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.
Saturday, December 24th, 2011
If you’ve ever been in a crowded church on Christmas Eve, when they turn down the lights and start passing that little flame from person to person until it makes the whole room glow, you know what I’m talking about.
The symbolism of the entrance of the Light of the World is breathtaking.
Saturday, December 10th, 2011
Last night was the Christmas – er, “holiday” – party for my husband’s office. The boss and his wife host it, and I am not exaggerating when I say they are some of the most gracious hosts I have seen. They do a tremendous job of making the spouses and significant others feel welcome at these events. Which, when you consider the potential awkwardness of making conversation with people you see only once a year, is saying a lot. I want to host like them when I grow up.
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
It’s my birthday!
When it comes to being thankful, it’s always good to go back to basics. Keeping my heart beating is one of those things I can’t do on my own. And since everything else stems from that… I can’t really make much happen, can I? I can choose to let this make me feel powerless – or to thank God for keeping it all going.
Chris Rice’s song “The Power of a Moment” reminds me that “I have no guarantee of my next heartbeat” and God “knows the number of my days.” This song’s message, “right now’s the only moment that matters” and “show me the importance of the simple things,” is great fuel for thankfulness.
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 22nd, 2011
Sometimes things get more stressful than they’re worth, and it’s better to say no. You know you’ve made the right decision when a wave of relief follows your “No.” Ahhhh.
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, 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
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Glimpses into my ignorance can be discouraging. But then again, it can be exciting to see that I’ll never be bored, because there is so much to learn! Tapping into a new spring of knowledge opens up the world.