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Word Of The Year: Gratitude

February 7, 2020

Last year it was FOCUS. The year before that was RESOLVE. I don’t make a lot of resolutions. I make goals, but a resolution is more about changing your actions. Instead I choose a word. The word should represent something I want to focus on during the coming year.

In the past, I’ve used verbs, action words. Last year I wanted to become better at eliminating distractions. I wanted to focus more on not only the task at hand, but stay focused on my overal objectives.

Like most resolutions, I have mixed success with my “word of the year” choices. Why did I choose FOCUS as my word for 2019? Because in 2018 I struggled to focus. And yet, I didn’t become a perfect example of focus in 12 months.

The goal is not to become perfect, but to become better. This year’s word came to me courtesy of a therapist. My therapist. As I worked with her on the challenges that were besetting my family over the past year, she suggested I focus on being thankful.

I heard a story once about two sister who were sent to a Nazi concentration camp. The sisters’ family was all killed. The sisters were moved from camp to camp. As the were ushered into one more dingy, dirty barracks, the optimistic sister suggested they pray.

Dear Lord, we are thankful for everything. Thankful we can be together. Thankful we were able to keep a smuggled Bible. Thankful thou has brought us to a place we can share your word. And we are thankful for the fleas.

The fleas?


I’m not going to be thankful for the fleas.

Later, the sisters made an amazing discovery. Two women prisoners were arguing. And yet the guards refused to go into the barracks, where the sisters had hidden their bible and held clandestine bible study. And why were the guards unwilling to venture past the door?

The fleas. The guards wanted to avoid the fleas. The sisters were right to be grateful.

It’s possible to be grateful in any situation. If nothing else, you can be grateful it’s not worse.

It could be worse. It could be raining

But, even without going to the “at least we aren’t dead” level, there are many things to be grateful for. For myself, I have a wonderful family. My children are all healthy. Many of them are now in college. Several are married to wonderful young men who are welcome additions to our family.

I have a job I enjoy. It’s one I’m quite good at. I like the team I work with.

Despite my weekly visits with my therapist, I’m in good health. I got checked out for vision, hearing, colon, and teeth in the past month. All got pretty good reports. Although, I still need glasses.

Throughout the year, my challenge will be to look at the circumstances that will invariably come up and look for the thing to be grateful for. And in focusing on the grateful, I will be able to look for the positive.

What’s your word for the year?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

  1. Patricia Nelson permalink

    I loved it and I love you!!!! Mom

    • Thanks. And since your last name is Nelson people don’t even know it’s my mom commenting!

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