Winners of February’s Gratitude Contest Share Their Stories – Part 1

Last month I invited people to share their stories of expressing profound gratitude to people who made a significant impact on their lives and I am so pleased to announce the two winners of February’s Gratitude Contest.

Joan Valley of New Franken, WI

Andy Monfried of Norwood, NJ

Both of our winners have graciously offered to share their stories with us here.  Today I would like to include Joan’s message to a generous colleague.  Andy’s letter to his grandmother will be posted in a follow-up blog, to be published this Thursday, March 10th.

My hope in writing This Is the Moment was that it would ignite sparks of gratitude and in time, who knows, maybe create a wildfire.  I loved Joan’s expression of gratitude to her colleague, Ron, who had made such a difference in her life.  Joan also reached out and found 45 people who also wanted to share their gratitude to Ron, which made this recognition even more special.

Joan Shares Her Story:

“My story on gratitude is centered on someone that I used to teach with.   After I had my first son 13 years ago I was working full-time as a high school teacher.  I have always loved teaching, but I really struggled having to leave my son while I was teaching. Anytime someone would check in and ask how I was doing I would break down and cry.  One day I went to my mailbox at work and there was a cassette program by Brian Tracy in there.  I thought someone put it in my mailbox on accident so I had our secretary post a note in our newsletter asking the staff if this was a mistake to come and see me.  No one responded.  So I listened to these tapes in my car during all my daily travels every single day.  The message that I was hearing in these tapes literally saved me.  This is where Ron comes in.  I suspected he may have done this as an act of kindness knowing how much I was struggling.  He would not admit it, however he smiled in a way that made me know it was him.  He did this knowing I needed it, but did not want credit for it.

That one act was not the only impact Ron made in my life.  We were both teaching the same class so I was fortunate to be able to meet with him every week.  He was so generous with his time.  He would run off all the copies for an upcoming unit for all of the teachers teaching this class and go through everything with us.  More than that, he was always upbeat, positive, optimistic, and happy; I could go on and on.  He would use quotes from Wayne Dyer and other spiritual teachers daily in his classroom.  It was the “quote of the day” on the board and students had to journal about the quote. He was known by staff as Mr. Positive.

After hearing your interview on Hay House with Diane Ray I was motivated while listening to write Ron a letter and let him know how much of a positive influence he had on my life and how much I appreciated him. Ron’s wife of 50 years passed away a few weeks ago so I thought this might lift his spirits a bit.  In addition to my letter I emailed the staff at my school asking for the first word that came to their mind when they thought of Ron.  Ron retired several years ago, but even so I received over 45 emails with a total of 70 words…people had a hard time just using one.  I put them in Wordle and created this word cloud for Ron.  I sent all of this to him just this past December.

Thank you for your work Walter.  I am grateful to have heard your interview.  I can’t describe how I felt during the process of writing the letter, collecting the words and so on.  I addition Ron sent me a very thoughtful thank you letter that really meant a lot to me.”

Thank you, Joan.  I am grateful for your story and hope that it may ignite sparks of gratitude in others.

Don’t forget to check in on Thursday, March 10th to read Andy’s letter to his grandmother.  You will be truly inspired.

Mark your calendars – we will be running another contest in May for expressions for gratitude for mothers and grandmothers.  The winners will receive an autographed copy of This is the Moment! and with their permission, be featured in a blog. You have two months to enrich your relationships in a way you never imagined – have a conversation, write a letter, create a video, etc.

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