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Thankful Thursdays #59: Looking back with thankfulness, and forward with hope

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I’m so thrilled to introduce my guest blogger today, Jenna from Jenna’s Everything Blog. I really have no clue how I first found her, but I do remember the first post I read, an endearing & hilarious poem to her then-pregnant sister, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

As you may have guessed from the title of her blog, Jenna writes about pretty much anything and everything, including food and recipes, her family, her music gigs, photography, books, and her faith.  Jenna is a rare and precious soul that is kind, carefree, positive, and loving.  We share a love for food and family, and also a bond as sisters in Christ.  Needless to say, this gal is pretty special to me.  I hope you love her as much as I do.

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Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be here, and I love you all already. Why? Because you read Veronica’s blog, so you must therefore a) have good taste, b) share her great sense of humor, and c) love food.

I have been a faithful reader of Veronica’s blog for quite a while now, and I’m glad she’s getting her beauty rest from blogging this month so that she can recover and continue her mission of entertaining us, encouraging us, and giving us delicious recipes in the months to come! Blogging burnout is NOT something I wish on her, so even though I miss her daily posts, I’m thankful that she’s taking care of herself.

Which brings me to the topic of today—thankfulness.

I don’t know about you, but I love Veronica’s Thankful Thursdays posts. They remind me to keep my perspective on everything that happens in life—not just because I’m an optimist, or a generally happy-go-lucky gal (which I am, with a streak of melancholy to balance me out)—but because I believe the truth that everything works together for good for those who love God. He will use my circumstances, my skills, even my sins, for my benefit. Just like a loving parent, who will use their child’s mistakes and sins as a learning experience to help shape them into a better person and teach them something valuable for the future, God isn’t going to let anything—good or bad—go to waste. And that is surely something to be thankful for!

At the end of every year and the beginning of a new one, I like to look back and think about all the things that have happened, good and bad alike, try to see the big picture, evaluate lessons learned, and allow myself to imagine what God may have in store for me in the coming year. This exercise for many of us, with its writing down of resolutions and cataloguing of the previous year’s events, can sometimes be discouraging. For me, it involved reviewing last year’s resolutions, many of which I didn’t accomplish—or even attempt! For example, I was supposed to make this Sugar Cream Pie recipe. My husband’s Aunt Laura gave me her mom’s original recipe card, and I thought it would be meaningful to make it, since my husband had such a special relationship with his grandma. The pie is simple enough—but I never got around to it, dangit. (Please tell me I’m not alone in totally dropping the ball on something so simple!)

I also made a lengthy list of things to do this year, which includes some big projects and goals I have no idea if I will complete to my satisfaction. Honestly, when I look at my list I feel a little inkling of dread, like maybe I’m doomed before I even start.

The things that have been keeping me in check while processing all this are two: thankfulness for the past, and hope for the future. I look at last year, and while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get as much done as I could have, that’s not what I want to dwell on. There’s nothing wrong with going back and evaluating, but dwelling in disappointment isn’t going to get me anywhere. Colossians says we’re supposed to be “overflowing with thankfulness.” And the big-picture perspective that I engage in during my end-of-the-year musings is a perfect place for that to happen. I may not have made that sugar cream pie, but I am so thankful that I’ve had the money to make so many other meals for my husband, myself, our families and friends. I may not have blogged every single business day all year long—but that pales in my thankfulness for the wonderful connections I’ve made through blogging, the lovely Veronica being one of them, and the encouragement that each thoughtful comment has given my heart. God doesn’t remove his blessing when we fail—instead, he weaves it through our entire lives, through failure and success alike.

And with regards to the future and the newly minted 2012? Hebrews encourages us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” And what motivates the runner into that perseverance but hope? Hope of finishing well. Runners don’t run looking back—they run looking ahead, towards the prize. For me, this year, the ‘prizes’ I seek are many, and I’ll be blogging about that in my own space at some point. But I want to get rid of my dread and look ahead with hope.

So anyway, I’d just like to encourage you all to look at the past year with thankfulness—and look at the coming year with hope. Go back to your list of New Year’s resolutions with those lenses, and see how it changes things for you.

Love you guys!

Jenna

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

10 responses »

  1. Another WONDERFUL Post! Thank You! And Thank God for providing! SO enjoy what He has orchastrated through Veronica!

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  2. Thank you for hostessing Jenna’s post today, Veronica. Hope you have a relaxing, restoring break! And Jenna — great thoughts and great advice. (Loved your reference to Romans 8:28, too.) This was a wonderful start to my day… to the year!

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  3. Hee, hee, I love the love that goes back and forth between you two. Great post, Jenna. As always. Fun to be subscribed to both of you.

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  4. I appreciate the spiritual earthiness of cooking and loving as you dish it up here today. Often I think that, due to our own foibles, anxieties and limitations it can be difficult to love each other “as our selves,” because it can be a little hard to love ourselves on certain days (but not, hopefully, on Thankful Thursdays). That’s one reason that I find parenting itself to be a great potential place of thankfulness and a place where the living God shows up so powerfully for those of every faith (and even those with no faith, but only love for their children)—for if we love the world, and each other, as our children (who we tend to love even more than we love our mere selves) perhaps we get a step closer to the core spirit of Christ and the all-encompassing and unifying wisdom and transformative power of Love, particularly if God is Love. Perhaps the great awakening we yearn for, truly together at humans with so many different experiences and paths, comes in just these sorts of ways, the ways in which you Jenna and you Veronica write, cook and generally roll.

    I have no interest in being right about anything anymore, but I have every interest in loving, connecting and appreciating. So Thanks!

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  5. This reminds me of a blog I wrote about 3 years ago. It was my b-day and I was on my way to work when I went into the ditch (icy roads). I ended up being in front of my husband’s shop (almost taking down his mailbox) and he was able to pull me out. After pulling me out another vehicle came crashing down the side of the road landing on their roof! (They were unharmed). I got home that night and realized my dog had figured out how to open the door between “her” room and the entire house. She ate a 6 x 6 inch chunk out of a one-year old chair. She ate two remotes and then she left a pile of poo for me in the bathroom!!
    I could have said, “Oh what a horrible birthday!” blah, blah, blah. But, I didn’t.
    I did grab a glass of wine, sit in the newly designed chair and laughed. I laughed and laughed. Once I thought of everything it was all fine. My car was not damaged, I did not get hurt. Where I went in the ditch couldn’t have been a more ideal location. The chair, well, it’s a chair…it’s just a material thing. The remotes, buy another one (or two) at the dollar store. The poo…was on a rug, I just threw the whole thing away. Things could have turned out alot differently. I was lucky.
    Thanks for posting today Jenna! xoxo

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    • Although I don’t think I read that one, it does sound familiar! Myspace is so user unfriendly now and I scrolled for millions of years trying to find that post, to no avail. My computer finally stopped letting me hit “more” and I only made it to like March of 2010. Booo, I wanted to read it! Well, I guess you pretty much rewrote it for me and yeah, sometimes we gotta roll with the punches (seriously? sliding into a ditch, a ruined chair and poo’ed on rug for your birthday? LOL-no wonder you were laughing) and just focus on the silver lining. Good for you. :)

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  6. Pingback: Thankful Thursday | Loving My Chaos

  7. Aw, I can see why you find a bond with Jenna…she’s warm and blessed and full of wisdom like you! I, too, love your thankful thursdays. It keeps me in check to find God’s grace and wonderful, intrinsic deeds in my daily life.

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  8. Oh Jenna, I always love your perspective on just about everything. It’s so optimistic with a good dose of common sense and always leaves me appreciative of everything that has happened, good or bad, and hopeful for the future!

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  9. Jenna—nice to meet you and I will check out your blog. I look forward to Veronica’s Thankful Thursdays every week. Even when I am having the crappiest week ever at work, her posts pick me up, slap me across the face, and reinforce that I need to quite whining and look around.

    For instance, as I am typing (at work on a Saturday!!!!), I am looking out the window of my office and watching some yellow finches feeding at our bird feeders.

    1. I am thankful that I have a courtyard (and a window in my office) that I can enjoy.
    2. I am thankful that I remembered to fill the feeders this week.
    3. I am thankful that I am at work today because I have seen some outstanding and smart young people.
    4. I am thankful that I took a break to sneak a blog-read in.

    Thanks Jenna and Veronica for putting things in perspective once again for me!

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