We must keep in mind that our brains alert to bad news 5 or 6 times as much as good. So the media outlets that want our attention often take the tactic of printing the bad to get as much mindshare as they can.
That doesn’t mean that the bad news you see is the whole story.
Reflect on your 2017. Write today about all the great news that took place in your own life this year.
Write about your personal wins, your personal a-ha moments. Write about any growth experiences, mindset shifts or transformations you had or started. Write about times you found $100 in your pocket or someone blessed you with a gift. Write about new people you loved and new things you learned. New places you went and new experiences you tried.
Even just write about individual, seemingly unimportant moments of connection or resonance you experienced. That time you held hands with your sweetheart in the stillness of the park. The hundreds of times your dogs blessed you with their company. Write about the times your feet took steps and all those mornings your eyes opened.
Think back and try to remember any times in 2017 that you experienced pronoia: evidence that perhaps the whole universe is actually conspiring to bless you. Write about them. Write about blessings and miracles, big and small.
If it’s hard to get this going, it might help if you start out super, super general, looking around you and seeing what you appreciate in your immediate physical body and physical surroundings. Then zoom out. Once you get going, you might be tempted not to stop.
I wish I had the ability to put into print all the headlines that aren’t fit for print this year. Due to privacy laws, they aren’t legal for me to share. I am blessed to be on the frontline as a witness to miracles and transformations in the lives of so many people. To see people healed, relationships reconciled and people restored is a blessing that I am honored to witness regularly. Although my life is blessed, these are the stories I would share to bring encouragement and hope to so many.
The headline of my life for 2017 would be “A Touch of Grace.” The biggest headline would have to be welcoming my son’s first child into the world in July. Although I wasn’t able to be there for his birth, I was able to go and spend a few days with them shortly after his birth. There is something special about watching your child take care of his wife and child. Although I am no naïve to think he is always as attentive as he was during my visit, it was nice to know he knows how to be a spouse and father. I know that is God’s grace covered him, because his example from both parents growing up was less than attentive on either front.
We became empty nesters for the first time in our married life. This has been a little bit of a bitter-sweet blessing. My daughter would tell you that I started the countdown her second year of high-school. When the kids started working outside the home, I got used to the quiet time after work since they would go to work after school or out with friends when off and found I REALLY enjoy it. I admit it would annoy me to have the mess to clean up when I didn’t see anyone and the financial responsibility when I didn’t see anyone except once a week, if I was lucky for family dinner on Sundays. So I was looking forward to empty nest. But now that they are all moved out, I sometimes miss the noise, the mess (although my husband does his best in this area) and our random talks or debates and arguments as my husband thinks of them. It is a blessing to know that despite my failures as a parent, God’s grace launched all my children successfully into adulthood.
I fulfilled three travel firsts this year with the love of my life. I finally made it to New Orleans. We took our first cruise. And it was my first time out of the country, since technically Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. We had such a wonderful time together. It was nice to not only get away, but to check some things off my bucket list. I especially enjoyed disconnecting, as we intentionally did not have internet except one 24 hour period and a short time at one of the ports during our cruise. It is a quick reality of how much time I waste on social media. It was nice to just sit and enjoy my husband’s companionship, try new foods, and explore new places. We toured the streets of New Orleans on foot and then by bicycled carriage. We took a bamboo raft float down the river in Jamaica. We went kayaking and snorkeling in the ocean at Cayman Islands. Then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at an all-inclusive private beach in Cozumel. God’s favor was with us for perfect weather and safety on our adventure.
As big as the major blessing in my life are, it is in the small things that I find God’s greatest blessings so to list a few:
- I love my husband. We celebrated 18 years of marriage and twenty-six years of knowing each other. He is a great provider. He has a big heart and is learning to show it more. He still puts up with me – and that is truly a testimony of God’s grace!
- My oldest daughter was promoted in her business and won an all expense trip to the Dominican Republic, which just happened to fall on her 25th birthday weekend.
- My son has a beautiful family, and although he lives almost a 1,000 miles away he has a good job for a good employer, is part of a church family where he feels connected and is going to college to further his education (and it is being paid for!).
- My youngest daughter moved out on her own. She changed positions in her job and is working on her education, and has recently started pursuing her relationship with God as a priority. She has had several course changing epiphanies this year.
- My family – self, spouse, children, and grandchildren are all healthy.
- My grandson got potty trained.
- My granddaughter learned to write all her letters, she can spell a lot of words, is learning phonics, and additions. Hopefully she won’t be too bored when she gets to kindergarten next fall as that could spell disaster.
- I attend church with an amazing pastors that I love who challenge us to grow in God. We have a focus of igniting our passion for God, knowing our position in Him, and pursuing His passion for people in the passion He has given to us.
- I really love the people I attend church with and have enjoyed worshipping and serving alongside them this year.
- We got moved into our new church building. The process took longer than we thought it would, but God’s hand was on it all the way.
- We have the most amazing children’s ministry. I love how much my grandchildren love to go to church now and how they can tell me the stories that they are learning. They look forward to church instead of crying at drop-off when they are will me.
- I have a job that I love, that pays the bills, and lets me help other people and use the education that I have.
- I have an amazing team of coworkers, even on days they drive me crazy (I know I drive them nuts too!)
- I get to meet amazing people who inspire and challenge me every day.
- I have been blessed with the opportunity to pour into other social workers providing supervision for two working on their LCSW and two who are working on their MSW degrees this year.
- We have enough to meet our needs, some desires, and pay it forward. Although at times it is easy to focus on what I want and don’t have, we met people living on less than $50 a week while we were traveling. I know we are blessed.
- I have some amazing friends in my life who encourage me, support me, challenge me, believe in me and let me speak into their life too.
- I have more than my basic needs taken care of daily – I have a roof over my head, clothes in the closet, food in the cupboard, vehicles in the driveway
- I have pursued my passion of writing a lot more this year. This means I have taken time to get quiet and let my creativity surface. I am blessed that God has given me this outlet.
- I got in touch with my emotions more this year. A lot of it has been in writing, but I am learning to be more expressive.
- I have taken time to relax. I have this wonderful little hammock in my backyard and motorcycle in the garage, both provide me with relaxation and sun.
- I got to see all my siblings together for Thanksgiving, along with all my children and grandchildren.
- I reconciled with my grandmother after twenty years and reconnected with my aunt also.
- I am alive.
- I am saved by God’s grace.
I could continue on listing blessing, too numerous to count for this year. I am overwhelmed by the touch of God’s grace on my life. Every one of us, if we take the time to stop and reflect has blessings that are overflowing in our life. I admit that today was not a day I wanted to reflect on blessing. I have enjoyed two pity party gripe sessions today and was cranky most of the afternoon. I cried on the way home. Yet pausing to reflect on God’s goodness has changed my perspective and emotions for the better. It only takes changing your focus to change your perspective.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.