During the holidays and at year’s end, we often review the past year, recalling the high points, giving thanks for surviving the low points, and giving appreciation to those in our lives who have been there for us, providing joy and love to us.

gratitudeLast year, I designed this graphic to remind myself of all the little words that, when combined, help me live a good life, stay positive (despite challenges), laugh, breathe, do something creative every day, show compassion, smile, give hugs and love. For me, this has been a great little toolbox of what I consider to be the most important life concepts.





You’ll find quotes (including several from Dr. Seuss whom I love!) throughout this piece. Here’s one of my favorites:

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

 “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)


Living in GRATITUDE is hugely important to me.  No matter what I’m faced with, it always helps me to stop and say, out loud, those things, no matter how small, for which I am grateful.  There’s always at least ONE thing.  Even when I’m feeling my worst, I appreciate the air that I breathe, snuggles and giggles from Hey Buddy and Bon Bon, a hug from a dear friend, breezes on a steamy afternoon … oh so many things!


 A thankful heart is the greatest virtue.
~ Cicero (Roman philosopher, politician orator, lawyer, 106 – 43BC)

 Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.
~ A.A. Milne (English author, known for his books about Winnie-the-Pooh, 1882 – 1956)

 Got no checkbooks, got no banks. Still I’d like to express my thanks -I’ve got the sun in the mornin’ and the moon at night.
~ Irving Berlin (Russian-born, American composer and lyricist, 1888 – 1989)


COMPASSION and HELPING OTHERS are essential to me.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by life with diabetes and I know I am justified in feeling this way. However, I try to stop, look around me and notice others whose bundle of troubles are just worse.  When I practice compassion and helping others, it always makes me feel more centered and kind and in a loving space.


People will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
how you made them feel.
~ Maya Angelou

You cannot do a kindness too soon,
for you never know how soon it will be too late.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

~ Plato (Greek philosopher, 428 – 348 BCE)

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
~ Tenzin Gyatso (14th and current Dalai Lama, 1935 – )


3d small people - yogaBREATHE!  It is the key to being alive!  I keep 2 greeting cards over my desk. One says, “Don’t Forget to Breathe” and the other, a quote by Buddha, “Things to Do Today: Inhale, Exhale, Inhale, AHHHHH!”  But seriously, I try to remember to breathe fully, into my belly. Exhale slowly and fully.  Repeat ten times.



The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe.
~Terri Guillemets (Quotation anthologist and author, 1973 – )

 When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege
 it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
~ Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 121 – 180 CE)

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh (Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, 1926 – )

laughingLAUGH, often and fully!  Honestly, I think I could want to die if I couldn’t laugh … it is my personal savior.  I grew up around a lot of laughter … and life wasn’t always easy. But we laughed. A lot!




From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

Laughter is an instant vacation.
~ Milton Berle (American comedian and actor, 1908 – 2002)

To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!
~ Charlie Chaplin (English comic actor, filmmaker and composer, 1889 – 1977)

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.
~ Woody Allen (American actor, author, filmmaker, comedian, and musician, 1935 – )


HUGS! TOTALLY essential. How many?  MANY! My license plate even reads: HUGGGS




We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
~ Virginia Satir (American psychologist, 1916 – 1988)

A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.
~ Bil Keane (American cartoonist, “Family Circus”, 1922 – 2011)

Hugging has no unpleasant side effects and is all natural.
There are no batteries to replace, it’s inflation-proof and
non-fattening with no monthly payments. It’s non-taxable,
non-polluting, and is, of course, fully refundable.
~ Author Unknown

EXERCISE is my lifeline!  I do it to stay healthy, to manage my blood sugars, to keep my weight in check and to keep my mood up.  I don’t always want to go work out.  But after I’m done, I am always glad I did.




Onward up many a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore and
your sneakers may leak.
Oh! The places you’ll go!
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)


WAGS!  This obviously from my life with my pups.  Hey Buddy is an old soul and he just is happy to “hang around”, no matter what I’m doing.  Bon Bon is a new soul but finds every day new and interesting … and she takes ultimate joy in tummy rubs.



The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.
~ Charles de Gaulle (General and former President of the French Republic, 1890 – 1970)

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures;
they give unconditional love.
For me, they are the role model for being alive.
~ Gilda Radner (Amercan comedian, actress, original cast member, SNL, 1946 – 1989

Happiness is a warm puppy.
~ Charles M. Schulz (American cartoonist, “Peanuts”, 1922 – 2000)

You can say any foolish thing to a dog,
and the dog will give you a look that says,
Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’
~ Dave Barry (Pulitzer Prize winning American author and columnist, 1947 – )

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
~ Roger Caras (American photographer, writer, TV personality, 1928 – 2001)


Do Something CREATIVE Every Day! I have this written on my home office wall.  This doesn’t mean you have to be an artist or musician.




You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any DIRECTION you choose.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

Creativity is the quality that you bring
to the activity that you are doing.
It is an attitude, an inner approach –
how you look at things.
~ Osho (Indian “Godman” and leader of the Rajneesh movement, 1931 – 1990

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living,
It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.
Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

stockfresh_2099976_3d-white-people-tired_sizes_25f57bREST … gotta get your rest.  A good night’s sleep is much more than a luxury. Its benefits include improvements in concentration, short-term memory, productivity, mood, sensitivity to pain and immune function.



Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.
~ JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom (voice talent, a writer, a cinnamon roll connoisseur.

Don’t fight with the pillow, but lay down your head
And kick every worriment out of the bed.
~ Edmund Vance Cooke (Canadian poet, 1866 – 1932)

Go to bed in your fireplace, you’ll sleep like a log.
~ Ellen DeGeneres (American Actress and stand-up Comedian, 1958 – )


THE OFFER:  These are the words that resonated with me … and over time, I think I could add a few more.

But what are your words, thoughts, mantras that make your days, every day, better and joyful and happy?  If you’d like, I’d be glad to build you a graphic that is personal and meaningful to you.  FREE!  Just email me a list of your most important keys to a good life for you, with the most significant one at top.  Give me your name and email address (to joanne@thesavvydiabetic.com) … you’ll have your own graphic in a few days.

And remember:

Today is your day, your mountain is waiting. So get on your way.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

Every smile makes you a day younger.
~Chinese proverb




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