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A Year of Thankful Thoughts

Ten Things of Thankful
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.
 

42 comments:

  1. I can't imagine anyone accusing your thankful posts of bringing others down. Your posts are always humble and kind. Thanks for participating in the hop; I always enjoy your posts!

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    1. Thank you sincerely, Kristi. My gratitude posts are a reflection of who I am, good and bad I suppose, but I believe that a positive attitude attracts positive things to your life and encourages others to feel better about their own.

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  2. I always chose the battleship. I wonder if there's a psychology of Monopoly-piece-choices somewhere...

    I *adored* your Box Full of Love story. It was so beautiful and heart warming. I'm glad you still feel good about it.

    And re your last - I could not agree more! Perfect! It's definitely easier to bear a grouchy week when you're able to do something good for someone else, or cheer them on a bit.

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    1. I have noted on your posts as well as my own Lizzi, that time after time, it's connecting with other people that has lifted us out of the muck of our own lives. We need each other, we all do, and helping someone find reason to smile gives a wonderful, warm feeling inside.

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  3. Being thankful isn't bragging, and your posts make me smile for you, and look to count my own blessings.

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    1. Thank you Mimi, I never look at my life as what I have, but rather as what I have been given, everything good is a gift! I've noted that so often it is the small, everyday blessings that give us the most reasons to smile... be it the purring of a cat in my lap, a piece of chocolate, or an early morning greeting from a friend.

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  4. Thanks for this very uplifting post!!! Yes, if everyone shows each other that they care, it contributes to making the world a better place! Thanks for linking with us!

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    1. Thank you Michelle! I agree, if we each gave even one person a reason to smile each day, we have added light to the world. We just have to think outside of ourselves, we have to reach out! TTOT is a true blessing in my life, the proof is that I am sitting here smiling right now as I respond to the comments this post has received! :-)

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  5. While some do brag, hopefully more are truly thankful, as it should be. Blessings come in many forms. I don't think it is about having more or less of material things. Things don't matter; they will fall away. I think sometimes people are going through darkness in their life, and perhaps it isn't that they are comparing what they don't have to what others do. Maybe in that dark place, at that moment, they just can't relate because they are hurting. I think we have all been there, too. We each need to be true to ourselves, yet still mindful & sensitive to how others may feel. It makes me sad that someone may have felt bad, and perhaps was misunderstood. I have been there; we all have. I am sure you are very thankful and that you inspire others with your posts, as they do you. I am sure that no one felt that you were bragging. You post they way you feel, and that is true to who you are. God knows what is is our hearts and what our intentions are, each and every one of us.

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    1. It is never, ever my intention to make others feel sad or hurt, Annie. I am far from perfect, and sometimes I say and do things all wrong, but I know, and God knows, that my heart is in the right place. If I have a "message" it is for others to see that they do have so much good in their lives, no matter how difficult their circumstances may be. It is that understanding that can give us hope and reason to live in the very darkest of times.

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    2. That is why I said that I am sure you inspire others, as they do you and that I am sure no one thought you were bragging. God knows too.Be you.

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    3. Thank you, Annie. Me is all I know, it is all I can be.

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  6. I've never associated being grateful with bragging. I think everyone should try to be more grateful and less judgmental. I consider that one a deadly.
    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Amen to that Terri, meeting everything with a critical eye tears people down, while we should be trying to lift them up! I find great encouragement in the blessings that others share!

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  7. I'm liking this year in review TToT (even though I haven't done one), because I"m getting to see the highlights of people's years before I met them.
    I remember your trip to Savannah well, as we were in the middle of our A to Z challenge, when I first found your blog. Your April posts are what led me to say yes when Lizzi was looking for co-hosts.
    As for Monopoly...they took away the iron?!?!? I chose the iron all the time! Perhaps it's the latent neat freak in me. :)
    I still can't get over the whole gall bladder craziness. Glad it's all finally taken care of for good and the pain is gone.
    Here's to a wonderful 2014!

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    1. I'm enjoying it too, Christine! The year isn't over yet, you can always do one. :-) I agree that we are learning things we didn't know from before we all met up. I think it would be fun to do a survey on Monopoly piece preferences! :-) I am delighted about the gallbladder too... who knew one could be such a pain in the ...belly for so long! My A-Z daily thankful lists were fun, sometimes silly and sometimes serious, but a challenge I made to myself and was able to keep. I may do something similar for A-Z this year, if folks survived me doing it in November, they can probably live through me doing it again in April!! :-)

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  8. I love your thoughts on posting thankful not being about bragging. I don't know what might have brought on the specific comments, but I understand the sentiment. I also agree with your thoughts on it - it isn't about comparing to others, but about celebrating the good things others are happy about. The ability to do that without comparing can take some work - but I like to think I get better at it with age. As for being thankful rather than bragging myself - I certainly hope I do that. I sometimes joke about "Facebook-status like posts" - namely, the glossing over of the not so good with the happy. I don't think that's what this is about - rather it's about honest thanks for the good things in life - be they big or small.

    That all said - am I now allowed to be jealous that you went to Savannah? Visiting some of the southern states is definitely on my list of things to do (no time soon given life stage - but someday!) Lucky you!

    All the best for 2014 - Louise

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    1. I agree with you Louise, it takes time to grow into the understanding that any thing good that befalls others benefits us all. Watching something good happening in someone else's life can feel so amazing, better than any gift money could buy for us. Blessings don't always cover hurts, the hope is that they offset them. That we can continue on and bear our scars as a symbol of strength and survival.

      Neither of us had ever been to that part of the country either, we chose it at random for several reasons and couldn't have been more pleased with the experience. Savannah is a beautiful city, rich with history, close to the ocean, and filled with may amazing city squares of trees... glorious! The people were friendly, things were clean, and getting around was easy. I'm sure in summer the humidity is a challenge, but I think I could learn to live with that! :-)

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  9. Josie you have (probably unknowingly) played a very active role in my blogging life. I have so looked forward to Tues and Thursdays with you... I look for your comments on mine and other peoples blogs... you are a truly special individual..thanks so much for this years encouragements and opportunities! Zoe

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    1. Nothing makes me happier than knowing you enjoy Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories on Thursdays as much as I do, Zoe. I love shared writing prompts, and am always amazed by how we can each take a word and turn it into a story that is totally our own. I believe that most of us come to blogging for the community - sharing, encouraging, and learning together, what a blessing it has been in my life as well!

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  10. This is my first time visiting your blog and wanted to say, nice to meet you. Happy New Years!

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    1. I'm delighted that you dropped by Susan. I hope to see you visiting here again!

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  11. I haven't been here too often, Josie, but I can't imagine why anyone (here or anywhere else) taking a thankful list as bragging. I suspect the problem really lies with the accuser. Anyway, I agree with the comments above that these year-end wraps for TToT are nice to see what was happening before we encountered one another.

    I honestly did not know Monopoly picked the cat as the new piece, but my three Rotten Cats will be so excited! I have always preferred the little dog piece, though, so I suppose I will have to re-think my selection!

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    1. I agree with you Lisa, and I think the year end wrap-ups give us a bit more perspective into how each participant views their own life, what's important, what's fun, and what their struggles are. This was a great idea and I'm totally enjoying all the 12TOT posts!

      You just might find yourself reaching for the cat playing piece, Lisa, check it out online, it's pretty cute! :-)

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  12. You always have the most inspiring posts, Josie! I love reading them! I cannot imagine someone would consider a thankful post bragging. That baffles me. Isn't Savannah a beautiful city? So much history, too. I haven't been in some time and you've made me want to go back! Thank you, as always, for sharing your light with us!

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    1. Thank you Sandy! I enjoy making note of little things we often take for granted that affect our lives so much... clean water, air-conditioning, even rainbows! My best blessing of all.. time spent with my husband, no matter what we are doing, or if we are doing nothing at all. I treasure that time more than anything money could buy. His love is the greatest gift of all!

      Savannah, we thought it was just amazing, I want to go back for another visit before too long!

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  13. Seriously loved your intro here and will say I think we always compare at times, but that is just human nature, I suppose, but I know I try and think you do too to see the good in all our lives. And you are so right that Lizzi's hop does that in spades and always happy to try best to join in. Sounded like a great year from beginning to end. And here is to an even better 2014. Happy New Year!!

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    1. I agree Janine, there is a little bit of "wish" in all of us, but sometimes I think that even gives us hope... "if it happened to her, just maybe it can happen in my life too"! :-)

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  14. I have to say that I am more than slightly stunned that someone would perceive a list of thankfulness as bragging. But then again, I am always surprised by what people say and do...it's that Pollyanna in me. I'm sure you handled it with grace and loveliness, and I have to say that your list NEVEr has come across as bragging...all the credit goes where it is due. :)

    You blog is a blessing and inspiration to so many...thank you for doing what you do so well, Josie!

    Blessings in the New Year!

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    1. It definitely gave me pause to think too, I'd never looked at it from that perspective, but I can see where for some it might feel that way, especially if they are having a difficult time. I had to reexamine my motives and make sure that I am not coming across that way in my TToT posts. I AM happy when good things happen in my life, but I am happy when good things happen in other people's lives too!

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  15. In many ways, this has been a difficult year for me, but you are right when you say that there is always something to be thankful for. Your posts have been a welcome reminder for me to look past the bad and look for the good. Thank you, friend. :)

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    1. Thank you Dana, this is true for me as well. I tend to be a "grumbler", and I've learned this year that when I am in that frame of mind a bit of gratitude listing can work wonders to help me regain my perspective that we are always receiving little blessings in our lives, even if at times they seem to be scattered among some thorns. Life cycles, it gets better again, I promise! <3

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  16. Grateful for your posts and adventures! We all need to be reminded to look for the silver lining. Thankfulness is the best way to find it.

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    1. Thank you Rebecca, it totally agree! On the days that we have to look a little harder, it just means we aren't paying enough attention to all that God IS doing in our lives!

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  17. I'm so glad to meet you both. It was a wonderful visit.

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    1. It truly was, Gail, so much fun for both of us! We'll be back that way someday to see more!

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  18. I so agree--even at our lowest points, there is always something to be thankful for. Well said. As far as your list, I didn't hear that monopoly retired the iron and is replacing it with a cat. Meow! Can't wait. do you know if we'll be able to order the feline without purchasing a whole new game??? And the one about Savannah, GA. I've been there once. And only for a few hours, but I too fell in love and would be thrilled to take my husband with me next time--and stay a few days. When I'm down (or even in a lull) I too find that attitude improves when I list the things I'm thankful for. I'm so glad we have this hop. As bloggers, we can always use a feel-good way to begin/end the week. Happy 2013 to you. Linda from Out One Ear

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    1. Linda, I checked and the only way to get one of the new Monopoly cat token is to buy the new version of the game at around $18. I'm sure that inspired some sales! Savannah surprised us greatly, it felt so clean and open, and all those trees were like Heaven to us, living in the brown dry land of west Texans. Gratitude lists are the very best medicine for weary souls!

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  19. I love that you always (as do we all) find things to be thankful for!!! I love your reminder that there are too many folks that the holiday season is hard for....and that they matter so much!!! I remember reading about the gallbladder you thought was gone!!! And I'm so glad you got that sorted!!!

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    1. I'm grateful for that too, Kristi, I haven't had one it of pain since! I agree, that it can be easy to get wrapped up in the business and good stuff in our own lives and lose sight of the fact that so many are suffering. We have the ability to make a difference, be it in one life or many!

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  20. Hi, I am glad to meet you on my blogging journey this year. I have enjoyed Tuesday Two Shoes. I also learned a lot about blog hopping from the pros on your weekly hop. Thanks for sponsoring it. I feel like a part of a wonderful community. Happy New Year!

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    1. I'm delighted to have met you too, Mary... new connections are the very best part of blogging! I'm so glad you enjoy Two Shoes Tuesday, I love doing it! Happy New Year to you too!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)