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Happy Thanksgiving – And 5 Simple Things

by Jason on November 26, 2010

I didn’t get a chance to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday – but that was mainly due to the fact that we were hosting our first Turkey Day celebration, and of course, we were a little busy.

I’m glad to say that 1) We survived, and 2) It turned out to be a very enjoyable day with the family.

Although our turkey required us to cook for an extra hour, our guests were patient, and the food turned out delicious!

One of the traditions we have in our family is that we go around the table and each say a few things we are thankful for this year.  It’s cool to hear about all the blessings that we’ve received throughout the year.

Here’s what I’m thankful for:

  • A great wife, who loves me and supports me, she’s a great help mate.  AND 6 years of remission from Hodgkin’s Disease!
  • Two fun and beautiful kids who keep us on our toes, but bring us so much joy.
  • The Gospel – the fact that God would love a person like me, with all the stains, spots, and blemishes; and would send His Son to take my place to live the perfect life that I never could, and die the death that I should have.

So, I know it’s a day late, but Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

5 Simple Things Review

Occassionally, I will get requests from authors to review their books and write a post about it.  About a month ago, I received an email from someone at Porch Step who informed me they had their first book published, called 5 Simple Things.

It’s a short book, but a very good one.  And it’s very appropriate I highlight this book around Thanksgiving.  Here’s why:

Author John Tolsma begins the book with a story about his vacation at the beach with his family.  Instead of having a huge to-do list (like he usually did during work weeks), he only had five things to get done.

His tw0-year-old daughter helped him create the list, which boiled down to things like playing princesses and pirates, to going to the beach, and swimming in the pool.

After that vacation, John began to ask, “What if everyday’s tasks could be poured into five simple buckets?”  No sub-lists, no lists of lists, just five main things to get done every day.

John brainstormed and came up with five simple things that he focuses on to help folks find meaning in life and measure accomplishment on a different platform.

And he made them into a simple list that’s easy enough for a two-year-old to memorize:

  1. 5. Thank (5 Things for which I am thankful)
  2. 4. Do (4 Things I want to accomplish today)
  3. 3. Reach Out (3 People with whom I want to connect)
  4. 2. Believe (2 Things to strengthen my faith and family)
  5. 1. Love (1 Random act of kindness)

The book takes a page or two to describe each one of these (which is a total of 16 pages).  John ends the book with a 30-day challenge.

The Challenge

John asks readers to take thirty days and write down these things every day.

“If you do” says John, “I bet that you will have the same experience I’ve had.  I’m more aware of and thankful for the little things in life.  I get more out each day.  As I’ve reached out, new friends and old have come out of the woodwork.  I find myself growing in my faith and my family, and I’m laughing more as I watch random acts of kindness blossom.”

The remaining 70 pages of the book provides places for you to write these things down each day.

So, I decided that as of yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) I’m going to take the next 30 days to write these things down and take the challenge.  I encourage you to do the same.

Hopefully I’ll post an update around Christmas with some of my learnings.

What I liked about the book

  • It was a short read
  • Loved the challenge idea
  • John gave spots to write in your ideas, so this book becomes sort of a journal.
  • Love the premise of reaching out, strengthening your family, being thankful etc.

What I didn’t like

  • It was almost too short
  • I would’ve liked more stories and anecdotes from John regarding his journey through this challenge
  • The design was simple (to go along with premise of the book), but almost too simple – it didn’t have author or title listed on the cover at all, just the #5.

To learn more, go to

Disclaimer: I did NOT get paid to review this book, however, I did receive a free copy.  If you purchase the book through the link above, I do receive a small percentage of the sale.

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