Giving Thanks

This week Thanksgiving Day arrives. The day marks an end to the Fall and serves as a harbinger of the busy holiday season ahead. On this day we stop our routines, gather together with friends and family, consume thousands of calories and watch parades and football on TV. In households across the country, adults surround the dining table while children eat at the ‘kids’ table’ placed in whatever space the house allows. The smell of turkey basting in the oven and the warm aroma of pumpkin pies fill our homes, and we pause to give thanks for all our blessings.

Every year we celebrate these traditions with some distant recognition of why we are doing it. Somewhere in the back of our minds we recall stories of The First Thanksgiving and the reason it all began. But here are a few unusual facts you might not know.

*Thanksgiving is not only celebrated in the United States. Canada also celebrates a Thanksgiving Day on the 2nd Monday in October.

*The Mayflower was never meant to carry passengers. It was originally designed for wine transport.

*Only 5 women survived the first year at the Plymouth settlement. Those women cooked the first Thanksgiving meal.

*The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. That first celebration lasted for 3 days!

*President Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving.

*Congress passed legislation in 1941 which declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.

*The first Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in Philadelphia in 1920, sponsored by Gimbel’s Department Store. The Macy’s Parade began in 1924.

*In 1947, President Truman began a tradition which continues to this day. Each year, the President pardons a turkey and sends it to a public farm in Virginia named Frying Pan Park.

*The average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.**

Thanksgiving provides a perfect opportunity to offer thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Enjoy the time this week to reflect and pause in gratitude.

Wishing each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Kelli

Stand Tall

Take a minute right now and think about how you’re sitting. Notice where your feet are resting, whether your shoulders are straight or hunched over and where your head is in relationship to your shoulders. If you are reading this at a computer, chances are that your shoulders are slouching over and your neck is protruding out so that your head is in front of your shoulders. If someone took a picture, you might look something like this:

posture-at-computer

If you are sitting on a chair or couch, you might look like this:

slouching

What about when you stand? How is your posture when you are up on two feet? Does it look anything like this?

walking-posture

Posture is very important. If your body is aligned poorly, it can lead to some serious problems including back, shoulder and neck pain, headaches, disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, TMJ syndrome and more. In fact, posture affects every function in the body from breathing to hormonal production.

The effects are mental as well as physical. Being hunched over might indicate low self esteem or lack of confidence. It is also generally unattractive.

When I watch people walk down the street, I am struck by how many are slouched over. The message they send is that they are meek, defeated, sad or depressed. When someone walks by with good posture, they exude confidence, strength and happiness. They usually make eye contact, smile and just generally look like they feel good.

So, can the way you sit help to change your opinion about yourself? Perhaps so.

Can the way you stand give you a feeling of self-confidence? I think so.

Can the way you walk give the world an impression of who you are? Absolutely.

And can standing tall make you look better? Without a doubt.

All of those things are possible, so let’s look at what you can do to improve your posture.

First of all, become aware of it. Consciously thinking about how you’re sitting, standing or walking is the first step to making change.

Learn what good posture looks like. A few things to keep in mind are:

1.  When you’re standing, both feet should face forward and your weight should be evenly distributed over both of them. Most of the weight should be over the balls of your feet, not the heels.  Your hips, shoulders and ears should be aligned so that a line drawn from your ear down to the floor would touch all 3.

2.  There should be 2 curves in your back so that your spine resembles the letter “S”.

3.  Exercise!  The only true way to improve posture is to strengthen the muscles that support you. Strengthening your muscles will help align the spine into an anatomically correct position. There are many simple exercises and stretches that you can do. I have included some websites for you to give you some examples.

This week, stand tall! Be more aware of your posture. Do something to improve it. Notice it and make an adjustment, do some exercises, or just simply pick up your head and smile at someone passing by. Not only will improved posture make you look better, it will make you feel better as well.

Have a wonderful week!

Love, Kelli

Words of Wisdom

This week I drove by an automotive detailing shop on a main commercial route in our town. On the sign out front, in black removable letters, someone had placed words of inspiration which read, “Wisdom begins with wonder.” I read the sign and thought to myself that I would like to meet the person who decided to add this nugget of inspiration to their business sign. It was early in the morning and the shop was closed so I wasn’t able to stop and ask, but the message stayed with me throughout the week.

About the same time, I received an e-mail message containing quotes by Jim Rohn, an author, motivational speaker and business coach. One of them stood out. It said, “Everything you need for a better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you have to do is go to the library.”

These two incidents, seemingly unrelated, somehow stayed together in my mind. My questions became, “What do I wonder about? And what am I doing to discover the answers?” As I came up with a list of all kinds of things that pique my curiosity, I realized that the way I answer them is by reading books. When I wondered about how to open my Studio, I devoured books on becoming a successful entrepreneur. When I wondered about how to write a book, I read books about writing, becoming an author and even took a writing course. Writing was one thing, publishing was another. So, I went on to read books and articles about how to become a published author.

The list of curiosities goes on an on, but what about you? What thoughts have you had which begin with the two words, “I wonder…?” Do you wonder how you’re going to pay your bills next month? Do you wonder where your kids are going? Do you wonder how to become successful or how to make more money? Do you wonder when you are going to work out next and how you’re going to lose weight? Maybe you wonder what you’re going to have for dinner, or wonder how you’re going to get to a better place in your life.

Some of those questions can be answered pretty easily by opening your cupboards or making a phone call. But, some of them are not so easily conquered. So, my next question becomes, “What have you read lately that will help you answer any of those questions for yourself?” Rohn suggests that everything you need to learn to have a better future has already been written. What have you read that will help get you where you want to be?

I know the old excuses come into play. Right now some of you are saying, “But I don’t have time to read.” My response is that I believe you make time to read in the same way you make time for anything else that is important in your life. It is a matter of how important it is to you. If you want to go somewhere else, if you want to better your position in life – personally, professionally or financially – you have to learn more. Wonder begins the process of learning, and learning becomes the foundation of wisdom.

With that in mind, I have provided a list of some of the books I have read in the past few months. I would love to hear the suggestions you might provide as well. To suggest books, or to comment on any books you have read, please go to my blog, www.kellisquips.blogspot.com.

In the meantime, have a wonder-full week!

Love, Kelli