Friday, September 30, 2011

November's lil Reminder

What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.
 - Oprah Winfrey

One of my first posts on this blog was 21 Habits of Healthy People. That post has been a big hit and I will occasionally pick one of the secrets to elaborate on.  I figured the month of November was the perfect time to go into more detail about number ten which was Gratitude. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, its hard not to think about all we have to be thankful for daily.

 Gratitude ~ Be grateful for every single thing. This goes hand in hand with finding your POSITIVES. As you learn to pinpoint the POSITIVES, you will find it easier to be thankful for even what appears to be the worst of situations. When you see the lessons you are learning through every one, you will be thankful for the knowledge gained by each of them. It takes time and can sometimes be a struggle but the reward in it is so great!

The ability to be grateful for the things that outsiders may view as the worst of circumstances, is a practice that has changed my life for the better. Its easy to see the blessings in the joyful times of your life. Real character building comes when you can see blessings in the darkest times. When you can look behind the pain to see the way in which you will be better because of it, your gratitude comes more naturally all of the time! I force gratefulness in all situations and find that my problems are blessings in no time!

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
- H. U. Westermayer

Since this is the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving, I have decided to blog about what I am thankful for in November of 2011. Rather than make a list where the actual number may become the focus, I will just write them out, one after another. I will follow them up with a list of things that my dear friend, Dan, shared with me of what he is thankful for. I am happy to include Dan in every possible way during my blog writing, since he has been a major factor in promoting my blog on a daily basis. That would bring me to my list.

~I am grateful for friendships that I have developed over the last year. Some have come about in the craziest of ways and this only adds to their value. The roundabout way in which I met Dan, paired with the relationship we share now, proves what I had already been aware of for many years. Some people are meant to play a role in our lives and will regardless of the obstacles placed between you! ~I am grateful for a friendship that I share with my brother that rivals that of any I have ever had with anyone else. It makes me happy that when I have news to tell, he is the first person that I want to share it with and he never disappoints me with his reaction. ~I am grateful for my daughter who is becoming so much like me that it is scary. This kid takes no crap and calls people on theirs. What I wouldn't have given to have that same ability when I was her age! ~I am grateful for the home I live in and the family that I have found behind the walls of 39RP. Feeling truly valued and loved in my own home is priceless. ~I am grateful for the ways in which I have grown since moving to this area. My life has changed so much over the course of the past five and a half years. I have learned so much about myself and those around me. When I chose here to live there was really no rhyme or reason to it but it is clear to me now that I belonged here for any number of reasons! ~I am grateful for jobs that afford me the time I need to concentrate on my schooling. I admit that my money is way tighter than I would like but I chose this route in order to be able to get to where I want to be in the long run. My choice to struggle was, above all, MY choice and that makes it okay. ~I am grateful for the nudge from a friend to go back to school and pursue my degree. Assignments and discussion questions and participation and Algebra get overwhelming sometimes, but I am ultimately excited about where it is all leading me to. ~I am grateful for my many gifts that all add to my life in so many ways. I have discovered that things such as my writing ability and my ability to talk to anyone about anything, have opened a great deal of doors for me and enabled me to reach out to so many people. ~I am grateful that my love of the Phillies for 25+ years has become such an exciting ride in recent years. Seeing my future husband pitch every few days is a joy that is beyond words. Cliff Lee....marry me pleaseeeeee!!! ~I am grateful that I had the opportunity to take not one, but two vacations this year. I never thought that I would ever be that chick that fell in love with the West Coast, but it surely happened in the past year and it has opened my mind to the possibilities of a future in another place somewhere down the road. ~I am grateful for my current relationship in which I am learning to be as comfortable sharing things with someone again as I have learned to be comfortable on my own. ~I am grateful for this blog which has become as much of an encouragement to others as it has become an outlet for me. To be able to share with others and encourage them through stories of what I have endured, has become a major victory in my healing process. ~I am grateful for notifications that tell me that I have comments to moderate. The input of my readers is valuable so please, if your taking the time to read this, take the time to leave a comment letting me know what it means to you.

So there's my list. And this has taken me four days to complete because while living a life full of gratefulness, it's difficult to decide where to end such a list. What it comes down to is that all of the little things that I am grateful for daily, fall nicely under one of these main reasons why I am thankful. Now moving onto Dan's list. When I commented on one of Dan's posts that referenced my blog and told him I was writing this piece on gratefulness, I asked if he may want to share a list of things that he is grateful for so that I may include that with my own. Within minutes I received his response.

"I am grateful for so many things Ali and was going to formulate a list but I have to say off the top of my head that although this past year has been filled with many trials and tribulations along with loss, it has been such a year of learning and lessons for me...I have learned and am grateful for my lesson in the resilency of the life has been touched by those around me in many beautiful ways...i am grateful that I have been thru each expereince and learned to find a way past the obvious pain and new outlook has encouraged me to look deeper into myself with each happening and to understand why He has presented me with each challenge and has presented those around me with everything they have gone thru..I truly believe, as taught by Siloam, it is so that the glory of God could be revealed thru each of us! We are able to to put away all the negatives that society wants to put on us and to realize that we are truly gifts to the world, flaws and all! I am grateful for beautiful freinds such as yourself for sharing the good/bad/and ugly along with the beauty of your lives...for each inspires me to be a better person and to realize that I am loved and likewise...I am also grateful for all the blessings in my life..I have amazing family who have granted me another chance. For friends who have become family....I have two beautiful little chickens who have taught me that a broken heart can truly mend after losing my beloved Metro and for Steven who stands behind me no matter what and encourages me to do the work I love so much despite the fact that my fatigue often leaves me with very little to give to him at times. Beth Dougherty also has lifted me up when the rest of the world would have buried diagnosis continues to be the biggest blessing in my life for it has fueled a great passion inside me, brought me back to home to myself and the realization of my gifts and has lead me on a journey where I see all my dreams becoming reality in the next year! Hows that???"

To be able to so quickly formulate such deep response to such a question, should be the goal of each and every one of us. To sit down and write this type of list is a great way to focus, for at least as long as it takes to write it, on all of the things that we have to be grateful for daily. I then suggest reading over your list at any time when you begin to feel like things are not going your way. Whenever you feel as though you want to feel sorry for yourself, concentrate on how much you have to be thankful for. Anyone who would like to take the challenge of formulating their own list of things they are grateful for after reading this, I would love if you shared them.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melodie Beattie


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