Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 30th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Warning sirens
2. Snuggling on the 1/2 bath floor with my boys
3. God's protection
4. My mom watching my son
5. Uninterrupted time to write
6. God guiding me every step of the way
7. Promising news for the tea
8. Getting all my writing finished!!
9. Going to bed with a sense of relief
10. Anticipating what God is gonna do this weekend
11. Family dinner at my Mom's house

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Remembering to post this before I am in bed
2. Time to write this morning
3. God guiding me every step of the way
4. My mom watching my son
5. Some clarity and a solution
6. My sons who bring me such joy
7. Unsolicited hugs and I love you mommy
8. Hubby taking boys to basketball so I could write some more
9. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel
10. Being covered in prayer
11. Good news for my friends
12. How starting my day with God makes such a difference
13. My son's courage to handle a school problem on his own and in such s mature way. God answered his sweet prayers.

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. God's gentle conviction... Through my son
2. Friends who listen and help ease my burden
3. Delegating
4. Amazing retreat planning team
5. Ranting to God and knowing He's Ok with it
6. Forgiveness
7. My boys sweet and thoughtful prayers
8. Seeing God answer those prayers
9. A teachable moment that could only come from God and learning that the message sunk in
10. Laughter

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Pajamas
2. Feeling better
3. Accomplishing a task with God's help
4. God's faithfulness
5. Family game night
6. Rest
7. Peace that can only come from God
8. Jesus Calling being just what I needed to hear
9. My hubby

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. My bed
2. Extra blankets
3. Heating pad
4. Gatorade
5. Medicine
6. Lots of rest
7. Naps
8. Bagels and applesauce
9. A hot shower
10. Trusting God
11. My sweet boys
12. Reading a story to my sons
13. Study time

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Hubby taking son to school
2. Reading with my son
3. Getting the upstairs clean
4. Content solidifying
5. Fire in the fireplace
6. Family movie night
7. Gatorade
8. Lysol
9. Soap
10. Generous people

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Safe arrival home
2. Lunch out
3. Son's delight over surprises
4. Being prayed over by my friend
5. Peace works scriptures
6. Hearing 10,000 Reasons three times today on the radio
7. Heart scriptures
8. Wearing contacts without a headache
9. Fire crackling in the fireplace
10. Knowing I'm loved by my family

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

January 23rd

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Productive meeting
2. My son being super good
3. A marathon catch up chat with a dear friend
4. Holy Spirit prompting
5. Choosing to obey
6. Successful outcome
7. Movie and snuggles with my sons

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22nd

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Making progress
2. Being prayed for and appreciated today
3. God answering prayers
4. A sigh of relief
5. My dear friend helping with research
6. Good news from her research
7. Clarity
8. My three year old "reading" nursery rhymes to me
9. Story time with my seven year old reading
10. Serving others
11. Long distance communication
12. Virtual pictures
13. Love from my sons
14. My warm robe

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21st

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. A creative mind helping me with props
2. My son informing me that 10,000 Reasons is a girl song and We Were Made to Live for so Much More is a boy song
4. Finding the stone that fell out of my ring
5. Finding out that my electric tea pot was found!
6. Lunch and movie with my mom and 4 kiddos
7. The movie not being sold out
8. Popcorn with butter
9. Hanging out with my parents
10. Parents who love me so much
11. Sunshine on a frigid day
12. Progress... Even just a little
13. Praying and knowing God hears
14. Fighting Satan's lies with God's truth
15. My computer
16. My sons' delight over getting text pictures from their Daddy

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20th

Today, I am thankful for...

1. Great morning of worship and preaching
2. Powerful message
3. Talking through thoughts and plans
4. Advice shared
5. Time with God before the day began
6. Lunch out with my parents
7. My three year old crawling into bed for his nap and saying "I am so exhausted..."
8. Little boy giggles
9. Pizza with the neighbors
10. Resources... Lots and lots of resources
11. Searching for a life verse for each family member
12. Working with my friend to find the best verse for each person
13. Finding the right verse... After much searching and multiple translations
14. Stars shining on a clear cloudless night
15. My son encouraging his brother
16. Lessons taught through Bible verses
17. Hearing from God
18. Silence
19. Warm coats
20. Hot water
21. Blue Letter Bible
22. Bible Gateway

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Watching old sitcoms and laughing with my hubby
2. Driving into the sunset last night
3. The beauty of bare trees against the orange sky
4. My hubby
5. Safe travels
6. Texting
7. Beautiful weather
8. Catching up with a friend
9. Pasta casserole
10. Moments of boys playing nicely together... Bliss!
11. Movie night with snuggles
12. Unsolicited I love you mommy... Melts my heart
13. Knowing God is always with me
14. Upcoming plans

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. My son getting well so quickly... Truly an answer to prayer
2. My friend, the dentist
3. Knowing people care about me
4. A referral
5. An appointment
6. Lunch and shopping with my mom
7. Retreat talk brewing
8. Hugs from my hubby
9. Dinner Divas
10. Laughing with the ladies
11. Making new friends
12. Chips and salsa - unlimited
13. Getting to my destination after being lost
14. My friend letting me follow her to the expressway
15. Putting the boys to bed
16. My computer savvy hubby
17. Knowing I am loved
18. Details coming together
19. God who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love Psalm 103:8
20. Studying what the Bible says about the heart

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Son feeling better
2. No sickness during the night
3. A day of rest in our home
4. God protecting my parents
5. The things God does on our behalf
6. Trying out our new computer
7. Snuggles with the boys
8. A quote from my three year old "I don't look handsome, I look cool!"
9. Cars chicken noodle soup
10. Naps
11. Chatting with my hubby
12. God doing immeasurably more
13. Scripture that encourages

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16th

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. My hubby praying for me this morning
2. A nap
3. Matthew 11:28 showing up again and again
4. Praying for others
5. Being prayed for
6. God guiding the tea planning, especially since it seems to be different than what we expected
7. Email issues that helped give some clarity
8. Seeing God at work
9. Reminders of God's faithfulness in the past
10. Timely text
11. Hubby helping clean up
12. Lysol
13. Bible study starting
14. The power of God's word
15. The reminder that God is peace
16. A new computer
17. My hubby working so hard to get it set up for me
18. Quick computer training
19. Boys sleeping soundly
20. The ability to choose thankfulness
21. Good news from a dear friend

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Quiet time this morning
2. Experiencing God today
3. My amazing neighbor not only warning me about traffic on the way to school, but also taking my son to school
4. Impromptu meeting
5. Wisdom shared
6. Encouragement received
7. Prayers
8. Matthew 11:28 amplified version
9. My son making me laugh
10. Generous people from my church
11. Passing on the generosity
12. Seeing the gratitude of recipients
13. Knowing God is at work and providing
14. Date night with my hubby
15. Yummy steak dinner
16. Paying with a gift card I received
17. Good conversation
18. Parents watching my boys... At our house
19. God loving me more than I can even imagine
20. Weekday child care leader
21. My iPhone

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Another good night's sleep
2. Two productive retreat planning meetings
3. A great leadership team
4. My hubby saving the day
5. Doing the wave for my hubby
6. God taking care of the details
7. Tea tickets
8. Praying together
9. Knowing God hears our prayers
10. Creativity
11. Friendships
12. Economical solutions
13. Love
14. You Are by Colton Dixon
15. Experiencing the body of Christ working together

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13

Praise The Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise The Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. A great night's sleep
2. No more pain
3. Medicine that heals
4. God answering the prayers lifted up on my behalf
5. Friends and family that pray for me
6. A perfect celebration lunch
7. Yummy dessert
8. Much needed girl time with a dear friend
9. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 print
10. Hubby who can fix anything
11. An afternoon of rest
12. Boys that love me
13. Getting to pray for my friends
14. Learning to trust in God more and more
15. God's faithfulness in the past that reminds me to trust Him now

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

January 12

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Surviving
2. Medicine working
3. Less pain
4. Red fingernail polish
5. Manicures
6. Auntie Anne's pretzels
7. Flexibility
8. Dinner with my parents and my dear friend
9. Girl time
10. Introducing my dear friend to Duck Dynasty
11. How my hubby makes me laugh
12. Long talks
13. Homemade beef stew

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 11

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Safe arrival of a dear friend
2. Flexibility with our plans
3. Laughing with my mom
4. Advice given
5. Wisdom provided
6. Girly lunch at Emma Lou's Cafe
7. Updated treatment plan
8. Answered prayers
9. Smiles after a tough situation
10. Dinner at my fav Mexican rest restaurant
11. Relaxing evening catching up
12. Laughter
13. Mint chocolate chip ice cream
14. Friends who care and pray for me. I am so thankful and blessed.

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? ... I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offering to you. Psalm 56:3-4,12

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Parents who love me and jump in to help
2. Prayers of my hubby
3. Opening at my doctor
4. A treatment plan
5. Medicine
6. Prayers offered up on my behalf
7. Rest
8. Friends bringing dinner over tonight
9. Boys helping clean up
10. Hugs from my hubby
11. Safe trip home
12. Boys playing with their daddy
13. Tender moment with my three year old before bed
14. Encouraging words from my hubby
15. Hubby helping me clean for company
16. Hubby finding a much needed document after our computer crashed
17. Singing praise songs and how it made me feel so much better
18. Scriptures that remind me of God's truth when I am afraid
19. Knowing I am loved
20. My mom and her going above and beyond to show me her love today

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9th

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1. Flexibility... Because I needed it a lot today
2. Phones that allow you to connect with others
3. Shopping and lunch with my mom
4. Panera Bread and my son's delight over their Mac and cheese
5. God doing immeasurably more for two of my dear friends
6. Tests that reveal positive results
7. Knowing that God is answering prayers
8. Family dinner at my parents house
9. Rest... Even with loud banging on the roof
10. Another organization project done
11. My hubby who knows lots about computers
12. My iPhone that gives me access to email and this blog in the absence of a computer
13. Sleeping sons
14. My bed
15. Each of you who continues to post thankful lists

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8th

I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.  Psalm 7:17

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  Quiet time this morning
2.  Seeing God answer my prayers in even the smallest details
3.  Seeing my son recognize that God answered his prayers too... to not be late to school because we were running behind today
4.  Discovering that God was at work behind the scenes for the Women's Tea theme one year ago... and how He brings it all together so beautifully... and celebrating His goodness with my fellow tea planner!
5.  Being encouraged that there is support from others for some needed funding and that creative wheels are turning
6.  A surprise phone call from a friend that was filled with encouraging words that warmed my heart
7.  Productivity
8.  My three year old saying "that car almost crunched me" which made us all laugh out loud
9.  The Women's Ministry Leadership Team
10.  Expanded time
11.  Chick-fil-a Chicken Tortilla Soup and Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes
12.  My mom watching my three year old yesterday
13.  My mom's homemade chili
14. Texting
15.  Knowing that I can always clean my house tomorrow...

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7th - The Journey Continues

The January 7th Jesus Calling Devotion ties in perfectly with what we just accomplished.  I love how God provides encouragement right after we reached our 10,000th reason.  Here's a quote from Sarah Young: It is impossible to praise or thank Me too much (p. 8).  So let's keep thanking God every day and generate another 10,000 reasons... although I'm not keeping count this time... 

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  A low stress morning on the first day back to school
2.  Schedule free so I could spend time in prayer
3.  Singing 10,000 Reasons this morning and then hearing it again when I turned on the car radio
4.  The power of praying scripture
5.  That the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don't know what to pray
6.  Joshua 1:9
7.  The notes app on my iPhone so I can keep track of things I'm thankful for while I'm out and about
8.  Very producting tea planning lunch with a dear friend... with plenty of time to talk about non-tea related stuff too!
9.  Getting some Christmas decorations down
10.  Good news for a dear friend and getting to celebrate all the answered prayers
11.  Worship songs on the radio today... 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, I'm Alive by Peter Furler, and Already There by Casting Crowns
12.  Text from my hubby
13.  Car conversations with my boys
14.  Witnessing how much my boys care about their friend

Here's to 10,000 more reasons...

Young, Sarah. (2004).  Jesus Calling.  (page 8) Nashville, TN:  Thomas Nelson. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Thankfulness Experiment Results

Well, here we are... at the end of our 66 day journey to thankfulness.  Now is the time to evaluate our results and determine next steps.  Our goal was to reach 10,000 reasons for being thankful in 66 days.  Did we achieve our goal?  Absolutely!!!!!  As of 1:27 PM today, we reached 10,000 reasons for giving thanks.  And to celebrate, I looked up our 1st reason, our 5,000th reason and our 10,000th reason. Here they are:

1.      I’m thankful for my husband, with whom I’m celebrating 10 years of marriage today.

5000. A much needed catnap

10000. Laundry Day

There you have it... our 10,000th reason!!  And to top it all off, we have even more than 10,000
reasons!  God is so incredible.  He just takes my breath away!

Here is our Thankfulness Tree with the 10,000 ornament in place:

God has truly demonstrated that nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 1:37) because
over 3,000 reasons poured in this week alone.

On day one, I shared some research results for people who are thankful and challenged us to
see if we noticed any similar results after our experiment.  Last week, a friend of mine sent me
more research on people who make thankfulness part of their daily routine.  Here's a snippet
from the article:

Well, according to Bill Phillips in Chapter 16 of Transformation, Dr. Robert Emmons, PhD, from the University of California Davis was involved in a large research project on gratitude, and here were some of his discoveries:
"Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more often, felt better physically, and had a more positive mindset."
"Study participants who kept gratitude lists were found to be more likely to have made progress towards important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based) over a 2-month period."
"A daily gratitude intervention (taking time to focus on and write down things to be thankful for) produced higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy."
"Those who participate in a daily gratitude exercise have lower levels of depression and stress and are more likely to offer emotional support to others and help them make it through their difficulties."
The bottom line... although you may have heard about practicing daily gratitude in the past, are you really doing it daily? If not, you're missing out on the health benefits, increased energy, better sleep and mood, goal achievements, and just living healthier and happier!

Have you experienced any of these benefits from participating in The Thankfulness Experiment?  I have... I am more likely to recognize my attitude and flip the switch to thankfulness now that I have kept an online thankfulness journal the past 66 days.  I have a more positive mindset now... and that helps me encourage others.  And I have more enthusiasm for what's in store because each circumstance gives me an opportunity to choose thanksgiving.  
The final piece of our experiment was the number of days.  We logged our lists for 66 days because it takes 66 days to form a habit.  And I have to say that after 66 days, thankfulness is part of my nightly routine.  After the boys are in bed, I hit the computer to log my list and to share what God has taught me that day.  There are lots of things that become habits in our lives and I'm so glad that thankfulness is a habit for me because the benefits of this habit are positive.
What's next, you ask?  Good question!  I've prayed about what happens now that The Thankfulness Experiment has come to an end.  And while I believe God wants me to take a rest from daily blogging right now so I can focus on getting ready for a Women's Retreat in February, I also realize that we have become a community of thankful people.  You've let me know how much you enjoy reading each other's lists... how they inspire you and make you more thankful.  So here's the plan and we'll see how it goes.  This blog will remain open... however, I'm resting from counting comments and daily reflections.  I'll just list what I'm thankful for each day and you can continue to post your comments too.  And who knows?  Maybe God will give me a message to share every now and then...  Let's keep this thankfulness thing going... because 10,000 reasons is only the beginning...
We are at a crossroads... what do we do next?  How can you use what you've learned about thankfulness to  help others?  What are you going to do to maintain this habit of giving thanks?  I hope you'll keep posting your lists right here with me and invite others to join us.  If you're reading the blog for the first time, please start at Day 1 and post for 66 days from the beginning so you can experience the journey as we did.  
I mentioned yesterday that thankfulness is often "the road less traveled" and I believe we've  discovered that it makes all the difference as Robert Frost so poetically penned in his famous poem "The Road Not Taken."
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
Let's keep taking the road less traveled and invite others to join us on our thankfulness journey.  Let's keep giving thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Let's see what God has in store for us as we continue giving thanks each and every day.  And let's close out with 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman to celebrate!
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name
The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing your song again
What ever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes,000-reasons-lyrics.html
Tonight, I am thankful for...
1.  Attending worship this morning
2.  My church family singing 10,000 Reasons this morning in honor of The Thankfulness Experiment
3.  Worshiping God while singing 10,000 Reasons with tears streaming down my face because the blessings He's given the past 66 days
4.  Being blown away by God providing the 10,000 reasons on the last day... and realizing that He didn't have to provide 10,000 reasons, but He did it anyway
5.  Encouraging words from friends about the difference thankfulness makes
6.  Being able to chuckle over the fact that my curling iron broke the day after I included it on my thankful list... I didn't even get frustrated... that's a result from my thankfulness habit for sure!
7.  Realizing it's so much more pleasant to smile over the broken curling iron than to get mad
8.  Curly hair so it wasn't a big deal that my curling iron broke
9.  My 7 year old telling me my hair looked nice
10.  My three year old didn't break my Thankfulness Tree when he used it as part of his booby trap
11.  That the wise man didn't break when it was knocked off due to the said booby trap
12.  My seven year old saying "You can put your tree didn't break on your blog"
13.  Needing only 2 more reasons to reach 10,000 at 1:20
14.  Realizing that because of God, we were going to hit our goal
15.  Reaching 10,000 reasons at 1:27
16.  Laundry day - our 10,000th reason
17.  God changing how we think through this experiment
18.  The fact that we can choose thanksgiving
19.  God inviting my pastor to rally the troops to reach 10,000 reasons... and that he prayed for us to reach this goal
20.  God just asking me to be obedient and to allow Him to take care of the outcomes
21.  God changing lives through the simple decision to give thanks
22.  Hugs from friends
23.  Each one of you who have walked this thankfulness journey with me
24.  The challenge of maintaining thankfulness now that our 66 days is up
25.  1 Thessalonians 5:18
26.  Spell check because after 66 days because I still can't spell Thessalonians right!
27.  The confidence of others that we would reach 10,000 reasons
28.  Those of you who listed 100s of reasons so we would reach our goal
29.  The sound of the wind
30.  My church family's amazing support of me and this blog
31.  God using each of your thankful lists to encourage and inspire others
32.  Learning that it is possible to choose thanksgiving even in the toughest circumstances... and witnessing some of you do just that over the past 66 days
33.  Knowing that God rewards us for our obedience
34.  Peace that God gives us
35.  Each of you inspiring me... challenging me... and holding me accountable
36.  My boys jumping up and down saying "You're done!  You're done!" as I hung the 10,000 ornament on the tree
37.  My boys doing jumping jacks for snacks
38.  My three year old listing things my seven year old is thankful for when he was sad
39.  My dear friend's faith, trust, and joy in the midst of the toughest of circumstances and how she is radiant and shining so brightly for God 
41.  The Facebook picture and congratulations post that brought tears to my eyes
42.  All the people who cheered me on during the past 66 days
43.  The peppermint mocha hot chocolate with marshmallows and homemade chocolate chip cookie I'm about to enjoy to celebrate this experiment!!
44.  God doing immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine with The Thankfulness Experiment!!
Here's to 10,136 reasons... and infinitely more to go...
As you post your list today, please share what you learned over the past 66 days.  Are you more thankful?  What benefits did you experience from choosing thankfulness?  Is thanksgiving a habit now?  How are you going to maintain that habit of giving thanks?  What are you going to do with what you learned?  I can't wait to learn about your results!

Day 66

Wow - where do I begin?  Sixty-six days ago, The Thankfulness Experiment started like this:

Welcome to The Thankfulness Experiment! You are invited to join me on a 66 day journey to see if being thankful really makes a difference. The task is simple… list 5 things you are thankful for each day on this blog. The goal? To reach 10,000 reasons we are thankful by January 5th. Is this possible? Absolutely… if you invite your friends to join in… and if we work together to turn journaling thankfulness into a habit.

And so began our thankfulness journey.  After 66 days, I am definitely more thankful than I was on November 1st.  I've discovered that it's amazing how you recognize so many things to be thankful for when you are INTENTIONAL about thanksgiving.  Can any of you relate?  The original plan was for each of us to list 5 reasons a day.  And now that we're at day 66, the lists are incredibly long... ranging anywhere from 10 reasons to 100 reasons.  It's amazing!  And to think that even our longest lists only begin to scratch the surface of all the blessings God gives us each day.  I love having thankfulness on my radar screen.  I love that I can whisper thankful prayers throughout the day.  And I love the joy that comes from being thankful.  

During The Thankfulness Experiment, I learned that thankfulness is a choice.  In every circumstance, I have a decision to make... be thankful or complain.  While I don't always choose thanksgiving, I've learned that choosing to give thanks makes such a huge difference in my outlook and attitude.  Thankfulness is often "the road less traveled" and I've discovered that it makes all the difference as Robert Frost so poetically penned in his famous poem "The Road Not Taken."

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference

God has used the past 66 days to teach me about so much more than thankfulness.  He's used it to refine me... and quite honestly, it's been painful at times.  God has revealed sin in my life through His gentle conviction.  I've learned that my desire to be perfect is a sin.  And after that gentle conviction, God prompted me to be vulnerable with my own personal struggles with thanksgiving.  This is not how I expected the blogging to go... but it was God's plan and I'm so glad that it went His way instead of mine.  God has taught me to focus on obedience instead of outcomes.  He's taught me the difference between His gentle conviction and Satan's harsh condemnation.  And God has proven that He will never leave me or forsake me.  God has been faithful every moment of The Thankfulness Experiment.  And I wouldn't trade the past 66 days for anything.  I know God better.  I've experienced Him in such special ways.  I've heard His still small voice.  And I've been transformed into a more thankful gal.  

God invited me to start this blog 66 days ago and I had no idea what I was getting into.  It's been an amazing journey and I'm so thankful that you joined me!!  I'm also curious about your experience with giving thanks.  As you type your thankful list today, please share what you have learned during The Thankfulness Experiment so we can celebrate how God has used this in each of our lives.  

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18) has been our theme verse for The Thankfulness Experiment. I have to admit, that after 66 days, I'm not there yet.  I don't always choose thanksgiving.  But thankfully, God doesn't expect perfection.  And I am more aware of being thankful.  I realize I have a choice now.  I've made small improvements during the experiment and I've learned that choosing thankfulness will be a life long journey.  It doesn't end now that The Thankfulness Experiment is coming to a close.  There's so much more to give thanks for... 10,000 reasons is only the beginning.  And we are so close to 10,000 reasons!  Here's a picture of our tree with two more ornaments - 9,000 and 9,500!!  You can see that this branch is getting really crowded with all the reasons that have poured in this week.  I love it!!

On January 6th, 2013 around 10 PM EST, I'm going wrap up The Thankfulness Experiment.  My final post will cover what's next and where do we go from here.  And, of course, it will include the final thankful reason count.  We have so much to celebrate!  

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:4-5

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  My sweet boys snuggling in bed with me 
2.  Our morning breakfast routine
3.  The boys waiting to eat until we pray
4.  Having all the ingredients in the house to make chocolate chip cookies
5.  The smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies filling the house
6.  The boys asking if they would get to eat any cookies
7.  Their delight to eat cookies BEFORE lunch
8.  Getting a hot shower
9.  My hair dryer
10. My curling iron
11.  iPhone map app
12.  Figuring out how to follow the blue dot when the list directions disappeared
13.  Getting to my destination without getting lost
14.  My boys putting so much time and effort into making a cards for their friend
15.  My three year old writing his own name
16.  My seven year old complimenting his brother on writing his name
17.  Getting some girl time with a dear friend
18.  Snacks
19.  A girl that's a trooper and full of life and smiles in spite of tough circumstances
20.  Monsters, Inc. in 3D
21.  My three year old trying to touch the movie
22.  Seeing all the boys in the family with 3D glasses on top of their heads
23.  Family movie time - at the theater
24.  Coupons for $8 off 3D movie thanks to Christmas presents
25.  My hubby's amazing impersonations
26.  My seven year old saying my hubby can be all the characters in every movie
27.  My seven year old trying to impersonate like his Daddy
28.  Hot, yummy pizza for dinner
29.  Bath time
30.  Putting the boys to bed
31.  Hearing my boys pray
32.  Singing songs to the boys before bed
33.  Reading through my Thankfulness Experiment journal and reflecting on all God has done and taught me the past 66 days
34.  My dear friend reminding me that people post after my post, so I need to keep have one more day for everyone to finish
35.  God's love
36.  The smell of fresh popped popcorn
37.  My Tassimo - one of your lists reminded me of this one!
38.  My oven and knowing how to adjust the temperature so food cooks properly
39.  All the reasons pouring in again today
40.  The ability to choose thankfulness
41.  The realization that God truly blesses us more in more ways than we could ever count

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 134 to go...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 65

It's hard to believe that The Thankfulness Experiment ends tomorrow!  What an amazing journey it's been!  Tonight, after the boys went to bed, I read through the past 64 posts and was reminded of all the different ways God taught me about thankfulness.  He taught me through nature... sunsets (Day 9), sunbeams (Day 31), rainbows (Day 47) , and how a tree's beauty was revealed when the sun shined on it (Day 11).  God taught me about thankfulness through my sons... through their creativity (Day 35), teachable moments (Day 14) and my seven year olds enthusiasm about reading his Bible (Day 29).  He taught me about thankfulness through my hubby... who pointed out that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks "in" all circumstances, not "for" all circumstances (Day 34). 

God challenged me to put thankfulness into practice when I discovered my black dress was left in a hotel... two weeks after we checked out (Day 18) and when my toilet overflowed with sewage on a school morning (Day 30).  Sometimes I chose thanksgiving, and other times I didn't.  But through it all, God reminded me that He doesn't expect me to be perfect, which is a huge help for this perfectionist gal!

God has reminded me that I need to wear thankfulness like my favorite outfit (Day 36 & 44) and that there are costs when we aren't thankful (Day 39).  And God opened my eyes to the amazing message of hope this Christmas as I experienced Christmas songs through the lens of thanksgiving (Day 46 - 55). 

God brought me to tears tonight as I reflected on Him doing immeasurably more with this experiment as over 1,000 reasons filled my inbox today.  It was too much for me to take in.  As I sat down to review the posts and type tonight's blog, I started with tears of thankfulness and by journaling about how God is at work behind the scenes of this experiment.  I am truly blessed and so thankful that He invited me start this blog. 

Psalm 4:7-8 capture some of my emotions tonight...

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.  I will lie down in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I am so thankful for each of you.  Twenty-eight people posted thankful lists today... and the numbers on the lists went well beyond 5 reasons.  Thank you for choosing thanksgiving.  Thank you for sharing what God is doing in your life.  Thank you for taking the time to type up hundreds of reasons... and if the technology didn't cooperate, then you sent me an email to make sure your reasons counted.  Wow - I can only shake my head in wonder at God providing the reasons and helping 10,000 become a realistic goal. 

For the first time ever, I got to hang two ornaments on the Thankfulness Tree today... one for hitting 8,000 and one for hitting 8,500.  And we are only 39 reasons away from reaching 9,000.  Incredible!  Our God is an awesome God.  (Sorry... still having issues with uploading the picture.  Gotta get some help from my hubby tomorrow.)

My heart is full tonight... full of thankfulness and joy at the love and support God is giving me through each and every reason you have posted over the past 65 days.  Thank you for joining God in doing immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine with The Thankfulness Experiment(Ephesians 3:20). 

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  My pastor sending a note to my church family inviting everyone to help reach 10,000 reasons
2.  My church family rallying around this experiment
3.  So many thankful lists pouring in today
4.  Friends listing 50, 100+ reasons for giving thanks
5.  Getting to read all the ways that God is raining down blessings in each of our lives
6.  God doing immeasurably more today
7.  All the lessons God has taught me over the past 65 days
8.  God faithfully giving me words each night
9.  God never leaving me or forsaking me
10.  Prayers of dear friends that have carried me through the past 65 days
11.  Vulnerability
12.  God not expecting perfection from me
13.  God's patience
14.  God's forgiveness
15.  The Holy Spirit that lives inside me
16.  God revealing Himself through nature
17.  Snuggle fest in bed this morning
18.  Lunch out with my hubby and the boys on the last day of Winter Break
19.  Mailing letters
20.  Finding out that my Christmas Stamps are Forever stamps
21.  No TV this afternoon
22.  Boys entertaining themselves without TV time
23.  Playing cards
24.  Coloring together... yep, all three of us.  I colored a girlie truck.
25.  My three year old pointing out the truck I colored was for a girl because it was pink and purple
26.  Not making the same mistake from Day 30 when I discovered my toilet was clogged
27.  Properly using the plunger
28.  Toilet unclogged without any sewage spilling on the floor
29.  Learning from past mistakes
30.  Having my past toilet mistake posted on this blog in case I ever need a reminder
31.  Hearing 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman on the radio two days in a row
32.  Leftovers for dinner
33.  Peanut Butter and crackers
34.  Gatorade
35.  Watching Madagascar 3 with both boys snuggled up next to me
36.  Reading books to the boys this afternoon and giggling as we read them
37.  Remembering to do a load of laundry this evening
38.  God giving my hubby everything he needed for his talk tomorrow morning
39.  My hubby's gift of teaching others
40.  My hairdresser
41.  A haircut that I like (this makes my  hubby happy too... does this count for two?)
42.  Catching up with a good friend today
43.  Jesus and His sacrifice and His amazing love for us

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 1,039 to go...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 64

Today, I was so touched by the thankful lists I received.  They were huge... three hundred from one, 50 from others... there were multiple long lists pouring in throughout the day.  In fact, for the first time ever, we hit a 500 thankful reason milestone two days in a row!  That is totally God at work.  And it brought tears to my eyes seeing my friends supporting this blog.  Thank you so much for walking along beside me during the past 64 days.  I'm beyond words...  and without a picture because my computer wouldn't upload tonight. 

God is at work all around us, but sometimes we can't see it.  But wow... when He opens our eyes and reveals what He's doing in our lives, it is incredible.  A friend of mine is experiencing God in such an amazing way this week.  She is in the midst of a trial, and she is choosing to trust God and seek His face.  She has kept her faith moment by moment... and this week, God has done a mighty work... a miracle!  And she is celebrating and praying even harder as she anticipates what God can do next in her life.  God can surprise us...  and when He does, we can experience such a blessing as we look back and see His fingerprints all over the place. 

There is such power in choosing to trust God in the midst of your trial because nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).  If you are in the midst of a trial right now, ask God to help you trust Him.  Ask God to open your eyes to how He's working.  And thank God in advance for what He's going to do.  God loves you so much.  Believe, give thanks and wait patiently on our God who can do immeasurably more that we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). 

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  Sleeping in late with the whole family in one bed
2.  My son telling me the time
3.  Realizing that it was past time to get up, but still having enough time to get ready and not be late
4.  My hubby getting the boys breakfast so I could get ready
5.  My boys behaving so well at a meeting today!  I was one proud mamma!
6.  Chick-fil-a for lunch
7.  Finding a funny card
8.  Asking for help finding my favorite Chai Tea
9.  The sales associate finding 4 boxes of Chai Tea
10.  Buying three of the boxes... with coupons!
11.  Wreck-it Ralph
12.  An email from a friend that shared how she is experiencing Jesus in her life
13.  How God meets our needs
14.  How God speaks to us individually
15.  The courage of my dear friend as she faces trials
16.  Her peace that only comes from God
17.  Her positive attitude and joy
18.  Pasta Casserole for dinner
19.  Washing dishes
20.  Hubby giving my three year old a bath tonight
21.  Heart to heart with hubby after dinner
22.  God guiding me as I prepare for a retreat
23.  Hubby listening to me and helping me work through things
24.  Hugs from my boys
25.  Quiet in my house right now
26.  Boys sleeping soundly
27.  My purple fleece jacket that keeps me warm in the evening
28.  The long thankful lists that poured in today... brought tears to my eyes
29.  My seven year old playing outside with his friends
30.  Jammies
31.  Not doing any laundry today
32.  Walmart Grocery close to my house
33.  Celebrating thankful milestones
34.  Celebrating a milestones two days in a row!
35.  Chicken Tortilla Soup

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 2,200 to go...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 63

It was a laid back day today at the Snider house.  Beside picking up a friend for a morning play date, we were home all day.  You know, a day where you wear sweats, do some laundry, and relax.  The house was filled with gleeful screams as three boys chased each other around the house.  We played games, watched an afternoon movie, had dinner.  My hubby got home from his business trip in time to play cards with the boys.  And, we hit another milestone today... over 7,000 reasons for giving thanks!  It was a good day.

However, I found myself facing the temptation to not be satisfied today.  I'm a social kinda gal and can easily get in a slump when I don't have much social interaction and today was a day like that.  I chose to worry about something I couldn't control... when the verse that I'm meditating on is all about not worrying.  God was quick to convict me of this as I processed things.  Guess it's a good thing that I'm learning Matthew 6:34:  So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Today has enough trouble of its own. (NET).  And then I got bummed because we don't have cable so I couldn't watch something on TV tonight because... it was only on cable.  A silly thing... I'm thankful we don't have cable most of the time... but Satan wanted me to focus on stinkin' thinkin' today.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit helped me catch these things before my mind spiraled too far out of control.  I'm so glad the Holy Spirit lives inside of me!!

It was a good day with temptations to lead me to think it was NOT a good day.  I didn't win every battle, but the Holy Spirit helped me navigate through.  I love how God never leaves us.  I love that God always forgive us.  And I love that God always loves and reaches out to us.  I am blessed.  And I am thankful for today... with all its ups and downs. 

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  Sweats
2.  Relaxing day
3.  My son and his friend including my three year old as they played chase around the house... this doesn't always happen
4.  Playing lots of games today
5.  Whites washed, dried and put away
6.  Food in the house so when I had nothing planned for dinner, I could make breakfast for dinner... and it was a hit with the boys too
7.  Getting to snooze for a minute during the movie this afternoon
8.  God's gentle conviction about not worrying
9.  The One Year Bible
10.  God answering one of my prayers today
11.  Genesis 2:2-3
12.  God speaking through His word
13.  Getting to talk to my mom this morning
14.  Knowing my parents are safe
15.  Friendships that mean so much to me
16.  Hubby having safe travels out of town and back again
17.  Laughing with my hubby
18.  My hubby being in tune with me
19.  My sons who bring me such joy
20.  Hot apple cider
21.  Typing a 2 as the first digit in how many reasons to go!!

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 2,838 to go...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 62

Happy New Year!  It's the first day of 2013.  A fresh start.  A new beginning.  Some people start off the year with resolutions... things they want to accomplish during the next 365 days.  Me, I'm not really a resolution kinda gal.  Why, you ask?  Because I usually don't follow through with them.  So, I choose to not declare them and if I don't follow through, then, hey, that's OK.  Can any of you relate to this line of thinking?  I do admire those who make resolutions and keep them...  And I have set one goal for myself that I plan to execute.  And I feel hopeful about this goal because it has built in accountability AND a reward for following through.  Those things keep me motivated, that's for sure!!

Quite frankly, I could make a list of resolutions and have the entire year planned out and there is no guarantee that any of my plans would come to fruition.  That can be frustrating... unless we choose to trust in God and acknowledge that His plans may not be our plans.  That's why Jeremiah 29:11-14 is resonating with me on this New Year's Day.  It says:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a]”

Don't you love how Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that even if our plans don't come through, that God knows the plans He has for us?  And His plans are to prosper us, to not harm us and they are plans for hope and a future.  That is some good news!  This is definitely something to be thankful for. 

So as you embark on your journey into 2013, know that God has plans for you this year.  Plans that are unique for you.  Plans that are good.  Be on the lookout for where He's leading you.  Be flexible if His plans don't sync up with your plans... because His plans are best, even if we can't see it at the time.  And be confident that God surrounds you each and every day as Psalm 139:5-6 promises:

5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Walk into 2013 with expectation and enthusiasm.  God's got big plans for you.  God's got big plans for me.  God's got big plans for each of us... and we just need to follow His lead one day at a time.

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  A fun and relaxing New Year's Eve get-together
2.  Good friends to ring in the New Year with
3.  Finger foods
4.  Games
5.  A rowdy game of Spot-it
6.  Kids playing and having fun
7.  Sleep over
8.  Relaxing day with friends
9.  Traditions
10.  Jeremiah 29:11-14
12.  Matthew 6:34
13.  My parents not getting hurt when the bus they were riding in was involved in a wreck
14.  The wise driving of the bus driver
15.  God's protection
16.  Safe arrival for my parents
17.  Booby traps built by a three year old
18.  The joy my three year old gets from building booby traps
19.  My seven year old playing a new game with his friends
20.  My goal for 2013

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 3,098 to go...