Gratitude

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Joleen Watson

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Joleen Watson

he month of November is often a month filled with gratitude... So, this week, Imagine Hope is sharing some of the more unconventional ways we feel gratitude in our lives! When reflecting on the things I feel grateful for, besides the most important things in my life (family, friends and loved ones), I often feel gratitude about:

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Natalie Chandler

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Natalie Chandler

When I was in Graduate School, I became depressed. Mostly from working and going to school, which kept my life out of balance. I remember reading something that talked about keeping a gratitude journal. I started writing down 5 things that I was thankful for everyday. It opened my eyes to see the importance of Gratitude. Now it's truly just a way of thinking for me. So I love our unconventional gratitude lists this week! 

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Tammy McCord

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Tammy McCord

11 years ago I lost my driving ability due to a medical condition. For 6 months I had to depend on family, friends and taxi's to get everywhere. I don't live in an area that has a large public transportation system. Up until that point, I had taken for granted the fact I could hop in my car any time I wished and go anywhere I needed to go.

Our Thanksgiving Memories- Natalie

I just went from awwwwing at Teri's entry to laughing out loud at Tammy's Thanksgiving memories! I hope you are enjoying them, too. I don't have a food drive or a flying animal story- my favorite memories of Thanksgiving are good ole fashion "To Grandmother's house we go!" My Granny used to host Thanksgiving every year at her small home. I just remember walking in and smelling the WONDERFUL smells and walking into a kitchen where her little 4 ft. 10 inch stance was creating a masterpiece! She is from the deep south and literally, could have had her own restaurant. She is amazing!!!! All the grandkids would pile on top of each other in her little living room. We would laugh, poke fun at each other, and catch up on what was going on in each other's lives. The parents would sit around the table and talk. I loved watching the football games because that meant the start of Christmas commercials!!! I would watch for my favorite toy to come on TV. Since my Husband and I have had a home, we have started a tradition of giving back. Now every year we are blessed to have both sides of our families come together and eat at our home. My mother helps with the cooking (thankfully) and my husband roasts the turkey! We enjoy getting up early together and starting the day of giving to the family.

I also have a tradition each year of writing in my journal what I am most grateful for that year. I love to look back over the years and see what was important to me then and add what is important to me now.

Unfortunately, my Granny has passed away. We still honor her with a candle on our table, along with one for my husband's mother. It's a nice tradition and helps us feel they are with us. Even though they are enjoying a feast of all feasts in heaven!

Traditions are important. They make us feel a part of something. I hope you will start your own traditions if you haven't. And continue with the ones you have.

Thank you for reading! We wish you the most blessed Thanksgiving you could imagine! God bless!

Written by Natalie Chandler

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.

Lessons from Veterans- Sacrifice

This week in honor of Veteran’s Day, we are highlighting character traits of veterans. So far we’ve talked about veterans being strong and prepared. Sacrifice

This is the word that comes to my mind whenever I think of anyone in the Armed Forces. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, sacrifice is defined as “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone”. I truly believe that our veterans have sacrificed their own desires in order to protect you and me.

When I think of what our veterans have sacrificed to keep us safe, my heart just swells. I think about those vets who missed the births of their children, didn’t get to come home when a loved one passed away, or spent many lonely nights keeping guard.

I think about those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and laid their own lives down so that others may live.

While in our day-to-day lives, we may not have to sacrifice much, there are lessons we can take from the sacrifices of our veterans. We can be intentional in spending time with loved ones. We can take time to appreciate the little things—a beautiful sunset, a child’s laugh, a good meal.

While our veterans have sacrificed so that we may have freedom, we need to make sure we appreciate what that means. It means the freedom to practice religion in our own way. It means we can walk around outside without fears of being hurt or attacked. It means no one lives in bondage or as a prisoner just because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity.

Thank you to all of the veterans and current military personnel for your service! Thank you for sacrificing to keep us safe and to protect our freedom. God Bless you!

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

10 Tips For a Healthy Marriage 1 & 2

We all want a healthy relationship, but many find it hard to get to with their partner. This week we are sharing 10 simple tips to help. 1. Give Positive Affirmations- Negativity can take a toll on relationships. Being critical and complaining about your partner will drive a wedge between you. So one simple step to take towards a healthy relationship is to get positive. It feels good to know how someone feels about you, so make sure you are focusing on your partners strengths and sharing positive words.

2. Verbalize Appreciation- A simple genuine "thank you" can make a big difference. I hear clients complain daily about feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of in their marriage.  It will mean a lot to your partner if you take a step back, pause from the busyness, and share with your partner in the moment that you appreciate what they do for you and your family. It's always good to tell them in the moment and often. Don't just wait for a special occasion to say it. Also don't assume they know how you feel. They don't know what you don't share with them.

Check in tomorrow for more tips!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Spring Book Recommendations

We love books here at Imagine Hope! They are such a good tool for clients to dig deeper into their learning which can help the therapy process in many ways. This week each of us will be sharing some books we've found to be helpful in our own journey that we recommend for clients.

Teri's Pick: "Lord, Change my Attitude" by James MacDonald

Do you need an attitude adjustment? If so, what are YOU willing to do about it?

Many times our stubborn hearts say we want our attitudes to change, but we are not willing to swallow our pride enough to get the results we are looking for.

We might think we want an attitude change, but what we are actually seeking is a circumstance change. These things are very different. We all know what it is like to be out of control of a difficult time in our lives. It brings us down and often creates anxiety. Sometimes there are circumstances we just can't change. But we can work to change our attitudes about the negative experience.

James MacDonald uses this book to help you understand what the Bible says about attitudes and how to flip a bad attitude into a good one. There is a study guide in the back that helps readers dig deeper into each chapter.

We often drift into complaining, wishing we had a life like someone else (coveting), being critical, doubting, and flat out rebellion from what we know we "should" do. This book exposes what scripture says each of these attitudes and confronts the heart issues surrounding each one. Then it gives solutions along with a new attitude to replace the old negative one.

Have a complaining attitude? If so, this book helps you see the harm, and guides you down the path to replace it with a thankful attitude.

I always love a great Christian book that uses the Bible to teach us how to live a more Christ-like life.

Remember an attitude change can change your outlook on life.

Check back in tomorrow for another great book to add to your list!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Christy’s Lessons from the Thanksgiving Table

If you’ve been reading this week, you know we are talking about life lessons that can be learned from the Thanksgiving holiday-and applied all year round!  Today I’m going to talk about a lesson I am still learning. Christy’s Lesson: Sometimes Things Change

This year my family and I will not be celebrating Thanksgiving day at my aunt’s house, like we typically do.  Things have changed this year, and sometimes change is hard-and often unwanted.  I will be honest and admit that I am someone who typically struggles when traditions and plans have to be altered.

My 27 year old cousin is currently battling his second round of cancer in 2 years.  We will all be pitching in to take a Thanksgiving meal to him in the hospital.  It’s not going to be a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and dressing and all the fixings.  We will probably be eating on paper plates with plastic silverware.  We will all be crammed into a hospital room.  It’s not perfect.

Although it’s a week away, this year has taught me some valuable lessons about what Thanksgiving is all about.  It doesn’t matter where we spend Thanksgiving.  It doesn’t matter if the food is perfect, the setting is right, or if we are eating on fine china or plastic plates.   It doesn’t matter if it’s a change in tradition.

What does matter is this: WHO we are with.  We are blessed to be together, blessed to be able to have food to eat, blessed to be able to visit and laugh.  Blessed beyond measure to be alive and that we can continue to make memories with our loved ones.  Blessed that things can change-and change can be ok.  In fact, I am pretty sure that this Thanksgiving is going to be perfect.

Continue to read this week as we talk about more lessons learned from our Thanksgiving table.  I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

 

More Than Gratitude - 4

When I was in Graduate School I struggled with depression. Mostly because my life was out of balance due to working, going to school, and doing internships. I read something that changed my life. It talked about keeping a gratitude journal. I started writing down 5 things a day I was grateful for. Now it is just a habit to think in a grateful way, which has changed how I think and feel every day. That's why I love this week’s blog where we are sharing unconventional things to be grateful for.  

Access to Education

My kids do the normal moaning and groaning about going to school. However, recently I traveled to India where I saw kids who did not have access to school due to their social class or economic situation. I felt so sad for them. Many of them want to go to school and they see it as a privilege- only for the lucky ones. I shared this with my kids and now they actually try (aside from the Monday morning moaning) to be grateful for their education.

 

Clean Water

Do you know what the leading cause of death is in the world? Diarrhea.  And it stems from illnesses related to lack of clean water. In America, we are so fortunate to turn on the faucet and have clean water to drink, cook with, and clean ourselves. This is something to be thankful for.

 

The Very Breath We Breathe and Breathing It On Our Own

Two and a half years ago my niece was in a coma and on life support. As I sat by her bed and watched the ventilator breathe for her, I thought about how we take for granted every breath we breathe and the fact that we are able to do it on our own. This is truly something to be grateful for. And I'm grateful my niece made it okay and is living life to the fullest today!

 

What can you be grateful for today? Tomorrow Joleen will share more things to be grateful for.

 

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville

More Than Gratitude- 3

Yesterday Tamara talked about some unconventional things to be grateful about, that we may take for granted.  This week we continue to talk about further ways to show gratitude that may not be so obvious. Heat

The other night when it snowed, our house was creaking from the gusts of the wind.  My husband and I were on the couch watching TV, comfortable and warm.  All of a sudden, my husband looked at me and said, “You know, we’re very blessed to have this warm home.  I’m so thankful we don’t have to be out in that.”  My mind immediately went to the homeless I see around town-especially those that are often found right down the road from Imagine Hope’s office-and I wondered where they were on that cold night.  It’s amazing how something as simple as being able to afford to heat your home is so often taken for granted.

Military and Veterans

It may be a few days after Veteran’s Day, but I am still thankful for them and for our current military servicemen and women.  Many of these individuals go months or years without seeing their loved ones because they are off protecting us.  Our military are put in situations everyday where their lives are in danger and they risk not coming home.  To be willing to put your life down for another-that truly is the ultimate sacrifice-and something to be grateful for!

Chemotherapy

This may sound strange, but I am thankful for medical advances, particularly chemo.  I have so many family and friends who wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for this.  My cousin is currently battling his second round of cancer in 2 years, and I find myself feeling grateful that he can go to the hospital and get the treatment he needs.  It may not be the cure, but it does save lives-and for that, I am thankful!

Continue to read for some more not-so-obvious things to be grateful for.  Thanks for reading!

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

More Than Gratitude - 1

Look around you…can you see the good? Do you look around with gratitude when you survey your life? Having a gratitude lens can have a big impact on your life. Not only does it give you a more positive outlook, but it also has an impact on your body both physically and emotionally!

Gratitude can impact your body in ways you might not even realize. It can reduce your stress level, increase endorphins, and help strengthen your immunity.

It also has an impact on the way you think. People with an attitude of gratitude have a decreased chance of depression, and are more resilient because of their positive thinking. They can bounce back from difficult times better than people who lack gratitude.

Do you think having a spirit of gratitude has an impact on your relationships? You bet it does! People are drawn to thankful and appreciative people. They have more positive energy and are enjoyable to be around.  They are also less self-focused.

There may be hardships around you. But everyone can find something to be grateful for. Read the rest of the week for some simple things we tend to take for granted when it comes to gratitude.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Remembering 9/11- Teri

***This post was originally written in 2011, however we feel best to remember these lessons all the time! It is amazing that 9/11 happened 10 years ago. Our world is a different place now. War is a normal reality. Awareness of terrorism is heightened. The world still grieves the tragedy of it all.

This week each of us at Imagine Hope will share about experiences, life perspectives, and changes we have had since that day.

Teri’s Thoughts

I never realized how much I took advantage of the feeling of “safety”. Growing up I felt the freedom and safety to ride bikes unchaperoned with my friends, to roam the neighborhood, and to trust most people around me.  After 9/11, I have been more aware that safety is something that is fought for. I realize the extent that our military and law enforcement agencies go to that most are typically oblivious to. My appreciation and admiration for what others sacrifice can never be measured.

I encourage all of us to look around and seek out opportunities to provide others with safety and to thank those around us that do. Next time you are at the airport and are waiting in long lines, take time to thank the workers who are carefully seeking to keep you and your family safe. Instead of being frustrated at having to pull off for safety vehicles running lights and sirens, say thank you and say a prayer for them to remain safe wherever they are headed. Next time you see an aging person pushing a cart of groceries at the store, offer to help them or put their cart away in the parking lot for them.

It’s time for us to be grateful for our experiences of safety in our communities and to help those around us to stay safe. Reach out to those around you and pay it forward, rather than living in your own little world. We are a community. Let’s keep it a safe one!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.