A few years ago, a friend of mine (Shanda Wood) suggested that I join her ‘Gratuity Group’. This is a group of people who make a habit of being intentionally grateful for all of the good things in their lives.
There is actually science behind this practice. Experts say that by being consistently disciplined about focusing on ‘the good stuff’ in life, we can actually adopt new thought patterns. We can train our brain, as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.
Somewhat hesitantly, I accepted Shanda’s invite. Nearly every day, a group of about 12 people from all walks of life, share lists of what we are grateful for that day. Although it took me a bit of time to ‘get in the groove’, it wasn’t long before I started to notice a difference. I was generally happier and able to deal with my stress in a way that was much more healthy and productive. This seemingly simple practice has brought so much to my life, and I am so grateful…for being grateful!
One day last year, after writing my daily list, I tagged this question to the end of my list.
I typed, “I have written a Children’s Book, but I am not sure how to get it published, does anyone in this group know anything at all about this subject?”
It was a shot in the dark, but I had high hopes that one of these days I would get the answer I was looking for. I had asked different versions of the same question countless times, to a bunch of different people. Up to that point I had very little in the way of helpful answers. It sometimes felt like I would never get an answer, but then…I did.
A few minutes after I pressed ‘send’, I received a reply from a fellow ‘Lister’. This friend told me that she had family members who had published 3 Best Selling Children’s Books…would I like her to ask them if they would speak to me?
Would I? Heck ya!
Almost immediately, the warmest most wonderful woman contacted me. Dorothy Lethbridge and her author/musician husband Victor had published three fantastic Children’s books together. A date was set up for Dorothy and me to meet a few days later.
Dorothy and I hit it off immediately, and over the past year and a half we have become great friends. As Victor became involved, we became an unstoppable team of three. The couple co-edited my book and worked with me on the layout and design.
They were my mentors in every way; Dorothy and Victor had been where I wanted to go. Through their knowledge, advice and encouragement, I got to where I am now much faster than I ever could have on my own. They believed in me, and believed in my story. If it is possible, I think Dorothy loves Cowboy Cody as much as I do! That makes my heart smile. I can’t begin to quantify all I have learned from these two people, and there are no words which adequately express my appreciation.
So in the spirit of my awesome new-found habit of practicing gratuity, let me sum it up like this:
- I am grateful that I took a chance and asked for help.
- I am grateful for people who reach out to help others.
- I am grateful that I continued to move forward, again and again….over and over, even when I didn’t know where would end up.
- I am grateful for all of the people who have come into my life to inspire, encourage and support.
A dear friend recently reminded me of this quote, which I love.
~ We rise by lifting others
Robert G. Ingersoll
To all of you who have helped me along the way …thanks for the ‘lift’.
** To learn more about Dorothy and Victor Lethbridge and their work with youth and literature, visit the Tatanka Productions Website.