Ten Things of (50 Happy Things) Thankful #10Thankful #50HappyThings

I slide down on the sofa, snuggling deeper into the blanket, which keeps me literally wrapped up in love (it was given to me by my 1000mile heart, my Sunset, my best friend in all the world, and one so similar to me in so many shades of the soul I never thought it possible), and has become a semi-permanent piece of my outer-wear when I’m at home. The dishwasher is clanking and swooshing gently in the kitchen, and to my left, in a pool of light, WonderAunty taps quietly away at her keyboard whilst The Hobbit plays in a corner of her screen.

I’ve been asleep, and tiredness is still caught in the corners of my eyes. My limbs feel lazy, languid, as though they’ve all taken up residence in hammocks and, gently swaying themselves on the shores of some tropical paradise, are staunchly refusing to move with any kind of alacrity. A shame, because this TToT they have a challenge to manage – I’ve been invited (as are you all) to join Dawn Landau’s 50 Things of Happiness – a 15 minute, 50 item gratitude/thankfulness/happy list of…well…I suppose whatever I feel fits on there *briefly wonders about returning to the site to read the rules and make sure it’s done properly, then discards the idea, reckoning it really should be as simple as it sounds.*

I have an alarm on my phone. I have access to any number of computer-based stopwatches/timers/countdown whatevers, and I’m still using the excuse of not wanting to disturb WonderAunty, for not accessing any of them. Instead I’m trusting my abilities (limited at the best of times) in maths and paying attention, to time my list according to the clock in the corner. It’s 10.29pm.

I settle further into my cosiness, letting my mind wander freely over the events of the last day, the last week, the last month.

There have been some desperately difficult moments; sad ones full of pain and despair; challenging ones full of anger and resentment; aching ones full of loneliness and the knowledge of failing. There have been lots of times of healing, physical and emotional, which have been good for body and soul but have taken a toll in their own ways. There have been fleeting instants of clarity, of all things being safe and right and wonderful. There has been love and friendship and kinship. There has been grief.

Brain untethered, I pay scant attention to the rituals of eveningtime playing out around me, responding minimally (rudely?) to interactions with Real Life. A mystery receipt and the fact of the house next door being on the market for a handsomely large figure are both brought to my attention, turned over idly in my thoughts, then dropped, unable to spark anything like enough fascination to rouse me from my torpor. Perhaps one of my items should be touch-typing, which allows me to transcribe thoughts almost in brain-time, allowing ease, if not always sense, of writing.

The festive season has been a weird one so far, on social media. It’s felt both guilt-laden and a bit heroic, continuing apace in spite of Syrian wars and American demagogues. It’s limped along with its usual frustrations and last-minute panics, more determined than ever to focus on joy and light and sparkle, whilst admitting that tunnel-vision is no use in the long run, and shivering in the chill of impending January. There have been few thoughts turned towards the new year, other than a desperate, all-pervading and faintly hysterical hope that it’s better than this one.

Regardless, there will be the moments of wonder, joy, and triumph of the human spirit over adversity seen by 2016 (and every year in human history), along with the sadnesses and heartbreaks that go hand in hand with our existence. We can all, always do better. We can all, always, seek good. We can all, always find things about our behaviours and relationships where we’re satisfied with our conduct, or wish we’d done better. We’re all a mixture, and will continue to be.

The glorious thing about mixtures is how wonderfully the good bits stand out against the bad. It’s all the cliches of light against darkness, yet it still counts. The brightness still shines, is still worth finding, and when we find it, worth treasuring.

I check my phone. Missed calls and texts from a friend, who’s set to arrive in 10 minutes, bearing bags of wonderful fruit and veggies, offered to me by a friend of hers who was given them by customers but won’t use them. An unexpected bounty resultant of a chance meeting in the high-street. I check the clock and wonder whether it counts to split my list in two, beginning, pausing to see her, then continuing, and whether my tiredness-addled brain will begin to comprehend the calculationality of thought required to manage such a feat without *gasp* Breaking The Rules.

The sides of my mental fortitude crumble, pouring down their own ricketty defenses into a jumbled heap somewhere near the base of my skull. I decide to wait for the soft knock at the door (having warned my friend via text that Neff is asleep upstairs (sub-text, please, please don’t wake him!)) and hope I still have the energy left to come up with 50 items after a late-night-in-a-rainstorm, whispered-on-the-doorstep conversation that will doubtless accompany the handing over of the goodies. Maybe if I list each goodie; each carrot and apple counting for one, I can…nope, she’s here!

The rainstorm has (astonishingly) stopped, leaving the dark street festooned in drips made bright by the sparkling Christmas lights strung merrily across trees and hedges of the neighbourhood. We had a brief, whispered conversation of happy evenings and twinned astonishment at the cardboard crate – not bags – of amazing, fresh, delicious fare. She might return tomorrow evening, for the traditional Christmas Eve Open House, in the evening, once we’ve decorated the tree. We bade each other goodnight and I shut the door (eventually) with my bum, as little lights of happy-fresh-produce-ness took up residence in mum and WonderAunty’s eyes as they saw the enormous box of food.

Brain sharpened by the cold night air, I lugged the delicious burden into the kitchen and left it on the counter, mum and I unable to resist unpacking at least *some* of it RightNow. Returning to my computer, I feel a tiny bit readier to attempt my list (not counting each item in the box, as there would be FAR more than 50!). It’s 11.13pm.

50-happy-things-summat2thinkon-wordpress-com

1.Cabbage, brussels sprouts, swede, leeks, onions, lemons, grapefruits, satsumas, limes, cauliflower, celery, beetroot, pears.
2.My lovely friend for bringing me such a wonderful box of food.
3.HER lovely friend for sharing the joy and preventing waste.
4.The spirit of giving and sharing.
5.For my aunty being able to be with my Grandad this week, when he died.
6.For seeing my aunty last weekend and having a really good catch-up with her.
7.Phone conversations with my dad having gone better than I might have thought.
8.Got everything wrapped and posted and delivered in time for Christmas.
9.Plans for Happy New Year things where I didn’t fulfill #8 exactly quite properly.
10.A year of feeling safe and loved at home.
11.Knowing I’ll always be welcome here, and wanted.
12.Friendships online which are so, SO much more than just friendships online.
13.Glitterbombs and cherished words.
14.WhatsApp, for enabling me to speak with some of my people every day.
15.This World Between the Wires, where you beautiful people are, and so many who also have corners of my heart.
16.Family. My family. And all we all mean to each other.
17.Special breakfast prepared for Christmas morning (coco pops and oat milk – a treat for me)
18.Encouragement of/from, and daily contact with people facing similar life/inner-world challenges.
19.Open fire in the other room.
20.Scent of real Christmas tree pervading the house.
21.Library books – free, and stocked-up-on.
22.Christmas stockings, which my family still does, gloriously, for one another.
23.Neff, asleep (in his snorey, knee-pokey, teeth-grindy, no-longer-little-boy way) upstairs.
24.Niece, not here tonight, but wonderful nonetheless, so similar to me in some ways, and so alien in others.
25.Local restaurants with GOOD vegan menus.
26.Plans for new year’s eve-eve.
27.Being healed enough from surgery to contemplate the reality of returning to work next week.
28.Having access to medical advice for the bits which aren’t quite healed enough yet.
29.Hope of good intentions transferred to the next generation.
30.Writing submitted, rejected, submitted elsewhere – a cycle which brings its own kind of validation.
31.Warm blanket and cups of tea.
32.People who check on me when I drop off the radar, because I’m worth their care.
33.Music.
34.The hope it gives me to see people rallying to good causes.
35.Not knowing if hope and wishes can triumph democracy and red tape, but having them anyway.
36.The warm glow of knowing I’ve made a difference, however small.
37.The ability to even write this list, be online, be part of all this!
38.My Ten Things of Thankful community, all that we’ve meant to each other over the years, and all the evolving community still means.
39.Pintrest – I really do love hoarding pretty pictures.
40.Gifts which have been chosen with love and care, because people chose to and delight in making me happy.
41.The HUGE warm glow of knowing people feel that way.
42.New haircut and a plan to get my colour back, in the new year.
43.My lovely, brilliant hairdresser, her chirpiness, and the delight of a simple, warm professional relationship.
44.It’s not been too cold yet.
45.Christmas lights on dark nights.
46.Christmas music, specifically Bach’s.
47.Christmas treats and indulgences, which will be delicious and the aftermath dealt with in the new year.
48.Being able to cook, and really enjoying it.
49.Lovely, lovely, lovely memories.
50.Learning happiness and joy, and appreciating the moments in which they exist.

It’s 11.31. The piles of rubble in my mind have dragged themselves up into a ghastly, giant figure built in huge stones and a threatening determination to NOT MATHS! I don’t think I quite made the deadline, but I DID make the list, and a sleepy smile has played about my lips for the duration of typing it.

I know I should publish and go to bed, once I’ve figured out an image to go with this post, but I know the late-night temptations of dipping into a TimeZone not my own will likely be too strong to resist for a while, and at least in chatting, I don’t need to calculate anything…so I’ll leave it here, and soon you’ll be reading, and I hope you enjoy my list and thoughts almost as much as I enjoyed thinking and listing them.

If you want to join in with your own ten things, or try a 50, you’re more than welcome. You’re welcome even if you don’t want to list anything.

I wish you a lovely Christmastime ❤

 

11.41pm – Ohmigosh! CAN’T BELIEVE I DIDN’T LIST POETRY!!!! *facepalm*
11.43pm – OR ART! OR NATURE! OR RAINBOWS! OR THE BEACH! Good grief. I need a bigger list!

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42 thoughts on “Ten Things of (50 Happy Things) Thankful #10Thankful #50HappyThings

  1. Pingback: * Ten Things of Thankful | Teachezwell Blog

  2. Pingback: TToT: In My Head I’m Swept Away – Collective Arts, #10Thankful | Her Headache

  3. That is a solid list of 50 –from the great to the small. And as you mention in your prelude to the list, I too have been hanging tight to the metaphors of light in the darkness. Am praying for more light. Can certainly use more light. But-yes-light in the darkness is good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you know how much I adore you and your writing? These words made me feel like I was nestled on the couch next to you. I know I’ve been quiet and somewhat absent, but you are never far from my thoughts. Your wonderful Fairy gifts sit on the shelf in the sunlight so that I see them and think of you each day. Your friendship is a gift and for that, I am very thankful. Love you to the moon and back ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful list and a beautiful recount of your time with WonderAunty. I hope you’ve had a fabulous holiday season so far, sweet friend! I’m so glad for online friendships, too, which ARE so much more than online friendships, aren’t they?
    Sending you hugs and wishes for a wonderful New Year! And sorry I’m a little late in getting here: it’s been a busy few days…whew! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are hugely much more. I’ve sucked at everything though, lately, especially online. *sigh* Sorry I’ve been more than a little late getting back to you!

      I hope your holidays and new year went really well 🙂

      Like

  6. Lizzi, SO glad you joined the #BloggersUnite for #50HappyThings… your list is so thoughtful, and has so many things I wish I’d put on mine. It’s that way every year: I see other lists, and wish I’d written something. That’s part of the magic: we learn about about each other, and the gratitude expands. Thanks for taking the time to jump thru’ time zones and loop holes to be a part of an incredibly positive thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lizzi, you have such a poetic way of describing your world and your feelings that it just draws a person right in to the room with you. You are able to express what others may feel but are unable to so freely share. You have quite the gift of writing. Do you make your own oat milk? I’ve never tasted oat milk. Mostly I drink almond milk. The is an impressive list of 50! I’m so sorry for your loss and glad that your aunty could be with him. What good news that you are healing from your surgery! “The warm glow of know you have made a difference”. . .that you have Lizzi, that you have. Best wishes as you begin this new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’ve made a difference, I really am, and certainly reading through other peoples’ posts serves to emphasise that, which is wonderful.

      I don’t make my own oat milk – I wouldn’t know how, and I’m surprisingly lazy (though I think a lot of it has to do with not having my own kitchen) so I buy a brand called Oatly, which I don’t know if it’s available in the States or not. It’s delicious though. Made from a Swedish recipe (if that makes any difference!).

      Thanks so much for the lovely words about my writing…that’s something I always wanted to be able to do – draw people ‘into the room’ with me. One of my very favourite writers, Gerald Durrell, does just that, and I love his style, so it’s a huge compliment that you think I have that skill as well *glowy* 🙂

      Like

  8. Amazibg! That list took practice! You are the thankfulness expert afterall! Bet you could never have imagined writing 50 thanks when you first started to write your 10 things… You’ve grown and cultivated a spirit of thankfulness in yourself and us over the years. Thank you Lizzi. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thanks so much Julie! It’s taken a while and I know it’s not entirely consistent, but I think after all this time I’ve gotten pretty good at seeking the bright and thankful things 🙂 When I first started, there was no way I could have imagined 50…now I think if I had time, I could come up with 500!

      Like

  9. in somewhat out-of-sequence-order*

    #17 Did you say coco pops or coco puffs (probably irrelevant as I am flashing on a cereal that I grew up eating, (‘look at how well that turned out! lol).
    Coco Puffs was one of the premier milk adulterators…. the sugar content in the residual milk could have powered a small city for a week, (provided there were such things as sugar-powered electricity generators and they could build a fence strong and high enough to contain the city full of excited scotts that would have resulted from eating enough cereal to get the power on).
    Probably not the same, huh?

    #30 (assuming you’re referring to your own works for publication) I can identify with you as I am in full-on send-a-Query-letter-to-all-the-literary-agents-in-the-world, looking for the one who sees (and reads) what I read, when I read, what I’ve written. Not fun, the rejection, but it is a part of process of membership in a rather small and exclusive community, i.e. published authors. You’re in the community (your second rejection letter entitles you to enter the room, seeing how you’re not going to take the first rejection and go home and take up knitting or something).

    #38 …good work there. The world has been altered by your belief and love and passion.

    * I know no way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *always, though, right?
      Coco pops. I’ve never heard of coco puffs! These ones are like rice crispies, but chocolatey. I mix them with muesli because I kid myself that if I add a healthful breakfast item in with the terrible-for-me one, it somehow negates the impact…which I know it doesn’t REALLY but…we’re good at delusion. REALLY good.

      I love this community, even though it seems to be smaller than ever at the moment. Hopefully with a push in the new year, we might get some new entrants or revive some old ones. I know I haven’t been the best example myself, in recent…well…years.

      As to the world of writers…I have yet to feel really belongy, but that’s as much down to my me-ness as to the truth of me being part of things. But rejection is a start, right? I hope you get a publisher who reads the same as you 🙂 GOOD LUCK!

      Like

  10. Pingback: TToT: Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah HumBug! Whoosh! #SnowInTheSahara #10Thankful | Her Headache

  11. This was really wonderful to read, Lizzi. I love how you did this. ❤ I'm SO glad you could EASILY find 50 things that make you happy, grateful, and loved. And I loved reading every single one!

    Here's to BIG THINGS in 2017, my beloved friend.

    And I pray you feel God's presence now and in every step you take into and through the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you my lovely Kitty ❤ I hope 2017 holds huge enormous things…we'll see how it goes. I have no plans yet and I'm trying to keep my expectations in check.

      I'm also glad I was able to find 50 things…I suspect I could find 500 if I sat and thought about it carefully, and I really, really am very lucky to have so many wonderful things in my life. I know I just have a bad attitude sometimes. I DO have a plan for that, though 🙂

      And…I went to the midnight service last night, and it was beautiful. I felt peaceful there, which hasn't happened often for me, so YAY!

      Like

  12. All that fresh produce sounds just delicious and so very welcome from where it came.
    So sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Losing a loved one is never easy, often harder than we imagined, even if the time was right for that person to depart. Doesn’t make it much easier, though any of us would hardly wish to deny the ease of suffering to one we love.
    Love this list of 50 things. I get stumped at 10 some weeks, though if I were really open and honest I could do it, would come up with many you list here actually.
    I love 30 specifically. I am getting better with the vulnerability and the rejections that are inevitable. HEre’s hoping for more of that in 2017 and beyond.
    Sounds like you’ve got a lot to celebrate in the coming few days to a week. I too have made New Year’s Eve eve plans of which I am quite looking forward to.
    Oh, and thanks for the card.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehehe you’re welcome for the card. What are you doing New Year’s Eve? I’m envious – I have no plans and no-one to do them with, anyway!

      Here’s to us becoming more…fearless? in our writing endeavours. You’re already doing that and it’s very inspiring.

      I think I only managed 50 because I happened to have been in a good mood, where I can acknowledge all the good things. I’m so very lucky, I really am, and I too often get mired in an attitude of wretched ungratefulness and can’t write, never mind do a list of 10! I’m determined to get back into the habit of this. I’d like that.

      And thanks…it’s always hard to see someone suffering when you love them. We’ll miss him lots but I’m glad he’s out of discomfort now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad I can even inspire someone, the littlest of bits, because I am scared s—less.

        I have Dec 30th plans, an evening at a hotel, a sort of relaxation/spa package with friends, but I don’t know yet about the actual New Year’s Eve. May be quiet around here.

        I will think about attempting a post like you did here though, as I saw that the exercise is open until the end of the year. I know I can come up with the 50 if I really devote myself to it.

        I hope TToT continues strong into 2017 as it is very important to me and I think I would probably have to simply carry on on my own with my thankful if it suddenly or slowly came to an end.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ohhhh wow that sounds AWESOME! How lovely! I think my NYE will be…at home, with my family. Which will be lovely. But quiet. We’ll probably watch something on telly and toast the new year and then all go to bed.

          I have every confidence you can come up with 50 things. Especially if you categorise (which is how I started thinking about it first and then it went from there).

          I hope SO much that this hop gets bigger and stronger, rather than dying out. It matters to the people who love it and I’d be so sad to see it go.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. 50 things. There really *is* so much to be grateful for although beets are so NOT one of them *pukes.* What are satsumas?
    I know I said that I’m sorry for your granddad already but I am really sorry. Even when it’s less than hard, it’s so hard. I’m glad WA was with him. Also how does she have video playing while she works? I’m too ADD for that I think.
    Merry merry merry to you and your stocking-doing family. I hope the weekend is wonderful and amazing and even more lovely than you anticipate. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Beets are a matter of taste, my dear. Satsumas are a little like tangerines or mandarins but with a slightly different citrus flavour.

      It’s never easy to lose someone. It wasn’t WA with him – it was my Dad’s sister, cos this grandad was their dad. My other grandad (WA and Mum’s dad) died very sadly in 2007. But that’s the year Neff arrived, so that year was quite a mixture too!

      WA’s powers of concentration are AMAZING! She’s a freelance editor and just…incredible. Veryveryveryvery strong work ethic with that one :)…and at the point I mentioned she was working on other her-own things, not WORKwork.

      My weekend is proving absolutely more lovely than I ever could have thought, thank you ❤ I hope yours is every bit as beautiful and filled with goodness ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m sorry about your granddad.
    I’m a bit immobilized sometimes by the thought of not following the rules, too. Glad you posted–and it gives me hope that if I take more than 15 minutes to type up a post, it’s OK. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heheh we can rebel together! I’m sure it’s fine. I went back to the rules and it said as long as you attempt the 50, then it’s fine to link in 🙂

      I definitely think my grandad’s in a better place. I’m glad for that, and thank you 🙂

      Like

  15. I’m not even sure I could type fast enough for that challenge, let alone get my poor old brain geared up to make the list. Lizzi, you are amazing. And, I’m glad Wonder Auntie is there too. Have you ever suggested that she do a blog? I have hunch she would have interesting things to say. Merry Christmas to you and all your circle there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merry Christmas to you, too, Bob.

      I often think that WonderAunty would have FABULOUS things to put on a blog, but she has absolutely no time to write one, and is also an intensely private person who doesn’t put much ‘Out There’ 🙂 I think she secretly likes her fame on here, as long as I don’t give too much away!

      I really quite enjoyed the challenge, even though in the end it turned out *I* couldn’t type fast enough for it! I loved writing it, though, and LOVE that I have so much to include, so much to appreciate. I really am very very very lucky 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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