Sunday, November 30, 2008

30. Thirty Days of Thanks

Yes, I'm thankful for my own project -- mostly because it allowed me to consistently stop + think about all the good things in my life. The project also gave me a chance to be creative + figure out how to illustrate the blessings in pictures.

By the way, this quote sits in my kitchen. It's been a reminder for quite some time that good things are worth noticing. But after this project it will be an even greater reminder that I am indeed blessed.

Here's a recap ...

1. Our house
2. Our business
3. Gas prices
4. Politicians with integrity
5. Change
6. Settlers of Catan
7. Cooking
8. Travel
9. Phil. 4:6-7
10. Sunday Nights
11. Community
12. Freedom
13. Small Surprises
14. Home
15. Rochelle Riley
16. A Life-long Friend
17. TV Shows
18. Technology
19. Dishwasher
20. A Good Sleeper
21. Sudoku
22. Sports
23. Insulin
24. Crock Pot
25. Books
26. Walking
27. Diet Dr Pepper
28. Christmas music
29. Christmas shopping
30. Thirty Days of Thanks

Saturday, November 29, 2008

29. Christmas Shopping

I didn't stand in line Friday morning, but I love Christmas shopping. I like to spread it out, so I had picked up some things already. But, if you'll remember, I live in Murray, where shopping is limited, so I took advantage of Louisville this weekend. I found some gifts at Target, Kohl's, Hobby Lobby, Toys R Us and Books-A-Million.

I have a list of some other things I want to get for people I love. And I'm still waiting for inspiration on a few others. I love finding things that remind me of these people. I'm thankful for the opportunity to show my love in gifts.

Friday, November 28, 2008

28. Christmas Music

Today is the official first day of the Christmas season in my mind. And that means Christmas music! These favorites of mine were put in my car Wednesday afternoon so I'd have them with me in Louisville this weekend. I'm thankful for these holiday sounds + the messages they bring.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

27. Diet Dr Pepper

I'm thankful the diet version tastes like the real thing. In fact, at this point in my life, I believe I would think it actually tastes better. I gave up regular cokes (not soda or pop ...) not long before I was diagnosed with diabetes in January 2004 + haven't had one since. Cherry Coke Zero + Diet Mountain Dew are my other favorite diet cokes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

26. Walking

I'm thankful I'm in a routine of walking most weekday mornings with Jaclyn, Luke + Norah. And now that the temperatures have dropped, I'm thankful we can walk inside at Murray State's basketball arena.

And, yes, I like my tennis shoes. This is the third pair just like this (all gray, but with different accent colors ...) I've had. I used to try different ones, but I decided that was silly. Now I just order the same pair when they need replacing.

Oh, and Cate likes walking too. Although she really gets to ride on our morning walks. When we go into stores or run other errands, she likes to hold my hand + walk in because she knows she's getting to be a big girl.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

25. Books

I always had nerdy hobbies. Reading. Writing. Puzzles. Games. In fact, I'm still that way. I'm hooked on Harlan Coben's clever mysteries lately. I've been checking them out one or two at a time from the library, although I found that one sitting behind the chair at a yard sale. (It's waiting for its turn in the Myron Bolitar series.)

In addition to Coben, some of my favorite authors: Catherine Coulter, James Patterson, Richard North Patterson, Joshilyn Jackson, Lisa Gardner, Dee Henderson, Brennan Manning, Donald Miller and Beth Moore.

Not only am I thankful for a new-found author + my love for books + words + mysteries + other people's thoughts, but look at my girl. She likes books too. Tonight she was fascinated with the back cover of that little book of hers.

Monday, November 24, 2008

24. Crock Pot

Seriously, who doesn't love dumping ingredients into the slow cooker + then having dinner ready hours later?! Today I have chili cooking.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

23. Insulin

These are the two types of insulin I take every day. I take one every time I eat + the other each night. I'm thankful diabetes is a disease I can live with. I was so scared when I was diagnosed, mostly because I didn't know anything about it. Without insulin, I wouldn't feel like myself. I also am thankful that insulin comes in these nifty disposable pens so I don't have to mess with syringes + vials anymore.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

22. Sports

(The picture is from today's Murray State vs. Tennessee State football game, which the Racers surprisingly won. Yes, it was a cold afternoon, but we bundled up + had fun. Then yesterday evening we watched the Racers beat -- by 27 points! -- Western Kentucky!)

"What would you do if I didn't like sports?" That's a question I've asked Greg several times.

He always answers: "We wouldn't have dated as long as we did or have gotten married."

And, really, it's true. My favorite thing about my relationship with Greg has always been (since we met in February 1998 ...) that we're friends first. We have fun together. We enjoy being together. One of the things we like to do together is go to sporting events, particularly Murray State football + basketball, Cardinals baseball and Kentucky football + basketball. We've also been to several Tennessee Titans games, although not the past couple of seasons.

Add to the equation Cate, and we still enjoy going to these games together. Now we have added entertainment because Cate loves to cheer (and eat popcorn).

I know many of you are thinking: You're only talking sports here, Kristin. Yes, I am. And it all certainly falls into the entertainment category, but it's a common interest that helps Greg + I (and now Cate!) enjoy being together.

I'm thankful for the way we enjoy each other + the things we do together.

Friday, November 21, 2008

21. Sudoku

I hadn't played Sudoku until a few months ago. Since then, I usually have a book of puzzles pretty handy. I've mastered the medium level ones, and have completed several hard ones. (You know, those magazine-like game books that have three different difficulties and usually some extra challenges ...)

I've always liked puzzles (logic problems, crosswords, etc. ...), so I'm glad I took the time to figure this out. It's keeps my mind active without being overwhelming.

Beautiful Life

There are songs that just fit the moment. For me, the song below is one I first heard on a TLC commercial for "John and Kate Plus 8", "17 Kids and Counting" and another show or two. It has been in my head. I think it resonates with me because it's how I feel about where I am, as a person, as a wife, as a mother. I'm just thankful to be here + have been finding beauty in so many ordinary moments.

You should go listen. Maybe it will speak to your heart too.

Here are the words:
Hey child up and go
A big world is out there waiting for us
to live in every day

Outside you will find
there is love all around you
It takes you, makes you wanna say

That it's a beautiful life
and it's a beautiful world
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here, to be here

The sky's blue
just us two
Side by side we'll see the world
that surrounds us
Hey, seize the day

Each road
every mile's a photograph in motion
to astound us, carry us away

into a beautiful life
'Cause it's a beautiful world
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here

Leave all your cares behind you
The sun is rising
Turn around
it's right in front of you
and it's a beautiful life
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here, to be here

Definitely one to add to the soundtrack to my life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Dinner Party

DISCLAIMER: I must confess that I didn't think of this blog topic on my own. But, really, the originator should just be flattered that I liked the idea so much!

If I could invite eight people whom I've never met over for dinner, who would be sitting around my table? Melanie excluded Jesus because, well, she's met him. So I'm going with those rules too. Plus I don't want to get into a deep spiritual conversation right now about how really God, Jesus + the Spirit are three but really one + God is everywhere + His Spirit lives in me ... so really wouldn't Jesus technically already be there?!

OK, moving on. In no particular order ...

1. Albert Pujols. And not just because he's the National League's Most Valuable Player. Yes, he's a baseball player, but he's also a father, husband + Christian who probably has amazing stories to tell.

2. Rick Reilly. I actually haven't read his columns in awhile. But have you ever read them? They're about sports. But usually life too. And he's hilarious.

3. Mac Powell. He'd sing to me.

4. Donald Miller. He's practical. He's spiritual. He's quotable. He's bound to make for great conversation.

5. Rick Bragg. Forget the plagiarism scandal. I want to talk about growing up in the South, dreaming about writing for the New York Times, writing for the New York Times and returning to the South to tell his hometown stories for a national audience. Plus his books are good. Surely his conversation would be too because, in his words, " tell a story right you have to lean the words against each other so they they don't all fall down." (From "All Over But the Shoutin'")

6. Beth Moore. The woman can tell stories that have you laughing, crying + learning about God -- all at the same time.

7. Joey Potter (aka Katie Holmes). I don't think it's too big of a secret that I love "Dawson's Creek." I've watched the entire six-season series twice from start to finish. It's even quotable. OK, I need to stop admitting stuff like this. Anyway, I think we'd be friends. Plus she's married to Tom Cruise, so that's bound to be interesting enough to talk about. I don't know about all that Scientology stuff, but we can talk about being Joey Potter, who cuts her hair + being moms. (Side note: Twice random strangers -- once at Wal-Mart and another time at a yard sale -- people told me that Cate looked like Suri. I think it's just the eyes + hair.)

8. Ali Edwards. She's inspiring for my creative process. She's a life artist, as she calls it, + even writes about scrapbooking for a magazine. Plus she's a mom + married to a Oregon state representative.

20. A Good Sleeper

I'm thankful Cate is a good sleeper. I'm reminding myself of this today because we're in nap transition, I think.

She has been taking two naps (minus a few weeks not long before she turned 1 when she thought one nap was enough ...), but now some days she leans toward just one. The last couple of months I've had to limit her morning nap to an hour or she thinks she doesn't need an afternoon nap, which doesn't work well about dinner time when she thinks she's ready for bed! So it's an hour in the morning and usually close to two hours in the afternoon. If we're busy in the morning, she forgets she wants a nap.

Here's where we are: One day this week she didn't take a morning nap and ended up taking a 3-hour afternoon nap. That made me think helping her phase out her morning nap was the way to go. So the next day I tried to help her along, and she ended up taking only sleeping a little more than an hour. I figured I needed to give it a few days, so I was going to ignore the morning nap again today, but on the way home from our daily walk with Jaclyn, Luke + Norah, she said "Night Night" in her car seat and laid her head back. I needed to shower, so I laid her in the crib when we got home.

She didn't move. Or make a sound.

She slept in this position (shown above) for 45 minutes, until I had to wake up her for an appointment I had. Then we ran some errands before I took her to a friend's house to play while I went to a business lunch with Greg. I picked her up at 1 p.m. and not long after she was looking for her pink blanket (a clear sign she's ready ...). Now I hear her sleeping breathing over the baby monitor.

I think it's a day-to-day thing. She has her indicators that she needs sleep, so I think I should just pay attention to those + be thankful she's a go-with-flow girl who can make adjustments depending on our day. Still, most you know I'm all about a routine. I have the feeling the morning nap is going to be gone sooner than later, but we'll just have to see how the next few days go.

A few things about the picture: Look how close she's sleeping to the bumper. That's typical. She's such a snuggler with it! And that's her pink blanket the she always sleeps with, although I have a back-up blanket that is similar in case that one is in the wash or something. Lately she's also been wanting to take a stuffed animal to bed with her. That polka-dot bear is often the chosen one. Oh, and the pillow. One day she took that with her into bed. Then the next day when I was putting her down she was adamantly saying "Night Night" and pointing toward the rocking chair. At first, I couldn't figure out what she wanted because we had already rocked. Eventually, I realized she was pointing to the pillow. She wanted to the pillow in her bed too.

My philosophy on naps boils down to being flexible as long as she sleeps at night. And since she's been sleeping 12 hours at night for quite some time, I'll just be thankful she's a good sleeper + take what I can get during naptime.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

19. Dishwasher

I realize it's just a little machine squeezed among the cabinets + counter in the kitchen, but after not having one for the first 4 1/2 years we lived in this house this little machine is my friend. In January, we (well, we isn't really accurate ... more like THEY!) renovated most of the kitchen, which was finished this summer when the new floor was put down. Anyway, the renovation included a dishwasher! It is really handy to put dishes in there + then let the little machine wash them once all the racks are full. Much better than filling the sink with plates, forks, cups + whatever else needs personal attention.

I'm telling you, these little conveniences are worth being thankful for!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fall on the Farm ... in the album

I like how this two-page layout turned out. Of course, I had lots of pictures with which to work.

18. Technology

These are the three Web sites on which I spend the most time, as most of you know! I'm amazed at all the things we can do online. If you look closely in the montage above, you'll see some of my other favorite things: Above the Facebook logo, you'll see a Google toolbar. I love it! It allows me to have my bookmarks on any computer (They're listed under that star icon on the toolbar ...), see when there is something unread in my Google Reader (the first icon in the toolbar ...) and have my Google calendar (the second icon ...) just a click away. Then you'll see the first e-mail in the small portion of my Yahoo! inbox is from Snapfish. I love Snapfish + Shutterfly. The prices are great for photo prints + there are lots of great gift ideas.

Oh, and I made that photo collage with my photo editing software, Microsoft Picture It! Premium 10, which also has a photo organizing library.

I didn't even mention my cell phone!

Yes, I'm indeed thankful for technology, mostly for the way it allows me to keep in touch with people + perserve memories.

Monday, November 17, 2008

17. TV Shows

I didn't say I was only going to be thankful for deep, meaningful things!

Seriously, I'm thankful for certain television shows. "Grey's Anatomy" is at the top of my list with "LOST," "Fringe," "Brothers & Sisters," "Numb3rs," and two of the three CSIs. And, surprisingly, I liked Addison starring in a spin-off of "Grey's." Granted, I miss her in Seattle, but at least she's still on television. And I'm totally rooting for Addison and Pete to get together on "Private Practice."

For those of you wondering why Addison was the lucky TV character photographed here in my Thirty Days of Thanks ... Well, she happens to be on the November page in my "Grey's Anatomy" calendar!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thirty Days of Thanks

Can you believe November is half way over?

Doing this Thirty Days of Thanks project has really helped me think about all the little things I appreciate about my life. And it keeps my creative juices flowing because my rules include a picture each day to show the things for which I'm thankful.

Here's how I described the project the first day: Introducing my personal project for the month: I'm going to take a picture each day of something I'm thankful for. While Cate + Greg could be in every picture, I'm going to try to concentrate on other things in my life. Each picture will be posted on my blog and I'll probably scrapbook them at the end.

So here's what I have so far ...

1. Our house
2. Our business
3. Gas prices
4. Politicians with integrity
5. Change
6. Settlers of Catan
7. Cooking
8. Travel
9. Phil. 4:6-7
10. Sunday nights
11. Community
12. Freedom
13. Small Surprises
14. Home
15. Rochelle Riley
16. A life-long friend

16. A life-long friend

This is Katie. I've blogged about her many times before.

Even though we aren't neighbors anymore, I'm thankful we live in the same state. Summing up our friendship would be impossible because it spans those rough middle school years, finding things to do in Mockingbird Valley when we weren't old enough to drive, counting the steps from her door to mine, high school decisions, old boyfriends, first jobs, new friends, different colleges, dreaming of growing up, possibly growing up, moving, marrying, e-mailing, talking on the phone when each of our favorite teams were playing in the World Series, wanting to have a baby, becoming mothers ...

And, really, when it comes down to it, I'm thankful for Katie and the fact I can share my life openly + never once wonder what she'll think of me. She knew me when I was 11. And she still knows me now that I'm 29.

See the introduction to Thirty Days of Thanks.

On the road ...

We went to Lexington (well, really, mostly Nicholasville ...) because we wanted to go to a UK football game. We're bad luck for the wildcats. Really. This is the third year in a row we picked a game that the 'Cats ended up losing when they probably should have won. (Sports fans, remember Mississippi State last year?!) Should of. Could of. I know. But, still.

It was cold this weekend, just so those of you who live elsewhere know. But we bundled up (I wore six layers on top, two layers on bottom, a hat, a scarf and mittens. I also had hand warmers and a blanket, although the hand warmers were only mildly effective.) and had a good time.

Until the end. Another oh-so-close-but-not-quite loss. I tell you, we're good at picking those!

But, hey, our Titans are 10-0, in case you haven't heard.

OK, moving on from football, because us Kentucky fans aren't quite ready to talk about basketball either ...

We love visiting out central Kentucky friends.

Cate enjoyed Charley. He's 10 weeks old, and such a cutie, as you can see. Cate was going in for a kiss in this picture.

We also got to see some of my family ...

Mom, Jax + Milla met us in Frankfort for lunch. This was the best picture. Cate is really the only one with the right idea! Who knows what Milla is looking at! Jax is ready to go, apparently. And Grandmom is just wondering if I'm going to include her in the picture. But she's in. It's really the only way I could get the kids.

I need to tell you about Milla's dress ...

Apparently she told Grandmom that she wanted to wear her "beautiful dress" for us. It even has wings on the back, although I mistakenly called the wings a "bow." No worries, Milla corrected me!

There are more pictures here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

15. Rochelle Riley

OK, so I haven't talked to her in awhile. But people have heroes. Rochelle Riley is my hero.

She's quotable.

She's real.

She has always inspired me. Well, always, meaning since I was 17.

She's a columnist formerly for The Courier-Journal and more recently the Detroit Free Press. Our paths crossed when I was in a high school journalism workshop she organized. She inspired then and has continued to, usually through her words.

(Those are her two books pictured above.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

14. Home

I never expected to be a stay-at-home mom. But I'm glad I am.

I'm thankful I don't miss many moments with my 18-month-old daughter. I'm thankful I don't have to rush to do all the little things it takes to make a house a home. I'm thankful I can help Greg with the company some but mostly take care of our home.

If you want a recap: The decision. The last day. The one-year anniversary.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

13. Small Surprises

... like these flowers from Greg. And for no real reason. Well, yesterday I was tired + emotional so he said he wanted to help make today better!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

12. Freedom

Yes, we have freedom. I'm thankful for living in a free country where we can choose our next president (or at least have an opinion ...), decide when + where we worship, raise our kids like we want + choose how we spend our money. I believe in a God that gives us the choice to follow him or not, and I'm thankful for that freedom that overflows into every other facet of my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11. Community

I'm thankful we live in a family-friendly community + that we have our smaller community of close friends with whom we enjoy daily life. This is at the Veteran's Day Parade yesterday. (Yes, Murray has a Veteran's Day Parade, along with parades for MSU Homecoming in October, Fourth of July + Christmas.) It's certainly not the town's best parade, but it was a nice afternoon to be outside.

In the picture: That's Jaclyn with her two kids, Luke + Norah. My friendship with her a blessing because it spans a decade or so of college life, planning our weddings, wanting to have babies, becoming mothers + lots of little details between. We walk most days + can talk about everything + nothing, sometimes at the same time.

Our new friend Sarah is in the background, and that her cute blond boy, Pierson, who Bailey (who babysits for our small group) is holding. We've enjoyed getting to know Sarah, who moved here this summer when her husband took the job as campus minister at Murray Christian Fellowship.

Monday, November 10, 2008

10. Sunday nights

I realize this sounds odd. But Sunday nights are my creative time. Greg plays basketball from 7:30 until 9:30 or 10. And Cate usually goes to bed at 7:30. So I have a couple of hours to myself. I set it aside as my time at my scrapbooking table (or computer, if I need to edit or print pictures ...). I don't usually do chores or anything like that.

The above pages are what I finished last night. It's three 12-by-12 pages from John + Christine's wedding. As you can probably tell, the first one is a single-page layout and the next two go together. The black-and-white paper in the two-page spread is some of the paper I used for the album I made John + Christine for their wedding.

For you scrappers, the pages are pretty simple. But I was working with a lot of pictures (and these are the ones I narrowed down from the big stack!) + didn't want there to be too much going on. 

See the introduction to Thirty Days of Thanks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Typical Conversation

In this video you will hear Cate say "neck," make a monkey sound, realize I'm filming + that she should say "cheese," and say "up."

Going from one thing to another is how a typical conversation between us goes. I love listening to hear learn new words + figure out how to put thoughts together.

Yes, she also has a skinned up chin + hair in her face. Ah, the life of an 18-month-old.

9. Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In fact, I used these verses when I gave our adoption testimony at church this morning. I'm thankful for these words, and others, that can encourage + teach. And, even more importantly, I'm thankful for the peace of God, that does indeed transcend my understanding.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

8. Travel

At some point, I started collecting magnets from places to which we travel. This is the portion of my refrigerator dedicated to our trips. I'm thankful we've had the opportunity to travel to many places + I look forward to trips we take in the future.

Go Racers!

We had fun at the Murray State football game. Actually, it was a fun morning leading up to game time. First, Peggy + I went to some holiday bazaars + yard sales. And we had some great finds. Then we came back to our house, where later Gary, Angela, Charles, Elijah + Ethne joined us for lunch. I made Tortellini-Corn Chowder + Peggy made Texas cornbread.

It was a beautiful fall day, although temperatures were definitely cooler than they had been. We had to break out layers + blankets for the second half of the game.

(I'm wearing my new scarf that Peggy bought me at one of the bazaars. Hand-made scarfs + homemade fudge are the best things about bazaars. Oh, and the homemade cinnamon rolls I'm eating for breakfast tomorrow ...)

That's Cate cheesing while wearing Granddaddy's hat. My girl loves her Granddaddy + had a great time cheering with him at the game ...

They share a love for popcorn too. Among the nice things about going to MSU football games: Free popcorn for all the kids that sign up to be Junior Racers. (That just means filling out some info and checking in at the table each game. They the girl there gives Cate a coupon for free popcorn. Thankfully, they do it at basketball games too. Hey, sports fans: College basketball season is here!)

Then there was some encroachment ...

... on nap time that is! (Get it, football fans: Encroachment?!) It had been a long time since Cate feel asleep with me holding her. Many months, actually. But, while nap time on Mama at a football game in temperatures that required Cate to wear this adorable hat + me to sport my new scarf isn't ideal ... It was sweet to hold my toddler like she was a baby again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

sharing a chair

Cate likes to sit in chairs. (Or couches + benches, which she also calls chairs.) I guess she decided Norah's car seat looked like good-sized chair for her. So she sat in it. Then Luke decided sitting in Norah's "chair" must be fun, so he beat Cate to it after she got up. Cate wanted back in, so she just sat on Luke's lap!

Yes, Cate saw me with the camera, so she's saying, "Cheese."

7. Cooking

This year I've learned more about food, thanks to meeting monthly with a dietitian who also is a diabetes educator. I'm thankful for the whole process. I initially went to get some help losing some weight. It's a vicious cycle for diabetics because a side-effect of insulin is weight gain, but people like who have a pancreas that doesn't make insulin need to take insulin with their food. So I've worked toward achieving a balance of eating healthy + managing my diabetes. I've only lost eight pounds since February (probably because I don't think I'll ever have the self-control to give up sugar ...), but I'm taking less insulin now (I'll always have to take some ...) and I've learned to appreciate cooking. I even have meals now that Greg + I consider favorites!

See the introduction to Thirty Days of Thanks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

18 months

I know, seriously. Time has flown. 18 months. Really. You may think this picture is random, but it really captures Cate at this age. No, she doesn't like to be nude, generally, but she is very into figuring things out. The day I took this picture, Cate realized she could take her shirt off on her on. Recently, she's also figured out how to climb onto the couch all by herself. I love seeing her put things together, literally + figuratively.

She also likes to have a spoon at every meal, even if she's eating finger food or something that would be better eaten with a fork. Sometimes she just holds the spoon + then eats with her fingers. She likes to have her shoes on, often bringing them to me + saying "sock, shoes." And she likes to wear necklaces (or her stuffed monkey with Velcro on its hands ...).

Oh, and she seems to be cutting her two-year-old molars. Other than those, she's just missing one tooth in front of one of the other molars.

And, lastly, you mothers out there might appreciate this: She's been saying "poop" to me when she has a dirty diaper. Every now and then she says "poop" when she just has a wet diaper, but she's generally right.

6. Settlers of Catan

I'm thankful for this game. It's seriously fun. And I'm thankful my Aunt Carolyn (and family ...) taught me to play nearly two years ago. We quickly taught our friends Jaclyn + Bryan. Now we play regularly, like once a week. And if we miss a week, we're all eager to play. Yes, like an addiction. But it's a good time with good friends.

Oh, and there are other games that spin-off this game that are also fun. Seafarers of Catan + Cities and Knights are the other two we play sometimes. But we like Settlers because we can play three or four games in one sitting, usually with small breaks to tend to our kids.

Another comment on games: I've recently learned Carcassonne, which has made it to my fun list. But nothing quite tops Settlers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

5. Change

The leaves change. And the transformation itself makes for a beautiful scene. I'm thankful to see this happening. But, even more importantly, I'm thankful that we as people don't stay the same. The transformation of our hearts + minds is a beautiful process as well.

See the introduction to Thirty Days of Thanks here.

Election Night

We went to what ended up (thankfully) being a victory party for Ken Winters last night. I know, I know, most of you were clued to your TVs for the presidential results, but we were interested in this local race. Ken is our state senator and was elected to a second four-year term last night. I had helped him with some publicity, so it was fun to be involved with the conclusion.

Ken did lots of interviews ... I did spend a moment thinking about how I like covering elections, but I like that I found a way to be involved even though I'm not working at the newspaper anymore.

Kentucky gave John McCain his first (and only ...) lead. So I took a picture.

Cate was into the elephants. She already knew how to make an elephant sound, but last night Gran-Gran and others taught her about the trunk. As you can see, she's trying to have a trunk of her own! She was also into "I Voted" stickers + listening to the election returns on the radio.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

4. Politicians with integrity

This election has made me thankful there are good people willing to run for office. While I certainly hope for certain outcomes, I'm also thankful that my life will go on, regardless of who is elected, locally or nationally. I believe in a God who is bigger than anything, even government.

Monday, November 3, 2008

3. Gas prices

This is what I paid today, thanks to a 10-cent Kroger discount.

See the introduction to Thirty Days of Thanks.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

2. Our business

These are our companies. Creative Property Solutions is the real estate investment company that Greg works at every day. It's his full-time job + where I keep the books once a week for a couple of hours. He does practice some law on the side. Cornerstone Realty and Rentals is a company we also own (with Greg's parents), but that Bonnie manages. Cornerstone manages our rental properties as well as others owned by other people. Plus the company helps people buy + sell houses.

See the introduction to Thirty Days of Thanks here.


Church + lunch afterward prompted some thoughts, ranging from Election Day to parenting. So in an effort to free my mind of too many thoughts, I'm going to touch on parenting this afternoon ...

Everybody has their ways of doing things. Even not doing something is doing something. This is particularly true with parenting. I definitely don't claim to be an expert because I've only been doing this for 18 months. But I know I have my opinions and philosophies, some of which were developed before Cate was ever born and others that have been added as we realize we need to do something.

I have dear, dear friends who do things differently. They have their reasons. And that's completely fine. (Actually, that's the same idea I was thinking about regarding the election. Voting is good. As long as you have reasons for your opinion, I don't care if we disagree. But if you're an uninformed voter and say "eenie-meenie-minie-mo" in the voter booth, don't even bother. That's not the point of the process.)

Anyway, some of friends who are parents do things differently. And I've just recently been realizing how that can be a challenge when our kids are around each other. So far it's only be small things, but I've been thinking about how one day it will probably be bigger. I don't know what this bigger challenge will be, but as parents I'm sure we'll face a conflicting parenting style among people we love.

All of this to say: I pray we have wisdom as we make little + big parenting decisions, confidence to stand by what we've decided (because, you know, we have our reasons ...), and faith to realize God is bigger than us (and this election, by the way ...).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thirty Days of Thanks
1. Our house

Introducing my personal project for the month: I'm going to take a picture each day of something I'm thankful for. While Cate + Greg could be in every picture, I'm going to try to concentrate on other things in my life. Each picture will be posted on my blog and I'll probably scrapbook them at the end.

Yes, the exterior probably needs a paint job, as you can see, but I like our house. It's comfortable and has character. Plus it used to be Greg's great-grandparents' house. While we probably won't live here for the rest of our lives, I'm content to have spent the last five years here, gradually making it our own.

More Halloween

You've seen Cate trick-or-treating, now here are some snapshots of our Halloween Party last night ...

Nic made some friends. The punch helped!

Cate had something important to tell Norah, so she got down on her level.

Daniel had never carved a pumpkin, so Kayla + Angela gave him some tips.

That's Bryan (above) working on what ended up being the award-winning pumpkin.

Which one would you have voted for?

There are more pictures in my October album on Facebook.