MICHIGAN—Fall has officially arrived, and the carefree days of summer have already given way to car park lines, deadlines, school projects and a host of extracurricular activities.

In the midst of it all, it can be easy to go into autopilot with nothing to celebrate. Let’s face the truth. With everything going on in the world, we have to look forward something.

So here is my challenge to you: Find something to celebrate every day.

You are busy. I will understand. But don’t stop. All of our days have a beginning, a middle, and an end—and those are the three moments each day where you can organize small celebrations to make a big impact.

Make mornings count.

Waking up and walking out the door can be difficult sometimes. So, how about starting your morning routine with a little music? Play some of your favorite songs to get you through the morning. You can even take it on the go for your morning commute. Just put on some music, sing loudly—perhaps badly—and have fun!

Michigan has a rich musical history, so think Motown hits and a dance party to wind down after a long night of sleep. Maybe a little Stevie Wonder? Kidz Bop’s version of Kid Rock? Madonna? Eminem? All of them will surely add morning joy to your day.

Expect something.

Grab a calendar and identify right now a few fun days you want to celebrate—maybe with the kids, or maybe a day just for yourself. I like to watch National today, pick a few wacky ideas and then turn them into Michigan originals. Like: September 12th was National Chocolate Milkshake Day—the perfect time to whip up a Mackinac Island Fudge Milkshake at home.

Celebrating the season in the apple orchard.

There’s nothing better than biting into a crisp Michigan apple during apple season. The harvest sweet spot only lasts until mid-October, so enjoy while the harvest is good! Some of my favorites are: Apple Charlie’s in Flat Rock, Uncle John’s in St. Johns and Blake’s at Armada.

Here is a useful list to find an apple orchard or cider mill in your woodland. And check out a few of these recipes Apple nachos, saladsand even turkey panini with apple cheddar. According to the Michigan Apple Committee, 17 varieties are grown here in Mitten.

Make a surprise at lunch.

One of my fondest childhood memories was my dad leaving notes in my lunchbox. When I grew up and we got the Internet, my dad started sending me emails. And I continue this tradition by dropping little notes and special treats in my kids’ lunchboxes a few times a week.

He might say something as simple as, “Congratulations on doing well this week at school!” I also wrote surprises for my little guy on crayons and hid them in his backpack.

Just relax in the evening.

Evenings can be an important time for families. However, in between dinners, my family and I always to share the best parts of our day or something we learned. Everyone gets a turn. Looking back on that day and then deciding what was worth celebrating can be almost therapeutic.

Pay attention to a family member.

This is one of my personal favorites. A few times a month, when I set the table, I put confetti or a balloon in the place of someone in the house. That night we honor that man.

There is nothing important about it – we are just sharing what we like about this person. Do they have a great laugh? Are they great dancers? Tell them! Let them know what amazing things they bring to your family dynamic. Maybe even let them choose what’s served for dinner that night.

Acknowledge the good—immediately and often.

Have you noticed your little one helping a sibling? Did they collect their school supplies the next day without being asked? Have you noticed that they have shared something they like with someone else? Tell them right then—even if it’s something small. Celebrate the positive things they bring to your home, your life, or your situation. We all want to feel noticed.

Express gratitude every day.

It can be easy to get caught up in thinking about the things that are going wrong in life. But when we focus on the good, it grows—and it shows. And it’s really worth noting.

Get into the habit of sharing what you’re grateful for with your family, and be sure to put them at the top of that list. Express gratitude often and watch your children absorb it.

I came across this lesson from my 6 year old who is an expert at finding joy in the simplest of things. It doesn’t have to be a birthday or even a holiday. When I made that connection, I realized that celebrating the little things is a great way to change our perspective and give us more ways to live in the moment and smile – even during the tough times in life.

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