How to Finish the Year Strong: The Year’s Crowning 60 Days


ow, now we begin the crowning 60.

The last 60 days of the year. Good things can still be birthed. 

My grandpa, sitting there at the end of the table with his crown of tussled grey and his knee-thin Levis, he used to say: “Any dreamer can start strong, but only the strong finish the dreams.”

Whatever the dream for the yearjoy was what we wanted to wake to.

There is still time, there is still paper and pen, there is still a way to find more of the joy in the last 60 days of the year.

I knew a woman once
who waited
for the perfect day,
the ultimate raise,
the long applause,
the mountain retreat,
the magic number,
the noticed thanks,
the wanted affirmation
that never came

and for far too long she had no idea that it could just be
the cotton bedsheets pulled up and made smooth in a messy room,
or even the cold water straight from the earth below her there at the edge
of the cup tipped at her lips that slipped down like the perfect answer
or even this regular moment with her heart drumming
like a wild anthem within her,

because on any old day, even this one, it is never too late,
all she had to do was write down these smallest slivers of grace in her everyday because:

Gratefulness isn’t hard.
Forgetting to be grateful is what makes life hard.

All she had to say to herself for the last 60 days is:

‘Keep your eyes open to the gifts all around you — that you get to open if you just pay attention.’

That woman who waited far too long was me, but the last decade of my life has had the last moments of the day spent in giving thanks, writing down the day’s gifts, and I can testify for living it:

You can spend your one life in a waiting room, waiting to be finally called into see more joy, more fulfillment, more of the abundant life you dreamed of —- but you miss out on fully living the joy of your life, when you keep waiting for another life to make you joyful.

If you aren’t noticeably grateful with what you have right now, why think you’d be noticeably joyful when you have more?

Nothing says beauty quite the simplicity of grace. Grace Crafted Home

Favorite #fairtrade kitchenware: Grace Crafted Home

All from Grace Crafted Home.

The last ten years have tutored me in joy:

Everything is training you to think you need more to be more joyful, when the truth is, if we’d just daily train ourselves to be more thankful, we get to be infinitely more joyful.

The more we need — is more thankfulness.

When I stand at the kitchen sink yesterday and launch into this rant about all that’s going wrong and spew on and on, a son who curled up on knee when I first began the practice of gratitude, and who now towers over me a man of 6 ft 3, he says quietly,

“Mom? I just finishing reading this book about…” and this sheepish grin spreads across his face, and he winks“ —- about giving thanks in all things.”

My eyebrows shoot up awkward and I smile thinly.

I read it because it was time to change the way I saw my life — which is actually changing my life —“ he smiles kindly… “So — tell me three things you’re thankful for right now?”

I look him in the eye and smile back.

The ordinary moments of today are miraculous answers to long-ago prayers.

And I take a deep breath in front of the once-little-boy now-made-man who’s being the friend I now need and I murmur that I am thankful for it right now: the way the morning light’s dancing up the wall, the way this son’s standing like a man before me so tall, the way the calendar page turns here now, the way I can turn even now.

And I begin again, because we always get to begin again.

A life that is meaningful — starts with a heart that is grateful.

All the great lives start with a habit of gratefulness.

And I begin the last 60 days of the year counting gifts, writing down gifts to literally re-write the neural pathways in the brain, choosing gratitude because I choose to finish strong.

Thankfulness in small things —- can give you joy in everything.

I turn to thank my son in the kitchen because I hadn’t known it ever just quite like that:

Intentional gratefulness is great rant intervention.

Vent — about all that’s good to let your soul breathe.

November the 1st and the last 60 days will be about counting gifts, because even the slow-learners like this woman know:

Crown the year with thanks, and you wake to joy reigning over your wide-open eyes.

There’s glory lighting now in all the trees down the lane, right to the very end.


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