This year Lizzi over at Considerings started a wonderful little weekly blog hop called Ten Things of Thankful that asked us to "focus on the good things going on in your life by listing ten things you are thankful for." It wasn't long before the little group began to grow by leaps and bounds as the word spread and folks came to share, find encouragement, and meet some awesome new friends!
I soon discovered that the weeks I struggled with doubt and felt least like I would be able to come up with ten things I was grateful for, were the weeks that I most needed to make the list to remind myself of all the blessings I have. Once I got started on a list the thoughts came easily, and by the time I was finished my whole attitude had changed for the better; it proved to be a wonderful way to begin the weekend!
I admit that it can be hard to find the time to compile a list and write my post, and I don't get it done every week, although that is my goal. Sometimes I feel guilty about participating when I can't make it around to all the other blogs to read and comment, but I try to randomly visit as many as I possible. I've also had to do some thinking about comments made to me by someone who felt that such lists can be a form of bragging and may make others feel bad for what they don't have. I've decided that for me at least, the difference between bragging and recounting blessings is remembering where the credit goes. Very few of the good things in my life happen out of my own doing, they come to me purely by the grace of God, and my lists are a testimony to the truth that God is Good!
If we compare ourselves to others we will always find a reason to feel slighted, but if we adopt the attitude of celebrating the good things that happen to others, it uplifts us too. It helps us to reach outside of ourselves and see beyond our own little world, and to appreciate that others struggle just as much as we do. We can cry with them when life is hard, and we can rejoice with them when things are good... and at Ten Things of Thankful, we do. Sometimes the biggest blessing of a really difficult week has been having caring friends at TTOT to share with!
I think I can safely speak for most of us there when I say that Ten Things of Thankful is one of the very best things that's happened this year, and I can't thank Lizzi and her fabulous team of co-hosts enough for all the work they do to bring this blessing to our lives - the proof is in the enthusiastic response... drop by Lizzi's place sometime and see for yourself!
This week Lizzi invited us to do a year-end summary, listing one of the things we were thankful for each month. Looking back thru my blog posts, here are some of the blessings I was grateful for this year...
January - The mild winter. We can and do have some cold nights here in West Texas, and even the occasional snow storm or icy roads, but for the most part temperatures remain above freezing and often reach the mid50's or higher in the afternoon. Our "winter" season is shorter too, with cold weather arriving later and days warming up sooner than they do in places like the Midwest where I grew up.
February - Cat lovers spoke and Hasbro listened... it was announced that the iron playing piece in Monopoly is being officially retired and replaced by a cat chosen by popular vote! To be honest I never really understood people who wanted to be the iron, Freud could probably have enlightened us on that choice. We played Monopoly often as a child and I always chose the shoe... rather fitting in light of my pen name, maybe it was a harbinger of things to come. :-)
March - That I have a job, a decent job, and that I am still physically able to do it, despite the aches and pains and ups and downs. It was an exhausting month at work for both Papa Bear and me, but we got thru it and life goes on.
April - The amazing, incredible gift of an expense-paid week-long vacation in Savannah, Georgia, a place we'd never been before and quickly fell in love with.
May - A positive response to the reinstatement of my writing prompt Two Shoes Tuesday after a two month hiatus. I had missed doing it, and apparently a few others had as well.
June - The beginning of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop (see comments above)! Also, celebrating Papa Bear's 60th birthday with a weekend stay at a little cottage near the Davis Mountains.
July - This was a month of strong emotions, both dark and light. I wrote a couple intense posts based on past and present events. In retrospect, I am thankful that I got through it. I am even more thankful for the realization that "tough times don't last", life is not hopeless or "bad" because of a small series of difficulties or challenges. If we hang in there and have faith, better days are sure to come. I am thankful for the faith that sustains me in dark times.
August - The inspiration to write my best short story to date, A Box Full of Love. I don't know where it came from, but it one of the few things I've written that I feel really good about. It reminds me of what I can do when the spirit moves me.
September - A road trip which made is possible for me to spend time with my two grown children in Tennessee and for Papa Bear got to meet his new great-grandson, along with a wonderful side trip to see Gail at her beautiful farm in Arkansas!
October - Surgery to remove a gallbladder that I didn't know I still had, which had unknowingly been causing me problems for years. The surgery and recovery went very well and it is wonderful to have that intense pain in the belly gone for good!
November - Participating in "Thirty Days of Thankful" both here in my blog and on my Facebook page. My attitude improves considerably when I am actively watching for daily blessings to share; November was one of the high points of me being happy and hopeful this year. While some readers probably grew weary of my daily "thankful posts," it was a great experience for me!
December - This has been a tough month for me in many ways, but even that can be a blessing in disguise in that it keeps me mindful of the fact that that Christmas and the whole "holiday season" isn't joyous for everyone, there are many who are really struggling this time of year and need a little extra encouragement and assistance. There are endless opportunities to reach out and show others that we care. The very best medicine for our own sadness is to brighten someone else's life... it works it's magic every time!
If there's one thing I've learned this past year, it's that there is ALWAYS something
in our lives to be thankful for; thru good times and bad the grace of God sustains us.