Category Archives: Inspiration

Giving Thanks for Family Traditions

Webster defines traditions as events that are passed on from generation to generation. The tradition may be a story, a belief, a custom, or a talisman of some sort.

I find traditions comforting, especially those that have passed through more than one generation. Give me the history behind a special one-of-a-kind spoon that Grandma used to prepare a favorite family dish, or a cameo that great-grandmother Erla wore on her wedding dress. I can listen for hours to these stories.

Wisconsin in November brings out a tradition that dates back to early settlers in the region, that of the harvesting of meat to sustain the family through the long winter ahead. Nowadays it is common to see fluorescent orange clothing (or pink for the ladies) hanging on clotheslines or porches as the hunting season nears. Some claim the crisp weather removes human or household odors from the clothes enabling the hunter to be more concealed from the wildlife. I wonder if that is true or if this a tradition that has become part of the adventure.

This year with the raging pandemic there will be smaller family groups gathering as well as fewer spontaneous drop-in visitors. One fallout is that smaller turkeys are being bought for the traditional meal. What if there isn’t any turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce left over for sandwiches on Friday? I, for one, say we can’t let this tradition be lost. Buy a big bird, mom.

Let us also think of new traditions that can be started this year. Maybe we bring out the cloth napkins grandma used that have been kept in a box in the attic, or instead of rushing through the meal to watch the next football game all electronics are turned off during the meal and conversation becomes meaningful.

We can be grateful, happy, and hopeful in this month of Thanksgiving. Maybe that should become a tradition of its own.

Believing in Tomorrow,
Gini Athey

The Power of Positive Thinking

It’s been six months since COVID-19 changed everything. How we shop, how we socialize, how we work, how we communicate, the learning environment, where and how we travel, and even how we dress (masks required!)

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the “new normal”, especially when it looks like these changes will remain in place longer than we anticipated.

Developing a positive attitude in the wake of change and uncertainty is a challenge, but one well worth the effort. When so much is beyond our control, one thing we can determine is how we think, feel, and react.

The benefits of a positive attitude include increased energy, better problem-solving, greater confidence, and more satisfying interactions with people. People with a positive attitude are more creative, more resilient, and live longer than Negative Nellies.

When you are feeling sad or worried or anxious, cultivating a positive attitude may feel just as overwhelming as all the other challenges you’re dealing with. Start with small shifts to build towards greater positivity. Here are five ideas to get you started.

  1. Pay attention to your words and vocabulary. Replace negative, pessimistic phrases with optimistic, empowering ones.
    Instead of saying “I can’t go out to eat,” try “Cooking at home allows me to try new recipes and make healthier choices.”
  2. Start a gratitude journal. Every morning or evening, take five minutes to jot down three things you are grateful for. Reread your entries when you need encouragement.
  3. Connect with people who lift you up with their own positive energy and outlook.
  4. Keep a list of things that inspire you-music, movies, books, blogs, exercise, rituals, etc. Get a daily dose of inspiration to stay on track with your positive outlook
  5. Relish small pleasures. It’s easy to focus on what we’ve lost and what we’ve had to sacrifice, but there is still joy to be had in life. Be intentional about recognizing the pleasure and joy in small moments, such as the perfect cup of coffee, a leisurely walk along a quiet country lane, fresh vegetables from your garden, time to read new books and reread favorites, starting a new hobby, assembling a care package to send to a friend (and envisioning their smile of surprise), and so much more.

How are you staying positive? What inspires you? What encouragement would you offer to others? Keep up the good work and have a wonderful August.

Believing in Tomorrow,

Gini