Creative Ways to Say “Thank You”

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Thanksgiving Day comes once a year in the U.S., but every day there are people in our lives who deserve our thanks. Sometimes a simple “Thank you” is appropriate. At other times, it is more thoughtful to be creative in expressing appreciation. It’s just good business.

Here are some suggestions for thanking people at work, at home, and in the community.

1. When you say “Thank you” tell the person specifically what it is you appreciate and why you appreciate it. “Thank you for going to the Post Office for me. It saved me a lot of time.”

2. Send an e-mail note. When I sent a thank you note to my staff in the Pentagon, the energy level shot up.

3. Send a hand-written thank you note. These are noteworthy because so few of us take time to write and mail them.

4. Place an unexpected phone call just to say “Thank you.” Connecting verbally adds warmth to your appreciation even if you reach voice mail.

5. Present a small certificate. Half-page certificates take up less space if displayed and are as meaningful as full sized certificates. They tend to draw attention because they are different.

6. Give a single flower from your garden, flowerpot, or florist, with a verbal “Thank you” or a note.

7. Put a candy bar or piece of fruit on the desk of the person to be thanked, with or without a note. (Be sure the person is not on vacation!)

8. Bake some cookies. This is especially effective when men bake and present a few cookies in thanksgiving.

9. Say something nice about the recipient of your thanks to someone else when the person you appreciate can overhear you. This is especially powerful in a business setting.

10. For special occasions, present a US flag that has flown over the Capitol. It is a   unique , reasonably priced item which few people own. A certificate of authenticity is provided in honor of any special occasion you designate. Call your congressman’s office and ask for it. If you don’t have a local contact, call 202 224-3121 and ask for your congressman or congresswoman by name. When you reach that person’s office, ask to purchase a flag. They’ll know what to do!

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Grief – A Universal Human Experience

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My wife of 31 years, Lynne, lost her life to glioblastoma in 2010 following a battle lasting almost four years against the deadly disease. Glioblastoma is a stage 4 brain tumor, known for its fast-growth and recurring properties. As her primary caregiver, I learned much about the disease and the other issues surrounding the care of someone facing a life-threatening illness. This article covers the topic of grief, a topic that is relevant to each of us at some point in our lives. I hope that the lessons I learned will help someone else navigate through the grief process.

Grief is a universal human experience that will affect every one of us at some point in our life. Although grief is universal, each person prepares for grief, experiences grief, and recovers from grief in unique ways. There are guiding principles that we can apply to our grief but your recovery is unique to your circumstance. You may judge yourself. You might feel as though you recovered from grief too quickly. You might feel as though your grieving is lasting too long. Just keep in mind that your grief is as individual as you are and so is your recovery. It is also natural to believe that others are making judgments about your grief. While that may be the case, your grief is your path, which may look very different compared to the path of someone else.

My grieving process started at the point of Lynne’s diagnosis, not her death. The week following her diagnosis, I spent nearly every evening shedding tears and agonizing over the future that lay ahead. Thoughts of unfulfilled dreams and goals circled my mind numerous times throughout each day. As I researched the disease, the certainty of Lynne’s eventual death moved to the forefront of my mind. I tried to balance those thoughts with the hope that Lynne’s case might be different in some way, but it was an internal struggle.

Like any couple, we held onto the hope that our plans for the future would remain intact. We discussed goals throughout our marriage about retirement. We shared about the continued ability to travel. We shared thoughts about the enjoyment of watching grandchildren grow up. We discussed our dreams of a slower paced life hoping to enjoy the simpler things in life. Those kind of things we tend to take for granted in our younger years as we focus on building our lives and careers. In one day, the plans and dreams we made together seemed to shatter like a glass hitting a tile floor. Forever lost with no possibility of ever putting the glass back together.

About six years earlier because of my responsibilities as a deacon at the Sun Valley Church of Christ, I enrolled in a course to help me enhance my skills and abilities as a people helper. As a people helper, people often approached me to share personal struggles. I desired a better foundation of knowledge to help me guide them through their struggles. A few of the classes within that course of study helped me to prepare for what was ahead in my own life. One class covered forgiveness, letting go of the past and the pain. Another covered marriage and keeping the love alive. Another covered pain and suffering, for learning to help people in a hurting world. Yet another covered managing stress and anxiety. The most important class that would bear on my own future was a class about grief and loss. While my intent was to learn about these topics to assist others, the importance of that learning helped me to understand the emotional turmoil that I was facing and some techniques to help me manage my way through the pain.

Grief is a universal human experience. However, the experience is unique to every individual. In some ways, my grief recovery was assisted by learning from other people and I hope that by sharing my personal experience that others will also benefit. I am writing several articles covering various aspects of the grieving process including grief models, anticipating grief, and preparing for grief.

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Hardwood Floor Refinishing – Do It Yourself Tips

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If you’re lucky enough to find hardwood floors hiding under your tired carpeting, you might feel like covering the wood back up. That’s understandable because refinishing the floors yourself seems like an impossible task.Hardwood floors were a common feature in houses until the 1960s. Before that, having wall-to-wall carpet was considered a luxury upgrade. From the 1970s on, most homes had wall-to-wall carpet in nearly every room. However, tastes change, and over the last couple decades, hardwood floors have once again become fashionable and desirable. Oftentimes, when I’m talking with someone about fixing houses, they ask if refinishing hardwood floors is something they can do themselves. Unless the person has a physical reason why they can’t do it, I generally say yes. However, I also remind them that redoing hardwood floors takes a great deal of time, sweat, and elbow grease.

As a general rule, floors of fifty square feet or less can be sanded by hand, but for any floor larger than that, rent or buy a small orbital sander. Everything necessary for doing it yourself will be available at your local hardware store. You can buy a pretty good electric sander nowadays for less than $100, which can be a good investment, especially if you’re planning to work on your home on a regular basis.The first layer to be removed is often a thick wax coating, followed by a coat of either polyurethane or varnish. A heavy duty commercial wax stripper can remove the wax, and then a lacquer thinner or acetone can be wiped on to prepare the wood for the next step. If there are any carpet tacks or pieces of old nails in the wood, remove them first. The remnant of a nail can tear up sandpaper, damage a sanding pad, and do serious damage to the palm of your hand, so check carefully to make sure all remnants of tacks and nails are gone before you begin sanding. Fill all nail holes with a quality wood filler, matching the color as closely as you can, and let it dry. Then you’re ready to begin sanding the floor with 220-grit sandpaper, whether by hand or with a sander. When you’re done sanding, wipe the entire floor with a damp cloth to remove as much sanding dust as possible. Damp cloths work better than vacuum cleaners. Let the floor dry, and then wipe it again with a tack rag, which is a cloth impregnated with resin to pick up fine dust particles. Again, your local hardware store will have what you need.After the floor is as clean as you can get it, apply three coats of polyurethane with a paint pad, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly, lightly sanding with 220-grit paper, and wiping the floor with a damp cloth and a tack rag between coats. If you prefer an old-fashioned finish, you can use a 50/50 mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits and then wax the floors with beeswax or paste wax. Take caution with the chemical mixture and the rags because they can catch on fire.

You can refinish hardwood floors yourself. It just takes time and effort–and a good set of kneepads wouldn’t hurt, either! Once you finish, you’ll have a gorgeous floor to be proud of and ready for that next “do it yourself” project–perhaps the next room with hardwood floors.

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