Monday, November 24, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness - Monday Morning Coffee

Happy Monday y'all!

Yes, I know I've been missing for a few days, but life happens & I just didn't get to my daily blogging.
So let's spend some time together this morning & catch up.

My journey of thanks continues each & every day.  I've done so much reflecting & really tried to be more aware of my life & all that is in it.  I realize that I just take so much for granted and this journey of looking for the little things has helped give me a new respect for my life.  It has refreshed me & helped me to take a really close look at all I am blessed with.

Like ~~~~ friends.  Wow.  I am uber blessed in this area.  You know, the people who you may not see for months & months, but when you do, you just pick right up where you left off - and the time that lapsed between your last get together, just disappears.

I had that time on Friday after school with a good friend.  She was my music director at our former church.  Life happened, for her & for me.  But through it all, I have always loved her gentle ways & spirit and we both have a deep love for music.  She has a beautiful voice & the ability to play the piano & take music to a realm I only wish I could reach.  She inspires me.  But we have the common bond of worship through music.  

I'm struggling right now with not having the outlet I need and/or want to worship through music.  We met and talked and she is in a holding pattern right now as well. It was a good outlet.  She gets it - she understands where I am coming from.  I am blessed to call her my friend.

We had a snow day this past Tuesday.  This rarely happens this early in the year.  But the lake affect snow machine kicked in high gear and dumped on us. Thankfully it was nothing close to what the Lake Erie snow machine dumped on New York!  
My word!  We are now in a warming pattern, with a non-stop rain falling.  Our snow is all gone.  This is heading towards New York.  I pray for all those in that region as it could be an even bigger problem for so many of them.  

But the snow brought a special magic to everyone at school.  It brought the spirit of Christmas into my classroom that much earlier.  Yes, the kids were a lot more squirrely than normal, the concentration level was at a maximum low because of the snow, but it also brought a "happiness" to a lot of them as they anticipate the upcoming holiday season.  

Even though they are high school aged, they still act like little kids this time of year.

We spent the day at church on Saturday, organizing & packing 50 baskets to be delivered to families within our community and church neighborhood for Thanksgiving.  

They all received a bag of potatoes, apples, cranberry sauce, corn, beans, gravy, stuffing mix, a frozen pie, jello, butter, dinner rolls and a turkey.  

Every year the need seems to grow, in spite of the economy getting better.  But as several of us were talking about this we all agreed that with the better economy - it seems as though the poor are getting poorer & the rich are getting richer.  

My heart was full as I watched the baskets leave the church to be delivered.  It felt good to be able to help some out, but yet also wishing we could have done more.

We had some friends over for dinner Saturday night (hi Bruce).  Bruce admitted to me that he reads my blog, but doesn't comment on it because he doesn't want people to know he reads it.  His wife labeled him a "stalker".  Well, Bruce. They all know now.

You're welcome.

One of the other things this past week that I have been thinking of reminded of how blessed I truly am, is that 6 years ago at this time, I was facing a 2nd surgery in as many weeks, to remove the remainder of my thyroid.

I had half of it removed due to a large cyst on the left side in mid-November, 2008.  A week later I was told they found cancer and Dream Boy & I made the decision to have surgery immediately to remove the rest of my thyroid.  I had that surgery the day after Thanksgiving.

My cancer was totally removed & I had a radiation treatment 5 months later.  I have since then had follow up appointments/test & scans & was told last year that being 5 years out with no sign of any more cancer that I am cured.  

I know that I could have gone through a lot more in the way of treatment & my heart breaks to watch my daughter-in-law's mom fight her battle.  She has a tremendous spirit & positive attitude, but I know my suffering pales in comparison. 

But I am thankful that I was given that path in my life's journey - it makes me forever grateful for what I have in my life.

So as you head into this week with all your preparations for your Thanksgiving feast and your gathering with friends & family.   As you figure out your plan of attack for Black Friday shopping, and you fill your bellies with your leftovers, remember one thing. 
Remember to give thanks for all of it.  

I wish all of you a very blessed Thanksgiving and prayer that you enjoy it to it's fullest with your family & friends.

Until next time......

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Journal of Thankfulness - Warmth

It's a marshmallow world outside my window today!  

An early snowstorm has caused pretty much every school in our county to call "Snow Day" - including the major colleges/university!  You know it's bad.

Word is that a CBS newsman came into Kalamazoo yesterday & was broadcasting from Candy Cane Lane in Bronson Park last night about the frigid temps & the prediction of up to a foot of snow in some places around here.  It's rumored that he's still hanging out around the park - got stuck in our Winter Storm Warning land filled with lake affect snows.  

So today I'm not going anywhere.  I even rescheduled a doctor's appointment so I don't have to leave my humble abode.

I started up some chicken stock in the crock pot for home made chicken noodle soup tonite and I'm huddling around the fire (wood burner) to stay warm.  It currently "feels like" 0* outside - that's a bit chilly for November, about 35 or so degrees colder than the "norm" for this time of year.

Dream Boy started up a fire in the wood burner last Wednesday night & it's been burning ever since.  For this I am VERY thankful.  

We talked about it this weekend how much that wood burner has saved & blessed us through the years.  We know that we will never have to go without heat, even in/during ice storms where the power is knocked out.  The memories of year's past, where we've had major storms barrel through in the later fall months & power is knocked out & the temps drop to brrrrr-cold, we have the wood burner to keep us warm.

I dropped off a load of coats last weekend to the local mission that Dream Boy & I pulled from our closet.  Crazy how many coats 2 people have stock piled.  In anticipation of the predicted weather, we thinned them out & I took them downtown.  I pray that someone is really benefiting from them at this time.

As I sit here in my jammies, looking out the window at the white wonderland, I am again so thankful for the life I have been privileged to call mine.

What about you?  What blessings are in your life right now that you take for granted every day?  That you go about your every day life because it's just that, your every day life and such an automatic to you?

I pray through this Journal of Thankfulness that I will never forget the feelings and realizations I am blogging about - through the WHOLE year, and not just in this season.

I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness - Monday Morning Coffee

I took Sunday off from blogging.

Not that I didn't have anything to be thankful for.  I just took the day off.

But I also spent the time reflecting.  

As Dream Boy and I started our Sunday morning in church, as we do pretty much every week, I listened to the sermon and my mind began working.

I know that all I have is from God.  There is no doubt in my mind that He is the source of my blessings in this life.  Our minister talked about tithing, always a thing I need to be reminded of.

But I also began thinking of all the other blessings in my life.  The one's I've been posting about and the one's I don't even know about.

After church, we spent time having coffee & visiting with our church family & friends.  A time that we both enjoy and our church is SO good at.

Then we headed to the grocery store.

As I'm standing in line watching other's around me, it became even more apparent to me that I am richly blessed - beyond what I should rightfully be.  I can pretty much walk into a grocery store at anytime and pick up what I need or want for food for that day or week.
I take this for granted.  Too much.

I have the ability to walk through a store filled to the brim with food.  I can pick & choose whatever I want and never worry about hunger.

But there are those who can't.  There are those who do.  In countries far away from our Mitten state, but also those right here in my own city, village & neighborhood.  

While my cupboards are full, so many are bare.  I take this for granted.  That I will always have food in front of me, that I will never have to know the pain of hunger that comes from not having enough.

I am, without a doubt, very humbled by these thoughts.  I am very deeply grateful and thankful that Dream Boy & I are able to live our life as we do.  We may not have a mansion or a million dollars, but we are comfortable and we have what we need.

There is a food drive going on at school this week, and Saturday Dream Boy & I are assembling food baskets at church & delivering them to others.  I will be reminded greatly of all that I have and pray for those who do not.

May I never take it for granted again, what I have and what God has provided for me.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness - Double Duty

Again, I am doing double duty on my thankfulness blogging.

I had the day off from school yesterday, so I stayed away from my computer all day!!  I had over 100 emails this morning!  But I didn't miss it.

So - I am thankful for that day off.  I stayed home all day, did not go anywhere except the basement to make sure the treadmill still works.

It does - so I will be.  Working on it more often.  

I spent the day creating…..
I'm working on stocking up for my either Etsy Shop or my Facebook Shop.  Haven't decided the best route to go yet, I've started them both - they just haven't gone public yet.

Aren't the colors fun in this beanie?  I just think they scream "HAPPY"!

I also created these….
Grandma's Sausage Buns.  Oh a happy memory - a happy favorite and so stinking easy to make.  

So I am very thankful for the day yesterday to just unwind, relax, and do what I love to do most!  Create.

Today, I am reminded of how thankful I am of for this girl, the one on the right in the photos of us 3 girls:
This is our Kylie Sue.   Not to be confused with our Kylie Ann.

She's also known as Bubba Toots for reasons only family members will ever understand.

She turned 16 on the 3rd of November & tonite we get together to celebrate her birthday!  

She is ALWAYS ready to hug you, and cook in the kitchen with you & create with you & just be with you.  

I love this girl to the moon & back and am so very thankful she's my niece!  She has a heart the size of the world and a caring way about her that just doesn't quit.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness

I missed journaling/blogging yesterday.  I had a very long day of school.  It was the start of conferences.

Because I am an instructional paraprofessional, our agreement states that if there are no students, there are no parapro's needed at school.

I struggle with this.  I am the only adult in my classroom.  I am the eyes, ears and voice of authority in my classroom.  

I am so very thankful for my job.  I truly am.  I know I am where I am supposed to be.

But this year, I have a principal who understand's the necessity of my participating in conferences and being on the schedule for parents to meet & talk with.  

I have had very supportive principal's in the past, but this one, she gets it.  She saw the need for it & approached me and told me she would fully support my being on the conference schedule.

So I did - and I had parent's schedule to meet.  I have a few more tonite.  

I am thankful for the views of my current administration, but above all I am thankful to have a job that I love greatly!

Now, since I didn't blog yesterday, I feel that I still need to post 2 reasons of thanks today.

The second is for my doctor and the fact that I have such amazing healthcare provided to me.  Thankfully, Obamacare has not disrupted my healthcare yet.  I pray that it never does.

I had my yearly physical this morning and all went well.  

There are a few things I need to start paying more attention to, but I was told for my age and all that my body has gone through - I am in very good health!

A girl of 54 can't complain when she hears those words, right?

Funny little story though.  While I'm sitting on the table and the nurse practitioner is going over all the questions, I look down on the floor and see this huge bug come crawling from what seemed to be nowhere.  It had a million legs and was kind of "floating" across the floor.

I stopped the nurse and said, "Um, there's quite a lovely bug crawling across the floor right now."

She looks down and calmly replies, as she's reaching for a tissue, "well, isn't that a sight.  Where in the world did that come from?"

She then takes the tissue and reaches out to grab the creepy crawly with it & it RUNS away.  Like lightening!  She throws the tissue down & stomps on it with her shoe, but the bug is not under it!  It has disappeared!  

As she stepped forward to stomp on it, she began to slip, so I naturally reached out to grab her arm to help balance her.  Mind you, I'm there for a physical, so the only thing I'm wearing is my socks & my birthday suit, wrapped in white tissue paper that is tied shut with a paper string.  


We both kind of giggle, but the creepy crawly is no where to be found.  She assumes it is now hiding under my table.  


So she moves back to the counter & resumes her question & answer portion of my exam, all the while glancing around the bottom of the table watching for the creepy crawly.

I answer a few more questions - but then I finally state that it's a little hard to concentrate knowing this creature is lurking underneath my naked body perched on a table with nothing but my socks on for protection.

She starts giggling & so do I.  She apologizes for "freaking me out" and promises the creepy crawly will not get me and she will concentrate more on my exam.

We continue.  She goes back to her professional voice and finishes the Q&A, does my physical exam, then tells me she's writing a script for my major ear infection.  As she's leaving the room, she asks if there's anything else she can do?

My response? 

"Call an exterminator".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness - Veteran's Day

To all of you, each and every one of you.

To those who have and those who currently are.

Thank you.

I'm talking about our veteran's.  Man, woman, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, nephew, niece and everything in between.

Your time and your sacrifice and your willingness to serve our country and fight to protect our freedom has not gone unnoticed by me.  It will never, ever be forgotten by me either.

You all amaze me.  I am deeply moved and grateful to you for all you have done.

To those of you who press forward, who work hard every day to serve & protect and who truly love what you do ------- thank you.

To those of you who have given the ultimate sacrifice of your life ----- I can never fully express my depth of gratitude to you and your families.

You are my friend, my former student, my uncle, my neighbor's husband, my niece or my friend's son.  

You are my hero and my protector.

Thank you to each and every one of you, I am forever grateful.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness - Monday Morning Coffee

These are my "ladies" - the one's with whom I meet every Monday morning prior to our school week starting.

We each work in the the district, but in different buildings.  I could never work where they do and they say the same about my job.

But there is one thing we agree on, our faith & the need to exercise that in our jobs.  We know that prayer is a very powerful tool, and so we meet every Monday to do just that.  

We talk about what is going on in our buildings and where we really need to focus our energies in a positive way.  We pray every week that we may be lights for Jesus & shine brightly in a sometimes troubled environment.  Each of us has our different struggles - one building is now facing the change in administration as the current principal has just handed in his resignation & leaving at the end of November.  The other struggles with being the best she can be for her students, always wanting to do more and do better by them.  I struggle with the acceptance of what my job entails and how some see it as a threat to their own job(s).  All 3 of us struggle with not receiving a pay raise in almost 6 years because we, as a group, have to wait for the other groups to settle.  It's a frustration that we have prayed for clarity on for a while now.

But we don't lose hope.  We rely on the strength of God to know that what we do does matter each & every day in the lives of the students we work with.  We know that we may never physically see it at that very moment - but at some point, the work we've done will show.

I am very thankful for these ladies and all that they have come to mean to me in the last several years.  

Friendship - it is a very special thing.

I'm also very thankful today for the memory of my mom.  This would have been her 79th birthday today.  Happy heavenly birthday mom - I miss you so much each & every day, but carry you in my heart always.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness

I am so thankful for the freedom we have in our country to worship God openly. 

This is our church, Bethany Reformed.  It's a small church in downtown Kalamazoo, but it has a BIG heart.  We are located on the edge of a neighborhood that in the last year has really begun to see a lot of gang warfare, shootings, stabbings and more.  But we are working on embracing the community even more and showing them the love of God.

I am thankful to be a part of a congregation that works so hard to reach out to any and all who find themselves in need.  From our food pantry, to the Back to School Carnival, the Neighborhood Hot Dog Roast, and so much more. 

I truly am thankful for my freedom to worship.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness

Today I am thankful for these 2 ladies, Deanna & Sarah.

They are 2 friends are met IRL this past summer.  Thanks to the World Wide Web - we met through blogging first.

They are both amazing woman whom I admire greatly and find much inspiration in their photography.

I am thankful to have come to know them both and to have finally met them.  I loved the day we were all able to spend together.  They opened my eyes to envision things in a new way.  It's so cool to look through you lens with the perspective you learn from others.

I look forward to many more years of friendship & inspiration from these two!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Journey of Thankfulness

This girl.

Libbi the Wonder Dog.

She brings such joy to us.

We are "dog people" - and can't imagine a life without one.

Libbi came into my life at a very hard time.  My mom had died in May and exactly one month later our chocolate lab, Mocha, died very suddenly at only 8 years old.

While at church the following week, a friend who's husband I grew up with, asked me how I was holding up?  When I told her about Mocha, she said she had just the thing to cheer us up.  Their yellow lab had just had a litter of pups & we needed a puppy fix.

So we headed over after church just to get cuddles……but of course, we fell in love with the 1st born of the litter.  The little pudgy pooch that they had named "Bertha".  She was the one of the bigger pups and had NO problem pushing her siblings out of the way when she was ready to eat.

Seven weeks later, we brought her home.  She has been a joy and has us all wrapped around her tail.  

She is always there when we walk in the door with a smile on her face, ready to drop on your feet until you rub her belly.  She knows right where her soccer ball is, ready to play at a moment's notice.

She loves unconditionally and is always ready to listen.

Yep - she's our girl.  And for her I am very thankful.

Journey of Thankfulness

With the cooler colder temps, the chill of winter is in the air.

I awake every morning in this…
for which I am very thankful.

I know there are many who don't know where they are going to lay there head down that night.  Who don't know how they are going to make it through that day.  Who struggle just to survive.

I take it for granted, I know I do.  

My job.
My home.
My family.

But as I move through each day this month, I continue to look at the little things and realize how truly blessed I am.

I am thankful for the ability to climb in & out of this bed today, and every day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Journey of Thanks

It's the little things, ya know?

The fact that gas is once again below $3.00 per gallon.

Wow - just wow!
I really don't understand why gas prices fluctuate so much?  How can they be one price here, but drive south and they are a LOT different?  

I just don't get it.

But for now - I am very thankful they have dropped.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Do Adore

"Everything you do it sends me
Higher than the moon with every
Twinkle in your eye
You strike a match that lights my heart on fire"
I Do Adore - Mindy Gledhill

This guy - he still makes me laugh.  

I am thankful every single day for him.  

Through the highs, the lows, the good, the bad, the ugly (oh~~the ugly) and everything in between......I DO adore.

He gets me. He knows me. He loves me.

Yep - today I am thankful for this guy and all he's brought into my life and all that he has helped me become with him and because of him.

Today is a two-fer.  Day 4 of my thankful thoughts AND I'm hooking up with Kathy over at You'll Shoot Your Eye Out for Song-ography.  You know, you hear a song & it immediately makes you think of a place, a person or a memory.  You SEE the song in your mind and feel it in your bones. Head on over there and see what other fun songs other's hear in their mind's eye.

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning everyone!

It's another Monday - how many songs have been written about Monday's over the years?

Rainy Days & Monday's -----  The Carpenter's
Manic Monday  -----  The Bangles
Monday Monday  ----  The Mama's & The Papa's

Just to name a few.

If you read my post yesterday - you'll see that I'm posting every day this month, focusing each day on something I found that I'm thankful for.

Today - while I am forever thankful for ALL of my family, today, I am thankful for this guy~~~~

This is Son #2 - who always finds a way to make me laugh.  He lives miles & miles away, and he send me these pictures, forcing me to "one up" him & shoot one back.  

So on with my day, holding onto the smiles from miles away that this guy brings.  And cherishing the love & bond we share, no matter what the distance.

What treasure will you be thankful for in your day today??

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thankfully Thankful

My blogging as of of forever late.......has been lacking.  

I've missed it~~~and you.

So here I am and it's November.  This is a way for me to get back into it, blogging, a routine.  Many others are doing it, and I am joining in.  Each day this month I'm going to find at least one thing, no matter how big or small, to be truly thankful for.

I'm a day late at starting this, so I'll do double duty today.  Two for one, as it were.

As fall is ending and the winter chill is in the air - literally, I grabbed Lucy & headed out.

This scene - one I pass on a regular basis - is one that I sometimes become immune to.  You know that place, you pass it so many times, you don't pay attention.

The lilly pond.  The skies were stormy dark, but then as I was approaching, the sun peaked through.
SO thankful I was paying attention to my surroundings this moment, this here & now.  So thankful for the display of life in the nature that surrounds me.  

And these beauties.........just orange gourds that spend the summer growing from a small little seed into these gorgeous, round orbs that delight many a child when they head out to the pumpkin patch to find that special, magical "one".  Do you remember watching "The Great Pumpkin" when you were a child?  Do you secretly still watch it?
The beauty of the world that surrounds me each & every day and I so often take for granted.

Won't you join me this month in looking for even the smallest of things that you are thankful for?