Monday, January 26, 2015

The Gratitude Project.

1. FaceTime - If it seems odd that I'm listing this one first, let me explain. I met Chris, my now-husband, in July 2007. From that day on, until right this moment, we have spent huge amounts of time apart. Sometimes I'm talking different countries! If it weren't for FaceTime, the distance apart would be even more tough! There were times both in 2011 and 2012 that I went 3+ months without seeing him! FaceTime allowed us to not only talk to each other but see each other's faces, expressions, and smiles. It might not seem like something to be thankful for, but when you're thousands of miles apart from each other on a regular basis, it's become something I am incredibly grateful for. Thanks Steve Jobs! ;)

2. Whole Wheat Bread - When my mom used to make my lunches in middle school, I would get so embarrassed when I would pull out my "brown" bread sandwich. Everyone else had a white bread sandwich, but mine was different. When you're in the 5th grade, the LAST thing you want to be is different…that includes what you bring for lunch! (What a change from then until now!) Everyone else had glorious Twinkies and Ding Dongs, and I had a homemade brownie. I thought I was missing out… Until I hit adulthood. I realize now that my mother had homemade snacks for me that were lovingly made and tucked inside my lunchbox for me to find that day. I am grateful for the time she took to make those delicious goodies and for the healthy "brown" bread I had, because it laid the foundation for me to be healthy as an adult. Now I love that "brown" whole-wheat bread and wouldn't have it any other way!

3. Neighbors - While I was home this past weekend, one of my parent's neighbors stopped by with a meal she had made for my mother. As I mentioned before, my mother hasn't been feeling well and hasn't been her usual self lately. Usually one to have an elaborate, home cooked meal every night, she just hasn't had the energy to do so as often. Her neighbor, our friend, knew that and took the time to make a delicious meal for her to enjoy. It was such a blessing to spend time with my mom the whole afternoon, knowing there was a delicious meal already waiting for her/us that evening. Not only was my mom grateful for that love gift, I was, too. I'm grateful that she has such wonderful neighbors that she can call "friends."

4. My Pageant Days - Last night, as I was watching the Miss Universe pageant, I couldn't help but be reminded of my own pageant days. I competed for 4 years, and during that time, I gained so much more than I ever could have imagined! I got a best friend out of the deal (that ended up introducing me to my future husband!), many friends that I still keep up with today, confidence, poise, and interview skills to rival the President's! My parents always kept me in check, saying as long as I did my best, that is all that mattered. I won some… and lost even more, but I am grateful for what my years in pageants taught me: (1.) You win some, you loose some.  (2.) If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  (3.) It's what's on the inside that counts.  Pretty good life-lessons from "beauty pageants," huh?

5. My Husband's Attitude - My husband pulled up to get me at work one day a couple of weeks ago. We were going somewhere where we only needed one car, and he took me to and from work that day. There is a big window in the front of the building, and as he pulled up to get me, he had a huge smile on his face, grandly waving to a couple of us inside. Things have been tough for him this past year, and my friend turned to me and said, "Wow. Look at his smile. He has such a good, positive attitude about life. That's so special, especially after all he's been through." That made me so emotional, because she's right! He has such an incredibly positive outlook on life, and he always seems to be happy. The thing is… 99% of the time, he IS truly happy! Life can certainly challenge us sometimes, and I'm grateful to be married to someone who sees the good and fun in life when it's not so "good" and "fun."

{19 years old…With my parents at the 1st pageant I won that took me to Miss Tennessee}

{Miss TN 2006, with my best friend Erica, right after being called into the Top 10!}

{Backstage at Miss Tennessee, with ladies I still call friends!}

{Evening Gown Competition}

{Absolutely love this. Via}


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  2. I'm so glad that we met through this amazing organization. I lost WAY more than you did, but one thing I'm so glad I gained were friendships. No matter how many years or miles are between us, I know I can call you friend! Love you!!