18 Items in My Basket of Pleasantries

To fight against complaining about what is wrong, I choose to think about those things that put a smile on my face. I call this my Basket of Pleasantries, a virtual basket I pull from whenever life becomes a bit overwhelming.

Here are 18 things that make me smile at any given moment.

1. Seeing the sunrise on a cool spring morning and not having to go into the office

2. Reading a book from cover to cover that changes the way I see me and the world

3. Sipping hot ginger tea that has at least 2 table spoons of honey with my husband on our deck

4. Opening all the blinds in the house to let tons of sunshine in

5. Smelling the aroma of my favorite dish of stir-fried shrimp and sweet peppers over spaghetti squash prepared by my husband

6. Hearing my five year old niece say to her uncles “You are going down” during a game of Uno

7. Setting up my train set to kickoff the holiday season

8. Seeing the expression on my dad's face after he learns I've made a surprise trip home to love on him a little

9. Looking at old pictures from back in the day when my rent was $500 a month and car note was less than $200 a month

10. Driving through the mountains of Pennsylvania as foliage is peaking

11. Walking along Biscayne Bay Blvd in Miami, FL with my husband, while staying at 1 of only 2 JW Marriott Marquis in the entire world

12. Watching a mother duck lead her recently born ducklings across the parking lot in attempts to reach a nearby pond

13. Walking along a white sand beach in Santo Domingo and seeing the bottom of the ocean for what seemed like several miles out

14. Riding down Martha Brae river in Jamaica on a handmade raft, while viewing bananas and mangos hanging from the branches above my head

15. Getting a text message from my husband calling me an "unconventional chick” after having a 36 inch captain's wheel installed onto our deck for a cruise party

16. Dipping and eating a plate of crispy crinkle cut french fries dipped in honey mustard instead of ketchup

17. Feeling that I was the one who received so much love and encouragement after visiting a group of amazing seniors at one of the Assistant Living Homes in Greenbelt, MD

18. Hearing my mom’s voice saying I was beautiful and that she loved me

Consider building your own “Basket of Pleasantries”.

Before getting started, always look for ways to add to your basket at least once a week to keep you always thinking about your blessings versus your problems.

How To Start Your Basket of Pleasantries

Step One: Obtain a pack of index cards or personal journal

Step Two: Allow your mind to wonder and think about wonderful and warm memories — memories that make you smile, laugh out loud, sigh or take a deep breath. Remember only lovely, sweet memories that make you feel good inside and out.

Step Three: Now, start writing down those memories on the index card, one memory for one card.

Step Four: Grab a box or basket and place the index cards (minimum of 10 cards) in it. If you don’t have at least ten memories, then keep thinking and writing. If this still does not work than you have some work to do. That is, make every effort to make more pleasant memories on purpose, soon!

Step Five: Decorate your basket or box with your favorite photos, colors, etc., add your favorite chocolate, imperishable snacks or items, memorabilia like movie ticket stubs or PayBill, etc.. Ongoing Step: Add to your “Basket of Pleasantries at least once a week or twice a moth” until your basket or box over flows with those things to make you smile at any given moment, especially during those moments when you need it the most. Once this happens, create another basket or box to hold more of your new pleasant memories and pleasantries.

We hope you will realize, while performing this ongoing exercise, that you worthy of "Loving You As Is"!

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