Thursday, November 28, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving: Day 28


More than enough food on the table
The smell of roasting turkey and pumpkin pies
Family (those here and those far away)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 27


A pre-Thanksgiving snowfall

Monday, November 25, 2013

Smiles and Textbooks

As we prepare to enter the holiday season full steam ahead, many of us take a moment out of our busyness of baking, feasting, parties, shopping, and wrapping to give back.  As you consider where you can help be a blessing to someone else this season, allow me to tell you a little about Operation Smile .

Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity which, through a network of foundations and medical volunteers, provides life changing surgeries and medical care to children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate. 

To put it simply: they heal smiles.

You can learn more about Operation Smile, what they do, and how to donate at their website:

If you are a college student (or know someone who is) there is another way to help Operation Smile, while saving some money on those expensive textbooks: CampusBookRentals has made a minimum commitment to contribute 80 surgeries to Operation Smile through June 2014, but that's just a minimum! They are contributing to Operation Smile in two ways: First, through the minimum commitment as mentioned above. And second, through their RentBack program, they provide students the opportunity to direct any portion of their earnings to Operation Smile directly from their RentBack account.

I hope you will consider the good works of Operation Smile as you think about where to donate your charitable funds this year.  (And maybe you can save yourself some money and help a great cause along the way using CampusBookRentals!)

* This is a sponsered post. However, all opinions are my own. *

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 23


Any relief I can get when my sinuses feel as if they are on fire!
Listening to the grand baby practice his colors
Date night with the Man of the House
Having a warm house on cold days

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 21


The Man of the House
Celebrating 21 years of marriage
Being more in love than ever
Still making each other laugh
Kisses that make me weak in the knees
Having 2 great kids
and 1 adorable grandson

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 20


The Carolina Panthers beating the Patriots on Monday Night!
Watching the grand baby charming the local morning news anchor while in line at World Market
Peach Nehi

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 19

um... for some strange reason Day 19 posted on Day 18.  And nothing posted on Day 19.  Let's try this again, shall we?

Playing "Words With Friends"... with The Man of the House
Online shopping
Tootsie pops

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 18

Playing "Apples to Apples" with the family
Fresh baked cookies
Text messages from the grand baby while I'm grocery shopping
My feet not hurting!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 16


Scheduling a dinner with friends
When the dog doesn't go crazy barking because someone drives past the house (or into the driveway, or comes to the door, or because the wind blows)
The perfect mantel accessories

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 15


The wind sending leaves scurrying across the parking lot
The song stuck in my head
Dinner in the crockpot
Finding these note cards for $1

it's a queen bee... *grin*

Thursday, November 14, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 14


Seeing my first snowflakes of the season
Calling to schedule an appointment and finding they have an opening tomorrow
Having a small part of the Christmas shopping done - 2 weeks before Thanksgiving
Pancakes for breakfast on a cold morning

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Birthday Road Trip

Earlier this month, the family went up to Pigeon Forge for the day to celebrate my birthday.  It was such a nice way to spend a Saturday, I had to just share a little with you.

Normally, I dread a drive up I-40 through the Pigeon River Gorge.  The big trucks, the curvy road, and lane barriers and the mountains just make for one crazy, claustrophobic, scary ride.  Fortunately it was a lovely day, the traffic was light (with oddly very few semis) and the fall colors were just on the downside of peak.  It was beautiful!

The morning started with a stop I knew the male offspring would enjoy - the Smokey Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville.  After that we did some shopping at the outlets in Pigeon Forge, and then grabbed a light lunch.

Next up was my very favorite spot in Pigeon Forge... The Christmas Place!

I managed to talk the family into posing for some silly pictures.

I really love this store!  I could spend hours just looking at all the decorations and trees.  It's like getting to hang out in Santa's workshop!

From there we went down to the Old Mill.  Where we browsed in the shops... and bought far too much candy!

The day ended with dinner at my favorite restaurant in Pigeon Forge: Mama's Farmhouse. (you can read my previous rave review of it HERE) Seriously... if you like country cooking and are ever in Pigeon Forge you have GOT to eat here!

It was a wonderful day with the family.  Part of the perfect birthday weekend.  Which I don't think I thank the Man of the House enough for putting together for me! 

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 13


yesterday being 11/12/13 
sleeping in a little bit later than usual
Finding that thing I've been looking for

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 12


Finding a coupon at the last minute for that expensive thing you can't put off purchasing any longer
When the headache you woke up with goes away
The first forecast for snow flurries


Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 11


putting my Nook down and walking away from it - before I spill coffee all over myself
seeing the grand baby amused by something as simple as a laundry basket
Peppermint Mocha is back!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Defined By Circumstances


noun\ˈsər-kəm-ˌstan(t)s, -stən(t)s\

: a condition or fact that affects a situation
circumstances : the way something happens : the specific details of an event
: an event or situation that you cannot control

Circumstances are the conditions we find ourselves in at any given time.  It's the time, place, or situation.

Circumstances do not define who we are. Let me repeat myself.  Circumstance DO NOT define who we are.

And we don't have to allow them to determine what we do or how we act.

Having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?  We all do. Maybe it's even a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.  Or year.  It happens.

But that is not who you are.  You can't let it determine how you live your life or how you treat others.

People may have hurt you.  You don't have to be hurtful towards others.

The skies may be gray.  You don't have to be full of gloom and doom.

You may be surrounded by turmoil.  You don't have to seek out or start drama. 

Circumstances change all the time.  Constantly.  If you allow who you are to be ruled by them, you will be as unpredictable as the weather.

So, when life gets messy - remind yourself that you are not a mess.  It's your circumstances that seem hopeless.  You are not hopeless.

You have the power to rise above your circumstances. You can move past what has happened to you, or the mess you created for yourself, or what you have done and be the person God created you to be.

Raise you head up.  Hold tight to the one constant in life - God and His unfailing love and promises.  Remind yourself who you are.  You are his child.  You are loved.

And His love can see you through even the worst circumstances life has to offer.

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving: Day 7


Weekend roadtrips to Pigeon Forge
Birthday freebies
Finding an awesome deal on a new shower curtain
The perfect mirror for the living room
The Bear in the Big Blue House

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving: Day 6


The Man of the House's softball team went undefeated in the tournament
Good books
Curious George

Leap of Faith

The grand baby loves to jump.  He will climb onto the couch... or the ottoman... or the stairs... or the bed, then he will turn around, and just leap into your arms. Often with a squeal or a laugh.

There is no hesitation, no pause to see if you are prepared, no hint of fear in his little blue eyes, no doubt.  Just joy at the leap.  Trusting that you will be there to catch him and not let him fall.

Oh friends... isn't that exactly how our Lord wants us to trust Him?

To leap out into His arms with a laugh.  

To jump right into the plans He has prepared for us with joyful abandon. 

Trusting Him completely.
Pushing past any fear.
No doubt.
No hesitation.
Fully believing that He will be there to catch us and keep us from harm.

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 4


Rude awakenings by the cat
Quiet mornings
Seeing other people be kind to strangers
Sunny Autumn days

Thinking of Others

I saw this on CBS Sunday Morning show a couple of weeks ago, and it made me cry a little. And smile.

These are kids in middle school!  I have lived through middle school.  I have seen two offspring through middle school in the not so recent past.  I know exactly how selfish... and even cruel... middle schoolers can be.

But if you have ever looked at middle school kids and had any worries for the future, these boys can renew your faith in the next generation.

This is a bunch of kids who were willing to put themselves aside for one evening so that someone else could have a moment of glory.

And let them be an inspiration to all of us. What could we do at any given moment to brighten someone else's day?

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving 2013: Day 1


The grand baby saying "Happy happy happy!"
Bright crimson tree
Birthday sushi lunch
Being another year older
The first frosty mornings

30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving Revisited

For a year now I have been keeping a gratitude journal.  Sometimes writing several things a day, sometimes nothing at all.  Sometimes for several days in a row it goes untouched. 

It's so easy to get wrapped up into the busyness of life and to overlook all the beautiful things. 

We often forget that even in the hard times, the sad times, the hurt-filled times - there is still good.  There is still something for which we can give thanks.  There is always something, no matter how small, which we can be grateful for.

We notice the big things.  The births.  The weddings.  The parties and celebrations.  The unexpected promotion,a gift, a vacation, a raise in salary, a visit form a loved one.  But what about that few seconds of solitude when our soul can rest, the sound of silence, the song on the radio which has us singing along, the moment something makes us smile briefly. 

Life is made up of all the small things that happen between the "Big Stuff".  Those are the things we should perhaps be most grateful for. 

Scripture says in Matthew 25:23, "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' "  Perhaps when we take the time to notice and are faithful to thanks for all the we consider "small", then we will be showered with even more blessings.  

Again this year for the month of November,  I am keeping a series of posts entitled "30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving".  A sort of gratitude journal to remind me of all the blessings (big and small) in my life. 


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