In 2010, I started taking cues from my friend Gina and posting a daily "Top 5" of things I enjoyed about my day on Facebook. This was after that random tumor surgery, and while I sat on the couch feeling sorry for myself all day, I needed some mental redirection. Like most things, after a while I stopped. It wasn't that I was less mindful of my Top 5, it was that I began to feel I was bogging down my News Feed. After Daddy died last year, Dan pointed out that he thought it was time again to start focusing on my Top 5... there was so much sadness, I needed to remind myself of the good in my little corner of the world.
When I brought back the Top 5, I got several private messages about how others "needed" to see them... that they encouraged their children/spouses/friends to do the same... and how a mental redirection was just what they needed, too.
This week, I had the pleasure of hearing a friend speak at my church about the same idea- choosing gratitude. My friend, Peggy, shared her story of a bike accident in which she was hit by a motorist and left in a wheelchair for months- during which time her mother and several friends died. Like my own story, grief upon grief can wear a person down. But Peggy chose gratitude- she said from the first moments in the ER, she began focusing on what was good in her life and even in her unfortunate situation. (She also noted later, btw, that she does a "Top 5" of her own in her journal each morning.)
Peggy's talk stirred up my own desire to re-visit my daily Top 5. My last couple of months have been wrecked with grief, disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion. But they also have been blessed with homecomings, laughter, shared meals, warm hugs, and joy. I have shared snipits of these moments on Facebook, but more importantly I have gathered my gratitude in my heart.
One would think that with the "November 30 Days of Thankfulness" trend on the interwebs, that I'd be all over that. I actually have never done it- not because I'm one of the people who is opposed to it (although the people who are the complainers 335 other days of the year who lead with "I'm thankful for the happiness I've found in Jesus" do crack me up), but because I kinda feel like I overwhelm my News Feed with it the rest of the year (see above.) But given Peggy's gentle prompting this week- I feel compelled to share some of the great things in this brutiful life of mine with my dear Reader Friends.
Gratitude: November 2013 Edition (not in order of importance, lest any of you get offended easily)
1. Half Price bottles of wine a dear friends with which to share them.
2. Papas and Beer
3. Whimsical Women
4. A super fun Barenaked Ladies concert
5. Finally meeting the Barenaked Ladies at that super fun concert
6. My Book Club
7. Someone else offering to "throw me a party" for the first time in years
8. Upcoming weddings
9. Upcoming vacations
10. Reconnecting with old friends
11. Pumpkin Beer, Jaime style
12. Blogger dates
13. Working out- the biggest surprise of what I'm grateful for, because I've never EVER had that on a list
14. Watching E get so excited about babysitters
15. Date nights
17. Buffalo wings
18. Upcoming holidays
19. Finding Daddy's coffee mug at Mom's house
20. My new planner
21. That Bunko got reborn
22. Movie dates
23. Planning showers to love on friends
24. Knowing that I have a Laurie Date on my calendar
25. Good books
26. New makeup
27. Good pens- including my new Dry Erase markers
29. Our bus stop. Most of the time.
30. Short hair.
I've had 30(+) things this month (and last) that bring me joy... that make me pause in gratitude... and that take my mind off of the hurt. And, as Peggy pointed out, there are still days with lots of moments of me wanting to scream out "God- I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACK!"... but in the moments in which I am thankful, I can enjoy this brutiful space where I am.
I am blessed.
And I am full of thanks.