ThankfulIt’s been a while. It has actually been a long while since I last put my thoughts out there for everyone to read.

I have had a few people tell me that they missed my Thankfulness post during the month of November.  I appreciate the comments, it’s nice to know that people sometimes do actually read what I write. I have done Thankfulness post each day in November since 2010 it did seem a little strange to not be posting daily during this past month, but I also felt great relief.

The initial purpose of my Thankfulness post was to help focus me and to take my mind off of events that hurt, memories that cut to the core, and general sadness about things that I can not change. When tragic events happen in life you do what you can to get through.  In my mind the only way to get through November was to focus on all that I have to be thankful for.  Boy was I wrong…..  For the past 4 years posting daily on thankfulness has actually set me back to the emotional state I experienced in 2009.  I was trying so hard to not think about the pain and loss, that I was actually always thinking about it in order to think of things that are good in my life.  Does that make sense?  Forcing thankfulness thoughts did not help me to move on.

This year I just could not bear the thought of going through another November.  I did not want to fall back into the state of anger, depression, and sadness. So I decided to pretend that it was not November. I decided to make myself focus on things other than thankfulness.

Then something happened…..

I noticed that my daughter was focused on what she did not have. I noticed that she was showing a little bit of selfishness. I knew that she needed to have a lesson in being thankful, and that she needed to focus on this in her own life. I had no idea how I could accomplish this without setting myself up to be pulled back into darkness and despair.

I attended Ladies Night Out at my church.  We had a speaker who spoke about remembering all that God has done, not just recently but over the course of our entire lives.  We sometimes may feel that God is not showing up in our lives, but he is always there. Sometimes that is very difficult to remember.

Our ladies ministry team always comes up with something to use as a “take home.”  This month the idea was to create a thankfulness tree.  They provided leafs with Bible verses on one side and on the other side users could write down one thing in which they were thankful.  I thought this would be a good idea for Madilyn to help instill in her to be thankful in all things, and would not be too much pressure on me.

We spent the past month having Madilyn reflect on the things that she does have.  We shared stories with her of others who have so much less than she has. .  With the pressure off of me I felt “normal” for the first time in years.  I did not have a Thanksgiving meltdown. I did not wallow in self-pity. Madilyn however, was able to find something to be thankful for everyday. I hope that this is a lasting attitude change.

Stepping back and not forcing myself to write every day, was the best things I have done for myself in a long time. Not writing about thankfulness does not mean I am not thankful, it just means that for me I need to focus on others and not myself. Shifting my focus to teaching my daughter to be thankful helped me and hopefully it helped her.

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