Start With Thankfulness

Categories Family, Life, Love, Self, Words

How often do you think, “I don’t know where to start…”?

I find myself there often.

I am very good at over-planning and under-estimating how long it will actually take to execute my plans. It’s something I know about myself, and even though I work to strike a more reasonable balance, I’m still learning. My Husband usually ends up serving as my sounding board when I go on a tear about not knowing how I’ll accomplish everything (or anything). He always offers the same calm, rational suggestion: Start with one thing.

It’s annoying how often he’s right.

If you think about it, though, there really is no better solution. Start with one thing. Do that thing. Then start another…

This morning I find myself looking at a long list of things I want and need to accomplish this week. I have things to write, chores to do, clean laundry to put away…and the list goes on. I caught myself heading toward panic mode and decided to stop, take a moment to focus, and start with gratitude and an attitude of thankfulness for the good in my life.

First and foremost this morning, our family is very grateful that Cat One is feeling much better. I’ll spare you the TMI factor and just say that increasing the dose of his laxative meds did the trick. He’s eating and drinking well, grooming himself again, and acting much more like his usual self. I was pretty scared for a few days and am so relieved it is what we suspected and not something much more serious.

I am thankful and incredibly excited, too, that the draft of my first children’s book is finished. Huzzah! We are now working on illustrations and edits. Very soon I’ll be looking for beta readers to put eyes on this and before long, one of my dreams will be a reality. Having this first draft complete after what has been a very long development process feels like great progress. The words have been flowing well in general lately, not only on the book series. I am always grateful for that.

I am thankful that it is Monday. Monday is my quiet day. The cats sleep all day to recover from having people home all weekend. Hub and Zilla are back to work and school. The house is empty and silent. I try to keep my calendar free of appointments on a Monday so I can have the entire day to regroup, plan, and work. After an especially busy weekend this week, I need this kind of day.

I am thankful for surprise gift cards. Who doesn’t love that?

I am thankful for rain that washes, refreshes, and gives life. I am thankful for cool and comfortable weather. I am thankful for a lovely day today.

I am thankful for my Mom. I am thankful that she is physically near and part of my every day. I am thankful to have her as my confidant, my greatest adviser, and my friend. I can’t speak for anyone else, but sometimes a talk with my Mom is exactly what I need to help put life into perspective, especially when it feels like none of it makes sense.

I am thankful for a Husband and Daughter who know me so well. I am thankful that they understand and love me.

I am thankful for prayers heard and answered. It isn’t always easy, but leaning on my faith makes all the difference in the world. I am glad I have such a strong foundation in that regard.

I am thankful for long naps. Sometimes it’s just the thing.

And now I’m going to be thankful that I am finished and moving on to the next thing on my list to do today. The road ahead is a long one and I’d best be on my way.

Have a good week, friends!


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Ten Things of Thankful

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

24 thoughts on “Start With Thankfulness

  1. I always marvel at how beautifully you can word things so that they resonate with my own thoughts and feelings! I often find myself in panic mode too, and then I shut down and do nothing, which is so counter-productive. I tell my daughter “start with one thing” and I need to follow my advice on that! You chose the perfect item to start your list with, gratitude, it works every time! Faith does too, when we allow it to have an active role in our lives.

    I am so glad that your husband and Zilla are understanding, and supportive, it makes all the difference, and I am totally relieved to hear that Cat 1 is finally relieved! Poor little guy, such a miserable problem to have!

    I can’t wait to see your children’s book. Can I be on the list of beta readers please, please?? 🙂

    Mondays are “ahhhhhh” days for me too, the tv goes off and the quiet returns, and I can get focused on the week ahead and things that need to be accomplished. Have a wonderful, productive week, Lisa, and thank you for joining us at TToT, I appreciate you! <3

    1. I love your new gravatar, Josie! That is gorgeous!
      I’m so glad Cat One is feeling better, too. Poor guy was so sick. 🙁
      I’d love to have you beta read the book. Stay tuned for info.
      I’m off now…the treadmill and shower await!

  2. Can’t wait to hear more about your children’s book! That is so exciting. I can relate to the over planning and panic mode as well. How’s that saying go about so much to do that I’m just going to take a nap instead? Glad your cat is feeling better. I am sitting here enjoying my 2nd to last quiet Monday before school lets out in these parts. Haven’t had a chance to enjoy one in a while so I am soaking it in a bit. Hope you have a fantastic week ahead!

    1. It really is exciting, Jean. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a very long time and now it’s finally heading toward reality!
      Naps are always good. I was honestly overwhelmed on Sunday by so many things and ultimately ended up just taking a good long nap. It did wonders for my mood and my focus.
      I hadn’t remembered the part about school ending and summer Mondays being…different. Thanks for the reminder. 😀 Have a great week, too!

  3. Well done on your book being finished! How exciting that you get to look for pictures now! And nice that your kitty is feeling better now. It’s always a worry when our furbabies are unwell.

    1. It is exciting, Jo! The pictures will come from my daughter – this is a project we’ve been wanting to do forever. I love the sketches she’s done already.
      Cat is even better yet today, which is such a relief. His personality is back and we are so happy.

  4. I’m thankful for a really nice family weekend. That has been a long time coming. And um, beta readers? I’m in!

  5. Hi Lisa. Glad you have found away to be productive without feeling overwhelmed. List making, written down, not just in my head is especially helpful when there are so many things to do, One at a time and I get great pleasure crossing off the items. When I am procrastinating and avoiding tasks like cleaning and laundry, I put them on the list and they have a much better chance of getting completed when they are written down. Kudos to you for the milestone of completing your children’s book. I would like to read it. Keep smiling, keep the words flowing and keep breathing.

    1. Lists are very helpful for me. And I find that I also do much better if they are actual physical lists in my planner that I can see and touch. If I try to do it in my head, it disappears. I will admit I have things that I move from one day’s list to the next…but at least it’s still there reminding me to get to it eventually.
      The words of the book are written at least – we’re working on illustrations, layout, etc. I’d love to have you read it. I’ll let you know when I’m ready for some eyes.

  6. Naps and faith both help me see the good in the world! I want to hear more about your children’s book. That is tremendously exciting news. I would love to read it. I continue to plug away on my book of a year of devotions. Am knee deep in August on the rough draft….further on the jotted on napkins version!

    1. Naps and faith could go a long way toward making the world a nicer place, May! 😀
      I would love to have you read my book! Your experience with children’s books would be of great value.
      I’m looking forward to seeing your book one day soon. I know you’ve been working at that for a while and I’m sure it will be just lovely.

  7. That grove of trees at the top of your post is such an inviting place to enter. It is just the perfect backdrop for your beautiful “thankfuls.” Your wonderful relationships with each member of your family shines through in your post, as does your faith.

    1. That tree shot is part of a larger photo – it cropped funny. It’s one of my favorite photos of our favorite hiking place. Faith and family are dear to me.

  8. Yes Lisa, I love lists and feeling organized. I start each day with a carefully thought out list of all the things I will do today . . . and end it wondering what happened! I got to possibly number 3 on the list before my day imploded, or the short item on #3 took the rest of the day. Early Morning Boost for Your Immune System

    1. Shirley, I can’t tell you how many days my list self-destructs. 😀 But the act of making it and – when necessary – re-making it on the next day helps me focus on what I need to do. And keeps me honest when I don’t!
      I usually take care of lists in my day planner on Sunday evening for the whole week, then check each evening to see what needs to be adjusted.

  9. Hi Lisa I loved your post and so many things to be thankful for. I’m a list girl but this year I also started a new morning ritual where instead of waking and rushing to the computer or my list, I take five minutes to reflect and be grateful for all the good things in my life. It certainly helps me to focus and have a calmer approach to the day.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    1. You’re right, Jennifer, it absolutely is. That practice has been a powerful thing for me, no matter how or where I do it.
      I am working on this dream…slowly, but surely!

  10. A beautiful list, indeed! I LOVE the line, “the cats sleep all day to recover from having people home all weekend.” So THAT’s it, huh? You may have discovered why they seem to sleep so much, lol.
    Congrats on the next step with your book. It’s going to be PHENOMENAL! Can’t wait to see it!
    And it’s been a busy last week and a half getting to the end of our program (and grant) and cleaning everything up. Over the summer, “writing and creativity” are going to be my two best friends. 🙂 And we’ll see if I have to find a new job in the fall. 😛
    In any case, I have to send you my little “something.” It’s ready to go…just need to go to the post office – which will happen as soon as I’m home before they close…which is a little hard during the week, but it’s a coming soon! It’s not much: just a little something for your success. <3
    I hope you have a wonderful week! Sending hugs.

    1. You are so sweet! I am looking forward to it and will be delighted to have it here helping my success along the path. <3
      The book is coming along...need to finish illustration sketches and then get that first rough version in front of eyes for feedback. I'd love to have it ready to go before the end of June. And speaking of summer...I'm in minor panic mode because I realize my daughter will be home all day, which is wonderful, but difficult for productivity when you work from home. So I'm working to figure out what kind of schedule will work. I'll get there.
      Have a great rest of the week! Hugs back!

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