In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give thanks?? What has 2020 been like for you?

I hosted a, “Make a Dream Board” class in January of this year and I have the dream board I created posted in my home office, which by the way, is a corner of my bedroom:) Boy, the dreams we all had for the year, huh?! I really thought the year was going to be different.

“2020 Vision” was touted everywhere at the beginning of the year and my, make a dream board class, was no exception. Wildly enough, almost everything on my dream board has come to pass including a once-in-a-life-time trip to Hawaii that we will be going to if the state continues to stay open.

These are the other things represented on my board…I had a pixie hair cut last year but because I was not able to see my hair dresser for several months it made the grueling process of growing that out much easier- now I have a style that is close to the image on my dream board. I changed up my diet again, started drinking green drinks, that’s represented. Flowers and Coconut Lemon hand soap remind me to tap in to the natural side of my self and indulge in the things that make me, me.

I have been taking guitar lessons because I write songs and, it matters. I have an urn with ivy in it because I think that is an absolutely beautiful addition to any room. I bought a new oven, like the one pictured and I am redoing (get it going) my kitchen one small appliance and cupboard at a time. A Refined French; represents the elegance, artsiness and uniquness that I aspire toward, as well as the words, warm and calm.

The Sunshine or Sadness, The Day is Given, Thank You, Futures So Bright, and Bursting Into Laughter are all reminders of bieng grateful and joyful no matter what! For example, I have have started saying, outloud, what I am thankful for to practice gratitude. And to practice joy, sometimes I listen to comedians, slide accross my wood floor in my socks, break into dance or anything intentionally silly to make myself burst into, head back, snorting laughter. Those are things I have cultivated into my life because i can be too focused, too goal oriented or just downright down.

It Starts with The Bible and Where Jesus Walked, are reminders to start the day with the Word of God and meditation. When we had the first shut down I started an online Bible study for women also, so that routine proved even more important for me to be prepared to share what I was learning.

The cabin(s)on the dream board represent a ginormous dream. I want a cabin in the woods so bad I can smell it in my nostrils and taste it on my tongue. There is movement there, so I will give myself a pat on the back and an, at a’ girl, for pursuing a dream and seeing what it will take to make that a reality.

Now…the word, friend. I originally put that on my board to remind myself to be a good friend.

Basically, if you have won my heart as a friend, you have a deep residence in my heart that no one else can inhabit even after numerous years. It’s still there, open and ready for you to visit no matter the disconnect of time in between. But I have learned in fifty some years of life, that not everyone sees it that way and I have, unintentionally, hurt people by not staying in touch. So, friend, is there to remind me to be intentional about being a good friend.

The word, friend, took on a whole other meaning this year though. Little did I know, that I was going to have some real tragedy with friends. Two of my friends, through covid, realized that divorce was a neccesary course of action. Three other of my friends moved far away.

Two other friends that lived life well and unselfishly, passed away with a set of unique endings to thier lives that no could have forseen or would have expected. Now there are two friends, the spouses left behind, wondering what just hit them and how to move forward in life.

I have another friend whose husband’s health changed so drastically that she is a full time care giver now. And I have another friend whose unsuccedsful hip replacement, almost 2 years ago, has been an unbelievable saga, like that of Job; pain, trauma and dispair leading to a completely different life than they had before.

Last but not least, my little five pound furry friend, my dog, died this fall. Our favorite time spent together was when I was typing at my computer, she loved to lay on my lap and put her head on the crook of my arm, even though I would move her head with each letter that I typed- she was a loyal friend and companion to me.

The pain in these circumstances is almost too much for me to bear sometimes and then I try to put myself in other’s shoes for a moment. How do I be a good friend in these situations?

A dream board seems such a selfish thing to have in light of these tragedies but it is a visual for me to keep going, keep doing the next right thing, keep developing that person that is inside. We all need compassion and we all need hope and my board helps me stay focused on that. If I don’t put the provervial oxygen mask on my face first, I will not be able to take care of those around me and that is very true for me.

We are commanded as Christians to, give thanks in everything (1 Thes. 5:18) and I think this year has proven to make me much more aware of how to do that despite my feelings. There have been so many let downs, changes and things to litterally grieve over. Do you agree?

In our town which was already economically challenged before the pandemic, the small business’ that have really busted thier tails to keep making it work have had to work even harder or close. I have an idea as a busines owner what they are facing, but I do not have the employees and other responsibilites they have to keep families afloat. We do make more of an effort to support those business’ more than ever before and, thankfully, many of them are hanging on.

So, how do we give thanks in everything even when we do not feel like it? We just. do. it.

Give thanks in everything, when you wake up on a safe, soft bed or drive by empty buildings, when you take a walk around your neighborhood or when you home school your child (which I am doing with our 16 year old autisitc son). Give thanks in everything when you have running, warm water to take a shower in or make a meal for your friend. Give thanks when you write your friend, who moved away, a letter instead of taking a walk with her.

Give thanks in everything when you are praying with your divorcing friend who needs the next payment to send to her lawyer or when buying some groceries at the store or paying bills. Give thanks in everything when you can see joy on a cloudy day and when you struggle with anxiety.

Give thanks in little and give thanks in much. Give thanks for the people who have been a part of your life whether it has hurt or healed. Give thanks for the time and years you got to spend with the people, or animals, that you have cared about. Give thanks for having to walk the dog and and for the ability to walk. Give thanks for the breath in your lungs and the ability to think. Give thanks for the red states and for the blue states, for the black lives and the blue, give thanks for your friend and thanks for your frenemy or foe. Give thanks and rejoice that God is in control and you are not.

God knows what He is up to. There is an element of thanksgiving and gratefulness that produces something in us that we need and that we need to give away because others need it to. May we all get better at making ourselves give thanks in all circumstances and situations as we finish this year and head into the next one.

Thank you for reading this, I give thanks for you<3