Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful


I watched Sixty Minutes last night where they aired a special report on Central Florida. Of course I took note since I just moved away two months ago. The reporter said that 1/3 of all the homeless people in the country live in that area.

I turned to my husband, memories choking my words.”That could have been us in another year.”

Hard fact to accept as we set up our lives in a new state with a new job and new dreams.

On Saturday we discovered two thrift stores and were thrilled to buy books for seventy-five cents apiece and a pair of jeans for me for a dollar. My daughter doesn’t know what to think about our new found thriftiness.

She remembers us in a different life.

Before my husband lost his job, I spent hundreds of dollars a month on clothing and household  accessories, ate out when we wanted and set up vacations while my husband worked long hours at a job he loved. We could. We thought our future was fixed. We had saved for our retirement but also enjoyed the present.  The thought of buying used clothing was beyond me. I wasn’t a snob; I just never had to do that before. 

Life can change when we least expect it to. For good or for bad.  We’ve all experienced it—a family death, an inheritance, a new job, a loss.

For the past four years I have dreaded the holidays—being alone, away from friends and family, no money to travel or presents to buy and worry about our future. My husband and I spent the day alone again this year but not with the usual sadness of previous years.

Yes, we were thankful for my husband’s fulltime job and that God saw us through this difficult time in our lives. But mostly we were thankful for the way we look at life now. 

I take nothing for granted. Nothing. Not our income, our blessings, our daughter and her family and our good friends who were there for us each day while we waited for a change. 

Nor you—cyber friends. You’ve been here every week on my journey—encouraging me and supporting me and sharing your own trials with me.  I’m forever grateful, blessed and changed because of you. Thank you.

39 comments:

Amie Borst said...

the best part of your journey is you recognize and appreciate each step, no matter how difficult. thank you for sharing it with us!

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm thankful you're in a better place this year, Terri, and am inspired by the way you value the lessons learned during the lean times.

Tamika Eason said...

I thank God for you Terri. Yes, this life is full of trials but we can take heart because they are working for us an eternal glory that will not fade.

I want to stay aware of the moment by moment grace of God!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Thankful for you, Terri. Perspective and circumstances can change everything.

Powerful reminder of that.
~ Wendy

Ginny said...

I am so thankful for you! Being in the same situation, we take nothing for granted either. It is funny how you make changes in your life that you would have never ever thought to do, like shopping at thrift stores.
But God is faithful and He will pull you out of the depth of despair and bring you to a place of peace. Terri, you are very blessed!!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

:) Love a good thrift store......now if I could get my teenager to love we'd be in business!

I am so happy that you are in a better place and moving on to an even better place. Having that perspective of looking back and seeing the thankfulness even when things are drastically different can be a very teachable tool!

It is amazing what we can learn if only we will be willing to look at our own self with a critical eye!

Blessings
R

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm thankful for you too, Terri!

Carmen said...

Isn't it incredible how one thing can completely change our perspective, our ability, and our need. When I go through hard times (and I've been through many), there's always something I've learned; an appreciativeness for a God who loves me and also a realization that nothing stays the same forever except God! Take nothing for granted, but in all things be thankful! Wonderful post, Terri!

Loree Huebner said...

Beautifully written post, Terri.

God is always there with us, even in those most difficult times.

I'm so thankful to know you too.

Karen Lange said...

I am thankful for you as well, Terri. You were one of my early followers; you are a blessing and encouragement. I am so grateful we've met, and glad that you had a good holiday. :)

Lin Floyd said...

it's not the destination but how you enjoy the journey...

Jessica R. Patch said...

A truly beautiful and perfect post coming off of Thanksgiving. You inspire me, Terri!

Lynda R Young said...

I love the way God carries us through those difficult times and how He opens our eyes to appreciate all that we have.

Retired English Teacher said...

God has a way of really teaching us about gratitude, doesn't He? I am thankful things are better for you now. I find myself remembering when I didn't have to think that life could change drastically in just a moment. I truly did not appreciate what I had then.

Diane said...

"Terri Tiffany, Inspirational Writer" - your writing is so inspirational because you are as a woman. Thank you for your vulnerability and transparency and sharing your soul with us all!

Sassy Granny ... said...

Wisdom rarely comes with candy. I look back over my life and I'm amazed at how much pain & loss - even suffering - it took to get me to value things like virtue, or patience, or resourcefulness.

We had a pastor once say: God isn't in the least bit interested in your happiness, but He is ever so careful about your character.

I love watching how you've grown. So, so beautiful!

Rhonda Schrock said...

What a hard, but valuable lesson! I am so happy for you and your new chapter.

Life sure can change quickly and in ways we never dreamed. But God never does, and I'm thankful for that!

Rachna Chhabria said...

You are so appreciative of what you had, yet there is no bitterness over what you lost. You are indeed an inspiration to all of us, Terri. Hugs.

Jeanette Levellie said...

How wonderful of God to take the horrible situation that Satan meant to ruin you, and turn it around to help you see life in a better light. I'm thrilled for you!

Maria I. Morgan said...

Thank YOU for being transparent and sharing your heart, Terri! It's been an encouragement to see your reliance on God. I know He'll use you greatly in your new location! God bless you!

Sarah Forgrave said...

I saw that segment on 60 Minutes too. In fact, I was watching it while trying to visit your site last night, but my internet was being wonky. How ironic.

It's sobering to see what could happen to all of us, isn't it? I'll never forget the dad who found a job as a trash man and couldn't stop smiling. Puts my daily worries into perspective, for sure.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Life sure is this crazy wild ride of a journey isn't it?

There's that old saying that if money can fix it then it really isn't a "Problem" - but we all know that lack of money sure can be a danged Problem!--- but I know what they meant - that money may come and go, but some things when they come to us are magical and some things when they leave us are devastating so we must remember those Non Monetary Things to turn to when we are feeling worry about money.

You are a strong and wonderful woman . . . and you have so many friends who love you. That's a great NMT to hug against you when things become stressful.

*HUGS!*

Heidi Willis said...

Sometimes we wonder why God lets us go through those hard times. This post is a great example why.

Stacy Henrie said...

Absolutely loved this post, Terri! Thanks for sharing your journey of the past few years and what you've learned.

Susan said...

Hi Terri! It's true that we never know when things in our lives are going to change...for good or for bad.

I do know that God is a very good teacher and a strict disciplinarian. When He wants to get His point across, oh boy, He sure can do it to make us remember and to learn.

But He is also, as you know, a faithful God.

Congrats on the thriftie store bargains. I'm so spoiled I hate to pay full price for anything!
Susan

Sally said...

How are you settling into your new home? What are you beginning to like about Austin? Praying that the peace and joy of Christmas is TEXAS sized for you this year.

Rahul Bhatia said...

When the going gets tough , the tough get going! A lovely inspiring post!

Lynn said...

Life has a way of bringing out the best in ways we would never, ever expect. You were faithful through all of your trials, and blessed because of it. Thanks for sharing your story. I am inspired.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Sounds like you've come to some amazing realizations.

I love thrift stores :-)

Nancy said...

I'm praying for God's abundance in your life. I love the way you are handling the situation and I know that God's blessings will find you in Texas or wherever you are.

Warren Baldwin said...

Glad things are still on the up and up!! We have a soon-to-be son-in-law looking for a job now, and my daughter will be in a few weeks.

I think this statement of yours is the key to much of life's happiness and contentment: "I take nothing for granted. Nothing. Not our income, our blessings, our daughter and her family and our good friends who were there for us ..."

God bless.

Ann Best said...

Circumstances CAN change, for any of us, any time. It's how we deal with misfortune that's important. It definitely is a test of our faith.

I have always lived in the "thrift" mode; and friends have always been there in times of need. Yes, I could be one of the "homeless" ones, and thus Gratitude IMO is so important. Like you, I'm forever grateful for good friends; "real life" friends and blogger friends. You're all wonderful! And I'm so glad you and your husband no longer experience that sadness. You do now have more empathy than some people have, and I think that's very important too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and commenting. It was great seeing your lovely face!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Terri, it's easy to take for granted how much we have to be grateful for...

Amish Stories said...

I too lived in central Florida but moved out late last year to Pennsylvania. I don't look back very much though in what Florida is doing as a state, and I'm enjoying my time being back up in the northeast. Richard

Hope Filled Living said...

Great post! I'm glad that you have such a great outlook and can see your blessings. We are kind of on the same journey.
Hugs,
Mary

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Terri,

I'm so, so glad that you're in a much better place now. Praise God He faithfully sustained you, and you DO have a GOOD future ahead of you.

I love your grateful attitude, in spite of all you've been through. You're a genuine inspiration!

Margo Berendsen said...

The Lord takes us on strange and unexpected paths, doesn't he? I remember when I realized that the Lord had made it clear to me that he really did want me to marry a certain guy (whom I loved, but had some concerns about) and I had to face the fact that he also wanted me to be a stepmom, me, who never really liked kids! A very strange road but I have never regretted it. Thank you for continuing to share your story.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I remember how thrifty my grandparents and parents were. They lived through the Depression. I've picked up some of their habits after bouts of unemployment.

The one thing I try not to do is get into fear about money. God's always provided my needs. I might not have luxuries, but I ask Him for wisdom on how to handle what I have.

Blessings,
Susan

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I just commented on another blog about something similar. A challenging moment in my life eight years ago in which I almost became homeless. After leaving an abusive husband, going though divorce, my boy, 14 at the time, and I spent two weeks in a motel, until I found a suitable apartment to move in. We moved in to our new apartment on Christmas eve. Just the two of us, we celebrated christmas with a meal I fixed, and thanked God for being safe and in our home, no more in a motel. Since then, I never take anything for granted.

I thank you for introducing me to the world of writing and blogging.

Blessings.

Doris