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.
Thursday, December 8th, 2011
I have been rejoicing over this one for some time now. Let’s be honest: I’ve had five jobs in the past five years. There are very specific reasons for that – for one, the semi-normalcy of job-hopping in D.C. If this were a job interview, I would explain. But it’s not, and I’m thankful.
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 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.
Sunday, November 20th, 2011
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Facebook friends’ Month of Thanksgiving entries. I’m stealing this from one of them because it’s such a great one. I am so thankful to be able to read! (A special shout-out to my mom for reading to me as a wee one. )
Monday, October 31st, 2011
Today is our second wedding anniversary. (Yes, we got married on Halloween – also Reformation Day! – but not because of the date.)
In college, my girlfriends and I made a whimsical list of Top 5 Reasons to Get Married. I can’t remember them all, but I do remember that two of them were bugs and jars. After two years of marriage, I still kill bugs myself when necessary, but I don’t hesitate to ask my husband for help opening the tough jars.
In honor of this day, I’ll offer 5 Things I’m Thankful for About Marriage:
5. I gained more family.
4. My new last name is tremendously easier to spell over the phone. (I went from Menefee >> Payne.)
3. My husband allows – nay, demands! – that we keep Cocoa Krispies on hand at all times.
2. God and my husband haven’t let me stay the same.
1. I get to hang out with this guy.
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