reinforcing it!)

Interested in Talent Show pictures? Here are a few of the "Singing Nuns" and the 5th grade "Mix the Beat," act. Oh, and the feet ... Paul always takes a picture of Abby's feet when she is performing! :)





We have a new winner for my Valentine's Day GIVEAWAY! Kathy did not come forward to claim her prize in time for me to mail it out. Melissa is my new winner. Melissa also lives in Oregon, she has a beautiful site, The Inspired Room, and also writes a monthly column with CWO!

Congrats Melissa!

15 comments:

Kirstin said...

Sandy,

I love your idea for your Balcony girls. It is so important that young ones learn how to be thankful and even express gratitude. So many parents don't teach this and therefore their kids are often viewed as impolite, rude, ungrateful and selfish.

My girls love writing notes to people. Both thank you notes and just encouraging notes.

The little hamburgers looked yummy. It looked like maybe you made rolled biscuits to put them in?

~j~ said...

Ohh I would love to be part of Balcony Girls too! And those little hamburgers..got to love those.
Congrats to Melissa! How fun for her.What a great gift for Valentines day.
Can never get enough of your blog Sandy as always,
julia

AnneMarie said...

congrats to the winner!
so glad you brought up the Balcony Girls- I was just talking to a buddy of mine about you and your BGs! She loved the idea.. kind of sounds like Little Flowers. do you know them?


My grandfather instilled in me the power of thank you.. as did my father. I also learned a valuable lesson in that you must respond with a "you're welcome." It is essential. One time my dad had had enough with this one gal he always opened the door for.. she never would say thank you... but he made sure he said your welcome.. and that she heard! Common courtesies take you so far in life. I teach my kids as soon as they can mumble to say thank you, please, yes ma'am, yes sir, no sir, no ma'am, and your welcome. Manners matter... be grateful you were given a chance to accept someone else's kindness..
love your blog! keep going!

melissa @ the inspired room said...

Funny you should be talking about the value of a thank you note! I have always enjoyed hand writing thank you notes, but lately in the busyness of life I've slipped a bit. So today I sat at my desk with a pen in hand and actually wrote and then mailed some notes to people! It felt great to just sit and write on beautiful cards rather than rush through typing as I usually have to do in blogging and emailing! :-)

Balcony girls sounds like a very cool group! I was wondering what that was when you mentioned it before! Great girls and good lessons.

Hope your business went well today! I am so excited about winning your giveaway. It is always fun to open the mail to a little surprise!

Thanks Sandy!

Happy weekend,
melissa

melissa @ the inspired room said...

Oh, whoops, I forgot to mention how fun the talent show looked! Cracking up over the feet picture!

Jenster said...

What a great lesson for all of us!

ValleyGirl said...

I think you hit the nail right on the head when you said sometimes thank yous get neglected because of fear and competition and feelings of superiority or inferiority. Especially with women. So genuinely expressing thankfulness to others can also be an exercise in humility. Which takes practise as well!

Cute talent show pictures!!

Susie said...

First of all, I love your blog! I absolutely have a heart for entertaining, but it has been so hard since we made a job change and moved to a much smaller home. I've really enjoyed reading all your tips and encouragement. In fact, my husband and I entertained last night and had a blast despite our new digs. I look forward to coming back by for more visits to read.

Barb said...

Luv Hoppi's decor! If you bring the Balcony Girls on a cross-country trip in April, we can teach them farm hospitality (and the importance of hard work) surrounded by baby lambs! :oD

Nadine said...

Another great post. What wonderful lessons to teach our children when they are young and eager. I loved this part:

Life does not owe us personal fulfillment, happiness or contentment. These are the results of gratitude. It all starts with appreciating what we have.

Thank you Sandy for sharing who you are and what you have learned with all of us.

Dawn said...

I'm so inspired by this post. We all need this reminder to put more gratitude into our attitudes. You're balcony girls club sounds so wonderful-I'm keeping this idea in the back of my head for something I might like to do with my daughter's friends.

Poppy & Mei said...

Beautiful...Xxx

Bev said...

I just wanted to stop and tell you how much I enjoy coming over here to read what you're up to - it's always a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

What a great blog! I'm so happy tonight that you stopped by and left a comment so that I could find you. Thanks!

I'm off to read a little more and gain some confidence, I hope. We love having company, but don't always feel relaxed with our ability to pull it all together.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the BG post : )

deb meyers