Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 5

PieIt is Day 5 of the Thanksgiving Blog-Venture: 7 blogs in 7 days by 7 bloggers. Today’s post comes from Tom who is full of wisdom, humor, and a love for pie! He has some great Thanksgiving thoughts and perspective to share with us today.

“That time of year is here again.  We have said goodbye to another summer and are now in the dwindling days of fall. If you live in Northern Michigan, I think we skipped over the last half of fall, and we are now knee deep in winter! Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  The leaves changes, the sun takes on a different glow, there is a crispness in the air, and my thoughts turn to Thanksgiving – and pie! . . .”

Continue reading by clicking HERE.

Don’t forget to give some blog love to Tom while you’re there by leaving a comment or like.

In case you’ve missed any days so far, here are the links:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Advertisements

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 4

reflection-of-godI hope you are enjoying this focus on Thanksgiving and hearing from other great bloggers. Today’s post is by my favorite blogger – my husband, Joe!!

Joe says . . .

This is day four of a seven-part series on Thanksgiving. I’m honored to participate in a blog-hop with 7 friends, over 7 days all about Thanksgiving. You can read the previous blogs by clicking on the links below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Over the past month, I’ve been working on memorizing Colossians chapter three. In God’s funny way of putting things together, I was in the middle of verses 15-17 when I read these words…

Continue reading by clicking HERE.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

 

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture: Day 3

merciesDay 3 of the Thanksgiving Blog-Venture: 7 days. 7 blogs. 7 bloggers.

A couple years ago I chose “joyful” as my word for the year. By focusing on joy and reading books about joy my ability to choose joy improved radically. Today’s blog, by Bev, is a beautiful presentation of how choosing the word gratitude for a year literally changed every area of her life. I think you will enjoy and be challenged. Read Bev’s blog post and give her some blog love by leaving a comment. You will find her post HERE.

Read Day 1.
Read Day 2.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 2

FALL 2It’s Day 2 in our Thanksgiving blog-venture:  7 days. 7 blogs. 7 bloggers.

Today’s insights are from guest blogger, Pastor Terry. You will find some concepts that can have a great impact on the direction of your thoughts and your ability to be truly thankful this holiday season and throughout the year.

Thanks for reading!

You can read today’s post by clicking HERE.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you naturally producing joy and thankfulness?

Philippians 4:8, in the Bible, states:

Ph48Whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
Think About These Things!

Often I hear people (myself included) talk about “trying harder to be joyful or thankful.” Forcing a good attitude or smile on our faces isn’t fooling anybody, especially ourselves. The answer – the secret solution – to lasting joy is found in the final line of the above verse. “Think about these things” . . . think. It does not say to “feel” these things or to “do” these things or to “say” these things. We are supposed to think about these things.

In so many areas it is easy to put the focus on the external, the feeling, doing, or saying. With focus on the behavior we will see immediate results but we don’t always see lasting results. It takes work to change the patterns of our thoughts. Our thoughts are always on – we produce tens of thousands of them a day. We have thoughts while we do anything and everything, including sleep. These thoughts are products of thought patterns formed throughout our lifetime. The subconscious thoughts that go through our minds today are results of hours, days, and years of thought practice.

This is a good thing, right?

It is a good thing if the thoughts we think are true, honorable, just, pure, etc. But many of us have thought practices that build negative thought patterns.

Thoughts of fear and scarcity.
Thoughts of loneliness and abandonment.
Thoughts of sickness and death.
Thoughts of disappointment and failure.

If these are our thought patterns, what do you suppose the resulting feelings, words, and actions will be?
Will these negative thought patterns allow you to be genuinely joyful and thankful?

What would it look like to take gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy and make them year-long characteristics of our lives rather than seasonal ones?

If this was natural then everyone would be full of gratitude and joy. So, if you really want this for yourself, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else you influence, then you will need a proactive action plan.

What will you do this year to produce more gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

50 things1. Give Thanks Jar.

Write things you are thankful for throughout the year on slips of paper and put them in the jar. On Thanksgiving, read through the papers. I love the detail and stories that could be recorded in this jar. I got this idea from Becca’s blog.

2. I’m Thankful for You.

This is something you would do for a specific person. Write out what you love about that person. In Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, he talks about filling up a notebook for his wife for a whole year and then gave it to her as a gift for Thanksgiving. I used a pack of spiral bound 3×5 cards and did a similar concept over a shorter timeframe for my husband, Joe.

gratitude tree3. Gratitude Tree.

I see many families post photos of their gratitude trees during November. What about leaving the tree trunk up all year and putting up different colored leaves during different seasons? Christmas – red and green; Valentines – red, pink, and white; March – green; May – spring colors; July – red, white, and blue (for my American friends). I found a fall tree as an example on this blog link.

Whatever idea you use, please do something to promote gratitude in your own heart and for those around you. Please share your ideas below so we can encourage each other as we grow in gratitude.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Spiral Up or Spiral Down?

IMG_6114The mind is a powerful tool that can work for us or against us. I am working through the book 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, and I am continually struck by how important it is to be proactive when it comes to the mind.

Our thoughts spiral. Negative thoughts go on a downward spiral, feeding off of each other, and producing more negative thoughts and emotions. These thoughts turn into emotions, then into words, and finally into actions. The spiral happens instantly as well as over time. The same is true of positive thoughts. They spiral upward, producing more and more positive thoughts, taking our emotions, ideas, words, and actions in a positive direction.

When I hear negative words coming out of my mouth or feel negative emotions going on inside I try to correct them. I attempt to make myself feel better.

I use things like ice cream (or any sugary sweetness!), food (drive-through, overeating anything), screens (iPad games, Netflix), or sleep.
What do you try when you want to eliminate negative feelings?
Some common ones are food, drugs (over-the-counter ones too!), alcohol, sleep, TV, movies, busyness, exercise.

The reality is that none of these things make negative emotions go away. They may take away the sting of the emotions, but only temporarily. It’s kind of like a really bad burn. Unfortunately, I have had a few bad sunburns in my day, so this comes from first-hand experience. Hanging out in the sun for hours and hours feels amazing and usually the awareness and pain of the sunburn don’t come until after the sun goes down. Then, great pain occurs. We put an awesome, medicated spray on sunburns and it feels amazingly cool. But the coolness doesn’t last. After a little while more spray must be applied, and a little while later more spray must be applied.

Band-aids and medicated sprays are awesome, but they don’t work on negative emotions. We must deal with these emotions at their source. This is where the principles of the Joy-Filled Life book come in. In order to combat negative emotions, words, and actions, we must work on the source – our thoughts!

This is a tough one. Some of those negative (and untrue) thoughts have been running through my mind for years. Weeding those out take time and effort. I must really want to change in order to do the work required.

Do you have negative thoughts, feelings, words or actions that creep into your life on a regular basis?
Do you want to create a different story and a different pattern? A pattern that is filled with positive, upward spirals?
If you answered yes to these questions, then please click the “follow me” button at the top of the page so you can receive notifications of future posts. As I work though this process of rooting out negative thinking, I want to share the journey with you.

The extraordinary journey is not just about our actions and accomplishments, it begins with our thoughts.

Don’t just “Do”, Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Bob’s Chili Recipe

ChiliWatching the movie Ratatouille with my family inspired my 13-year-old to want to do some cooking. I enjoy cooking for my family, even trying new recipes, but doing this task with my son was a true treat!

AJ’s first task was to choose a recipe. I was open to just about anything and he is willing to eat just about anything so the options were endless. He ventured into the notebook titled, “Traci’s Favorites”. This notebook was a craft created at a MOPs event at least five years ago. Please don’t let the title fool you. Although this notebook does contain many of my favorite recipes it also contains many recipes that I have yet to attempt.

The recipe selection: Bob’s Chili Recipe (from the notebook) and Cornbread (from the Original Betty Crocker Cookbook).

Chili2I’m not actually sure why I have never made Bob’s Chili. Years ago (not sure how many) I was trained and then facilitated health and weight-loss classes through a program called Trinity Health. The founders of Trinity Health are Bob and Vicki and this recipe is Bob’s. So, this is not only a good-tasting chili recipe, but it is also a good-for-you recipe! Win-win!

The recipe was simple to follow. Check.

The recipe did not involve any crazy or hard-to-find ingredients. Check.

There was plenty of chili for leftovers. Check.

Everyone in the family liked the chili. Priceless.

Bob’s Chili Recipe

Ingredients (ingredients we used, if different, are placed in parenthesis)

2 lbs. lean ground beef or ground turkey (beef)

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 green pepper, chopped (red pepper)

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 cans (15-16 oz each) whole tomatoes, cut into pieces (petite diced tomatoes)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp Splenda (Stevia)

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tsp red pepper sauce (Tapatio Salsa Picante)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 small can diced green chilis, or 3-4 whole roasted green chilis, peeled and diced (canned)

1 can black beans

1 can rd beans

Directions

Chili3Cook and stir meat, onion, and garlic until meat is light brown, then drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans (don’t drain) and simmer another 45 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. (30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes)

Honestly, I can’t wait to make this recipe again. It was so delicious! Yet, even more than making the chili, I can’t wait to cook with AJ (or one of my other children) again. It was awesome!

Even the simple, mundane, everyday tasks can Be Extraordinary!