30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 25

The last few mornings have felt so much cooler and crisper, reminding me how much I love fall. I feel so blessed to have spent four years in New England with its glorious fall foliage. Texas may not have the best falls, but I love these last few months in the year most of all.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 24

I am grateful for our family vacations when I was younger, especially those to the National Parks. Paul and I learned so about the country, different cultures, and history through our travels, and I know that my love of American history developed during these childhood trips. America truly is a beautiful country, and the National Parks are definitely America's Best Idea.

(P.S. I created this collage in Word a few years ago for one of my grad school classes. I think it looks pretty good for my pre-Photoshop self.)

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 23

I am thankful for home. Even though I've lived in four different states and seven different cities since I graduated from high school, my parents' home has remained the same. I love going back home for a weekend and sleeping in my childhood bedroom. Or hanging out up front and eating pizza on Friday nights. Austin may be my home base now, but this house will always be HOME.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 22

I have had some rather interesting jobs over the years...
  • Substitute teacher
  • Probation office "helper"
  • Disney cast member
  • Legal secretary
I am thankful for these jobs because they showed me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and most importantly, what I did not want to do.

A Pumpkin Tale

This post is a brief break from my thankful posts. And it's all about PUMPKINS!

This past weekend, Mom came down to Austin for the Texas Book Festival. While she was here, we decided to carve the pumpkin I had bought from the pumpkin patch at church. We had a lot of fun working on it and thought the design came out pretty well.

He looks a little like Mickey Mouse, right?

Flash forward to Tuesday evening. I came home to discover that the pumpkin had collapsed. Even worse, there was pumpkin juice all over my dining room table and mold in the pumpkin.


So much for having the Halloween spirit.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 21

It's easy to take so many things for granted. Tonight I am grateful for the basics — a roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, nice clothes, and a reliable car. These things definitely aren't glamorous, and I often wish I had things that were nicer. However, as I move through this project, I want to remember that for many people, these items are luxuries.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 20

I am so thankful that I've been able to learn more about photography over the last few years. It has definitely become one of my favorite hobbies, and I'm excited to learn even more about it.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 19

For as long as I can remember, I have been a book worm and a compulsive reader. When I was little, I escaped to the world of Green Gables, Orchard House, and River Heights and wanted to be just like Anne, Jo and Nancy. Today it's very rare to find me without a book in my hand. Books have taught me so much about the world around me and given me insight into human behavior and different cultures. I am grateful for the role they have played and will continue to play in my life.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 18

The fall figure skating season begins tonight, so I thought it was appropriate to give thanks for my favorite sport. I have loved watching figure skating since I was 10 and even had dreams about becoming a famous figure skater myself (these dreams, alas, were never fulfilled). Figure skating has not only brought me so much joy but also introduced me to new music, cultures, and traditions. I love this sport and am proud to consider myself a fan.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 17

Tonight I am giving thanks for our farm. Throughout the years, it has been a place for family gatherings, church events, and holiday celebrations. It is also one of the most peaceful places I have ever known, and when I think about "getting away," I often dream about sitting at the edge of the pier, gazing out at the pond. The farm can be hard to explain to people who aren't familiar with it, but to me it's always meant one thing: home.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 16

Music has played an important role in my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I always seemed to be doing something music related at church - playing the piano, singing in the choir, or playing handbells. As I moved into high school, music became a way for me to escape from the everyday. I loved taking piano lessons from Mrs. Wagner because I was able to do it on my own, away from everyone that I saw in school each day. And of course, I love listening to certain songs - East of Eden, Turandot, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 - that I discovered through watching figure skating. Those songs always have a way of making me feel at peace.

Today I am so thankful for the impact music has made on my life. It's been wonderful the last few weeks to play handbells again.

No pictures tonight, but I do have some links to music:

East of Eden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ih7T1_uY7k
Piano Concerto No. 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8l37utZxMQ

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 15

Tonight I am thankful for my sister-in-law Esther. She has been a great addition to our family and made Paul very happy. I'm so glad that she and Paul decided to go on the same mission trip to Africa five years ago.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 14

I feel blessed to have traveled to so many places. From going on a safari in South Africa to seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, my vacations have made a huge impact on my life. I am also thankful that I've shared many of these experiences with my family.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 13

I am so thankful I had the experience of growing out my hair and cutting it off for Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The process took over two years, but it was worth it knowing that someone benefited from my two ponytails.

Apologies for not posting last night — we had a late night.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 12

I am so thankful I have had the joy of owning pets my entire life. My first word was Leo, the name of the family dog, and I used to tell all my middle school troubles to our cat Lizzy. Now I spend most of my time with Sammy, but I love to go home to be with Parker and Handy. My life wouldn't be the same without these furry friends.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 11

Tonight I'm giving thanks for the many wonderful teachers I have had in my life — all the way from kindergarten to graduate school. I am also grateful that my family instilled a love of learning in me from a very young age.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 10

When I was younger, I told my mom that I wanted a little sister. Instead I got Paul, who is most definitely not a girl (or little, for that matter). But he is the best brother a girl could have. He makes me laugh at the silliest things (including myself), knows almost every line from Forrest Gump and Sling Blade by heart, and is very patient when I talk about figure skating during UT football games. Most importantly, he is a great listener and one of the biggest supporters I've ever known. (And he married Esther last year, so I finally have a sister.)

I am so thankful for my brother. Love you!

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 9

Tonight I'm giving thanks for the four years I spent in New England. From leaf-peeping and touring authors' homes to learning how to navigate public transportation and driving in the snow, my experience in Massachusetts is one I will always cherish. I'm so glad I made the decision to attend Emerson for graduate school and then remain in the area for a few years afterward.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 8

Tonight I'm giving thanks for my mom. She's more than my mother — she's my best friend. We share so many common interests — reading, thrift shopping, watching Dancing with the Stars, travel, and baking cookies. I love that we can talk about important things one day and then spend an hour talking about nothing much the next. She gives me great advice when I need it but lets me mess up when I need to learn that way. I am so grateful for her and everything she has done for me.

I love you, Mom!

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 7

I don't often speak publicly about my faith, mostly because I feel that my relationship with God is most meaningful when it's private. However, I realize that none of the other things on my list would be possible without Him, and for that, I am forever thankful.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 6

Today I'm giving thanks for my dad. I feel so blessed to have him as my father. He has always been there for me, helping me with everything from homework when I was little to my big cross-country moves the last few years. I appreciate that over the years, he has always been willing to explain difficult concepts to me in a way I could understand. And of course, he brought me up as a Longhorn fan, for which I am eternally grateful! I love you, Dad!

Dad, I hope this cheers you up after the Texas-OU debacle earlier today.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 5

I am so thankful that I have been preserving my memories in scrapbooks since high school. It's wonderful to look back through my albums and share them with others.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 4

I love Sammy — I really do.

But as I was working on this entry, he was playing with the blinds, scratching the dining room chair, and jumping on and off the kitchen counter. I had to use my trusty water bottle to get him to calm down.

He's exasperating, tiresome, and sometimes such a darn nuisance that I wish I could give him away. He's given me some of the worst scratches ever and nearly destroyed my computer.

Yet when he snuggles up next to me, looks at me with his big green eyes, and purrs, I melt.

Yes, I love this cat. And I don't know what I would do without him.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 3

I am so thankful for my job. After spending almost half a year unemployed, I was excited to receive the opportunity to work again. This job, however, has meant so much more than that.

I love my co-workers and look forward to seeing them every day. 

I enjoy being creative and learning more about writing and other new skills like HTML and Photoshop. 

I think working with clients can be fun (or at least, very interesting some days). 

Most of all, I'm thankful that this job gave me my confidence back and brought me to Austin.

I unfortunately don't have any truly compelling photos for today. Come back tomorrow if you really like pictures.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 2

Today I'm giving thanks for living in Austin. I love this city, and I'm so glad that I live here after being away for six years. It's wonderful to be close to so many unique shops, fun cultural attractions, and of course, the University of Texas. And it doesn't hurt that my family comes to visit several times during the fall football season.

30 Things to Be Thankful For - Day 1

As many of you know, I turned 30 yesterday.


Instead of being mopey because I just turned the big 3-0, I decided to do something positive to celebrate. I've created a list of 30 things I'm thankful for and will be sharing one of them each day for the next 30 days. (I planned to start yesterday on my actual birthday, but I made it home late and had to deal with this.)

So without further ado...
I am so thankful for my family — Mom, Dad, Paul and Esther. They support me in everything I do and show me unconditional love at all times. And as this weekend proved, they definitely know how to make a birthday girl feel special! I feel so blessed to have such wonderful parents, a cool brother and a sweet sister-in-law.