Several months ago, I observed on several occasions the ingratitude that was shown to people who serve others. This happened primarily in restaurants, but I started to notice it on airplanes, in libraries, and – honestly – just about everywhere. I have done my fair share of complaining in my lifetime, and I likely will continue. There are times when things need to be righted, and I have no issue calling a company, going to customer service, or sending a tweet about the issue. I do not know if turning 40 in May has made me consider life differently or see things from a different perspective, but somehow I just realized that we live in a society – so abundantly full of … well, abundance. At the time, we are less and less thankful for that abundance.
I love Vistaprint. It is a great company like many other great printing companies, but for some reason it has become my favorite. Oh – I know why! They have righted so many wrongs. Twice now they have sent an additional shipment of somethings to my house just because the tracking said it was delivered while I never saw the package. I love them.
As I observed our lack gratitude, I also realized that the only way to fix it seemed to need to start with me. I need to say thank you more often. And I need to say it in a way that leaves a longer impact than the two words leaving my mouth. I combined my love of Vistaprint with t his need and made business card size thank you notes. They are small enough to store away in my wallet for use whenever I need them, and they fit nicely in the credit card slot in those thingees (that I can’t find the name of in my brain right now) that a restaurant server leaves at the table for payment. Restaurants seem to be the times when people are the least appreciated, but there are plenty of other times.
The cards that I ordered are blank on the back so that I can write notes if I feel like it. I often just leave the thank you note blank so that the person can re-use it if they choose to do so. I have left two cards on some occasions – writing on one and encouraging the person to use the blank one.
A few months ago, as my family prepared to move from Minneapolis, MN, to Bismarck, ND, I was packing my house and preparing to speak at a conference. I also had hoped to watch The Princess Bride with some of my favorite little people before I moved. Because of my crazy schedule, they had already watched it for the first time without me, but I was determined to watch it with them. One of my preparations for speaking at the conference included filling up baggies for the participants – things to remind them of the content in case my presentation did not go well. I had my little people over, we watched the movie together, and we filled the little baggies together.
One of the items in the baggie was some of my thank you cards.
The eldest of the little people and I struck up a conversation about the thank you cards. Yes – the movie was going, but we had both seen it several times…in fact, she could already quote it. Love that! She thought it was a great idea to say thank you. Her parents have raised her well because she knows to say thank you not only when it is deserved but also just because it is a good idea.
A few weeks ago, I ran out of the notes. It was a horrible realization that I had let them run out. I waited a few days until Vistaprint held the right sale (there is a sale code every day – I just needed the right one), and I bought a new round of them. The deal was so good that I bought a thousand of them. I think that will last me for a while! They arrived today, and I was so thankful.
I’m excited that my joy for saying “thank you” has started again in November – the month of Thanksgiving which has also become the month when Facebook is filled with people saying their “grateful fors.” As I scroll through the fed, I am grateful to have people in my life that know that they are grateful and share it.
We are as settled in our new home as we can be at this point, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful for a job that allows me to work from my dining room table, at the Baylor dining hall while I visit my kids, or in the airport in between the two. I am thankful that each day is filled with challenges, encouragements, and affirmations that the move we made was the right one.
And I am thankful that I get to pack up my thank you notes this weekend and drive many hours to see many people whom I love.
As you look at the day, the weekend, and the month ahead, I encourage you to find ways that you can share your gratitude with others.
**Very soon, I hope to be able to share news of an upcoming project I have with the college English classes I teach at the University of Mary. To give them purpose for their writing, they have written tributes – long thank you notes – to someone who encouraged them in their lives. This is an exciting project, and I cannot wait to share more news. STAY TUNED!