This time of year can be such a joy. There are all the lights, the savory smells, families gathering to celebrate. Everyone is talking about what they are thankful for, how they are blessed and what blessings they have to come.

For some, this time of the year is hard. The sunsets earlier, they don’t feel like eating much, and the family never seems to have time. Seeing blessings and things to be thankful for can be a challenge.

Whichever you fall under, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. I feel it is a great time to look back on the year and see how far you have come. Whether you have overcome many things, accomplished difficult things or honestly if you just made it through the year by gritting your teeth and pushing through, you have something to be thankful for. When you can look back at the past year and see your accomplishments, no matter how small they seem to you, it is easier to look ahead to the new year and try to set goals.

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This past year we have had many blessings in my home and in my close circle. My hubby was promoted in the Army National Guard. We purchased and moved into our first home. There were others that moved into new homes. People started college who were teens as well as adults. New pets were acquired and are treasured. Personal businesses have done well. Better vehicles were purchased when the old ones died.

There were difficult times in their as well, believe me, but when I think about all the above, I cannot help but be thankful. 

I have friends who have lost loved ones this year. Ones who have had a tree fall on structures on their property and water pipes burst. I have friends who had their job threatened by ill-meaning people. I have a family member who is struggling to make the right decisions for their special needs children. A family who have had their power shut off a time or two. A family that are not getting along with the rest of the family and it tears them apart. Tension, fighting, and sadness.

These struggles are very obvious and difficult to get through but they have.

When you look at the blessings and the hardships above, you would think that they all are from different people every time. They are not and that is the point I am trying to make. When you read over the blessings, you probably felt happy and smiled. When you read over the hardships, you probably were concerned and saddened. The thing about being thankful is it is a perspective, a way of looking at life, and sometimes one someone must purposefully choose.

Choose to be thankful, especially in tough times.

I know just how difficult this can be. I have slid into dark times before and been stuck for weeks. I know this will be a struggle for some, especially if they are so stuck in the hard times that they just cannot name anything good right now. Stick with it. Be purposeful.

My older boy is a very logical (to him right now) child. If it doesn’t make sense to him, then it isn’t true. When he struggles, all he can see is the struggle and not the good around him. He can struggle with his school and his sister is trying to help him but all he sees is how difficult his school is. He can struggle with a new activity such as mountain biking and will get stuck complaining at how his muscles hurt, he can’t keep balance, or it is just not possible, and completely miss the time he is spending with his dad one on one. He will get on a downward spiral and the whole day falls apart.

Tell me three positive things

Recently we have started having him tell us three positive things for every time he gets into a frustrated rant. The obvious ones are not allowed either. He can’t say he has a roof over his head, food in his belly, and a warm bed. He has to think about three positives from that very day. There was no rain today. He was able to go play with his friends. He finished the English assignment (and he is not allowed to make that a negative by saying how he struggled unnecessarily or how much he hated it). Often times, he starts talking about the positive and then thinks of a fun event that day he wants to share or something silly he just thought of.

Being thankful is not always easy but it is a blessing in of itself

I love this time of the year and the reflective mood I find myself in every year. My reflections are not always good ones or easy to handle but they are helpful as I look ahead. I love seeing my family grow and change every year and helping them see all the blessings around them. I love looking at the accomplishments of my friends and family and talking to them about what they are thankful for and what they look forward to in the coming year.

I am Thankful

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Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it.  As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.

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