Archive for the ‘Gratitude Diary’ Category

Walking Through the Firestorms Together

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

A few weeks ago, my family experienced the true meaning of the often-heard expression, “life is so fragile.”  Our 3-month-old grandson was in the Pediatric ICU with a dangerous respiratory virus, RSV, and was fighting for his young life with all his strength.  My daughter would call me with frequent updates on his condition as my husband and I cared for her two other young children at their home and prayed for a miracle.


We were brought to our knees (literally) by the roller coaster ride of the next several days as our Baby Jude would make a bit of progress and then slip backwards again.  In his short life, our newest grand baby had already brought our hearts so much joy and to be faced with losing him was more than any of us could fathom.  The phone calls with my daughter were filled with intense emotion, and tears as we discussed the medical updates on his condition.  We quickly realized it was time to ask for prayers for Baby Jude from our family and friends.  Within hours we were being showered with love, prayers, support, encouragement, and offers to help, bring food, etc.


What I have learned by now is how powerful the connection of friends and family truly is during the firestorms of life.  Thankfully, our prayers were answered and Baby Jude finally turned the corner and started improving.  God granted us a miracle and our sweet baby came home after a week in the hospital.   Cradling him in our arms now has taken on a new significance and seeing him smile at us again melts our hearts.  He is on his way to a full recovery and to say we are forever grateful is an understatement.


August is the month we celebrate National Girlfriends Day.  This is a perfect time to share my deep gratitude for the abundance of love and support that my tribe of friends showed to me and my family during this recent crisis.  Love comes alive in a powerful way during the storms of life.  Our Baby Jude is living proof of that!


Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

People keep talking about the “word” they have picked for 2020 to live by, embrace and put into practice daily.  What a great idea that is for us to attach to our daily routines!  I have tossed around several words that would be helpful to focus on in a big way and give me a new perspective.  After seriously pondering this, I have decided on G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E.  And here is why—

Over the past year my life has been packed full of speaking engagements and book events since publishing my first book in March of 2019.  I have traveled the U.S. coast to coast, and also Mexico.  Racking up thousands of miles in my United airlines account, many months I have been gone more days than I was home!

And, all of this has been made possible by dear friends who have planned and hosted book events for me in their homes, clubs, and restaurants.  From California to Arizona and Nebraska to Florida, plus points in Texas, my tribe of dedicated gal pals have worked tirelessly to put together amazing events for women to gather, hear my presentation, share time with friends, and purchase my books.  And, for this I will be eternally and deeply GRATEFUL for the rest of my days!

As a result, I have had the honor of meeting countless new women and hearing their life stories about struggle, challenges, and the victory of sisterhood to save the day.   Now as I look back on all of these women I have had the privilege to meet and interact with, I am amazed at the strong thread of kinship that connects us all.   Whether it was a new widow sharing her grief of how my book brought her hope again, or a lady who finally gave herself permission to let a very toxic friendship go after reading my book, their stories were impactful.  These brave women have left their imprint on my soul and I will forever be GRATEFUL for how they were bold in stepping out into the unknown.

Since February is a month we focus on matters of the HEART, let’s also remember to express gratitude to those girlfriends who have walked the path of life with us, showing us encouragement, support, kindness and most importantly LOVE!  Remember your tribe this month and celebrate your friendships by sharing your GRATITUDE!  Let them know how they have made a difference and tell them so!  Show them some “GALENTINE LOVE.”

A New Year, A New Decade, & A New YOU!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!  How is it possible we are in 2020 already?

As we all say good-bye to 2019 and step into a new year and a new decade, it seems like the perfect time to stop, take a deep breath, and ponder a few things.   Every now and then, it is worth it to push the “pause” button in life and go deep.

Turning the calendar to the next year is always sort of sobering for me.   My thoughts go to the changes the past twelve months have brought, and more importantly, how those changes   also changed me.  Reflection can be a powerful tool to put a spotlight on our blessings and how fortunate we truly are.  As we look back on the past year, we have the opportunity to reframe the disappointments, the unmet goals, and the failures. 

As I push the 2019 “rewind” button, I am hit in the face with one overwhelming feeling, G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E!  Did I travel the yellow brick road to Oz and enjoy a perfect year with all my wishes granted? NOPE.  Did my efforts lead to accomplishing all the personal and professional goals I had mapped out for 2019?  NOPE.   So, why am I feeling surrounded by such a strong sense of gratitude?  

Maybe because I can look in the ”rear view” mirror at 2019 and realize how truly blessed I am as I focus on the gifts I have received, rather than the disappointments.  Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Sadly, our youngest son moved to Minnesota in September after living near us for the past 6 years. But, our other son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters just moved back to Texas from California after 8 years!   A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • Our sixth grandchild was born in August! A new precious life joins our family, and HE is healthy!  A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • My husband had successful heart procedures, and is doing well after two years of life-threatening health issues. A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • I published my first book after many years of intensive work and research to get my thoughts into print. A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • I have been traveling around the country on my book tour and meeting amazing women who are embracing my book and its message! A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • My own loyal tribe of girlfriends have hosted book events for me in 5 states during the past year, showing me their support and love! A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!


In looking ahead to 2020, I see so much yet to do!  So many goals yet to push towards!  But, I am stepping into this new decade with a heart filled with GRATITUDE, and a spirit fueled by HOPE.  Life is always going to be messy, difficult, and challenging.  We can bank on it!  But, in the midst of it all, we can sort through the crazy chaos and find the good stuff — the GIFTS!  That is what will always carry us forward into the next day, the next year, and the next decade!   LET 2019 GO!  Replace your disappointments today with GRATITUDE for your GIFTS!


AUGUST—It’s All About Our Girlfriends!

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Did you know that August 1 is National Girlfriends Day, or that August is National Girlfriends Month? Yep, it’s true!  This is the month we focus on what it means to share connections with other women.  Why is that so important?  Because our health, happiness, and our longevity as women depend on it!


When was the last time you planned a girlfriend meetup and actually spent time laughing, sharing, and feeling connected?   How long has it been since you sent a card, letter, or even a little gift in the mail to your gal pal just because you wanted her to feel special and loved?


Despite the myriad methods technology provides us today, research studies are finding we are  feeling more alone and disconnected than ever!  So what is going on with this?  Most likely, the reasons are multifaceted, but one of the danger zones seems to be created when we allow social media to replace real-life connections in real time.


The Downside of Social Media

Social media is a wonderful way to enhance our connections, but we must be cautious not to allow them to become the only way we connect with people. Talking on the phone, Skyping or Facetiming provide important elements of communication, but we still get the most benefit from being in touch face to face!  The physical and emotional health benefits from in-person meet ups cannot be matched.


The chemical releases from talking together, hugging, and touching help improve our moods and decrease cortisol levels, helping lower our stress levels and ultimately protect our coronary arteries.  Research at Brigham Young University in 2010 found that feeling disconnected is twice as dangerous as obesity.  They also concluded that having supportive and connected friendships improves our odds of survival by 50 percent.


So this August, how will you choose to spend time with your girlfriends?   Will you grab your calendars and deliberately plan some lunch or dinner meet ups with your tribe?  Can you make a commitment to improving your health by increasing your face-to-face time with your besties?   What does the research tell us you gain from your efforts?  Clearly, a happier, healthier, and most importantly, LONGER LIFE!  Who doesn’t want to sign up for that?


How I celebrated National Girlfriends Day

I celebrated National Girlfriends Day on August 1, by appearing on Houston’s Great Day Houston show with host Deborah Duncan to share the message of my new book,“The Healing Power of Girlfriends,” followed by a sunset cruise with more than thirty ladies on the FantaSea yacht charter on Galveston Bay, followed by dinner at the Kemah Boardwalk.  I will be spending the month of August planning and sharing special in-person times with my tribe!  My life depends on it, and so does yours!


Did you miss Great Day Houston with Deborah Duncan on CBS-KHOU TV?   Here’s the link:


Cheers to our Girlfriends! Celebrate with yours in August and begin a new healthier lifestyle habit!


Big hugs and Blessings, Deborah


Learning the Art of Gratefulness

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

November has forever been the month that we all become more focused on taking note of our blessings. We are surrounded by reminders that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we feel the need to pause and take a quick inventory of all that we have to be grateful for. Learning to keep that spirit of gratefulness going long after the turkey is carved and the last piece of pumpkin pie is devoured is quite another story, however. For most of us life gets in the way and our fast-paced schedules keep us on the treadmill, forever running to the next thing.  This results in little time to stop and deliberately focus on our blessings and being grateful.

What if there was a way to keep that spirit alive all through the year and maybe even blend it into our daily routines and habits.   What if by incorporating a grateful spirit into our daily lives we also helped to increase our emotional and physical well-being.  And, what if we realized that the benefits of living a life seasoned with gratefulness each day increased our happiness levels.   The GOOD NEWS  is, all of these “what ifs” are possible and achieveable!

Recent research studies clearly show us the benefits to our emotional, mental, and physical well-being by keeping a spirit of gratefulness in our minds and hearts.   One way to help achieve this is to keep a “GRATITUDE DIARY” in which we write down 3 to 4 things we are grateful for every day.  Studies have shown this to be a powerful tool in raising happiness levels and can serve as a powerful healing practice as well.  A Gratitude diary is a journal, log, or notebook that we write in daily to list those things, people, events, etc. that we are grateful for.  Not only do we benefit emotionally, physically, and mentally from this exercise each day, but it also gives us a way of tracking over time the good things in our lives that we are thankful for.   It is also beneficial for us to go back and read our entries again in our Gratitude Diary many months or years later to remind ourselves of our blessings.

So, keep the spirit of THANKSGIVING alive in your heart and your life all year long by adopting the new habit of keeping a Gratitude Diary each day.   The benefits will surprise you, enrich your life in positive ways, and will endure long after the turkey and dressing at Grandma’s house are just a sweet memory.

– Deborah Olson, M.A., LPC

An Attitude of Gratitude

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Psychologists in the past few years have focused more research on happiness and what seems to contribute to people becoming genuinely happy.  What they have learned is that gratitude is one skill that will increase your happiness.  In fact, people who keep a “gratitude journal” generally see a rise in their happiness within a few weeks.  It is a simple concept, you just write down each day in your journal or notebook,  3-5 things about that day that you appreciate or are grateful for.  These do not have to be earth-shattering events by any means.  In fact,  they can be quite mundane, such as:  you found a parking space near the door of the office as you were running behind schedule for your appointment.  It might be a compliment by a co-worker that they liked your new sweater or a magnificent sunset that took your breath away, but the point is, take time to notice and then enjoy this positive moment and log it in your gratitude journal.  This new awareness of the “good” in the world that you are focusing on will help you to feel more positive, and begin to view the world through a happier lens.

Researchers are finding that people who live their lives with an “attitude of gratitude” tend to be healthier and live longer.   These people are able to focus on positive events around them on a daily basis and down- play negative events.  Keeping a spirit of optimism is essential in developing this new skill of gratitude.  Most of the time there is some good in a situation, regardless of how horrible it may appear at the time.

Living with an “attitude of gratitude” has the potential to enrich your life in many ways as you become more aware of the wonder of nature all around you, and the beauty of the gift of each day.   If you want to inject your life with a big dose of positivity today, begin a gratitude journal and start to focus on a spirit of thankfulness.    Cicero said it best….

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others”.

– Deborah Olson, M.A., LPC

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