30 Day Striving Challenges

In the weight of summer humidity this past July, my sister Rosa Marie and I painted a consigned hutch that would go in the Greenville apartment I would be moving into the following month. As we rolled and brushed in the garage, we listened to a TED Radio Hour episode titled “A Better You.” One of the speakers, Matt Cutts, decided to try something new every thirty days, which is about how long it takes to develop a habit. Since beginning this practice, he has done all kinds of things – some ambitious, like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; others are quite simple, like practicing gratitude, or taking a picture or complimenting his wife every day.

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Gratitude

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. There’s not any religious controversy, little commercialization…just the gathering of family and friends, good eats, and remembering all of the blessings we have to be grateful for. And though the early settlers celebrating the first harvest did not partake in food-induced afternoon coma or NFL football games, the purpose of Thanksgiving is the same. We approach this holiday with an extra dose of gratitude. It’s a good reminder of a posture we can choose not just the fourth Thursday of November, but everyday. 

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A Scheming Neck

In “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” one of my go-to movies, the Portokalos family obnoxiously clings to their Greek roots while living in America. Toula, the first grown daughter to dare to date an American, struggles to keep the peace with her ultra-traditional, over-protective father. In one scene when Toula is particularly upset with her father’s stubbornness, her mother encourages, “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.”

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