Thankful

Thankful.

I love taking some time to be thankful.  Just a great reminder to be appreciative for all the things we have, both big and small.  I’m thankful for:

– a husband who does 98% of the driving.  He drove both ways to Maryland for our recent trip and even when we’re in town, he tends to drive everywhere we go.  For a girl like me who hates driving, I’m so thankful he does it.

– vacation days.  We are doing two trips this month – one to Maryland and one to the beach and I’m so thankful that we have vacation days to take. What a blessing to step away from work and recharge. And I’m so thankful for the family I get to take these trips with.  Both Dean and I are so lucky to have awesome family units to spend time with and I’m thankful that I married into a good one.

– an elliptical.  When it is pushing 100° outside in these Carolina temps, I love that I can hang with my new favorite show on the tablet and still get sweaty. Plus I don’t have to travel to the gym!

– speaking of favorite shows. I am thankful for Suits. I’ve gotten hooked on it and love seeing what Harvey and Mike are up to next.  So I’m thankful for Suits on the elliptical in my air conditioned house.

– the perfect work schedule for my husband.  He works early mornings to mid-afternoon (from HOME!) and it really works out great that when Landon gets off the bus or is done with camp, daddy is available.  Same thing with Brooks.  He doesn’t have to stay at school for 10 hours a day because daddy picks him up much earlier than I get off work.  Win. Win.

Love week at Elevation.  I love that our church encourages us to serve others and give back.  I can’t wait to serve for Elevation Love week with our family.  We’ll do some hours with our kids and some Dean and I will do with our eGroup.  I’m so thankful that I live two miles from such an awesome church that I look forward to going to each week.

– encouragement from my dad.  I’m so thankful that even though I’m 34 years old, I still get regular affirmation that he’s proud of me.  Granted I see him all week, every week, but he really encourages me well, even though I’m not his little girl anymore.  (Well, I’ll always be his little girl… but you know!)

– mint tea.  There is just something about summer that screams mint tea and I’m so glad that there is often a refreshing pitcher in our fridge.  It’s the little things that make life so awesome.

 

Advertisements

I’m living my best years.

I’m in my mid thirties (or “13” as Brooks always corrects! Thirteen, thirty… same difference!) and I really think these are the best years.  If someone came to me at the end of my life and asked what years I’d like to relive, I think these would be it!  Here’s why:

I’ve got more than a couple years of marriage under my belt and my life with Dean is so fun and comfortable.  We know what to expect from each other. We know what drives each other crazy. We know how to push buttons and we know how that special thing that will make our other half feel loved.

Our kids are at the perfect age.  Really, as frustrated as I can get at bedtime and despite the never ending struggle to get Brooks to eat a full meal at dinner, these kids are at an awesome age. They’re somewhat self sufficient, but they’re still so quick to forgive, they show endless love, and they just enjoy their parents.  I love this stage. I’m not fighting for a cuddle and I get tons of “just because” hugs. Too soon, they’ll be pulled by friends, activities and other things that compete for their time and we won’t get the same unconditional love we’re getting now.

The thirties are great for your confidence.  I had some pretty good confidence in my college and post-college years, and it’s at least tripled since I’ve had kids and slowed down my life pace.  I just generally don’t care about what other people think about how I’m living my life.  To each his own.  That’s not to say I don’t struggle with a little keeping-up-with-the-Joneses, wanting-what-others-have-itis at times, but I definitely care more about my personal self-evaluation versus what others think.

My body is still strong and capable.  While I’m not as limber as I was in my high school/college heyday, and I definitely have to stretch more in one week than I did in an entire season of volleyball growing up, I love that my body is still strong enough to exercise, run, lift things, carry two little boys and more.  I know that as the years pass, I’ll hit a point where some of these physical traits slow and I’m just thankful I’m not there yet.

I’ve also gained a little wisdom.  Not a ton. But I’ve definitely noticed some gray-hair worthy thoughts as I’ve grown.  Some are attributed to great bible studies I’ve been part of, some to the circle I surround myself with and some just the result of many years of adulthood.

By my mid-30s, I’ve settled into my career. I’m not the low-man-on-the-totem-pole (although I’m not above paper filing on occasion) and when I come to work each day, I have a ton of variety to my work and I just really enjoy what I get to do.   I love the challenge that comes with it and how much I still learn each week. And with over 10 years at work, we have financial security allowing us to do great things like take fun family trips, put our kids in special activities and just live a comfortable life.

Yes, I really think the 30s are awesome and I’m in the best years of life!

 

Thankful

Today, I’m thankful for:

  1. Great doctors and readily available, affordable medicine.  After Brooks’ breathing episodes this weekend due to allergies, I’m so thankful for quick care and that he’s on the mend.
  2. A working body.  Yes, my knees sometimes ache and my neck can get tight, I’m not as spry as I once was.  But I have a body that can lift and run and work – every day.
  3. Cameras.  I just love looking at past pictures and remembering special moments.  A silly smile or fun backdrop immediately bring me back to that moment.  As my brain can’t retain it all, I’m so thankful for those sweet images.
  4. My dad.  He’s celebrating the big 5-5 today and I’m so thankful for him.  He is always nudging me to be better.  And he’s probably my biggest cheerleader.  I’m thankful for his example.  He works so hard in many aspects of life and I appreciate how much he’s taught me.  (Which is a lot given we work together every day 🙂 )
  5. Dreams.  I love that Dean and I get to think about our future and dream about places we want to go, things we want to achieve and what we want our family to be like.  I love that we have so many freedoms and options in this life and I am so thankful God continues to bless our little life.

And a quick highlight from celebrating dad this weekend:

dad bday 55

Thankful for the confidence he always puts on display 🙂  What a performance!!

Singing his praises.

I know I semi-regularly post how awesome my husband is.  I often find myself thanking God that I ended up with him.  Someone I love to be around. And someone who does so many little (often unrecognized) things for us.

So yes, I use my blog to sing his praises often.  But our relationship isn’t perfect.  Yes, I nag my husband and regularly “remind him” of areas I think he’s falling short.

I bring that up because so often people get frustrated in their own relationship when they see how “perfect” other relationships are and get frustrated because they feel their own marriage doesn’t stack up.  Trust me, I’m sure my “behind the scenes” looks like yours.  A lot of good, but there are moments of tears, resentment, frustration, and more.

When I post about him, I try to be careful how I talk about my husband to others – I really want to sing his praises as much as I can.  I want him to feel like I praise him and appreciate him when I talk about him to other people.  I don’t want him to feel like I get around my girlfriends and we just talk crap about our spouses.  He does too much good for our family.

So I try to praise him in public and address my frustrations in private.

That being said, I am thankful:

  • for a husband who takes initiative with the kids activities – including researching and signing Landon up for t-ball or helping him practice his basketball skills in the driveway.
  • that Dean is so good with the kids in the evenings.  Because of our work schedules he often has the kids home alone for several hours before I finish work (and I know this is the hardest part of the day with kids). But he often has dinner in process and is helping with homework stuff before I get home.
  • my husband cares that I get some down time.  I don’t know if he’s ever told me I couldn’t do something I wanted to do.  If it’s a little “just Ginger” shopping, time for a run, or me asking to host bible study for a few weeks, he rarely says no.  (I guess he wants to make his no’s count when he uses them!)
  • for small encouragements – like a quick affirmation for something. He knows it’s important for me to be recognized for my wife and mom duties and I’m thankful when he does it.
  • that he helps me when I’m drowning.  Sometimes it’s just too much and I really loves how he jumps in to help when I feel like I can’t do it all.
  • and I’m especially thankful for the days he doesn’t shave and keeps his 5 o’clock shadow. Even when it’s itchy.

Every day I think of more things that I love about him.  He’s really gotten better with age 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving from the cutest pilgrim.

Wishing you a spirit of thankfulness and gratefulness today and through the rest of the year.  Whether you’ve had the best year or you’re ready to leave 2015 in the dust, I pray that you’d find small blessings each day to be thankful for.

There are too many things to thank God for, but this guy is definitely in my top 3:

 

His uniquely thankful spirit.

This week at school, Brooks has done several “I’m thankful for…” activities.  When I drop him off in the mornings, I walk around the room and we look at his masterpieces.  And when I see his artwork, it’s such a true reflection of my sweet babe’s personality.

Brooks marches to the beat of his own drum.  He doesn’t give the canned response you’d expect from an almost 4 year old. He’s got his own special way of viewing the world and I love that he doesn’t follow the norms but instead does it his way.

While other kids are thankful for their mommy and daddy and their siblings, my kid is thankful for castles, schools and babies:

thanks

Or as his newest creation said this morning, “I’m thankful for people and dino movies.”

That boy.  I hope he never changes.

 

Different Kind of Best Yes

I’ve been thinking lately about how we ended up where we are today.  We all have so many decisions to make each day, week, year – big ones and small ones.  I’ve been reflecting on some of the best yes’s I’ve made over the past years to put me where I am today:

wed10

Photo by: Love the Schultzes

saying yes to Dean – Dean knows this already, but I never thought I’d be married to Dean. I’d always thought my future mate would be more outgoing, a little more ‘openly romantic’.  But I’m glad that who I thought I’d be with isn’t who I ended up with.

I got a million times better than what I thought I’d have.  While he doesn’t tango with a flower in his mouth and isn’t always the life of the party (although sometimes he is!), he is the absolute perfect mate for me.  He’s a best friend. He’s a partner. And I am so lucky that God helped me see it.

uncw

choosing UNC – Wilmington – I was definitely a homebody in high school and hated the idea of leaving home to go to college. I wanted my safety net nearby. I’m glad my parents pushed me out of the nest and forced me to pick a school. I’m also glad I didn’t take the easy option and choose UNCC because it was close to home. But instead, I picked a school that was perfect for my personality – UNC-Wilmington. It’s also where I made some great lifelong friendships, found my future mate and really fell in love with marketing – helping me determine what I wanted to do with my career.

playing volleyball
– I played competitive volleyball for many years growing up, but I never thought I’d play in college.  I wanted to do my own thing when I went to school and didn’t want the extensive commitment that college athletics requires. While it was great that I got to do my own thing freshman year, I’m glad I went out for the team my sophomore and junior years.  Having the structure of volleyball and getting to play competitively for a few more years was a great choice.  Plus, I am almost positive I would have never met Dean if I hadn’t played, even though he lived in the townhouse across the street from me!

waiting on the right home – we househunted for 3+ years.  Never in a rush, but always dipping our toe in the water when something good came along. And while we put offers on about 10 houses over the years, God definitely orchestrated an awesome family home for us.  From great neighbors who’ve become friends, to a great school program within walking distance, lots of kids and more. We are so glad we didn’t settle for some of the other homes and waited it out so that we could end up in our current home.

outtakes bama

(an ‘outtake’ from our firm’s photoshoot last year… haha!)

leaving my job to work with my dad – 8 years ago, I made the crazy choice to leave a comfortable job with a big company to start working with my dad at a brand new company he’d just started.  I knew it might be risky and not pan out long term. I knew it would be working with family 40+ hours a week. I knew it would be hard work and sometimes stressful work. And I am so glad I did it. I’ve learned so much and our company has grown so much over the years and I’m proud to think back where it was and what it’s become. I love being able to work with my dad. I love that he’s such a great boss not just to me but to everyone in our firm.

having an in-house nanny – when I first started working for my dad, we worked out of his house.  When I had Landon, I’d just bring him to work with me and he’d play next to my desk and with my mom who was home for the summer from teaching.  He mostly just slept in the room next door in the pack n play to start but as he got mobile, it made sense to find childcare. I’m so glad I was able to find a reasonably priced in-house nanny who loved on him all day while I was just a room away instead of having to send him to a daycare at such a young age. With him at the house with me, I got to take “Landon breaks” throughout the day and see him hit many of his first year milestones while still getting my work done. I was able to keep both boys with me at my home-office (at least part time) until Brooks was about 2 1/2 and it was such a great yes for me to have them with me so much. Really the best of both worlds.

It’s good to reflect on those yes’s and see how God really had his hand in so many things to get us where we are today. How a decision made my senior year of high school would so greatly affect my path 15+ years later. I’m grateful for the way He’s planned and orchestrated my life and the special people who are part of it.  I can’t wait to see how some of the yes’s we make in these coming years will play out in the next 15 years.