Saturday, December 31st, 2011
I’m thankful for the moments that have brought me to this moment.
Thankful for being raised by my parents, loved by my grandparents, befriended by my friends, taught by my teachers. Thankful for Latin homework and choir practice and going to skating-rink birthday parties and playing on the tennis team. For vibrant, giggly college dorm life and a lonely grad school apartment. For moving trucks and paychecks and bosses and co-workers and battles and working with ideas. For fresh starts and faithful churches and bumbling breakups. For tension and tears and prayers and acceptance and commitment and the settling of married life.
For a job that led me to a friend. For seeing that friend’s listing of things she was thankful for. For the prompting to try it myself and the glimpse of joy that propelled me to commit to 365 days. For the money to buy a domain name. For my husband’s help in booting up this blog. For God’s whisperings and opening my eyes to all of these posts and more.
For the changes this exercise has caused in my outlook and the days when others have voiced their thankfulness. For the friends and family members I’ve written about and those I haven’t. For the challenge of trying not to repeat a post, and looking that much harder for something new each day.
For the winter day on which I write this final post in the Year of Yay. And for the year of opportunities to come.
May every year be lived thankfully.
Friday, December 30th, 2011
It’s been a quiet week. I generally don’t enjoy the cultural “New Year’s Resolutions” push – so much pressure! We Must All Look Perfect and Smell Lovely and Eat Quinoa in 2012!
I’m putting together more of a to-do list for 2012. It includes: 1) hike more, 2) find at least one new way to fix potatoes, 3) use prayer cards, and 4) write more handwritten notes. These are all things I want to do, rather than resolutions that feel like horrid punishments (“Lose 47 pounds by eating only birdseed!!”).
And if I don’t do them, that’s okay, too.
Instead of reflecting only on what I need to change (which my critical mind tends to do on a daily basis), it’s been nice to reflect on simple blessings as well. I fear that by ending the Year of Yay, I will cease to notice those little things. Also on my to-do list: Keep noticing every blessing, no matter how tiny it may seem.
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
“Is it just me, or does Christmas seem like it’s over before the end of Dec. 25? Is it that still, somehow, we’ve resolved in our hearts that the ‘big event’ was creating piles of thin, tattered paper on our floors?”
I read this piece by Marcus Hathcock today. I was feeling weird – that Dec. 26-31 weirdness he describes. These words kicked me in the butt. Why am I feeling weird? Christmas is great news – and it affects the other 364 days. I love what he says about allowing this to change our lives, instead of looking for a life-changing experience every Christmas morning and subsequently pouting at the inevitable letdown.
Sunday, December 25th, 2011
“The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor. A more lowly place of birth could not exist.”
“He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary for his well-being.”
“The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable.”
“How absurd to think that such nobility would go to such poverty to share such a treasure with such thankless souls. But he did. In fact, the only thing more absurd than the gift is our stubborn unwillingness to receive it.”
– excerpts from “God Came Near” by Max Lucado
Thursday, December 1st, 2011
A friend gave me some really encouraging – and specific – feedback today about this blog. It wasn’t “hey, your blog is cool.” It was “hey, I read this post and it resonated with me for this reason.”
As every website in the world starts to post 2011 year-in-review stuff… would you take a moment to let me know if a certain post or idea resonated with you this year? I’m planning to continue blogging in 2012 with an expanded scope of subject matter, and I would love to hear what you liked and what you would like to see more of. Thanks!
Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Today is a special day in the Year of Yay, as it is Thanksgiving! ‘Twas the Month of Thanksgiving last year that started it all.
I didn’t have to learn to be pessimistic. That has always come naturally. For me, living more thankfully has been a work in progress – a learned habit.
Obviously, some days it’s easier than others. It doesn’t mean I put on my thankfulness glasses and turn every circumstance all rosy. Instead, I would say, I see things I didn’t notice before. They were there – most of them had been there for years. But I wasn’t acknowledging them, or wasn’t thinking of them as gifts from God, not to be taken for granted.
If I had to describe it in one word, I think that word would be “reversal.” Finding things to be thankful for is a reversal of the way my brain wants to work. It wants to find everything that’s wrong, everything that can be improved, everything that hasn’t happened. I’m forcing it to do the opposite.
The old way takes the world around us as a baseline and sets expectations from there. The new way takes nothing as a baseline and adds to it… well, everything in the world.
Perceptions can shift. Thoughts can be directed. I can change.
This gives me great hope.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
As you may have seen, I started this blog thanks to the idea of observing November as a Month of Thanksgiving. Last year, my friend Kristen was posting one thing she was thankful for on Facebook each day, and I decided to join her. Then I just kept going.
I’m so excited to see Facebook friends joining in the Month of Thanksgiving this year!! I have seen at least one mention already that searching for things to be thankful for is improving her attitude a little bit each day.
I’ll share again one of my newest favorite quotes that sums up what I’m trying to accomplish here – for skeptics and pessimists like me!
“Thankfulness isn’t a matter of forcing yourself to see the happy side of life. That would be like returning to naïve optimism. Thanking God restores the natural order of our dependence on God. It enables us to see life as it really is.” – Paul Miller, “A Praying Life”
It’s never too late to start!
Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Context is everything.
“Normal” doesn’t sound like something we strive for. It doesn’t sound intriguing or exotic.
You probably wouldn’t want to read a blog about (whatever your idea is of) normal.
But introduce a contrast and see how precious normal becomes.
“Don’t worry; this reaction is normal.”
“The test results are normal.”
“I assure you, your child is normal.”
Sometimes normal can make us extraordinarily thankful.
Friday, November 4th, 2011
I’m thankful for progress.
I’ve been doing Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred, which has three levels. On Level 1, I was puffing and wheezing trying to do squatting punches. Now on Level 3, I’m doing punches WITH weights. Yeah!!
Friday, October 28th, 2011
I know zero-sum economics is a fallacy. Lately, I am learning I need to apply that to the rest of life.
Blessings are not zero-sum. God may be blessing those around me in different ways, but that doesn’t mean there are fewer blessings available for me. He has an infinite supply.
When you see God giving someone else a blessing, do you ever feel like He is withholding it from you?
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:32