A wonderful thing happened to me last week at a writers group. Someone had challenged themselves to write down something they were thankful for each night for a week before retiring. The end result was a wonderful list of memories and renewed faith in life.
I couldn’t resist. My week looked grim. I started with a too long list of marketing tasks for someone else’s books. When would l have time to write? My dad had surgery scheduled and I was worried about him. My dog was still recovering from an injured back, so both our exercise routines were off. What could I possibly have to be thankful for? Always up for a challenge, I dove in anyway.
Day one began early with a trip to the medical testing center with my dad. He is not a morning person, especially on a nervous empty stomach. He went in for the procedure. I stayed outside and prayed while reading a social marketing book on my Kindle. I try to read a professional book each week. Evenings are for fiction, but any spare minute during the day goes to reading within the industry. After about an hour, a technician called me back to join my dad. She was smiling. I could feel the blood flowing back into my shoulders as I sighed with relief. All was well. That night I wrote that I was thankful for one more day of precious memories with my eighty five year old dad, and for the giggles we shared over lunch while he told one of his silly jokes.
Day two, I was already at the computer as the sun rose and now I was really behind on my long list of marketing tasks. I didn’t wait for the evening ritual – I thanked God right there and then for giving me the time to read that book the day before. I even shared it with a few friends on Twitter. Then I jumped in to a very productive day highlighted by online research and a rapidly shrinking “to do” list. While watering the plants in the hanging baskets on my porch, I discovered a nest containing a single white egg. That night I wrote that I was thankful for the internet; for all that knowledge that is now right at our fingertips. I also gave thanks for the hundred new friends whose laughter and tears scrolled down the back of my screen throughout the day keeping my spirits high. I also thanked God for the birds nest.
Day three went pretty well. I added some seed to the bird feeder, and found two more eggs in the nest. I completed a ton of client work. That evening I went to training with my dog. He has been feeling much better, but for some reason he just wouldn’t jump. That got me worried. We took it easy the rest of the class. That night I wrote that I was thankful for having such a gentle, dear companion. Little Theodore sits patiently by my side all day while I work, then with unconditional loyalty he does his best to please me on walks, at play, or at school. I also thanked God for the new eggs.
Day four, I finalized plans for a trip with my teenage niece and nephew. There was a great deal of rustling in that hanging basket when I set a fresh water bowl on the porch. I updated my website, adding a client appreciation page to thank the incredible authors I have had the pleasure of working with. That night I wrote that I was thankful for the stories they share and the insights I have gained through my working relationships. I also gave thanks for the next generation of my family. How much I learn from those two about new technology (boy they could write a book on social marketing!), myself, and life. I also thanked God for the fourth egg.
Day five was a disaster. Early on, a truck pulled up outside and two men with equipment trotted across the lawn. My faithful watchdog started barking and running for the door. Armed with my wiener dog, I crossed the lawn to approach the intruders. They were consultants for the gas company. I had a leak. I think the birds began coming and going in shifts to keep the nest tended. That night I wrote that I was thankful for line insurance. You know that couple of bucks tacked on to your utility bills? The one that makes you feel like a sucker every month? Keep buying it!
This morning I woke up and reviewed my list. I laughed. I smiled. I furrowed my brow a bit. I fed the birds and changed the water. I surveyed the garden and my blueberries have started to ripen. What a wonderful week. I accomplished a lot and I feel truly blessed. I have much to write about tonight.
Last week I had a terrible week in front of me. The only thing that changed was my viewpoint. Sometimes we just need to stop and look around to notice the beauty that has been right there all along. I challenge you to STOP and give thanks. Write down something you are thankful for each night for a week. Then read your list. You will be surprised at what you experience when you document just one blessing a day for one single week. Perhaps you’ll want to share. I’d love to hear. How was your week?