Today I am thankful for: Traditions... Old and New! There is something that feels very grounding about having traditions. It's like your favorite sweater, or an old friend. There is something so familiar about it that you look forward to it every year. I feel like creating traditions in a family is so important. It's these things that we remember fondly as we look over our childhood years. As I have embarked on this 14 day thankfulness challenge, it has made me think. What am I most thankful for??? Relationships... Family... Faith... these things are all centered around one thing TRADITION. Our traditions, the things that we hold important enough to do time and time again, we hold in our hearts as our most precious things.
Last night we had "movie night" at our house. This is a fairly new tradition in our house - now that the girls are getting old enough to sit through a whole movie. Last night we watched "Santa Buddies". I had seen the previews and thought it just might be a great movie for us all to enjoy. I just thought it would be cute... little did I know that it was going to teach a good lesson too. The movie is centered around the magic of Christmas. Believing in your heart of the magic of Christmas. That the true spirit of Christmas doesn't lie in receiving, but in doing for others.
As we were cuddled in our little blanket nests watching our movie as a family... it dawned on me, tradition, memories, closeness, it's happening right now. I am thankful for these things, these memories... they are among my most treasured things in life..
Today I am thankful for: Happy Mornings! I am happy to announce that Cristy went into labor last night... and had two good sized baby boys. Much to Matt's dismay they didn't choose the names Willie and Wonka... can you believe it? Liam Reed, 4lbs 14oz. 17 1/4" -came first, right before midnight, and Logan Keith, 4lbs. 6 oz. - came a few minutes later via C-section, a little after midnight. Can you believe they managed to have two different B-days? Both babies are on ventilators and aren't quite out of the woods yet. So, please pray that they will all go home healthy very soon! Congratulations Cristy & Val, can't wait to meet those boys!
The girls are over the moon this morning to hear about their new cousins... and have been running around singing and dancing all through the house. I love happy sounds in the morning!
I hope you start your day just as happily as we did!
Today I am thankful for: Emma Downtown. Our business has been my life for the last 10 years. Basically my whole adult life... People think that it would be amazing to run your own business... how fun they say, oh I wish I didn't have to work... on and on like that the comments go. The truth is, it is amazing, and fun, but you will NEVER work harder than you do for yourself. PERIOD. You never leave it. You don't clock in and then clock out, it's always with you. In a sense it's your baby. You worry over it. You never stop thinking of it. You always love it, although you may not always like it... very much like having a child. For every responsibility it brings, it gives more joy, more blessings than I can count. It is because of our business I have the flexibility to "have it all" as people say. I get to be a full time mom, and do what I love. It keeps me on my creative toes. It has helped me develop countless friendships and relationships with people I may have never known otherwise. It has allowed me to stay close to my family, and grow a priceless friendship with my mother. I really do feel thankful that we have made it 10 years... through peaks and valleys, ups and downs. I am really proud that we have made it this far! Can't wait to see what happens in the next 10 years.
Today I am thankful for: Little things that make me happy! Things that just make life a little better just because.... ............... ice tea peppermint lip balm soft flannel sheets slippers my Jak softie pedicures back rubs foot rubs neck rubs... (hmm I see a pattern here) date night with my honey my awesome camera bubble baths good smelling things hugs and kisses from my sweetie pies coffee with friends days out with my mama sweatpants coffee music ............. oh, so many things to be thankful for!
Today I am thankful for: My House. My House is more than a house it's home! It's my oasis... My safe spot... Love lives in these walls, under this roof, and when I'm here I'm home. It is here where I have planted my roots, in hopes that they will grow deep. I have planted my hopes and dreams here, and I hope with time, love, patience, and care, that my dreams will become realized. I am so thankful for this place, the place I can raise my family, and grow our memories. It is a true blessing.
Today I am thankful for: So very, very, thankful that my nephews are still nice and safe right where they belong! In their mama's belly!!! I am also very thankful for the courage, strength, tenacity, and will of my wonderful sissy in law! She is one very strong woman! She has now been in the hospital for 49 days... She is 31 weeks and 4 days prego and those boys are growing everyday! Not all people could have endured what she has. She is a wonderful mother already, I'm not even sure if she knows it. I am thankful for you Cristy. Keep up the good work!!! I am thankful that our prayers have been answered and those precious boys are healthy and well. God is so good! Can't wait to meet you Willie and Wonka :)! XOXO
Today I am thankful for: Good friends... I have a great group of supportive friends in my life. I feel really lucky for that! But, there are two in particular that have been with me for a long time. We've kind of grown up with each other. We are the kind of girl friends that know so much about each other we don't dare part ways :)... We've been through A LOT, teenage years, boys, college days, 3 weddings, babies, houses, jobs, moving cross country, you name it we've been there for it. We're the kind of friends that could go months without talking or seeing each other and pick right back up like we haven't been apart for two minutes. I love these girls... They are my best friends. I am thankful that God has given me these ladies to always have my back. I don't have any sisters, but if I did I would chose them!
Today I am thankful for: Dinnertime. Every evening no matter what we set at the table together as a family and enjoy a meal. Sometimes it's take out, sometimes it's a full on homemade dinner. Sometimes it's the four of us, sometimes we have grandma and papa, other family, or friends to join us. I love this time as a family. Some of my fondest memories growing up were around our little dining room table. I always sat at the end on my little footstool. I love this tradition... but my favorite part of all is that my girls wait to eat (without even being told) until everyone is sat down and served, so we can say our "prayers". This has become very important to the two of them at out dinnertime routine; and it makes my heart happier than just about anything on earth! Bella says this prayer as we hold hands "God is Great, God is Good, Let us Thank Him for our food! - Amen" (this is almost always followed by Meritt saying "Amen! I did it!" At the end of the day good, bad, or in between, you just can't help but be truly grateful for this simple but beautiful thing!
Today I am thankful for: The gift of motherhood. I feel truly blessed that I am lucky enough to experience motherhood. As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a mama. Growing up I mothered anything and everything that would let me; including my kittens who I would dress up and walk in baby carriages, my poor little dog checkers, baby dolls, stuffies, even my big brother. Having my children has been one of the greatest blessings I think I will ever receive. My heart breaks for those out there longing for children. My heart breaks for all the children out there longing for parents to love them. Knowing there are so many that have such trouble realizing their dreams of parenthood, and family, I realize how incredibly blessed I am to have my children! My girls are my world. I am so thankful that God has in trusted me to raise these precious people!
Today I am thankful for: Well... it's Monday, sometimes it's hard to be thankful on Monday. Especially when your Monday morning starts out, well like... Monday. But, even in this I can be thankful! Thankful for the little things... like a steamy, creamy cup of coffee enjoyed in bed after the chaos of getting everyone to school and work is over. The prospects of the day. My baby girl coming to bed this morning to say that she wanted to "cuddle mama". Bella blowing me a kiss on her way out to school. The rain outside my window. 2 year old giggles. A big bar of lovely Jojoba soap in my bathtub. A warm cozy house, and the love that lives inside it... even on Monday! Sometimes it is the little things in life that mean the most! Happy Monday.
Today I am thankful for: Getting to spend the whole day yesterday by myself with my dad. A day of fun... just him and I. I can't remember the last time we did that. I think it's been at least a decade. We've spent days working on projects, house stuff, or work together, but to just hang out... it's been a long time. I am so thankful for a wonderful father. He has taught me what and how a true man should act. I am thankful that he is a person that now as a grown up I can honestly say is one of my best friends. Not many people get the joy or pleasure of really knowing and enjoying their parents as I do. For this I am thankful! Very, very thankful! Thank you dad for being willing to hang out with me for a whole day, and for being such great company.
Today I am thankful for: Being lucky enough to be married to my best friend, my true love. Marriage is hard work. There are times that you give more than you take, there are other times you take way more than you give... but to have a person that cares for you with an unconditional, and selfless love is the ultimate gift. I am one of the blessed ones in life, and I know it! There is not a day that goes by (even the hard ones) that I don't thank God for Matthew. He is an amazing person, with a huge heart, kind, caring, and sweet. Today and everyday I am so thankful that he is mine and that he is the father of our girls!
Today I am thankful for: A constant friend in Jesus! That his Grace has saved me. When I feel troubled, forsaken, abandoned, and misunderstood - he is by my side!
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.
but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and,
as the magnet finds the iron,
so it will find, in every hour,
some heavenly blessings!
~Henry Ward Beecher
There is officially two weeks (14 days) until Thanksgiving...
Each day until Thanksgiving I will post one thing I am thankful for.
I would love it if you want to play along, post here, or on your own blog/facebook/wherever!
I believe that being grateful for what we have is the cornerstone of living a blessed life! This time of year especially I love to slow down and really give some thought to what I am most grateful for.
Today: I am thankful for...
Having a truly wonderful family - far and near. I feel blessed beyond measure for my loving husband, sweet girls, supportive parents, great brother, amazing sister-in law, awesome in-laws, wonderful aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma's. How LUCKY I am to have so much love and support in my life!!!
Can't remember the last time we all just spent a lazy day together at home... (by lazy I mean it's 4 in the afternoon & we're still in our jammies)
It feels really good! It's great not to have anywhere to be, anywhere to go, and to have nothing that has to be done right this minute. Ahhhh, these kind of days even if they are really rare, are so good to have every once in a while!
Right now there is no sound in my house except the click of the keys on my keyboard. Matt and Meritt are taking a long afternoon nap, and Bella and I are all cozied up watching a little TV. I knew there was a reason I was looking forward to today all week! I hope you are having an equally relaxing day with someone you love!
It was no surprise when my horse crazy girls chose to be, Laura Ingalls Wilder & a little Cowgirl. I love costumes that let you use your imagination. I am not a fan of the ghoulish side of Halloween. I much prefer to focus on letting the childish side of your self shine by playing dress up and make believe!
Had to share this one of my dad all dressed up, as what he plans to look like in about 25 years. He somehow has gotten the job of handing candy out at the annual downtown trick or treat... He loves it! He lives to see the reaction he can get. He even scares his own grand kids that know that their papa is underneath all that! I have to admit he is pretty convincing, and pretty scary!
I'm Mandy. Mama, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Lover of God... Each day is a journey. Life is an adventure. At this point in my life, I try to go one day at a time, enjoying the moment I'm in, because today is a gift that will be gone tomorrow. I hope this can be a place to share the joy that can be found in everyday simpleness, watching kids grow, enjoying those you love, and this crazy little thing called life!