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 Thanking of YouTM About Us


ThankingOfYou.com is the free, Web-based forum for posting and discovering stories of gratitude (messages of thanks) to recognize, affirm and honor the people who have made a difference in our lives. 

Perhaps you've thought to thank those who have had a lasting, positive impact on your own life.  A teacher who recognized and encouraged something special about you as a kid; a coach, mentor, friend or advisor who said or did just the right thing at a critical time; a stranger who saved a life, or a birth parent who gave a life.  Maybe a family member, friend or boss has somehow had a positive influence on you--whether decades ago or just this morning. 

You feel the need to express gratitude for their contributions--no matter how "big" or seemingly "small" they started out--and they deserve to learn that they've made a difference, when, how, to whom and why it mattered.  But how?  

Founded in early 2008, ThankingOfYou.com was created for you, for them, and for the inspiration of others, based on the concepts that "the deepest sense of gratitude thrives at the level by which goodness is recognized, affirmed and honored for the benefit of others" and that "gratitude is the most sustainable and renewable of all human resources" for its inherent ability to inspire goodness and to naturally fuel its continuum. (~Nora Firestone)

We couldn't wait to facilitate the potential for heartfelt messages of thanks to touch their recipients and inspire others in profound ways.  Can you wait any longer to express your gratitude?  Can the people who've made a difference in your life wait any longer to discover it?  Sure, they'd never know what they'd missed if they don't receive your Thank you.  But they (or their loved ones) will likely gain valuable insight to their ability to impact others in lasting, meaningful ways if they do.  And that's a gift of immeasurable impact that only you can give.

Say it long or say it short, but post your stories of gratitude, in written or video form, for the people who've made a difference in your life today.  Yours are the words that never appeared at the bottom of their paychecks; they're the life-affirming "gifts of a lifetime" for those who have given to you.  And well-respected studies suggest that you'll feel good about it!  Go ahead, re-gift!

                                                                      Gratitude affirms life.  Express yours at ThankingOfYou.com


The History

Decades after instilling life-changing lessons and life-long inspiration in the heart and mind of an elementary school student, two teachers unwittingly inspired the creation of ThankingOfYou.com, a Web-based movement to recognize, affirm and honor the people in our lives who have had a profound, positive impact on who we are today, and to inspire acts of greatness from others through the messages of thanks within the stories posted on-site.

"For years I'd thought about contacting Mrs. Shore and Mr. Sybil, two teachers who had each said or done something when I was a child that left a lasting, positive imprint on the person I grew to become," said Nora (Wahl) Firestone, founder of ThankingOfYou.com.

In 2006 Firestone, a freelance writer and newspaper reporter in Virginia Beach, Va., set out to find them--via phone calls to the school, phone book searches and various online sources. 

"Most searches came up empty," she recalled.  "Some revealed hundreds of possibilities through which to cull.  I thought, it shouldn't be this difficult.  I'm trying to fulfill basic needs: their need to be recognized and affirmed for how they've made a difference in my life, and my need to express gratitude."

In April, 2008 Firestone created a detailed plan:  A Web site, whereby people can post their thank you stories to those who've made a difference and whereby, no matter where the recipients (or their families) roam on Earth, they can log on and learn about how they've made a difference, when, and to whom.

Features would include a "Make a charitable donation in honor of the recipient" option and a sophisticated data base system which would enable people to easily post and search by name or by such indicators as categories, dates and events, allowing even strangers to receive their stories of gratitude, and enabling people to reconnect.

Steve Van Leeuwen, head of software development for ThankingOfYou.com, proposed a social network behind the scenes--a key feature for site members who wish to connect with other grateful minds.

ThankingOfYou.com launched in March, 2009, with several Organized Group Thank Yous in the works.  Group Thank Yous may be organized for any occasion, includng retirements, homecomings, birthdays, anniversaries, memorials and teachers' gifts.  Writing tips abound for help getting started and membership is free.  (Donations are welcome and appreciated.)

"As a writer, I understand the power of words," Firestone said.  "They can illuminate those little morsels of greatness; they can inspire more greatness; they can convey the far-reaching ripple of a single act.  I couldn't possibly write everybody's Thank You story.  But I'm thrilled to facilitate everybody's ability to write their own.

"I believe the timing is perfect," Firestone added.  "I was passionate about this from the start, but witnessing more down-heartedness than ever--with folks losing jobs or feeling like they no longer offer what the world is looking for--people need to know more about their true life's purpose.  These messages are the gifts of a lifetime.  They're uplifting, revitalizing and they're free.

"These are the words that never appeared at the bottom of their paychecks.  These are the life-affirming perspectives they need to realize.  Now they will.  It's monumental."

                                                                      Gratitude affirms life.  Express yours at ThankingOfYou.com




Born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., Nora (Wahl) Firestone is a freelance writer and newspaper correspondent living in Virginia Beach, Va. with her husband and three children.

Firestone founded ThankingOfYou.com after a relatively extensive, yet unsuccessful search to thank two elementary school teachers from the district of Plainedge, Long Island.  The contributions of Mrs. Shore and Mr. Sybil may have seemed small decades ago--a simple sentence or two to recognize, affirm and inspire her creative and critical thinking in first grade; a few minutes to cheer her on when everyone else rallied for her opponent in sixth grade.  But the self-discoveries born of these simple conveyances turned out to be essential tools on which the young girl would rely--and with which she'd eventually build--throughout a lifetime of challenges and creative endeavors.

Knowledge of and gratitude for these tools fostered true joy and a desire to influence others as she had been influenced--a focus which, by its nature, broadened perpetually and exponentially year after year.  The more grateful she was, the more for which she had to be grateful.

Firestone believes that Shore's and Sybil's contributions exemplify the small but great things people do for each other every day, often never knowing what effect they may have.  These acts, words and interactions help shape us; they give us the confidence and the tools we need to carry on that day, that week, that year, that lifetime.  A teacher might teach 25 students a year, for 30 years, and at the age of retirement wonder, "Did I make a difference?"  In thinking about all the other people who had touched her life, Firestone realized the need for people worldwide to connect in the spirit of gratitude for each other.

Gratitude itself has been one of the most present, powerful and perpetual forces in Firestone's life, having empowered her to not only rise above specific challenges and adverse circumstances, but to thrive as a joyous, empathetic and motivated individual despite how others might have interpreted the odds.  In April, 2008, amid tremendous personal challenges and, ironically, fueled by her unwavering desire to express gratitude to those two teachers, the "big idea" dawned on her:  A Web site whereby people could post their stories of gratitude for the recipients to read wherever on Earth they roam.  She saw these stories being life-affirming, uplifting and even spiritually moving for their intended recipients (or their families) and inspirational models for other readers, illuminating the power of great acts--big and small--to positively affect the world in any number of infinite possible ways. 

She envisioned people connecting and reconnecting via these stories, and families of the deceased reading about how their loved ones had profoundly touched the lives of others.  She realized that the search for one's "life's purpose" seemed to be an innate, yet often low-yielding endeavor, as many people are inclined to search forward and not within the framework of who they already are, who they have already been to others and what they're already creating for humanity daily with their thoughts, words and actions.

In short, Firestone saw the ability to facilitate for others that from which she'd gained so much: the perpetual force of gratitude--as recognition of what is great, affirmation that it matters and inspiration for its due continuum.

Said Firestone:  "When you focus on what is good and great, you experience that which is good and great.  When you experience what is good and great, you emanate and share that which is good and great.  When you emanate and share that which is good and great, you inspire the focus, the acts and the emanation of goodness and greatness in others, thereby helping to fuel a sort of 'machine of perpetual positivity' and facilitate fulfillment of gratitude's inherent directive to spin full-circle throughout humanity."

Firestone is also the daughter of Karen and Ed, the big sister to four brothers and a big fan of their respective families.  She holds her family and friends in high esteem and values each for their individual and exceptional offerings in the world.

When asked for what she's most grateful, Firestone answers, "Most decidedly and paradoxically, I'm most grateful for my deep sense of gratitude."  It's what has renewed the past contributions of others throughout her lifetime, enabling these gifts to be opened as "newly relevant" at different stages of her life, and has fueled the creation of ThankingOfYou.com to facilitate the same inspiration, momentum and continuum for the benefit of others.  

Firestone's ideal day would see her immersed in creativity, productivity and love.  Her ideal vacation would involve a new set of skis, elevations of 10,000 feet or higher, long and diverse fresh-powder ski trails, family, friends and newcomers, and a small terrain park designed especially for teenage snowboarders and their moms.  Oh, and a cute helmet.

                                                                       Gratitude affirms life.  Express yours at ThankingOfYou.com

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