Alexandra and Rachel are the Year of Gratitude writers. They met sometime around 2010 when they were both students working at the University of Kansas. They didn’t become good friends though until a few years later. At that point, they both returned, degrees and new life experiences in hand, to working at the same organization. From there, they became great friends. They both felt that they had reached pretty decent places in their lives, but then, of course, life intervened. As a result of life’s ability to muck everything up, they decided to embark on this Year of Gratitude project together.
About Alexandra, One of the Year of Gratitude Writers:
Alexandra is generally an excessively sunny person who enjoys being out and about but desperately needs her time with a book behind closed doors to recover. She is always busy, learning, and trying to see the best in things. In the past few years, that outlook has been tested heavily as she has been dealing with anxiety due to job and family difficulties.
As the anxiety increased, she turned to her old hobbies, scrapbooking and reading, for some self-care. Over time, those activities, combined with keeping a lighter schedule and focusing on gratitude, have helped to decrease the amount of stress that she is combatting. It’s still not easy when chaos comes knocking, but it is easier. She’s convinced that if she hadn’t been developing self-care practices to better address the anxiety in the past few years, she’d be in a heap on the floor right now with how 2017 went.
As she continues to move toward a more mindful and accepting place in her life, she will continue trying new things and easing back into favorite hobbies. She’s frequently got her nose in a book, her eyes on a map, and her hands sifting through scrapbook supplies. You can find her writing about goals, books, and travel (among other things) on her personal blog Simply Alexandra – My Favorite Things. You can also find videos of her scrapbook and crafty projects on YouTube.
About Rachel, One of the Year of Gratitude Writers:
Rachel hasn’t always focused on gratitude, mindfulness, and happiness. In fact, she spent a lot of her life stomping around like a tyrannosaurus rex that was also an occasional fire-breathing dragon. In short, well, she certainly had some anger issues.
She made a lot of progress on dealing with knee-jerk reactions to unpleasant events over the years, but then she got really sick and was in chronic pain all the time. She hit a rock-bottom point in her life. During that messy time, she made a hard right turn toward choosing to be happier regardless of the circumstances. Or she tries to anyway. She doesn’t pretend to be perfect.
No one considers her transformation since she’s actively chosen to be more grateful, mindful, and joyful more amazing than she does… except, perhaps, her husband. He certainly appreciates the reduced number of guest appearances by the tyrannosaurus rex.
After spending the last year focusing on creating a happier life for herself and her family, Rachel is looking forward to expanding her pursuit of happiness to this gratitude project. When she’s not cultivating a more positive world outlook, she enjoys crafting, reading, and homesteading, all of which she writes about on her personal blog, Honeyed Homestead. To follow those (mis)adventures, make sure to visit her blog and subscribe if it strikes your fancy.
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