Gratitude 2023

Keeping a gratitude journal is the best habit I maintain. Every day, my gratitude partner, Terri Winfree, and I exchange emails listing five things we are grateful for that day. We have been doing this since August 2020 with no end in sight. Even on challenging days, it has become easy to find the gratitude. Gratitude is like a muscle; it gets stronger with exercise. As I look back over my journals for 2023, here are some of the things I’m grateful for:

  1. Time with my grandchildren regularly tops the list. Dedicating a day of one-on-one time for their birthdays ensures I’m going to have great times and solid relationships with each of them into the foreseeable future.
  1. My wonderful friend, Sylvester Baugh, who is like a brother to me. We share many values and beliefs and inspire each other to always be the best versions of ourselves. He is also my chauffeur to and from the airport, a service I am extremely grateful for.
  1. This year was filled with a ton of gratitude for Mental Freedom, the program I have created. In 2023, I completed research, had opportunities to share it with many audiences (including in Croatia) and certified almost 40 people.
  1. Travel is always on my list. I love going places I haven’t been, meeting new friends, learning about local customs and trying new food. This year, in addition to several trips to Pennsylvania, I traveled to Florida, Virginia, St. Louis, Massachusetts, Croatia, Singapore and Malaysia.
  1. At least once a week, I go to lunch with Pat Robey, a great friend who lives near me, and our conversations run the gamut. It is good to have people with whom you can talk about every subject.
  1. I have two long-term contracts training the counselors and staff of drug and alcohol residential programs in Pennsylvania. I have been going to one of them four times a year since 2005. I have nothing signed—just a handshake deal—and they are still going strong.
  1. Video call technology. I do so much of my work over Zoom that I don’t know what I would do without it.
  1. Excellent friends who made it on my gratitude list in 2023 are Barnes Boffey, Marcus Gentry, Tina Odenski-Zec, Figen Karadogan, Karen O’Donnell, Richard Doss, Vince Thompson, Shruti Tekwani, Anthony Feire, Rusty Long, Karen Hankinson, Max Lestage, Donna Bookhammer, Tammy Pascoe, Tomislav Ramljak, Dubravka Stijačić, Danko Butorac, Barbara Demovic, Carmella Navarro, Michelle Sebasco, Barbara Karstrom, Leonard Citron, Cheris Larson, Pam Holtzman, Darnell Baugh, Felicia Houston, Cynthia Gordon-Wellington, Vince Thompson, Biljana Dimovski, Steve Hammond, Rachel McElroy, Nassi Navid, Pam Glasser, Janet Morgan, Lois Knapton, Marie Yvette Seltz, Mike Rice, Steve Tracy, Gigi Kilroe, Sabrina Williams, Teri Winfree, Jacintha Lai and Patti Brown. Of course, there are many more of you that I’m grateful for, but these people were specifically listed in my 2023 gratitude journal.
  1. The guests who agree to be on my podcast, Life = Choices; Choices = Life.
  1. My sons, Dave and Kyle, and their respective wives, who always include me in their family activities and keep me up to date on the lives of their kiddos.
  1. Choice Theory, the guiding force in my life since 1987. I’ve made a career of teaching it to others, and it underpins my Mental Freedom program.
  1. I am very grateful for my work teams. I couldn’t do what I do without my left brain and right hand, Denise Daub. She keeps me on track, and I couldn’t be more grateful! There is also Veronica Daub, Sheri Macewko, Tony Kitchens, Scott D’Alterio, Pat Robey, Shruti Tekwani, Phil Lynn, Amir Pahlavnejad, Franscico Ramirez, Travis Rundlet, Melissa Schwartz, Judy Pedgrift, Kristin Carrera, Joan Karstrom and Nassi Navid.
  1. Getting a great night’s sleep, especially when it happens in my own bed.
  1. Crocheting and Netflix—the perfect combination for me.
  1. My cousin, Anne Roach. She gives me a great place to stay whenever I’m in Virginia, found my missing phone for me online when it fell out of my pocket in the Baltimore airport and is my excellent investment broker.
  1. My parents’ excellent health and the opportunity to talk with and visit them when I can.
  1. Every one of my clients because, without them, I wouldn’t have my business that allows me to do the work I love.
  1. Airplanes, especially when I get a complimentary bump up to first class, hotels, restaurants and Global Entry.
  1. Nice weather and walking outside.
  1. Dark chocolate.
  1. Completing projects and meeting goals.
  1. Jennifer Murry’s gift of a piano to me.
  1. Online shopping.
  1. Serendipitous encounters, especially with Jeff Morgan, a high school classmate. This year, he just happened to be staying in the hotel in Zagreb, Croatia, where I was speaking, saw my name in the lobby and tracked me down. It was remarkable!
  1. Music—I love all kinds of music, different genres for different moods.
  1. Anna, the lovely woman who cleans my condo.
  1. I read to learn and I read for entertainment.
  1. Hearty plants that continue to thrive even when I’m away for three to four weeks at a time.
  1. Bamboo sheets—they feel luxurious.
  1. Peer reviewers who have helped with my Mental Freedom book and others who trusted me enough to take the Mental Freedom Experience or even sign up for certification.
  1. My brothers, Randy and David. There is nothing we wouldn’t do for each other if we needed it.
  1. Water—it keeps me hydrated and I drink a lot of it!
  1. With my health scare last year, I am so grateful to receive a clean bill of health in 2023!

I love making this list every year because it’s a collective reminder of everything that’s good in my life. You may read it and think I’m a privileged individual, and I am aware that I am. But just know that I could just as easily have written a blog about everything in 2023 that wasn’t great. Instead, I purposefully stay focused on the positive. I know challenges exist, I’m not sticking my head in the sand, but I know how I prefer to feel. I like to feel accomplished and happy, and focusing on gratitude gets me there every time! Thanks for reading.

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