Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Please watch the first video as it describes some of what you will want to know about #ThankfulThirty, which is a term I created.
*Make sure to press Pause at the end of the video or it will go on to others!!*

The video tells it all. My apologies to my deaf and hard of hearing friends. I doubt that I will be able to CC my #ThankfulThirty's because I don't have the spoons.  In the video above, I share something called "Thankful Thirty" that I had thought about doing a while ago, but I never really started doing. The #ThankfulThirty's came out of a realization that there is something to be thankful for in each day and I needed to ponder it and then share it in some way.. I started saying what I was thankful for on a daily basis via my YouTube channel (though I haven't done it everyday since I started 11/18/15). For those who are deaf or HOH, perhaps you could write for 30 seconds daily about what you are thankful for and share it with someone via text, email, PM or keep it to yourself! Be creative! If doing a video, the idea is to limit the video to around 30 seconds; however, you will see I go over 30 seconds most days!!

I have been surprised how being thankful changed my ability to float through the difficult times I have been having. It has kept me looking toward the light rather than the darkness.

In the very first blog of content that I wrote in June 2008, I discussed a book I had been reading called The Gift of Pain. Dr. Brand and his coauthor, Phillip Yancey wrote in The Gift of Pain:
Gratitude is the single response most nourishing to health.
So what stands in the way of being thankful, appreciative or having gratitude other than thinking it is a "cheesy" thing to do?

Daniel Hurley, MD, in his book, Facing Pain Finding Hope: A Physician Examines Pain, Faith and the Healing Stories of Jesussays "We cannot be grateful for what we cannot recognize." Sometimes those of us with chronic illness can be so caught up in the life we are leading that we cannot see that there ARE things to be thankful for, much less tune into them and embrace them.  Pain, anxiety, depression, chronic illness, are all heavy wet blankets we must throw off or at least peak out underneath so that we can recognize what we have in our lives for which we can be grateful.

For me, sometimes the enormity of all the challenges I'm navigating feels so great that I struggle to find something to be grateful for even though I know being thankful is incredibly important to my well being and I have a multitude of items/people/places for which I have be thankful. Just recently, I was thinking about how tired I was of dealing with so many challenges alone and I was so distracted, I started the camera before I even knew what I was going to say and you can see it takes me several seconds to find something to say and I wouldn't say I seemed too thankful, what do you think?

*Make sure to press Pause at the end of the video or it will go on to others!!*

How about that fake smile at the end?

In Facing Pain, Finding HopeDr. Hurley continued,
Focusing beyond terrible circumstances allows us to see. If we cannot see, we cannot recognize a gift. Without this openness, vision and recognition, we express no gratitude. Rather we continue down the road, lonely and lamenting loudly. (pg.138)
Is it important and even healthy to lament? Yes of course. But what is the ratio of lamenting our situation to the ratio of our thankfulness/joy that we express? To survive, thrive and even enjoy our lives when they are full of constant chronic pain or chronic illness, we must fight to be thankful in general more than we are upset/angry ect. At least that is what I have learned from the last ten and a half years of living though chronic illness. Focusing beyond allows us to see.  I invite you to check out this video I made in October 2015 about "My Choice to See" discussing the difference of being thankful FOR everything VERSUS being thankful IN everything.

In Facing Pain, Finding Hope, Dr. Hurley says, "Gratitude for even little things brings us closer in touch with others and with God." (pg 138). Having chronic illness has made it both harder and easier to find little things to be thankful for. Whether you are a person of faith or not, being thankful can bring you closer in touch with others because whether or not they see/read your #ThankfulThirty, those who are close to you will notice a change in you because being truly thankful truly changes the spirit and the heart of a person.

I will admit that my second "#ThankfulThirty" video is a bit embarrassing because I am thankful for this silly monster pillow. You'd think I'd want to start this endeavor out with something stupendous, but I chose a monster pillow.

So what are you thankful for? Though I have posted each "ThankfulThirty" on my YouTube channel HERE, they were for me and not really anyone else. Although I am happy when someone happens upon them and finds camaraderie, inspiration or encouragement.

In 2015, I did a lot of work on myself in changing how I approached my health issues in my mind. The work I did was so significant that after twelve years of having Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it was finally managed and I no longer have anxiety! #ThankfulThirty is just one part of a whole of looking at my health in a completely different way. I chose to see things differently, to appreciate life, to find joy, and many other ways of approaching chronic illness that I look forward to sharing in future posts. And I look forward to learning how you all do this too!

#ThankfulThirty is not just for those who are chronically ill as everyone can benefit from being thankful! I hope you try out doing a #ThankfulThirty whether it be by video or written. And perhaps go even further in trying it out for a prolonged period of time if only just a month and evaluate whether or not it was of benefit to you. As I shared, some days, being thankful has been hard but I'm glad I have stuck with it. God has used it to help to change my life.

**This post is dedicated to Eva Markvoort who changed my life by sharing her story and led me to the idea of #ThankfulThirty. You can see Eva's story in the documentary 65_RedRoses which is available on many streaming platforms including iTunes, Amazon Video, GooglePlay & others. The movie's trailer is HERE.**

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