At the beginning of 2014, I started keeping a jar of good memories. Every time something good happened, something made me smile, I received a surprise gift, accomplished goals, had “lol” moments, daily blessings, and just had any memories that were worth saving, I added it to the jar. I admit I didn’t always remember to jot down the good things so I’d have these memories to relish at the end of the year, but as I read the slips of paper today, I smiled the entire time. I only wish I had written down all the things that made me smile because this is one way to remember that 2014 was a good year.
Some of the highlights of the year were:
I met someone who changed my life this year, my best friend.
There were lots of moments of being entertained by Cameron. He went through a period where he had not an imaginary friend, but an imaginary son. His wife’s name was Quinsley. And there were lots of “lol” moments from him.
Sharon Draper and Pearl Cleage, two authors whose work I admire, agreed to be spotlighted in my Ten Questions, Ten Answers column on this blog. I was super honored to have them featured on my blog.
I had my getaway at the Garden of Dreams bed & breakfast in Eureka Springs. The time away provided time for reflection and lots of time for writing and reading. I came back feeling rejuvenated. It was my first big girl trip away from home.
I received a surprise royalty check in the mail from Amazon for my book Tattered Butterfly Wings, which was published in 2014.
My son bought me a present for his birthday, a nice pen from Tiffany’s. He wanted to show his appreciation for all I’d done for him.
One of my blog followers called my work, “inspirational.”
My daughter graduated from the University of Memphis.
A fellow English teacher came and sought me out to tell me that I’d made quite an impression on one of my former students. She told me that this student writes about me and how I inspire her in a lot of her journal entries for the class.
On April 4, I was so happy talking to my best friend that “I smiled so hard & long that my face hurt.” I didn’t know that was really possible.
I got sparkly socks.
My best friend bought me a bouquet of flowers for my birthday.
My former students bought me gifts for Christmas. This was totally unexpected and very much appreciated.
As I read through these great memories, I felt truly grateful for all the moments I experienced this year. As this year is ending, I have experienced more than a few things to leave me feeling depressed. My car is out of commission and I don’t know yet what I’m going to do about it. My vacuum cleaner started smoking when I was using it. But reflecting on these moments keeps me feeling blessed. I’m not ending the year feeling defeated, just hoping for a replay of this year with some extras thrown in.
I wish I had been doing this before and I will definitely continue this through the years. As creative artists, it’s so easy to feel defeated, especially when we are sending our work out into the world, hoping for acceptance, and receive rejection letters instead. And I did receive my share of rejection letters this year. In fact, one of the slips of paper in my jar read: “I received a rejection letter this year that didn’t break me; it encourages me to continue writing.”
I share this with you so that you can come up with your own way to experience gratitude. An attitude of gratitude can make all the difference in the world. It lets the universe know that you appreciate what you have so that you can be rewarded with more.