Day 800 of thankfuls, 800 days of change

wpid-20150525_140935.jpgI cannot believe my thankful project reached day 800 a few days ago. Day. 800. That’s a lot of living!

My journey with posting thankfuls on my personal Facebook account began in November 2013 — almost three years ago. I started it, like many of my Facebook friends, during the month of Thanksgiving and I only intended to do it for those 30 days.

Halfway through that month, my mother had a house fire and we lost our dad in that fire. I decided to keep going — to not only find something good about those terrible days, but to also honor him. Eight hundred-plus posts later, here I am.

This journey, more than anything, has been unexpected. I didn’t expect to keep the posts going so long (but I’m glad I have) and I didn’t expect many of the life changes/surprises along the day.

During the past few years I’ve loved and lost. I’ve had my amazing days, my so-so days and my downright painful days. I had major surgery. I am changing careers in a week. So many changes, so much growth.

What I’ve learned about this life is that one thing is certain: it is ever-changing. And most of the time you don’t see those changes coming. Sometimes they show up wrapped up in a pretty bow in a box full of joy. Other times they blindside you and cut you to your knees.

I can say, with honesty, that I’m grateful for every change. I’ve learned something from every one. I’m learning to enjoy life in the moment. I’m learning to embrace change no matter what the change is.

Here’s to the next 800 days!

 

More precious than the lottery

I admit it. When the Powerball lottery soared to an astronomical amount last week, I stood in line and purchased two tickets. I had big hopes and big dreams for that money.

Yes, I know that my odds of getting struck by lightening — twice — while twirling a flaming baton and chewing bubble gum, all while standing on my desk at work being cheered on by coworkers are better than winning the lottery. But hey, doesn’t someone have to win it? And three people did just that — won it.

But, it wasn’t me. I didn’t even win $1.

What was I going to do with the money? Lots of things. Lots of good things — not only for my family but for the community. But again, I didn’t win.

With all that said, life has a way of reminding me of what’s truly precious and I’ll tell you this — it’s not money. This week I received some wonderful, exciting news that isn’t shareable yet, but it reminded me of what’s truly important in this life — again, it’s not money. While money is nice, it should never be the most precious thing in this life. After all, you can’t take it with you when you die. Sure, it can be passed on, but if money is the real priority in life, have you really lived?

Sometimes you have to go back to the basics and remember what’s truly important. Here is my list I came up with:

^I have my health, my humor, my determination;

^I have incredible family and friends who I love with my entire heart and soul;

^I have my basic needs met including food on my table, safe water to drink, a warm, safe place to sleep;

^I have a job that provides me with creative freedom and I work with some pretty rocking co-workers to go along with it;

^I have the freedom of expression;

The things above are more precious than money. Some things above can be bought, but many can’t. I can’t buy family and friends — or at least people who truly know and love me.

A fact I read on Sunday really made me think: almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80 percent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening, according to globalissues.org.

Reading that fact humbled me, and, I’ll admit, made me a bit ashamed I spent $4 on a lottery when many people in the world live on less than $2.50 a day. Think of what we all could do if we handed that same $4 to someone who truly needed it.

While I didn’t win the lottery, I’d call myself extremely rich in the blessings I have in this life. This moment right here is why I continue my daily thankfuls each day on Facebook. I’m up to day 468. Each day is a chance to stop and count a blessing. I hope you’ll join me in taking a second to look at your life and count the blessings you have. There’s always something to be thankful for.

—Brandy Nance is the online and news editor for The Emporia Gazette. Her blog, The Wandering Pigeon, can be found online at thewanderingpigeon.com. Brandy can be reached at brandy@emporia.com.