I’ve been writing in a gratitude journal for six years now. I don’t know why, but I never wholeheartedly recognized, much less acknowledged, God moments in my life until a disastrous move to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1999.
I had two goals that year: get the heck out of the Atlanta area (nice place to grow up in the 70’s, but not a place I want to live now) and finish a degree. Memphis provided the means to accomplish both.
But things did not go well initially. Plans quickly fell apart and only God put them back together again. He led me through each stumbling block, and I left Memphis with my degree in 2002 and have only been a sporadic visitor to Atlanta since.
I would never want to negate the experience because so many good things came from it. While in Memphis, I worked for a crooked charity full of characters no one could invent, which resulted in perfect fodder for a story I should complete next year. And, when all was said and done, I think I turned a profit on my house there. The house also indirectly helped to realize my goal of becoming debt free this year. I met three extraordinary people who I hope will be in my life forever. And, most importantly, I became closer to my God, which resulted in the beginnings of genuine gratitude that I know will continue for a lifetime.
I write five things for which I am grateful every day, then write a summary each month, and then save my yearly collections in a special place so I can go back and have a little reminiscent visit with God from time to time. I’ve decided to start doing yearly summaries here, because it seems to be a good fit.
I can’t begin to record every personal blessing of 2006, because this has been a special year for our little family. But here is my 2006 tribute, specific to my little speck of a corner in this world, to the Universe:
- Had freelance gigs to survive multiple mortgage payments
- Sold a house in Mississippi
- Received a phone call about a new job two days before I learned the current job was ending
- Found and moved into a great house in Indy in the school district
- Bought a car for my son and so far, have been able to afford the insurance!
- Have a pretty good draft of the first half of a novel
- Have a pretty good start on three other writing pieces I’ve wanted to do for a few years
- Applied for a writing grant for a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time
- Finished NaNoWriMo with 22,000 words (not quite half of the 50,000 goal, but that’s okay)
- Got closer to true friends and got rid of a drain or two
- Recognize that my son is still making great grades, is involved in several activities at school, is driving responsibly, calls when he’s late or has a change in plans and is healthy and well-adjusted
- Had a dental health scare that turned out to be minimal
- Bought some new furniture
- Became debt free
- Saw friends get married and some stay married :)
- Saw one friend get closer to her purpose and passion in life
- Saw another friend come into a new freedom she's really never known!
- Saw other friends remain healthy and employed
- Was able to donate some things and some money
- Crossed a couple things off my Life List
- Discovered the cannoli at Nothing But Noodles (and I've never been a big cannoli fan)
- Acknowledge that I’m safe, content, healthy, warm, clothed, fed, alive, spiritual, wiser with age, calm and at peace, and grateful to be grateful
- And I didn’t gain one pound. I didn’t lose any, but I didn’t gain any. Always a check for the gratitude column.