Gratitude Challenge

gratitude challenge

As some of you know, I spent 2015 doing  Gratitude Challenge. Back in October, things got a little crazy and I ran out of time to do my weekly gratitude posts.

Then thing got even more hectic and I fell further behind.

Here it is the last Monday of the year and I need to catch up on this or I’m officially out of time. So, here goes:

Week 41 – Hobbies I’m grateful for… There are several hobbies I enjoy and they help relax me when I need to unwind. At the top of the list is reading (no surprise there, right). I love to bake (if you haven’t discovered it yet, I have a food and entertaining blog at savvyentertaining.com and it has been even more neglected than this blog the last few months). I enjoy puttering outside in the yard with my flowers (not so much this time of year). I have a hot glue gun and am not afraid to use it! I enjoy doing simple crafty projects, but if they are going to take more than an hour or two, I’ll pass. On rare occasions I enjoy sewing. I used to do it all the time, but most projects take more than an hour or two! I also really enjoying photography. In fact, I have many, many photos I’ve taken recently I need to share with you, so don’t give up on me yet. A few people know this – but I love to wrap packages. I even did it as a side business a few times during the holidays. And if singing in the shower counts as a hobby, I’ll claim that one, too!  I’m thankful for all this things that broaden my horizons and give me something enjoyable to do.

Week 42 – My favorite possession… There are two:

1. I have a Bible that I’ve used since I was a young girl. It’s held together with duct tape and determination, but it’s the one I use every day. Through the years, I’ve underlined verses, scribbled little notes in it, and it’s used state means just that… it’s been used. It went away with me to college then thousands of miles away to my internship. It’s been through 22 years of marriage with me. The pages have soaked in many tears but also witnessed many smiles and peaceful sighs. I have a “nice” Bible I take to church with me, but this one is the one turn to every day.

2. My wedding ring. Captain Cavedweller and I were young and clueless and without a lot of money when we wed. We purchased the best wedding bands we could afford at the time,  but they were very simple and serviceable. Over the years, CC has offered to upgrade my ring, but I don’t want anything different than the golden band he slipped on my finger all those years ago. To me, it isn’t the flash and sparkle of the ring, but what it stands for that means so much to me. And the simple band with the sparkling little diamond reminds me of our humble beginnings when CC was still in college and worked nights while I got started in my journalism career.

Week 43 – Mentor/Teacher… It’s going to hard to choose just one because I’ve had some really great mentors and teachers through the years, but I’m going to choose my first grade teacher. I was so painfully shy, going to school every day was an ordeal for me. Mrs. Eddy was so friendly and kind and welcoming – she made me feel like a part of things. She made learning fun, didn’t tolerate any bullying, and was one of the most encouraging teachers I ever had.

Week 44 – My favorite holiday… Christmas! Hands down, no doubt about it, Christmas it my favorite holiday. What do I love about? The sounds of the season – the carols, the crunch of snow beneath my boots, the hum of shoppers in the stores. The smells – Christmas trees, hot chocolate laced with peppermint, ham baking in the oven, spicy candles. The sights – of twinkling lights, crackling fires, freshly fallen snow, beautifully wrapped packages, bright red poinsettias, and the smiles on the faces of family and friends. The spirit of the season – the reminder of Jesus’ birth in a lowly manager. I like to think about Mary and Joseph – ponder what they would have been feeling and experiencing with the birth of their beloved son.

Week 45 – What I do for fun… Some of this overlaps with my list of hobbies, but I also like to travel with CC. We enjoying seeing a variety of sites and places and is something we both look forward to. I love to shop when we are in a bigger city. Also, for fun, I sometimes dust the keys off our old piano and play. Lunch with girlfriends is fun or a day spent lollygagging with CC  is also on my fun-meter.

Week 46 – Technology… I’m grateful for my computer, my cellphone and my laptop – even if there are days I’d like to throw them all out the window! On days when they aren’t operating like I think they should, I’m extra grateful for the days when they work properly! You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you how long I avoided upgrading to a smart phone, but when I finally did two years ago, I absolutely loved it. I don’t know how we lived without them as long as we did! And since a computer is vital to my ability to work, I’m extremely and incredibly grateful to have one! And a fast Wi-Fi connection!

Week 47 – Opportunities I’ve been given… Wow! There are so, so many, so I’ll pick a few highlights.

  • The opportunity to marry my best friend and enjoy the past 22 years with him. Such a blessing!
  • The opportunity to begin writing – first as a newspaper journalist, then a freelancer writer, and finally a romance novelist.
  • The opportunity to leave my day job and write full time. I’m grateful for this every single day.
  • The opportunity to stretch outside my comfort zone by trying and learning new things, like co-chairing the WWW conference this fall.
  • The opportunity to help others by sharing my experiences and limited skills with them.

Week 48 – Your job… easy-peasy! I LOVE my job! Every morning, I get up excited to work on something I love so, so much – and get paid for it! I never imagined I’d be able to stay home and write full time and sometimes I feel like I’m living in a dream. However, the reality is that I feel incredibly blessed and overwhelmingly grateful to have the gift of being able to do this full time.

Week 49 – Things I like about winter… Once Christmas is over, I’m ready for spring, but here goes: I like freshly fallen snow, a heavy frost that coats the world in glistening white fragments of sparkling light, the scent of woodsmoke in the air from our neighbor’s fireplace, snuggly blankets, hot chocolate, a pot of homemade soup with hot bread right out of the oven, the birds who hop around in our backyard eating the seed CC puts out for them, thick coats on the animals, warm sweaters, and being tucked away all warm and snug in our home.

Week 50 – Lessons learned this year… Oh, this is a good one. CC and I have actually had a few conversations about this topic  this fall when I spent several weeks working at a frenzied pace. Lesson one – do not expect more from myself than is humanly possible. Lesson two – do not over commit myself with obligations and still expect to meet my self-imposed deadlines (see lesson one). Lesson three – learn to give myself measures of grace. Life happens and sometimes I need to accept the fact things are happening beyond my control. Lessons four – the world will not end if I don’t meet one of my self-imposed deadlines. I had to abandon one book project entirely and a second is running about a month behind where I wanted it to be, but amazingly, the world didn’t tilt off it’s axis or any similar tragedy! Lesson five – the more you are grateful, the more you have to be grateful for.

Week 51 – 1oo things to be thankful for. Good golly! Well, here goes – in no particular order:

  1. Captain Cavedweller
  2. Faith
  3. Love
  4. Hope
  5. My family
  6. Friends
  7. Strangers who smile at me
  8. Children’s laughter
  9. A baby’s giggle
  10. The heavenly fragrance of a baby
  11. People who’ve supported me
  12. People who’ve challenged me
  13. People who make me think
  14. People who’ve told me I couldn’t do something
  15. People who’ve shown kindness when I needed it most
  16. Sticky baby kisses
  17. Sunshine
  18. The scent of roses
  19. Soft summer breezes
  20. The cheeriness of blooming flowers
  21. Green Grass
  22. Blue skies
  23. Robins
  24. Blossoms on apple trees
  25. Tulips
  26. Bulbs bursting to life in the spring
  27. The smell of a just-mowed lawn
  28. The smell of just-cut hay
  29. John Deere tractors
  30. The heinous cat
  31. Friendly dogs
  32. Horses
  33. Cattle
  34. Our vehicles
  35. A roof over my head
  36. My home office
  37. Technology that allows me to work from home
  38. The opportunity to work from home
  39. The gift of doing something I love every day
  40. The ability to write
  41. The ability do graphic design
  42. My smart phone
  43. My computer
  44. My camera
  45. The new lens for my camera that allows me to take such better photographs
  46. Rodeos
  47. The smell of leather
  48. Grace
  49. Forgiveness
  50. Mercy
  51. Salvation
  52. A sense of humor
  53. Determination
  54. Tenacity
  55. Laughter that makes my eyes water
  56. Words of encouragement
  57. A sense of smell
  58. New hearing aids
  59. Cute glasses (if I have to wear them)
  60. That I am relatively healthy
  61.  The ability to see all the vibrant colors in the world
  62. Rainbows
  63. The scent of the air after a rainstorm
  64. The crunch of fall leaves beneath my feet
  65. The pristine world after a newly fallen snow
  66. A warm, comfortable home filled with things that bring me joy
  67. Chocolate
  68. Yeasty bread, fresh from the oven
  69. Cinnamon rolls
  70. Peppermint tea
  71. Nectarines, ripened  by the summer sun
  72. Fresh pears
  73. Butter
  74. My oven
  75. An endless assortment of recipes
  76. That I enjoy baking and cooking
  77. To be creative
  78. Letters and cards in my mailbox
  79. To earn an income doing my dream job
  80. Surprise gifts
  81. Lunches with someone special
  82. Visiting new places
  83. The ability to travel
  84. Starry nights
  85. Harvest moon
  86. Fireworks
  87. Declaration of Independence
  88. Love of country
  89. Soldiers – past and present who keep us safe and safeguard our freedoms
  90. A lazy day to sit and watch the snow fall
  91. Hugs
  92. Soft hearts
  93. Tender smiles
  94. Redemption
  95. Honor
  96. Imagination
  97. Dreams
  98. Clean water and clean air
  99. Honesty
  100. Books

Week 52 – Did this challenge change you? I would definitely say it did. It made me more aware of all the many things in my life for which I can be grateful. When you make an effort to be grateful, not just once in a while, or once a week, but every day… it’s just amazing how much you realize you have to give thanks for.

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