Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 20

Marriage

I know I've stated how thankful I am for my husband, but I'm thankful for the bond that is our marriage. Regardless of how difficult life gets, I love knowing there is a constant companion who will be with me through the worst and the best. We constantly have to work at communicating and making time for each other - I definitely think marriage is a journey, not a destination - but in the long run, marriage is the most unique chosen bond we can have with another human.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 19

 
Sleep...oh the blessedness of sleep.
People always tell expectant parents to 'rest up' and sleep before the baby arrives and there couldn't be better advice. (Although pregnancy made sleep elusive for me before the baby even got here, so I was already being prepared.) I remember the first night Elly slept straight through - even though it was a bit scary because I couldn't believe she didn't get up, it was blissful. We were blessed to have a baby that has slept relatively well from the beginning and I couldn't be more thankful for that. But to feel rested as a mother is a rare occasion and as much as I love her anyway, I love her just a tiny bit more when she lets me sleep.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 18

I admittedly love television. I wouldn't say I'm necessarily a couch potato - I'm usually doing something while watching a program or it's just on for background light and noise - but I do love the entertainment escape TV provides. I'm especially thankful for DVR which allows us to record shows and bypass commercials completely, and as sad as it may sound, I don't know how we made it as a married couple before DVR - the ability to pause is invaluable in our house.




Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 17

It's hard for me to admit some days - especially when he doesn't get home until 9 or 10 at night - but I am so grateful for Michael's job. God provided for us in a completely unexpected way when Michael found this job, seemingly out of 'nowhere.' He works so hard to support us and without his job, I wouldn't have the freedom to be at home with Elly part time and have some peace of mind when I pay bills. After experiencing the loss of a business and over a year of being jobless, Michael and I are more than aware of the blessing a job is.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands.
- Psalm 90:17

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 16

"Yoga" pants...




Yep. I love me some yoga pants, and while I have actually done yoga and pilates, I'm admittedly not an avid exerciser. But there's nothing better than those first few cool days of fall when you can pull out the long sleeve t's and yoga pants. And now as a mother, they're getting even more of a workout. I'm pretty sure the people at Athleta (the makers of my favorite yoga pants) probably think I'm a yoga teacher...or just a tired momma who can't wait to get comfy when she gets home. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 15

A long, hot shower...

These are a commodity these days. I used to rush through my showers as part of my hurried mornings before work and when I was pregnant, showers had become a chore. Now with Miss Elly running the show, showers have not only been moved to nighttime after she goes to bed, but are something I look so forward to. It's a good thing Michael showers in the morning because I'm pretty sure I use all of the hot water. After a long day at work or baby-tending, showers suddenly become a nice reprieve and are refreshing and calming at the same time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 14

"Memory is the diary we all carry about with us."
- Oscar Wilde

 
I'm a very nostalgic person. I love taking a 'walk down memory lane' to relive happy times in my life. I think memories are a gift. The memory of Ellyson's birth is something I treasure so very much that for a time I wanted to relive it again and again. I can say the same for my wedding day, the day I graduated college, and the day I met Michael. I love having those treasures in my heart and am thankful for the experiences that led to such precious memories.

I love how memories are attached to our senses, which I think is by God's design. Music plays a big role in my memory - I can hear a song from my past that is attached to an instance, feeling, or event and instantly am right back at that very moment in time. Holiday songs probably hold the most nostalgia - just play me some Oak Ridge boys or Amy Grant Christmas and I'm 7 years old again, sitting wide awake waiting for Santa Claus. Marching band music and a drumline have quite the same effect, and every time I hear bagpipes, I'm instantly back in a kilt and tartan. And of course, every relationship has a song(s) attached to it. (Boys II Men, anyone?) Scents are also a big memory trigger for me - the smell of peanut butter and Clorox immediately reminds me of preschool. (Yes, really.) The smell of fresh-baked biscuits reminds me of my grandmother's house at Christmas. The smell of Aveda Air Control hairspray reminds me of my wedding day. I can very much relate to Sandra Bullock's character in "Hope Floats" when her mother passes away and she is going through her closet and is overcome with grief when she smells one of her dresses - I will not be able to go through my own mother's closet. And, like most people, I love pictures and would consider it a difficult loss if something were to happen to them. Pictures of my growing baby are worth more than their weight in gold.

There's a lot of talk about making memories when you have a family, but really, a memory just happens. One year, mom and dad decided they would take the whole family to see The Lion King Musical for part of our Christmas gift. It ended up being on a Thursday night, so arranging to leave work early, hauling ourselves from Elizabethtown to Nashville in time to meet the rest of the family, and the drive back late at night seemed like more of an inconvenience than a special event, but as it turns out, it was one of the most memorable nights as a family that we've had and I hold it so dear to my heart.

Memories, coupled with hope, are also often what get us through the hard times. And I'm even learning that what even sometimes what we think are hard times actually turn out to be sweet memories themselves. It's a beautiful cycle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 13

(I told you these posts would start to get more interesting as we got past the "big" stuff...)



How ever vain or materialistic it is, I am thankful for all the means of technology that we have for communication, entertainment, healthcare, transportation. The list is long. But think about it - everyone becomes acutely aware of just how affected by technology our lives are when we are left without electricity for a time. At first it's just an inconvenience, but within a few days, we begin to behave like we're in third-world conditions once our cell phone and laptop run out of battery power. Technology is a necessary evil in some cases, and a convenience crutch that we've all become so accustomed to that we very easily take it for granted. Advances in technology are quite amazing to watch - even in just my lifetime, the way the world has changed just because of technology is pretty remarkable. Makes you wonder what's next.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 12

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. - Psalm 139:14

As I get older, my health becomes more and more part of my daily gratitude. I personally have never been one of those people who thought I was invincible - I gravitate more to the hypochondriac side of things - but watching family and friends' health deteriorate right before my eyes really puts things in perspective, quickly. When my dad became so sick just a year after retirement, it was such a shock, and we all learned then just how precious every day is. I pray daily for people who are struggling with health issues and am often amazed at the strength they have to persevere through difficulty I can't fathom. Now more than ever, I'm thankful for the health of my baby and my heart breaks for those who care for sick children.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 11

HOME

Dorothy was right. Regardless of how small or large, clean or messy, or elegant or simple, there really is no place like home. I'm so very thankful that we have a house to call home for our little family. I've called many places "home" and they all hold special meaning to me. Being at home offers a special kind of rest that can only be found there. Life lessons are learned in a home. Memories are made in a home. More than brick and mortar, home is special blessing.
 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 10


I am thankful for MUSIC
 
 

 
Music has been a part of my life for longer than I can remember. I began playing piano at age 5 and can still remember my very first lesson. I immediately knew I had found something special. My love of music grew from there and I became interested in other instruments, forms of music, and ways of musical expression. More often than not, my personality got in the way of my enjoyment of learning or performing music in the past, but the enjoyment in the depths of my soul was always there and always will be. I desperately miss singing in a choir, playing with an orchestra, and teaching piano to eager kids, but I know God has a plan for that when the time is right.
 
Music is a language we can speak when words aren't enough. Music heals and restores. Music is transcendental and nostalgic. Music is in all of us. Music has withstood the tests of time and will carry on. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 9

I know I have already pledged my gratefulness for my daughter, husband, and parents, but I can't leave out the rest of my family that has been such a blessing in my life. I am blessed to have a strong, Christian, kind-hearted brother who endured me as an annoying little sister for many years, but loves me and would protect me from any undue harm. He's a wonderful father, a loyal husband, and a I am proud to say he's my big brother.



Sonny chose well when he married and I was blessed with a sister-in-law who enriches my life. She has become a meaningful and special part of my life and I am lucky to have her as the closest thing I will ever be able to call a sister.

Our family wouldn't be complete without their children, Nicklaus Payne and Graycen Belle. 
Nephews and neices hold special places in our hearts, and these two definitely stole my heart when they entered the world.



I can't believe how fast they're growing up.


These children are a delight and it is so special to watch them grow and mature.
Watching them with their new little cousin is precious to me and my heart is so full knowing that they love her so much.

God may have made me wait for my own blessing of children, but He sure filled my heart in the meantime with these two awesome kiddos.


I am blessed to have wonderful extended family too (and not nearly enough photos of them.) Most live so far away that it is very special when we're all able to get together.




"I sustain myself with the love of family.”
- Maya Angelou

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 8



Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
- A.A. Milne; Winnie the Pooh
 
 
I'm thankful for my friends.
 
I don't have a lot of people in my life I would sincerely call friends - I'm too high maintenance for most people, I am too passionate to be satisfied with acquaintanceship, I am so often insecure that it forges a wedge between me and would-be friends, and I have been hurt by those I claimed as friends along the way that I am rather guarded when it comes to letting someone into the depths of being a friend in the truest sense.
 
However, for those that do love me in spite of all those things among my other shortcomings, I am extremely thankful. I have been blessed with wonderful people in my life and I am lucky to have called them friends. I hope they feel the same. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 7

God cares for the animals - 1 John 4:16

I'm one of those people when it comes to animals. My pets have always been a huge part of my life and I love them as much as I would love a person. They are unwavering in their loyalty, unconditional with their love, and unphased when I'm less of a person than I should be. Who wouldn't love a creature like that?

I have loved kitties since I was little bitty. We ALWAYS had cats and kittens running around our house growing up. I would torture them by dressing them like dolls. But as I got older (and realized what a cruel act that was) I came to respect and appreciate what wonderful companions cats are. My Itty Kitty stayed by my side for at least 12 hours straight when a tornado hit our house. My Little Bit was a character and was the humor in my life for several years. My Abbie has endured countless moves and people coming and going in my life and has been a trooper through it all. They all have been my "babies" and even though Itty Kitty and Little Bit are ruling Kitty Heaven with Abbie most likely to join them soon, I love them still.



 

 
 
It wasn't until college that I really fell in love with dogs. But when I did, I fell hard. My dogs have truly been filling the baby void in our lives until this point, were often treated like royalty and might just be a little spoiled. I have felt guilty since Ellyson came along that we can't devote as much time to them as we used to, but it's just not possible even though I promised myself I wouldn't be one of those people that said that after having a baby. Nonetheless, I love my sweet Phoebe and Dozer-bear as much as I always have and they will always be precious to me.
 







 





Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 6

Well, it's election day. Our country has endured pithy commercials and mudslinging for so long by now that most people are just ready to see the day come and go so all of the above will cease. But more importantly, today we will choose our leaders - people qualified to serve our country, state, county, and city with their wisdom. Even though I may not agree with those who have chosen to run for office or have been selected to run, and though I may not agree with the outcomes, I am thankful I have the right to choose. History boasts that trailblazers of the past have been herald as heroes in order to give me the right to do so, and for that I am grateful.
I am thankful to have the ability to cast my vote, but I rest easy knowing Who is really "in charge."
 
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. - Proverbs 19:21

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 5

I have no idea where I would be without my parents. In 'The Last Lecture,' Randy Pausch refers to "winning the parent lottery" and though my reasons differ greatly from his, I couldn't agree more. As I've grown and now have become a parent myself, I have an even greater appreciation for all that they sacrificed, endured, and provided for me.

 
 My mother has become more than a mother - she is my confidant and friend.
 
My dad will always be my "daddy" and watching him endure the effects of suffering a heart attack, a brain bleed, and a stroke has made me cherish every moment we are blessed to have with him.
 
Witnessing their joy over my baby girl is something that fills my heart to overflowing every day.
 
Not enough good can be said about people who survived raising a strong-willed, type-A, anxiety-prone, passion-filled daughter, but I hope they will one day see the fruits of their labor and know that it was worth it because I could not be more thankful for their blessing in my life.
 I am so thankful for my precious parents

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanksgiving - Day 4

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
 - Colossians 3:23-24

Even though it is a topic I'm often so back-and-forth on, I am very thankful for my job. My job is one of the things I take for granted the most. There are so many people who dream of having a job, ANY job, and I have been blessed to work with good people who challenge me and push me to be my best. I spent long hours days pining over whether or not to return to work after having Ellyson - I consider myself lucky to have such a decision to make. When the days are long and hard, I do have to remind myself to keep everything in perspective and not to shoulder the burdens of the world by the time I leave at the end of the day, but as a means to an end, I am truly thankful.