Thankful… an endcap

It’s my final day of my 30 days of thankful. This one is a no-brainer.

Even more than my family, even more than Mr. Right, I am thankful for my savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful that he saved me, not just from a life of sin, but from a meaningless and directionless life and instead, through his grace, has given me a life of purpose. A life of joy.

What does this joy look like? Last week, it looked like four of our English students plus two of their relatives sitting with me at a church service. It was watching one of our guests cry when the preacher talked about Jesus. It was having one of our oldest students tell me that she loved me like her daughter.

I am full of joy.

I am thankful for Mr. Right

Friends, I feel like a zombie today. It usually happens right after a particularly large special event. This week I practically birthed a free-standing emergency room, and after three days of putting on a huge grand opening, doing four last-minute media stories, and working some crazy overtime hours at a pace that feels a lot like a sprint…
I’m pooped. Which is why I’m still doing my 30 days of thankful, even though it’s now December. I’m choosing to be thankful in December, and to ignore the fact that it’s because I’m behind schedule.
Oh, and I should tell you that Mr. Right is trying to peer pressure me into running a half marathon with him in February. That husband of mine knows I’m a sucker for a good challenge, and I could use the motivation to work out hard. But I also remember swearing after my last half marathon that I would never. run one. again. 
Which is why I was back on the treadmill last night for my first official training run… 3 miles. It was ugly. But I did it. And the whole time I pictured my hiney looking like Britney Spears’ in the I’m a Slave for You video back before she went crazy. You remember… that’s the hiney I plan on having after I run 13 miles. Only mine will be more covered up.
So back to being thankful…
You knew it was coming… on day 30 I am thankful for Mr. Right
I am thankful for the way he showed up, after 29 years of waiting, and swept me off my feet with an unstoppable determination to woo me. I think that determination has only gotten stronger over our first year of marriage.
I am thankful that he’s a hard worker. Not only is he a full-time seminary student but he also works 30 hours a week at our church, and in his spare time volunteered with me at our ESL program, mentors guys on the side, and helps fellow students with their evangelism practicums. He has a stamina that I will never match, and yet it’s fun to watch how God has uniquely gifted him, differently from me, to bring Him glory.

(Did I mention that Mr. Right has been chosen to be on the COVER of his seminary’s official brochure? I am so, so proud of him.)

I am thankful that he’s an amazingly creative cook. He just invested in a $6 smoker at an estate sale (we’re such big spenders) and since then has smoked everything he can get his hands on… pork tender, beef jerky, cheese… to Mr. Right, cooking for someone = love. It’s a total treat to come home after a long day to a home-cooked meal made by my favorite person.

I am thankful that he’s fun. He’s a cowboy boot-wearing hippie, a free spirit, and an outdoorsman. He has lived all over the country, but he’s most at home in the mountains, on his bike, or in the pool.  Before he came along I didn’t know anything about “gear.” It’s still pretty foreign to me, but I sure do love borrowing his super warm technical shirts, using his sleeping bags and camping backpacks when we travel, and sleeping in his “you never have to wash these, but I’m a girl so I do anyway” wool socks. 
He loves books as much as I do. He speaks Spanish and has created all sorts of funny nicknames for me. He knows how to build things. He loves his family.
I am thankful that he’s strong. That he has already demonstrated that he will stand by me during difficult times and fight for me when he has to. I am also thankful that he’s okay if I need a good cry, and that nothing grosses him out, including the threat of being puked on. I am thankful for all of the times he’s gone with me to the doctor when I was sick, just so I wouldn’t have to face it alone.
I am thankful for a husband who asks me every Sunday night, “What one thing can I do this week to make you feel loved?” I am thankful that he’s a spiritual leader who encourages me to pursue Christ, and who prays for our marriage daily.
I am thankful that he looks so darn cute in those jeans. 🙂 And I am thankful that he continues to choose me.
PS–I want to officially welcome Mr. Right into the blogosphere… go check him out.

Thankful… home stretch

I’m behind on being thankful… my only excuse is that I had teenage houseguests all weekend and then Monday I left my house at 6:00 a.m. to meet a newscrew to shoot a surgery and then went non-stop until I got home that night at 10:00 p.m.  Needless to say I was in a zombie-like state by then and barely able to brush my teeth, much less blog.

I’m still in a zombie-like state, but at least I’m sitting down.

So, in honor of days 26, 27, 28, and 29…

I am thankful for my sister and brothers-in-law. Three years ago my little family was just our core five, and now it’s busting at the seams. Some of the greatest additions have been all of the -in-laws: Dallas the police officer, Philip the music minister, Grant the oil and gas guy, and Michelle, the stay-at-home mom to our beautiful niece Ella (and fabulous cook). Each one has meant a special new friendship and has made get-togethers so much more interesting.

I am thankful for big family holidays – in our case it meant two massive Thanksgiving meals, two massive birthday dinners, and one massive out-of-town family dinner. Which is why my hiney feels a bit massive today, but I’m back on the running wagon, so I plan to slim it back down to Kim Kardashian size just in time to overeat again for Christmas.

I am thankful for foot rubs from my husband. And neck rubs.

I am thankful for some special girlfriends, mainly Katie, Andrea, Sara, Amy, Tera, Nyree, and Pam. These women have seen me on good days and bad, all dolled up and with tears and snot running down my face. And they still keep coming back.

I am thankful for Pinterest and the many Christmas projects it’s inspired, including my Christmas quilt, some Christmas wreaths, and my Christmas cards (which I will debut in a later post… they’re sewn!).

I am thankful for long bubble baths and good books… something I enjoyed Sunday night.

I am thankful that I will become an aunt again next summer when Sarah has her first baby. And I am thankful that I’m already an aunt to the fabulous 2-year-old Ella who has hit a really fun stage.

All of this thankfulness has just made my day a little brighter. Now I can get back to conquering the world… and start dreaming about that next bubble bath.

I am thankful for days off with nothing to do

On day 25, I am thankful that I’m not out in the chaos of Black Friday shopping, but instead thankful that I was able to do a little bit of shopping online while sitting on the couch next to Mr. Right, sipping coffee in my pj’s. Today has been one of those beautiful, ideal days off from work – spending the day finishing a quilt, listening to books on tape (finished Millenials and now on to Charlie Wilson’s War) and enjoying some leftover Thanksgiving pecan pie. 

I am thankful for my sisters

Happy Thanksgiving! As I sit here in my sewing room typing away on the computer, Mr. Right is busy in the kitchen making us a gourmet breakfast (because we haven’t consumed quite enough calories yet) and prepping for our family dinner tonight. He asked me if my 30 Days of Thankfulness ends today… it doesn’t. I’m not sure if it’s good timing or bad, but I’m extending my thankfulness through the end of November. Besides, I still have several more big posts up my sleeve… I could be thankful until spring. But I’ll try to cap it on November 30.

Today I am thankful for my sisters. Growing up in a house full of girls was one of the biggest blessings God could have given me. My sisters are my best friends–not just because they have so much dirt on me that I’ll always have to stay on their good side. No, they are two of the coolest and strongest women I’ve ever met. I am so thankful for them.

You can imagine that we grew up with a lot of laughter in our house…

We have seen each other through weddings and major illnesses. Dozens of moves and dozens of boys (but praise Jesus we found our keepers). Breakup CDs and dance parties and High School Musical movie nights. We have cheered each other on at softball games and gymnastics meets and cheerleading competitions. I’ve watched them walk the stage at high school and college graduations. And soon, we’re going to cheer Sarah on as she has a BABY. (We’re pee-in-your-pants excited about that one.)
We have traveled the world together… from Italy and France to the White House and the mountains of Colorado. I have shared a bed with them (they’ll tell you I hog the sheets… they’re lying) and tiny back seats with them (with our running joke that I need more room because of my LONG legs).  
(In Venice… part of a two-week European trip without hair dryers or straighteners… talk about roughing it and BAD hair days.)

Not only are my sisters fun, but they’re also super talented. Sarah is the most fabulous interior designer I know (call her!) and she has helped me refinish furniture and figure out how to make my house look like something that could be on Pinterest. Lindsay is nurse in the neuro ICU at one of the biggest hospitals in town and is always available to answer those pressing medical self-diagnosis questions (can I mix Benadryl with this flu medication?), and who’s the only one in the family not worried about being puked on (she’s pulled hospital family puking duty on two different occasions).

Our sisterhood is authentic… while we were all Thetas at Baylor, we opted to start our own sorority… Beta Sigma Lambda for LIFE. We eventually let the husbands join.

So to Sarah and Lindsay… I am so very thankful for you. And Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s my birthday

Happy birthday to me. How do we celebrate birthdays around here?
With cake balls from the same lady who made our wedding cake. You haven’t lived until you’ve had Colleen’s strawberry cake balls dipped in white chocolate. Oh my word.
We bought two dozen, so it will be my birthday for a very long time. Don’t worry, I’m choosing to share with Mr. Right and with various family members who ask nicely.
I also celebrated with a special birthday breakfast cooked by my chef husband. A bagel, egg, and bacon with homemade plum preserves. It was amazing. 
Speaking of food, I also celebrated with a birthday lunch with a few of my closest girlfriends… and a pedicure. Because nothing says happy 31st birthday to me like pretty toenails and a foot massage. And a strawberry cake (do you see a pattern here?).
I had a birthday dinner with my side of the family… and more food. My mama is an amazing cook… and then we ate more cake balls.
Tomorrow night I’m having Mr. Right’s side of the family over for a joint birthday dinner (my father-in-law has a birthday two days after mine) and Mr Right is making homemade chicken fried steak. I’m sure it’s the low-fat version.
And then I get two Thanksgivings. And I heard a rumor we may go to Joe T. Garcia’s sometime this weekend.
Someone sign me up for a 10K before I double in size! Hurry!
I bet you’re wondering what Mr. Right got me for my birthday. He’s going to turn this…
Into this
That’s right, he’s framing our master bathroom mirror. Ours will look a lot like this, but he painted it black. It’s currently lying on the garage floor, ready to be installed. I just love being married to man who knows how to turn my wild hairs into reality.

Speaking of wild hairs… on a whim I decided to sew ruffles for my Christmas tree. It’s the absolute best sewing project ever because (1) you don’t have to iron your fabric, (2) you don’t have to cut a straight line, and (3) you don’t have to sew a straight line. It’s like magic, I tell you.

Since this is Thankfulness month on my little blog, and since I’m three days behind (but it’s my birthday… so I get a pass, right?), I thought I’d just list a few more things I’m thankful for, which can count for #20, 21 and 22:
I am thankful for strawberry birthday cake and girlfriends who love pedicures as much as me and family who calls and sings happy birthday and coffee being brought to me in bed and birthday breakfasts and getting birthday cards in the mail.
I’m also thankful for this blog, which started four years ago on my 27th birthday

Do you want to know how YOU can absolutely make my day on my birthday? Leave me a comment on my blog– it would make me feel all sparkly and distract me from thinking about how I’m now 31.  I know you’re out there – somehow I watched my visits quadruple this month. I’m sure 80% of those readers are related to me (hi mom, Mr. Right, and to my mother-in-law), but that still leaves a few friends and strangers out there reading, and it would just make my birthday if you would say hello. Won’t you?

Speaking of 31, I’ll leave you with a list of other famous people who are 31. It’s kind of an awesome-not-at-all-old-at-least-that’s-what-I-will-remind-myself club.

Venus Williams
Ben Savage – Boy Meets World
Michelle Williams
The oldest Hanson
Kristen Bell
Channing Tatum

I guess this means I’m joining the cool kids club. I hope that oldest Hanson saved me a seat.

I am thankful for our ESL class

On Day 19, I am thankful for my ESL class. In particular, I am thankful for:

Donje (Congo) and Afiwa (Togo). Missing from this picture are my other favorite Africans – Cecille and Kate (Ivory Coast), Lucienne (Berundi), and sweet Manga (Egypt) along with all of her adorable (and talkative) kids.
I am thankful for Rosie, a spirited woman who joined our class about 10 days after she moved here from Colombia and literally spoke about two sentences of English. But lucky for her (except I know God knew exactly what he was doing) we had two of the nicest students from Colombia (all from the same city – Bogota) already in our class, and they immediately became best friends. All three are now going to our church’s Spanish Sunday school class, and because we offer translation via headphones of the main worship service, they have sat with us in church. My heart did a back flip that Sunday with excitement. 

I am thankful for Christina (Mexico) and also for her father-in-law Leonardo (Venezuela), who was one of our most faithful students in our beginner class. We ended up befriending this entire family – they are particularly special to us. (I’m also thankful for my co-teacher, mix-tape making friend and bridesmaid Katie.)

I am thankful for Carolina (Mexico), Kati (Colombia), her mother Hermalina (Colombia) and Rosie (Colombia). These ladies helped translate for each other, allowed Mr. Right to practice his Spanish, and were such fun students to teach. 

I am thankful for all of the countries represented in this picture. And I am most thankful that as the semester came to a close, I can proudly say that our church now has attendees from Syria, Colombia (3), Mexico (2), and hopefully soon a new visitor from Congo. Please join me in praying for these sweet students, that God would protect them and provide them community during our two-month class break, and that he would help them find their way back next semester. It’s a scary place out there when you don’t speak the language or understand our crazy culture. Please pray that God would continue to make them brave, and to make them hungry for his love.
Please also join me in praying that we will find more teachers who want to love on these students, as I expect our numbers will increase even more in January. I promise that they will get a much bigger blessing than what they put in. 

I am thankful for my in-laws

Today, on Day 17, I am thankful for my in-laws. 
When it comes to marrying into a family, I feel like I hit the jackpot. It’s probably no coincidence that I started praying that God would bring me a Mr. Right who had a good family back when I was 22. I had dated someone whose mother I didn’t get along with, and from that day forward I prayed that God would bless me with good in-laws. 
My prayers sure were answered. 
My in-laws are wonderful. They are supportive and encouraging and generous, and they love their family. They raised Mr. Right to be independent and self-sufficient (and his mom taught him to cook like a rockstar). They strike that perfect balance of wanting to be involved in their children’s lives while letting them make their own decisions. They are peacemakers.
They are incredibly interesting people. My father-in-law is a team roper who competes in local rodeos and who has a passion for horses. He is also a church planter who helped launch their latest church a few years back and has built a large men’s ministry reaching out to cowboys who never felt at home in a church setting. My mother-in-law is a BSF leader and accomplished golfer–she could smoke me on the golf course with both her eyes closed. She is an incredible cook.

They’re also adoring grandparents to our niece Ella. I am thankful that someday when we have kids of our own, that they’ll make great babysitters, and their house out in the country with horses and cows will make for some really wonderful childhood memories.

They’re there. Whether it’s meeting Mr. Right for lunch or coming out to my work events to support me, or coming up to meet our ESL students (which my mother-in-law is doing tonight), they do a great job of showing their support by just being there
When we had to fix up Mr. Right’s house to get it ready to go on the market, my in-laws spent days helping us – my father-in-law did a ton of manual labor outside in the blazing heat, and my mother-in-law cleaned like a banshee. When our house got broken into, they came and sat outside with us in lawn chairs while we waited for the police to arrive. 

On a side note – I was on Facebook pulling pictures for this post, and I came across these wedding photos. When I’ve talked in the past about marrying into a big family, I’m not sure if you really understand how big I’m talking about. So here’s proof – these are just the relatives who made the drive in from Oklahoma and elsewhere to cheer us on at our wedding.

But back to my in-laws… they have worked so hard to make me feel welcome in their family. Thanks Audie and Ann for all you do for us. I am so blessed to be your daughter-in-law.

I’m tired but thankful

I’m due for a few more mushy posts on my thankfulness journey, but today I’m too tired. I had to LEAVE my house at 6:00 this morning to go put on a breakfast event for work. Since it takes me about 12 hours to get ready for work in the morning (what will I do when have children?), this means I’m working on very little sleep and too much caffeine. I’m about 10 minutes from downing two Benadryl and calling it a night.

I am happy to report, however, that my parents cried when they read yesterday’s post. That made my whole day. Why wait until something bad happens to tell someone you love them? I’m a big fan of telling people over and over and over. You’re probably next, so watch out.

But back to my long day. After my crack-of-dawn breakfast event, I brought all of my leftover food back to the office for my coworkers to enjoy. I was walking across the parking lot, carefully balancing a large box of pastries, a carton of orange juice a bag of cream cheese and silverware and my 50-pound purse… when the handles on my giant pastry box ripped, and the box came this close to hitting the ground and scattering Panera Bread cinnamon crunch bagels all over the parking lot. It was a total Charlie Brown moment.

Thankfully, I pulled a slow-motion Mission Impossible move and saved the pastries. I have quick reflexes when it comes to cinnamon crunch bagels.

I also got fitted for my Mrs. Santa Claus costume, because in two weeks I will be spreading Christmas cheer to hundreds of little boys and girls up at my hospital. When I first told Mr. Right that I was playing Mrs. Santa Claus, he worriedly looked at me and asked, “You’re not going to wear one of those sexy Mrs. Santa costumes, are you?”

No, Mr. Right. I can assure you that I will be sporting the frumpy, matronly, extremely conservative Mrs. Santa suit, along with a gray wig, round spectacles and an apron. I can’t wait to hear what all those kiddos tell us what they want for Christmas.  I can see it now…

Johnny: Santa, I want a puppy for Christmas.
Me: Sure, no problem!

Sally: Santa, I want a Barbie Princess Dreamhouse Laptop!
Me: I’ll bring you two!

This may be my one and only year to play Mrs. Santa. We’ll see how it goes.

But on to today’s thankfulness. Besides being thankful that I have a job that allows me to do some wonderfully random things, I am thankful for some other wonderfully random things today.

Today, on Day 16, I am thankful for:

-Pinterest wreaths. Last night I finished this Christmas wreath, made from clearance rack red felt, a box of straight pins and a $5 styrofoam wreath. No hot glue gun required. Maybe the easiest craft I’ve made in years.

I’m not sure if it’s going on my front door or my mantle… I may just have to make another one so I don’t have to choose (my next one will be white). If it goes on my door, it will replace my fall Pinterest wreath.

I’m tempted to take those rosettes off and repurpose them as a pin to wear on my brown cardigan. I even snuck a few yo-yo’s, which are one of my favorite things on the planet. I hope there aren’t any weird germs from them hanging up outside for two months.

-I’m thankful for an impromptu dinner date with my mom tonight.

-I am thankful that patterned tights are in style AGAIN this year. I wore some for the first time today, and I had forgotten just how comfortable they are (and how much they cover your pale white legs after your husband made you promise not to go to a tanning bed ever again and you’re too lazy to put on any self-tanner, and besides it smells bad). I especially like how all the fashion experts talk about how “in” patterned tights are this season. I guess they forgot that they were “in” last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. I’m pretty sure today’s tights were circa 2008.

Or maybe I’m just progressive.

-I am thankful for Hulu because our Tivo was broken for a month and didn’t record any of our favorite TV shows. It’s obvious that we don’t watch much TV since it took us three weeks to notice the Tivo wasn’t working and another week to figure out how to fix it (um… you unplug it and plug it back in… it’s like magic). But the past few nights I’ve been watching my shows on my laptop while piecing the last of my black and white quilt. Sure makes the time go by faster.

-I am thankful for an early bedtime after an early wake-up call. Time to take those two Benadryl.