Tag Archives: shawn achor

Setting the Thanksgiving Mood

I turned to Josh the other day to see him staring into space. “What are you thinking about?” I asked.

“I’m having a hard time getting into a Thanksgiving mood.”

It’s no wonder. What with his work deadlines, the impending arrival of the Sauerpatch Kid, the painfully divided state of our nation, among other things, our minds have been stretched these last few weeks. I also just typed in “Why Be Thankful” to Google. It froze.

But come on people! Being thankful is one of the healthiest choices you can make for yourself. Yes, I said ‘choice.’ Thankfulness is a practice, an attitude to assume, to put on like clothing. In Shawn Achor‘s book, The Happiness Advantage, one of his top recommendations is to write down three things for which we are grateful every day for 21 days, the theory being that 21 days is enough to solidify a habit. The three things do not need to be profound, but the do need to be different every day. They can range from “I am thankful for my spouse” to “I am thankful for the feeling of a cup of hot tea close to my body on a chilly morning.” Whatever floats your thankful boat.

But if your health is not enough incentive to adjust your attitude this Thanksgiving, here are three other things that might help.

  1. Listen to Bing.

2. Step up your game with your Thanksgiving menu this year. Nothing like some kitchen creativity to warm the soul. These are Edible Nashville recommendations this year, but I suggest you poke around the website as there are TONS more where those came from.

tday recipes.PNG

3. Meditate on This: 

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington



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Filed under Inspiration and Creativity, Life is good and here's why, Running Commentary on whatever tickles the fancy

30 by 30 Challenge: Make 30 new things by my birthday

So……I have 39 days left of my twenties. To put it diplomatically, I have mixed feelings about this.

As I wrestle with the “should haves” from the last decade, one wish is that I had spent more time making stuff. Growing up, when we asked our mom to buy us a treat of some kind, more often than not she would say, “We can make that.” This shaped all three of us siblings, even if many of those times we never made the thing we wanted to buy. Today, we all approach needs that arise with the question, “How might I make that?” It meant so much to my sister, in fact, that she tattooed “I can make that” on her wrist, a permanent reminder of her identity as a creator.

Making more things, I think, will be a goal of my thirties. I want to spend more time doing than just thinking about stuff I could do, more time creating than consuming.

megamaker-logo-3dEnter the Mega Maker Challenge.

The other day my friend Tony pointed me toward a podcast by designer Justin Jackson who is undergoing a challenge to make 100 new things in 2016. He is inviting his audience to take part, and it seemed fitting to ramp up to year (gasp!) 30 by likewise making a bunch of stuff. This makes a lot of sense to me because…

1. I feel best when I am doing creative work.
2. Because Todd Henry, author of the Accidental Creative, advocates for unnecessary creating, i.e. creating that is not required for an assignment, to ensure our passions are fed and playtime is incorporated into our routine.
3. Because I want to build a habit of making things regularly, and according to The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor, you need to do something for at least 21 days to build a habit.

With these reasons in mind, I am going to challenge myself to make 30 new things before turning 30. Below is my list with a few explanations. For the record, I reserve right to change list items, so long as I complete making 30 new things by March 4.

  1. latteLatte (Already done! I’m not a big coffee drinker so this is a big deal. I made it with brown sugar, by the way, which was very yummy.)
  2. (Finish making) Peter’s music video. My friend Peter McKeown, also known as Woodferd, and I have begun producing a second music video. See the first here 
  3. Shadow Puppet. I’ve wanted to make one since seeing a performance in Cambodia. I started one a while ago. I’m gonna finish it.
  4. Story infographic. In my quest to understand Story, I want to create a graphic that illustrates the necessary components of a story arc. Plus I’ve always wanted to make an infographic.
  5. Artsy map of Nashville. These already exist, but they leave all of Donelson and Southern Nashville out. For shame. We live in Southern Nashville on purpose, thank you very much.
  6. Standing soufflé. Julia Child done me wrong. I can’t get a soufflé to stay poofy. I will prevail!
  7. Short Story
  8. Tiered Cake. Never made one. Always wanted to. Fortunately I have a renaissance party coming up soon that will need a cake, as well as a…
  9. Renaissance Costume
  10. Children’s book 
  11. Food Prep video. Edible wants to begin experimenting with these. Game on! 
  12. Photo Essay. This might be way harder than I want it to be, but we will see. Anyone have ideas for subject matter?
  13. Recipe + Story for Josefin. My dear Swedish pen pal and I are going to start sending each other recipes with the stories behind them included. Maybe one day we will have enough material for a cookbook!
  14. Swedish Meal. My dear Swedish Pen Pal gave us a Swedish cookbook for Christmas. We need to get cracking.
  15. An Epic Poem. This will be epic mostly in style rather than length. Ideas for subject matter?
  16. Side Table. I need more of these.
  17. Song for ukulele. How hard could it be? 😉
  18. Peking Duck. One of my favorite Chinese dishes.
  19. Creative Writing Portfolio. Need to compile my best stuff in one place. Any nominations for past blog posts?
  20. Logo. Never made one. Want to try.
  21. UofC swag. Proud of my alma mater.
  22. Continent Cutouts Photo Project. I painted our bedroom blue with the idea we could cut out shapes of the continents in wood and connect photos of the places we’ve been to their corresponding locations.
  23. Lamp. Need more.
  24. Wood carving. Might try to start a nativity scene.
  25. A hat. 
  26. Mocumentary
  27. Comic Strip. Drawing scares me, especially when it comes to cartoonish styles. This will definitely stretch my comfort zone.
  28. Kintsugi. This Japanese concept involves repairing broken items, usually pottery, in beautiful ways. I have a bowl I love and I want to give this a try.
  29. Musical instrument 
  30. Jewelry, preferably from some unusual raw materials.

Here goes! Wish me luck and join the challenge yourself!


Filed under Inspiration and Creativity, Life, True Stories