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Day 30: Days off

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Today I'm thankful for time off of work.  My nanny family is away on vacation, which means I get a mini vacation too.  I have grand plans for my time off, people.  I'm gonna make yogurt and catch up on laundry.  Woohoo!  ;)

Actually, I seriously am looking forward to learning how to make my own yogurt...

I also have lots of books and blogs and emails to read.  I know, I'm like the most exciting person.  Ever.

I can't believe tomorrow is the end of 31 days and that I actually kept up with it all.  There were a couple of late posts, but I'm so proud that I stuck with it and I really hope that I continue to keep writing on a regular basis.  Writing every day this month has really helped me to see that I have a lot more to say than I think I do and it doesn't have to be as intimidating as I make it out to be in my mind.  This challenge has given me more ideas for this blog and more things that I want to write about.

I feel like every few months I come to this realization that blogging doesn't have to be so hard and that I need to just do it.  I usually last for about a week and then let life get busy and stop writing again.  This month I forced myself to keep writing through the busyness and I just really hope that I continue to do that even after 31 days has passed.  This doesn't really have anything to do with my thankfulness topic for the day, but this blog has been a good way for me to keep myself accountable so I guess that's just what I'm trying to do while I'm still motivated.  ;)

Thanks to those of you who have read and commented and liked and encouraged me through this challenge.  I appreciate the support and hope that this encouraged all of you to stay thankful and positive this month too.  I also hope that as we head into November and prepare for Thanksgiving that maybe some of you will take your own thankfulness challenge this coming month.  What a great way to enter the holiday season, with a merry and grateful heart.  :)

PS.  I know there's one more day, just wanted to thank you all in advance. :) 

Day 29: Friends

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Today I'm thankful for friends. For the old friends who know my history and where I've come from 
 and for the new ones who are becoming part of my history right now. 

I've been feeling really blessed by the friends in my life lately and I think I'm starting to understand what it feels like when you find your "tribe" - that group of people you do life with, those friends that become an extended part of your family. These are the people that bring you meals after surgeries and births, that you loan your car to when theirs dies, that you talk to on an almost daily basis just to see how their day is going. These are the friends who come over for the evening and end up talking and laughing with you into the morning hours. The friends who give you deep encouragement when you need it and gentle confrontation too (and marriage advice, and doctor referrals, and that recipe for their fudge because O.M.G). 

I'm trying not to get too sappy here, but sometimes I feel like I was looking for these people for a long time without even knowing it. God has been so good to me to have brought these people into my life.  They love me and bless me and challenge me to be a better person.  I always look forward to the times we share together and am so thankful that God has crossed our paths. 

Day 28: Our Family

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Today I'm thankful for my family.  Most of you know by now that I'm one of seven.  I have three younger (but taller) brothers and three younger sisters (mostly taller than me too).  My mom home-schooled all of us and still has three at home that she's teaching.  Her love of teaching and learning is very apparent and I'm thankful that she has passed that on to me.  My dad is a steady and reliable man at home and at his job where he has worked faithfully for over 25 years.  My siblings (and their spouses and soon-to-be spouses) ;) are my favorite, each in their own way and I'm thankful for the relationship that I have with each one of them.

I also married into a pretty spectacular family.  I always wished that I had older siblings growing up, and I finally got them when I married Doad.  Eight of them to be exact.  :)   My mother-in-law is so thoughtful and caring and my father-in-law is so kind and humble and joyful.  They're seriously the best in-laws ever and I'm so thankful that they love me and welcomed me into their family.

This post is shorter than I wanted it to be because I'm running behind and want to actually publish this before I go to bed, but as the 31 days wind down I wanted to make sure that I acknowledged my family and how thankful I am for them.  They have shaped who I am and are still helping to shape me today.  They pray for me and support and encourage me through hard times and rejoice and laugh and celebrate with me in the good times.  I'm so happy to be doing life with them and, family, if you're reading this, know that I love you and am so thankful for you.  <3

Day 27: Naptime

Monday, October 27, 2014
Whew! I am exhausted today. It was a busy weekend (our neighborhood Fall party was so much fun!) and I was NOT ready for the alarm to go off this morning. So today I am thankful for Naptime :)

This is probably my favorite perk to being a nanny for an 18 month old. Not that I don't love hanging out with the littles, but I have to admit that I enjoy the couple hours of silence and a chance to clean up all the messes we made in the morning, sit down to a warm lunch, and just breeeeathe. And maybe write a quick blog post ;)

Day 26: Our Neighbors

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Today I'm thankful for our neighbors.  We moved into a very welcoming neighborhood and I'm thankful that we are able to make relationships and get to know the people who live where we live.

We came from a neighborhood where it sometimes felt like everyone was avoiding each other so that they wouldn't have to talk to anybody.  We got a little used to that and expected it to take a long time to get to know people in our new town.

I'm so glad that wasn't the case!  We met several of our neighbors on the day that we moved in.  A few weeks later, we had neighbors knocking on our doors to talk to us and coming into our backyard to invite us over for burgers and a beer.  There's two picnic benches in Greg's yard for monthly cookouts all summer.  There's an annual neighborhood pig roast on the 4th of July.  It's basically one big family here.  That was a little intimidating at first, and it still takes a little getting used to, but we love it!

Today, we are having everyone over for a Fall celebration. We are carving pumpkins, playing cornhole, drinking pumpkin ale and cider, and building relationships with the people who are living life right next door to us.  This blesses my little fellowship-driven heart and I'm excited about the community that we are building with God's help.

Day 25: Bloggers

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Today I'm thankful for bloggers.  It's weird to think about how much I have been influenced by the blogs that I follow, but I really think my life would be quite a bit different if it weren't for the people who write every day.  Today I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorites and why I love them so much.

Spiritual Influences:
Jen Hatmaker - I kind of wish this woman could be my mentor.  She's funny, real, and loves God so so much.  I love her heart for the world, especially orphans and family preservation.  She has a great way of delivering God's truth and freedom in her writing and her posts are the only ones that have literally brought me to tears.  She's also hilarious and has me cracking up laughing often.  Definitely my biggest blog/lady crush.  Read more about her here, trust me, you won't regret it. :)

Saturated Canary - Krista is kind of a recent discovery, and I wish I could find the first post of hers that I read 'cause as soon as I read it, I knew that I would love her blog.  I'm really drawn to people who are real and who are brave enough to share that realness on their blog.  I love the way that she wrestles through her faith and and what she believes and is so active in working that out.  She challenges me to do the same and I love, love, love that.

Maggie Whitley Designs - Maggie is just like a little bit of sunshine in my inbox every day.  She is so bright and cheerful and her posts encourage me to look at life with the same positive, joyful outlook that she does.  She has done some incredible things like starting a successful handmade shop, traveling to Tanzania, moving across the country, and launching a second handmade shop!  All while sharing her wisdom and inspiration through her blog and raising her super cute son (and a second due any moment!)

Healthy Living Influences:
Wellness Mama - I already blogged a little bit about Katie earlier this month, but I really can't recommend her blog enough.  She is a great guide as I seek to make our lives a little healthier.  Her posts are so informative and explain the why behind the lifestyle she promotes as well as easy ways to incorporate those changes.  She has tons of food recipes as well as recipes for things like homemade toothpaste and deodorant!

Mama Natural - Genevieve was one of the first natural blogs I started following.  I love her In Real Life videos because they share glimpses of what it looks like to live naturally on a day-to-day basis.  She is down to earth and funny and her advice is practical and helpful.

The Prairie Homestead - Jill lives on a beautiful 67 acre farm and is my go to blogger for homesteading advice.  She has all kinds of recipes, advice on gardening, essential oil wisdom, and diys galore!  I look forward to her emails and dream about the day that I can have my own dairy cows and acreage too.  :)

Living Life Well Influences:
Enjoying the Small Things - Kelle Hampton is a beautiful writer and a fantastic photographer.  I love her outlook on life and how she finds beauty in the everyday moments of life.  She has a great story and  you should definitely check it out.

Nesting Place - This blog encourages me to be brave when it comes to decorating my house.  I love Myquillyn's motto, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful".  Isn't that just so freeing?  Her decorations are so beautiful and I love following along as she renovates their new home.  See some of her beautiful work here.

Ok, I think I've given you several new blogs to check out.  ;)  I hope you really will take a look and that you will be able to see why I am so thankful for them.  They have encouraged me and challenged me and also been great resources as I learn more about living a healthy, natural lifestyle.

Day 24: Blogging

Today I'm thankful for blogging.  I'm obviously not the most consistent blogger, but I love blogging when I can and I'm thankful that I've discovered this outlet.  This month has been huge for me and I can't believe I've actually posted everyday (almost, of course this post ended up going out late...)

I love blogging because it keeps me creative.  It gives me a place to get thoughts out of my head and on "paper".  I love blogging because it gives me a way to document some of the experiences I have and share them with others.  I love that I can go back and read about those experiences myself and that I have a place to write down the details about life that I want to remember.  And I love that blogging gives me a little bit of accountability, like with my 2014 resolutions.  I know that I never would have kept up with them the way that I have without blogging about them every month.

Doing this monthly challenge has been a really cool exercise for me.  I've finally realized that it is possible to write a post without spending tons and tons of time on it.  I've let go of some of my perfectionism about my posts.  And hopefully, I will keep up with the habit and post a little more regularly even after the 31 days is over.

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