With a Thankful Heart, I Say Farewell

12.31.2011

Dear 2011,

I just want to take a moment to say thank you.

Thank you for the lessons I learned and made it through and for the 365 days I had to enjoy with our family and friends.

You're ending just as fast as you began, but that's okay because I am ready for 2012 and what it has to offer. But more than that, I'm ready embrace, hold on and fight for what lies before me in the coming months of a fresh new year.

Too often the resolutions, the new and the now, overshadow the effort that each of those things require. Too often we allow the "thought" of something give us a false sense of "doing". So for 2012, I'm not making a resolution.

I'm making a decision.

A decision to give more than just my bare minimum. A decision to live each day in such a way that when I look back on it, I feel nothing but pride and happiness because of it. There have been more times than I care to admit in writing (and possibly even to myself) that I have stood still, sat back and waited for my life to happen and dreams to come true.

In 2012, I am making a decision to stand up and put forth the effort that life requires. I am making the decision to hug the day that I'm living and not just look forward to what the next has to offer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard 
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Philippians 4:7

In 2012 I will make the decision to live out this verse. To allow God to be God in my life and to realize that His plan will always surpass mine. I want to have the peace that can only come from Him. The peace that makes the others stop and think "there is something different about her".

I hope that I am prepared for all that 2012 has to offer. I hope that any moments of indecisiveness are short lived and resolved fast.

So it is here that I bid you adieu, 2011. I am thankful for you and have enjoyed you immensely. I will look back fondly on the past 12 months, but I'm ready to turn and face the new beginning that is 2012.

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Why the Rush?

12.28.2011

Welp, it's that time of year once again. Somehow it how creeps up and surprises me every time.

You know the one I'm talking about. The time between Christmas and a brand new year. It's represents the adolescence of every year to me. I'm ready for a new, fresh beginning, and at the same time, not quite ready to let go of my evergreen and glitter. 

It's also the time of year that so many phrases and statements either begin or end with "now". Get fit right now...be happier now...get more energy now...fix your household budget now...

Now, please don't misunderstand. I know that all of those things are good and we all more or less strive for each of them at some point during the year or our lifetime. It just makes me laugh a little bit to see our society's mindset of wanting the quick fix. And by society, I mean all of us. I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten frustrated because I was unable to tell a difference after a weeks worth of workouts.

Seriously.

Just the other day during a movie trailer I heard this quote "if things were easy to find...they wouldn't be worth finding". Think about your spouse/significant other. Chances are you didn't open your door and find them waiting for you to fall in love with them. Or, if that was in fact the very way you met, what was the path like to get there? Past heartaches teach us what love is and how to do it. Falling in love wasn't instant for me. It took time and at times it was hard. But would we really want it any other way? I wouldn't. I don't sit back and savor the moments before Andrew and long for the broken hearts and cried tears again. I do however choose to see them for what they were; part of the learning process.

It takes a lifetime to learn how to live and it includes bumps in the road, joy, tears, anger, love and a whole lot of days that consist of trying to figure it all out. Life is about placing one foot in front of the other and taking steps toward what we want. Sometimes we may leap or maybe we feel as though we're stumbling through or maybe just flat our falling. Regardless of how we get there, it's the living part that actually gets us to where we need or want to be. And though reading a magazine article or about someone elses experiences can be motivational, no one conquered their desires by doing just that. It takes time which is something none of us have enough of, but thankfully the good Lord gave us a lifetime to live.

Which is the perfect segue to this; the only thing that can happen in an instant in our lives that is incredible and totally worth it and that we cannot work towards, is salvation. God gives His grace the moment you ask. You want pure, unwavering love and mercy for a lifetime? I promise you that if you asked for it right now, you would receive it. And no matter how many times you feel as though you have failed or made mistakes, salvation does not fail. You cannot outsin the cross or God's grace.

You can take this rambling for what it's worth, but I hope that you take something from it. In this season of resolutions and fresh beginnings, it would do us all some good to remember that the easy road is not always the one worth taking. And instant coffee isn't good so why would we think anything else would be? If there are changes you want to make then just remember that anything worth having in our lives will take longer than a snap of your fingers. Except for that grace thing I mentioned.

Instantaneous and more than worth it.
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Sometimes and Always

12.27.2011

Linking up with Megan today for Sometimes and Always!! I love this idea and have been wanting it do it for quite some time now!  

Somtimes: I get my a burst of organizing energy and start to get my house in order as it should be

Always: I lost interest halfway through the project and it's more chaotic then when it started

Sometimes: I have the best intentions of doing weekly meal plans so that we're not
stumped every night of the week

Always: I end up suggesting the same 3 things every week...

Sometimes: I really get puppy fever and say that I want another one

Always: I remember how messy our house can get with just 2 and I'm also not sure if
I could love another one half as much as I love these 2



Sometimes: I every intention of getting up early and getting things done in the morning
before heading off to work

Always: I hit the snooze button until the last possible minute

via

Sometimes: I hate training for this half marathon and wish I hadn't signed up for it

Always: As much as I complain, I know that it'll be worth it in the end

Christmas 2011 Recap

Is it just me, or does anyone else find themselves a little (or possibly a lot) sad when Christmas day comes to a close?

It's not sadness that stems from disappointment. No, it's just a sad that comes when something that you were looking forward to and that was so great, it's borderline heartbreaking when it comes to a close. I never feel as though I have enough time with our decorations or to do family things or just seasonal things in general.

This year, I decided to take off the entire week leading up to Christmas so that I could enjoy being at home, wrapping presents and just relaxing. Have you noticed the older we get, the less of that last thing we do during this season? I found myself humming Amy Grant's "I Need a Silent Night" throughout various points of the day for the past couple of weeks. If you haven't heard it, I suggest pausing the reading of this post to look it up. It's a great reminder!

I, unfortunately, had to head to Mount Airy all by my lonesome on Christmas eve because my poor, sweet husband had fallen victim to the cold that seems to be making it's rounds. I just jammed out to Christmas carols all the way up there and truly enjoyed my time with my side of the family. The only bad thing was having to make the hour and 45 minute drive back in my incredibly stuffed state. Talk about having heavy eyelids! But they were totally worth the incredible meal that my dad and brother had created. Yum! And I was a good wife and brought some leftovers to Andrew...too bad I didn't bring enough back for me...

Then around 5 Christmas eve evening, we headed over to Andrew's parents. I almost always have to prepare myself for the wonderful chaos that will inevitably take place on Christmas eve night within that house. I'm certain that when there are presents involved, kids multiply.

Seriously, 5 kids automatically give the illusion of being 10 because of presents and all the anticipation and excitement that Christmas brings and it can be a bit overwhelming. And because of such illusions, the aforementioned preparation that has to take place! But despite the noise and ripping of paper, it is such a joy to be around a big family on an exciting night. Mind you, I can only take it for a couple of hours, but I do love it...


Another reason we love it, is because after it's all said and done, we get to head back to our quiet home and spend the evening with each our and our 4-legged children.  Andrew would love if we would come home and open the presents we got for one another, but I am a big advocate for Christmas morning present opening. I just love waking up and feeling like a kid and bugging my husband until he gets up.


I was really excited to for Andrew to open up his "big" present from me which was a record player. I realize that may sound odd, but my mom had given him some great vinyls like a year ago and he had no way of listening to them until now! I also bought a Frank Sinatra Christmas album for us to listen to the rest of the morning.

After presents and a great breakfast, we were pretty stationary the rest of the day. We snacked, watched Christmas movies and enjoyed the day.

It was a great Christmas for us and I pray the same for y'all! God has blessed us beyond belief for this year and I have no doubt that 2012 will a blessed adventure as well, but until then, I will enjoy these remaining days of 2011...

with our Christmas lights of course :)

And all fell silent 
For the cry of an infant,
the voice of God
Was dividing history
For those with eyes to see,
the Son would shine
From earth that night
--Bebo Norman 
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Merry Christmas!

Preach it Linus

12.24.2011


Merry Christmas eve! Let us all remember the true meaning of Christmas and the real reason for the season!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6

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Christmastime is Here

12.23.2011

Seeing as how I had this entire week off, I was so sure that I would get many a blog post written.

Clearly and sadly, that didn't happen. A lot of other things got accomplished though...

...presents are wrapped


...stockings are stuffed


...cookies are baked

...and Christmas has fully resided itself in our humble household

Tomorrow is Christmas eve and we will be spending it with our families. I am so thankful that both of our families for the most part live in North Carolina. It makes holidays a little easier to manage. Our first stop will be lunch in Mount Airy with my parents, brother/sister-in-law and my great grandpa before heading back to Charlotte to spend the evening with the Janke side of the family.

I am actively trying to savor holidays more with my family because time on this earth is fleeting. Christmas is magical not because of presents or cookies, but because of the people it's spent with and because of the gift we freely received so many, many years ago. A gift that we could never deserve or earn...a gift of ultimate, true love...

And with that said, I wish all of you a very merry Christmas eve eve!
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'Twas 5 Days Before Christmas

12.20.2011

Happy December 20th everyone! I'm trying my hardest to savor these final days leading up to Christmas, but for some reason they seem intent on flying by. Thankfully I took off this week and I'm enjoying my adult Christmas break quite a bit. It has me wondering why only kids have them. I've wrapped presents, cleaned and a myriad of other things that more than likely would have failed to get accomplished had I been preoccupied with working and whatnot.

So here I am, on a Tuesday afternoon getting to blog and tell y'all about this past weekend and what we've got planned for the coming days. I have no doubt you are jumping up and down with excitement...

This past weekend Andrew and I headed to my grandparents for their yearly Christmas party. I always enjoy this because a) it's a tradition (and who doesn't love those at Christmas?) and b) there is always lots of food. Seriously good food. And obviously I enjoy seeing my family. Hopefully that was obvious.
my grandparent's neighbor got horses! they were super sweet
no matter how old I get, I will always love this part of Christmas
my sweet mother and myself!
After eating and opening presents and trying not to fall asleep, Andrew and I hit the road and headed east to Chapel Hill for the Carolina/Appalachian State basketball game! Now, I realize that this should have caused more of an internal struggle for me than it did. I mean, my time at Appalachian State helped mold and shape me into the person I am today. My most trying and growing pain years took place in that tiny mountain town and for that, I am forever grateful and thankful.

But this is college basketball. There is not a bone in my body that knows how to cheer against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Don't get me wrong; I didn't want to App to be embarrassed or to even play poorly. I just didn't want them to win. It's okay, I've accepted that I'm an awful person.

We got to the Dean Dome right as the doors were opening so we had time to snap some pictures and I could get some food (because for some reason I was hungry) without hassling with lines.

I wish we could've gotten a better picture, but the lighting was weird

It was a fun game, the Mountaineers played great and the Tar Heels won, so I was a happy girl. After the game, we met up with a few people at a restaurant right off Franklin Street to hang out for a little bit.
the girls!
Since the group was mostly made up of boys, this was the only picture I got, but it was a fun post game meal. Sunday was low key with church and lunch with the Briley's before heading back to their house to watch the Panther's game and enjoy some Sunday afternoon naps before heading home.

This week and Christmas weekend will be spent with both sides of our family, more presents, ice skating (eeek, my first time!) and like I said at the beginning of this rambling post, savoring these remaining days of the Christmas season. Also, on my run yesterday I discovered a house that would make Clark Griswold proud (in the form of inflatables), so I have to show Andrew that before the week is over.

Any fun plans in store for you guys this week or have you spotted any Clark Griswold wannabe's?
 
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And the Boring Blogger Award Goes To...

12.13.2011

Hi, my name is Maggie and I am a boring blogger.

No, really. It's borderline ridiculous how little I have to say. It's really not by choice or lack of desire, it's just my brain is as blank as it can be. Like I said, ridiculous!

Thankfully, Christmas is just around the corner and that is a valid excuse for my lack of posts even if it's not true. And let's just focus on that for a second--Christmas is officially less than 2 weeks away. My heart breaks! I love the lights on and in our house and if it wasn't the tackiest thing ever, I would keep our tree up year round.

Lights and all...
It's just not fair how fast this month goes and how short it is. We can never do everything we want or attend everything we're invited to. I understand that if that's the biggest conundrum we experience in the twelfth month of the year, we're doing okay, but nevertheless, there isn't enough time. I have approximately 6 Christmas movies saved on our DVR and equal that of DVD boxes in front of the blu-ray player just waiting to be watched. One of the movies saved on the DVR is "A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey which I haven't seen, so if you have, please let me know if it's worth my time. Any movies that I hear of that I can cross off my list would be welcomed news!

On a super excited note, this is my last full week of work for 2011! I decided to use a good bit of my PTO and took off all of next week! It's just not fair that only kids get extended Christmas breaks--adults need them way more in my opinion. I plan on doing some deep cleaning around here, wrapping some presents, baking some goodies and just enjoying my time off!

And with that, I am done. Hopefully there are no snores taking place on the other side of the monitor and hopefully you'll stick with me during this boring blogging season that I'm going through!
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Laziness is My Only Explanation...

12.06.2011

I keep blaming my lack of blogging/grocery shopping/guitar practicing on the fact that we have officially entered the Christmas season, but I think a better way to describe it is just plain lazy. I have been good at sticking to my half marathon training schedule because I really don't want to die trying to run 13.1 miles in just a couple of months.

I am really weird with planning things in advance when it comes to planning into the next year because I already feel like the month of December goes by too fast and I want to savor every minute that I can. It is seriously the best month of the year what with the lights, decorations, get togethers, food, etc. But 2012 has a lot of reasons for me to get excited...

ONE. 2 of my best friends are getting married and I am privileged enough to stand beside them when they say "I do"

TWO. I'm going to be an aunt! It's a completely different feeling since it is coming from my side of the family and that feeling is insanely excited!


THREE. The aforementioned 13.1 miles that I for some reason agreed to run. I'm pretty sure I had a lapse of sanity and judgement, but what's done is done! One thing I can cross off my unofficial bucket list.

However, as excited as I am for all of those things, I am definitely not rushing this month or Christmas because it's speed needs no assistance from me. This is absolutely a magical time of year and I plan on enjoying every twinkling light!

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Haul Out the Holly {sneak peak}

12.04.2011



Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year...?


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Thanksgiving 2011...One Week Later

11.30.2011

Last night, a sad thing happened.

I ate the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Heartbreak at its finest. Seriously, there is nothing better to me than Thanksgiving food. It's savory, filling and it just warms your soul.

The last Thursday in November is always one filled with deliciousness and family/friends. It's a wonderful day and this year was no different. Thursday morning came bright and early because Brittany and I had signed up for the 2011 Turkey Strut 5K. This is the second year I've done it and I really do think it's a great idea, other than the getting up early part. But really, you get up, run 3 miles and when you go stuff your face later in the day, you don't even have to think about feeling guilty. Great tradeoff.
our toughness shining through
approaching the finish line...shockingly not first...
After dropping Brittany off, we got back to my brother's and I just just enough time to shower and get ready for lunch. And honestly, I think it would've been the best meal of the year even if I hadn't just ran in said 5K. Sadly, I didn't get a table picture this year, but I at least had to get a shot of my plate and all of its deliciousness
I realize a table shot would have been far more impressive, but this is it! Still soooo good. When lunch was over, and everyone headed out to their other Thanksgiving lunches/dinners, I had the brilliant idea of pulling our air mattress and napping to the football game. And let me tell you, tryptophan induced naps are the most amazing things ever.

That night we headed back over to Brittany's parents house where I was greeted with a big, shiny surprise...
My best friend, my roommate for life and who stood beside me when I said "I do" is getting MARRIED! So crazy and I'm so excited for her!
those weird expressions mean we are excited
brittany and her future hubby
And no Thanksgiving week is complete without a side of crazy and my sister-in-law and I got our share when we braved the midnight sales at Kohl's and Target. Like I said, crazy. But I did get these gems
For those that haven't watched "Modern Family", you should. And for those that have never used a Dyson, then you probably don't know what it's like to be giddy about vacuuming. Not even kidding, you can ask my husband. Love it.

Simply, our Thanksgiving was simple and wonderful. I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and are preparing your hearts and homes with the season that is now fully upon us...Christmas!

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Thankfully

11.22.2011

Y'all, I swear Thanksgiving arrives a little faster every year. But I sure do love this time of year because to me, there is nothing not to love. Can anyone out there tell me that they don't love stuffing their faces with yummy goodness that only comes once a year? Or that you don't enjoy spending time with friends and family that you may not see a lot of? OR even if you're not a food lover or a sentimental person, you have to enjoy partaking in the madness that is Black Friday :)

The Lord has truly blessed me with an incredible life. It may not always be easy and effortless. There are bumps and hangups. I cry out in sadness and scream in anger. But at the end of the day, I choose to recognize the blessings. This is the time of year that we make a point to voice what we're thankful for, which is great, but every day is worthy of recognition. 

via
 Thankfully...

...I know the Lord, but even more than that, He knows me (Psalm 139:1).
If that was all I had to be thankful for, I'd be in pretty great shape.

...I have a God fearing husband whom I love more and more everyday. Some days that decision is a little harder than others, but it never fails. He is a man that chases hard after the
Lord and in return, loves me as Christ loves.

...our family, for the most part, is healthy and happy.

...we have amaaaaazing friends. Seriously. Could not ask for better.

...we have jobs to go to and a place to call home.

...we choose what we want to wear and want to eat.

...we are awoken by hearing our alarms and seeing each others face.

This world can be a place that tries to drag us down and force us into a box of negativity, but by choosing to fix my eyes on Jesus, I choose to be thankful for this life. This life is the only one I have to live and I can decide whether to recognize the blessings or the not so great things. When you woke up this morning, did you take a moment to thank God for bringing you to a new day? I didn't. Maybe a few of you did, but chances are, most of us take it for granted. Waking up today, Tuesday, November 22, was a blessing.

Speaking for myself, it's time I start living that way. I get so caught up in this hundred mile an hour life, I forget to bow my head, lift my hands and say "thank you" to the God that makes it all possible.

And as cheesy as this is, I am thankful for all those that are reading. Seriously.

Enjoy this week of Thanksgiving! Enjoy the food and the time with friends and family! Enjoy today and tomorrow and the next day...

And in all things, give thanks
1 Thessalonians 5:18
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