END OF THE CHALLENGE
This series is in the process of being removed. This final post, and the previous one, will remain for a further few days, by which time I hope to have the full summary of posts up, just to prove that I did indeed achieve what I set out to do: 2018 thanks by the end of the year. As I remove the posts, I am storing them on my computer, as it is my intention to list all the blogging tips in another series next year.
END OF THE ROAD
- It’s with great joy and relief that I can say I’ve successfully reached the end of the Thankful Thursday Blogging Challenge of 2018!
- So what has been the purpose? It has been huge. I give thanks for the way it has taught me to look for the positive in every situation.
- There have been some tough times this year, scary times, times of real distress, and times when I quite honestly wanted to quit . . . blogging, writing, and many other things. Yet through it all, God reminded me of His goodness.
- Yes, there were times I didn’t think I could go on . . . but I did. And through His strength, I conquered.
- There were times when everything seemed bleak and pointless. I was like the little engine, staring ahead at the huge mountain ahead and thinking, “I can’t do this!” But each time, when I turned my eyes back to God, I sensed His words, “Shirley, you’re right. You can’t do it. But together we can!” And we did. Thank You Lord!
CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY
- The first post in this series was a guest post by Daleen Reyburn on 11th December last year, in which she described how a similar challenge changed her way of thinking. You can read her excellent post here.
- She pointed out how every day contained gifts. You didn’t have to wait for Christmas! And indeed I have found this to be true.
- During the most difficult and unhappy days throughout this year, when I took a hard look at the day, I could see God’s blessings. He never let up on giving me gifts—of encouragement, of people who loved me, of moments of joy and promises of a better day tomorrow.
- I have experienced the encouragement of a number of you following along, or taking up the challenge in your own way, and receiving blessing through it as well.
- My friend, Ruth Dell, who recently emigrated to Ireland, completed the challenge a few days ago. She didn’t do hers on a blog, but in the old fashioned way of pen and paper, which in many ways I think it far easier.
- And as she says, the challenge is over, but the thankfulness is not. I hope to continue this new habit for the rest of my life.
- I am a far better and nicer person to be around since I embarked on this challenge, and so I say a very big thank you to Dalene for her encouragement!
- The series began with a guest post, and I’m looking forward to another guest post in the near future written by Ruth on her experiences with this challenge. She too has had a challenging year with many ups and downs, but has found the Giving Thanks challenge a source of strength and encouragement.
THE BEGINNING OF A ROAD
- And so today is my final blog post of the year, 2018. I admit I’m glad. But I’m looking forward to a new year of challenges, times of joy, excitement, and above all, thankfulness.
- It is my prayer that you and I will both be able to face whatever 2019 may bring with the awareness of God’s presence by our sides, walking with us and encouraging us, granting us strength where it’s needed, and a promise of great things to come as long as we look to Him.
- We started 2018 with the multiple gifts of 365 days.
- What did you do with each of them? What did I do? I wish I could say I used them all wisely and to their best potential, but that wouldn’t be true. Yet, in each one I received the gift of knowing Jesus and His love. And that’s the greatest blessing any human being can ever have.
- And so I face 2019 with that same promise and prayer. That as I receive another package of 365 squeaky clean new days, I will use them wisely and strive to reach their full potential day by day.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS?
- Do you set these? I have gone through so many variations of this theme. But this year’s one of 2018 thanks recorded during the year has I think been the most successful, and even though it faltered a few times, I managed to catch up and I’ve actually completed the year with the resolution intact.
- And so for 2019, I set only one resolution. I will constantly look for as many things to say thanks for every day throughout the year.
- I have decided this year I’m going to have a box next to my bed, and a pad of tiny slips of paper. Every night I will scribble down as many thanks as I can think of and stick them into the box. It’ll be fun reading through them at the end of the year!
PASSING ON THE CHALLENGE
- As many of you know, my husband and I run a ministry to the 50 Plus group in our community. Although it’s located in our church, it is open to all over 50’s of any (or no) faith. We meet once a month for a morning of great fellowship, a super tea, and some fabulous entertainment. This year, I intend issuing a challenge to each of the 60-70 people who attend each month, to each set aside a box next to their beds, and to start to fill them with thank you notes each evening.
- Pray with me for success in this project? Some of them will succeed. Some will reach the end of the year with a box brimming with thanks. Others will not. Indeed, there may well be some who don’t reach the end of the year. But if only they have spend some of their time giving thanks, it will have improved their days!
CHALLENGES FOR 2019
- I said I was only setting one resolution. But I would not be me if I didn’t have a whole stack of wishes for the year!
- And so I give thanks for the potential of those wishes.
- Thank You Lord for my writing.
- Thank You for the idea of a book of family stories. I look forward to collecting those.
- I look forward to seeing at least three books in print this year. Eve, Miriam, and my Family Stories.
- I hope to make a start to compiling an eBook of some of my short stories and articles. After all, if I don’t do something with them, the moment I depart Planet Earth, I know they’ll be relegated to the dustbin (garbage can)!
- These are not resolutions . . . I make not succeed in them all. But I’m grateful for the opportunity of trying.
- I also look forward to an opportunity of having fun (GASP!!!!! No specific reason other than FUN!) with my piano. I am excited about spending time just enjoying my beautiful piano and the musical talent God has given me, rusty though it is right now.
- I am happy about the future with Happy Echoes. For those of you who are not aware of this group, it is a choir of senior citizens, all retired, who love singing.
- There is a wonderful bond of love between us, and Monday mornings are a highlight of the year.
- We get together to learn new songs, practice the ones we’ve started, and generally have a lot of fun.
- Throughout 2019, we are likely to produce over 30 concerts for folk in the same retirement bracket including some who are in very sad financial and family situations. It is such a joy to be able to bring them an hour of entertainment and laughter.
- I look forward to times of fellowship and social get-togethers with my current friends and with other friends yet unmet whom the Lord brings across my path.
- Most of all, I anticipate some great times of fellowship and enjoyment with my Best Friend Forever, the man I married 51 years ago, as we grow older together. (Note, I say older. I don’t plan on ever growing OLD!)
- Rob of course is my human BFF. But 2019 will be a miserable year it I try to do it alone without my VBFF, my VERY best friend forever . . . and for eternity. I give the hugest thanks to Jesus, my Lord, who has been real to me since I was a very little girl, but who became my Saviour and the mainstay in my life in 1962.
- Truly, out of all the gifts I have ever received, He has been, and continues to be, the greatest.
- There’s a well-known old Scottish song that you probably know. It often gets sung at this time of the year. It talks of the value of old friends often forgotten, and so I give thanks for all of those.
- I give thanks for my school friends, many of whom I’ve “met up with” again through Facebook. Sometimes I don’t recognise them even as they were during those days, and certainly as they appear today, but I give thanks for friends who have been there for me throughout my over seventy years on this planet.
- I give thanks for the medium of Facebook, warts and all, and for the way it has brought old friends together, and introduced new friends.
- So yes, I give thanks to all of you, and to the many more whom I will never meet during our short time here on earth, but you have enriched my life immeasurably.
- And so I end this series as I say, THANK YOU 2018 for all your gifts, challenges, and experiences. For all the ups AND THE DOWNS! it has been a great ride.
And now I can end with that little steam train story yet again, this time quoting his final words as he crested the hill, “I knew I could! I knew I could! I knew I could!”
Yayyyyyyy! 2018 thank you’s! I’ve got there. Join me as we end the year with this traditional song:
I look forward to seeing you in the new year!