It’s November, the month of Thanksgiving in the USA. And in the UK? My birthday. Sorry, had to mention that.
But, in the hiatus between Halloween and Christmas, it’s a great opportunity to stop and think and be grateful.
I’ve a lot to be thankful for. It’s been a very tough year. I’ve been buried under layers and layers of guilt and self-loathing that are associated with PND and the drugs that combat it. We’ve had news of a death, my Shine walk another reminder of close family that we have lost and the frustration that I feel on a daily basis at not achieving anything tangible, anything that DH can see, anything that he deserves to see, is gradually dissipating.
But that is not what I am most thankful for. As I sat watching him open his birthday gifts yesterday, a thought occurred to me. A while ago, I wrote about the International Day of the Girl. More specifically, I wrote about enforced marriage:
One in seven girls in the developing world do not have that luxury: they will be married before they are 15 and some as young as five years old. LBG will be five next year. She can’t even tie her own shoe laces. She couldn’t be someone’s wife. We wouldn’t let her.
It reminded me of a freedom that I have which some of those girls I mentioned will never ever get to realise: I married the man of my choice. I said yes when he asked me, and without the permission of my parents, not because I knew they would disapprove (they didn’t by the way) but because I didn’t need to. DH and I lived together long before we married. Before we were engaged. In fact I moved in after about a month and we started house-hunting not long after that. We chose to get married. We planned our wedding together. And we continue to grow as a couple and now as parents. All of these choices were mine to make. That is the essence of freedom.
And I am grateful for it.
Grateful too that I found such an incredible man: clever, charming, funny. My biggest fan, my best friend and the person without whom I would be incomplete.
21 Days of Contagious Gratitude: For the Whole Family Challenge
November 1st- 21st
There are over 21 bloggers who have joined forces because we believe that gratitude can be contagious and we desire to spend this month being grateful with our families. Each day a different blogger will walk along side of you in this challenge and share their experience. Stop by and visit their website on the date listed below to read their Contagious Gratitude story or activity.
I hope you join me in this 21 Days of being thankful.
It’s so easy to complain, grumble or to not be content with our situation, our body, our home, our kids, our food, our job, our spouse, our parents, our school, our friends and life as we know it. In effort, to be less of that and be filled with joy, I want to challenge myself, my family and you to be more aware of the blessings we are surrounded with each day.
My hope is that you will find beauty and blessings in the mundane, in the beautiful, in the ugly as you: change diapers, wash dishes, sit in holiday traffic, stir the pot of soup, look into your spouses eyes, hold your child in your arms… We are constantly surrounded by small miracles let’s open our eyes and embrace them. May the Lord open the eyes of my heart so I can see them!
We will discover joy when we discover gratitude.
How to join in the fun! Nov 1st -21st
1. Let others know about our 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge for the Whole Family and use the hashtag#21DaysGratitude. Our hope is that it’s contagious and 1000′s of families join in so help us get the word out. In the midst of our busyness it’s easy to forget to pause and be thankful. Sometimes we are in the midst of difficult circumstances and we struggle with being thankful and that’s when we need thanksgiving to intervene.
2. Stop, reflect and engage in a moment of thankfulness each day this month, with your family. It can be big or small moments of gratitude.
“Hurry always empties the soul.” ~ Ann Voskamp
3. Share your moment on your blog with a photo, on facebook, twitter, pinterest or your preferred social network. If you’re doing this as a family let your kids snap a photo of something they are thankful for. It can be as simple as a taking a picture of a note written on a napkin that says “I am thankful I get to hold these little pudgy fingers”. You can journal it or do a service project. Make it simple or get as creative as you like.
4. Don’t worry if you are getting a late start or if you skipped a day. Just jump in and follow along.
Photo or Writing Prompts Printable: Feel free to come up with your own reflections of gratitude or if you need some prompts see below. (right click on image, then copy and paste into your document and print) Adjust the list below for your little ones as needed.
~To fully live we must embrace the small miracles of the moment.~