Gratitude Challenge – Here I Go…

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

30 Day Gratitude Challenge, with gratitude to Crystal Wilkerson for creating these prompts. I normally use all my own images if I can, but I try to give credit where it is due. Both of today’s images were created by her, and her link is below.


Preface: So, as some of you might have figured, or read from my first post, this whole blog is about growth. I am starting with almost nothing, in both my life, and when it comes to this journey/experiment. In my life, I started completely over three years go. I moved from the east coast, to the west coast. I had lost my home, a lot of family, my life as I knew it, and some other truly precious things, which I might go into later. I came out here, with much of my stuff in pods, the rest of it in a truck I drove, my beat up old car on a trailer behind me, one cat, and a very battered spirit. A dear friend took me in, and basically I had given up hope. I just trudged through day to day, not really living, staying hidden away, just eating and breathing and sleeping, with this deep down hope that I could just do that until I could pass away. I would never do anything like take my own life, but I did not want to live either.  I was merely existing.

Over time, things in myself/my life started to get the down time I needed, and I started to heal. An energy, a love in me, started to heal. My mother was always filled with love, hope, courage, and perseverance, so there was no escaping it was in me. In time, I met a man who, well I am convinced we were designed with each other in mind. His soft-spoken, thoughtful manner, yet quiet strength came into my life, and has since been a part of what has slowly lifted me up. But the fact is, a part of me deep down had to be willing, and I had to have that time to observe the world around me, pressures temporarily away from me, to regroup, and much time to heal. We found each other at just the right time. 

Gratitude..something I have known for some time, I needed to keep close to my heart. A couple years ago I once started a gratitude journal, where I would just write lists of things I felt grateful for. I knew, and had seen from others around me, the more we highlight and accentuate the positive in us and around us, the more we see it, the more it takes us over, the more we become it! And when you fill yourself with positive, eventually, you push out the negative…it just has no room anymore! Mind you, it takes a REAL LOT of practice.

At first, I begrudged so much. And I often still do. I grew up with certain aspects of my family inducing negative in me. You get these “pre-recorded tapes” in your head. You get programmed with self-doubt, doom and gloom, and general negativity.  When bad things happened, I found myself playing those tapes in my head, mostly subconsciously mind you, and I ended up just being a victim.  And that is okay temporarily. We all need to live there sometimes, to lick our wounds, have compassion we might have lacked in our lives, and just regroup. But eventually, I needed to move out, or I would become a permanent resident of that “victim space”, and of suffering. Many can cause us to suffer, but somehow, we often wind up being some of the biggest causes of our own suffering.

 I am at the point where I feel grateful now, more than ever, but it’s not enough! When bad things happen, those tapes click on in my head, and I find myself complaining under my breath, getting mad, feeling like a victim, and getting mired in it all.  It is like a little monster in our heads, hearts, and subconscious.  While I have that gratitude now, its time to nurture it, feed it, grow it up, and make it so strong, that it just moves that negative monster right out! Negativity, there is NO ROOM for you anymore! Get out! Gratitude…move on in! And if the space I provide for you is not big enough, then work with me to clear this clutter out, and lets give you loads of space! And to the energy in the world around me, I shout out, POSITIVE is WELCOME! Come on in, I am ready for you.

Like the body and the mind, the psyche needs be worked to get it strong, and gratitude is part of that. You do not start an exercise program and in one day you have this rock like muscle. It takes time and work and effort. You move the muscle each day, work it, and nurture. In time that muscle gets stronger and stronger. And even when it burns a little, while you don’t push to the point of hurting yourself, you still keep going until you reach your desired result. I am going to be realistic here. I do not expect to emerge from this a week from now, a month from now, or even a year from now and suddenly I will be completely positive or Dalai Lama-like. Things like this can take years, even a lifetime. But, even if I have to fake it until I make it, I will keep going…good days or bad days. I will get there in this life, if I have to climb a hundred more mountains.  So here I go, making that gratitude muscle strong one day. I will work it, hopefully daily, but if not, just as much as I can.  Like my bicep, it is there, but rather wimpy and small. Time to pump up the volume! 😉



Okay, so preamble and my blabberings aside, here is the challenge. My highest goal is to do some sort of exercise in gratitude every day. I know that life is not that simple. It’s chaotic and stuff happens. But ultimately, I will just continue, even if I stumble and fall, even if I miss days, I will get up and keep going. I did a lot of searching on the various daily gratitude challenges out there. Many if not most or all of them are wonderful. But like anyone else, I needed one that felt right for me. I needed one that not only made me think about gratitude, but gave me some sort of writing AND mental activity to accomplish this goal. I have settled on what I think, will help this journey along the best for me. Many of you might have seen in your online travels, or heard about Crystal Wilkerson. I love her work. She made a 30 day gratitude challenge that I really love. I have been meaning to do it for nearly a year now. Procrastination kept moving in, and helping me to put if off. For this season of thankfulness, it is time.

In honor of thanksgiving, now only a few days away, I start this challenge. At first I wanted to do this for the whole month of November, etc, but circumstances here have delayed things. That’s okay! I find it kind of apprapo that I will be doing this challenge into the month of December. It is a season of love and giving with the holidays coming,  and the end to another year. So, this challenge will cross three paths! It will come through the season of thanfulness, the season of love and giving, and the season of endings and new beginnings. I find that so poetic! My outer most goal is to do it every day, but I am going to start off slower and do one either every other day or a couple a week, and hopefully build up to a more daily one. I am not going to be hard on myself when I do not do it, nor feel bad. I will simply just get back up from falling, and continue on until I get there.  I will not stop until I finish the entire 30 day challenge. When it is done, I might even follow another, or come up with a new one of my own. But, for now, I am somewhat dry on ideas there. So, I will work that muscle until it is strong on it’s own.

Will you come with me on this journey? Please feel free to chime in your thoughts on each day’s prompt if you like. Or perhaps you can grab a notebook and write down your responses as well. Or, if you are not up to those, just read and follow along on mine if that suits you instead. I would, as always, love to hear what others think and share this with any of you. But, if I have to go it alone, I will. I am that determined! =)  Well, not exactly alone, I have people in my life that love me, and I know my sweetheart and furry sweetheart, will be there with me every step of the way cheering me on. If nothing else at all, I hope anything in this journey, or any of my journeys, can bring you inspiration. Whatever that monster is in your life, I say, you can do it. Take it on, conquer it, and move it out! {{insert audience cheering sound clip here}}



 Before I answer the very first prompt I will tell you two more things. One, I am not going to follow these in order. I am going to pick one out each day that I do it, either what suits how I am feeling that day and what I am up to doing, or maybe even at random.  I will do all of them until they are all complete. The second thing is, I would like to thank Crystal Wilkerson for creating these. I wrote her and asked permission to use these on my blog, and she was gracious enough to offer her blessings to do them, and even wished me well in doing so.  Thank you Crystal! You did a very beautiful and thoughtful job creating these. You can find her wonderful work at this site: 


Forgive me for this preface being a bit long, but I wanted to give you some background, and explore the topic of gratitude and change. After today’s edition, my preface, if any at all, will be much shorter.

I picked this particular prompt because it fits what I am going through right now, so perfectly. And it also happens to be the actual day one on the challenge. How serendipitous. So, without further ado, here is the first day’s edition:




Day 1 - Gratitude Challenge

Day 1 – Gratitude Challenge




 Day 1 : When Trials Have Become Blessings in My Life:

Two trials come to mind right now.  One is all of the ones that led up to my move here. The other is the one I am going through right now. One I can tell you, most of what the good things are that have come out of it, the other I cannot tell you yet, but I am open to that possibility, and as I learn and discover what they are, I hope to share them with you.


The trials that led me out west and to where I am now; I am not ready to share all of them yet. Some are very hard to talk about or feel more personal. Some are just very painful. But, I have given you a rough sketch of a whole life turned upside-down, and completely changed. I basically lost everything, except my cat, a good chunk of my belongings (lost a lot of that too), and my car.  I was lucky enough to walk away with some money from the sale of my house. But circumstances left me with taking a huge loss, and I barely got 20% of what it was worth. It was enough to get across country, sustain me for a couple years, and buy an RV to live in until I could get on my feet. That process is still in the workings, but I am slowly getting there. This blog is a part of my own self-therapy.  It has been the most painful time of my life, ever, bar none. It is not just one trial, but a series of multiple trials that has taken a huge toll on my life, and on those I love. The good things to come out of it, are only just starting the last couple years, and I have a feeling, there are more to come. If I had not come out here, I would not have found the man I love with all my heart. If I had not come out here, I would not have found my precious Milo, and if I had not come out here, I would not have discovered in full experience, one of the truest friends anyone could ever ask for. I also, have discovered just how strong I really am, and allow that to fuel me forward whenever things feel painful or hard again.

I always say, “If I could drive 40 feet of train (my rented moving truck and car trailer) across country 3000 miles, by myself, with a 19 year old cat to take care of (senior kitties definitely require a lot more TLC and love, especially when bringing them long distance,) leave everything I knew behind, and start a new life…I can do anything!”

I cannot imagine never meeting my sweetheart, which I would not have, had I not moved out here. It is my hope and intention, to spend the rest of my life with this man. This IS the one.

Then there is my best friend, the one who took me in, when even family wouldn’t have done that…there are no words. I have learned what true love really is, and how it should look. Even her marriage, has lasted over 20 years, and through really rough times, and good times. That is what marriage should look like. When others give up, go for divorce, and walk away, she and her husband have stood their ground and stuck it out, and now have a couple decades of life shared together. In a family of divorce after divorce, I even had one myself, I never got to see what loving someone through thick and thin, and really toughing it out and making it really looked like. Now I have, and truly know what I want for my life. She has also shown me what true friendship looks like, and even what a family should look like. She has shown me what is is to stick to your morals, no matter what, and live by them. She has shown me true giving in every sense of the word, and truly, what love really is.

And then there is Milo. He is the most unique cat I have ever known, and I have had a LOT of cats in my whole life. He is adorable looking for one, and has the greatest temperament I could ever hope for. He is half Maine Coon, so the breed tends to be laid back, clever, and have a wonderful disposition to begin with.  Mix that in with a cooky tabby, and you have quite the character. He is almost always well behaved. (Other than insisting on playing with my blind cords and ripping and chewing on them. Even when I tie them up and tuck them away, he manages to get to them and have fun with them.) He never goes outside his litter box, he grazes and eats his food only as he needs, which means his weight stays nice, and I can leave extra food out without worry. I am very picky about what he eats too, but I will save that for another time. He is sweet and affectionate, but rarely needy…unless I am gone for a period of time.  (Though I am the type that does not mind if a kitty is needy…I could just drown in their love and affection.) He even tends to get along with everyone and anything. He rarely ever hisses at another cat, just look at them curiously if they do, or gets scared and runs away. He is just SO laid back. And one of the best parts, he is SO cooky and clownish. He will get into his “wild man mode” and run from place to place, flop down on his back, embrace his scratch board, ears back, eyes wide like saucers, and start attacking it and just generally going crazy.  He will just attack thin air, usually on my bed. He will chase a bug relentlessly, and loves anything string like. He also has a stuffed animal, I call him “Larry the Lion” (all cloth stuffed animal lion, with no parts that he can choke on) that he will pick up in his mouth, carry around while mewing, and at times flop down and attack it and chew on it. Its quite an amusing process to watch. Everyone who meets this cat adores him, and he makes everyone laugh. I am even tempted to create a cartoon about him, despite there are so many cat characters out there. This cat has helped me through some of the darkest days of my life, always sweet, always sunny, and never expecting anything of me, and loving me just as I am, whether good or bad, neat or scruffy.

Okay, sorry for getting sidetracked there, I just love that kitty, as my numerous images of him will attest to. The point is, I have had many wonderful things happen to me, and wonderful people (and kitty) come into my life since being here.  Sometimes, some of the most wonderful, incredible things happen to you, as a result of some of the worst things EVER to happen in your life. I could not see that a few years ago. But I do now.  As I said before, I have a feeling there are other good things to come. But for now, those are the good ones to come from these horrific trials.

Flash forward, I am here going through all this stuff and muck. It is so very painful, I cannot even begin to tell you. I am wriggling and writhing through this process, begging it to be over.  My body hurts so much, for multiple reasons. Mainly, I am sleeping on a very bad bed. I have a very bad pinched sciatic nerve. This process requires a lot of backbreaking work to boot, I am in bad physical shape (that I will conquer too,) and the setting for it is miserable. BUT, I will get through it, and I keep my eye on mostly one ball! It will eventually  be over-with, and I will get to a point where I get rid of a lot of stuff, that has been a weight around my neck. And best of all, I will get home to my love, and life will get better.  This is indeed a very big trial.

The blessings of this trial you might wonder? So far, it is hard to tell. As I said above, I know it will be done with, that is a good thing, I know I will get rid of a lot of things, that is a good thing, and it will further show me how much strength I have, further fortifying me for other life trials. And we all know those never end while we are here. Beyond those good things/blessings, I do not yet know the good outcomes. But, after all I have endured, I have faith that these trials will lead me to other good things. I cannot wait to see. I actually find myself, finally in my life, looking forward to what tomorrow might bring. I hope you will stay tuned and find out with me. I would love to share the fruits of my trials with anyone.  I would LOVE, to in turn, bless someone else, offer inspiration, and just generally help. 

So, what are your thoughts? Can you think of trials that eventually brought you good things? Can you find something in your life that you know is hard, but perhaps can see what good things it might be leading you to? Does anything I convey to you here, albiet in my verbose way, inspire you or give you hope?  It would mean SO much to me to know I could ever do that, after all those that have inspired me. One of my greatest wishes for my entire life, outside of the love and hope for people I have known and loved, is to “pay it forward!” I hope you, or anyone else, gives me that chance.


I hope you continue to come on this journey with me, and maybe eventually open up a two-way dialogue. This is not just a journey, but also an experiment and research. I want to see if I can indeed help shape my future, and find my way, through sharing with others. I even hope to evolve my path with your input. Let’s see what we can create together, hah? =)

It is the week of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. I have MANY things to be thankful for. I know there will be more. It is my hope to find at least one thing every day, or more, to be thankful for. I am so glad we have this period of time to doubly remind us, to be open to gratitude, and let it help heal our lives, and make it happier…for ourselves, and for others. Wherever you might be, even if you do not celebrate this holiday, it is truly my hope and wish that you can find things to feel thankful/grateful for, and allow them to help your life. It is my hope for that for me as well. 

I hope to do at least one more prompt before Thursday’s holiday, and it will likely be quite a bit shorter.

But for now, I wish anyone and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and lots of positivity and gratitude in your own lives. If you are enduring any trials right now, I hope you can hold on, get through it, and get to a better place on the other side. I might not know any of you, but please know I am pulling for you. 

Thanks for coming along, as always, and for reading. Have a great week all!

My sincerest wishes, hope, and gratitude,

Kat :@




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