The Art of a Thankful Heart

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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With everyone showing appreciation and sharing gratefulness, it's easy to be thankful on a day like Thanksgiving. It's the other 364 days in a year that can be tough. And what I'm most thankful for this year, is that I'm finally finding a way to live Thanksgiving every day. I've learned that the quote above as absolute truth.

To backtrack a bit, this year has had it's share of downs and bad news. The challenges that have come our way have and will change my life dramatically. Without getting into detail about the specifics, because the real point is the outcome, it is true what they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. While the struggles of the current situation aren't over, my outlook is positive. Excited, even. And I feel happier, love deeper and live with an open heart. I've learned so much about myself over the last few months and more than ever before, I appreciate every moment, not taking for granted for a second that our lives can and do change in an instant and we may never have these moments again, or at least in the same way. In a way it makes things feel bittersweet, but on the flipside it makes me laugh a little louder, dance a little sillier, and hug my loved ones a little tighter when the day is over. I'm starting to feel like an expert on making the best of a bad situation, and that's something to be proud of.  They say that happiness is a journey, not a destination, and I have finally felt that. Life is not perfect, but it's still amazing. My daily happiness and thankful heart come from finding joy in even the simplest things. So how do I do it? Perspective and Faith.

Maybe you've got this life thing figured out already (kudos!) but if you feel the need for a little support and thoughts of gratefulness through tough times here are some of the tools that helped me on this journey:
  • Choose your response. Try not to immediately react, but try a different thought first. It can be as simple as being grateful that you are healthy enough to walk and stand for a little while longer instead of being annoyed at the long line in front of you.
  • Say yes to things you want, and no to things you don't. "Busy" is often an overused excuse. If you feel aren't feeling fulfilled with your current commitments, change it, stop it. Do the most of what makes you the happiest. It's ok to say no.
These are just a start but I do hope they're useful for you. And now would be the perfect time for me to say thanks to you dear reader - for following along with me on this journey of life, and sharing your stories in return. I wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving's! 

P.S. What I was (am still am) thankful for last year, and the year before. Plus, two Thanksgiving's later, I'm still in love with this.

Angelina will make you cry.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Nothing will mean anything, if you don't live a life of use to others."

Say what you want about Angelina, (haters gonna hate) but this speech is brilliant and she's done amazing things for others in this life. I haven't traveled or accomplished a sliver of what she has, but I will always remember last January, upon returning to my lavish resort accommodations after an emotional day spent in poor, rural Cambodia and the tears just flowing as I questioned why I was born into such fortunate means, when across the world kind, beautiful people were struggling for the basic necessities I take for granted every day.

Travel is an eye opener, and that's the main reason I enjoy it so much. Different cultures, different surroundings, different struggles. It brings an awareness to what's really important like nothing else can.

"I don't know why this is my life, and that's theirs. ...but I will do the best I can with this life, to be of use." Powerful stuff.


Fall Getaway to Lake Geneva

Thursday, November 14, 2013

October was a beast of a month and lately I've been feeling the urge to just get away.  Fall is such a great season, and I tend to crave a pretty day or so among the changing leaves at least once or twice. This year, we picked Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. And even though the decision to drive north instead of south meant we missed the bulk of beautiful colors, I'm really just grateful for a husband who when I say, "Get me out of here!", he says, "Where to?". Between catching up for a few hours in the car, a bottle of happy hour wine, and sleeping late, I felt really refreshed. Also, is there anything greater than waking up and walking straight to breakfast downstairs? Ok, maybe room service, that's pretty great.

Happy fall y'all!

Also, a few fall posts you might have missed: cozy weather dressing, a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece idea, and gratitude is the attitude.

French Fête for the Females - #TargetWedding

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Like many of you, my obsession with all things French dates back to my early teens. From my Paris themed bedroom in high school, to language classes in college, and now, Pinterest boards full of books, style and food, my devotion hasn't waned. Wedding trends have changed a lot since I tied the knot (10 years ago!) but if we had it to do over today, I like to think I'd host my own ladies lunch for maybe my maids or closets female friends. French style, of course, because we know I love a good theme party. Using the picture above as inspiration here's how I would cultivate elegant simplicity with a few items from Target.

A silver tray for the champagne, served in Reidel flutes to "guide bubbly to the part of the palate that appreciates the creamy texture" yum!  A beaded tray for stacking macarons, and pretty plates for tiny bites. Plus, sweet stationery for handwritten personal  "merci's" to each guest. Throw in a beautiful pastel hued bouquet et voila! a lovely fête for the ladies.

Here's something else lovely...Target was kind enough to offer a $25 gift card to one lucky Little Girl, Big World reader! In order to enter, simply visit the Target Wedding Catalog, then come back and leave a comment below with the item you would use or gift at a similar wedding festivity. Include a valid email so I can contact the winner! (And obviously, if you're planning a wedding in the near future, be sure to sign up for the Target Wedding Registry!) Entry ends Monday, November 11th at 12:00pm. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, November 12th.

Follow all the fun from fellow bloggers at #TargetWedding on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Disclosure: I received product or compensation in return for this post, however, my opinions are my own, based on my experience and interaction with the brand or products. As always, if I don’t love it, I don’t tell you about it. Read my official (i.e. “wordy”) disclosure here.

11/12/13 - Update!

The winner of the $25 Target gift card is Lesa! Thanks to everyone who entered!