One of the reasons I love traveling the world is to better appreciate my own home. The United States is an amazing country. As much as we grouse about the politics, divisive nature of our discourse, and the people who should be in or out of office, I don’t think you can truly realize how wonderful that right is until you travel overseas.

Last weekend during our stay in Ireland we crossed over the bridge that divides Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. On that bridge is a plaque commemorating Senator George Mitchell and his efforts in the Irish peace talks. Our landlord pointed out the plaque for us to see and, while I had heard his name, full recognition didn’t become clear until I had the opportunity to Google the information.

A former US Senator from Maine (1980- 1995), Mitchell was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the United States Special Envoy to Northern Ireland (1995 – 2001) to help broker peace. He is considered the primary architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, or Belfast Agreement, which effectively  ended  30 years of civil war or conflict between the Nationalists that wanted Northern Ireland to be part of the Irish Republic and the Unionist that wanted to have Northern Ireland remain part of Great Britain. Because of his negotiating skills and respect for both sides, he was asked by both Britain and Ireland to chair the talks.

The point here is not that you should know about Senator Mitchell, but rather what do you take for granted in the United States without realizing how fortunate we are? While we may clash around our perceived differences, as a country we come together and aid each other during times of crisis, as was witnessed with Hurricane Harvey.

I for one am beginning to realize that I take for granted that when I step into the shower and turn on the hot water, there will be hot running fresh water, and a steady stream of it. Here in Ireland you turn on the hot water with a switch, similar to electricity, and wait for 15 minutes for the water to warm up. And once that’s done, you then turn on a contraption in the shower to power the water on. What comes out is a not so steady stream of water, which fluctuates from hot to cold in the blink of an eye. Baths have now become more regular in our household.

Here’s my question – what do you take for granted in the United States that may be considered a luxury in other parts of the world? How might being grateful for what you do have, such as instituting a gratitude practice, make you more able to see what an abundant life you lead?


Kathy Hart, Ed.D. has a driving passion for human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to re-claim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your next life transition, whether work or personal
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance