Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. -Phil 4:8

It’s felt like a long and difficult month, with extra-big failures, sickness, snow, work stress, relationship anxieties, and more. It’s been easy to keep repeating this litany of misfortunes to myself, affirming my misery. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m having a hard time sleeping and body image issues keep coming up, always signs I’m feeling anxious and out of control.

What combats this downward spiral? Filling my mind with “things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Actively focusing on and being thankful for those things. Not dwelling on the bad, but finding the good.

In that spirit, I’m thankful for:

  • My job. I get to have a job! And it’s one I love, that suits me to a T, and that I excel at. It takes the help of a lot of people–Ian, our parents, our friend who watches B during the week–and I’m also thankful for all those people who make my going to work possible. And, despite tight and constant deadlines, this is the first time I’ve really felt the pressure as anxiety over achieving my deadlines…and the only time I’ve made a serious mistake. I hope to keep that to a minimum!
  • Our family’s health. Sure, we get viruses, but we don’t have any ongoing health problems. Our immune systems work. We all can expect to get up and have a normal day most days without interference from physical infirmity. That’s a huge thing to be thankful for that I know I take for granted all too often.
  • The weather. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think the Seattle area is one of the most beautiful places to live, bar none. I mean, granted, I haven’t been everywhere else, but I know what we’ve got here. We’ve got mountains and oceans, some of the only temperate rain forest in the world, and it’s green year-round on this side of the mountains. And our “unseasonably cold” weather the last 10 days is warmer than the high temperature in many parts of the country.
  • Friends and family. I’m so thankful I get to spend most Saturdays with Dad doing fun and challenging rides that he spends a lot of time organizing each week. It’s so great having someone I know will help push me, but who won’t abandon me when I’m slower. We look out for each other. And then there’s our other ride buddies, guys who show up consistently to Dad’s rides, some of whom we’ve known for years, and who have become my good friends. I’m thankful for those relationships, especially when it brought me Mike Cohen, who’s been my commute buddy from Seattle to back home since I started at my job downtown. I’m thankful for those relationships and that time spent, even as they’re changing.

There. In every circumstance I’ve been telling myself things are terrible, there’s something to be thankful for.

But then there’s also this, which my coworker and I made for future use (what? doing paper and glue craft projects at work isn’t work?! I say it’s “building morale,” so there). I’m sure we won’t ever need to use it. As I always like to say, “We never make big misteaks.”

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