Grateful for: Community

Too often we take for granted the community in which we live and all the fruits it has to offer. No matter where we live, there are always wonderful splendors that we can appreciate which are unique to our community. One need merely look around, keep an open heart, and open mind.

Right here where I live, in the Hudson Valley, we have beautiful foliage in the autumn. We have such a bountiful harvest season with apples of all kinds. Dense forest land and evergreens . The Catskill and Appalachian mountains. Hot summers, and cold winters. Snowy winters. The best hiking and mountain biking trails on the planet. Mountain climbing, kayaking, camping, and all other outdoor sporting activities associated with lush forests. It’s a scenic adventure here, and I indulge in it.

We all have plenty to appreciate in our communities. The gratitude we have for our communities will fuel us to try more of the fruits they have to offer. I believe too many of us don’t take advantage of all that is being offered locally, and we really should.

Think about it; if someone were to take a vacation in your community, what activities and events would they be likely to partake in? Have you taken the time to enjoy these same activities?

I believe many of us would be forced to answer “no.”

Now, we all make many reasons for this, but I believe the underlying dominant reason is the fact that we believe that since these fruits are local, they’re not “special”….. just “commonplace”; just because they are local. Yet we are all willing to enjoy the fruits of a place far away and call it “vacation”.

Well ….. I’m here to say that our communities are no less fruitful than our favorite vacation destinations. The path to discovering this begins with cultivating gratitude. Gratitude will grant us appreciation. Appreciation will then fuel our passion to enjoy all of our local people, places, events, opportunities, activities, and faire. 

Replace “have to” with “get to”

Our attitude/emotions effect our behavior (this we already know). But the opposite is true too; Our behavior DOES influence our emotions as well.

With that being said, what we say to ourselves (and others) can completely change our perspective and cultivate gratitude.

Here is a neat trick I have discovered that has been invaluable in cultivating gratitude (and ultimately joy) for me: Replace the phrase “have to” with “get to”.

“Have to” is a chore. Makes the mind feel like we have an obligation we would rather not have:

  • I have to pick up my daughter from school.
  • I have to clean the home.
  • I have to go grocery shopping.

“Get to” is a privilege. Makes the mind more appreciative of the task ahead. Makes us view our tasks as small adventures, opportunities for joy. Also, it forces makes us step outside ourselves to see the task from a broader perspective:

  • I get to pick up my daughter from school. (A wonderful time to bond with her. Cultivate connection)
  • I get to clean the home. (So you have a shelter you can be grateful for. Too many are not so fortunate).
  • I get to go grocery shopping. (You have the means not only to feed yourself and family, But LOOK AT THE WONDERFUL VARIETY.)

It can be difficult remember to have gratitude on the fly when we need it at a moments notice. But if we can remember key phrases that we use as “red flags” during our comings and goings, we can catch ourselves at appropriate moments to be grateful. “I have to” is one such red flag.

Side Note: If there is ever a time when “get to” can’t replace “have to” for a specific task we have, this is a clear red flag that this is a task that adds no value to our life. Time to minimize.


My Top 20 Halloween Movies List??

Still need something to do for Halloween Season?? Consider some films from my top 20 Halloween movie list.

This list was carefully compiled and not easy to narrow down. This list is designed to be:

  • Diverse – A mixture of slasher, psychological, comedy, family-friendly, classics, ghoulish, and just Halloween immersive movies. I tried not to repeat the same type of monster too much either.
  • Non -repetitive – If I added any movies from franchises, I only added ONE, and it is the best stand-alone of the bunch.

In no particular order the movies areas follows:

  1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  2. Trick r Treat
  3. Terrifier
  4. Return of the Living Dead
  5. Night of the Creeps
  6. Lost Boys
  7. The Thing
  8. Halloween (1978)
  9. The Addams Family (1991)
  10. Beetlejuice
  11. The Exorcist
  12. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  13. Evil Dead 2
  14. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
  15. 13 Ghosts (2001)
  16. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  17. Poltergeist (1986)
  18. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  19. The Ring (2002)
  20. Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight

Honorable Mentions: The Conjuring, Halloween 3 (the “black sheep” of the Halloween series, but an excellent movie in it’s own right).

Any one of these will make for an good Halloween night.

Many Horror greats can be see free streaming on YouTube and other services.  The original John Carpenters Halloween (1978) can be seen free on YouTube. Also the original “Night of the Living Dead” and “Last House on the Left” are both in public domain and therefore can be seen anywhere for free (including YouTube).



One Character Trait Above all Others

Be Kind …… Always

It’s the only non-debatable behavior to have as a means toward a better end, a positive end.

True, there are others that will serve us very well too:

Be smart

Be resourceful

Be conscientious

Be motivated

Be hard working


But none of them will pave the path to happiness and righteousness without kindness. Yet kindness CAN pave that path all by itself.

Kindness, compassion, and empathy (which I lump together under just “Kindness”) are all we need to give our lives meaning and make the world a better place.