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Social media trend inspires month of reflection

30 Days of Thanks

Posted: November 21, 2012 - 7:13pm  |  Updated: November 22, 2012 - 9:35am

They make a post every day — at least when kids, mountains of laundry, dishes, stress, dinner and life stay out of the way — and, as far as Facebook trends go, this one has a longer shelf life than most.

For the entire month of November, Facebookers participating in the “30 Days of Thanksgiving” movement post photos and stories about being thankful.

“You try to make sure to do it and try to think of a moment that you had during that day and something that happened and try to write it that way,” said Rebecca Porter, of Nikiski. “I just think it’s a cool challenge to try to do it because it’s not as easy as you think.”

Several people said they saw the trend unfolding on the social networking site at one time or another in the past few years and thought it would be a good exercise in remembering to be thankful.

Shannon Biamonte, of Nikiski, had just finished cleaning the smudges left on her 18-month-old from a green ink pad when she started talking about her thankfulness experiment and the first day.

“The first one, I was still under anesthesia,” Biamonte said. “I was thankful that I was alive. It’s scary when you go under ... they’re strapping you down in this cold room and you’re half naked. You’re hyperventilating because your kids are all with other people and it’s like, ‘Oh gosh, if I don’t live my family is going to fall apart because my husband doesn’t even know how to run the washer and dryer.’”

For the first few days, Biamonte had it easy.

“My husband was kind of a given and each of the kids, I knew I was going to put a picture and just explain how thankful I was to have each kid,” Biamonte said. “Then after that, I’ve just been kind of whatever has been going on that day.”

Biamonte’s five children, working husband and busy lifestyle can be hectic.

“My three older girls are in every sport and every activity and Girl Scouts and the two babies are really busy and mountains of laundry and just ... day-to-day things and looking forward to the future and trying to plan ahead and plan finances, I tend to get wrapped up in just getting through things and getting to the next point,” Biamonte said. “Doing 30 Days of Thankfulness makes me think about what I have, even if its something as small as a washer and dryer, it makes me thankful for what I have.”

Porter, a friend of Biamonte’s, identifies with having a busy domestic life.

“The other day, I sat down and I had a bunch of laundry to fold,” Porter said. “I was really like, ‘Man, there are so many other things that I have to do and yet I have to do this. I’ve got homework to do and kids to put to bed and all the things that go along with that, all this stuff.’ Then I thought, ‘You know what? If I didn’t own a washing machine, I would have to be somewhere else and that’s not any fun.’”

Finding the silver lining can be soothing in situations where frustration takes over, Porter said.

“I’ve always tried to be an optimistic person,” Porter said. “When I started seeing it, I don’t remember when, this is at least my second year ... I thought, what a great idea. If nothing else to show that I’m thankful, but maybe to help spread that we can find thankfulness in anything.”

Rhonda White, of Nikiski, has been posting 30 days of Thanksgiving for three years.

“I started it a few years ago on FB,” she wrote in a message. “Just saw other people posting ‘their thanks’ everyday, and thought ‘What a great idea!?’ We should all be more thankful everyday!”

White said she wanted to share the “thankfulness bug” with others because it helped her to remember the positives in her life.

Darcy McCaughey, of Nikiski, said she was in her second year of posting for the whole month.

The stay-at-home mom echoed the sentiment of several of her friends, saying she’s prone to forgetting to “slow it down” and voice why she is thankful.

Her father was diagnosed with neck cancer in April and with the help of her family and friends, McCaughey said she was able to see him about every six weeks throughout his treatment.

“My family helped by watching my kids while I was gone, some friends donated airlines miles (and) watched kids also,” McCaughey wrote in a message. “My husband supported me going, even though it was difficult in every aspect.”

Her father was eventually diagnosed as cancer free and McCaughey said she was intensely thankful for his recovery.

“My days are filled from the moment I lift my head off the pillow, to the moment I lay my head back down on the pillow, with the ins (and) outs of life,” she wrote. “I absolutely forget to really think about (and) voice what I’m thankful for, especially those people who I am thankful for. It gives me a chance, daily, to share with my family (and) friends.”

For Dawn Nushart, of Kenai, being thankful for the month has turned into a surprisingly emotional endeavor.

“A week and a half ago I had an abnormal mammogram,” she said. “They found a mass on my breast and I actually don’t go in until Wednesday to get it biopsied,” she said. “It’s the scary of the unknown and you don’t realize until it happens how much you have to be thankful for. I actually had a pretty easy time finding things to be thankful for, but it’s been kind of emotional for me.”

Nushart, like Biamonte and Porter, said their Facebook Timelines are peppered with friends and family who are participating as well.

“I’m a really private person for the most part and I’m learning to open up too,” Nushart said. “It makes you realize that there’s so many people out there that don’t have anything and that everybody worries about things they don’t have instead of focusing on the things they should be thankful for.”

Nushart is not ready to be sick, but even as her voice cracked with emotion, she said she can’t stop reflecting on how much better of a person she is when she stops to appreciate the people in her life.

She said she’ll likely find out after Thanksgiving the results of her biopsy and she’s hoping for a glitch in the film, or a benign lump.

“It’s amazing when you face something like that, how you put everything in perspective and what’s important,” she said. “It’s not important that my shoestring broke, what is important is that I had shoes to put on.”

 

Rashah McChesney can be reached at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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