Earlier this evening, as the last car pulled out of our driveway, I happened upon a wonderful video about gratitude. I recently installed an app called Happier because I have promised myself to be happier and more grateful for my blessings than ever before so I am setting up some nudges to keep me on track.

Here is the link, you may enjoy it, too. http://goo.gl/a6WE4Y   The old man narrating shares that in his view there is no such thing as an ordinary day because every day is unique and unlike any other and suggests we should live each one as if it was our first day and our last. Each day is a gift and we can find wonder and magic in every single one when we have the proper perspective of thankfulness.

Today was certainly no ordinary day. We had our final holiday gathering with my husband’s side of the family. We always keep our Christmas decorations up until this time in January so it was a great excuse for stretching out this beloved season before packing it all away for another eleven months or so.

There are now 22 people in my husband’s immediate family, four generations with an age range from not quite 2 to almost 90. Gathering everyone in one place has become quite a logistical feat coordinating seven households and eight kids and every time we do, I am filled with gratitude for so many reasons. I am blessed to have a home where we can all come together and grateful for the wonderful abundant food and for space where we can play outdoors like we did today, on a remarkably sunny mild January day.

My husband’s parents can no longer manage to gather such a large busy bunch in their home so our place has become holiday central and I prepare for it with such great joy it never feels like work. If a bit of stress does creep into my thoughts I quickly remind myself how much it means, especially to them and perfect or not, it will still be a wonderful day. 

I always wonder how many more times we will all be together and that makes me want to hold on to it all even more. It is critically important to live in the moment that we have right now, today. Life can change so quickly and we don’t ever want to miss the chance to express the love that we have. Every day matters. In the midst of our gathering our son-in-law got a call that his dear grandma had passed away minutes before and it was a clear reminder to cherish those who are so dear to us while we can.

No, today was not an ordinary day but a day filled with love and blessings and making memories and I am so glad to have lived it fully in the moment. We are making plans now for a 90th birthday party in June. Sweet anticipation for another day filled with joy.

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.