Thursday, July 17, 2014

Putting a Stamp on Gratitude

Last week's gifts...
668. Outdoor seating for a lunchdate with Brooklyn - she was sufficiently distracted by all the nature and the line of people that I was able to eat
669. Naps all 'round
670. The toaster oven not catching on fire when I accidentally broiled the slice of quiche I was trying to reheat for lunch
671. Having two cars so that on the weekends that Adam works, Brooklyn and I can still go have adventures
672. Local ice cream with a reasonable sense of portion (and corresponding price - seriously, all I really want is the kiddie scoop!)
673. The nice upcycled vintage jewelry vendor who held Brooklyn's fingers and walked around with her so I could take pictures
674. A church that has two identical services, one after the other, so that we can go whenever Brooklyn wakes up and we get ready (that meant the early service this week)
675. A Farmer's Market. It was refreshing - and even though we didn't spend long there (too hot!), we both really enjoyed it
676. A beautiful bright pink bouquet (I can totally relate to that poem about selling one of your last loaves of bread in order to buy flowers "to feed the soul")

677. A company that understands the value of handwritten gratitude

Occasionally, a company will acknowledge the gratitude that customers send their way - like Chex printing the thank-you notes that they've gotten for having gluten-free cereal on the back of their boxes. It's nice to know that customer appreciation is, well, appreciated and that a live human actually opens the mail that you send. (And comforting to me to know that I'm not the only aberration who sends thank-you notes to companies...) And, revealing their human side is good marketing.

I love marketing. It's something that I'm naturally good at, and genuinely enjoy. I also love sharing things that I think are worthwhile with others - there's so much awful stuff in this world, packaged up as Wonderful Things We Need, that somebody has to filter through and find the ones that are actually good. Local business are my favorite - after all, if I find a store that I like, I want it to stay in business so it's there when I need something, and what better way to do that than to tell others about it?

So I've written quite a few posts (and probably been a little annoying on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at times...) about local businesses, and more recently, about companies with ethical business practices. I've received responses ranging from thank-yous, hugs, and... absolutely no response at all. I don't write from a desire for any sort of return, but to me it's kind of bad customer service to not acknowledge the value of positive feedback and word-of-mouth --- especially when they'd probably be all over it, making reparations, if I wrote something negative!

Last week I wrote about Jamberry, on the recommendations of others. Because I hadn't actually used their products and wanted to be accurate, I contacted them asking for additional information before I wrote the post, and the lady I was in contact with asked for a link to the finished post (can't blame her for that - I usually try to send one anyway). She sent back a very gracious and appreciative response, and asked for my address. Less than a week later, UPS turned up on our doorstep with a small package. Sure, there were fun nail wraps to try (and I'm excited to try them!) but there was also, for only the second time ever, a handwritten note, reiterating her digitally sent thanks. Seriously, who does that?

Thankfulness matters, as does gratitude expressed - not only toward the Author of our faith, but also toward the souls we journey with. I feel like I've gotten better about writing thank-you notes, but this was a good reminder of how encouraging gratitude can be in our entitled world - and an encouragement to keep being outwardly thankful.

678. Adam getting sent home early (really, what should be "on time" but never is) by two superior officers who appreciated all the work he's been doing
679. and him having time to see Brooklyn, grill dinner, and for us to watch (most of) a movie together
680. The ridiculous selection of different versions of Monopoly that we (well, mostly I) have collected that allows us to loan them out to friends.
681. Udi's soft chocolate chip cookies - they taste like chewy Chips Ahoy!
682. Receiving three notes (two mailed, one hand delivered) all in one day
683. Brooklyn's patience at the post office while I got packages ready to mail
684. An unseasonably cool evening for a walk at the park
685. Short hair - I saw my reflection 10 minutes before we left and realized that it needed to be washed, so I just did it in the sink (it's nice not having to wait for Brooklyn to be asleep in order to go through the ordeal of a shower, for that sole purpose)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons

How has someone else's gratitude blessed you?

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