Thankful Thursday ~ Post 42 ~ The End of a Year and a Challenge!

This entry is part 42 of the series Thankful Thursday


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.

Thank you to all those who have enjoyed, commented, and encouraged me along the way. It’s been an exciting challenge, and at times it seemed impossible that I’d complete it. So it’s a great encouragement to me to know that I’ve made it!


  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Yes, there were times I didn’t think I could go on  . . . but I did. And through His strength, I conquered.
  5. 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!


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. We started 2018 with the multiple gifts of 365 days.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!


  1. 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.
  2. 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!


  1. 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!
  2. And so I give thanks for the potential of those wishes.
  3. Thank You Lord for my writing.
  4. Thank You for the idea of a book of family stories. I look forward to collecting those.
  5. I look forward to seeing at least three books in print this year. Eve, Miriam, and my Family Stories.
  6. 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)!
  7. These are not resolutions . . . I make not succeed in them all. But I’m grateful for the opportunity of trying.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. There is a wonderful bond of love between us, and Monday mornings are a highlight of the year.
  11. We get together to learn new songs, practice the ones we’ve started, and generally have a lot of fun.
  12. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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!)
  3. 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.
  4. Truly, out of all the gifts I have ever received, He has been, and continues to be, the greatest.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!


What one action, new habit, or attitude will you take into 2019? Share in the comments of this blog. Click To Tweet
 Disclaimer: Apart from a quick read-through as I worked, this post is basically unedited for time constraints as you’ll understand! If you spot something wrong, I ask you to do two things. 1. Forgive me, and 2. Point it out in a comment below. I’ll correct it asap. Thanks so much! (And of course, you will remember it is written in British English! 

Thankful Thursday ~ Post 41 ~ The end of a year

This entry is part 41 of the series Thankful Thursday


  1. About this time last year, I committed myself to completing blog posts covering 2018 thanks before the end of the year. I’m glad I did this.
  2. It has taught me to keep me an eye open for things to be grateful for.
  3. It’s been a tough year in many ways, but I soon found there was always something to say thanks for.
  4. The year has included a number of health emergencies, yet as a family we live to tell the tale!
  5. My blood pressures threw at least three readings well into stroke territory, yet I didn’t have a stroke!
  6. I saw the inside of casualty (ER) departments more than I ever want to see again, yet I am well!
  1. I tested out the new emergency medical service provided by the Echo Foundation who provide many of the retirement facilities in Port Elizabeth with a call out for paramedics and a rush per ambulance, siren and all, and I survived not only the ambulance ride, but the subsequent treatment to get the blood pressure down fast without putting my system into shock.


  1. We travelled this year. Oh how we travelled! Yet with no accident or mishap.
  2. Rob accepted a monthly position conducting a communion service at the beautiful seaside resort at Jeffrey’s Bay, nearly an hour’s drive away.
  3. This was a big help to us financially as well as giving him the opportunity to do what he loves most: bringing the Word of God alive through his fabulous sermons.
  4. Half way through the year, our friend, Jen, offered us the regular use of her holiday home in Aston Bay, just 10 minutes from Jeffrey’s Bay.
  5. That not only removed the need for a horribly early start the Sunday Rob was preaching there,
  6. it also gave us the opportunity to having a regular weekend away.
  7. Except for one month when it coincided with the Primetimers week, we went out most Thursdays and had a relaxing long weekend.
  8. Even the month when it did coincide with Primetimers, it was still great to be able to travel out to Aston in the Saturday afternoon, only returning on the Sunday afternoon.
  9. We also did a trip to East London to visit my brother and sister-in-law’s new B  & B. What a lovely weekend that was.
  10. We went half way through the Easter Weekend which gave us a chance to meet our very cute little great-niece, Julieanne who was visiting with her parents from Johannesburg.
  11. During the year we did several short trips to Hoekwil to our elder son and his wife and lovely young boys.
  12.  Except for the one trip, we also got to see our granddaughter, Sacha, as she now lives in George, a few miles away from Steve’s home.
  13. The exception was when Sacha went down with shocking flu just as we’d recovered. We didn’t dare risk catching her flu, especially as the Naomi launch was just round the corner.


  1. It was with excitement that I was finally able to convert one of my eBooks, Naomi, into print locally.
  2. We held a launch for the book here at our retirement village in the hall.
  3. It was attended by approximately 100 people, and I sold more than 100 books within the week.
  4. We have been blessed to see lots of our daughter and son-in-law who live in far-off Montenegro.
  5. Although they left us before the New Year 2017 it was only a few days before, and we still got to speak to them before they went back overseas.
  6. Then they came out midyear for a month,
  7. And we were able to hold the launch of Naomi at that time.
  8. So they were able to join us for that special occasion.
  9. Debbie did a stunning presentation of Naomi, whom I interviewed. Such fun.
  10. When we got together at Aston prior to the launch, first my son and daughter-in-law from Hoekwil came to join us.
  11. They just popped in for tea prior to moving on to PE where they were booked into a hotel
  12. so they could be involved in the launch.
  13. To our delight, when their car pulled up out hopped our grand-daughter, Sacha, who was originally not going to be able to make it.
  14. Then my brother and sister-in-law who had cancelled due to car trouble arrived.
  15. What a blessing to belong to such a caring family.
  16. This has encouraged me, and I have Eve nearly ready to publish,
  17. followed by Miriam, which I’m publishing as one book. (It’s two eBooks.)
  18. Some of my family have urged me to put into print a book of family stories. Not a biographical book, but snippets and stories that will bring a smile or a memory to mind.
  19. I have a book by Beth Moore that does this, and that prompted me to see how it could be done.


  1. As mentioned, the kids have given Rob a beautiful couch  / sleeper couch (double bed) for his birthday.
  2. This necessitated a clear out to make space.
  3. In the process, I emptied a filing cabinet full of writings.
  4. These go back to as early as the late 1990s, and it was fascinating reading some of the stories and articles I had done for various competitions, publications, and assignments.
  5. So I’m keen to try and compile them into a book this year.
  6. A few months ago, I “met up with” another authoress on Facebook and we agreed to partner each other for critiques.
  7. This went really well until we both hit a series of crises, both health wise and time wise. But I praise the Lord for the knowledge that in the New Year we will both be off to a whole new start.
  8. We have hit it off really well, and I know my writing is improved because of her input.p
  9. She has expressed similar sentiments which is great.


  1. As I write this, my daughter is playing the piano in the background.
  2. I think back to the years of practicing and lessons and give thanks for my musical family.
  3. I also give thanks that this year, the Lord answered our prayers by giving me a beautiful piano,
  4. as in a genuine gift! What a pleasure.
  5. It included a lovely piano stool big enough for two,
  6. so duets are in my plans for the new year!
  7. The end of this year has been chaotic as Carol (the director of Happy Echoes) has been ill, but the great thing is there are two of us who have been helping her.
  8. So where I am her assistant, Bev is now backing me up,
  9. which meant we could step in and run things for her. God is good!
  10. I look forward to a new year filled with music
  11. and having time to enjoy my new piano.
  12. As part of the clearing out process, I sold my electric keyboard,
  13. my piano accordian,
  14. and my guitar.
  15. We sold our round dining-room table and chairs
  16. as well as two bookcases
  17. and most of my writing books. (The one I wasn’t using.)
  18. With the money gained through the sales we have been able to buy a few things we needed which has been good.
 Disclaimer: Apart from a quick read-through as I worked, this post is basically unedited for time constraints as you’ll understand! If you spot something wrong, I ask you to do two things. 1. Forgive me, and 2. Point it out in a comment below. I’ll correct it asap. Thanks so much! (And of course, you will remember it is written in British English! 

Thankful Thursday ~ Summary

This entry is part 40 of the series Thankful Thursday


This series is in the process of being removed, except for the current post which will be linked to at the end of this post. Thank you to all those who have enjoyed, commented, and encouraged me along the way. It’s been an exciting challenge, and it seems a good time to wrap things up.

As some of you will understand, this is a huge undertaking and time at the moment is in very short supply. So for now, the posts will be in draft format until they are added to the summary and removed. Thank you for your patience. I can just assure you that all the numbers are correct, and the posts are saved on my website for future reference.

Summary of Thank yous 2018

Post 37:Wonderful Gift: to 1680

Post 38: A Wonderful Venue: to 1770

Post 39: Christmas Day: to 1850  

Post 40:  Family Gathers: to 1908

Post 41: The End of a Year: to 1974

Post 42: The End of a Year and a Challenge! to 2018



Miriam Part II ~ Gifted Leader

Miriam Part II ~ Gifted Leader

is another Out of the Shadow book.

Meet Miriam, the gifted leader!

Would I find enough information to fill an entire book? That was my question when I first set out on this journey with Miriam. Imagine my surprise when one book became two.

Most of us know about the little girl who watched over her three-month-old brother as he sailed in a basket boat on the crocodile-infested River Nile. Her story is told in Miriam Part 1 ~ Devoted Sister, which ends as the Children of Israel gather at the exit to Goshen, their home for many decades, and prepare for their trip to the Promised Land.

Miriam ~ Gifted Leader takes up her story at around eighty years old. Yet, as we will see, this was no fragile, elderly woman. She had far more energy than I have, and I imagine more than you. About to embark on an incredible journey that would take the rest of her life, she faced adventures and horrors of terrifying magnitude. Throughout that time, she showed herself to be a gifted leader. This in a time when women were not regarded as capable of taking the lead.

This story commences as the previous book ends. I invite you to pick up your bundles and get behind our leaders as we prepare to take our leave of Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the life of slavery. We will follow Miriam as she steps out of the shadow of her famous brother, Moses, and becomes a true leader in her own right.

If you recognize this elderly lady from the previous Miriam book, you are right. She’s the same person. She’s just aged as we all do!

If you have read this book, please will you pop over to Amazon and leave an honest review? Thank you.

The Entertainer Blogger Award

About the Entertainer Blogger Award

A special thanks to Debbie Harris for nominating me for this Entertainer Award, along with many other entertaining and inspiring bloggers. I’m delighted to be part of this line-up! Deb writes an entertaining blog that covers adventure, travel and beautiful photography. Read her application for this award here, as it gives you some insight into the person behind the name!

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Share Your World ~ January 23 2018 #SYW

This entry is part 15 of the series Share Your World

Share Your World:

This week has been a real mixed bag of emotions. Here are my responses to the questions posed by Cee Neuer. If you’re interested in knowing more about this challenge which right now has 7,952 followers, click on the title above.

SC: Sad start to the morning:

I’m starting on a sad note today by answering a question not asked. We’ve just returned from the vet where we said goodbye to our little old lady, Zoe, who has been part of our family for many years. People who don’t love animals (are there really people like that?) wouldn’t understand, but I know if you are a pet-lover you will.

Zoe was, and always will be, a part of our lives and hearts, and our home is so empty without her. It was time. We knew that. She was very old (18), was almost blind, had hardly any hearing, and over the last couple of days had become increasingly disorientated. Last night she tried to get into my bedside cupboard on the opposite side of the room to her bed. So it was the right and fair thing to do. But right now, it’s hard to ignore the glaring emptiness in her bed beside my computer.  (It will go later today, but right now all the bedding is in the washing machine.
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Enjoying New Ways of Life

This entry is part 1 of the series Outdo Yourself: Reading Challenge

At the rate I'm going, 2018 is going to be remembered as the year I took up new challenges!

I stumbled upon the "Outdo Yourself Challenge" which has evidently been going for some years. This year, it's being hosted by Corinne Rodrigues for the third year in a row.

Reading the instructions, participants are supposed to "up their game" of how many books they read last year, and read more this year. However, I have no idea of how many books I read last year, so I'm starting from scratch. read more

Share Your World #SYW ~ January 16, 2018

This entry is part 14 of the series Share Your World

SC: Hi Everyone! And to those whom I haven’t met up with elsewhere on the Blogosphere, a Very Happy and Blessed New Year to you! May 2018 be a year of great things, big or small. And no, that’s not a contradiction in terms. Small things sometimes turn out to be the biggest of blessings.

I’ve been out of action with this challenge for a few weeks, so I look forward to answering Cee Neuer’s fun questions in her Share Your World Challenge. By the way, it may interest you to know that there are currently 7,919 people following this challenge!

Here are my answers for this week:

SYW: Complete this sentence: I’m looking forward to….

Share your world, SYW, cards,

New Year, New Challenges, and New Tools

A need is revealed!

A few months ago, I released a new eBook on Amazon: Miriam, Gifted Leader. I referred to it as Part 2 of the story of Miriam, a mistake I intend rectifying in the next week or two. I realized my mistake too late. Who would want to buy Book 2 if they hadn’t already read Book 1? The book is a stand-alone, but how would potential readers know that?

So I scheduled a five-day period on Amazon where Book 1 would be offered free. That would solve my problem. Well, it might have. But I forgot!

Four hours before the five days were up, I frantically called on my street team to get the news out! Book 1 was free–for a few more hours . . . which were soon gone. I didn’t sell ONE book during the 5 free days. Really?

Come the new year, I had to become more organised. I needed help!

Because I love learning new things, I was thrilled (and surprised) to discover two new tools I would need to put into almost immediate use.

Off with the old and on with the new

At one minute to midnight on December 31, 2017, my husband and I were in prayer when we heard counting wafting to us on the sea breezes: 10, 9, 8, 7 . . . The new year was about to arrive.

We rose to our feet, picked up our drinks (cola-tonic and ginger ale!) and made our way onto the stoep at the front of our cottage. Only three streets up from the beach and a few streets along from the Port Elizabeth pier, we had ideal seats for the firework display about to commence.


As the count reached 1 . . . a loud cheer emanated from the beach as millions of rand worth of fireworks shot into the air.

2018 had begun in S.Africa. Australia, New Zealand, India, China and many other countries were already well into the year–but we were ahead of the UK and the Americas.

I experienced the same thrill I feel every year. A new 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months.

What would they hold?

What wonderful things will happen in the world? In our family? In our home? What sad things or tough decisions will we face?

It’s too much to expect an entire 365 days of joy, although my “theme word” for the year is “thankfulness.” I am determined to look for 6-7 reasons to give thanks every day this year. 39 per week. Some days, that will be easy, and I may think of more than six reasons. I’ll jot them down and get in advance. Some days will be a lot more difficult so for that reason, I’ve called it a challenge!

Thankful Thursday

In December, I started preparing for my thankfulness project under the title, “Thankful Thursday.” I wrote two posts on my blog and posted another two guest posts in preparation for the new year. My goal? Two thousand and eighteen (yes, that’s right–2018) items of thanks during the year.

I decided to invite others to come on board. What a pleasant surprise as I watched the response. I would need a way to keep track of the other blogs as well as encouraging them to follow one another. Sue Loncaric, whom I know from a Facebook page for bloggers, wrote an excellent blog post for me on the topic, Linkies, a new word in my vocabulary.


I soon realised I needed cyber help with my venture. Enter InLinkz.

Click on the frog to learn more! I have created my first blog button to use with the Thankful Thursday project, and I’ve learned (I think!) how to use it.

My first post in the Thankful Thursday went live on Thursday 4th January, complete with the first 21 thankful points. I had some issues with the html code on the link-up which may be why I only have three folk linked at this stage. The final chance to link-up to the first post is Tuesday 9th. Then the 2nd post will be published on 11th.

If you have a post on thankfulness (or gratitude), I invite you to leave a link to your post, and visit at least two of the other links.

The template for my second post, due January 11, is drafted, and I have post-its around the house so I can jot down thank you points as they come to mind.

I will keep you posted on how this works. Meantime, check out some of my “thankful” related posts (shown below) or better still, consider joining up with the challenge.

Why am I doing this?

For a number of reasons.

  • It will discipline me with regular blog posts.
  • It will improve my blog traffic.
  • I hope it will encourage others in the same way.
  • And if for no other reason, it can only benefit me as I search my day for things I am grateful for.

Can you see how this might help you too?

But I said I discovered two new tools.



Two days before New Year, a writing friend, Val Waldeck, introduced me to a tool I had heard of vaguely but knew nothing about. Trello. This is a project management system which is evidently used for businesses across the world. As Val shared her desktop with me over Skype, I became more and more excited. Although I didn’t learn “new words” as with the inLinkz tool, I learned new meanings for old words; boards, lists, cards, labels, etc.

If I can only get used to checking this regularly, there will be no more forgotten promotional projects.

I spent New Year’s Day and the 2nd January setting up new boards that will help me keep track of the many writing projects I juggle. The first board I created was to keep track of my blog posts, and especially the Thankful Thursday challenge about to commence.

Each board consists of a number of lists. For my Thankful Thursday I create a new card for each week’s post. The card gradually makes its way from the list called idea to the one titled in process and then on to written, awaiting graphics. Next it moves to scheduled, where it will await publication. I will then move the card on to published and  promotion and finally Done.

My critique group will be thrilled to know I also have a list for them. So far, I’ve kept up well. (Okay, so at the point of writing, that’s less than a week into the new year but still . . . !)

Only time will tell how well I keep myself on track with this, but I have plenty of time to prove it! 365 . . . no wait! I only have 358 days left of 2018. Time is already starting to speed up! I hope this year I will be way better organised, thanks to these two new writing tools.

Have you heard of, or better still, used either of these tools? I’d love it if you leave a comment below.

If you have a thankful or gratitude post, please consider linking to the link_up “Thankful Thursday“.