Thankful for Little

With thanksgiving coming up, I decided to do a short series on what I’m thankful for. Click here to read my introduction and first post.

Today, I’m thankful that I grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of money. It was hard not being able to get some of the things I wanted, missing out on class trips, and not getting to play on a soccer team or take dance classes, but having limited funds then has really shaped who I am now.

I’ve become a bargain hunter—I love the thrill of finding a good deal.  The downside is that I often have a hard time paying more than $20 for clothes or accessories. Shoes included. But now I know how to find the good deals, how to hold out for them, and how to forgo a purchase if I can’t get one . . . most of the time. (Speaking of Black Friday—and I know you weren’t—what is America coming to? Does anyone else see the irony of following up Thanksgiving with a day full of the scariest displays of consumerism available in the US? Anyway . . . )

I’ve also learned that stuff isn’t everything. There’s more to life than having a Barbie Dream House, Furby, Tamagotchi, or other must-have item. (Those are all things I asked for and never really got, by the way.) And, despite my constant desire to shop, especially on a bad day, I know stuff won’t fix my problems or make me happy. The best things in life aren’t made of metal or plastic. And they certainly aren’t on clearance at Target.

Sometimes I forget these things, but if I hadn’t learned them as a kid, Jonathan and I would probably be broke by now . . .

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So There’s This Guy . . .

I think he’s pretty awesome. And he’s had a really good couple of weeks.

He got a new car . . .

It was about time. We officially dubbed his ’97 Intrepid a beater a few months ago. Everything was either broken or leaking. So we gave it to his parents and got this ’04 Ion Coupe instead. (We now own two cars that are now longer in production. I have an ’06 G6).

And then he went to the company shareholders’ meeting and came home with some pretty awesome awards. This one is my favorite:

And then he had a birthday. But since I don’t think I got any pictures of that day (bad wife, I know), here’s another picture of him just because.

And today, he’s hunting with some of his family. (Can I just say I am so glad this is the last hunting weekend? This is the third weekend in a row without him and I’m ready for life to go back to normal.) Hopefully he at least sees something. The last few weekends have not gone so well.

I am so blessed to have such an amazing best friend and husband. I’m not sure what I’d do without him. (Well, I watch a LOT of Gilmore Girls when he’s hunting . . . )

Lately . . .

Apparently I took a blogging hiatus for most of October. It was not intentional at all. BUT I have been taking pictures so I could tell you all about it.

At the beginning of the month, we drove to Michigan so I could be in a friend’s wedding and we could spend some time with my family. Major fail of the weekend? I didn’t take any pictures of the wedding! Not even me and Jonathan. I’m still pretty bummed about this. But here are a few other shots from the trip and a wedding photo I stole from Facebook.

This is the only picture from the wedding that was on our camera : (

Sister and her boyfriend.

Campfire picture with Mom and Aunt Renee.

Yep, that’s my husband pretending to hit my little brother with a piece of firewood. I don’t get it either.

The rest of the month has been swallowed up with after-dinner walks, things with friends, and lots of tea drinking. I was never a tea drinker before (except chai, of course), but a friend from church gave me some Good Earth Sweet & Spicy (non-caffeinated), and I am addicted. That stuff is good with nothing in it!

And, of course, I managed to get sick. Gotta love having a scratchy throat (among other things). When it was at it’s worst last weekend, I sacked out on the floor in the living room. I spent my time watching Gilmore Girls and You’ve Got Mail and I crocheted. A lot.

crochet-turquoise-yarnOur church is currently collecting winter wear for an outreach event, so I’ve been making hats like crazy. The blue one in these pictures, though, I’m keeping for myself. Lest I sound like a miser—I made three new ones for the church and found some things from last year to give away.

And my most recent excuse for not posting? My computer cord died : ( So the husband and I have been fighting over sharing his computer for the last week. Since he’s a full-time writer, he gets dibs. Bummer. And I am really missing my own PC. This one doesn’t have any of my log-ins, my files, or my “Pin It” button. And let me tell you, I miss that button. For crying out loud—he didn’t even have Merriam-Webster bookmarked! (Oh, you don’t either? Maybe it’s just me . . . ) He does now : ) Okay, enough whining. If you’re reading this, it means we got a replacement cord and I was able to get my pictures from my computer. So yay for having my own computer again!

And I might as well throw in a little running update . . . It hasn’t been going so well. I ran the day before I got sick (just over a week ago) and haven’t run since. But in my own defense, running has been causing quite a bit of knee pain since I started. After a little research (note that I looked it up on a running site, not WebMD), I think it might be Runner’s Knee. I’d never heard of it before, but I think it means I need some new shoes.

Taking the Dock Out of the Lake

We celebrated the beginning of fall with a trip up north to help Jonathan’s grandparents get the dock out of the water.

And it was a wonderful day to do it. Just kidding. It was 48 degrees, windy, and the sky was spitting at us.

cloudy-skyBut it wasn’t all bad.

fall_colorsHis grandpa had a knee replacement about a month ago and wasn’t able to get in the water, but Jonathan’s brother Christopher went up with us. Those are some sexy waders, huh?

wadersGrandpa gave orders. He likes to do that : )

I even got my hands dirty. See these pipes?

Grandpa handed them to me and I threw them in the pile. Some of them were taller than me, though that’s not hard.

And then we had a wonderful dinner. When we go up north, we eat A LOT. Food is Grandma’s love language.

I also got some work done. While we were up there, I finished Heiress by Susan May Warren and got some writing done. Yay for productivity!

Computer and papersAnother lovely trip to the lake . . .

fall colors over lakesunset over lake

Happy Grandparents Day!

Because my dad’s parents both died before I was born, I grew up with just one set of grandparents. And growing up, I assumed all grandparents must be like them. When I got older and met other people’s grandparents, I was sad for all the people in the world who don’t have grandparents as awesome as mine : )

These are my grandparents—two of my favorite people in the whole wide world.
This is the most recent picture I have of them together. And that’s quite a feat. My grandpa hates having his picture taken. And because they live in Michigan, I don’t get to see them very often.

And this is my sister sneaking a picture of Grandpa when he’s not paying attention.

My grandparents are my heroes and my example of what marriage should look like. Growing up, I knew I needed to find a husband who would take care of me like Grandpa takes care of Grandma. I did find my Knight in Shining Armor and I have my Grandpa to thank for it. His example showed me that the right man is worth waiting for.

And if it weren’t for Grandma, I wouldn’t know Jesus. Her persistent prayers and willingness to take me to her tiny Baptist church every Sunday, along with her quiet and steadfast faith, are what brought me to the Lord. And what has encouraged me along the way.

I remember Grandma picking me up from school so I could go to her house and learn the Ten Commandments. I remember Grandpa bringing home Happy Meal Barbies for my collection. They introduced me to Anne of Green Gables, fed my love for reading, and put up with my embarrassment when they danced to “their song” in the living room. And then there was ice cream, Downy’s Potato Chips, and a late bedtime when I spent the night.

I’m so blessed to have such amazing grandparents looking out for me, cheering me on, and praying for me.

A Week-long Sister Date

I promise I didn’t mean to go a week and a half without posting anything, but you see, my sister came to visit. And it was kind of a big deal. We hadn’t seen each other since last Thanksgiving, and she even got brave and got on a plane (her first time) to come see me. So I figured she deserved my undivided attention.

She flew in on Thursday afternoon and I took that afternoon and Friday off work so I could soak up every minute.

Thursday afternoon we went for a late lunch and sacked out on the couch to watch Gilmore Girls, our guilty pleasure. We’ve seen all the episodes like a hundred times, and I have all seven seasons on DVD. Naturally, while we were at work, Sister spent all of her waking hours watching them.

We took the rest of her visit to show her (almost) all of our Twin Cities must-sees.

Friday we spent the day at the Mall of America, looking for the perfect accessories (Forever 21 is so cheap! How did I not know this?), visiting the aquarium (not worth  $20 ticket, but totally worth the $9 discount tickets we got), and searching Lego Land for the perfect little race car for Sister’s boyfriend, who is a racer.

Please forgive the awful photo quality. We were working with an iPod Touch and really bad lighting.

That night we went to the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis. I KNEW she would love it, and she did. Here’s proof:

Okay, maybe that just proves she’d rather be the one behind the camera.

We spent Saturday at the Stone Arch Bridge and Sunday, after church (we even had her help with our Sunday school kids), we had lunch at Cossetta’s and went to Como Zoo.

What a blessing to spend so much time with my little sister : )