Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Turkey day!

I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already!  With the help of Thankful Thelma, Libby and I have tried to spend the last couple weeks remembering and being thankful for the many blessings in our life.  Here is my personal top 10 list (in no particular order):

  1. My daughter.  I know, I's pretty much a given if you're a parent that you're going to be thankful for your children.  But they have a way of touching our lives in a way that no one else can.  All you parents out there --- you know what I mean!
  2. My home.  I'm so thankful that my daughter and I are able to sleep with a solid roof over our heads on soft beds under warm blankets in a heated house.  It's easy to overlook the fact that some of the comforts that we take for granted are luxuries for other people. 
  3. My job.  I'm so blessed to have a job in this day's economy.  I know so many people that have struggled or are currently struggling with unemployment.  I honestly and truthfully love what I do - I help people get better!  What's not to love about that?!  But I know not everyone is lucky enough to be in a position where they can do what they love.  I'm thankful that I can.  And I'm thankful for a new opportunity that's just crossed my path as of last week I became a consultant for Tastefully Simple and am looking forward to my new adventure with a fun little "side job!" 
  4. My friends and family.  I have amazing friends and family!  Some I don't get to see as often as I'd like but with true friends we can always pick up right where we left off.  If it weren't for my awesome friends and family, I never would have survived my unwed pregnancy.  From fixing dinners to putting together baby furniture to "coaching" me through labor to volunteering to watch my newborn baby so I could quickly return to school, I had a strong support system to pull me through.  I am also so thankful that I continue to have a good, working relationship with my daughter's dad and that his family is basically like a second family to me, constantly opening their home and their hearts to me and my daughter. 
  5. Music.  This may sound like a petty thing to be thankful for but it can sometimes make or break me.  Music has the power to bring forth waves of emotion through powerful lyrics or memories that have become intertwined with particular songs.  A couple years ago the car I was driving had no radio, no CD player, nothing - it had all quit working and I was too cheap to buy a new stereo knowing that I would soon be buying a new car.  I remember the first time I got into my new car and drove to work with the radio again - it seriously made my day!  There's nothing like a little boost from K-love in the morning! 
  6. My church.  I have found a home in Southland Christian Church and have developed friendships with so many amazing people.  My daughter and I both look forward to church every Sunday (she used to cry when we missed a Sunday!) and I love walking away with real-life applications.  I'm also so thankful that we live in a country where I can freely attend church and read my Bible without persecution.
  7. DayBreak.  This could be considered part of my church experience but it's played such a huge role in my life that I have to count it as a separate blessing!  DayBreak is an 8 week program for single moms (from all walks of life - divorced, widowed, never married...) that I had the opportunity to go through at Southeast Christian Church and it was really life changing for me.  It helped me "let go and let God" and free myself of the weight of guilt that I had been carrying.  Just recently I got to be part of bringing DayBreak to my church in Danville and serving as a co-coordinator for the program was such an awesome privilege.  I enjoyed meeting all of the wonderful women who participated and volunteered with the program - what a joy to work alongside each of them!
  8. My health.  I work primarily with an elderly population but occasionally I see someone that is my own age.  It's humbling when I work with those patients that are my age because my health is something I so often take for granted.  I complain because I have a sore throat or because I'm having an eczema flair-up but imagine not being able to walk...or living in physical pain everyday...or losing a limb.  I'm thankful that I get to see these situations so that I can remind myself how blessed I truly am. 
  9. Food.  I won't deny that I love food!  And this is definitely a day to be thankful for it!  I haven't had my Thanksgiving feast yet (we celebrate on Friday) but I'm sure many of you have.  Some of my favorites for Thanksgiving are my mom's grit casserole and (the Honey Baked Ham version of) sweet potato souffle (Sorry I didn't share this link in time for you to try it on Thanksgiving but maybe you could give it a whirl for Christmas!).  I typically don't really love sweet potatoes but whether you like sweet potatoes or not, the sweet potato souffle is hard not to love!  In fact, I think it warrants sharing this video with you that I saw on the Today Show...

And lastly...
YOU!  Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to read a little bit about mine!  This blog is still only a few months old but I hope that it will grow and that I will be able to reach out to other single parents (or just parents...or single people...or whoever wants to read this!) and maybe together we can make this journey called life a little bit easier.

I hope you've had a blessed Thanksgiving!  I'd love to hear what you're thankful for today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Choose JOY!

Last Sunday our church sermon really hit home for me.  (You can find links to watch or listen to it here.)  It's something I think we all know but could use a reminder from time to time.  Each and every day we have to decide how we are going to live our life - Are we going to be bitter?  Are we going to be angry?  Or are we going to choose joy for our day?  For our life? 

I've pretty much always been a glass half-full kinda gal myself.  But just like anyone else, I have my days.  As a single parent, it doesn't take much for me sometimes to feel sorry for myself.  In fact, I feel like last week was one of those weeks...feeling a little too stressed and a little too alone to manage everything that was on my plate.  I know I'm not alone.  Everyone gets overwhelmed at times.  But I think it's different if you're single and even more so if you're also a parent.  When you've got a little person to look after, you don't have time to wallow.  We have to wake up and glue a smile on our face because we've got someone that's relying on us.  And that, my friends, is challenging! 

In the words of best-selling author Angela Thomas in the introduction to her book, My Single Mom Life: Stories and Practical Lessons for your Journey, "All the other families seemed to be a man and a woman with some kids.  Whole families...Never mind what kind of families they are in private; the families with a man in their pew look put together, and we are so obviously single.  Many days the ache of that unfair comparison won't seem to go away.  And being a single-mom family can make us feel that we're relegated to live a second-class life.  Crippled.  Limping.  Just doing the best we can with the scraps that remain.  Many times I feel the ache, but refuse to live like a crippled woman.  I am a single mom.  My children and I have been through it.  But we've also been blessed beyond reason.  I am choosing to live in the blessing."

In the early stages of my pregnancy, I will admit - I was no happy camper.  I was angry, disappointed, sad...basically every negative emotion you can name, I had it.  But my story changed when I began to accept my circumstances.  I didn't realize it at the time but looking back, when my journey of acceptance began, I made a choice.  I chose joy.  What will you choose today?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meet Thelma...

If you read my most recent post, Christmas on the brain..., you know that on my "to do" list this week was creating a "Thankful Tom Turkey," which I'd seen on the blog Living, Laughing, and Loving. Well, it's been a CrAzY week in our house with too much to do and not enough time...nonetheless, we spared enough free-time to work on our turkey and it turned out to be quite a masterpiece!
"Thankful Thelma"

I had planned on naming our turkey Tom (because who doesn't name a turkey Tom???) but considering we are a house full of girls, we had to think of something a little more Thelma it was! She was crafted from various scraps of paper (because I RARELY throw scrap papers away - you never know when you might need them!). Libby and I shared the feathers and secretively (because keeping it secret was part of our fun!) wrote on the back the things we are thankful for. Now Thelma is helping us to count down the days til Thanksgiving...each day we are going to "pluck" one of her feathers and when they're all's Turkey Day! The best part is reading what we are thankful for each day. Not to mention, it makes Thanksgiving seem all that more exciting when you have a feather to "pluck" every morning in anticipation!

Just for kicks, I thought I'd share with you that the Corduroy Appreciation Club has deemed today to be "Corduroy Appreciation Day," since 11/11/11 is the date that most closely resembles the appearance of corduroy. (I just learned that yesterday, courtesy of my favorite radio station.) Can't say that corduroy really made it on my "thankful" list but I do enjoy it from time to time. So happy corduroy day to everyone!

Before I sign off for the evening, let me just say that one of the things I am thankful for is OUR VETERANS! Thank you to anyone that has sacrificed to serve this wonderful country that we are so blessed to live in. And to those of you that have lost husbands, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, etc. while they were fighting for our rights - my heart goes out to you and your family.
My favorite veteran - my Dad (Vietnam vet)
To those non-veterans and anyone who does not share in the appreciation of corduroy, let me just say this - Happy Friday!!! Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Christmas on the brain...

Ahhhh...November is here and things are about to go into full swing.  I heart the holidays! 

image via Photobucket

Things are about to get a little crazy around, more crazy than usual (because things are never calm and collected at our house!) - with multiple Thanksgiving meals, decorating, shopping, and as many Christmas celebrations as we can cram into one calender!  As much as it stresses me out sometimes, I love EVERY STINKIN' second of it!!!  After all, it is "the most wonderful time of the year!"

This week, Halloween decor gets boxed up and the Thanksgiving decor comes out!  (By the way, Libby is "embarrassed" that our Halloween stuff is still up - she said so on November 1.)  But that's just the interim, the "filler"...what I really can't wait for is busting out the Christmas decor!

In the meantime, we do have a few other fun things on our Thanksgiving "to do" list...

First, I'm planning on creating our very first "Thankful Tom Turkey" (idea courtesy of Living, Laughing, and Loving - one of my new fave blogs!).  If he's cute enough, I'll try to post a picture of our masterpiece!  :)

Christmas pictures!  I'm taking the day off from work on Tuesday to get our pictures made by my wonderful friend, Amy Raney!  She does some great work and I can't wait to see how they turn out. 

We've also got to find the time to write to Santa!  I know, I know, it sounds early...but if mom wants to get an early start on shopping, she has to know what is on Santa's list (I wouldn't want to buy her something that he's already bringing her!).  Each year, Libby writes a letter (in years past she has cut and pasted from catalogs) and we mail it at Macy's.  They have a wonderful program that is pretty heavily advertised where Macy's donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation for every stamped letter to Santa they receive in their Santa mailbox. 

Once the letter is written, it's time to shop!  I love shopping just as much as the next girl but really don't care for the post-Thanksgiving Christmas crowd.  While I may brave the crowds on Black Friday for a handful of great deals and steals, I'm hoping to get most of my shopping done early.  This weekend I'm hitting the stores, hopefully sans Libby! Goal is starting and finishing all of my non-online Christmas shopping in one day. Wish me luck! (As a side note, I'm hoping to do more online shopping and also support more "cottage industries" this year rather than supporting the big name stores - thanks to the advice from my friend, Anne, at Modern Mrs. Darcy.)

And that's just this week!  Mind you, all of these "extras" will be on top of our usual hum-drum of work, meetings, church functions, swim practice, errands, maintaining the house (with my new cleaning schedule!) AND maintaining my sanity.

How are your pre-Thanksgiving/holiday season preparations going?