Gratitude Challenge Day #1

      7 Comments on Gratitude Challenge Day #1

Gratitude Challenge Day #1

Welcome to the first day of our 2016 Happiness Planner Giveaway! Here’s how to win:

For the week of Thanksgiving – Monday, November 23 to Friday, November 27 – we challenge you to five days of gratitude.

Each day starting today, Dawn and I will post what we are thankful for and will look for what you are thankful for in the comment section of each post. Everyone who leaves us a comment on each of the five daily posts will have their name put into a random drawing for a 2016 In the Garden of Happiness Planner!

Let’s get started! I can’t wait to read your comments and discover what everyone is grateful for this Thanksgiving!


IMG_5536I want to start out this week of gratitude taking a cue from my friend Darleen Alvarez and say how thankful I am for my husband Scott. This past summer I completed my masters degree, a goal I never could have accomplished without his unwavering support. He took on extra responsibilities at home, wrote me notes of encouragement, sent me flowers when I was down, and kept my eye on the prize when I was ready to throw in the towel.

I wish they could have put his name on the diploma along with mine. He truly deserves an honorary masters degree for toiling through all the ups and downs by my side. So, thank you Scott for being the thoughtful, caring, and supportive husband we all dream of. I couldn’t have done it without you!


This fall, I’ve had the opportunity to join an amazing organization called Rotary. My membership in our local club, Rome Rotary, allows me to connect with wonderful people in my community, and we’re also part of a much larger, international organization with the motto “Service Above Self.” Rotary groups around the globe are tackling important projects from working to build peace through understanding to fighting to eradicate polio worldwide. (Visit if you’re interested in learning more about that!)

Globe in a drop of waterWhile I am proud to be part of Rotary and am thankful for the work my local chapter and Rotarians around the world are doing, that’s not really what I wanted to focus on today. I want to talk about something more, well… elemental.


Through Rotary’s magazine, I learned about a book by Charles Fishman called The Big Thirst. When I told people I was reading about water, a lot of people asked, “Why?”

Because everyone should read this book.  

As Fishman explains, “…on this very day, more than a billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, and…before the calendar turns on another day, five thousand children will die because they lack clean water, or from an illness they got from tainted water.” Unfortunately that news really isn’t anything new. But this book gave me a greater understanding of how the lack of access to water can enslave people.

Many young girls in our world can’t go to school because they have to spend the day walking to get water.

Others, men and women alike, can’t have a job with regular hours because they have to stand in line for water.

It’s so easy to forget how lucky I am to live in an area with abundant water, to have been born in a country where when I turn on the tap, I completely expect water to come gushing out at any moment, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (and even 366 next year!). Fishman’s book has helped me to be grateful for that blessing and to ask myself how I can turn that gratitude into a way of helping others.

7 thoughts on “Gratitude Challenge Day #1

  1. Teresa M

    i am lying in my warm, cozy bed as I read this blog. My bed is in one of my four bedrooms. When finished writing this, I will go to my kitchen filled with wonderful appliances and make breakfast, being sure I am careful not to spill a drop of my coffee on the fresh hardwood floor my awesome hubby will stain tonight (after having removed the old floor and placed every plank of the new one). I’ll throw some of my varity of clothing into a couple of machines, and they will come out fresh and clean. I’ll remove my fall decorations and happily start decorating for Christmas, aiming for that Pinterest look! When finished, the house will glow and sparkle and be filled with an aire of Magic. My house will reflect the excitement and joy of the holiday season, which makes my happy.

    While I am grateful for all of the blessings mentioned above, today I will focus on my home- my sanctuary of safety, my nest for my chicks and chicklet, my recharge station, my little peace-on-earth place. Not everybody has a home, and many who do are not able to call it peaceful. So, now I will go begin my busy day and go spend time taking care of what I am blessed to have!

    1. Dana Thompson Post author

      This is so true Teresa and I’m so thankful for the reminder! Especially this time of year when there seems to be so much cleaning to be done with company coming over for the holidays, I often find myself grumbling about household chores. I need to remember those who may not have a home with the cold weather coming, a warm bed, running water, and working appliances. I love my home and I am so blessed to have it! I need to do better to remember that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jennifer Chandler

    Today I want to share my gratitude for my family. Not only am I grateful every day for my children, but as the years go by, I am amazed at the strength and love my family has given me on a daily basis. My life has changed dramatically over the years taking twists and turns that I could not have imagined. However no matter which direction my life went, whether up or down, I knew that I could go and confide in my mother and father as well as my brother and his family. They never ask anything in return,;they just give of themselves tirelessly. When I step back and Take a look at the lives of so many of my friends, I don’t always see that tight thread of family being secure, and my heart breaks for those that don’t have their love ones with them during this holiday season. The love of family makes you laugh, give you security, and holds you in the midst of sadness. I am forever grateful to the family that God blessed me with here on this earth

    1. Dana Thompson Post author

      Family is so important and their love and support is something we should all cherish. My husband and I both lost our dads when they were far to young to be gone from this earth and we miss them every day. The holidays are a great time to remember the blessings they brought to our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Nancy Mount

    Day one I am thankful for the crazy that is my family. That may seem trite; however I want to mindfully embrace today that special combination of people that put the ‘fun’ back in dysfunctional. This consists of my six children, their assorted spouses and offspring as well as my sister-in-law.

    Most every day is crazy in my world with all the assorted people, places, and things that are my responsibility, but weekends are especially nuts as everyone usually ends up at my house at some time over the weekend, especially Sundays around dinner time.

    This weekend was more upside down than usual, as I had 8 adults, two grandsons, and three dogs all screaming at each other, the TV, the dogs, and in play. I took three FaceTime calls from one missing child just checking in …three times…in the midst of chaos. Then came the two texts from the other missing child asking random questions (What happened to that Tupperware egg tray that grandmother used to use?), this being the grandmother that has been gone 12 years. I, on the other hand, was trying to rearrange the furniture so the tree can go up this week, deep clean the kitchen, switch the Christmas dishes with the plain ones, and prepare a meal for the horde and finish in time to grade papers for today.

    I was just about to pop, when one of my grandsons slid into the kitchen (yes, that is an actual game: “socks on the kitchen floor”). He said, “Hey, Nana. I love you,” and slid out again. At that moment I realized how fortunate I am. All the other stuff isn’t important as long as we love each other. My heart is so full when I think of each bone-headed one of them and I even find myself looking forward to Thursday, when all 15 will be here screaming, sliding, barking, laughing and, most of all, loving.

  4. Dana Thompson Post author

    LOL! Nancy, I LOVE this!! You paint a wonderful picture of how many families function with a bit of craziness, a bit of frustration, and a LOT of love! We too are looking forward to having 13 people over on Thanksgiving day – some family by blood and marriage, some family by association. Make that 18 with our 5 dogs, all very friendly, people-loving critters who want to be at the center of it all. I love that you embrace the craziness with gratitude and a positive attitude!


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