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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Is "A Grateful 2013" Over?


     I started this blog almost a year ago with the intention of blogging about all the things I'm grateful for.  It morphed into a faith/travel/running/health/babysitting/college-life blog where I attempted to recount my close encounters with nature and my deep desire to grow closer with God.
     Let's take a look back at my first blog post.  That's where it all began and it's where I'm reminiscing as the year comes to a close.  I name my blog after this "quest," and as I've experienced this first year of blogging, I'm so glad that "A Grateful 2013" was a part of it.
     While the blog name has stayed the same (A Grateful Life Lived), I admit that my focus has strayed as the year has gone on.  I tried to consistently blog about something I was grateful for-- purposefully opting for small blessings in many cases.  While I'm a bit disappointed I wasn't able to be more regular with this gratitude journal of sorts, I am so glad that I embarked on this journey because I grew so much along the way.  My relationship with God has grown so much this year.  I've taken a deeper look into His grace,  His peace, His joy, His love and His presence!  I have grown in thankfulness as I have grown closer to him, so I would say that A Grateful 2013 has been far from a failure.  It has shown me that I need to be diligent in closely looking at life around me.  If my heavenly father is doing all these things-- big and little-- to show his love for me, the least I can do is train myself to pay closer attention so I can enjoy these things!
     That brings me to the present: December 31.  The last day of the year.  What comes next?  Well, I certainly don't plan on ceasing all gratitude and thankfulness for God's blessings.  I also recognize that it's time for a new beginning, a new challenge.  A few months ago, I read "Practicing His Presence" and wrote a series of blog posts that probably demonstrated an extreme love for that book.  Seriously: it changed my perspective so much in regard to God's place in my everyday life and thoughts.  It was around that time that God gave me the idea for my "theme" in 2014: A Presence Filled 2014.
     I realized that sensing God's presence on a daily basis is something that takes time and it takes a lot of work.  It takes training, but it reaps great rewards of joy and peace.
     For the immediate weeks after reading "Practicing His Presence", that is exactly what I did.  I practiced meditating on God during particular hours of the day, slowly growing that time until I was thinking of him more and more.  Then, life intervened.  The immediate impact of the book faded a little and my regular efforts to pray and thank God slowly diminished.
     That is why I am dubbing 2014 the year of Practicing God's Presence.  My scope is limited to my own blog, but as far as I'm concerned: A Presence Filled 2014 is a universal theme.  It will be in my life.
     I will blog on my sacred moments with God, the revelations that he gives me and even the times when I 'm listening but I can't hear a thing.  That's the point: not to show that I am a perfect vessel of Christ, but that I am consistently seeking more of Him in my thought life.  From thoughts flow actions, from actions flow lifestyles and from lifestyles flow my character and who I am.  That is why this is such an important theme, and one I am excited to kick off tomorrow.
     Thank you for coming along on A Grateful 2013 with me.  Yes, A Grateful 2013 is about over, but a grateful life continues regardless of time.   You might notice that my blog is titled: A Grateful Life Lived.  There's no expiration on that aside from my own death.  As I venture into A Presence Filled 2014, I will take with me the lessons I learned from A Grateful 2013.  I sincerely hope that you will as well.



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