So Much To Be Thankful For

Do you ever have one of those holidays where it is so special that you seem to be misty-eyed the whole live long day? That was me yesterday. I woke up realizing how much I had to be grateful for and I was overwhelmed.

It is too easy to be caught in the day-to-day motions of life. Not only that; it is too easy to be caught up in the frustrations. I have had my share lately and I find myself at night in bed wondering what is wrong with me.

But yesterday morning I woke up really taking in all of my blessings. Like a really good meditation session–you know the kind that you are sure only Buddhist monks have high in the mountains of Asia. The best part was that it has stayed with me ever since. I hope it stays with me for a long time.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was lucky enough to spend it with my friend and her family and her dog. We had a wonderful meal, great desserts, conversation and apparently the right climate that all of us took a healthy holiday nap. Nothing gets better than that (except petting the dog for probably 6 hours straight). 🙂

So now I am sitting in my house and staring at a mass cluster of red and green boxes. I can hear each one of them whispering to me that I should open them. I know that in a day my house will be fully decorated for Christmas and I hope with it, the spirit of Christmas will abound. But, I first have the task of creating the magic which means that I am going to need some great Christmas music to work with.

That brings us to the post and not only that but the musical post. So here we are at my top 5 Christmas songs that keep me excited and happy to decorate.

What’s your favorite Christmas song to keep you pumped up for the season?

  1. Brian Setzer: Gettin’ in the Mood (For Christmas)
  2. Gary Walker: Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag
  3. Jewel: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  4. Brenda Lee: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  5. Dean Martin: A Marshmallow World



The Drive I Make The Most

Did everyone know that Thanksgiving is a week away? Crazy right? I can’t believe we are at the holidays and end of this year. What a crazy blessing this year has been in my life. Crazy blessing you may ask? . . . yes, crazy blessing. I have had all the ups and downs a person can handle. I bet we could do a scan and see the whiplash it has caused. 🙂

But keeping with my gratitude of weeks past. Here are 5 things I am grateful for that happened this year.

  1. I am grateful for the short time I spent living and working in Texas.
  2. I am grateful that I moved back to the Pacific Northwest.
  3. I am grateful that I now have a married sister.
  4. I am grateful that the world’s cutest nephew turned 1.
  5. I am grateful for the struggles I endured.

However, I am grateful for one more thing: I am grateful that I live close enough to the people I love that I can visit often which brings me to the real post this week about the places I have been.

I have made the drive between the Pacific Northwest and Utah more times than probably any other drive in my life. (Believe me–I drive a lot) 🙂 So to commemorate yet another trip down I-84 to I-15 and back; I have decided to share with you some interesting facts about some of the places I pass along my way.

On your next drive; learn something new about the places you pass along the way.

  1. Boise, Idaho: I use to live here and I really quite like it. I hear comments all the time about how plain it looks and how it is any wonder why people would live here but I think my fellow Boiseans would agree with me when I say, What are you talking about?” It is a great place and had a job opportunity come up here, I would have taken it.  Quick Fact: Boise has the second largest Basque population in the United States.
  2. Twin Falls, Idaho: I know–this sounds crazy but I did actually live here as well and I really liked it. It is a little out of range from a big city but it is a hub to some great recreation areas. Just ask Demi Moore and Bruce Willis who raised their daughters in the town of Hailey, Idaho not too far away from here. Quick Fact: Even in dusty sagebrush covered southern Idaho there is a drive called the 1000 spring by-way and in the spring you will want to divert and take the scenic route.
  3. Pendleton, Oregon: This city is a welcome relief if you are travelling during the winter and braving the Blue Mountains of Oregon. It either means the worst is behind you or gear up because it will be awhile of slow snow driving. I’m looking forward to it. 🙂 Quick Fact: Pendleton is where the world-famous Pendleton Woolen Mill is located. Fancy a blanket anyone?
  4. Oregon: I decided to include a general fact list on the whole state since this is where I now live and where I spend about 50% of my drive time. Quick Fact: Did you know that one of my favorite places, Sauvie Island is one of the largest river islands in North America?
  5. Utah: I also decided to include a general list on the whole state of Utah since it is where I moved from and where I usually find myself racing to get to the family that I love. Quick Fact: The Sundance Film Festival was not started by Robert Redford but he was the first  board chairman.

And the Gratitude Continues

Another round of what I am grateful for. This could never get old for me. Hopefully it won’t get too old for you. I have come up with 5 new things to be thankful for this November.

How is your gratitude list coming? Please share something you are grateful for. 🙂

  1. Music: This morning I was driving to the office and a song came on the radio that I haven’t heard for a while but it brought a smile to my face and some bobbing to my head. I really enjoy music in its many forms and if I could do something that I love; it would be with music in some way. Here is my song if you are wondering what made me happy. 😛
  2. Blogs: I really learn a lot about other people and what I learn the most is that we are all the same. We all have the things that we are passionate about and the things that we like to share with others. It is really wonderful to be apart of that community. Here are 5 of my favorites blogs to follow:
    1. The Kitchn
    2. Love Taza
    3. Peanut Butter Fingers
    4. Can You Stay for Dinner?
    5. Oh Happy Day
  3. Modern Medicine and Holistic Approaches: This might sound like an oxymoron but I am very grateful for the ability to care for myself without having to worry about insurance and drugs however; I also recognize when I need something to get over Bronchitis and I am grateful for the medical profession.
  4. Food: I know that I said I was grateful for the harvest last week but I was really talking about the source of our food. This is gratitude for the wonderful things I have eaten over the years. Here are 5 things that I REALLY want to make in the next couple of weeks.
    1. Simple Lemony Spring Chicken & Spring Veggie Soup
    2. Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps
    3. Cranberry Avocado Salad
    4. Caramel Churro Chex Mix
    5. Pumpkin Heavenly Oreo Dessert
  5. Animals: Everyone should know by now how much I miss my dog Coco but having her in my life gave me gratitude and love for all animals that cross my path. It is such a wonderful thing to have the connection we do with them.


Gratitude is Contagious

We made it to November . . . how–I am not exactly sure. In some ways I think this year took forever. Maybe because I had a year of struggles. In other ways I think it flew by. Probably because I was once again too busy to really live it. Either way, this year has been full of change and the kind that is painful because it forces you to grow and learn.

At this point I am sure you are thinking, “Gee Jenn, way to be depressing”.

Actually not. What I have learned the most in this entire process is what really is important to me. I have learned that people really love me and most importantly, I have learned that I am not alone in this thing we call life.

I have learned a little more every day this year what gratitude really is and why celebrating one day a year is so important. I am hoping that each of you will catch my gratitude bug and give it away as well.

So every week I will share some of the things that I am grateful for. I have a list that is much to long to write on paper and too long to share each time I pray but somehow all of it is written on my heart. It is safe there and will stay with me forever.

I hope each one of you know that you are in my heart.

  1. I am grateful for the natural beauty I am surrounded in. I have lived in many places, been to many places and seen many things but no where on this planet can I find a place that the beauty of the earth does not stir my soul in gratitude and love.
  2. I am grateful for my friends. I am talking about those friends that know when you might be close to a breakdown. The friends that know when to tease you about the guy that just walked by. The friends that would do anything in their power to save you.
  3. I am grateful for the harvest. I love this land of plenty. I experience nostalgia from the smell of cinnamon. I love the art behind a well prepared dish. I love how food brings people together because it sustains life. Food teaches us to bond at a basic human need and we all flourish from it.
  4. I am grateful for trials because they teach us to try harder. They move us forward down the paths that make us grow and change. In that change we become the people we are truly meant to be and that is a beautiful thing.
  5. I am grateful for family. I love and respect the people who have to put up with me and I hope they will always know that my life would be incomplete with any of them missing. I would gladly and readily trade every part of my existence for my family.

Since I knew this post would be full of written thoughts. I have decided to share a small slide show of recent pictures (one of these days I will  upload to Flickr). Enjoy!!

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