Giving Thanks and Expressing Gratitude

Give thanks. Give life.


Thanksgiving was good yesterday.  Settling for simple definitely worked.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was very enjoyable.  My in-laws drove back a day early today because there was a big rain storm coming in (it is here now and we’ve had some much-needed downpours).  So, we now only have one house guest left (an ex-student of my husband’s who could not go home to Minnesota for the holiday) and it is blissfully quiet around here.

I did want to publicly give thanks for something very special.  For those who may be relatively new to this blog, my daughter received a heart transplant at 5 months old.  She is now 5 years old and is thriving.  Although we wrote a letter to the donor family, we never heard back, which I can understand.  But, I like to publicly thank that anonymous donor family and all donor families out there on these holidays when it must be especially tough to miss your loved one.  We are so very grateful that we have had five years with our beautiful daughter that we would not have had without that anonymous gift.  So, please, give a prayer of thanks or send out positive thoughts to all those who have lost someone.

If you have not already done so, please consider registering as a donor.  Not all children are as lucky as my daughter.  And many, many children and adults are waiting in a hospital room for the chance at a new, healthier life.  It is pretty simple to register – just visit Organdonor.gov and type your state in the upper right hand corner.  It will give you instructions for your state.

Thanks for reading, thanks for registering and thanks to our donor family for giving us the gift of life for our daughter.



Settling for Satisfied – Holiday Edition

Doh...I'm a Holiday hostess without the mostess.
Doh…I’m a Holiday hostess without the mostess.

I wrote just a short while ago about the concept of settling for satisfied rather than pursuing perfection and the holidays are a great time to put it into practice.  This week I am hosting 10 people (!) in our small home for Thanksgiving dinner.  I can tell that others are concerned.  They are concerned because they know me, know my house and know my cooking capabilities.  But, what they don’t know is my new approach to life – settling for satisfied.  And that will make it all so much better.

So, what does this all mean?  Well, first of all, I am not trying to be Martha Stewart for this hosting effort.  I will do my best to get the house cleaned up somewhat and I have decorated ever so simply with some Fall themes and simple Christmas items.  I am attempting to clear spaces of clutter to allow for a simple, but comfortable experience.  I am creating an incredibly simple menu and letting my sister bring a number of dishes that she is buying at Costco (saving on both prep time and space in my kitchen).  I am having my in-laws bring a large folding table and folding chairs instead of going and buying one for this one time event at my house.  I am cleaning the areas that need it most (bathrooms, living room and making the garage into less of a death trap as we may need to store some things out there for dinner) and leaving the rest as they are (including closets and the backyard, where we will be smoking a turkey, but I’m going to ignore the overgrown mess back there and solely focus on the smoker that sits right outside of our patio door).  I am making two of my favorite side dishes and either buying the rest pre-made or forgetting about it.  And that’s it.  I need to do some more grocery shopping and finish up the cleaning today, but I’m pretty much done with it all.  And I’m going to focus on enjoying the people not worrying about the perfection of it all.  Hopefully, everyone else will be okay with it as well.

So, what’s your plan for this holiday?  Are you stressed out about it being “perfect” or are you letting go of that and recognizing reality means imperfection?



Lost in Time…

Not space.  Time.  I can not believe how fast time travels around me while I seem to stand still.  I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted on here.  I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is less than 30 days away and even worse, 2014 is only a little over a month away.  Where does it go?  What am I doing while everyone else is accomplishing things?  I mean, I have accomplished some things during this time.  My house is relatively clean, my garage is REALLY clean (for my garage, which is probably averagely or below averagely clean for other people), I have about half of my pile of grading done, I’ve finished one syllabus for Spring 2014 already (that, folks, is crazy talk for me), and I have most of the prep for our huge event that happens the Saturday after tomorrow all done.  So, not bad overall, but I still feel like time just gets away from me.

I do have a few things to discuss today though – first, I am excited to get December started this year.  When I left for Thanksgiving with the in-laws I put the Elf on the Shelf out on our table with the book, ready for our arrival on December 1.  This is the first year we’ve been at a church, so we’ll be doing the Advent activities there on the 5th and I will be trying to set up an advent calendar for my daughter (I did that last year with chocolates, but she hates chocolates and I ended up eating all of them, so this year it will be something not candy related).  I have made a momentous decision to stop doing part of the competitive activities I have been doing since starting and that means that I will have more time off in January and will not be traveling as often in the Spring semester.  I am both sad and disappointed and somewhat relieved.

I am also excited to start 2014 as of now.  We’ll see how long that holds out.

I have had a good Thanksgiving, although little annoyances always get to me.  But, so far, they have not spiraled out of control.  And we’re going to my mom’s tomorrow and then home on Sunday, so there isn’t long for the annoyances to build up now.  I am thinking that I should have a theme for this blog in 2014.  I was thinking about Leadership.  I was also thinking about Diversity as a possibility.  Those are two areas I am interested in and it would not just be that, but I would dedicate a couple of days a week to it at least.  So, we’ll see.

For now, I am happy to get this post up.  I will be doing the Five Minute Friday post later today and maybe posting some pics from our trip to the local Pioneer Village tonight.  Currently, my daughter is playing with Mega Blox, painter’s tape and some little cranes.  She is hyper, but she’s been pretty well-behaved considering she has been stuck in the house for the last 36 hours with no other children.  I’m hoping she makes it through today, enjoys tonight and we can do something fun tomorrow and then we’ll be on the road.  I just worry about her annoying others as the only kid in the group.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!