Gratitober: Entry 29, 30, 31

It’s the last day of October, and you’re all getting a special last-minute, procrastinated three-part gratitude list! Yaaayyyyy (@ making failures sound epic). This month has been full of SO MUCH reflection. Reflection of self, others, circumstances, past, present, and future. I’ve worked through some old ways of thinking, changed my perspective a couple times, realized that patience is something you develop with time, and was reminded of how extremely valuable the close people in my life are to me. I started the month in Ottawa, and pretty much ended it there, too. Some things came full circle, while others will never be the same again. A lot of good happened, and some really tough things, too, but I’m really happy to share my last three entries…

29. I’m grateful that gratitude can be chosen every day.

It sure can. Regardless of circumstances, or where you are in life, you can still choose to see life through rose-coloured glasses. And to me, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, it means you can get hurt and mislead easily. Sure, it means that you have to work extra hard to figure out who you should trust and who you shouldn’t. Sure, it means that you’ll have your party rained on a few times. But you get to carry a little joy with you every single day, because you choose to see the world as a place where dreams can actually come true, and where things can always get better.

30. I’m grateful that God accomplishes what I cannot.

God’s had my back this whole month. There were times I second guessed it but truthfully I know it’s true. He has answered so many of my prayers, sometimes by making me wait, and refusing to let me have things I thought I wanted. He’s opened my eyes and changed my understanding by loading me with wisdom. He’s helped me realize that even if you keep your heart soft, you should still be smart, and that there’s a nice safe balance between the two. He’s brought me new friendships and connections, opportunities to explore and have quality time with dear friends, and keeps loving me through the protective yet encouraging nature of my family. He’s moved me out of one path, and set me onto a different one, accomplishing what I never would’ve been able to do on my own.

31. I’m grateful for October 2017.

This month has been indescribably challenging spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, but I have been tremendously blessed through it. October 2017 was a transition month, and I’m excited to see where God will take me in November, and December, and in 2018. I’m ready.

Gratitober: Entry 28

28. I’m grateful for all the warm things!

I’m toujours cold. Actually. Unless it’s like 25+ degrees at the end of summer or I’m cocooned in three blankets, I’m cold. Spring, autumn, winter. Even when I wear knit sweaters and scarves and hats and double socks I’m still cold! So when I get the chance to be warm/have warm things I’m so happy. Okay, so hot chocolate, coffee, tea, blankets (heated especially), fuzzy socks, flannel everything, sweaters on sweaters, fireplaces/campfires, and hugs, I love ’em all! I NEEDZ.

I went for a cruise with my friend earlier and we actually saw a snowflake. A single snowflake, and I almost opened the door and duck and rolled into NOPE. Yes, you Canadians, “but we had such a nice summer neahnyeahnyeaahhhhh.” I don’t care, people! Winter is coming and that means Christmas, which is awesome, but it also means cold. And it reminds me of how much I love warm things, ALL THE WARM THINGz. So thank you creators of things that have heat and thank you Chuck Noland for how stoked you were about making fire. Warmth makes me jump around like that too!

Gratitober: Entry 27

27. I’m grateful that this season will pass.

Are you tired? Have you been feeling stuck in the same place, repeating the same destructive behaviour? Are you weighed down with discouragement after repeated trial and error? Have fear and anxiety held you back from taking opportunities that might actually turn out well? If you have, I understand. And I’m going to give you the advice I had to give myself. But first…

God works in mysterious ways. In a season I could be feeling like things aren’t working out for me (the way I think is best), but God could actually be protecting me from something bad, or preparing me for something better. My mom always reminds me that God always keeps His promises, and He has our best interests at heart. It’s His nature. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

If this isn’t true, you may as well stop reading ’cause there’s no hope. But, if there’s even the slightest possibility that the Creator of the Universe does actually care about us, then hear me out. If this difficult time is only a season, we should fix our eyes to the next one. We shouldn’t dwell in the here and now; the way things seem to be unmoving and unpleasant. Instead, we should keep in mind that “this, too, shall pass,” and on the other side of this trial is a better “me” and a better “today.” We have to keep our eyes looking ahead.

C.S. Lewis, probably one of the most brilliant writers of all time, said it like this. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” Well that just blows me away. No one knows what the future holds–all we can do is decide, are we going to live as if the future is bright or dreary? I’ve done the dreary thing, sometimes I still do. But it’s no fun for me or anyone else, and wallowing in self-pity just keeps me stuck anyway. So instead of adding fuel to the fire, I’ll just douse that downy mood with some delightful hopes and set my eyes on the great possibilities ahead.

So, if you have been feeling weighed down and discouraged, give your worries up. Trust that God’s got your back, and that this season is both purposeful and temporary. It will pass–you will get through if you don’t give up. Don’t let fear and worry hold you back from taking risks and living your life, because, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Press on toward the goal, as Paul would say. This season will pass.

Gratitober: Entry 26

26. I’m grateful for ice cream!!!!

Since last night all I’ve wanted was two scoops of ice cream from Baskin Robbins! One cookies ‘n cream, and the other mint chocolate chip. Best combo ever. Maybe a little hot fudge and whipped cream. But no sprinkles cause they’re too crunchy. I might have to get some this evening after Life Groups because talking about it now… it’s too much. Anyway, I’m grateful we have these sweet, melty, delicious, icy goodness called ice cream. Why? ‘CAUSE IT MAKES ME HAPPY, OKAY. I used to work at Baskin Robbins so I know pretty much all the flavours, but I still go in and try a bunch anyway, just for fun. (Shh, don’t tell.) Ice cream also reminds me of when I was a kid. In Trinidad there were “ice cream bikes” and they would drive their porta-fridge around the village and sell freezies and ice cream and other yummy stuff for really cheap. And when we’d hear the jingle, we’d go flying out of the house and up the yard so we could catch him in time. Ahhh, good times. So although I am an adult, I still turn into a five year old when it comes to ice cream. So good. Soooooo good. K bye! xo

Gratitober: Entry 25

25. I’m grateful for sleep.

Today was another day that gratefulness was in short supply. To be honest all I want right now is to crawl into bed, hide under the blankets, and sleep until my 6:00 a.m. alarm goes off, so I can shut it off for another 30 minutes.

Sometimes there are days that I can’t wait to be over, BUTT, some highlights from the triumphing optimist within: working with my sister’s boyfriend, lots of new music from a friend, laughing over ridiculous Facebook memes, an awesome home cooked dinner made by my mom, and a nice work out.  There is still good in every day, but mood-wise… sometimes, enh.

There is some serious character development happening in my life movie right now, let me tell ya! So after all that emotional, mental, spiritual, physical work is done at the end of the day, my bed is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. So after a little more work, I’m off to snooze. 🙂 Good night, thank you for reading. x

Gratitober: Entry 24

24. I’m grateful for physiotherapy etc.

I literally just did a plank and I am about to scream / internal cry. Five months ago I had an elbow injury and I honestly thought I was going to be permanently limited. But thanks to months of physiotherapy, exercises, two Dynasplint braces, lots of mehtul \m/ for mental motivation, and endless prayers and persistence, I’m almost there! I didn’t think I’d be able to put my body weight on my arm again, but I have been working really hard at it and now I can do planks again! Aghh!! This means in a couple months I can get back to doing all kinds of training and activities! This is so huge for me lol. Maybe by next spring I’ll even try a cartwheel or two ;). Maybe not… hahahahaha ahhhh I’m happy. Today just turned right side up. PRAISE THE LORDDDD!

Gratitober: Entry 23

23. I’m grateful for prayer.

Prayer is a powerful thing. Ancient cultures and belief systems have relied on prayer for multiple reasons. Some people use it as a form of meditation to clear their minds and release their negative thoughts; while others pray directly to God, thanking Him, praising Him, and making requests for help and provision in different areas of their lives. Whatever your fundamental beliefs about God, a Higher Power, or the “Universe” may be, prayer is an effective tool in helping us gain an understanding of situations we are facing, and helps us give them over to a Power that controls more than we ever could.

I’ve battled the need for control for a few years now, and this year I’ve finally grasped a stronger hold on what surrendering control really looks like. Fear is sometimes a stronger motivator than hope, and I used to internalize fear and worry about the future, allowing it to be the guiding factor for my decisions. I would take precautions, and have mental backup plans, and give ultimatums, and try to manipulate situations so the safest, most restrictive scenario would play out. But that’s a terrible way to live, and recognizing that anxiety was starting to control my life stopped me in my tracks. I had to step back, take a personal inventory, and see what toxic things I let into my life that gradually led me to this point.

It was really hard to overcome that desire to control. I basically had to surrender any frustrations I had about other people’s behaviours. I had to shrug it off and just let it be. I can’t even control my own future, how did I think I could control anyone else’s? I also had to create a healthier space–literally. I reorganized my room, put up positive quotes, articles, and bible passages on a part of my wall, and started journaling again. I bought candles and twinkly lights and cozy blankets and started to make my bedroom a metaphorically “safe space”, rather than a place where dark thoughts could creep in like they used to. And I had to pray.

Knowing I had zero control over anyone else and very little over my own future made me turn my focus off my internal battles and fear and focus on God. When I started to focus on Him, everything changed.

You know that feeling when you go deep into nature and just take in the massive views; knowing how small and insignificant you are? And when you get back to your routine life, you feel on top of the world because everything is in perspective again? That’s what prayer did for me. It helped me see how small my problems were in the grand scheme of all creation and time, and knowing that the Creator of it all was looking out for me, helped me embrace that strength and focus on it daily. Knowing that God would protect me and that no one else could harm my Spirit/the core of who I am, helped me let go of the reins and let things be. Prayer also helped me figure out what to do with my life, now that spending time worrying wasn’t on my to-do list anymore. It helped me focus on how I could be content with my life and change what I could. It made me realize I had to serve.

I decided I would make it my mission to speak light into everyone around me. If I walked past a stranger and thought they had a nice smile, I would tell them. If an old friend crossed my mind, I would reach out to them. I would take every opportunity I could to focus on making someone else’s day brighter, instead of dwelling on the disappointments in my own life. I also decided to invite the teen girls from my Church over to my house once a month so we could build relationships, support, and guide each other. That alone has been a huge blessing to me this year. Sometimes I feel like I get more out of it than they do! I love my girls! 🙂

Another great thing about prayer is that other people can send them for you too. Countless people whom I’ve shared things with have been praying for me for years. That’s huge… and it almost brings me to tears. Knowing I have spiritual support every day, even during times when I feel weak and broken, still gives me a sense of strength knowing that God’s got the world in His hands, and everything is going to work out as it should.