Monday, November 30, 2015

Gratitude and Thanks-living

I really wanted to end November with a long gratitude list. So, I'm starting a post once again, for the time stamp. 

But maybe it isn't even necessary to write a blog post. What was that concept I liked so much in past years? Thanks-living. Maybe that's why I haven't been able to write it out. I, with help from my husband, have been doing more to put living first, in an attitude of gratitude and actions of love and compassion. 

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
—Lamentations 3:22–26

A positively #Healthy65 start

Today, I started my latest Healthy 65 Challenge. This is a life-improvement initiative launched by co-worker Juliana Keeping last year to cover 65 days from about Thanksgiving to after the first of the next year. This time, it actually will end Ground Hog Day, Feb 2. It's an informal challenge, but I found last year that it helped me have a healthier mindset that went beyond the stated goal of significantly reducing my exorbitant gum consumption. I exceeded that goal and continue to follow the plan that helped me there. (It just occurred to me that Julianna says one thing she likes about 65 days is that it should be long enough to establish a new habit. But for me and my gum chewing, I'm very aware that reduced gum-chewing did not become a habit for me, and if I didn't keep daily track, I'm pretty sure I'd quickly be back to the super excessive amount. Seems crazy but I know it's true.)

Anyway, I wasn't sure I would participate this year. I couldn't think of a worthy physical challenge I wanted to take on.  But then a healthy behavior came to mind. So my #Healthy65 Challenge is to abstain from complaining. I want to quit whining and pointing out the negative. I want to say something positive or say nothing at all. And I want to somehow do this without denying or stuffing my feelings. 

Between Wednesday, when I came up with my goal, and Sunday, I was having second thoughts and even took comfort in knowing I didn't have to be perfect. If my goal is just one or two days a week, it wouldn't even have to be the first day. But of course, I did want a strong start. So I figured I might as well try.  

And now it's 9:45 pm, and I have succeeded so far. It seems every time I normally would have complained or whined, I was able to remain silent, praying as needed, until I could think of something neutral or positive to say about the situation. And there were plenty of times that pause was needed. After all, it is Monday, and I work a full-time job. Anyone who knows me knows what I am talking about. 

I am amazed. It felt very peaceful and satisfying. I hope I can keep this up. I really liked the result today. 

So, here's the continued approach: 

-- Try not to say anything until I work through to the gratitude or at least can be neutral. 

-- Instead of complain, I will strive to say (or at least think): What can I do?  How can I help? What can I be grateful for here?

-- Pray. Be still and listen for God. Trust and obey. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Purging the system

On Monday, I'm starting a 65-day challenge in which I hope to abstain from complaining. I want to quit whining and pointing out the negative. I want to say something positive or say nothing at all. And I want to somehow do this without denying or stuffing my feelings. 

The minimum challenge is to do this at least two days each week during this 65-day period. Now I'm wondering if a goal of one day per week is more realistic. But since I attempt to approach all goals with a progress-not-perfection attitude, I'll go ahead and strive for two -- even as I also hope to achieve more!!!

I had hoped to use the time since I came up with this challenge Wednesday to purge some of the negativity I know I have in me. Here it is Sunday and I still haven't. Will I now??

Weather -- I hate cold conditions, and even more when it's icy or snowy. 

Cantata -- I love our church choir director (who happened to mention this in his own blog),  and the first three cantatas by Pepper Choplin were amazing. But I just cannot get into this one. Still trying. Hopefully. Writing this will keep me from voicing frustration. 

Hair -- I have reasons for wanting to let it grow. I have no clues how to style it. 

What to wear -- neverending anxiety for some unexplainable reason. 

Work -- too few people to do what's expected, and now some of those are off, trying to use the rest of their vacation before year's end. 

Christmas -- expectations vs. reality.

Balance -- marriage, other relationships, work, personal boundaries. 

Of course, the better approach than trying to get out all of the negativity is to start now with focusing on the positive instead. Try not to say anything until I work through to the gratitude. As I've written before, even when I complain, I usually come around to gratitude. But sometimes the damage is already done, whether that be fouling someone else's mood or just wasting time. 

Instead of complain, I will strive to say (or at least think): What can I do?  How can I help? What can I be grateful for here?

Pray. Be still and listen for God. Trust and obey. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Counting some blessings

I could make a long list of things for which I am grateful. 

Instead, I'll hit just a few highlights:

Hope that springs eternal. Great is God's faithfulness. 

Oh yes, faith that connects to hope. 

And, of course, love. The greatest of these is love. 

My cup runneth over. God has been so good to me. Is he wasteful? No. He expects me to share the overflow. (This thought is courtesy of the Rev. Jim Goodwin, whom I knew when he was pastor of Whaley Memorial United Methodist Church.) I often fail to do share the overflow. 

Which leads me to something else for which I am grateful: second and third and additional chances to get it right. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A healthy change of attitude

I've been trying to decide whether to do the #Healthy65 Challenge coordinated by a co-worker this year. And the answer, finally, is yes. It starts Monday. 

My #Healthy65 Challenge: attitude of gratitude. 

Here are some of  my starting thoughts:

I'm pretty good physically. I've continued to adhere to last year's #Healthy65 Challenge to reduce my gum consumption significantly (which saved me a very conservative minimum of $365 for the year).


I couldn't think of a physical challenge worth taking on this year.


But I think this challenge regarding my attitude will have positive results extending well beyond my bodily health.


Quit complaining. In all things, be thankful. 


I've been convicted by so many people sharing daily thanks in November. I had hoped to. I have not.


And I realize that often when I do give thanks and express gratitude, it comes after working through a complaint or problem.


For 65 days, or at least a day or two a week for 65 days, I want to abstain from complaining.


Instead of complain, I will strive to say (or at least think): what can I do?  how can I help?


(I may have a lot to get out of my system before that starts!!)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Just because

I can't resist posting this, but I also hate to. Everyone makes mistakes. But four times????? (OK, it may have just been three, but I'll err on the grand side.) I almost delivered it to the right house myself the second time it came, but instead just put it back in the mail slot. (An embarrassing aside is that the first time it came, I opened it, not realizing it wasn't addressed to me! It's a thank-you, apparently from possibly a college student to his grandmother. That was actually heartwarming. I want Meme to get her card!!!)

Update: On Thursday, this showed up one more time. I guess what friends said on Facebook is true; it will keep coming back unless I black out the code on the bottom. So I've done that now. Maybe it will get there. I hope so. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

More right choices, one at a time.

Surprisingly and thankfully, November started with a week of right (or at least much better than usual) choices. 

Answered prayer. 

Sunday: quick Texas trip. 
Monday: praying in faith about work and time with Gene. 
Tuesday: more faith and action; making the most of Gene's trip to my office for a meeting that wasn't. 
Wednesday: gratitude as things worked out despite my lack of planning. 
Thursday: selfie fun and more. 
Friday: work so much better than I could ever have dreamed, for the week and Friday. 
Saturday: stepping out for something new.