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8 Ways to Show Gratitude

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As the bleak mid-winter settles in and the last of the lights and tinsel are coming down, it’s a good time to reflect on your holiday fun and the people who made it that way that you’ve still yet to thank. The beginning of the year, in itself, is a good time for us to think about doing things just a little bit better than we have before–like staying in touch more, worrying less, and showing our gratitude.

Saying, “Thank you,” doesn’t always have to be a hand-written note, although one is always appreciated. But we know that sometimes you want to do something different that’s a little more special, so we’ve rounded up some ideas that we feel anyone would appreciate and always remember.

Say it with sweets
ThinkstockPhotos-187957173Who doesn’t like a sweet treat? Bake them their favorite cookies, homemade bread, or buy a bag of their favorite candy or snack. Especially during these wintry months, it’s time for sweet, cozy comforts galore.

Create you own labels
Here’s a fun way to present your candy, doughnuts, or fresh-baked goods. Add a little something extra and attach a creative label. There are lots of cute ideas online like this one from Happiness is Homemade, so find your favorites and give your offering some extra flair with a personal touch.

Do something special for them
ThinkstockPhotos-78813055A great way to show your thanks is to treat them to dinner or a movie they’ve been wanting to see. Now’s the perfect time to catch up on those Oscar contenders, plus it allows you to spend some quality time together and is a fun way to extend your gratitude.

Pay it forward
ThinkstockPhotos-175531936Knowing you contributed to their favorite charity will touch their heart immensely, so donate some funds or volunteer your time in a selfless act of gratitude, and they’ll never forget it.

Be there when they need help
ThinkstockPhotos-481030427Whether it’s lending a kind ear to quietly listen or a hand to hold in a time of grief, be the support they were to you and offer them the same kindness.

Brighten their world with flowers
ThinkstockPhotos-128019789Flowers are a timeless gift that everyone appreciates. If you happen to know their favorite flower, buy them a bouquet or arrangement and include a thank you note. Sometimes, what’s even more special are just a few blooms from your own yard or garden, when the season permits. Find a small glass vase, or even a pretty colored one like blue or pink. You could also use a clear glass vase and add any color food coloring to the water, too, for a fun touch. Then place a few sweet blooms inside. Sometimes the simplest things are the most remembered kindnesses of all.

Give them your time
rbv2_08This is perhaps one the most valuable and underestimated gifts. Do they need help shoveling when it snows? Offer to shovel or bring over your snow blower when the next snowfall hits to clear their property. Lawn or garden work? Give them your helping hands to weed, rake, and clear flowerbeds. Is their car in the shop? Offer to drive them to and from work, the store, or run errands. Are they lonely? Stop by with some warm coffee  and conversation. Time is a gift that’s priceless and always appreciated.

Go digital with your gratitude
Thumb image with the words "You Raise Kindness to an Art"Thank someone on their Facebook wall so everyone knows how wonderful they were to you. You could also send a digital greeting card, which allows you to include your own personal message. We have lots of sweet and fun eCards to choose from, and you even have the option to attach a gift card  for an extra special treat to go along with your greeting. We also have “Simply Thankful – Blue Mountain’s guide to positive living,” which is a wonderful page we created to inspire some thoughtful new ways to help you show gratitude.

Do you have some favorite ideas for how you like to show your appreciation? Please share them with us! We love to hear how the power of gratitude makes the world a more thoughtful, kinder place, and we thank YOU for continuing to keep it thriving and growing.


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5 Ways to be Kinder

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
_ Henry James

Kindness matters. It’s a simple and true fact. Being kind causes a ripple effect through the world, making a beautiful difference. And not only does kindness effect the world, but it always positively affects the person who is being kind. But how kind are we (or aren’t we) on a daily basis? Being kind comes easier to some people than it does to others, and we thought we’d share some helpful ideas for all of us to keep in mind as we practice the art of kindness in our daily lives.

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  1. Be grateful for what you have. It’s easy for all of us to take the people and things we have for granted. Avoid that by taking a few minutes each day to reflect on what you can be grateful for.  Even better, write down 5 things you’re grateful for each day in a gratitude journal.  If you’re more aware of all the nice things that happen to you, you’ll feel like doing nice things for others.
  1. Be present. Everyone wants to be heard and validated. One of the most important things you can do is be fully attentive and actively listen when someone is talking to you. No cell phones, emails, or texts—take the time to connect with people face-to-face, or with an uninterrupted phone call. The greatest gift of kindness to another is to be in the moment in their presence.
  1. Minimize judgment. Set aside your judgment of other people and practice being positive and compassionate. Remember Plato’s saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” It’s easy to focus on ourselves and forget that others around us have their own struggles, too.  So instead of being critical, try giving people the benefit of the doubt and make positive observations about them.
  1. Smile more. Buddy the Elf said it best, “Smiling’s my favorite!” Don’t ever underestimate the power of a smile, because yours might be the only one a person receives that day. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, practice by simply smiling at strangers as you pass by, or holding open a door for them. It will not only add a pleasant spark to their day, but it will actually trick your mind into feeling happier, too.
  1. Be kind to yourself. When you’re kind to others, you have the tendency to be kinder towards yourself, but don’t get caught up in meeting everyone else’s needs before your own. That’s why it’s important to take time for yourself and rejuvenate in ways that make you feel good. This is also a good time to stop any negative thinking. When you become aware of your own needs and limits, you’ll reach out to people with more strength and compassion.

Please share our image above with friends and family as a gentle reminder of ways to be kind each day.

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Rosh Hashanah–A Celebration of Beginnings!

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“May you be inscribed for a good and sweet year!”  This greeting is one of the Mantra’s of Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year.”   This important holiday celebration brings the opportunity for believers to wipe the slate clean of all that has been and move on with the gifts of G-d’s grace and blessings.

Rosh Hashanah is all about relationships.  It marks the anniversary of the relationship G-d created with mankind through Adam and Eve, and the birth of His relationship with humanity.  It reverently shares the desire for all human beings to be blessed with another year, totally connected to the One who began the world as we know it.

At Synagogues around the world, the sound of the shofar will mark the first sin of man and the atonement for that sin.  The blast of the lamb’s horn may be heard on both days of Rosh Hashanah, clearly demonstrating the hope for the coming year.    Apples dipped in honey also symbolize the desires for a sweet year and the realization that all good things come from the King of Heaven.

It’s always exciting to begin again.  This year, as your Jewish friends come to the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, wish them well.  Extend the blessing for all good things and in some small way, become a part of the sweetness that a new year brings no matter what your faith background.    What could be more wonderful than coming back to your roots, remembering all that has gone before, and delighting in all that is yet to be?  Wherever you are today, may you receive a clean slate, a chance to take a fresh breath and start again.  May you celebrate the joys of a renewed spirit, trusting in the relationship you have with the G-d of all Creation.  Shalom!

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Summer Inspirations – FREE Printable!

07072015_Summer_Inspirations_BLG_BMA (2)With summer underway and daylight lasting deliciously long, our souls are pulled to a familiar feeling of wonder, adventure,  and free-spiritedness. There’s just something about the sultry air that makes us want to savor favorite pastimes of bygone summers  and send our spirits soaring on quests in search of brand new ones. 07072015_Summer_Inspirations_BLG_BMA

To keep summery inspiration right at hand, we’ve collected a wonderful assortment of ideas to ignite your spirit all throughout the season. Simply print, cut them out, and place in a mason jar so you can pick one a day, a few a week, or anytime you desire a dose of inspiration.07072015_Summer_Inspirations_BLG_BMA (3)

You can also post a few on your magnet boards or refrigerator, or tape to a mirror as a reminder to feed your soul daily. There’s also a blank sheet to add your own ideas, too.

Pick a few, or challenge yourself with a friend or the grandkids to get through them all. It’s not a race; there are no have-to’s. The aim is for the season to be simple, wide open, slow, and savored.

 

 

 

 

 

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Inspirational Quote (Free Printable)

Everyone needs a little inspiration every once and while, and we’re hoping this printable inspirational quote is just what you need to put a smile on your face. Print it and frame it for yourself, or for someone special in hopes that it reminds them to choose JOY every single day!

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Simply Thankful: Introducing our new page

Just one small gesture of appreciation can lead to a more positive and fulfilling life. Simply thankful is the key, and that is one of the reasons we created our brand new page, Simply Grateful: Blue Mountain’s Guide to Positive Living.  We’re so excited to share this page with you, and hopefully inspire some wonderful new ways to help you show gratitude.

04222015_Gratitude_printable_BLG_BMA Click here to print and frame this quote.

You’ll find blogs on how to help you find the perfect words to write inside a thank you card, articles teaching children and grandchildren how to show appreciation, and inspiration from heartwarming notes personally penned by famous persons of yesterday and today.

Also, we’ve all heard of a bucket list, but what about a ThankList? Share a personalized thank you with the people who helped shape you, with some help from our friends at American Greetings.

Plus, put a little extra gratitude in your day by printing and framing this beautiful quote! Keep it for yourself, or give it to someone who you’re grateful to have in your life.

 

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New Years Resolutions (Inspirational Printables)

As we venture into a brand new year, we want to motivate you in more ways than just eating fewer carbs and cleaning out that junk drawer. This year, let’s make a resolution to be better to ourselves; to live more fully than we perhaps have allowed ourselves to do in the past year.

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To help you do that, we’ve pulled together some New Years Resolutions that you can print and cut out to put on display throughout your home, in your car, in your gym bag, on your computer—anywhere you can think of that will inspire you and serve as gentle reminders of how you can learn, grow, and flourish through an amazing year.

Click Here to print these inspirations today!

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Printable New Years Resolution Goal Sheet

As a brand new year begins, so too does a whole new chance for each of us to learn more, do more, be more. Don’t lament what “wasn’t” in 2014—chances not taken, books unread, letters never sent—let it go, as the song goes that is now ‘frozen’ into our heads. Let it all go, and let’s get on with what lies in front of us—365 new chances to live more fully.

Blue Mountain Printable 2015 Goal Sheet

All journeys begin with a single step, and to help you down your “yellow brick road” of 2015, we’ve compiled a printable goal sheet to help you get the most out of the year ahead. Let it inspire you to focus on what you love and what matters to you, and you’ll soon discover that you’re moving through this new year with a renewed spirit and sense of true fulfillment.

Click Here to print your goal sheet today!

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How to Nurture all of your Friendships

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Not all friendships are created equal, but all friendships are indeed important and meaningful in their own unique, special ways.

Truth be told, there are varying levels of friendship. Some are extremely close. Some not as much, but still significant nonetheless. Although your various friendships may be different from one another, it’s still important to stay connected with each of them and to show your appreciation. After all, they have inspired, supported, encouraged, and motivated you—and perhaps even stood by your side—and probably continue to do so even today.

Blue Mountain has compiled a list of five different groups of friends you might have. We’ve also added fun ways to keep in touch with those friends in each group. Maybe you have suggestions of your own. We’d love to hear them!

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #1: BEST FRIENDS
Friends in this group are very few, but they’re the ones who know you best and accept you unconditionally. They’re also the ones you first turn to through the different phases of your life. To stay connected with this select group, the more personal, the better: one-on-one get-togethers, phone calls, and cards (yes, through the mail) are the nicest and most meaningful gestures.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #2: SOCIAL FRIENDS
These friends are formed from social circles that enjoy each other’s company outside the home and workplace. They enjoy getting together and having a great time, whether at each other’s homes, at outside venues, or at functions. To stay connected with this group, eCards are a good choice.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #3: WORK FRIENDS
Obviously, these friends are your professional colleagues and co-workers. You’re brought together through a mutual employer, but then you just happen to click on a more personal level. You might even socialize outside of work. These friends could also accumulate if you leave one company for another. To stay connected with this group, the social network LinkedIn is a great place to gather. Coffee and lunch dates are also nicely practical.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #4: SCHOOL FRIENDS
This group of friends could have been culled from your grade school, high school, or college…or your child’s grade school, high school, or college. These individuals might include classmates, teachers, professors, coaches, mentors, other parents, etc. To stay connected with this group (through messages and photographs), blogging and social media work extremely well. You might want to consider Facebook or Twitter. Also, alumni groups and reunions are great ways to keep in touch.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #5: CASUAL FRIENDS
These are friends you see just every once in a while. They could be meet-up groups, neighbors, members of your religious affiliation, etc. You don’t see each other regularly, but you do enjoy each other’s company and you get along well. To stay connected with this group, you may want to make more of an effort to do a planned activity together (movie, dinner, concert, art show, bowling) or share a lovely treat (bakery, flowers, vegetables from your garden, a small gift). You can also reach out and send an eCard that shows how much you value their friendship.

 

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Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

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Now that we’ve discussed the beauty and impact of generosity and thoughtfulness towards one another in “Random Acts of Kindness: Part 1,” let’s see how we can actually put this lovely concept into motion and make it come to life.

There are a few different ways to do this. You can initiate the act. Or you could perform an act in response to a kind act bestowed on you (which is called “paying it forward”). You could do something nice for your friends and family. Or you could do something nice for strangers. But regardless of which way you do it and to whom, the most important thing is that you do it without any expectation of reward. These are totally selfless acts that are certain to bring you immense satisfaction and pleasure.

We also want to emphasize that these acts do NOT necessarily require large sums of money or a lot of effort. Even the smallest gestures—as long as they’re performed sincerely and without an expectation of recognition or acknowledgement —can result in the greatest happiness.

We’d now love to share a few ideas with you for FREE acts of kindness:

  • Smile broadly and genuinely at someone who passes you by.
  • Hold the door (or elevator) open for the person behind you.
  • Let someone who’s in a rush cut ahead of you in line.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Give a sincere compliment to someone who looks like they could use one.
  • Share magazines you’ve already read with co-workers, friends, etc.
  • Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans.
  • Share extra produce from your garden with someone in need.
  • Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life.
  • Send someone an eCard (like this free one from Blue Mountain) for no special reason at all.

And here are some ideas for LOW-COST acts of kindness:

  • Leave a heftier tip than usual for your waiter or waitress.
  • Bring a meal to someone who just had a baby or other major life event.
  • Buy a candy bar (or magazine subscription, etc.) that a neighbor child is selling for a fundraiser.
  • Bring donuts or other delicious treat to work.
  • Put lots of pennies on the sidewalk for kids to find.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Leave your change behind in a vending machine.
  • Buy an extra ticket and take someone to an event (e.g., movie, concert, ball game).
  • Send a care package to a soldier.

And as a small gift from us to you, we’ve designed a FREE printable that you can download today and give to anyone you choose. It includes 6 different cards that you can fill out and leave anonymously. Look at these cards as your chance to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter!

To download these free printable coupons, simply click on the image, and once the new page opens, right click to print or save the image to your computer.

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And if you’re wondering exactly how the friendly folks at Blue Mountain use these printables to show each other we care, here’s how (along with the recipients’ feedback):

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