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Month: April 2017

Letter of Appreciation Wrap Up

Letter of Appreciation Wrap Up

Well, it’s come down to the wire but I did get all 30 letters done.  It was actually a harder challenge that I thought it would be when I started.  When you sit down to write a letter it feels so much more important, so I got picky with my choices and had a hard time coming up with anyone.  So, that was the challenging part.  It was easy to write the letter to those people that you had a connection with or something that you really wanted to say, but more difficult near the end as my choices were less personal.

Here’s the last pile.  Sorry I didn’t keep up with  challenge on here like I wanted to, but I was doing the A-Z Challenge on the book blog and I got really behind.  This was a fun and enlightening exercise and it might be one I consider revisiting every year.

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(Judy Blume, Dr. Andrew Weil, Susanna Kearsley, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michael J Fox, Joe Cross, Joanna Gaines, Dr. Robert Sears, Fareed Zakaria, Shepard Smith, Diana Gabaldon, Martin Short, Samantha Bee, Jake Tapper)

I’m happy to have a completed challenge behind me!  I think you are all going to want to come back tomorrow and check our new challenges.  They are both going to be challenging for sure.

 

Letters of Appreciation Catch Up

Letters of Appreciation Catch Up

I’ve been writing my letters, just not getting them on here.  Last night I took a picture of the four I’ve written over the last several days.

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Mr. Chris.  Do you know Mr. Chris, the special education from Florida? You can watch this and follow these kids on Facebook.  This is what the world and exactly what these kids need.  I wrote him a letter telling him that I wished we lived in Florida 🙂

Thich Nhat Hanh.  I’ve talked about how much I love this guy over the years, so I took the time to write and tell him how when I read The Miracle of Mindfulness after college, it changed my life and the way I see the world.

Robert De Niro. I wrote to  thank him for being outspoken about the damage vaccines can cause and being vocal in his opposition to Trump.

Greg Iles.  I heard Greg Iles speak at a Cleveland library last night and he is quite a storyteller.  Inspiring speaker and story and I let him know I appreciated it.

Sorry this is so short but Gage has the day off and I’m late for a play date!

 

Letters of Appreciation- Gov. John Kasich and Rep. David Joyce

Letters of Appreciation- Gov. John Kasich and Rep. David Joyce

kasichI’ve written to a few politicians already who I overwhelmingly agree with, but that can’t be where political activism stops. Too often people vote strictly along party lines – even when they know nothing about the candidate.  I know at times I’ve been guilty of this, although to be fair there has never been any election that I haven’t voted for candidates of both parties.  I do most often vote for Democrats or Independents, but that doesn’t mean I don’t vote for Republicans too, when I’ve been swayed by a job well done.  So, this time I wrote to two Republicans that I’ve both voted for and against.

I don’t see eye to eye with Governor Kasich on a lot of things, but I do appreciate that he is not a complete party man.  He is not afraid to speak out against the party when he feels they are wrong.  For this alone he will probably have my vote as long as he wants it.  I do not want an official who won’t think for himself or listen to his constituents.  I didn’t vote for him the first time, but did the next two times I had the chance.  I have no doubt that this country would be better off if he had won the Republican primary last year.  That’s pretty much what I told him.

Representative David Joyce had my vote the first time because I knew someone who personally knew him and spoke highly of him.  When he proved to be too much of a conservative-right candidate, I changed my vote for the next election.  But, in the past few weeks he did come out against the Republican healthcare bill and even though it was never put to a vote I respected his public rejection of it.  So, I thanked him and wished him the best in earning back my vote 🙂

It’s important to thank a person for specific actions taken.  I resent when people label me a ‘liberal‘ and spit it out with contempt just because I vote Democrat more often than Republican.  If someone thinks that one party has all the answers then that person isn’t thinking.  If we all started thanking and complaining about specific actions, we might have politicians who would be willing to make decisions based on the voters.  A girl can hope anyway 🙂

Is  there a politician you respect that you might thank today?

Letters of Appreciation – Stephen King & Judith McNaught

Letters of Appreciation – Stephen King & Judith McNaught

mcnaughtI chose to write to two authors this time around.  Judith McNaught has always been my favorite romance writer.  I discovered her as a teenager and over the years have read all over her books at least once and quite a few multiple times.  She made me fall in love with romances, especially historicals.  She hasn’t written a book in years but I wanted to let her know that her books touch me still.  I need to find the time to re-read one this year.

As for King, well, there is so much that I respect about him, On Writing being on of my all-times favorite books, but it’s the way he appeals to both Jason and me that made me write the letter.  At lunch today Jason and I spent 20 minutes talking about him (Jason’s reading the Shawshank short story) and we can always agree listen to him on a road trip. He’s a great storyteller.  I also love that he stays true to himself and is not afraid to speak up and use his influence for good.

I may write to more authors this month.  If you had to choose one living author to send a letter to, who would it be?

 

Letters of Appreciation – Sherrod Brown and Cory Booker

Letters of Appreciation – Sherrod Brown and Cory Booker

“Young people have been at the forefront of every great social movement in our country’s history.”  Sherrod Brown

sherrodLast night I wrote to a Senator from New Jersey because he speaks so eloquently for the disenfranchised and this morning I wrote to one of my Ohio Senators to thank him for fighting the  good fight and to let him know I was behind him.  I went to a cocktail party of like-minded women last night, about 15 of us, and we discussed what we were doing and what we could do to make sure our voices were heard.  It was refreshing to be able to talk politics with smart women who were taking their concerns directly to our representatives in Congress.  Apparently, one Senator turns away when he sees one of these women in his path (She was able to sit and have a formal talk with him about her concerns. When she brought out charts for him to look at he realized that she came to play :))

I wrote to two Senators that I respect and wanted to encourage them to keep speaking for me.  Too often they only hear from us when we’re angry.  Another woman at the party last night met with one of our Representatives and got the ins and the outs of what works.  Writing and calling works.  He received calls and letters 1000-1 against the Republican health care bill.  He didn’t publicly come out and say he was against it until he got that overwhelming response. It takes courage to buck your party and sometimes they need encouragement.

You probably have people in Congress that you respect and want to encourage.  Why not send them a letter today? Whether our political views are the same, I hope we all become more politically active.  It’s easy to complain, but only when we all start talking can real change happen.

Letters of Appreciation – Dan Rather

Letters of Appreciation – Dan Rather

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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In November, after the election, Dan Rather’s Facebook postings kept many, including me, somewhat sane.  He spoke the truth, but always left me (and over 2 million others) with a feeling that everything’s gonna be okay.  It’s a difficult tightrope and I appreciate the rational and measured response to the daily happenings in Washington.  Apparently, I am not the only one who feel this way since the 85 year old newsman just signed a new book deal  Good for him.  I recommend following him and News and Guts – the page for up to date news.  In my letter I just told him to keep up the good fight.

So, who can you write to today?

Letters of Appreciation – Dr. Temple Grandin

Letters of Appreciation – Dr. Temple Grandin

And none will hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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Dear Temple

I’m writing to you today, on National Autism Awareness Day, to thank you for being a beacon of light for parents with children on the spectrum.  When can tell them about your struggles and  accomplishments and how they too can change the world….

Choosing to write to Temple today was a no-brainer.  Jason and I went to hear her speak two years ago and she was a force.  She is smart and willing and wanting to help: help us parents and help our kids succeed.  She is a rock star among autism parents and she takes on that responsibility with great enthusiasm.  In June, she will be speaking at the yearly autism conference in Cleveland and I’m looking forward to seeing her once again.  She is 69 and I wish I had her energy!

So, who can you write to today?

Letters of Appreciation – Loganberry Books

Letters of Appreciation – Loganberry Books

Last summer when Jason and I were brainstorming about some of the 30 day challenges we might try I added write to an elected official to my list.  Well, the joke’s on me since I have written, typed, and called elected officials several days each week since the beginning of January.  Only it’s hard and it’s depressing.  I won’t stop, but it’s not something I do because I enjoy it.  So, I thought back to my one word that I was trying to focus on this year, INSPIRED, and decided to let that help me focus on a month of writing letters. Instead of only writing to those who I disagree with I’m going to also write to those who inspire me.  These aren’t going to be letters to friends, I want this to be a note of encouragement to public people who are standing up even when it can be difficult. I have a list of about a dozen so far and while many of them are political figures some, like today, are not.

So, why not join me? If not every day, any day.  If you do please leave a comment and let me know who  and why.  Maybe they’ll get a letter from me too 🙂

loganberryLoganberry Books is a local independent bookstore who did something very cool for Women’s History Month in March. (I wrote a post here) To illustrate the gender gap in fiction they turned all books written by men backwards and left only the women authors showing.  It was a sight to see so I hope you take a look at the post.  The story got picked up by some online sites and I was shocked by the negative comments.  This display was only for two weeks but you would have thought that they were stringing up men in the store on a daily basis.  As part of the display they had a raffle of some books if you donated to local charities and I won this Supreme Court companion book.  So, I wrote to the owner of the bookstore admiring her store, heaping praise on the bold display and thanking her for the book.

April is Autism Awareness month so I’m using these cards I bought from Nick at a conference.  The correct website is Nick’s Art Project if you are interested.

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So, who might you write to today?  Let’s all spread a little joy this month.

Relaxation Challenge – The Stress-Free Finish Line

Relaxation Challenge – The Stress-Free Finish Line

Unfortunately, my stress free month has ended.  This challenge proved more beneficial and insightful than I expected.  If you find yourself getting stressed out too often, here’s my recommendation.  Like anything, you’ve got to have a plan.  The most important thing is keeping track of what triggers your stress by keeping a journal and recording what contributes to your anxiety.  You might discover, like I did, that certain tasks in your daily routine contribute to stress.  Once you understand the triggers, it’s much easier to take control of the situation.  Then you can utilize stress reduction techniques most efficiently.  I used a combination of meditation, music, and stretching.  

Another big insight I learned came in dealing with factors outside of your control.  Many times each day things happen that you can’t control and we become victims by allowing stress to win.  The key is to realize you have the power and don’t let that guy who cut you off driving to work negatively impact you.  Okay, I know that sounds too simple, but I’ve found it to be true.  Just remember you’re in charge of your emotions and the hardest part is over.  So much anxiety is caused when we feel we’re not in control.  Convince yourself you’re in control and you’ll be happier and healthier.

During the month, we purchased a massage chair.  I’d been thinking about getting one for a couple years and the challenge was just what I needed to convince myself that it was time.   We’ve had it about three weeks now and I think I’ve used it almost every day.  The chair is great to use for 10-15 minutes before bed.  I fall asleep faster and even seem to sleep better.  The technology in the newest massage chairs has radically improved in recent years and prices have also been coming down.  I did a lot of research before making a decision and the best place I found was here.   Dr. Weidner was very helpful and the entire process went smoothly. 

Good luck to those who choose to stand up to stress.  Punch stress in the face and take control.  You’ll be happy you did.