*Bonus: Thanksgiving Special*

            Something that really stuck out to me from a sermon quite a few years ago was the importance of being grateful. Our pastor said an attitude of gratitude, or a thankful heart, fights fear (and many other things) because they can’t exist in the same place at the same time.

            I’ve always considered myself a fairly agreeable person, pretty thankful for most things, but practicing gratitude takes a conscious effort. At training in North Carolina, someone shared that, (by some way of research- I’m sorry I can’t remember the official details) when asked about how missionaries were adjusting to their placements, locals who were working with the missionaries replied that the missionaries were not very grateful. Yikes.

            Sometimes I find myself in almost a state of euphoria due to noticing how much I have to be thankful for. Not always big things either. Sometimes I just get to go to the movies with my friends, and the butter on the popcorn hits the spot, and we get to listen to a good song on the radio on the drive home, and then someone tells a worthy joke that makes us all laugh. And I just think, this is so good, how do I deserve any of this?!

            But my question now, is how come I only feel that way sometimes? Why do I feel that way when I’m at my college, but not somewhere else? Why does a change of environment all of a sudden allow me to stop being grateful? The answer: it shouldn’t.

            In an effort to practice an attitude of gratitude consistently in different environments, I started recording in my journal (and index cards, and cell phone) some things that I’m thankful for almost each day. Please enjoy this list of 105 things for which I am thankful that made it into my notes. [I used X, Y, and Z to replace names- stay tuned for where you may be mentioned ;)]

            P.S. I’ve honestly impressed myself that the list is so long. I understand if you don’t read the whole thing. Maybe just pick 5 numbers between 1 and 105 ;)


Starting October 7th…

  1. Celebrating small victories of positive interactions with new people
  2. After a “was almost a bad day” journal entry: “But I called dad, found some itch cream, did a facemask, drank chocolate milk! And did my homework- all is well and God is good.”
  3. “There’s something in these people. There’s something FOR ME in these people. There’s something in these people.”
  4. “It’s a strange feeling, to know that you have family out there… you’ve never met, who’re rooting for you…”
  5. “Really thankful for sweet time with friends over dinner in our private dining room. ;P”
  6. Just thankful for this long journal entry, that ends with the words, “Satan, GET BEHIND ME.” Then an empty page. Because, ‘nuff said, ya know?
  7. “Also, got to eat with X and Y again today… they let me have some leftovers- just like a good RD should :D […] Oh, how I adore them… […] They celebrated with me about my 95% of commitments…”
  8. “Also, thankful I could climb that tree with X and Y. They both seem so cool… X said my tree climbing was funnier than my volleyball wipeout XD glad to make her laugh…”
  9. “Celebrating continued developed relationships, today with X (who sat next to me at lunch), and Y… and A and B, who seem to love to laugh, and pickup on my jokes…”
  10. “Glad to talk with X today and share my history too. And hear Y’s. Thankful for all the laughter…”
  11. “Thankful for X taking our trash for me today.”
  12. “It’s nice to be treated like a lady. […] I’ve never been surrounded by so many gentlemen…”
  13. “I did enjoy getting to spend time with X and Y and Z, and felt very welcome in their home. […] I appreciated their advice about language school… Really glad I got to talk with them,”
  14. “Yesterday, X and Y made us all dinner and invited all the singles, […] XD I actually appreciate his dad jokes (…and feel somewhat adopted by them, being about the same age of one of heir daughters…) […] –how fun…”
  15. “Thankful that last night I could just be quiet and write as things came into mah head… :) ;P”
  16. “Isn’t it funny how each person is always greater than we assumed in the beginning?”
  17. “X told me she thinks I have the gift of really seeing people, seeing thru people, seeing people how God see’s them, and that she thinks that could/will really help me cross culturally… Thanks ;P”
  18. “and X told me, after I said, “I like you X,” that she likes me too, and how ‘introspective’ I am. She said, ‘like, you think of EVERYTHING…’ […] Hm. I’ll take that ;P”
  19. “Thankful for the convo. It ranged far and wide, and I think she does help me sort thru things in a calm way…”
  20. “so thankful… I just love you, God… and… am so thankful… because how could I deserve any of these wonderful things?! :( à Like friendships?!”
  21. “You are here, in this quiet kitchen. Fan, and rain…”
  22. “X saying Y had that calm presence effect…yep…”
  23. “X just blows me away… every time <3 :(“
  24. “Mah heart feels so full, awe, I hope he feels your love,”
  25. “I sure do appreciate them…”
  26. “‘Why are you spending time with this jack wagon?!’ she said. XD Gotta love that girl <3”
  27. “‘I wrote you a really sappy card. […] You can read it in the car, and be like, awe, Rosie was our favorite!’ […] Love them, so much. Maybe I will miss them the most… :/ Them and the X family… Thank you for them all, God.”
  28. “What a fun day that was… :)”
  29. “But we can rejoice in our weaknesses, because it shows the greatness of the cross, and my depravity, and let’s God’s light shine through the cracked vessel…”
  30. “It’s good to know I’m weak, because that way, I don’t think I can do it on my own…”
  31. “Thankful I got to go for a good hard bike ride, take a nice hot shower (to defrost), and talk on the phone with X for 2 hours in my cozy flannel kitty kat night gown, smellin’ clean, and feelin’ fresh… with Abuelita’s… and banana bread… :D <3”
  32. “I think I could consider myself friends with X now.”
  33. “Thankful for: X, who seems wise and insightful… my lavender and quiet room, Y who seems kind and gentle… continued education… relationships, getting to stretch today, girls’ night, cookies, Z, A, B…”
  34. “Thankful for… getting my homework done!”
  35. “Thankful for… Getting to go sit in downtown Ruthfordton, alone in the sun and doing my homework- free public restrooms, good hot cocoa, nice relaxing time in the grocery store, and the drive to and from.”
  36. “Thankful for good convo. and fellowship … and free food”
  37. “Thankful to have so many reasons to give thanks… what a blessing ;P”
  38. “Thankful for: That I can talk with friends, the smell of cold nights and burning heaters ;P, food (IDK, I’m hungry), getting to spend time with new friends, Fridays, Saturdays, these moments- in this cozy room, with a wall that says, ‘you are loved’ and is full of cards and notes from loved ones.”
  39. “Appreciated hanging out with these people who were never on their phones while we spent time together.”
  40. “Thankful for friends who defy time constraints and expectations…”
  41. “Just so, so, thankful for you God, and all your diverse, multi-faceted parts… even here just in North Carolina. Sitting here in Sunday school at the Baptist Church, feeling thankful for all these people. Their enthusiasm and their love for you. Knowing that just across town, the Episcopalians are glorifying you also this morning, in a much different manner. :) You are such a good God. You are so amazing. And I’m so thankful for diversity displayed through believers that reflect your goodness! And how big you are, and how not one of us is correct in trying to bring you glory.”
  42. “The sun was nice today. And it was fun to get a pic. with friends. Thanks for sending X our way, God… I really like her :)”
  43. “;P <3 Love these people”
  44. “Something nice about things coming to an end… loose ends coming together, new beginnings…”
  45. “So, so thankful for friends who pray with you. She shared scripture with me, prayed with me genuinely, and she told me earnestly to let her know if I would like to pray more later. What a calming presence she has.”
  46. “Thankful for people who donate jackets. It means a lot to me that they thought of me this morning as they were leaving, grabbed a jacket, put it on my chair… it’s very soft and warm :)”
  47. “Thankful for other people who donate jackets. So thankful. Not even that I feel so special, but that these people are so kind :..(“
  48. “Thankful for a calm night… of cocoa, microwave popcorn, grilled cheese n ramen, and watching The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society with the gals.”
  49. “Thankful for good coffee, dinner, and even fellowship during the sadness of packing and cleaning; sisterhood.”
  50. “Thankful for clean sheets… and my momma”
  51. “Thankful for: sleeping late today, potato pancakes AKA hash browns, spending time with Mom running errands, new shoes, my desk, and getting to sit at it, the bookshelf under my window, a calm room with pretty lighting, oil diffuser and lavender- amen! technology to keep in touch with people, ability and reason to make plans for the future, beautiful sunset, beautiful weather, holidays and seasonal joy and traditions, family- no matter what it looks like, a bed with flannel sheets that could just, “eat me right up!” sleep, the word of God, the people of God.”
  52. “Thankful for people who remind you you’re not alone.”
  53. “Why are we so lucky to get to walk back, gleefully, laughing in the rain, together, in good company, carrying leftover food from a celebration?”
  54. “Thankful, God, for beautiful handwriting and pleasure that comes from good visual aesthetics- thank God He’s artistic!”
  55. “Thankful to have a ride back from the airport.”
  56. “Thankful to get to show mom a bunch of prayer cards from people who really mean a lot to me :)”
  57. “Thankful for lavender oil… and dark chocolate.”
  58. “Thankful for the future and all that it has to offer…”
  59. “My favorite time of day- fan on, blowing cool evening air, freshly showered, soft bed, low lights, thoughts flowing in the silence…”
  60. “Thankful for my history”
  61. “Also thankful for Thai tea, Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, Chinese buffets, and people to share them with.”
  62. Thankful that I don’t feel sick tonight.
  63. “In high school, when people asked if I could do anything at all, and not worry about money, what would I do when I grew up? It was this. What a dream.”
  64. “Thankful for cool night air, pouring rain, and thunderstorms that seem to drift in through my window… And the sweet little yellow jacket family living outside my window…”
  65. “Thankful for phone’s that die at just the right time… friends who’ll take spontaneous road trips with you… family, traditions- silly as they may be… reasons to do things together…”
  66. “Thank you, God, for all your provision and sacrifice.”
  67. Thankful for a job that allows flexibility, progress, beautiful days, hot cocoa, random BBQ joints, bike rides, Texas skies…”
  68. Thankful for tons of full journals.
  69. Thankful that Satan didn’t get my day today.
  70. Thankful for the familiarity of coming back to church today.
  71. Thankful for how thoughtful someone was to buy me a Spanish bible for a graduation gift.
  72. Thankful to have had a successful day and to have gotten my documents and seen my friends.
  73. Thankful for THIS room.
  74. Thankful for paperwork coming in so quickly and things seeming to fall into place.
  75. Thankful to have footsteps to follow in… cousins who are brave, and travel, and live the expat life.
  76. Thankful to not have fleas!
  77. Thankful to be building connections, have sparkly toes, and soft feet…
  78. Thankful God gave me THIS family.
  79. Thankful for THIS bed.
  80. Thanks for the opportunities, God <3
  81. Thanks that we can pray directly to you, God.
  82. Thankful to have so much to do, for it means the future is full and coming fast…
  83. Thankful to have so much to do and to have already done so much
  84. Thankful to have so much to do and time to do it…
  85. Thankful for these flannel sheets and THIS purring kitty
  86. Thankful for friends who let you hitch a ride ;)
  87. Thankful for progress and moving forward
  88. “I’m thankful for how you’ve built my endurance through the suffering I’ve experienced. ‘We rejoice in trial and tribulations for they help us develop endurance…’”
  89. “Culture is created by God for his glory. We all reflect him differently. Thank you that I get to see parts :)”
  90. “It’s still hard for me to grasp, but I’m thankful for imputation and that Jesus really did take our sins and give us his righteousness in exchange.” (not just hoard it, but share it- grace)
  91. “Thankful for opportunities… to go wherever you would call me… and know you have a plan, even when I don’t see it…”
  92. “I’m thankful to sit next to X and Y. and to have had positive interactions with A and B.”
  93. “I’m thankful God made me with desire to love him and need him”
  94. “I’m thankful for ability to see, observe, and grow…”
  95. “Thankful that when conflict is resolved, we can minister and strengthen relationships.”
  96.  “Thankful that you forgave me first.”
  97. “Thankful for opportunities to learn of cultural differences, and sit next to new people, thanks for energy and good attitude.”
  98. “I’m thankful for these people, and these opportunities to learn and experience these things and emotions, even if it’s been challenging.
  99. “I’m so thankful for the variety with which you made us… because even me, as awkward and weird as I may be, have a group of people who will respond to the love that God gave me... for them specifically… even people I don’t understand, I’m thankful for…”
  100.  “Thankful we are all so unique in every way, to glorify you as best as possible… :)”
  101. “Thank you for times to be thankful.”
  102. “Thankful for my weakness :) And this play-dough! :)”
  103. “Am I weak enough for God to use me?? Felling weak today? Hallelujah!!”
  104.  “I’m pretty tired, and a little cranky, but I’m thankful for the memories…”
  105. “Thank you for suffering, so that I didn’t have to live without the presence of the father- I can’t even imagine. Thank you for whatever small sufferings I’ve been through that have allowed me to see your compassion in new ways.”