My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love the message of being with those that you love and being thankful for what you have.

It is a time for us to focus on what really matters:  our relationships. It gives us moments to cherish one another and deepen the connections we have with those that we love. It is a time to create memories and reconnect with fellowship.

As a kid, it was a time where a family who seemed disjointed by divorce was able to have togetherness and celebrate that family is what you make of it. These moments around the holiday table made me realize that I had a normal loving family even if it looked a little different than a cookie cutter family. So I always enjoyed the holiday get-togethers. And who doesn’t love three Thanksgiving meals?

I love that it encourages everyone to be thankful for what they have. It just is a happy holiday for me.

And then Friday comes.

I have never really understood Black Friday. First of all, I am a woman who loves my sleep, so getting up that early has never made sense to me. Also I hate lines, so nothing seems worth waiting in line to get into the store, then another line for the item, and yet another line for checkout. My time is worth something people.

Most of all, I feel that it is completely opposite of the meaning of Thanksgiving. The idea is erroneous to me. It is like the day before was a sham and all that we were thankful for is no more. To me it is a day spent being greedy and wanting more of things we don’t necessarily need. (Don’t even get me started on the commercialism of Christmas.)

I am human just like the rest of you, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t want a new car or a new laptop like the rest of you. I am no better in that I have those urges too.

I do also know that for some people Black Friday is a family affair and it is time spent together. For some people it is a rush to get those deals, and they find so much joy in the activity. If that is the case, rock on and have fun together! I will remain in my pajamas on my couch eating the tons of turkey left overs.

But for the most part, I fundamentally disagree with the idea of the day and the message it sends. As I said, it seems as though the world is dismissing the day of thankfulness we had not even hours before. (For some stores they are doing Brown Thursday-What?) It perpetuates this desire to always want more. The stories out there of people fighting over linens and getting trampled to get that new thingymabob just boggle my mind at what we are doing as a nation. We compare ourselves to what others have, and we become envious. If you live your life always looking for your happiness in the next thing or sale, you tend to miss out on what is happening right now and enjoying the little blessings that you already have.

1 Timothy 6:6-10 “But godliness with content is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 

Thanksgiving was extremely important to me this year. I have talked about how this fall I have been on the struggle bus. I have been waiting for the “next” thing to happen. I have been wasting my life in a line of unfilled expectations waiting to get a bargain in my career. These wants of having a big time job have had a disastrous effect on my psyche and my relationships. My anxiety was controlling my life, and all because I wanted to be in a different place.

All the while I was missing out on the wonderfulness of right now.

I have spent a good amount of time the past month pondering on a few verses. I needed to refocus and re-center myself around what matters.

I needed Thanksgiving.


my Thanksgiving decoration…

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” 

I wrote about making this a reminder to help with my anxiety. I have this verse on repeat in my head when I am having a moment. It is so helpful just to throw up your requests to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Always be joyful. Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”

I have really tried in the last few weeks each day to count my blessings. I have a notebook where I jot down things that I am thankful for. Some are simple things like having a DVR or the chocolate chips in my banana bread, and others are more grandiose things like the ability to cultivate a long distance relationship over the phone with my parents or having all day yesterday to lay around with Tom and just be in love. If I am having a really low moment and have lost sight of where I am, I can look back at these scribblings and know that I am truly blessed.

God has blessed my life, and that is something worth taking a moment to be thankful. I don’t want discontent to run my day.

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” 

Walk faithfully with God every day of your life and enjoy each gift he gives you now. I have been amazed at how my attitude and perspective have changed once I stopped the comparison game and was more content with where I am in life and the things that I have.

So if Black Friday is your thing, awesome. I’m not one to stand in the way of a good deal. You do you, and I will do me. I just hope you remember to be thankful for what you do have and focus on what really matters in life.  I will tell you those sheets on sale isn’t it.

Thanks to Susannah for the Thankful for All link up idea!

Simple Moments Stick

How do you remember to be thankful? Do you keep a journal; do you say them out loud to yourself in the car? How do you remain mindful of your blessings?

Anxiety for the Anxiety

Without going into too many details, I have really high anxiety.

This is nothing new, but it has been pretty prevalent the past couple months.

With any transition there are some adjustment periods. With all kinds of new things going on (living situation, community, job, dogs, etc.), along with saying goodbye to other things (community, job, etc.), I should have expected it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t.

But you have to figure out a way to deal. So day in and day out, I put one foot in front of the other.

I also need a lot of reminders.


I made this easy frame with a scripture that encapsulates a lot of reminders that I need.

2013-10-15 21.29.36

the supplies

I did the scripture in word document. I changed the fonts/sizing to emphasize certain words.

I picked out a piece of scrapbook paper to match our bathroom colors.

I bought a cheap frame at Walmart and spray painted it orange.

2013-10-15 21.34.09

my reminder

Working on centering myself around prayer has really helped keep the focus on living and letting things go that I cannot change. I have had to work on acceptance and am continuously learning to be humble.

The bottom line is there is no reason to keep being anxious about being anxious.When I sit down and think about it, it is really quite silly for me.

Being more thankful does provide peace, and this is a great reminder to count my blessings and send up my requests to be less anxious about what is happening in the moment.

And what is better than a reminder every time you are on the toilet or  brushing your teeth?

Brings a whole new meaning to “brushing things off” and “relieving” your stress.

Why I Love Fall Link Up

Today is the first day for Autumn on My Mind!


We have a pretty easy prompt for today!

“What I Love About Fall”

Link up with us to describe what you are excited about this autumn. We want to hear what you love about the fall season. That could be everything pumpkin flavored, the scarves galore or how the leaves get crunchy. Tell us what you “fall” for!

We have a few simple rules for this link up.

Rules of the Link-up:
1. Do one entry or all! It’s up to you!
2. Add your entry’s link below, and be sure to put the button in your post!
3. If you do link up, check out a couple fellow bloggers to see something new.
4. Your hosts (Elizabeth and Stephanie) would love a following on Bloglovin, but it is not required! We are just glad you stopped by for “Autumn on My Mind!”
I always think of this song when I think of fall. Plus it was one of my favorite marching shows I ever did because the saxophone part is pretty swell and just so upbeat and fun.

Here is why I love fall.
1. The colors-I love the variety of hues you see. I love driving through the country and seeing the skyline just colors every day. I am really excited for my drive to work this fall since the trees are huge and glorious here.
2. Marching band. What can I say? I am a band geek at heart. I love cheering on my teams! I love hearing them practice in the morning on my way to work. Oh the memories…
47_506955809901_5676_n 49_508607829241_4112_n And nothing says fall like wool uniforms.
2744_520124010705_1516026_nI would try to learn the cheers too at every game. If I did any reality show, it would be like “MTV Made” where they make me a cheerleader/pommie. No lie…
3. School starts. Even though I am not in classes, I love the excitement of school starting and getting to learn new things. So many great things have happened at the beginning of the school year. I still feel the need to buy crayons and a Lisa Frank trapper keeper each year.
4. The fruit picking options: blueberries, blackberries, apples… I just love getting out there and getting my hands dirty!
5. Crunchy leaves. I will go out of my way to step on crunchy leaves.
6. Football. It probably started from watching the Chiefs every Sunday with my dad growing up. Then have my Friday nights, [then Saturdays] filled because of marching and having to pay attention and learn the game because of pep band. The infatuation for the game blossomed, and I love watching my teams each week. (Tom doesn’t so much appreciate the yelling and cheering that occurs, but oh well!) And thanks to my time at Clemson, I also was exposed to the best tailgating experience. Really no where can compare to the “Most Exciting 25 Seconds in Football.”

There really is something in those hills.
13937_575946826351_297321_nPart of my grad cohort after a Tiger game.
317_528071578731_3697_nWe tailgated before, and after, pretty much every game guaranteed.
I am really bummed that I will not be making it to either Central or Clemson to watch a game this year.
431763_965147984111_1018736824_nThis was my first tailgate at Central since I was always in the band. And it only came 5 years after I graduated! Go Mules!
7. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It is the perfect holiday focused on family and service, without having to worry about gift giving. And really it is all about the food…Love me some cranberry salad, marshmallow yams, and stuffing with noodles.
8. Hoodies. Fall has the best weather for hoodies. If I could, I would live in hoodies. I own a hoodie for every school I work at, plus several from Worlds of Fun, my fraternity, and some just because. I have a giant stack of them in the closet. They are just so comfy. I do need to get one for Austin Peay though…
9. TV. shows return from the summer hiatus. I am a TV junkie, and I love fall premieres. One of my task list items this weekend is to set up the DVR for all my shows! Cannot wait to have some closure from all those season ending cliff hangers.
10. The weather isn’t awful. My husband is hot blooded so this weather is perfect for him, which means that he is much more likely to enjoy the outings that I put him through. Which then means, that I enjoy them more too! Yes outdoor date ideas! It’s also not just events for dates, but fun times with friends and family at things such as corn mazes and pumpkin patches. There is just so much fun stuff to do!
7432_572696500031_6925678_nWe went through a Corn Maze, and of course they had other fun stuff to play around with.
My family last year at a pumpkin festival. We were only missing Tom who was having a very different kind of fall in Afghanistan. Look at the Missouri Hills behind us! Glorious!
Tom said that he loves this season because all of his favorite hunting seasons are now. He said his mind always goes to a deer stand when he thinks of fall. He is trying to convince me right now that he needs a new bow….
So we all have our reasons for loving the season. Link up and show us your reasons!

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I am having trouble with my links today. Of course it worked when I did the test site, but not when it needs to go live. I am not sure why sometimes they show, and sometimes they don’t. Anyway, if you don’t see the graphic for the link, you can either click the first link shown above, and it will take you to a separate page, or you can go to Elizabeth’s page by clicking the image below.

Check out my collaboration partner!

Gobble till you Wobble

It is probably cliche that I am going to write a post about gratitude the week of Thanksgiving. Well get over it, it’s happening.

I have been wanting to write a message of thanks to the outpouring of support my family has received since Tom went overseas, but I just haven’t found the right words to do so. I am still not quite sure if I can express all of my gratitude to those around us as eloquently as I wish too, but I needed to say thanks somehow.
With the holidays coming up, I have been wondering lately how I am going to get through a time where family is the focus without mine present. I just kept focusing on what Tom and I would be missing out on. I mean this is the first time in 5 years he and I will not have been together for the holidays. I selfishly kept wallowing about the fact that my husband left me for the holidays. The feeling of being alone is highlighted exponentially at this time. Then I did something absentmindedly last week that reminded me that even though there are parts that stink about this, we have so much to be thankful for. (And really he didn’t choose to be gone at this time of year, so I needed to get over myself and stop being a Lifetime Christmas Special Movie.)

So Iowa State has an obsession with listserves. There are listserves for everything and everyone. Well this week, I had a Dawson’s Creek moment like when Joey sent a private message to all of campus. Fortunately, mine had positive effects instead of the public embarrassment Joey encountered.   I have been sending out emails requesting help with sending Tom and his unit items they need or want. This week I added all the appropriate groups, and pressed send. A few hours later, I get an email from one of my residents saying that she had some letters she hoped that she could give me to send in Tom’s packages. I know that I have talked about Tom and said things during Friley Senate (our hall council meetings), but I was still really confused about the timing of this email. Then I realized what silly thing I did. Instead of sending this request email to the Upper Friley staff, I accidentally sent it to ALL of Upper Friley. Yep, all 630 of them. I then started having several conversations/emails of people wanting to give letters or items. After just  a few days, this was the stock I got.


Here are students coming out to give items to people they have never met, just because I sent a very vague email about this dude named Tom. Seriously, I didn’t even mention that Tom was in the service, which apparently prompted many people to talk to their CAs on who Tom was. Double bonus-community builder!

Speechless and humbled. I still am not really sure how to react to all the donations.

Not only am I thankful for the students who have helped donate in this last week because of my slight of hand, but I am extremely appreciative for individuals who have helped over the last few months. Countless people have come and dropped off goodies for me to ship. I don’t even mind that now the post office knows me by name, and that they have to restock their custom forms and flat rate boxes every time I come in! Two other buildings here at ISU did Penny Wars to raise funds for donations and to help cover the cost of postage. Again for people they have never met; although, they did plaster pictures of Tom all over their hall desk. My sister-in-law did a request at the elementary school where she teaches, and has had similar reactions to sponsor Tom’s unit. Kindergartners are giving up their allowance to provide items for these soldiers. Isn’t that seriously the cutest thing?

There is so much bad press out there about the military, and I often feel that we are in our own little world sometimes. I feel that people forget those who are in the military and seriously misunderstand what they are doing for our country. And that sometimes, they just want a bag of Twizzlers to get them through the day (or the cold desert night). But this is the time that I want to say a big sincere thank you for the support that people have shown us in the last few months, even if it is just buying a box of easy mac or coordinating large scale efforts to show support. It reminded me at a time that I needed it that I have so much to be thankful for.

It’s nice to be able to send a little piece of home to Tom and his buddies, so thank you for helping make that happen. I am grateful for it all.

As for the family that I do get to see over the holidays-here is a little sneak peak of a gift I will be giving.

This Birthday Board project was the most in depth that I have attempted to do so far. I had to ask for help from my neighbor, Dick. And it took me a couple weeks to finish it.

You will need:

  • A long board
  • wooden letters
  • paint
  • wooden circles
  • screw eyes
  • jewelry circles
  • paint pen
  • a drill

First I had Dick drill holes into all the wooden circles and the long board. Thanks for the help Neighbs!

Then once this was completed, the painting began. This took me a couple days to complete. I didn’t realize there was so much to paint!

I painted each letter a different color, and I also did 4 of the wooden circles in each color. I used the thumbtacks to help make it easier to paint each item without getting paint all over myself. The wooden circles I painted both sides. Looking back now that it is complete, I could have dipped the circles into paint and covered the screws up completely with paint. That might have gone faster, but would have been a little messier and probably wasted some paint.

On each circle, I wrote someone’s name and the day of their birthday using a paint pen. (I just did the immediate family, so I made a lot of blank circles to accommodate others that this person wants to remember.)

I used some circle hooks that I found in the jewelry section of hobby lobby to fasten all the screw hooks together.

Once all the paint was dry, I glued the wooden letters onto the long board and added the white letters for the months of the year. I used some small foam letters that we had around as stamps.

So there is the final product of the family birthday board. And apparently on the Whitener side, I am the only one without a birthday month buddy.

It will be cool to see this grow as names are added!

Again, thank you for all the love and support as Tom and I go through this adventure!
Now it is time to celebrate the best holiday of the year because it is all about giving thanks, family and food! Gobble till you wobble friends!