Gratitude: 16 Things To Be Thankful For
With the holiday season in full swing, and Thanksgiving just right around the turkey coop, we all may be wondering how to better celebrate these beautiful autumn days. In addition to filling our bellies full of yummy fall favorites, and sporting our best-loved comfy sweaters, we can’t quite seem to satisfy that craving for something more that will kick up the festive spirit. Well we’ve got the perfect dish for you!
G.R.A.T.I.T.U.D.E. à la mode
As a whole, we all have one thing in common. We all want to be happy. The only thing we as humans crave more than mashed potatoes and gravy, is pure, simple, happiness.
With ads, merchandise, pills, and a plethora of other items that tug at our attention, it’s hard to know where to go, what to get, and who to be in order to find this simple-dimple happiness. If anything, the happiness we receive throughout the day may seem fleeting, and doesn’t last for as long as we wish it would. We may feel as though our day is spent on a rusty roller coaster ride, enjoying it one moment, and wishing we could hop off after the next turn, especially to skedaddle away from the fella who just spilled soda all over our favorite pair of jeans. By lunchtime we wish we felt as good as we did when we finished up that bowl of oatmeal at breakfast, and can’t help but want to elbow that driver who cut us off on the freeway.
If only there were something that kept the cheerful flame alive in all of us.
SPOILER ALERT! There is! And it’s our scrumptious, virtuous, menu pick: Gratitude, (with plenty of extra helpings.)
For years, research has been done on the effects of gratitude, and the impact it has on individual beings, as well as on society as a whole.
With benefits that range from stronger relationships, better sleep, long term happiness, improved self-esteem, greater physical health, psychological health and spiritual health, to reduced aggression, violence, and negativity; The positive benefits are endless, and the treatment is fail proof, free, and fun! It’s an easy practice of taking a few moments every day, reflecting on the good in your life, and expressing gratitude and appreciation for it.
“Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette
Here at Captain Dave’s we’ve gobbled up the opportunity to put this gratitude practice into play, and have compiled a list of some of the many things that we are grateful for. We hope you’ll do the same, but in the meantime, feel free to take a gander at the things that have left us feeling oh so warm and fuzzy inside, and have helped us to keep our elbows to ourselves when it comes to that Speedy Gonzales driver on the freeway.
Family and Friends
What is it about the holidays that warms our hearts, and puts the pep in our step? Can it really just be the festive decor, the nostalgic tunes, and the assortment of delicious goodies to be munched on? Or is it the immense pleasure of spending time with loved ones near and dear? Of all the times of the year where we hug a little more, laugh a little louder, and eat a bit too much, it’s this time of year, and what a joy to be able to do so with our friends and family. Would it be the same without them? Of course not. In fact, we believe that enjoying time with loved ones is what puts the ‘Happy’ in ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’ So, embrace a little longer, love a little deeper, and give a little more of yourself to the ones who make this holiday the blessing that it is.
Can you imagine life without the thrill of enjoying a perfect sunset? The fresh and vibrant colors that change in a moment, and increase in beauty with every movement of the sun? What about the joy of spotting a cute gummy smile on that tyke who just came into the world, regardless of how long they’ve kept you up at night, or how stinky they smell right after their nighttime feeding? Our sight is priceless! And yet at times, we all seem to be at fault for choosing to see the not so goodly things in life. Instead, why not seek to use our eyes to see the good in life, people, and even the burned casserole that just came out of the oven. After all, we only have this one moment to be present and alive in… see the good in it!
Mmmm bop! Music
There’s nothing better than a good tune at a time when you need it most. We all know what it feels like to hit that famous afternoon slump, when you wish you could plop under the covers and take a short power nap, but work, school, and plain ole life make that option far from possible. What’s a worn-out soul to do in such a pickle? Prince, MJ, Madonna, Mozart, and Dr. Dre sure know how to spice it up. Music is a powerful tool to pump up, chill out, and stir the feelings within, leaving us feeling exponentially better than we did the 2 minutes and 48 seconds before we jammed out to that snazzy song. Don’t you remember the last time your wedding song, high school prom ditty, or it’s Friday Fri-YAY anthem popped on the radio? We sure do! And it’s enough to sing thank you’s to.
“Dear God, please give me a toothache, a belly ache, or some sort of chronic illness today.” said nobody ever. Luckily, if we find ourselves sporting the not so fun sickies, we live in a day in age, where the chances of either relieving the symptoms, or curing the ailment all together are higher than your fever-like temperature. Although sometimes it does seem like every other person you come in contact with has either some sort of autoimmune disease, allergy, or just a plain ole nasty bug that won’t skedaddle… we also have the immense blessing of having the most up-to-date science, and expertise out there. With prescription medications, herbs, medical professionals, surgeries, anesthetics, modern hygiene, and a slew of many more brilliant and genius helpmates like Tylenol, NyQuil, and Netflix, we can’t help but administer a healthy dose of gratitude for these modern day remedies.
No matter how much we enjoy keeping our local owl post in business, or sending our favorite carrier pigeon to deliver our messages, nothing beats being able to call up our granny in a jiffy, and order a pizza with our thumbs. Technology is amazing! We are able to send instant messages, take pictures from outer space, and shop for eclectic rugs in India from the comfort of our living room. We’ve got machines building machines, cash registers that count our coins without the help of a friendly associate with a cute vest behind the counter, and even have a snazzy sounding spokeswoman who lives in our phones, and tells us which way to turn. Inventions including the printing press, telephone, and internet leave us sporting our favorite robot dance to techno music in celebration of this amazing convenience.
Okay, we don’t mean to get all squishy sentimental animal lover on you, but actually we do. Puppies are the best! Who can argue with a soft face that’s just begging for a belly rub? Their itty-bitty paws, and floppy ears? Great googly moogly. In fact, why reserve gratitude for puppies alone? Lions, tigers, and bears oh my! We love em all, and are so grateful for the joy they bring to life. From dolphins, dingoes, and deer to whales, wallabies and wombats, we appreciate them, and give thanks for the life and love they bring to this magnificent planet.
How long does it take to walk from New York City to Los Angeles? With a little over 2,700 miles between the two – you may end up walking close to 950 hours, but don’t worry, there are ferries! Can you imagine it? How many pairs of kicks would you need in order to trek on a journey to go and see your sister on the east coast, or your pen pal in China? A LOT! A lot, a lot, a lot. Thank goodness for modern transportation. Planes, trains, and automobiles not only make it convenient for us to send a package, go on a road trip, or get to our favorite destination in less than a decade, but the convenience and comfort that they provide are terrific. Free peanuts anyone? Don’t get us started on heated car seats. We are so blessed!
Two Words: Toilet. Paper.
How many times have you plopped down in front of your sleek flat screen, or kicked your feet up at the theater, and said, “Ah, this is amazing!” Really though, with screens bigger than your favorite piece of birthday cake, and movies that transport you into another life, century, and light year, one can’t help but recognize the magic in all of it. We are able to visit Hogwarts, say hello to our homeboy Harry, dive into the deepest oceans, and bask in the joy of watching Fraulein Maria frolic away on a hillside while singing happy tunes, all from the comfort of our living room and local cinema. Plus, of all the places where it’s socially acceptable to inhale an entire year supply of popcorn in one sitting, it’s most definitely while watching a movie. Life is poppin’! (With extra butter, of course.)
Speaking of movies, why not toss every bit of good entertainment into our gratitude enchilada? From bowling, board games, the ballet and bingo nights, to Disneyland, whale watching, aquariums, the zoo, and the simple thrill of enjoying a good novel, the world is full of happy and joyful things to keep our souls alive and well. There’s nothing like a dose of wholesome recreational activity to remind us that our mortal existence is jam packed full of magnificent moments.
The United States of America
Apple pie, grilling, baseball, and freedom may be a few of the greatest players in this big league American party, but did you know that in addition to producing some of the most up-to-date technology, plentiful agriculture, and several of the most stalwart citizens, this country has also done so much for the entire human race? Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. stated, “The genius of America lies in its capacity to forge a single nation from peoples of remarkably diverse racial, religious, and ethnic origins… The steady movement of American life has been from exclusion to inclusion.”
We are grateful for apple pie, a good hot dog, and our freedom, but we are also so grateful to be a part of a society that so readily and willingly accepts all nationalities, backgrounds, and peoples from all over the world, in an effort to provide greater security, happiness, and freedom for all. God bless America, the America we are so grateful for.
Imagine yourself waking up tomorrow, and not being able to communicate. You couldn’t speak, the human language was gone, email was napping, fist bumps were banned, and text messages were extinct. How would your day go? How often do you contemplate on the simple ability to communicate and connect with others? It truly is amazing when you think about it. The simple hello to your neighbor on your way to work, the phone call with your best friend from college, the letter from your local internet provider, the wave from your mailman, the hug from your mom, and the receipt you receive after purchasing your morning pick me up are all forms of communication, and how different life would be without them. Part of the joy of this life is connecting with others in simple, yet intimate ways, and studies show that people with good communication skills and the ability to connect with others are more happy, social, and healthy beings. What a treat to know that we as a human family, may never have to worry about waking up tomorrow without the ability to say hola to the world around us. Yay for not being nematodes!
Whether your Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Shinto, or a believer of another faith, how wonderful it is to be able to worship something greater than ourselves. Faith blesses the human soul to believe in something grand, something powerful, something that can literally change the behavior of a being. Some may call that “something grand,” God, the universe itself, or a simple idea of light and goodness around us, but oh what a tender mercy it is to lay down at night, and believe that something, somewhere, with some sort of divine power, has the ability to watch over, protect us, and bless us with the things that we need.
Food, Nom Nom
Sir Gandhi would probably serve us a good one if we didn’t say thanks for the scrumptious sustenance we enjoy each day. Our daily menus may include anything from pizza, pop-tarts, pasta, and polenta, to tasty taters, Thai curry, tangerines, tom yum, and sometimes even tofu! And what about desserts?! Oh desserts! Chocolates, pastries, pie, and crème brûlée. Cakes, cookies, cobbler, and ice cream. The list goes on, and our taste buds are singing! If our voice boxes forget to utter a big ole thank you for the many yummy bites we eat up, our bellies usually do the job. Food makes life fun, and yay for a fun life with food!
The Human Body
How often do we pipe up and say thank you for our most constant, and present companion? We aren’t talking about the dog, Bruno, or the hubby, Joe. We are talking about the very skin we rest in. The very incredible shell we dwell in on a daily basis, which enables us to explore so much in this big, beautiful world. Our phalanges have us sporting up high fives, holding our favorite can of soda, and gripping that jar of pickles that just won’t pop open. Our feet take us to our favorite destinations like the museum on 9th, the bakery around the corner, and past the defending team as we score a goal in our soccer match. Our brains bless us to finish that crossword puzzle in the daily paper, help us to figure out that tricky math question on our child’s homework, and think through a hefty chat with our better half. Our face says it all when we get caught with our hand in the cookie jar, or open up our most wished for Christmas gift. Our arms give us the opportunity to bless others with a warm embrace, and hold a sleeping baby. Our nose lets us enjoy that pasta sauce cooking on the stovetop, and the fresh aroma of goodness coming from the cookies in the oven. Our mouth has us speaking, singing, and cheering for our teammates. The list goes on and on, and we aren’t even getting started! We can dance, run, sleep, and twist and turn, and although many of us experience heartache, disabilities, and pain, we are so grateful to simply be alive, breathing, and able to feel through this time we call life.
Kids Around the World
Last but not least, a huge and enormous thank you to our dear friend Denise Carlsen, and the amazing Kids Around the World foundation for helping impoverished and starving children. Since 2008, Captain Dave’s has had the wonderful opportunity to sponsor the purchase and packing of well over one million meals with Kids Around the World, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children and families who have been affected by war, poverty, illness, and natural disasters. Kids Around the World have provided much needed nourishing food to children in 18 different countries, including the U.S. and developing countries across the globe. With Denise currently in Uganda, distributing meals that volunteers helped to pack, we are so thrilled to express our deepest gratitude for her, this amazing foundation, and the many extraordinary individuals who volunteer to make this world a little better every day.
We hope each and every one of you will have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday, surrounded by those whom you love and care about. We wish you the best, and are grateful for your joining us aboard our gratitude safari today. Enjoy those mashed potatoes and gravy, and we hope to spot you next time!