The Power of Gratitude and Giving

It seems like everywhere I turn these days, I hear complaining. Complaining about the current President, the past President, the government, the schools, and really, life in general. Yes, our country has fallen on a harder time than most of us are old-enough to remember. Personally, I think that that there’s a lesson in everything and ALL things happen for a reason. My husband once told me, sometimes you get the things you ‘need’ instead of the things you ‘want’. This applies for life lessons as well.

For me, I think this economic crisis in both the housing and job market was a lesson to us all. Hopefully it has shown people that ‘living up to the Jones’ isn’t worth the paper they printed your over-inflated, interest only mortgage on. And hopefully, people will start to realize that having gratitude for what you have in your life, is more important than sporting the newest, biggest SUV du-jour.  And that giving of yourself, is more rewarding than anything you could ever purchase for someone.

Maybe this all sounds funny coming from the people who publish travel videos of partying around the world. But what you don’t realize is that our motto “Excuses are over. It’s time to Live!” is not about partying, it’s about living life for today. It’s about doing more of the things you want to do and less of the things that you don’t. It’s about finding what truly lights you up inside and doing that!

Here is an example…

When all of our friends where taking huge index-only mortgages out on houses with large yards and pools; we were shopping for a cool city apartment that won’t break the bank. Why? Because we’ve been down the housing road. We owned, we did yard work and we hated it all. We’d rather spend our money on the upcoming trip, than a new roof. We’d rather go to South America for a week or two, than be stuck watering our yard or worse, paying someone else to do it for us. We’d rather call the leasing office when the water heater breaks, than a repair man. We also have a paid-for car, that sure may be a bit older- but it’s PAID FOR. This means…NO monthly bill! Can I go get a new car today? Sure! But why would I? That’s not important to me. Driving a Range Rover doesn’t light me up. If it lights you up, then you should have one…but I personally would rather travel the world than drive a ‘cool car’.

We choose to live our life this way, as it allows us the flexibility to spend our money on the things that light us up, travel being #1. So- while our friend’s are in their big houses and driving their big cars, we’re in Mykonos 🙂

Another example of how we live our life for ‘us’ and not for the ‘Jones’…

My husband used to drive a Porsche 911. He has driven one for years, always upgrading to the new one.  The funny thing was, he wasn’t tied to it the way others were. In fact, he hated pulling up to the valet because he knew it was always gonna cost him more money! Whenever we’d go out of town, there were always a list of friends asking to borrow the car. He had no worries, he would let just about anyone drive it. Then, last summer, as we were scooting around the Aeolian Islands of Sicily, he said, “I think I’m going to sell the Porsche and buy a scooter.” That was it. He came back, sold it and purchased a $2,000 dollar scooter. He rides it any day that the sun comes out. He loves the freedom that he feels on the scooter. Since selling the Porsche, he’s never mentioned one time that he misses it. In fact, he’s happier now, just riding the scooter than he ever was driving the Porsche before. My daughter and I take turns exploring the city with him on the weekends. This is the one purchase that has improved our quality of life as a family- and for that, I am grateful.

Gratitude is the Key to a Successful Life

Gratitude is a powerful thing. It’s easy to have gratitude when your life is blessed and your plans are going perfectly. It’s hard to have gratitude when times are tough. But, that is exactly the time that you need gratitude the most. For me, every night before I go to sleep, I think about the list of things that I am grateful for in my life and I let the Universe know. This is a ritual for me, as I find having gratitude to be the most important part of my life. I think about how I’m grateful for my health, the health of friends and family members, my husband and daughter, my cutie-pie malti-poo…you know, the basics. But I also give gratitude for the lessons that I learned that day, both ones that effect me in positive and even in negative ways.

At the end of the day, there’s always someone who has it worse than you and someone who has it better than you. There’s always someone with less money, more debt; or more money and less debt. This doesn’t and will never change. But if you are not grateful for what you have in your life, then why would the Universe ever give you more? Think about it. If you see a child that gets, and gets, and gets…but isn’t grateful for what they’ve received- do you want to give them more? Hell no! Either does the Universe.

Giving is the Key to Happiness

As a kid, I remember doing tons of community service. Often it was through youth groups, Girl Scout troops, leadership events and definitely through Student Council in school. Then in college, I continued consistently giving through on-campus groups, my sorority and in community centers. But somehow, after college, the hustle and bustle of life caught me off-guard and I did less and less service. I always felt like something was missing, but could never put my finger on it.

Recently my daughter and I started to volunteer on Saturday mornings at St. Francis’s Table, which is thelocal soup kitchen that hosts a weekly, all out, restaurant-style event for the hungry. Of course getting up on Saturday mornings at 6am isn’t exciting, but once I’m there, I just feel such a rush of happiness, gratitude and giving. Giving is a magical experience that can not be duplicated by shopping or traveling. Being hands-on is an experience that is so special, raw and honest that donating by writing a check pales in comparison. For me, this was the something that was missing in my life.


So there it is. This is how gratitude and happiness changed my life. I have in life what I need. I do more of the things that light me up. I do less of the things that don’t. I don’t give a shit about the Jones’. And I give of myself as often as possible. The 3 top lesson that we are trying to teach our daughter aren’t about straight A’s and clean bedrooms.

We want her to (1) Live life on your own terms (2) Do what you love to do (3) Give back.

What are you going to implement into your life so you can stop the complaining, change your own life and feel the power of gratitude and giving on a daily basis?




  • Reply
    Ronnie Gallucci
    April 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Wow!!!! this just hit me so exactly where i needed it to hit..ty from the bottom of my heart…u may not remember me..i did some telemarketing work for your husband..u and i spoke briefly only when it came to the $$$..and yes i have perused your facebook account and have (i don’t really want to use the word envy) because it hold a negative connotation with it..but, that is really what i have felt when i see the happiness on ur faces in your travels..and i am so enamored with your strength and clarity of what you want from life..ur honesty and love for lif just comes through the screen as i read ur story and it has helped me to realize what really matters…i am going through some difficult times in my life right now..with a marriage on the verge of failure and debt to the highest mountain..but, i want you to know i appreciate you telling your story and putting your feelings out has helped a lost soul like me …ty again for being an inspiration for me it will impact the rest of my life …have a blessed holiday

  • Reply
    April 28, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Hey Kim – just a quick note of congrats. I think this is a great post – great message/voice. Appreciated it over my morning coffee…

Leave a Reply