Grat Friday - Smiling Baby editionI’m innately a big “thanker” and I love this piece about how to give a meaningful thank you. While it’s specifically about showing gratitude and appreciation toward employees, the concept is universal: the folks who help you and your family on a daily basis—the cashier at CVS, the dishwasher repair guy, your daughter’s karate instructor—don’t hear “thank you” often enough. While you might be thinking that paying the person is thanks enough, everyone appreciates the motivating effects of a genuine “thank you.” So think about spreading the happiness with a heartfelt thank you to someone who has gone above and beyond for you this week.

Who and what am I grateful for this week? Here ya go:

 I’m grateful to Omar at for helping me get my holiday card order placed and produced so nicely! We’ve been sending out holiday photo cards since the kids were very young, and Dave’s clients actually start asking about them in October. In fact, a number of clients have kept every photo card over the years and have loved watching the gang grow. Last year was a disastrous printing experience; I had to have the cards printed three times from two different suppliers before the quality and color was even remotely acceptable (but still largely disappointing). This year, I was determined to start early and avoid such a debacle. I’m happy to report that I have two huge boxes of beautiful cards sitting in my kitchen—on the first try! I was so excited that I emailed Omar a great-big thank you.

 I’m a sucker for a smiling baby. Nothing brightens my day more than getting a cute baby to grin, and that’s exactly what happened yesterday when I got to meet my adorable butcher’s sweet little guy. He had big blue eyes, a happy grin with a few teeth, and he even giggled a little as his daddy held him. All sunshine!

 Last weekend we celebrated the life of David’s dear uncle who recently passed away at age 87. I got to know Uncle Arnold well while I was pregnant and on bed-rest with my youngest guy, and he and I became email penpals. I feel so blessed to have known him and his wonderfully kind late wife, Aunt Judy, and I’m grateful that although it was for a sad occasion, we were able to see and hug so many of Dave’s relatives. I was also very thankful to see a cousin who had had a tremendous health scare and is now mostly recovered, doing extremely well and looks quite handsome.

 This was one of the most productive weeks I’ve had all year. I finally attended to piles that have been languishing for months, a huge project I’ve wanted to start, and a million little errands, emails and notes I’ve wanted to catch up on. While I appreciate being able to relax from time to time, I’d rather be busy accomplishing stuff. Makes for a happier Andrea.

Hall & Oates at The Beacon, NYC 2013

Hall & Oates at The Beacon, NYC 2013

 What a gift to have a Monday night date with my honey in NYC, where he was willing to take me to a concert by Hall & Oates, whom I’ve always wanted to see live. I love so many of their hits that instantly transport me back to such happy years in the late 70s and early 80s: She’s Gone, Sara Smile, Maneater, You Make My Dreams, I Can’t Go For That, Private Eyes…and they performed them all and then some. These guys are in their 60s and are still consummate songwriters and musicians. I am grateful to them for the music they have created, as well as for the opportunity to see them perform it. And it’s just the beginning of our “Autumn of Old Men Performing Old Songs.” Stay tuned!

 Delicious lunch and excellent conversation in a stunning place on a sunny day with a favorite friend. Blessed.

 Grateful and tickled that my boys think of me throughout the day and randomly send me texts asking how it’s going. One of my favorite moments this week was on Monday when I hadn’t been in touch with my college guy all day and we happened to text each other at precisely the same instant. Our hearts are connected!

 I learned this week that it’s more meaningful to me to try to brighten someone’s day than it is to receive their acknowledgment. Putting my own expectations on someone else is often a recipe for disappointment, so I realized that a new, different mindset will bring happier results. A useful epiphany.

 Really appreciating the energy and focus I’m getting from working out. I’ve gradually been able to increase the level of my workouts since I started, and it feels good to have stuck with my commitment to get a little more fit. While there are days that time drags while I’m on the treadmill, there are other days when I don’t want to get off. And light weight training is the best feeling in the world.

What’s something you’re grateful for this week?

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