The Best Quotes on Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude to others.  Studies have shown that expressing and experiencing gratitude activates positive emotion centers of the brain. Regularly practicing gratitude changes the way our neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns.  In times of stress and uncertainty, focusing on what we have to be grateful for helps remind us that better times can be ours, especially if we are willing to help foster positivity and thankfulness.

In that spirit, here are some quotes by various authors and luminaries on the subject of gratitude:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them - John F. Kennedy

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some - Charles Dickens

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance - Eckhart Tolle

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has - Epictetus

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day–or to celebrate each special day - Rasheed Ogunlaru

Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out - John Wooden

In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you - John E. Southard

Thanksgiving

Easy Pumpkin Fluff Dip

Keep the holiday guests occupied and their appetites at bay with this simple but delicious appetizer with the flavor of the season.  Served with apples, pretzels, or cinnamon graham crackers (to name just a few of our favorite options), this dip is super easy to make and memorable to your taste buds!

8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 oz package vanilla pudding mix
15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix wet ingredients in a bowl, then mix in dry ingredients. Stir well and refrigerate until cold. Serve with gingersnaps, cinnamon graham crackers, vanilla wafers or fruit slices. Serve in a hollowed out pumpkin for extra table appeal!

St. Charles named one of America’s best cities to live

To determine America’s best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the 550 areas measured by the U.S. Census Bureau with populations of 65,000 or more.

Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, educational attainment, and housing affordability, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s 50 best cities to live.

47. St. Charles, Missouri  (Wall street Link)

> Median household income: $52,330
> Unemployment rate, 2013: 5.70%
> Median home value: $171,300
> Violent crime per 100,000 residents: 151.4
> Average commuter travel time: 20.0 minutes

St. Charles is northwest of St. Louis, across the Missouri River. The city includes the St. Charles Historic District, which lies along South Main Street and the city’s riverfront. According to the National Parks Service, St. Charles “served as the final embarkation point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

St. Charles is a relatively safe city. The violent crime rate was just 151 incidents per 100,000 people, less than half the national rate of 387 incidents. The city also has a relatively affordable cost of living relative to other top-rated cities and, as of last year, an unemployment rate of 5.7%. By contrast, the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.4% last year. However, between 2011 and 2013, the city had effectively flat employment growth.

Read the full article at KSDK

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Big Events Ahead

Sandwiched between weeks containing the highest level of significant economic events, investors took a breather this week. In addition, the economic data released this week contained few surprises. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.Between last week’s Fed meeting and next week’s European Central Bank (ECB) meeting and US Employment report, investors have a great deal of information to digest. This week’s news, however, contained little to cause investors to shift their outlook for the performance of the economy. Durable Orders, Jobless Claims, and revisions to second quarter GDP all came in very close to the consensus forecasts. While there were several volatile sessions during the week, the increases offset the decreases.The housing data released this week continued to be encouraging. August New Home Sales jumped 18% from July to the highest level since May 2008. Existing Home Sales, which include roughly 90% of the market, did decline slightly in August, but this followed four straight months of gains. With mortgage rates remaining relatively low, home sales are near the highest levels of the year.
Next week, there will be a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday. The policy announcement from the ECB likely will have an influence on US mortgage rates. In the US, the important monthly Employment report will be released on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Before that, Pending Home Sales, Core PCE inflation, and Personal Income will be released on Monday. ISM Manufacturing and ADP Employment Change will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services, Construction Spending, Chicago PMI Manufacturing, and Consumer Confidence will round out a busy schedule.

 

Remodeling Rising: More Home Owners Spruce Up Properties

An index that measures the state of the remodeling market rose three points in the second quarter of this year, regaining the momentum started in 2013 but lost in the first quarter of this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index. It marked the fifth consecutive quarter for the index to have a reading over 50. Any reading above 50 indicates more remodelers are reporting that market activity is higher than lower.

“With many home owners on better financial footing, home remodeling has become more popular,” says Paul Sullivan, NAHB’s Remodelers chair. “The completion of postponed work has helped remodelers in all regions regain confidence in the remodeling market.”

Remodeling jobs valued at $25,000 or more rebounded to 54 on the index, which is the same level at the end of 2013. Smaller remodeling jobs and maintenance and repair jobs were at reading s of 56 and 58, respectively, on the index. Remodelers reported more favorable conditions on calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next three months, backlog of jobs, and appointments for proposals.

“The recent improvement in the job market has helped restore remodelers’ confidence after a dip in the first quarter that was probably in part weather-related,” says David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. “As home owners feel more secure about their economic situation, they become more willing to undertake remodeling projects – especially larger, discretionary projects. In addition, fewer new home builders are looking to remodeling as a way supplement their revenue, and this has somewhat reduced competition for remodeling projects.”

A recent realtor.com® survey of more than 1,500 home owners showed that 67 percent of consumers say they’re planning a home renovation within the next six months, and they’re planning to spend more money on their renovations than last year. The most common budget range for home improvements was between $2,001 and $5,000 and the most popular areas to renovate were the kitchen, bathrooms, backyards or patios, and the exterior of the home, according to realtor.com®’s Home Improvement Survey.

Source: National Association of Home Builders and “Majority of Home Owners Planning to Renovate,” REALTOR® Magazine Daily News (July 18, 2014) and http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/07/25/remodeling-rising-more-home-owners-spruce-up-properties