Discover Yourself Over 50 & Thriving Series

What is the two thousand and eighteen gift challenge?

March 8, 2018



My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving series is Shirley Corder from ‘Write to Inspire’.  I met Shirley through a Facebook group and enjoy reading her posts which are always inspirational and informative.  Shirley has certainly had her share of difficulties in life but always has a grateful attitude to life.

When Shirley sent me her contribution she mentioned a Two Thousand and Eighteen gift challenge.  I had no idea what she meant but after reading her thoughts on Over 50 & Thriving I can see that we should all perhaps take up the challenge!  Don’t forget to visit and connect with Shirley through the links at the end of this article.


What is the two thousand and eighteen gift challenge? Are you up for it?

When Sue first asked me to do a guest post on the topic, Over 50 and Thriving, my immediate reaction was, “Yes, sure. I can do that.” After all, I’m over 50. Way, way over 50 actually. And I’m thriving.

If you asked my surgeon over 20 years ago how long I would thrive, he would have been pretty negative. I had just had surgery for breast cancer with spread to the glands, and the pathology results came back bad. As in very bad. I’m sure he meant well when he said, “You’re going to ask me how long you have.” But I didn’t take it well. I retorted, “No. That’s not your department. You were asked to remove the tumor. How long I live is in Someone Else’s hand.”

I just knew that if he told me how many years or months I would live, my mind would go into countdown mode, and in no time I would be ready to die. 12 months later, at my first annual checkup, he shook me by the hand. “Congratulations!”

“What for?” I asked, bewildered.

“You’ve lasted a year. I didn’t think you would.”

I was more than glad I hadn’t allowed him to give me a projection! He died some years ago, but I celebrated my 20th Canniversary two months back.


So when I came to write this post, my first thought was, “I’ve survived and I’ve thrived after cancer.” And to a degree, that’s true. I went in to the cancer journey as a registered nurse. After a year of tough treatment and side effects, I emerged and became a full-time writer and, eventually, a published author. Life has been good, most of the time. But can I really say I’ve thrived?

Like us all, I’ve had my ups and downs, and there have been occasions I would have replied, “Yes, I’m thriving now!” But it didn’t last. I needed to find a way to become, not only a survivor, but also a thriver.

Towards the end of last year, I was challenged through the words of another South African author, Dalene Reyburn. She guest-blogged for me on the topic, Christmas Every Day. In her post, she described a challenge she followed in 2013. She set herself the goal of finding 2013, yes two-thousand-and-thirteen, “gifts” for which she was grateful before the end of the year. She not only achieved her goal, she discovered it changed her whole attitude to life. She kept looking around for things to give thanks for.


I identified with what she said. At my well-over-fifty age, I found it all too easy to see the gloomy side of life. People my age are all too quick to see what others should do, don’t do, won’t do, and don’t think you should do. Wherever I looked, I spotted things that made me mad or depressed, or just plain critical.

So I decided it was time to make a change, and I set out with a goal for 2018. By the end of the year, I plan to have two-thousand-and-eighteen “gifts” that I’ve said thank you for. No repeats allowed.

I followed Dalene’s idea and broke the 2018 up into weeks then days. I discovered in order to reach 2018, I had to list 39 items a week, approximately 6 per day. It seems totally doable.

I have post-it notes all over my home with pens available, so each time I spot something good, I jot it down. Each time I’m going to work on my computer I gather the pieces of paper and add them to a blog post which grows during the week. Each Thursday, I post a Thankful Thursday article containing at least 39 “gifts” during the week.


I asked Sue to write a guest blog for me explaining link parties. After reading her article and exchanging a few emails with her, I enrolled with inlinkz and set up my first-ever link party. At time of writing, this has only been going for two weeks, and I’ve only had a few sign-ups to the actual party, but that’s not important. What really matters is the number of folk who are following the adventure with me.

Several are doing the challenge the same way as me, blogging and aiming at 2,018 by the end of the year. Some are creating their lists on Facebook. One person is doing hers during her devotional time and so keeping it private. Another lady is storing hers on a file on her laptop, while yet one other has limited herself to one thanks a day. Nevertheless, I’m encouraged by the number of people who are following the idea of giving thanks, even if they are not bloggers.


I can see that the more thankful I become, the more I will thrive in my attitudes, my relationships, and the way I approach life. If you haven’t already caught the idea, do take a look at my Thankful Thursday thread and give yourself a chance to thrive in 2018!

So thank you, Sue, for the invitation to share what I think of when I see the word, Thrive. Right now I see the word Thankfulness which is my word for the year. No matter the circumstances, I can always find something to say thank you for!

Now where’s my nearest post-it pad?


Thank you, Lord, for Sue and her vision for blogging. Thank you for prompting her to coin the phrase, Over Fifty and Thriving. Thank you that I’m over 50. Way, way over 50. And thank you that she invited me to do this guest blog.

See how easy that was? Four gifts without thinking about it.

Oh yes, and thank you that others I’ll never meet will read these words, and hopefully some will be challenged to join in and thrive in this year, 2018.


Christmas Every Day:
Thankful Thursday:


Six Fs of ChristmasShirley Corder is a retired registered nurse, pastor’s wife, cancer survivor, and author. She lives near the sea in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with her husband Rob. Published internationally, Shirley is the author of “Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer” (Revell/Baker 2012) and is contributing author to eleven other books to date. She is currently producing a series of eBooks on women in the Bible who are seen under the shadow of another person or location. She plans to convert these to print in the coming year.




Click here to catch up on my previous guests in Over 50 & Thriving Series

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  • Reply Donna March 8, 2018 at 15:20

    Hi, Shirley – Thank you so much for sharing this very inspirational challenge. And thank you for reminding us all to give thanks. I watched a movie on the plane yesterday that included the concept ‘when we are constantly wishing, we focus on the holes in our lives. When we turn around and give thanks instead, we fill up those holes’. So true!

    • Reply shirley corder March 8, 2018 at 18:32

      Hi Donna. Thanks for commenting. I love that concept ‘when we are constantly wishing, we focus on the holes in our lives. When we turn around and give thanks instead, we fill up those holes’. I’d love to use that next post, may I? Thankful Thursday Week 10 and Ask Me a Question.

      • Reply Donna March 9, 2018 at 11:54

        Hi, Shirley – Absolutely. The quote is from the 2017 movie “A Little Something for Your Birthday”. I was typing quickly. The full sentiment was ‘when we are constantly wishing for more, we focus on the holes….
        I agree. It is a very provocative quote!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 8, 2018 at 20:01

      I love it when we read or hear things that resonate with us Donna. Focus on the holes in our lives – that is just perfect and so true. Shirley is doing so well with her challenge and is very committed. I was happy to introduce her to everyone. Hope you are settling in after your trip.

  • Reply shirley corder March 8, 2018 at 18:33

    Thank you for hosting me, Sue. I love the way we’ve ‘linked up’ as fellow bloggers, and I look forward to many more interactions between us! Please won’t you link THIS post to this week’s Thankful Thursday? That would be great. Thankful Thursday Week 10 and Ask Me a Question.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 8, 2018 at 19:58

      Hi Shirley it was a pleasure to have you as my guest and I’ve linked up to your Thankful Thursday. You really are going so well with writing all that you are thankful for. It is easy to start these things but you really need to be committed to keep going so well done! I’m sure there will be more opportunities for us to connect throughout the year. Have a great week!

  • Reply shirley corder March 8, 2018 at 20:11

    Sue, thanks for visiting Thankful Thursday Week 10 and Ask Me a Question. and for linking to my post. Have a great day!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 10, 2018 at 17:24

      My pleasure and thanks for being my guest, Shirley. Hopefully you will get some people linking up next week.

  • Reply Leanne | March 8, 2018 at 20:57

    Lovely to see Shirley on here sharing her amazing gratitude challenge. I pop over every week to see what she’s added to her list. I was thinking the other day that cancer “survivor” sounds a bit dull and like you’ve just crawled out of the pits of hell. Whereas cancer “surviver and thriver” sounds like you’ve moved on to bigger and better things after beating it back into submission. Good on you Shirley for being such an inspiration to us all x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 10, 2018 at 17:26

      Shirley really is doing so well isn’t she Leanne. Yes survivor and thriver does sound much more positive. I hope some people linkup for her next week.

    • Reply shirley corder March 13, 2018 at 18:39

      Thank you Leanne! Do hope you’re feeling better.

  • Reply Jennifer Jones March 8, 2018 at 21:37

    thisbis a wonderful inspirational post.. I’m thinking very seriously of joining I. With Thankful Thursday. Thanks for sharing this

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 10, 2018 at 17:26

      Oh that would be great Jennifer, I’m sure Shirley would appreciate it and gratitude does us the world of good!

    • Reply shirley corder March 13, 2018 at 18:40

      Ooh I’d love you to join, Jennifer! Thank you.

  • Reply Donna March 9, 2018 at 11:51

    Hi, Sue – You absolutely may use that quote (it’s not mine). It’s from the 2017 Sharon Stone movie, A Little Something for Your Birthday. 🙂

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 9, 2018 at 23:24

    Thank you Shirley for the gratitude inspiration. For a while now, I have been following my morning meditation with what I refer to as a gratitude prayer, but is simply saying thank you for whatever comes to my mind. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Thank you for this air that I am breathing.” I keep going until nothing new comes immediately to mind or until I run out of time. I hadn’t thought of writing things down though and saving the list. There may be some additional benefits to doing it that way. I’m so glad you are surviving and thriving, so I could have an opportunity to meet you.

    Thank you Sue for introducing me to another inspirational midlife blogger!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 10, 2018 at 17:36

      This Over 50 & Thriving series really has introduced me to some wonderful midlife bloggers, Christie and I have plenty more to come. Shirley is such an inspiration and so committed to her challenge. I really need to start a morning meditation again so you have inspired me to start. Have a beautiful weekend, my friend x

    • Reply shirley corder March 13, 2018 at 18:46

      Thanks for sharing your gratitude exercise, Christie! If you ever get to writing it into a blog post, please consider sharing it with my Thankful Thursday linkup. I’ll be around for a while (2018 thanks in the year 2018!) Thankful Thursday Week 10 and Ask Me a Question.

  • Reply Michele Morin March 10, 2018 at 01:02

    Thankfulness and gloom cannot share space for long!

  • Reply Elise Ho March 12, 2018 at 13:06

    Hi Donna, I love link parties and I am thankful to have met all the amazing people I have met through them.

  • Reply Marion Ueckermann March 13, 2018 at 18:41

    Thanks, Shirl, for a wonderful and inspiring post. The Thankfulness challenge resonates so with what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.” Thankfulness and right-thinking come with a great reward…peace, sweet peace.

    Sue, what a wonderful concept for a blog. I’ve signed up for your newsletter and look forward to following this blog.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 14, 2018 at 08:35

      Hello Marion, thank you for subscribing and I do hope you enjoy the content. I like to support and promote other bloggers, women Over 50 who have such wisdom and great advice – just like Shirley! Have a beautiful day and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the newsletters. x

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle March 13, 2018 at 20:13

    Thanks for sharing your story, Shirley. I love what you said to your doctor and that you, after all these years continue to thrive. Your verse, ‘In everything give thanks’ says it all.
    We would like to feature this post in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. Congratulations on a great Guest Post.Thanks also to Sue for this series.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    • Reply shirley corder March 13, 2018 at 20:55

      Thanks, Kathleen. Oh wow, how super if you feature the post in the Blogger’s Pit Stop! Thank you!

  • Reply Lisa March 13, 2018 at 21:01

    What a great reminder to look for the good each day! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Our world would be so different if we all focused on what we were grateful for everyday. It only has to start with each one of us!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 14, 2018 at 08:33

      Hi Lisa! It would be a wonderful world if we did all focus on gratitude wouldn’t it? Thank you for stopping by to leave a comment and have a beautiful day xx

  • Reply Annette March 15, 2018 at 22:53

    Thank you so much Shirley for a wonderful story and challenge. What a wonderful thing to do. Thank you for sharing and for being here.
    Best Annette (Denmark)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 17, 2018 at 11:21

      Hello my beautiful friend and it is lovely to have you visit and comment. I’m not sure where the weeks go but I do think of you often and hope one day to meet. Take care and enjoy your trip to London! xx

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