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Take the THANKFUL Challenge

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Joan Lunden

Joan's Blog / / November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving crafts to make thankful

I read a terrific Thanksgiving blog over the holiday weekend by Carolyn Gross who has a website called Creative Life Solutions.  Carolyn shared a very clever thankfulness challenge in which you use the word Thankful as an acronym. You fill in what each letter means to you, something in your life that you are thankful for.  This is the time of the year, with families getting together for the holidays and the year winding down, that most of us ponder our lives and our happiness and our value to the world. I took Carolyn’s Thankful Challenge and I am sharing it with you below.  I encourage you to use this exercise and think about what you are thankful for and how you would fill in the acronym. 
Here is how my THANKFUL acronym looks...

Television… OK at first glance this might seem shallow.  However, I don’t mean I’m thankful for this week’s line-up of sitcoms and dramas.  I'm grateful for having spent my life pursuing a career in television.  Not only did my career in television journalism  provide me an opportunity to travel the world and interview business icons, Presidents, Kings and Queens, and actors and rockers, I was also able to connect with my audience – millions of bff’s who spent each and every morning with me.  These nice folks became a family of friends for me, and many still greet me with warmth and affection everywhere I go around the country. That has been the part of working in television for which I am most thankful.

Health… The commitment you make in your health today will determine your life 20, 30 years from now. We are very much in charge of our destiny.  I work hard to stay healthy and fit.  But in this case I am actually talking about health as a passion in my life. My father was a doctor and I grew up always thinking that I would be a doctor too.  However after a short stint working in a hospital, I learned I’m not cut out for stitches and scalpels.  However I must tell you that my favorite part of hosting Good Morning America all those years was bringing people information about health that would help them make better decisions on how to stay well and care for their families.  That passion for making a difference in people’s health has defined my life and my career.

Action... Life is not determined by being dealt the perfect hand, but by playing well the hand you are dealt.  Many people wait for life to bring them something great instead of going out and actively pursuing success and happiness.  Many of us have opportunities pass us by because we don’t believe in ourselves and we don’t act on them.  Anyone who knows me well, will tell you that my life’s motto is “Whenever you are asked to do something, just say yes, and then figure out how to do it.”  Saying yes to opportunities and going after what you want or believe in, is the path to achieving success and fulfillment.

Nature or Nachos… Seriously, I’m trying to be really honest here.  I love nachos, one of my favorite foods and the first thing that came to my mind.  However I also love my summers in Maine, where each day I walk amongst the beautiful tall pines, and gaze upon the glistening Long Lake where our home is located.  It inspires me to exercise and to climb mountains and swim.

Konigsberg and Kids… I’ll never forget the day I was sitting in the Rye Ridge Deli and in walked this tall handsome guy with the most electrifying charismatic smile.  I was sitting with my daughter Sarah who was only 10 years old at the time and she said “if you want to meet him, go say hi!”  I told her it doesn’t always work that way and she said that was silly.  Fortunately Jeff Konigsberg did walk over to my table to say hi, and we’ve been together ever since.  And we have two wonderful sets of twins, now six and eight years old, who ask a million questions a day as they blossom into individuals, and I am thankful every morning as I hear the pitter patter of their little feet running down the hall to our bedroom. And I constantly marvel when I spend time with my older girls who are now 23, 28 and 31 – seeing them happy, ensconced in their careers, with wonderful friends.   There is no greater success than raising a kind, happy, confident child.  And it is definitely the most challenging job!

Father... My dad dedicated his life to his patients and the community. When I was just 14 years old my dad was killed in a plane crash.  Even when I return to my hometown these days, I am approached by people who want to express their gratitude because my father saved their life or someone they love. Dad was a real hero to me. He used to tell me that I could do anything I set out to do and that my goal should be to make a difference in the world. I was recently asked to give the 2012 Commencement speech at Loma Linda University Medical School in southern California where 75 years ago my father received his medical degree.  There could not be a higher honor to come my way.  I am so very thankful for this opportunity!

United States of America...  I don’t mean to be corny and I’m not running for office, but having travelled extensively throughout my career, I have come to greatly appreciate the quality of life that we enjoy in our country. From the plethora of products that are in grocery stores to electronic stores that make our lives easy, to our infrastructure – roads, electricity, water and comfortable homes – I am so thankful that I was born in the United States of America.

Love of family and friends...At the end of the day it is your family who is there for you in good times and bad.  It is said that the most important factor in determining happiness in your Golden years, is the family and the friends you have.   Not how much money you saved, or how good a golfer you are , or how many cruises you can take.    I'm thankful for the unique gift I receive from my family, their love and support and understanding and encouragement they give to me.

Take a moment during this holiday weekend and see what YOUR acronym for Thankful is. I hope this proves to be worthwhile...I'm sure you'll be thankful you did!

Categories: Joan's Blog
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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