I am SO TOTALLY PSYCHED to welcome you to our ONE HUNDREDTH week of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, which remains (as far as I know) the longest-running blog hop to make a real difference to people’s lives. COME ON IN!First. let me show you our shiny new banner, made fresh for the occasion (you can (maybe, if WordPress isn’t being an asshole about codes) grab yours at the end of this post), because LOOKIT! SHE PURTY! I guess the #1 thing on my list (and anyone who’s been with me for the entire ride – which is a delightfully large number) is that WE MADE IT TO 100 WEEKS! For a hop which I wasn’t sure would even last a month, that’s incredible, and the most wonderful thing is that the feedback I’ve heard from other people has been EXCELLENT – the feeling is that it’s a hop which makes an active difference in their day-to-day lives, because they are focussed on thinking about things to be thankful for, and so in seeking, they find and appreciate them as they happen, as well as sharing the highlights at the weekends.
I know I went on about this last week, but #2 has to be YOU – my TToT gang; the community who rock up here each week with your lists of ten (or not), your delights and wonders, your challenges and griefs, and you SHARE with each other – you congratulate achievement, celebrate the good, and commiserate about the bad. You. Are. WONDERFUL. And to my mind, a living example of some of the BEST things about this World Between the Wires, because you keep the relationships and bonds (and thankfulness, and community) going through the week, too.
Now I’m starting to struggle…how can I top those two? I’ll just have to revert to my usual, smaller thankfuls, and hope you don’t mind too much that I’ve got no further EPIC for this post, until the FUN AND GAMES AND COMPETITION later on…keep reading! #3 is that by the time this weekend is half-over, I will have my best friend in all the world; my Soulie BROUGHT HOME AND LIVING WITH ME! Which is SO VERY EXCITING (and also allows me to carry on living here (and stops him being homeless (talk about ALL the birds being killed with the same stone!))) and I’ve been told that it’s going to be like a sleepover which never has to end. Given I’ve been lonely and out of sorts this week, and given to talking to the spider, I’ll be glad of the company.
#4 DEAR STEPHANIE (if you’ve been anywhere near me this week you’ll know what I’m talking about) and the manner in which the blogging community at large has embraced my writing a LOT about kicking back at the stigma which surrounds mental illness. I’ve been fortunate that Mandi generously allowed me to use Dear Stephanie as a focal point in my crusade (because it really IS a fabulously good book, and one which left me with one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve ever had) and that guest posts have been allowed to feature on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Wednesday again AND Thursday (this one being at Stigma Fighters – a truly Big Deal in the world of mental health blogging).
#5 Husby thinks he’s found a quicker, simpler way for us to get divorced, seeing as we’re both in agreement about it, have tried marriage counselling (to no avail) and both rather feel that we should probably have done this years ago, when it became apparent that the cracks were too deep and the damage too extensive. Still, we’ve grown as people in the meantime. Husby’s taking Neff out to the park, then he’ll come over and we’ll take a look at the paperwork together, then we’re all (including Vince) going round to Mum and WonderAunty’s for a birthday tea for Husby (will need to think of a new moniker for him soon, huh? Weird thought!). We’re keeping this friendly. Properly so, because it seems as though breaking up is going some way to healing our friendship, and that’s weird but also quite wonderful, even if the marriage part of what we had hasn’t survived the onslaught of life. Reading about other people’s break-up experiences makes me realise just how rare and precious this is – that we are still, somehow, FOR one another.
#6 I popped round to Mum and WonderAunty’s earlier in the week and was pleasantly surprised by the presence of Niece and Neff. I got several full-body-hugs from Neff (who is in an adorably loving mood lately) and lots of giggles and laughs with Niece (who mostly preferred spinning around on an office chair instead of having hugs (until Neff wanted me, and then suddenly she had to be ON ME!)). I love, love, love their hugs, and their sweet, beautiful selves.
#7 Whilst I was being full-body-hugged, WonderAunty showed me some old photos she found, including lots of her and Mum as children, and we compared their faces to Niece and Neff and Sis and I (some strong family resemblances there, which is lovely to see). I also got to see some old pics she’d saved of me as a child, looking (mostly) rather adorkable, or just dorky (I haven’t changed much there).
#8 I was feeling pretty low over the week, and time and time again, my friends have reached out beyond the bounds of their own worlds to stretch their care into mine, and make it better. It’s been wonderful, and has definitely helped to combat the darknesses inside my mind which have been threatening to overtake me again. I am beyond thankful and grateful for each person who sent light into my world this week, and who took time out from their day to let me know they were thinking about me. And I have to give a particular shout-out to Jesi, who wrote this and left me nearly in tears (at work) because it is so precious and beautiful and… *happysighs* now I think of it, I feel as though I am in the centre of a glorious maelstrom of friendship; extended and offered with reassurance and hope – conversations with Hasty, Helena, Beth and Mandi have really kept me going, and there have been moments of delight with Crystal and Sarah and Zoe, and others, and I’m grateful for each and every one, and many more than I can name here, I expect. So thank you, my friends, for caring enough to pick me up when I’m down, and for TRYING, even when I’m difficult and resistant and determined to wallow. I appreciate you so very much.
#9 The next round of 1000Speak is coming up SOON (as in next week – yikes!) and the topic is connection, which is FABULOUS, as I increasingly realise that’s what I’m ALL ABOUT.
#10 EXTRA EXTRA COMPETITION! SO – because this is fun and stuff, here are the things which are in my box, and once the weekend’s over, I’ll put the names of everyone who took part in the TToT100 celebration into a hat, and the co-hosts into another hat, and I’ll match ten people with the co-hosts to each receive a box, then the co-hosts will be in touch with their winners to arrange mailing.
SURPRISE COMPETITION WITH THE SUPERMEGASURPRISEPRIZE: It’s been 100 weeks. Shall we have a new banner? Feel free to use the blank image below, or create your own, then add them into THIS SPECIAL LINKIE, and VOTE (you get three votes, so use them wisely, and votes will be hidden so it’s a surprise for us all) for the ones you like – the winner will get something as-yet-undecided, and we’ll use the new picture for the TToT until I decide to change things up again. Make sure it says ‘Ten Things of Thankful’, and has the #10Thankful hashtag on it somewhere. Entry and voting will end NEXT THURSDAY, so you have lots of time to enter, and to come back and see what banners have been created. GO!