Laughter, new puppies, and pumpkin waffles…

This week’s gratitude lists:

Day 12: Thankful for a visit from Zakk/Uncle Gibby (one of our best friends from Boston and Emmett’s godfather) and getting to have lunch on campus with Emmett, Neil and Zakk (who are both alumni of the school where I work). Having new projects entrusted to me at work. Having a boss who is invested in teaching me skills that will serve me well in the long run (project management, learning about grant writing, etc.).

Day 13: Family…. I’m thankful that this year we will get to see my family for two holidays in a row. I’m really thankful that we will get to spend time with my sister at Christmas since she moved to St. Louis this year and has had so many exciting adventures that I can’t wait to hear more about. I’m thankful that we’ll get to see my brother who recently was elected to be the President of his fraternity and continues to do a great job at Rutgers University! I’m thankful for my parents who  celebrated 30 years of marriage this year, and have sacrificed so much to provide for us over the years. I’m thankful that we will get to see my Grandmom and Poppy and my dad’s side of the family. It would not be a real holiday for me if I didn’t get to see them!

Day 14: Thankful for simple reminders to slow down, apples, the way my body thanks me for eating healthy after days of eating for pure convenience, a sweet voicemail from a best friend to start off my day, great conversations with my husband while working on our business, laughter.

Day 15: Thankful for Fridays- the clear, decisive end of long weeks, with the hope of weekends ahead. Thankful for a greatly-needed girls’ night with my sister-in-law Beth (brownies, catching up, watching our favorite shows, laughing at YouTube videos, and curling up on the couch and playing with my in-laws’ new puppy, Gretel!)

Day 16: Thankful for a long day to play catch-up with Emmett (I miss him SO much during the week!), pumpkin waffles, thrifting, Christmas records from my husband who knows me so well, feeling creative, getting to do some preliminary writing for a children’s book idea I’ve had floating around in my head for quite some time, designing new paper cuttings, and going to bed early!

Day 17: Today, I am thankful for quiet time while the boys sleep in, a hot cup of good coffee drank out of a favorite ceramic mug on the cozy couch instead of a to-go mug in the car, and Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas music.

What are you thankful for today?

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Catching up

I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked over the past week to blog, so I’ll play catch up tonight and list what I’ve been grateful for these past several days.

Day Six: Lessons on perfectionism and grace. Autumn soup (butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potato) made by my hubby for dinner. Launching our Etsy shop!

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Day Seven: A quiet day to play catch-up at work. The chance to do some creative writing and editing through my job. The women of faith book club I meet with on Thursdays over lunch on campus.

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The Faith Club– the book we’re reading for the Thursday lunch group

Day Eight: Lunch with the boys. Seeing Emmett’s face light up when he recognizes me on campus, walking towards he and Neil after being away from them all morning. Our first sale (evidenced below!), which was an exhilarating feeling. Especially since we did not know the woman who purchased these vintage earrings. An awesome start to things, I should say ;) And, an impromptu family date night over Mexican, and feeling content. 

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Day Nine: The President’s Ball! A chance to get my vintage on (1920’s themed event), have a true date night with Neil, and to feel proud to be a part of the staff at the college where I work. I was thankful for the chance to play dress up, people-watch, eat great food, hang out with co-workers, and dance. The Dueling Piano bar was probably my favorite part of the whole evening!

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The only picture of me and my handsome date from the event

Day Ten: Long walks on the farm with my little family. A big Sunday meal with my in-laws. The chance to prepare for the week and get re-centered while baking and cooking yesterday. Setting Emmett up to have some quiet time and him actually staying there for it!:

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Day Eleven: A wonderful and affirming day at work. Feeling like I am finally hitting a stride in the new routine (after two full months back to work). Catching up with a newly-engaged best friend and sharing in her excitement :) Tickling Emmett, laughing with Emmett, singing to Emmett, Eskimo kisses for Emmett (I’m grateful for my sweet boy!). Working on the new business with Neil tonight, and feeling excited for a year-long dream of opening an Etsy shop actually being a reality! 

 

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What are some of the things that have had you counting your blessings lately? 

Holiday Cheer

Day Four: Grateful for holiday cheer

Yesterday, I was delighted to find that one of our local radio stations began playing holiday music on November 1st. For those of you have known me for a long time, you know that I LOVE anything to do with Christmas any time of the year. I used to start playing Christmas music in late summer, through the fall, and well past the holiday season. I still love Christmas, but I’ve definitely learned that in order to not burn out from the same 3 renditions of every holiday song, I have to start a little bit later in the year. November 1st is a good midway point for me.

The thing is, I know some people will argue up and down, ‘not til after Thanksgiving!’ And that point is very valid. I hear you, friends! But for me, Christmas music is my happy music. Whenever I’m feeling blue or just needing a little pick-me-up, I will turn on some old jazzy Christmas, the Charlie Brown (Vince Guaraldi) Christmas album, the Elf Soundtrack, or Amy Grant’s Home for the Holidays (which reminds me of growing up because my dad used to play this every year on Christmas Eve/Christmas morning). There is just no way I can be sad when I’m listening to holiday music.

So yesterday, with the new morning view (with the sun already most of the way risen due to Daylight’s Savings), I bounced up and down in my seat and spent 45 minutes singing at the top of my lungs to Bing and Mariah and Elvis. It was grand. Please don’t be annoyed by my pre-mature holiday cheer. It brought me to my happy place ;)

 

Day Five: Grateful for family dinners

We live with my in-laws on the family farm, with siblings and grandparents and a great-grandmother and a little boy and dogs (and a goat!), and it works out really well to share the responsibility of cooking dinners a few nights a week. It was definitely a big lesson for me this past year to go from being scared of cooking/not knowing how to cook, to learning how to cook enough (and well!) for 9 adults, with enough for seconds, and leftovers for lunch (for just me and Neil when I am the one doing cooking). That’s a lot of food! Mostly my mother-in-law and I take turns cooking up at our house, but once in a while, Neil’s grandma Opal cooks a big family dinner and we all eat next door. She had quite a spread tonight of beef stew, roasted vegetables, peas, salad, fresh fruit, rolls, and banana pudding. I ate to my heart’s content, and though Emmett was fussily tired, and the dogs were running around, and everyone was cramped around the table, I thought to myself how sweet it is and how lucky we are to be raising our little boy around at least one side of his family. I love these gatherings of good food, dear family, and remembering how blessed we are to be surrounded by love.

 

What are you thankful for today?

 

A short list

Day Three: A list of things to be grateful for…

  • Breakfast out with the boys and a drive through the beautiful countryside
  • Skyping with my parents and seeing Emmett’s face light up at seeing his grandparents :)
  • A cuddly little boy who couldn’t get enough of my Eskimo kisses today!
  • Homemade falafel and tzatiki sauce
  • Having a fun project to work on with my husband– more on this soon!
  • Getting to chat and delight with a best friend for a few minutes this evening
  • The smell of fall candles and burnt twine
  • Time spent with Neil’s loving family
  • My mother-in-law’s sweet potato pie
  • This song

What are you thankful for today?

When Your Joy is My Joy

Day Two: When Your Joy is My Joy

“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.” -Mark Twain

A new job after a year of searching. A first true love. A baby growing for friends whose love inspires us. A greatly anticipated and beautiful proposal.

My dearest friends and I have been through so very much together. The highs, the lows, and everything in between. I am so thankful today for the way that true friends are able to carry one another through all seasons of life. The struggles become things we fight hard for and pray hard for, together. And after those struggles, the joys are highlighted when we share them with friends– the long-awaited answers to prayers, the celebrations, the mountain-top moments, are shared communally.

I know that for me, the truth of friendships has often been brought to the light in these testing points. Who are the friends that stay by your side when the going gets tough–no matter how much of a burden you feel, no matter what time of night you need to call one another, no matter how ugly your truths and scars, no matter what it will take or how long it will be before the pieces come back together? And in the times of joy, who is right there by your side dancing and singing and showering you with love, and saying, ‘Your JOY is my joy right now.’

I’m so very grateful for true friends that may be geographically scattered, but experience the depths and breadths of this complex life right by one another’s sides. Today, I am thankful for the reminder that, my dear friends, your joys are my joys.