Stop Living to Please Others (and Start Taking Care of Yourself)

Stop Living to Please Others (and Start Taking Care of Yourself)

Living Well

By Louise Antonette Fandiño-Santos of Mommy Practicality

Do you ever catch yourself trying to fit in a group, by doing certain things that are against your beliefs?  Do you sometimes compare yourself to others like your high school batch mates and weigh who has a better job position or who’s successful in business?

I admit to doing this before.  I avoided reunions because I was too insecure.  I stressed myself in being updated with the hottest showbiz gossips or keeping up with whatever was the popular TV series, for the silly reason of having something to talk about with my lunch buddies.

But I got tired. It got too tiring to keep on striving for the approval of others.

Sometimes we are our worst critic. We always find the faults that no one even notices.  This really has to stop, though.  In this complicated, demanding, fast-paced, and critical world (thanks to the Internet and social media), the successes of other people are magnified.  Why? Because most people on social media only display what they want other people to think about them.  People always try to impress other people.

Why would one display her stained life?  If today was ten years ago, I would say I am guilty about pleasing other people all the time that I forget to live my own life and appreciate what I already have. When I had enough of that false life, I started finding my center, loving and focusing on myself more.  I became happier and more at peace when I started celebrating myself.  It wasn’t an instant shift of mindset and situation, it was a process.

Here are some steps that we can all take, if we want to stop comparing our lives to others, stop trying to please everyone.

1. Make An Inventory of What Brings You Joy.

Just like decluttering your home, you can declutter your life and retain only what brings you joy. Make a mental list of people (yes even people) and situations that do not bring value to your life.  After you’ve made an inventory, find a way to keep interaction with them (whether online or offline) to a minimum.  If they are on Facebook and you are not comfortable unfriending them, you may hide their posts on your timeline or unfollow their feed. I’m not sure if you’ll agree with me, but these people are usually those who rant everyday with so much intensity and foul words on their statuses. Find a prudent way to keep your distance from these people. You don’t need to get affected by them if you decide you don’t want to.

I have a long time friend and we were really close before.  Whenever we’d talk though, she would often talk endlessly and negatively about her past, about certain people I don’t even know and her situation. Every time she’d talk this way, I knew I would absorb her negative energy.  She’s the type who’d unload her problems to you, ask for advice but never follow any. I just got really tired of this habit of hers: Whenever we’d talk, I always felt sick and my shoulders would fall heavy.  I decided I had to let go of her. We’re still friends, but I slowly disappeared from her life.

Today the people in my life are quality people who bring joy, happiness and positive influence.  They may be few, but they all bring out the best in me.  These are my family, very very few relatives, three to four closest friends, and my life mentors.

2. Invest More Time and Effort On People and Things That Make You Happy.

So you’ve created your list from tip #1 and you’re aware who these people are. Invest time and effort in also making them happy, letting them feel loved and important.  These are the people who — when you invest in them — will return a thousand-fold of positive reinforcements to your own life. Exude positive energies to attract positive feelings and thoughts. Prioritize above all your relationship with God, then with family, followed by your friends.  You’ll soon notice the changes in your life when you surround yourself with love and happiness all the time.  It seems like nothing’s going to go wrong and if ever there will be hurdles along the way, you’ll breeze through it and know that you can rise above it.

3. Realize Your Self-Worth.

Let’s face it: We can’t “be” all or “have it all.” There will always be people who can do things better, who are more popular than us in our circle, who are richer or have traveled more. Do not let what others have undermine what you have in your life. Look deep inside you and learn to see your beauty and value.  Through the eyes and love of your family and friends, you should realize how special you are as a person.  You should realize that and affirm that to yourself.

The fact is: We don’t need to always keep up with everyone else. Because in fact, living slowly and savoring the moment is always better than rushing and being chased by people and circumstances.  Once you’ve realized your self-worth, there will never be a need for you to compare yourself to others. It is true freedom, when we don’t feel the need to impress others and get their approval.

These things will make you love and appreciate yourself more and make you live your life more liberally.  You will feel the freedom from others’ opinion of you.

Follow your heart’s desire.
Live according to what makes you happy.
Live more meaningfully and find your contentment in that.

Have you ever experienced trying to keep up with others and living to impress others that you forgot about yourself?  What did you do to address it?

How Blogging Changed The Woman In Me

How Blogging Changed The Woman In Me

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 By Louise Fandino of Mommy Practicality

I have already been fond of writing my thoughts and feelings long before The Backstreet Boys became popular.  Maybe it stemmed from having no sister to tell me daily adventures as a child.  Maybe when I was starting to have a crush I cannot contain my shiver-to-my-spine and butterfly-in-my-stomach feelings that I had to pen it on my diary.  The love for telling stories came early to me, unknowingly it would now be put to a good purpose through blogging.

I became active in blogging in 2012 when Mommy Practicality was emancipated.  Like most of the bloggers I talked to, it started as an outlet for me.  I badly needed a sustainable release or stress which will bring me back to sanity in the middle of my hectic day at work.  But as I persevered and relearned to love the craft, blogging no longer was just an outlet.  Blogging became a big part of me and it was a big part of the process of my development as a person, as a woman.

I could not thank heavens enough for leading me to this path, because it has brought positive changes in me, unimaginably.  Let me share to you how.

It first made me calmer.

Like what I said, blogging started as an outlet from a fast-paced work environment.  Blogging became therapeutic to me.  I got excited whenever I would open my blog and realize there were people reading what I wrote.  The excitement made me write more.  When I wrote more, it made me happy.  By being happy, not a big pressure at work could rattle me anymore.  I noticed I was calmer at handling people and things in my life.  This was the very first positive effect blogging had on me.  Next,

It pushed me to do better everyday.

DeathtoStock_Wired7Seeing that my first few entries were read by people I may know, but most I don’t, made me push myself to self-study the ins and outs of blogging.  I realized that blogging was not just about writing.  It’s meant to be shared.  It’s meant to be read by people who may be going through what I went through at that moment, and needed boost of encouragement or inspiration.  It made me want to reach out to more people.  Reaching out to more means optimizing my articles and using other sharing tools and social sites.  These didn’t come easily on my lap.  I studied them, I read a lot, I followed many successful bloggers and studied what they do which I may apply to my blog too.  I didn’t think that I could still better my bests, but I did.  These successful bloggers inspired me a lot to do my best, rather than made me feel insecure about where my blog was that time.  I invested in blogging to improve in my craft so I may be able to reach out to more people who may learn a thing or two from my blog.  This route also landed me a spot in Make It Blissful’s Blissmakers.  By being better at what I do, it led me to the next point…

It opened opportunities for me.

By persevering and working hard to come up with quality articles, slowly my blog became valuable to brands and I was asked to work with a few to become their ambassador.  The first digital representation of a brand was overwhelming.  I was in disbelief.  Brands I trust, I believe in and actually use were fortunately the brands I have worked with.  But the question remains in my mind up to this day, why me?  There were a lot more tenured and better writers than I am, why me?  Honestly, I am still puzzled.  Wonderful opportunities were opened.  Some I accepted and some I had to decline because I want to be honest to my readers and only tell them what I actually use or potentially would like.  The important lesson to me at this point is, you really reap what you sow.

It made me live my life more intentionally and purposely.

Believe me, there will come a time when a rave of brands would approach you to write about them, and you do because it’s an opportunity you think might not knock again.  But time will also come when you’re pushed to the wall and stressed out meeting deadlines here and there.  I didn’t want that.  It’s not all about the money or exposure.  You should go back to your core, the WHYs of your blog, the main purpose.  That’s what I did when it reached a certain point when I was a bit burnt out because of deadlines.  I realized it wasn’t inspiring anymore.  It wasn’t working for me anymore.  So before turning my back, I refocused.  I simplified.  I became more intentional and more purposeful about blogging.  I went back to the WHY of my blog.  As what my mentor Martine said, I was first a wifey and a mother, before I became a blogger.  So I had to prioritize.  I have to make blog schedules work around mine.  Since then, I slowed down.  And there isn’t anything wrong about not being able to produce a blog post every day as long as I am writing my heart out in my own perfect time, consistently and passionately.  It relieved me of the blogger’s burnt out.

It connected me to like-minded, inspiring, and positive women

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It helped a lot to be connected to a caring and empowering community.  Not one that only cares about what they got from brands A,B, and C.  Not one that competes with one another.  I was thankful I had an early discernment to choose the community I would want to take part in.  I am thankful I was led to the women who would inspire me to do better, be better and be myself.  Being a Blissmaker and meeting these other wonderful women made me discover a lot more potential in myself that I never thought I still have.  We all need this kind of women in our lives.  Inspiring, helpful, intentional, positive and who would be sincerely happy for your achievements.

I prayed and gave more.

I am grateful for every opportunity that blogging had given me.  Be it monetary or products, I see them as blessings and not just a privilege.  The more I received, the more I had a sense of responsibility to find a way to be able to give back, in any simple way I can.  It could anywhere between helping other bloggers who needed some tips or donating to the community or helping friends in needed.  I felt I am here for a purpose, to use my position to be able to help to others and give back to our Creator.  With this, I became more reflective, more socially responsible, giving, and unstoppably thankful to HIM.

As I continue to blog, I still discover and experience so many wonderful changes in me.  I know that I am still being molded to be able to do more for others.  I became surer of myself which made me love myself more sans the imperfections.  There is a certain acceptance that no matter how flawed I am as a wife, a mom, a blogger, a partner or a woman, I am still loved and appreciated by the people that matter in my life.  Through blogging, I learned how to simplify, to stop and smell the flowers, to be more intentional, to be more helpful, to be more appreciative of what I have, and to give back by being of service to others.

These are some of the changes that blogging has brought to me as a woman.  If you also blog, do share by commenting how blogging has changed you.

8 Steps I Learned to Living Each Day More Intentionally

8 Steps I Learned to Living Each Day More Intentionally

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By Louise of Mommy Practicality

I am a woman and proudly so.  I celebrate being a woman and mother every single day.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.  I am at a point in my life where things are not perfect. Where I am is not ideal, but I am happy, contented and at peace.

It wasn’t like this a decade ago when I had a beautiful mistake in my life: I got pregnant out of wedlock, I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have contingency plans.  That time, I was climbing my way up the corporate ladder, I was starting to help my aging parents, I was only beginning to enjoy my independence, and I abused it.  The only beautiful thing I could think of was I was chosen to bear a child. To bear a child is in itself, a miracle.  I was chosen to be a mom.

That was all I had, everything else was a mess.

It was a process and long but sure one, coupled with a lot of prayer for guidance and strength to get to the more intentional and more peaceful state my life is right now.  Again, not perfect, not even normal, but a better and steadier one.  There were eight simple personal disciplines I consistently reminded myself to live by which helped my life pick up from being broken, to being whole again.

 

1.  Follow Your Dreams.

 

When I was down, all I had was myself, my son and my dreams.  I decided to not give up.  I decided to keep that dream burning and stand up from the fall.  Slowly, from being a jobless and a depressed mom, I looked for work, to support myself and the little life depending on me.  But I didn’t settle for just any job, I looked for a job that I wanted.  The job I wanted kept me busy and happier because I was doing what I love.  I gained new friends.  I brought back my self-confidence.  I finally had money for myself.  I was better than my jobless self.  I just had a dream and I just intentionally fulfilled it.  Everything got better.

 

2.  Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.

 

To each her own.  Back then, I was struggling as a new mother, a newbie in the workplace, but I survived.  My eyes were “on the prize,” that is, my life goals.  I was focused.

 

Admittedly, there were moments I compared my life to my batchmates who were more successful, who were happier, and instead of doing better for myself, I self-pitied.  I went back to zero.  When that happened, I refocused.  I realized comparing myself to others will not help me become better.  I started to believe in myself more, motivated myself to reach my goals, and realized that we are all unique individuals and God was, and still is, still molding me to be the person He’s planned for me to be.  I have a different path, a different life to live, a different set of challenges.  I should not strive to be better than others, because there will always be people better than I am.

 

What I did do is strive to be better than my old self and just keep on getting better at what I thought was already my best. (I still do this now.) This motivated me to live the life I intentionally want for myself and my son.

 

 

 

3.  Prioritize What Matters.

 

When one part of my life was a mess, every area in my life was crushed and scattered all over the place, too.  Just like a bunch of flowers that have fallen out of a basket, I had to pick up the stems one by one and put it all together.  But this time, I had to choose the flowers that still had a chance to bloom.  I left the wilted ones.

 

 

 

You know what I mean? It’s similar to how we prioritize things in life. I asked myself: Will this or that bring value to my life?  Will choosing to do this make things in my life better?  If the answer was “yes,” I went for it.  If not, I would delay it or not do it at all.  The end in mind is to reach my dreams and attain the life goals I had for myself.  I cannot do everything at once, I had to choose, and make better choices… which now brings me to the next part…

 

4.  Learn How To Say No.

 

In choosing better, there were things I had to say “No” to.  I used to be a “Yes” person, because I thought if I decline an offer, an invitation, an opportunity, I might be saying “no” to myself too.  I might be giving up a chance to make things better for my life.  I realized, while tempting opportunities do not always knock twice, there are also opportunities that may not always be right for me and the intentions I had for leading a better life.  Some opportunities may bring more money or fame, but will stress me more and take me away from my family.  Some opportunities may be smaller but aligned to my dreams and how I want my life to be led.  I say NO to anything than doesn’t lead me to a happier, stress-free, and more peaceful life.

 

 

 

5.  Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.

 

This became my daily reminder because a lot of activities happen everyday which may affect our moods, our stress levels and the way we relate to other people.  Along the way, I learned how to let go of things beyond my control and pay more attention to matters that I have control over.

 

Now, when there are projects that have been executed in ways I had not planned, I examine what went wrong and see which part I could remedy and immediately do it.  If I cannot, I don’t punish myself by blaming myself for the disaster.  At work, my motto is, tomorrow is another day.  In parenting, I say, if the mistake is not life affecting or life threatening, I just talk to the kids about the lessons and forget about yelling and punishments which may have worse effects on their lives.

 

6.  Surround Yourself with Positive People.

 

Misery loves company, so when you’re feeling a bit off, don’t turn to people who feel the same way.  Instead, seek advice from people whom you know had overcome similar situations.  Be in a company of successful and inspiring people so you would be motivated to rise above the challenges you go through. Surrounding yourself with positive people will propel you more to live a more intentionally successful and happier life.

 

I was able to achieve this for myself when I became one of the Martine’s Blissmakers here on Make it Blissful.  I was surrounded by talented, inspiring, successful, positive, and empowering women and I always feel good knowing I am part of this group of like-minded women who doesn’t see each other as competition.

 

 

 

7.  Self-Care.

 

It’s important for a woman, a mom, a career person, a businesswoman, a super mega busy lady to go back to her elements, to relax, to breathe, to unwind and to recharge.  She’s a delicate, fragile, precious, woman who deserves to be treated well, and loved much.

 

You have to do this for whatever life stage you’re in. If you’re single, don’t rely on another being to make you happy or make you whole.  Respect and love yourself enough so others will see your value.  If you’re in a relationship or married, don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself, about treating yourself once in a while to a massage, a hand and foot spa, a facial or hair treatment to feel good and cared for.

 

I learned through the years that paying attention to myself and being able to get what I need without depending on others felt really good.  When I feel good, I come out to be a more positive being.  When I’m in my in touch with all my woman elements, I think more clearly, I am kinder, I am more empowered and I live my life more intentionally, just how I want it to be.  And lastly, and the most important of all is to…

 

 

 

8.  Pray.

 

God provides.  God knows all our pain, cast it upon HIM and He will give us rest.  God knows the desires of our hearts.  God listens to everything we tell Him in prayer.  This is the most powerful aid in helping any woman, any mother, any wife, any sister, any daughter in living a life happily, peacefully and intentionally.  I lived by ORA et LABORA, prayer and work.  In order to reach my dreams, my goals and my life intentions, I have to couple my prayers with work.  And when you also do, you’ll see beautiful and intentional things unfolding before you.

 

From zero, I’ve gone far better, not perfect, but my life is now more intentional.  I’ve learned a lot as a woman, as a daughter, as a mom, and as a wife by living life simply and following these eight intentional things.  These had made me stronger and more empowered to do the things I love doing, to choose the things that add value to myself and my family, and to live life just the way I want it.

How about you?  Have you gone through a major life event?  How were you able to rise above it?

7 Practical Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Husband

7 Practical Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Husband

By Louise Fandino of Mommy Practicality

When you and your ex-boyfriend (because he’s now your husband) were still dating, Valentine’s Day is indeed a big deal for both of you. Such a big deal that you save up for a nice shirt to wrap for him while you expect so much more than just a gift from him. (Talk about a grand bouquet to be sent to your place of work or at home, a candlelight dinner, maybe a timely wedding proposal given to you by your handsomely dressed boyfriend.) Oh those were the days when you can afford to save a chunk of your money to one of the most celebrated days of the year!

Forward to being married and having a child or children, coupled with financial responsibilities (monthly utility bills, tuition fee dues, grocery expenses, insurances, and loan repayments, to name a few), you are still of course very much in love with each other and would still want to celebrate the L-O-V-E month together but in a more inexpensive and practical way.

How? Here are some practical and inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your love.

1.  Send your kids at least a night to their grandparents.  

This is the first thing to do so you could do the rest in this list.  If not possible, maybe you could put them to sleep early or ask aunties to babysit just for a night.  Once accomplished, you could proceed to the next.

 2.  Dress up and beautify your sexy self (don’t forget to wear stilettos)!

Nothing pleases your man’s eyes than seeing his wife as this woman he fell in love with the first time.  See him go gaga all over you again.  Witness him turn into a schoolboy once more.  Surprise him with a look he doesn’t see everyday or every night.

 3.  Cook a special dinner at home.

We all know how full packed the streets in the metro are during Valentine’s Day, how fully-booked restaurants are on Valentine’s Day, and how everything is over-priced like there’s a hidden diamond or gold in what you’re purchasing (flowers and food), cooking his favorite meal, with a special romantic decor at home to set the love mood (petals, candles and love songs), is the best option to go for.  Not only it’s practical, you also avoid the stress of traffic outside.  We all know the way to our hubby’s heart is through his stomach right?  After dinner, you know what’s next then!

 4.  Write a love letter.

In this digital world, giving a hand-written love letter is precious, memorable, special, heartfelt and indeed romantic.  Tell him how much you are in love with him even after years of being together, and even if his snoring or leaving the toilet seat uncovered irritates you.  This is the perfect space to tell him how much you appreciate his presence in your life, how you were so right in saying yes to his wedding proposal years ago, and all the mushy, cheesy, and high school sweetness you could think of.  Don’t forget to sign with your pet love names!

 5.  Watch romantic comedy movies in the comforts of your room.

Not only restaurants are fully booked, most of the time also movie theaters are.  Unless you bought tickets last December (but we know this is impossible), you could get lucky, but then again, there’s traffic.  Bring back your courtship-days-feelings back with classic romantic movies.  What were the movies you watched before?  Reminisce your love story with those movies.  If you can’t think of any, here are some of my recommendations:

  • The Proposal
  • Pretty Woman
  • Dear John
  • The Wedding Singer
  • A Walk To Remember
  • Just Married
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • Friends With Benefits
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Bridget Jone’s Diary
  • Maid in Manhattan
  • The Fault In Our Stars

6.  Slow dance to your couple song.

What songs make your hearts pound very rapidly?  Play it in the background (and if he doesn’t initiate asking you for a dance) then initiate the dance.  As your serotonin rushes through your bodies and other hormones are activated, even if the song is unfinished, you could jump to #7.

 7.  Make Love.

This is a very unique process for each couple.  It could be fast or slow, normal or irregular, straight or upside down or side wards or in all directions.  If you get what I mean!  Just do it and feel the love that night!

These are just some ideas which could help you escape the traffic of the over-crowded city and overpriced commodities and venues to celebrate the love day or the love month.  Just remember that the love you share with each other should not only be celebrated once a year.  These ideas are applicable anytime of the year!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do you have other creative and practical ways to celebrate the love day with your husbands?  Do share on the comments below!

What To Do With All Those Holiday Gifts

What To Do With All Those Holiday Gifts

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By Louise Fandino of Mommy Practicality

Let me start this article by greeting you a warm Happy New Year!

As I write this, I am certainly back to work from my well-spent and fully-enjoyed holiday break. Up until this morning while preparing my son for school, cooking breakfast and packing my and hubby’s lunch packs, I asked these in my mind:

“Is it really over?”

“You think it’s too much to take a leave from work today?”

“Am I ready to be back to my life’s regular programming?”

Do you feel the same way? If not, good for you! If you do, give me a high-five then! I must admit that I’m still in a holiday daze. Because of this, I will be talking about holiday gifts, specifically, what to do with these thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped gifts to us from our families, friends, colleagues and even business partners.

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Last Christmas, I received different kinds and I am thankful for all of them. I was able to categorize them into: 1) Edibles (cookies, cakes, coffee, fruits, wine, and the list goes on), 2) Non-edible (make-up, home décor, dining ware, clothes, bags, planner, book, and the list goes on too!) While some still have space at home to keep all of them, others wish to be more space efficient and practice practicality. If you belong to the group who’s thinking where to put or what to do with all these thoughtful holiday gifts, I have great news for you! I’ve listed some simple and practical solutions on what to do with all these holiday gifts.

Eat or drink.

The best thing about edible gifts is that they are consumable. First solution: EAT the fruits, cakes, cookies or DRINK the bottle of wine or the brewed coffee. Make sure you check the expiration before consuming them. Next, after knowing when these are best to be consumed, you may take in first those with the nearest expiration dates.

Sure, eating or drinking all of them may ruin your diet plans this year, but I didn’t say eat or drink them yourself. My second solution on edibles, SHARE. Will you still be having a post-holiday reunion with friends and their children? Serve the cookies, cakes, sweets and whatever you have been gifted with. Apart from putting the holiday gift to good use, you make tummies full and your friends happy. You may also bring these boxes of yummy goodness to the office and share with your colleagues as desserts after lunch or during coffee breaks.

Use.

My favorite holiday gift was a 2015 planner, which I got from the Monito-Monita exchange gift in the workplace. I particularly wrote the specific planner on the wish list and I am happy to receive it. I really believe in gift wish list because it’s practical and you get what you really need or want. If you received a gift which is functional, purposeful, practical, and helpful to your daily grind, then use it. A notebook and a pen are always useful gifts for me. Same goes for a wallet, a bag, a watch or jewel, scarves, home decors and even lunch kits! These are thoughtful holiday gifts which are truly useful and could be helpful tools in making lives easier, our homes organized and beautiful, and our daily tasks systematic and efficient.

Recycle.

Did you get three 2015 planners or desk calendars or maybe five umbrellas from family and friends? How about the same shade of lipsticks or too many bed sheets? Lastly, appliances which you already have (and are still working optimally), an item you think you cannot ever use (for example, a coffee-maker but you don’t drink coffee) or a holiday gift which you would need to dedicate a storage but you unfortunately have limited space at home? What to do with them? Recycle these thoughtful holiday gifts to family or friends whom you think need it more than you do.

There is nothing wrong with recycling gifts especially if you think that the duplicate items you received will be put to better use or will be given to recipients whom you think need it. I think it’s better to re-gift these holiday presents to special people in our lives maybe during their birthdays, anniversaries or for no occasions at all, than to store them at home and never get to use them until these items expire, become defective, stain or discolor due to long storage. It’s not that you don’t want these gifts, it’s actually the other way around. You badly want them all, but you have too much of it, so it’s better to share your blessings to people you care about! Just remember these important rules of recycling gifts I lifted from epicurious.com

  • Never re-gift an item you already used.
  • Carefully check the item before recycling it. Things to check are: gift notes inside the box, if personalized and lastly if damaged.
  • No way that you’ll let the person who gifted you the item for recycling know that you’re re-gifting it.
  • Wrap the gift very nicely and don’t forget to include a thoughtful message.

Now, were you able to let out that sigh of relief for knowing better what to do with all your holiday gifts? That’s great! Go ahead now EAT, USE or RECYCLE them and don’t forget to be thankful for these blessings!