Thursday, January 2, 2014

And Now, 52 Weeks of Gratitude

My beloved gal pal Candace just introduced me to the concept of the "365 Grateful Project," a project that began in 2008 by Hailey Bartholomew, a photographer who was battling depression and overcame it by focusing on gratitude. She began a project in which she took one Polaroid a day of something she felt grateful for, and by doing this for 365 days, she was able to transform relationships and experience significant personal growth. Ultimately, this project made her happy.

Happiness is the topic du jour at our house currently. Today, my husband and 10-year old daughter and I watched the documentary, "Happy." It was one of those films that sat on my "to watch" list, but because it fell in the documentary column, never got enough family votes to beat out mainstream comedies and family-friendly movies. However, it was worth the wait. Even my 10-year old, who rolled her eyes at the thought of watching a documentary, put down her gadget and paid attention. Afterwards, we discussed our thoughts on the film together. It definitely had an impact on us.

One of the themes "Happy" discusses is how we human types are motivated by extrinsic and intrinsic goals. Extrinsic goals have to do with money, image and status. Intrinsic goals are about personal growth, relationships and helping others. For those that focus heavily on extrinsic goals, they feel caught on what's referred to as a "hedonic treadmill," while those who focus on intrinsic goals are happier.

So, back to the "365 Grateful Project."  My gal pal Candace is going to do it, and asked if others would join her. She's a motivated individual who takes on such projects and completes them. I, on the other hand, start projects like this and flake out quickly. Therefore, I've decided to do my own take on the project, and begin a "52 Weeks of Gratitude" project in which I include a photo, but I also include a bit of writing, since this year I intend to write more.

Without further ado, here is Week #1 of Gratitude for 2014:

Tim and Emily Rose. 12/24/13, Dallas.

I'm grateful for my husband Tim. He's an amazing father to our kids. I can't count how many photos like this I've snapped of him through the years, where one of our three kids is cuddled up next to him. He provides them with a sense of warmth and safety. He's their rock. He's patient, fair, unwavering in his support for his children, and their biggest advocate. He's the perfect example of someone who lives their life focused on intrinsic goals, because the thing that makes him happiest is helping someone else.

When his two older kids were little, we would laugh because they could pull on his ears or yank on his hair or tug on his collar until it stretched, and Tim didn't care. When our youngest daughter grew old enough to pull on his ears and yank his hair and tug on his collar, she did it, too, and Tim would laugh his huge laugh and flash his amazing smile, filling the room with happiness.

This photo was taken this past Christmas Eve. We'd stopped by Tim's mother's house for an afternoon visit. I love how the sun is pouring in on our youngest daughter's arm, and how she managed to snuggle up in Tim's space even though there was ample seating in the room. They are listening to Tim's mother tell stories from her childhood. It fills my heart with love.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome - as always!! You inspire me Mrs. Arndt :-)
    Michelle McD