Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving recap

Today is my last day of linking up with Katie for her 30 Days of Thankfulness.

Day 29: I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.  It's my favorite holiday and we have so many great memories of Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving has taken on many very different faces over the past few years.

In 2007 I drove with Jason's family down to Ft. Bragg to spend the weekend with him.
 In 2008 I celebrated the holiday in Alaska with my BFF while both of our husbands were deployed.

In 2009, Jason and I hosted our cousins and some friends at our house in FLW.

In 2010, we hosted our new friends in Japan. (and I cannot seem to find a single photo from that day)

In 2011 I prepared the full Thanksgiving spread 3 times in one week.  My favorite meal was shared with 30 of my Japanese friends.

2012 was the first year I didn't cook a turkey since 2008.   I was a little upset about it until we were enjoying a seafood feast on the beach in Bali then all my worries disappeared.

This year it was just my cousin, Jason and me.    Much smaller crowd than we're used to but it was still a great day.

I created a new table runner this year that I hope to add to each year.  I only wish I had started this years ago so I could have the handprints of all the awesome people we've shared this holiday with.  I guess they'll all just have to come back again!
I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Going Coastal

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 27}

Each day this month I'm joining up with Katie to share with you the many things I am thankful for. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Day 27: I'm thankful for all of traveling opportunities I've been blessed with.

It's no question that I love to travel.  Seeing new sites, eating new food, experiencing new cultures.  I love it.  I've been blessed with more opportunities to travel than I can count.  I've been to 4 of the 7 continents (N. America, Asia, Europe, Australia) and 11 countries (US, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Japan, Australia, China, Indonesia {cannot believe that is where we were at this time last year!}, and Taiwan) and all but 9 of the States.  I know people who've never left their home state so to be able to have such an extensive list is a blessing, one I'm extremely grateful for.

Going Coastal

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Thanfulness {Day 26}

Each day this month I'm joining up with Katie to share with you the many things I am thankful for. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Day 26: I'm thankful for my faith.  Without it, I don't know where I'd be.

That is all.

Going Coastal


Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 25}

Each day this month I'm joining up with Katie to share with you the many things I am thankful for. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Day 25: I'm thankful for my BFF(s), all of them.

I know the concept of "BFF" is one person, your BEST friend, but I have lots.  I tend to collect a new one at each stage of my life.  So far I've been lucky enough that I haven't lost any along the way (maybe one but that's another story for another day).

Elementary school: Holly

I have very few memories since the age of 7 that don't involve Holly.  We attended K-12 together but didn't really meet until 4th grade.  From that point on though, we pretty much did everything together.  School, church/youth group, sports, Girl Scouts, everything.  After college we even worked and lived together.  She was my rock during my parents divorce and she stood by my side at my wedding.  She's the friend that we can go weeks, months, even years not speaking and then meet up and it's like we were never apart.  I love her.

Girl Scout camp at age 10
17 years later at my wedding

High School: Carissa
Sissa and I met the summer before 9th grade at volleyball try outs.  We clicked instantly and although we have had our ups and downs, we're stronger than ever now.  We navigated the awkward stages of high school together (including our black lipstick infused punk rock days), survived deployments, divorce and distance and our friendship came out on the other end thriving.
Freshman dance

10 years later we both had deployed husbands during the holidays so we spent them together.

College: Sarah
Sarah and I met the summer before our freshman year of college.  We both showed up at EMU a month before the rest of the freshman to start our jobs as equipment managers for the football team.  We were the only 2 females among 150 males so we instantly latched on to each other.  I am so grateful for our brief time together.  Sarah has been dealt a very crappy hand in life.  She spent most of our freshman year in the hospital or sick in some way.  She only attended school for a year before her health became too poor and she was forced to move back home.  In spite of it all, she has an great spirit and is an amazing person.  Last year she had to have brain surgery and was so devastated about having to shave part of her hair that I shaved mine too to show my support.  That's how much I love this girl!

I think this was after a game, it was always our time to relax and unwind after a crazy busy week.

I'm so honored she was by my side on my wedding day!

Army: Kristi
Kristi and I met at FLW and I've never met anyone as selfless and kind as her.  We only lived near each other for a short time but her love and support never ended despite the distance that separated us.  I know that I can count on this girl for anything as long as I live.

Some how I have no photos of just the two of us.
We had such good friends at FLW and were always hanging out in large groups.  I love all of these ladies!

Japan: Kristin
(yes, this is still technically the Army stage of my life but our time in Japan deserves it's own stage)

I'm quite certain that I would not have survived 3 years in Japan at Camp Zama without her (and Melissa).  Our daily therapy sessions on her couch/in her kitchen were life savers for both of us.  It is nice to have a confidant, someone you can share your secrets with and spill your guts to and know you won't be judged.  She is such an inspirational friend.  I want to be like her when I grow up ;-)  Her relationship with the Lord and her children make me want to be a better Christian and an even better mom (whenever that time comes).

2013 Army Ball at CZ.

The day she left Japan.  Thankfully it was only 9 days before we did.

Our families reunited in America just days after leaving Japan.

Post Army: Only time will tell...

Going Coastal

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Thanks and Giving Project Recap

All this week, I've been spreading a little love through the thanks and giving project with a group of awesome bloggers.  Each day we had a task to complete.  I chose to complete the tasks in a very different order than assigned, but I completed them none the less.  Here's how it went:

Day 1 (Nov.18):  Treat a stranger.

I treated a neighbor this day instead.  I'd been wanting to bake for our new neighbors and just kept putting it off.  I knew if I waited until Wednesday to do this task I would just put it off again so I decided to do it on Monday so I could bake on Sunday and it'd still be fresh.
Oh, y'all.  I don't even know how to begin telling you how this went.  The lady we share a wall with is...I'm really trying not to say crazy here....not quite right in her old age.  She's adorable and hilarious but I have to be in the right mind to socialize with her.  I had a rough day and really wasn't feeling it but I convinced myself that this project wasn't about me, it's about others so I took a mini apple pie over to her anyways.  After 10 minutes of me yelling, literally yelling, through her door, I convinced her that it was just Jessica, her neighbor, and safe to open up (this was after she cracked the door then slammed it to run back inside and put on her wig).  Once she actually opened the door and I handed her the pie she looked me in the eye and asked me what my name was.  You guys I've talked to her 3-4 times a week every week for months now and I had just spent 10 minutes yelling "IT'S JESSICA" through her closed door.  All I could do was smile. 
30 minutes later she called me and told me what a blessing it was to have us in her life and how grateful she was that we moved in next door.  That's what this project is all about.  I'm so glad I sucked it up.  This is what this whole project is all about!
I took the extras to work and treated my "neighbors" at my new job too.
Day 2 (Nov.19): Send Handwritten notes.
I loved this day.  I really enjoy both sending and receiving mail and I try to send letters frequently.  I hadn't done it in a while so I made up for it on Tuesday.
Day 3 (Nov. 20): Treat A Neighbor.
Since I had treated a neighbor on Monday, I treated a stranger on Wednesday.  I debated for quite some time on what I wanted to do for this.  The whole pay for the next person in line at Starbucks was too easy and I don't even like Starbucks.  I had to stop at Target on my way home from work so while I was there I picked up a small gift card.   I truly wanted the stranger to be a stranger and I didn't want any acknowledgement for what I was doing so I decided to leave it on a car in the parking lot.  At first I was going to choose the car based on who looked like them might need it (taped up windows versus a BMW) but decided I wanted it to be random and not based on any prejudgments I might have had so I eventually decided to put it on the car that was parked next to me and that's what I did.  I have no idea who received it but I hope it brought them joy and blessings.
Day 4 (Nov. 21): Leave messages of kindness.
I didn't even think about the project on Thursday until I was on my way home from work.  I was just too busy and it slipped my mind.  I knew what I wanted to do for day 5 so I skipped ahead and treated the hubby instead.
Day 5 (Nov. 22): Treat Your Family.
The last task I had to complete was "leave messages of kindness".  I woke up thinking this was going to be an easy one but my mood was drastically altered around 9 am (I forget not everyone understands and appreciates my sarcasm) and I was struggling to be pleasant to the people around me, kind wasn't even in my vocabulary at that point.  Myself and the other new girl in my office were sent home early (slow season and everyone we support took off on vacation) and a few hours with my husband had me back to my usual self.  I headed off to the grocery store without a thought of the T&G project.  Twice while I was grocery shopping I had a stranger say to me, "that was nice of you" (once for moving out of the way to let an older lady get through a congested area and once for telling the person in line in front of me that they had opened a new lane instead of jumping ahead of her).  This reminded me that I am a nice person, even when I'm not trying.  My actions sent messages of kindness without me even having to try.

I'm so glad I participated in this project.  It made me step back and appreciate kindness and refocus my heart on service, where it belongs.  Huge thanks to Nicole for putting this together and including me!


Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Day of Thankfulness {Day 22}

Each day this month I'm joining up with Katie to share with you the many things I am thankful for. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Day 22:  I'm thankful for my high school experience.  I was blessed to attend public high school that is consistantly ranked one of the best high schools in the nation.

Everyone who is admitted to Walnut Hills High School must pass a standardized test in 6th grade and the student body is made up of kids from all over Cincinnati, not just one specific neighborhood.  This creates a very diverse and very intelligent group of people.  The school is 7-12, not just 9-12 which also adds to the unique dynamic of the campus.
with my BFF at our HS graduation

I didn't appreciate the experience at the time but looking back, I'm beyond grateful for everything I learned there, both in the classroom and out.  I didn't have the best high school experience (nor the worst) but I appreciate every bit of it now.   I'm proud to be a Walnut alumna!

Going Coastal

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 21}

Day 21: I'm so thankful for our dog. I never could have imagined how much joy he would bring to my life. I'm so grateful that even at 16+ years of age we can leave him alone for 15 hours (work then softball and dinner, it only happens once a week) and come home to no accidents.

He's an awesome guy. We just love him! He's getting old (ok, he's already REALLY old) so I don't want to take a single day with him for granted. I really try to appreciate him each and every day, even when he annoys me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day20}

Each day this month I'm joining up with Katie to share with you the many things I am thankful for. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Day 20:  I'm thankful to have my own space at work that I can decorate and personalize.

I've only been at my new job for a week so this is still a work in progress but I'm glad to be able to fill the space where I'm going to be spending a lot of time with images of people I love.
I've never had a work space with my name on it before.  I'm slightly excited by this.
My motivational image.  If I can climb to the top of Mt. Fuji, I can do anything!

My favorite part so far, my wall of favorite people!  I need to add to it, but it's a start! 
This isn't a part of my decorations but I found this life size Sheldon poster in the office of my department director and knew immediately that I was going to like the place.

Going Coastal
PS. It isn't too late to link up and join us for this weeks Thanks and Giving Project!  I'll be giving all week and posting a recap this weekend.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 19}

Each day this month I'm joining up with Katie to share with you the many things I am thankful for. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Day 19:  I'm thankful for friends who trust me and my photography skills enough to take their family photos.

I got to spend the weekend with one of my favorite bloggers and good friend, Kara, and her family.

I don't want to spoil the fun for her family, some of which I believe read my blog, or her readers, so I'll just share this sneak peek of the kids and their adorable pooch!
If you're familiar with my blog, you may notice that isn't my normal watermark.  My computer that was "fixed", wasn't actually fixed so I'm back to using the husband's.

Going Coastal
PS. It isn't too late to link up and join us for this weeks Thanks and Giving Project!  I'll be giving all week and posting a recap this weekend.