Friday, June 15, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: It's the Little Things Edition

As Josie Two Shoes announced on the Ten Things of Thankful blog this week, she is going to be stepping down from hosting the blog hop. She has done a great job, and though I cannot fill her shoes, I did agree to do my best to keep our blog hop hoppin'. 

I recognize the power of gratitude. I named my blog, Thankful Me, to brand myself as a thankful person. Then Lizzi started the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, and soon had gathered a vibrant community of others who expressed gratitude--even during challenging times. The internet brought together a diverse group of people from all over the world who found common ground through the power of gratitude. The simple act of expressing what we were thankful for brought strength to us individually, and connected us as a community. I believe strongly in the benefit of this blog hop, and knew I had to volunteer when Josie Two Shoes announced she needed to step down. 

This week, as I've thought about the importance of this blog hop, I've thought not just on the "thankful" part, but also on the "things." Little things can make a big difference. 

1. I'm thankful for how the simple act of deciding to write about what I am thankful for changes my perspective and makes me more aware throughout the week of grateful moments.

I'm thankful that progress doesn't always require Herculean effort, but that small things develop into larger things:

2. I'm thankful that seeds grow into plants. As I weeded the garden boxes in my new house, I discovered some volunteer sunflowers, onions, and parsley. Though I didn't plant them, they grew anyway. 

3. I'm thankful that small steps form habits. The change in perspective mentioned in #1, practiced over and over through the weeks, months, and years, has resulted in a change of person. Looking for things I am thankful for has become second nature. (Don't misunderstand, I still have moments of complaints, but I'm less likely to be overwhelmed by them now.)

4. I'm thankful that small steps develop into longer runs. In high school, my dad and I ran a race or two together, but I wasn't what you would call a runner. I still struggle to consider myself a runner. I don't have the sleek, gazelle-like look of "serious" runners, nor the speed of those in front of me. However, I have learned over the past few years that I can run farther than I realized. Day after day, putting one step in front of the other, my cardiovascular system has adapted, my legs have become stronger, and I have successfully run 2 half-marathons, and multiple 10K and 5 K races. I am amazed at myself. Small steps count.

5. Similarly, I'm thankful that small increases in pace develop into a new normal. I've started increasing my running pace, ever so slightly, with the hope (and belief) that gradual increases will result in a better time on my next run. I don't think I'll ever be actually fast, but I also think my body is capable of running faster than I do currently. 

6. I'm thankful for clean dishes, clean laundry, and a clean-enough house. When I take time to think about what a benefit those things are to me and my family, I'm less likely to begrudge those tasks. Small things that make a difference aren't really small things now, are they?

7. I'm thankful for a small world. Sometimes, the world becomes smaller thanks to the internet, such as with the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. Sometimes the world shrinks because two people are in the same place at the same time. Such was the case on Sunday. While John and I were in the Family History Center (we are family history consultants in our ward), a young woman came in and asked for some help. When I sat down at the computer with her, I immediately recognized some of the names on her pedigree chart. I asked, "Where are those people from?" When she said, "Oregon," (as I knew she would), I told her that her dad and I were in the same branch (a church congregation smaller than a ward) when we were in high school. Her mom, though not in my branch, had been in a nearby ward. Small world!

8. I'm thankful for how meaningful small interactions can be. This week, I received a text from a friend saying she and her family were in Utah, asking if they could stop by for a visit. Of course I agreed, and it was so good to catch up! Friendships are built day by day, interaction by interaction, step by step. Moving requires one to make new friends--which counts as the next thing of thankful--but it is lovely to see friends whose friendship's foundation is old and firm. 

9. I'm thankful for new friendships, that develop as old friendships do, step by step. This morning I went out for breakfast with a couple of women from my ward. Though we have only known each other for less than a year, we have learned from one another and supported each other. We've had different experiences in life, yet have found commonalities. As we've taken the time to get to know each other, we've become friends. 

10. I'm thankful for small habits that have contributed to a strong marriage. Though circumstances may change, and routines sometimes get thrown off for one reason or another, we have found that the more consistent we are with the following, the closer we are to each other and the more joy we have: prayer, scripture study, church and temple attendance, eating meals together, family home evening, and weekly date night. 

One nice thing about small things is that they are small. On the one hand, they aren't difficult. One the other hand, one missed thing every now and then isn't the end of the world. Instead of beating myself up because I missed doing the dishes right away, for example, I can simply do them now and move on. That works with other things, as well. The power of small things is magnified as those small things accumulate. When I notice that my life seems unbalanced, correction occurs through small steps. 

What small things are important to you? As always, I invite you to join the Ten Things of Thankful and experience the power of sharing your gratitude. 

14 comments:

  1. I'm thrilled to see that you are taking on the blog hop. I always enjoy your posts.

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  2. A fabulous list. You are so right about just looking for reasons to be thankful through the week changes your perspective. Have you ever read the book The Gratitude Diaries? It’s about a reporter who did that very thing, tried to incorporate more gratitude into her life, and both what she did and the research she did for the book changed so much for her. It’s a great read if you ever get the chance.

    Thank you so much for taking over hosting duties, you are wonderful!

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    1. I have not read The Gratitude Diaries, but it sounds like one I would enjoy very much. I'll have to look into it!

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  3. Thanks and congratulations on assuming the task of blog-post wrangler, weekly-link-dispenser, and 'hey! you-don't-mind-if-I-use-this-photo-do-you? person*'

    We all appreciate what Josie accomplished during her tenure and, despite there being a certain custodial character to the job of host-of-bloghop, I would submit that each person who takes on the responsibility ('cause, surely its that) imparts a sense of themselves to the process. In this regard, I can't think of a better 'choice' for hosting the TToT going forward.

    "...small increases in pace develop into a new normal." jeez, nothing like imparting a secret of life in a throwaway clause in a TToT Item! lol (I try to keep that in mind each day).

    *well, there is that little matter of 'after-the-fact'... lol

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    1. I think that there are many TToT participants who would do a wonderful job as host, but I do appreciate your confidence in my ability.

      (And yes, it is fine that you use the photo of Drexel.)

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  4. Kindred spirits are we :) I am a big believer in the "little things". They are the foundation from which the big things emanate.
    #3 is a reminder to me that it takes time, habits are not formed overnight. I get a little impatient with myself sometimes :)
    While my participation in the TToT has been a bit spotty lately, I was happy to hear you came forward so quickly and offered to carry on the TToT. I believe I would feel a bit of loss and sadness if this hop had come to an end.

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    1. A week ago, we discussed this talk, called "Small and Simple Things" in a church meeting: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/04/small-and-simple-things?lang=eng . One of the things someone said was that the world is filled with promises of great things happening quickly: get rich quick schemes, easy fast weight loss, etc. It's human nature to be attracted to big, bold, flashy ideas and actions, but in truth, it's usually the small things that actually enact lasting change. I think we all get impatient with ourselves sometimes. :-)

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  5. Thanks for taking over from Josie! You are absolutely right, sometimes it's about the many little things that make us happy.
    https://violasdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/ten-things-of-thankful-week-24-2018/

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    1. Thank you for being part of the TToT community! :-)

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  6. Thank you for taking over the task of hosting the TToT linkup! I'm sure you'll do an awesome job. As for small things I'm thankful for? Hearing the birds sing in the morning; it brings me a lot of joy and reminds me that there's something greater out there than myself.

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    1. I love hearing the birds, too. :-)

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  7. I'll be ever grateful for the encouragement you gave me to begin blogging, and in particular to participate in the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop at the time you did. It was a time that I really needed that "one more thing" in my life, and I still need it.

    I love discovering those volunteer plants!

    Have you had any more visitors to your flower boxes?

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    1. I'm glad you are part of this blogging community!

      I must be really tired, but I can't think of what flower box visitors you are referencing. We do have baby quail in our backyard now, and they are super cute!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!