Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude Contest’

Winners of February’s Gratitude Contest Share Their Stories – Part 2

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Congratulations to our two winners!  On Monday, Joan Valley shared her story of expressing profound gratitude to her colleague and today I am pleased and grateful that Andy Monfried has agreed to share the letter he wrote to his grandmother.

Andy first reached out to me on Facebook page  with this message:

“Walter, I LOVED your book.  It recently inspired me to write a six-page letter to my grandmother…(who, as you say is in the “cocktail hour” of her life) and, how much she has meant to me, and most importantly – how much I truly appreciate her.  She received the letter last night and called me crying.  She told me it was the most significant gift she has EVER been given, and its worth more to her than anything in her possession.  This was all inspired by your book. Many thanks for bringing the spark that has ignited to many of these dynamic emotional, appreciative and worthy fires…” – Andy

Rather than reprint Andy’s entire six-page letter here, I am grateful to be able to include excerpts of his expressions of gratitude to his grandmother.

“Dear Grandma,

I can’t adequately explain to you in words how profoundly your life has positively affected me.  I figured it was high time to tell you the tremendous impact you’ve had on me — in every single aspect of my being.

As a child, I learned generosity, compassion, caring – and about being selfless, from both you and Grandpa.

I knew I was a good athlete.   I was the captain in every sport I played.  From little league baseball, to soccer, to football..  the one constant ingredient that helped me, reassured me, and propelled me —- was the realization that you and Grandpa would be at every single one of my games, home or away.  You came with those wicker chairs, propped behind the fence…..and sat, cheering for ME.

What a boost of confidence it was to know that you cared enough, to drop whatever it was that YOU were doing,  to show up in the “cold rain or snow” to see your grandchild participate in little league baseball, soccer, football…  And, you came to hundreds of them and I never had to tell you, or remind you.

Because of you and Grandpa I developed confidence.  I know it’s too late to thank Grandpa.    I think about him every day.  Every time something positive happens to me, every challenge I come across… familiar refrain is…

“What would Grandpa Bernie do?”

His wisdom, his gentle caring – his firm handshake – yet soft touch…..are traits that made him the most GENUINE, down to earth – and courageous man I’ve ever met.   It’s no wonder you loved the man with all your heart and soul. He was my role model – as a business man, hard worker, loyal family man — and trusted confidant.

You and Grandpa.

You who would talk, or just sit and watch TV with me.

You who would pick me up, and take me out to breakfast or dinner, ANYTIME.

You who would buy me clothes, shoes, cleats for each school year and season

You who would stock our refrigerator.

The comfort of your presence, the steadiness of your love, and caring  –  these are attributes that you’ve passed on to me……..that I plan on passing onto (your great-grandchildren)  — and by extension their children…..

You’ve given the gift of legacy. You’ve help to make me successful. Socially, intellectually, family, and business……I can’t ever say I’m nearly as content, driven, or as well rounded as you and Grandpa were — but. I’m on my way.  I’ve married a woman who is BETTER than I am.  Like Grandpa did with you.  I’ve got kids who are well adjusted and will be great adults.  (I hope and pray).  Like you and Grandpa.

A really cool philosopher once said, when dealing with the problems and challenges of life…. “When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Not me. You’ve given me the skills – and a toolbox full of love, confidence and love, to know that I’ve got a toolbox full of support, capabilities, and know-how to tackle anything that life throws my way.

I can’t thank you enough. I love you.  Your life has inspired me to be better.  To care.  To communicate.  To be genuine.

I can never EVER (in this life or the next) to thank you enough for all that you have done, given, and provided me……  I will try to pass it on, in every way.    I will pass it to your children, my children, and grandchildren,

All the while, I will think of you and Grandpa as I do it.

That’s the only gift I can offer you.  It’s not much …(compared to what you’ve given me)…

I love you.

Wow–I have read this letter several times and every time I am deeply moved.  How wonderful it is for Andy, and his grandmother, that he did this while they were both alive and well.  In addition to the joyfulness of expressing this gratitude, he will never have the pain of regret for what he wished he had said.  Well done, Andy.

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.

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

Monday, March 7th, 2011

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.