Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 30

Wow! I can't believe how fast this month has gone by. In October we had made a list of blessings we have and were able to write a page in a few minutes. So I thought blogging about something we were thankful for each day would be really easy. Most days it was easy, but there were a few days we had discussions about what we should write about.
This week in our bible class we talked about being thankful, among several other topics. I think what stood out to me is that part of being thankful is being reminded of how God is in control of the world and our lives. The times when I become discouraged by problems or difficulties, I am definitely less thankful and grateful for the ways God is working in my life. So I have concluded that having a thankful heart serves to show gratefulness to God and also to keep us balanced, humble, and reminded that God is the giver of all we have. Today I am thankful to serve a God who never gives up on me, delights in our journeys of growth, and faithfully provides for my needs regardless of the level of my faithfulness.
While there will no longer be daily posts to write about thankfulness, I hope to continue thinking daily about what I am thankful for and having those discussions with Michael.
I can't believe December is here! This month we are going to try to run a mile a day. We'll see how it goes. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 29

Although it's kind of out of season, with the arrival of the cold weather today, I've been thinking about how thankful I am for the ocean and beaches. I know that there's nothing inherently warm and sunny about beaches and the ocean, but they've always been like that when I've experienced them so to me I associate sun shine and warmth with the ocean and the beach.

There are few places on earth that I'd rather be than at the beach. I like being in the mountains and I like being in the woods, but I (and AM for that matter) love being at the ocean.

This will sound very hokey, but I there's just something mysterious, awe-inspiring, and magical about the ocean. Not only is the ocean the last truly wild and mostly undiscovered terrain on our planet, but it's also a great display of God's power. Almost every time I'm at the beach I think about the following verses from Job 38 where God is questioning Job about his own power:

 8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors
       when it burst forth from the womb,
 9 when I made the clouds its garment
       and wrapped it in thick darkness,
 10 when I fixed limits for it
       and set its doors and bars in place,
 11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;
       here is where your proud waves halt'?

I really like the very last verse that says, "This far you many come and no farther; hear is where your proud waves halt."

When I'm standing on the edge of the ocean as the waves come crashing up on the shore, it reminds me of God's power over all of creation and the fact that he's in control of everything... even how far the powerful waves of water can come up on the land.

I could go on and on about how much I like the ocean and how thankful I am that God gave it to us, but this is already becoming a bit of a long post. Below is a song that really sums up how I feel about the ocean.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 28

Today I'm thankful for a great last game of the college football season and for time spent with my dad, brother, and wife.

Not only was it the last game of the season and a victory for the crimson and cream, but it was also the last game with my dad for a few years since he'll be in Germany the next two seasons. Going to OU football games has been a Mitchell family tradition for years and I have so many fond memories of games there with my family that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I talk to my dad almost every other day and will really miss having him around the next two years, but I will especially miss him on Saturdays in the fall. In many ways, game day just won't be the same without him there. Someday, if I have boys of my own, I look forward to taking them to college football games at Owen Field and hope to create the same kind of memories for them there with me that I have with my dad.

Friday, November 27, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 27

Today I am thankful for many things. We had brunch this morning with my Dad's family. This being the first year without my Dad's parents, I wondered how things would be different. I was glad that we got together, and it was good to be there.
We did a little bit of Christmas Shopping this afternoon. Then we went downtown to the Christmas tree lighting. It was pretty much like the one in New York- I'm sure! They had music and then the tree lighting. I plan to take advantage of the downtown in December events this year. Check out the website here.
Then we headed over to the storage unit to get our tree and a few other decorations.
I am thankful for my husband that will make me pumpkin pecan waffles, go to tree lightings, wait while I shop in a crowded mall, help me with the tree, and many more small things that mean a lot to me.

Here we are at the tree lighting.
We are about to watch Home Alone 2, so we can relive our childhood and New York trip. Have a good night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 26

We went downtown this morning and ran in the Turkey Trot. It was a lot of fun and I think we will do it again.

We walked through the Myriad gardens afterward- I liked this red tree.

My mom made these cute place cards for the table. My turkey has a pie and Michael's has a football. We went to see the movie The Blind Side this afternoon. It was excellent!

Hanging out at my mom's house

Today I am thankful for changing seasons, beautiful trees, family, and the Holidays. Although it can be such a busy time I really enjoy the time to spend with family and in thankfulness for all of the things God is doing in our lives. We had a wonderful day today and I am looking forward to the many fun times we will have in the next month. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What is something you are thankful for this year that you were not thankful for this time last year? What is something you hope to be thankful for this time NEXT year?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 25

Today I am thankful for my licensure supervisor. Every week, until I finish my license, I have to meet with a supervisor for 1.5 hours to talk about my cases. I also write them a check for the service. I changed supervisors in May, and it has been really great to work with my current supervisor. Her quote on her facebook page says: When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."
She is currently: working on her doctorate, the president of OKAMFT, helping change medicaid legislature, writing a children's book, tending a huge vegetable garden, doing supervision, teaching classes, and dreaming about opening a marriage and family therapy institute and making steps to do so...and who knows what else! She is very positive and inspiring, and I have yet to have written my check out to her and feel like I didn't get my money's worth.
Today, after some difficult and disappointing experiences, I really needed some encouragement. I needed someone who had been where I was to speak some wise and hopeful words over me. Through our conversation today she did just that. And that is why I love the work I am apart of. Through talking, insight, self discovery, and hope people can find the strength to change, grow, and continue forward.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 24

Today I'm thankful for the opportunity to get away from the "city" and spend time outside in God's creation. This past year, I've taken up trout fishing and tomorrow I'm going with my father-in-law and brother-in-law to Tishomingo for a day of fishing in the Blue River. While it's more fun when the fish are biting, I don't even really care about that part. I just like being in my waders, down in the water, and outside where the only sound I hear is the sound of water rushing over the rocks and the wind blowing through the trees. God is everywhere, but it always seems like I feel his presence more when I'm outdoors away from the noise and busyness of my everyday life. I'm so thankful to have found a hobby that gets me outside and is both fun and spiritually uplifting.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things that are awesome...

Every now and then I come across something so good, I have to tell other people about it. This post is not the beginning of a new series here on the blog about things that are awesome, but it could be if I were to discover things as awesome as what I discoverd this past weekend.

Thanks to a friend from work and a trip to Pops for lunch a few weeks ago, I was tipped off to the delicious goodness of Henry Weinhard's Root Beer. At the time, I was told that HW's was only available in the Pacific northwest. You can imagine my surprise when I saw it, along with Cream Soda and Orange Cream Soda, at Crest this past weekend. The Root Beer's good stuff, but I've always been a cream soda fan myself so I bought a six pack of the Cream Soda to give it a try.

Let me preface this next statement by saying that I'm not a big consumer of carbonated beverages. That said, I bought the six pack at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and finished the last one this morning at my desk at work. I even had one on the way to church Sunday morning.

Henry Weinhard's Cream Soda is THE BEST CREAM SODA I'VE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. It is the perfect mix of brown sugar, honey, and vanilla flavoring with an extra abundance of foam that makes even the most frothy of drinks seem absolutely flat in comparison. I was so busy downing these bottles of sweet creamy deliciousness this weekend that I didn't even think to try pouring it over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Oh well, I guess I'll have to buy some more next weekend.

So... what are you waiting for? Get out to your local Crest and buy yourself a six pack of Henry Weinhard's Cream Soda before this post goes viral and starts a run on the grocery stores.

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 23

Tonight I had dinner with my best friend from 5th grade. There is something comforting about someone who knew you back then and knows you now. And comfort in the kind of friends that you can talk about anything and everything, no matter how long it has been. So this may be a repeat but today, at the end of a long day, I am thankful for friendships that last a lifetime. Thank you to all of my friends that laugh with me, cry with me (or sit with me as I cry!:), and share with me in our journeys. I love you all and the joy you bring to my life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 22

When we moved my sister gave me a jar of the tomato basil soup from La Madeline as a house warming gift. I'm not sure how to describe this is nothing like regular tomato soup. It is wonderful! Michael does not like tomato soup, but loved this soup. We ate the soup for dinner tonight and enjoyed it thoroughly. I am thankful for the thoughtfulness of the housewarming gift and deliciousness of the soup! If you are ever by a La Madeline you should try it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 21

I never ever thought I'd say this, but this year, I'm thankful that college football season is almost over. The University of Oklahoma football team has not made it easy to be a fan this season and while I'm not switching my allegiances to any other team, I have to say that this is one college football season I won't be sad to see go.

The bright side is that although the Sooners still have two games left to play this season, they probably won't be favored in either of them. So... if they lose, it's fine because I won't have expected them to win, but if they win, it's double good because I will have expected to them to lose.

I guess the serious side of this post is that I'm thankful to have lots of other areas of my life to derive meaning from other than being a fan of the University of Oklahoma football team.

Friday, November 20, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 20

I am thankful today for my friend that shared her lunch with me. It was a random act of kindness that allowed me to power through some paperwork and keep from eating my hand. Thanks Heather!! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 19

Today I'm thankful to live within a few minutes of multiple grocery stores and for the ability to drive between them to find the best price on a three pound turkey breast. I'm also thankful for the time I got to spend with my wife while we drove around on our quest for the perfect frozen turkey breast.

P.S. In a pinch, a three pound frozen turkey breast in a Wal-Mart bag could make a great weapon. I almost knocked my grill over with it tonight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 18

Today I'm thankful for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. I'm thankful for a boss who understands that it's more important for me to be with my family during difficult times than it is for me to be working. I'm thankful for my grandparent's friends and neighbors who have continued showing up at the hospital to support my grandmother... I'm also thankful for the City Bites they brought for lunch today. I'm thankful for friends, co-workers, family, and people from church that are praying for my granddad, my mom, and the rest of our family.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 17

Today I am thankful for my dad's calm spirit. I called my dad today in tears, and he patiently waited until I was able to speak rather than pressing me to say what was wrong. My father's patience and calmness has been a blessing to me at many times throughout my life. I remember in a sermon my dad once quoting 'meek is not weak'. There are definitely times when it takes more effort to be calm rather than not, and I am grateful for his example.

Monday, November 16, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 16

Today I am thankful for dishwashers!! We have lived in places both with and without a dishwasher. I have been cooking quite a bit the last few days and after having company over tonight I am happy to load the machine and let it do the work!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 15

Today I'm thankful to have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in at night. For some odd reason, I've been thinking a lot lately about what it would be like and how it would feel to be homeless and so that's made me really appreciate the blessing of having a place to call home. I'm not sure what this is about or what God is trying to tell me, but it's just something that's been on my heart lately.

Burp Cloths

I have several friends who are pregnant right now and I wanted to make something to go with my shower gifts. My knitting skills are about 15 years rusty, I don't really paint, I have a sewing machine but I'm not really sure how to use it... so I wasn't sure what to try.
After thinking about this for a while I decided to make some burp cloths. I have a friend who got some really cute ones at a shower a while ago. I read about it online and it sounded really easy so I gave it a try this weekend as I have a baby shower to go to next weekend.

From my research online, it is best to use Gerber cloth diapers that are the prefold type. You need to wash them first in hot water and dry them so they will shrink up before you sew them.
Then pick out a variety of ribbons, fabric, ric rac. etc to sew on.

My mom made this first one to show me how to use the machine. For this one we sewed ribbons long way on the diaper with a thicker ribbon along the bottom.

To put the ribbon on the bottom secure with pins and sew across.

The first two finished

I was pretty happy with them for my first try. I am going to get initials monogrammed on them also. I think girl colors will be cuter, so I am excited to try those.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 14

I am thankful for the many traditions in my family. My family has lots of traditions- for holidays, birthdays, and other random times. Something special my mom does is randomly she will say, "I have a happy present for you. Close your eyes and put out your hand". She will have surprised us with something, could just be something small, but a way she shows she was thinking about us. She has passed this on to my sister and me. This afternoon when I saw my sister she said the phrase above "I have a happy present for you...". She had surprised me with some holiday cupcake papers and this white cow creamer:

Perhaps you are thinking...What does a city girl want with a cow creamer?
Well, my Grandma Hartman loved cows and had seen a cow creamer she wanted in a magazine. She settled on a cow creamer that looked like this one. I had said sometime ago I wanted one because that silly cow creamer had brought her a lot of joy. My sister had remembered and surprised me with it. I cried like a screaming banshee when I saw what it was. (Just for maybe 45 seconds or so!) :) I have been missing my grandparents a lot lately, and I'm happy to have the cow creamer. I'm thankful for family and traditions.

Friday, November 13, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 13

Today we're thankful for laughter and the ability to laugh. A life without laughter would be no life at all. We enjoyed a fun night with friends this evening, laughed a lot, and it just reminded us both how thankful we are that God created laughter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 12

Today we're thankful for weekends. We can't imagine what life would be like if we had to work seven days a week and never got time off. Sometimes life can be a grind and it's just nice to know that every five days, we get to have some time to rest, relax, do things for ourselves, see friends & family, and just generally enjoy each others company. Life is meant to be lived as a rhythm with times of activity and times of rest and everything in between. If we're not intentional, it's easy to get caught up in a hectic swirl of never ending busyness that creates an unnatural and ever increasing pace to life that leaves little time to reflect on where our lives are headed, what we're trying to accomplish, or who we're trying to become. Weekends, vacations, and holidays all help provide a natural rhythm and break from the busyness of life and for that, we're thankful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 11

Today I'm thankful for people throughout history who have fought and died for the cause of freedom. Say what you will about the current state of politics in our country, but the freedoms and blessings we enjoy in the United States today are still unparalleled and unmatched around the world. While it's a shame that I very rarely stop to think about it, there's not a day that goes by that I don't enjoy the benefits of the sacrifices made by the men and women for who have fought to protect our rights and freedoms since the birth of our country.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 10

Today I am thankful for an abundance of food. Over the weekend I went to Central Market in Dallas with my Mom and Sister. It was incredible! They had tons of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, a fresh guacamole bar, more varieties of cheese than some stores have cereal, tons of meat and fresh fish, fresh herbs, and I could go on and on. We walked around there for about 45 minutes looking at everything and could have stayed longer.

We also talked about plans for Thanksgiving, what we were going to do, and what we should eat. Then on Monday I got a card in the mail from the City Rescue Mission asking for donations for their Thanksgiving meal. Not having food at Thanksgiving, is something I have no concept of, let alone being homeless. At every Thanksgiving meal I have ever had there has been more food than any of us could eat.

I feel thankful today that I don’t know what it is like to not have enough to eat. I also feel the need to give to the CRM. $14.10 will feed 15 people and $94 can feed 100 people. I think that is pretty cool. :) Check out their website here:

Monday, November 09, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 9

I am grateful for books and the people who write them. I have been reading for fun more over this past year than I have in some time. I needed some time after finishing grad school to not have to read things on a deadline. After having some time off from that, I began reading some on my own and joined with some friends to start a book club. Some of my favorites over the year have been the Twilight series (judge me), 19 minutes, My sister's keeper, Firefly lane, Come Back, Time traveler's wife, and many more. The books I have to read right now are: Water for Elephants, Helping Abused and Traumatized Children, Julie and Julia, and I am still trying to make it through Harry Potter 1.

Michael's recent favorites have been Marley and Me, Desire by John Eldredge, and Predictably Irrational.

It is fun to relax and get away or challenge yourself to grow through reading! Does anyone have any book recommendations?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

This verse has really been on my mind for the past month:

'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me'. 2 Corinthians 12:9

The past several months have been interspersed with some great things and some really difficult things. I have been feeling for quite a while that this has been one of those hard seasons of growth and that God is wanting to teach me some things. This verse has been comforting to think about the vastness of God's grace and that during times when I feel especially weak, God's power has not weakened at all.

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 8

Today we're both thankful for the many education opportunities we've
been blessed to receive up to this point in our lives. Our experiences and studies have been very different, but the same in that it has allowed us to do more of what we want to do. I hope to be thankful some day that we don't have any student loans! :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 7

I am thankful for some of the great technology we have. Yesterday I got to talk to my cousin in S. Korea on skype for the first time. I had never used skype before but it was easy and worked great. Back when we lived overseas, talking to people long distance was not always simple and was very costly. I think some things about technology make our lives more complicated and difficult, but some do not. Yea for skype and other cool ways to keep in touch with people!

Friday, November 06, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 6

Today I'm thankful for generosity.

I spent my entire work day and much of this evening around some of the university's most loyal and generous supporters. I always feel so humbled by all of the amazing, sacrificial, and selfless things they do to bless the young people here at Oklahoma Christian. No one has to give a single dime to the cause of Christian education, and yet, each year countless individuals open their hearts and their wallets to impact the lives of students here they've never met.

I'm thankful to have a job that gives me the opportunity to help facilitate other people's generosity. A lot of people I meet say that they could never do what I do when I tell them that I raise money for a living. However, if other people only knew how exciting it is to be a part of helping someone turn their philanthropic dreams into reality, people would be lining up to get into my profession.

I sometimes I get caught up in the day to day minutiae of my job and even think about getting out of this line of work from time to time. Days like today, when I get to spend so much time around such generous and inspiring people, really are the highlight of my work year and help remind me why it is I do what I do.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

Today (and everyday) we're both thankful for our parents... specifically the love, work, and many sacrifices they put into raising us.

In my line of work, I see a lot of kids in family situations that are very sad. As we've started thinking about having kids of our own some day, Michael and I have talked a lot about how thankful we are for our parents. We know they probably didn't do everything perfect, but we both grew up knowing that they were there for us and that we were loved which, sadly, is more than I can say for a lot of people.

Their love and presence in our lives as children was a precious and long-lasting gift that blessed us then and continues to shape our lives for the better as adults today.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4

Today I'm thankful for access to good affordable dental care.

AM and I have a storied past when it comes to dental care. Growing up as a missionary kid, she did not always have great access to quality to dental care as a child but she's made up for it in her late teens and young adult life. I, on the other hand, had great dental care as a kid but quit going when I was about 20.

We've both paid (monetarily and in drilling pain) a hefty price in the not too distant past for our respective years of neglecting our oral health. However, as of last July (when I had several cavities filled and a crown installed) we are both caught up on all of our dental work and last month, we both received clean bills of health at our semi-annual cleaning and x-rays.

It's easy to take our teeth for granted and even easier to take for granted the blessing that it is to to have access to affordable dental care when many people don't have that access. I know this might seem like a silly post, but it's what I woke up thinking about this morning, I'm genuinely thankful for it, and so it's what I posted.

Before you ask, the answer is no. My dentist did not put me up to this post.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 3

We're thankful for the opportunities we've had to travel together in our marriage so far. Traveling together has brought us closer to each other and given us a chance to experience many different cultures and other ways of life. Traveling is something that is really important to us and it will always be something that we'll make financial sacrifices to do together and with our children (as we have them some day).

Monday, November 02, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 2

This is Michael here. I checked and my last post to this blog was on 4/29/2009... a few days after we ran in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It was less than 25 words. Prior to that, my last post was in December of 2008. If you were trying to convict me of being a blogger in a court of law, you'd have a hard time mounting a case against me.

That said, I was really excited when AM came up with the idea to do 30 posts of thanksgiving during the month of November. So excited, in fact, that I readily volunteered to compose some of those post which is what brought us here, to my 3rd post in almost a year.

In the late spring of 2008, AM and I decided we were ready to find a new church home. At the time, we'd been members of the same congregation for almost six years. Despite a lot of good things happening at the congregation we attended, it just didn't feel (nor had it ever felt) like home. We both made numerous attempts to get involved during the time we were there, and yet, for some reason it never really felt like it was a fit for us. We had (and still have) several good friends there, but we often felt more like visitors than members there. As I said before, the church we were a part of was and is still a really good church. It just wasn't a good fit for us.

That summer, we visited several churches in the north Oklahoma City area, praying before and after each visit for God to show us if that was where he wanted us to be. We even prayed for him to show us if he wanted us to remain at the congregation we'd been attending and make a better effort to connect with people.

After visiting several congregations, though, we felt like God was leading us to the Mayfair Church of Christ, and so we just started showing up there every time the doors were open. We weren't the only ones either. We've come to know and love several other couples our age that all had similar experiences with other congregations and all found their way to Mayfair within a year or so of when we did.

Our time with the Mayfair church has been such a blessing and we can't wait to see what kinds of ministry opportunities God has in store for us there in the future. In the last year and a half, we've become more involved and more connected at Mayfair than we ever were in the six years we spent elsewhere. For that matter, this is the first time since my teenage years that I've felt such a strong connection to, ownership of, and responsibility for the work of a local church.

We're still not entirely sure why God placed it on our hearts to visit different churches last summer, but we both feel like we're exactly where we're supposed to be and can't wait to see what God has in store for the Mayfair church.

So... for day 2 of 30 days of thanksgiving, we're thankful for our church family at the Mayfair Church of Christ.

As a side note, since the OKC Memorial Marathon, my running has been about as regular as my blog posting. However, today, I got back on the treadmill and ran a mile and a half. Here's to new beginnings in both blogging and running.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving

We are going to be writing something we are thankful for each day this month in honor of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I think it is really important to remember the many blessings we have. I know for me it can be difficult to be thankful at times when I am wrapped up in day to day life. I am excited to have some guest posts by Michael, as he rarely blogs anymore! So here goes...

Day 1:
Today we are both thankful for the beautiful weather we had today. We went for a walk after lunch today, just to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the fall trees. It seemed especially nice knowing that colder days are just around the corner.