Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Friend

My friend told me the other day that she had described what she thought a good friend was to another person.  And she told me that while she described a good friend, she thought of me. First of all, she made me blush :)
Second of all, I totally agreed with her about what makes a good friend.  When my kids and I talk about good friends, I think of her.  We've been friends for a long time, and she's one person that I know will always be there for me.
We have quite a few differences.  She is in to video gaming stuff.  I lose attention after Mario.  I prefer the country.  She prefers the city.  We don't have the same taste in music.  We don't share the same taste in most foods - she likes those icky green vegetable things ;)  When we did first meet, in band class, she was a genius with her instrument.  I excelled at Color Guard, other than that I got to hit things with a mallet.  And even then, I was asked by the instructor just to pretend . . making music is not my thing.
Fortunately for us, the things I listed above there, aren't required to be good friends.  I think what's made our friendship lasts is the real stuff.  We've always respected each other and been honest with each other.
At the worst times in my life, I called her. And she gave me hope.  If I need her, I know she'll be there.  And she knows that I'll always be there for her.  Time and distance don't matter.  They never have.
We're a good story to share with the kids.  Especially with the ages that my kids are at now.  I remember being that age.  I remember thinking that to be good friends with someone that you had to have the same taste in fashion, hair styles, music, and well . . just about everything.  But that's just not true.  I am very blessed to be able to tell my kids that I have a good friend who has lasted since high school and we never bonded over doing each other's hair or singing country karoake.  We bonded over being real people who appreciated the other person being a real person in return.  I love her like a sister, and I imagine us one day in some futuristic Golden Girls type scenario, maybe scaring passer-bys in a mall with our fake teeth or something.
Tonight I am thankful for my friend.  I hope she reads this tonight :)  She knows I love her.  But, well, I think it's good to bring it up now and then so there's never any doubt :)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Little White House

The things that make a house a home cannot be seen; they can only be felt.  I've long understood the difference between a house and a home.  And in my industry, there are pros and cons to that.  I've appraised many foreclosures that were some one's beloved home.  And I've been privileged to help families pick the perfect house to make their own.
So far, dealing with my own real estate has been ok.  But it's probably been easier because I've bought more houses than I've sold on a personal level.
Enter my grandma's house.
I've done so well with it all so far.  I really have.  I go over there without her in it and it's just not the same.  It's just a house without people in it.  Grandma is happy and comfortable in her new home.  She said she no longer needs the old house, so sell it.  She is remarkably level headed with such decisions!
Today the hubster and I took two vehicles over to the house.  We were moving some stuff out and I had to stay later than him.  I tell ya, driving by yourself . . in the rain . . for what I knew will be one of the last times I'd be going to the house . . . that can be hard.
I thought of the times we'd go over there when I was a kid and my mom would give my grandma a perm.  I'd sit there and color.  I loved grandma's coloring books, even those somehow seemed more special at grandma's house.  Whenever we left, grandma would give us a treat bag for the ride home.  There were usually always Smarties in there - still easily one of my favorite candies!
All the Christmases with everyone crammed in to that living room . . looking around the house now, it doesn't seem possible that we all fit!  I remember the year my cousin and I got some plastic jewelry with clip on earrings.  We went in the bathroom to see how glamorous we looked!  Somewhere between 20 and 30 people were in that house and we took up the only bathroom to admire our new jewelry :)  No one complained, they all oo'd and aah'd over our new look!
Summer get togethers with my uncles playing horseshoes in the backyard, bridal showers, baby showers, random visits, get togethers when my aunt, uncle, and cousins were in from New York, and so many memories are in that house.  I can still see my grandpa sitting in his chair in the corner worrying that we'd get the wrapping paper caught under the electric heaters and start a fire.  But then, when he thought no one was looking, he'd throw a wrapping paper ball at someone too.
I think this morning was the first time I cried over the house.  The sad part isn't simply that the house is selling.  The new family is very excited to make the house their home now too.  And that is a good thing.
The sad part is turning the page on that chapter.  The memories don't live in the house.  The memories live in me.  I walked around the house today.  It's not the same when it is empty.  Saying goodbye to an empty house won't be saying goodbye to the memories, not at all.
Tonight I am thankful for a little white house that for my 36 years has a been a place where I've been welcomed and loved and made to feel at home.  But I am even more thankful that it wasn't the house that did those things.  It was the man and woman who lived there who made that place special.  One is in heaven, I'm sure sitting very proud of how practical we are all being with decisions right now.  And one is most likely in her bed, in her new home with my parents, where she is welcomed, and loved, and made to feel at home - just like she did for all who walked thru that door of her little white house for the past 36+ years.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Reading

Some people have children that seem to be born with a natural love of books.  I see pictures of these small children sitting there with their faces buried in novels.  That hasn't really been any of my children.
I've read to them.  I've read with them.  We've done voices.  They had some favorite books.  But independent reading just didn't really click too much.
Then I found some secrets.  My oldest got hooked with a certain kind of book.  And from there we figured out what genre attracted her attention.  It was a little more mystery, bordering on slightly scary.  That wasn't what I had anticipated, so those weren't the kinds of books that I had been suggesting.
The second oldest got hooked with nonfiction.  He has such a big imagination, that the fiction books just weren't as interesting as what he had going on in his head.  Once he found out it was ok to love information books, he started taking off with reading.  This past year he read the Harry Potter books, and is a little more interested in fiction.
The third prefers the books written like comics.  But she'll read anything.  She wants to see what's so exciting about all the books.  I have found that she's a skimmer.  I do that too.  The trick will be to try and slow her down with school reading . . skimming isn't always preferred there!
Then the fourth.  He has been more interested in the non-fiction, like his brother.  Even though it is preferred, reading non-fiction doesn't really excite him.  I think I've found the thing that's going to get him excited though!  Freddie Fernortner is interesting to him!  So he's on book two of Freddie and getting very excited; which gets me excited!
Tonight I am thankful for finding the things that will get my kids loving to read.  They are all imaginative people by themselves.  But I want them to learn more!  I want their minds to spin and spin and spin with new ideas!  And they're on their way!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

$50

For our wedding, we received a tent and some camping equipment.  About a year later we let someone borrow the tent and we never saw it again.
No grudges.  We just bought another tent awhile later.  It was ok I guess.  Awhile later we needed a bigger tent anyway.
Last summer the kids put the tent on the trampoline . . and didn't take it back down for many days.  And the tent broke in a windstorm.
Understandably, I didn't really want to run out and buy a new tent with the last one not being taken care of.  The hubster and I have been talking about camping in a few weeks . . but we weren't sure.  Maybe we'd just rent a cabin instead.
Today I was in Meijer's and was actually looking for a collapsible wagon.  I have a mPerk for $10 off one, so I wanted to see what their normal price was and what I thought about them exactly.  On my search for a wagon, I found tents on clearance.  I took a picture of one and sent off to the hubster to see his thoughts.
We are now the proud owners of a 10 person tent . . quite a bit larger than that first tent we got when we got married!  It was $50 off!  And now we are ready to camp!  And one of the best parts, for me, is that we took the $ out of our vacation savings. Oh yes, I'm digging this budgeting thing!  Having the cash there waiting for a good deal to come up is definitely a good thing!
Tonight I am thankful for finding a good deal on our new tent!  The kids thought we should set it up in the living room tonight.  But I veto'd that idea.  We'll wait and try it out outside!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Always Something

Some days are just rougher than other.  Today was one of those days.  Coming from every angle, there seemed to be opposition and friction.
Tonight I am thankful that even on the rough days, I have so many blessings in life.  No matter what the day brings, I get to come home and spend time with my healthy family.  And that is enough to make any day end on a good note.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Crazy Goals

Do you ever set a crazy goal just to see if you can reach it?  I do.
I leave myself a soft cushy landing in case I don't make the mark.  But if there's a chance, even a small one, I'll take it.
Lately I've had this crazy idea.  I mean crazy.  The first time I thought it, I even told myself it was crazy.  But the thought stayed.  And stayed.  And stayed.  So I started playing around with some plans.  What if I could make it work?  I had a few different plans going on.
I finally said it out loud just the other day to the hubster.  He thought I was crazy.  Then I showed him my plans.  I could see it in his eyes . . . he followed my thoughts on the plans.  He saw it might be possible.
I typed it tonight to my brother.  It's getting more real.  Crazy goals do that.  Don't dismiss them.  When they won't leave your thoughts, give them more thoughts.  It usually ends pretty good!  In my experience anyway.
I've heard about the Debt Free Screams that people drive to the Dave Ramsey Studios to do.  It never sounded too enticing to me.  But then, I've had the random thought from time to time that it could be fun.  We could make a road trip out of it and make it a big deal.  It might be a good prize at the end of this journey.  My brother is planning on going down in a year.  He's been on the Dave Ramsey, pay off debts journey too.  What if we joined him?  Crazy!!
What if we worked our butts off for one year and threw everything we had at what's left of this mountain?  What if we had a good plan?  What if we buckled down on everything and put everything we had behind this thing?  What if we chased this crazy goal with all our might and finished this journey in one year?  Could we do it in one year?  It's a big goal.  It's a crazy goal.  And whether all parts of me are ready or not to admit it, it's my new goal.  One year.  We may not make it.  But, we're surely going to try with all our might!
Tonight I am thankful for someone saying that this could be done.  If you would have told the me from 4 years ago, 7 years ago, or especially 10 years ago that I would be setting a one year goal (that'll make it 2 1/2 years total from start to finish) to be debt free, I wouldn't have believed it.  I didn't think it was possible.  Not for someone like me anyway.  Trust fund people, company heads, or lottery winners maybe; but not me.  It just wasn't possible.  Or so I thought.  In reality, it wasn't possible in my mind, and that's the only place where it wasn't possible.  Because the truth is that anything is possible, I just had to believe it, and dream it, and make crazy, crazy goals with lots and lots of prayer, plans, and hard work!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Flaws

I bite off more than I can chew . . regularly.  I drop details . . regularly.  I sleep too little and think too much.  I am too blunt and forget to say things as nicely as I probably could.
I care too openly.  I don't respect social rules or ideals that don't make sense to me.
I don't care to keep the cleanest house . . or even come close.  I either love to cook or hate to cook, there's rarely an in between.
I have found in life, that I am my most happiest and content when I am living for others.  This contradicts all the little sayings out there about "me time" and all that.  This makes people uncomfortable.
I forget to buy ketchup in the summer time when we grill out more often.  I forget to use eggs in a rotating order in the fridge so they don't get bad.  I have bought moldy cheese several times because I don't remember to check the package in the store.
I have ignored the dog in the middle of the night and gotten mad when there is an accident on the floor in the morning.  I wait too long to clean the bird cage.  I neglect cutting the bunny's nails until I feel horribly guilty for making his feet click when he walks.
I have lost track of when the kids have taken baths, and been fairly certain that it is bordering on some sort of child neglect (ok, not really, but it seems like it).  I forget to make them brush their teeth (although they really are all old enough now).  I hide sometimes when I hear them whining at me and I don't want to deal with petty arguments.  I come home sometimes and take a nap in my car, in the driveway, so I can be more prepared to deal with life.
I used to think that the hubster was the more difficult of the two of us.  Quite often now I think I'm more stubborn, and pushy than he is.
Tonight I am thankful for my flaws.  They make me who I am just as much as the good things.  They turn some people away . . . ok, they turn several people away.  But there are ones who stay to see the "me" behind all this.  I pray for both sides of that decision.  Opinions of me are so minor in their lives.  At the end of the day, I lay my head on my pillow and sleep just fine - yes, usually I've already prayed for forgiveness before I get to bed, because I'm very aware of my flaws!  But as I drift off to sleep, I don't pray to be rid of my flaws.   I pray for you to lay your head on your pillow and sleep well too; because really these flaws don't matter - mine or yours.  What matters is that we see the good, forgive the not so good, and remember that judgment is not ours to do, but prayer and giving thanks are.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pep

I don't know if it is an adult thing or a tired thing, but I've figured out that I give myself more and more pep talks lately.
It seems like when I was in my late teens / twenties and gave myself pep talks it was more of a confidence, be-brave, deep breath, kind of, I-can-do-this kind of pep talk.  More recently it seems to have become more of a big breath, re-counting how far I've come, keep-pushing-forward kind of pep talk.  I think my more recent pep talks are more summoning energy and focus because I've set bigger goals.
When I was 16 I had decided that I wanted to go to college in Oklahoma.  And I remember laying in bed at night planning on how I could make it all work.  I applied for scholarships.  I learned about financial aid.  I even bought a truck, instead of my car, so that I could move myself down there easier.  For 16, that was a pretty big goal.  It was scary, but it was exciting!
Now, almost 20 years later my goal is to pay off the bills including the house.  This is a big goal.  It isn't scary . . it is overwhelming at times.  And it isn't really exciting.  I'll be excited when this is all done.  When we make that last payment, I'll be very excited!  For now, I feel like I'm just trudging along.
But this is what it takes.  I know this.  To get where we are going, there will be trudging.  There will be days when it feels like we aren't going anywhere.  There will be days when it seems that this is an impossible goal.  There will be days when I think maybe I should just forget about it, the goal is too big, it's just too big.
These are the days that I take a big breath.  These are the days that I recount how far we've come.  These are the days that I give myself a pep talk to keep going!  The only difference between where I am now and where I want to be, is me.  I see that.  And I remind myself of that.
Tonight I am thankful that tired and ready to give up are just fleeting emotions.  Because emotions are fleeting.  They never stay.  God gave us a heart and a mind so they can work together.  And when my heart grows tired, my mind will remind it to hang in there, we can do this, we can make this work!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lazy

We ran away to the lake today.  There is a lake in Washtenaw County called Half Moon Lake.  It is probably my favorite lake to take the family to.  My all time favorite lake is Clear Lake, but that one has a smaller beach.
Half Moon Lake has lots of room!  We were fortunate enough to arrive in the afternoon time and still get a picnic table under a tree close to the beach.
The kids had so much fun playing in the water!  We fed some seagulls.  We grilled some lunch.  We laid aroud in the sunshine.  I personally love that some of my kids brought books to read too!
Tonight I am thankful for our lazy afternoon at the lake today!  It was wonderful!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Part 2

I feel like I should write a "Part 2" to my blog from 2 nights ago concerning vacations.  Please understand that I am not saying vacations are bad.  In fact, some day I plan on being quite the vacation expert.
I do disagree with the expectation of hugely expensive or time consuming vacations being what everybody "needs".  The honest truth is that that no one needs a vacation.  Sometimes people need a break from things in life.  I get that.  That's not what I'm talking about.
There are many people on the face of this Earth that never, in their entire lifetime go on a vacation.  But somehow in our culture and life today, vacations are assumed.  I can't tell you the number of looks I get when I say that we don't do big vacations.  I'm really not scarring my children for life.  I understand vacations.  I understand family time "away from it all".  I understand leaving the cares of the world behind and relaxing.  But it's not a necessity.  It is a choice and a blessing.
I have found, that for me, I can't relax on vacation while feeling guilty that the money we are spending could be paying bills down so we are secure financially.  There is no place on this Earth far enough away for me to escape my own thoughts and worries.  I can pretend and I can forget for a moment.  But, in my experience, it isn't worth it.  I have pushed vacations in the past because we were "supposed" to have vacations.  It was stressful for me.
We did a vacation once when we just had two tiny children.  We charged the entire thing.  And we had fun.  We got back home and I looked at what we spent and what the bills were and felt horrible.  We had worked hard.  We had "earned" a vacation, right?  That's the world told us.  But the whole trip wasn't worth the feeling when we got back home and had to face real life again.  My goal is now to build a life that doesn't need escaping from.  I want to vacation knowing that we are paying cash and that the money spent on vacation is free to be used for vacations alone - that all the rest of the bills are paid and that there are reserves for anything that could go wrong.
Peace of mind is what I'm talking about in regards to vacations.  My family is deciding right now on where we want to go for vacation this year.  It won't be big.  And it won't be long.  But we'll go together.  We'll make memories together.  We'll use our vacation fund that we've been contributing to all year.  And we'll come home relaxed, with no remorse that we were irresponsible with our money while we had our time together.
For you vacationers out there, I am happy for you!  My blogs are never meant to make anyone feel bad.  I have had things in my life that you haven't had in yours . . bad things that have shaped the way I am and the way I think.  I am talking about my own decisions regarding vacations and the decision to be free from the pressures of vacations.  Just flip thru the internet and you'll see how I "should" be vacationing, how I don't value family memories, and how I'm depriving my family of life expectations because we aren't going on a cruise or something - but it's simply not true.  I don't make decisions because I "should" do something.  I won't give in to pressure.  And I will no longer push my family in to things because it is supposed to be a great family memory to give them.
You know what is a great family memory for me?  Peace and happiness.  Having my teenager pick me a flower. Having my children giggling on the patio.  Watching my hubster work on projects with the kids.  Peace and happiness aren't found only in a certain location.  They are found in our hearts, and they can make life a vacation place everyday when cultivated.
Tonight I am thankful for (hopefully) an understanding that my motives in this blog are never cruel.  I'm not here to judge.  I'm just writing my own thoughts from my own experiences.  And I am finding something to be thankful for . . even if the world tells me I shouldn't be thankful; that I should be miserable because I'm not leaving town for the summer.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nice Ride

Last night I was soo tired.  Well, I had a migraine too.  I really hadn't a bad one in awhile.  I guess my body had been saving it up for me.  I crawled in bed hours earlier than normal and was out like a light.
I guess the dogs were barking like crazy - I didn't hear them at all.  The kids were loud I guess - I didn't hear them either.  I slept right up until my alarm was yelling at me this morning.  It was nice!
Tonight I was driving home from my last appointment with a variety of different ideas.  I could finish another report or two.  I could go to sleep early.  I could catch up the dishes.  I could exercise.  Oh yes, I had told a certain girl here that I would go on a bike ride with her.
Her chain was off somehow and I guess we didn't get it back on correctly.  Her bike was in a tiny gear the whole ride.  But she wanted to keep going!
I have to say that of all the options for tonight, a nice bike ride with my daughter was great.  We chatted.  We got in some exercise.  We enjoyed the cool night air!
Tonight I am thankful for a nice evening ride with my daughter!  We tried for a sweaty selfie, but looked a little goofy.  So here is our even goofier, edited, goofy, sweaty post bike ride selfie.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Choices

Our vacations have never been huge.  The last time I took an entire week off of work was when Sammy was born (he's 11 now).  Even then, I took my first appraiser classes while I was off and went back to work early.  After the last two babies I went right back to work.  My office was in the living room.  Most of my clients didn't even know I had been at the hospital.
Sad?  Probably a little.  But, here's the thing, it is my choice.  There are some things in life that are just better when you own them.  And I own the choices I made to grow my business to bless our family.  No, we've never been to the Grand Canyon or to the coast.  But we will.
Any National Lampoon Vacation fans out there?  Think of some of their vacation hiccups, and that would be us.  One time we went away for the night, came back and my computer wouldn't start up.  It just died while we were gone.  My computer is 80% of my job.  That wasn't good.
We went away one time, came home, and the power had gone out.  Everything in the fridge was bad.  The hubster and I went out for a weekend away once.  The flu hit me a few hours after arriving at our hotel  . . not really romantic.
We don't really have a photo albums of the vacations that dreams are made of.  We have had some good ones in there.  And even with the hiccups that we do have, we have fun.  I guess the honest truth is that I don't dream of a week "away from it all".  I truly don't.  
We have a nice house, a beautiful yard, and fuzzy critters.  I like to enjoy what we have here.  Don't get me wrong, I love to travel!  I dream of road trips in my sleep.  But, life is so busy right now, that "leaving it all behind" would just leave stress and worry in the back of my mind.  That isn't the relaxing vacation that I dream of.  
So someone posted this picture, this morning on one of the Dave Ramsey sites that I follow.  It was kind of a thoughtful moment to stop and think about it because I disagree.  Things aren't always about money.  But, I'll tell you right now that I have no desire to charge a vacation to make a memory now and then scrape for years to come to make the money to pay for it.  I guess, my disagreement comes with the innuendo of the picture that a vacation has to be huge.  
We are saving for Disney, on our time frame.  The kids are excited.  They help save their change.  We have a goal date.  And they will feel more than blessed to go because we've worked towards this goal together as a family.  In the meantime, we make our memories every day.  We dance in the rain.  We stop to smell the flowers.  We sneak kitties in to the house when daddy isn't home (sorry Ron!).  We make plans and dreams together.  
The truth is that no little saying on Facebook or in a magazine could possibly summarize all the options there are in life.  We aren't working like crazy right now just to make money.  We are working like crazy right now for freedom.  Freedom from stress.  Freedom from worry.  And freedom as a legacy and a lifestyle for the kids for their entire lives.  On the way there, we are making memories. Today, as discussions went back and forth on the Dave Ramsey site, I know for certain that no one can make me feel bad for not taking a week off of work right now.  No one can make me feel bad for not taking my kids to Disney right now.  Our memories are made in every day moments as we walk thru life together.  We'll have our extra memories at the lake or traveling somewhere special together.  And they will be good memories!  But I'll bet you anything that those memories won't be near as strong as the memories that make us more than a family; these every day memories that are woven through our life will be the special ones.  When they are adults and they remember when they broke my favorite cup and they found patience and forgiveness; or when they sat in here and chatted for hours as we talked about life.  These are the memories that are more valuable than shiny mouse ears or traveling on a train.  Sorry random Facebook post.
Tonight I am thankful for having a choice in the memories we make.  I know our choices differ from other families.  I'm not saying our choices are better or worse.  I'm saying that I am thankful that our choices are best for our family.  No regrets, no remorse; we are on a good path for us. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New Direction - Not The Band

Monday was rough.  I don't know what got in to these children of mine.  But . . wow . . . they all had complete and utter melt-downs . . simultaneously.  Not.  Good.
During this time, I was recovering from my eye appointment (which usually gives me a migraine, fortunately, just a regular headache yesterday).  I seriously considered locking them all in their rooms and hiding my car.  However, I knew that wouldn't be productive or help anyone.
It is sometimes in our moments of desperation that God can give us the most brilliant of ideas.  First of all we all sat on my bed and had a talk.  I told them some things about adult life.  I talked about how we are all a team, and need to work together as such.  And I pointed out to them so many good things that we have in this life together.
Then came the inspiration part.  The kids are floundering.  They need direction.  Don't we all?  Think of life with no direction, at any point in life, it is easy to get grumpy and discontent without a goal or something that you are working towards.  So we talked a little about goals.  I shared with them a few ideas.  And then I made them some homework.
This is the first summer in many years that we haven't done a structured Mom School.  I had made the decision earlier to have this year's Mom School be more life stuff, like cooking, map reading, computer stuff.  But I think they need more structure than that there also.  Especially my youngest.  He does really well with structure . . . which in turn makes me have to be more structured, and really that's a good thing I suppose.
Yesterday each child received these two sheets.  I have had them turned in by three children so far.  Of the three, two of them took it a little more seriously.  So I sat down with the third and we tweaked some answers.  And here we go, some direction.
Summer will still be laid back and relaxed for them.  They are kids, after all!  But now they will have a little more direction for when they need to get up and get moving, and channel their energy!  Today went better.  I hope for tomorrow to be better still.
Tonight I am thankful for the idea of direction.  And thankful that it will be pretty warm the next few days, swimming made several lists so far!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dilation

I have a mole inside my eyeball.  It's called um . . . something that starts with a "n".
What this means is that every year at my eye exam, they have to dilate my pupil to measure the size of the mole to make sure that it isn't growing.
I drive myself home . . slowly . . with big sunglasses.  Then I go hide in my bed with a horrible migraine from driving with my eyes like that.  Today I didn't get a migraine.  Hooray!  Today the mole was so small that he had a hard time finding it.  Hooray!
After awhile today I put my contacts back in and went out to work.  My eyes have been very mad at me ever since!
Tonight I am thankful for no migraine today!  I am thankful for a shrinking mole!  And I am thankful that I am going to bed because my eyes have had enough of today and they don't want to be bothered again until tomorrow!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Standing and Sitting

About a year or so ago I had posted about putting bricks under my desk to make it a standing desk.  That worked very well.  Until I tore my PCL and couldn't stand here.  I had brought in a stool and pulled things up to rest my leg on.  It worked, but it still wasn't the best.
Since that time I have been researching desks that go from standing to sitting heights.  There are several different options out there.  Some are electronic - I saw these as just more to break on them.  I found a crank one.  I found ones that sit on top of a regular desk and move just a small area (big enough for a laptop) up and down.  I looked and looked and looked.  A new desk isn't a small expense, so I wanted to make sure that I got something I liked that would work.
Last week my new desk arrived.  Knowing we were having the garage sale, I figured it was as good of time as any to get in the new desk and sell the old.  The old desk being on the bricks was making me worried.  People and animals kept hitting the bricks while walking around and I didn't want the desk to fall on anyone!
Yesterday the new desk got put in my office and set up.  I love it!
An added bonus is that it doesn't have drawers like the old desk.  I loved the drawers on the old desk.  I had room for everything!  Then I cleaned out the drawers to sell the desk.  Do you know what happens when you have room for everything?  I have found out, that when there is lots of storage, I keep more than I need to.  There were things in those drawers that I haven't seen since I first put them in the drawers four years ago.  I found things I hid from the kids.  I found things that I thought the kids lost.  I found things I had forgotten about completely.  Yep . . all sorts of stuff.
Tonight I am thankful for my new desk!  It will help keep me simplified, organized, and healthy.  Oh, and did I mention it was on sale?  I found an internet special for $300 off - more than half the price!!  Can't beat that!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lemonade

My kids were Max & Ruby fans . . I don't know if "were" is the right word, because they do still like them.  Anyway, there is an episode and a storybook where Ruby has a lemonade stand and Max decides to have one too.  This has been inspiration for my youngest.
I think it was about March when he decided that he needed to have a lemonade stand.  I explained that he had to wait for summer first of all.  And second of all, he should wait until we had a garage sale because then more people would stop.
A few weeks ago we had a talk about the lemonade stand.  I explained to him that myself personally does not like to buy lemonade from lemonade stands because I don't know how it was made.  I've seen many a kid stick dirty hands in to the lemonade with the spoon while stirring.  When it's my own kids, I can deal with it.  But not strange kids.  I advised that maybe I could help him with some start up cash to buy some pre-bottled drinks to sell.  He didn't really like that idea.
Then I found an event at the Williamston Library for having a Lemonade Stand!  They meet for three weeks and then run a stand at the Williamston Farmer's Market.  My boy was so excited!  We went to the first meeting this past Thursday.
The meeting was an hour and a half.  In that time I noticed that this program is designed to help teach the kids about working together and running a business.  I also noticed that my son was not interested in forming a lemonade stand business with a board of directors filled with meetings, collaborations, and votes.  I told him that he had to wait a few days to reflect on the pros and cons of this program.  Yes, it is a bummer when you get out-voted.  But, then there is the opportunity to get a little more creative with someone else's idea that you hadn't considered.  A few days later, his answer is still no.  He does not wish to continue with the program.  And that's fine.
At the garage sale he made his sign.  He set out his pre-packaged drinks.  He sold some of them.  And he drank most all the rest.  Silly boy.  At the end of all of this, I think he has learned a lesson that business stuff in particular, does not always turn out the way you want, that it is usually a lot more work than you thought, and that just because it looks easy to make a profit, doesn't mean that it really is.
Tonight I am thankful for this lemonade experience.  I really do think this was a good lesson that he hasn't even noticed all the learning experience from.  But, it will be brought up in the future!  My children have a natural entrepreneurial spirit that is wonderful!  I don't want to see it die out because things seem so hard.  So we'll use these experiences to work on what to do better next time!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Trucks

I am so excited!  The stuff is leaving the house!  The stuff is leaving the house!
I priced things pretty darn cheap out there today.  So cheap people thought there was stuff wrong with some of it.  I said, "Nope, I just want it gone!".
I talked to the hubster on his lunch break and asked him, "Um, did you want to make money off this thing or just get rid of stuff?"  Fortunately his answer was to just get rid of stuff.  Whew!  We probably should have discussed pricing strategy before the sale.  But, oh well!  We were both on the same page anyway!
Tonight I am thankful that stuff is leaving!  At least 3 different people had to go get a truck to come back and pick up the things that they bought!  I love it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Friday

It was late May / early June when we decided we were going to have a garage sale this summer.  As we've gotten closer, it's seemed like an absolutely wonderful idea.  The house will be so much lighter.
I also had this great goal to get all these work things accomplished this week.  And I've been burning the candle at both ends to make this happen.
I am so beyond tired at this point.
But guess what????
Tomorrow is the day!  I have no scheduled appointments so that I can be here for the sale!  I get to work on my desk work in between people and get rid of stuff we don't use all day.  I am so excited!  I can't even describe the relief I am expecting to feel tomorrow.
Tonight I am excited that tomorrow is Friday!  It is Garage Sale Friday!  And it is catch up on late reports Friday!  Hooray!  Hooray!  Hooray!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

First Time

Today I went to the chiropractor for the very first time.  The hubster has been going for years and it has helped him immensely.  But I don't have any back problems.  There was never a need for me to go.
Then I read about neck/spine influences on thyroid if something is out of whack there.  With all my natural endeavours here to fix my broken thyroid, I figured I'd better check it out. 
I give todays a visit two thumbs up.  I do have some pressure on the thyroid related ones - sorry I'm not all technical about it yet.  I also had a little uneven-ness from my knee.
I really thought I was doing good with the knee stuff!  I mean, it still is a pain.  I can't exercise two days in a row without it swelling up for the rest of the week.  I can't run.  I can't do many things.  But I can do more and more all the time.  I can kneel now.  I can sit on a stool and put my foot back on the foot bar.
Mainly though, I have worked very hard to walk evenly from as soon as I started physical therapy.  When the hubster had his first knee surgery, he walked unevenly.  He never did his physical therapy - he should be grounded, right?  And by the time he went to the chiropractor for the first time, he had a whole slew of problem.  Years of favoring one leg over the other (from several knee surgeries at that time), had twisted his hips from walking crooked.  When you twist your hips, you twist / put pressure on the bottom of your spinal cord.  And guess what happens then?  Everything those nerves control gets messed with.
Needless to say, the hubster loves the chiropractor.  He has improved greatly since going.
I am excited to see what kind of progress can be made with myself too!  Sitting and looking at computer screens all day has gotten to me. I  try to sit straight, but I haven't.  And it has taken away from the curve that my neck / spine should have.  And that is putting pressure on the thyroid nerves.  Interesting, isn't it??? 
Well I think it is!  Plus, this particular chiropractor is a natural cure enthusiast.  He attends seminars and is quite knowledgeable about all the things I've been learning about including essential oils and iodine!  We are going to have many great chats in the future!
Tonight I am thankful for my first visit to the chiropractor!  I hope this is the start of some very good things!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Whitesnake

Once upon a time I was hopeless.  I was scared.  I was anxious.  I wished with all my might that I could change life, but I couldn't.  I was a child.  I was broken.  My faith in love was shattered.  My self-worth was gone.  My heart was broken.  God had an angel here to walk with me.  I call her Mom.
I was getting stronger.  I had faith again.  I still didn't believe in love though, not the kind that people dreamed about.  That wasn't my dream.  I didn't want it.  It was too much heartache.  Too much pain.  I'd rather be alone.  God had an angel here to show me unconditional love.  I call him Mark.
I was tortured.  I was starting to believe in love, but I still didn't want it.  I cried the day I realized I was in love.  I never wanted that.  I never wanted him.  I had built my plans where I would be safe and where I wouldn't get hurt.  God had an angel here to show me that love is worth the pain.  I call him my husband.
I was heartbroken.  It was over.  The pain that I knew would inevitably come, had came.  I had no faith in "us".  I had no desire to try ever again.  God had four angels here to show me that love is forgiving and healing and stronger than myself.  I call these angels my children.
Some days now there are times when life tries to run me over.  I know sometimes I am partly to blame.  Sometimes I not though, too.
Today was getting to me.  Yesterday started it.  I'm so close to something here.  But I've been so close for so long now.  I just can't seem to get the extra oomph to get where I'm going.  I push harder and harder and harder.  And it's just never enough.  Today I almost broke.  I felt the tears brimming because I just may not be enough this time.  Then I stopped.
I sat down to write this blog and my first sentence came out.  Then the next, then the next, then the next.  And I read what I was writing.  The truth is so clear.  No, I'm really not enough.  I never have been.  But I've never been alone.  God is always here - and he is always enough.  The times when I would have broke, and the times when I did break, those were times when God could do the most.  My favorite of all times has always been Footprints - the times when there were one set of footprints in the sand, it is those times that God carries us . . if we let him.
Tonight I am renewed, exhausted and renewed.  And I am thankful for that.  The extra oomph I've been pushing for isn't my own.  I don't know why I don't remember that from trial to trial.  But I remember it now and that is enough.  Here I go again, not on my own . . . sorry Whitesnake, I like this version better.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Cure

It's been a loooong day.
Some nights I've eaten dinner at my desk in my office here.  I could have easily done that tonight too.  But I went out to the table with my family.
I was cranky.  I snapped at them a little.  I apologized, warned them that I had a rough day, and that they should make sure and be extra polite and respectful.
Then my darling children said that after dinner we should break in to my "Emergency Chocolate Fund", run to the store, and get me some chocolate!  Ok, that made me laugh.  This little coin bank has been on my desk for awhile.  I don't even remember how long.  Every once in awhile,  the kids will come along and drop a few coins in to it.  They like mom to be happy and well chocolate-ed!
I did take the opportunity at dinner to point out that laughter is always good to fight off the crankies.  And I will admit that after a dinner with my silly family I wasn't nearly as cranky.
Tonight I am thankful for my silly family.  They did even get me some chocolate :)  Now, how nice is that?  :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Preparations

The countdown is on!  Friday is the day.  Friday morning is the morning!
We've had garage sales before.  This one is different.
I'm different.
I am beating my pack-rat ways and am just absolutely tired of clutter!!  I have saved so many things for so long.  It got a bit excessive between babies.  We knew we'd have more babies, so I saved everything.  Baby stuff, toddler stuff, little kids stuff, all of it seemed to multiply in the attic.
We got rid of the really little stuff awhile ago.  And we did pretty good going thru kid stuff last year too.  But, as I've looked around my house I've noticed all the things that I've held on to "in case we need them later".  Well, I don't think we will need them later.  And if we do, we can always find another good deal.  Fortunately, bargain shopping is one of my many talents.
There are some ways where I had become such a bargain shopper that I was buying things that didn't ever get used, just because they were cheap.  That's too far.  It's not a good deal if it's buying something just to take up room in the house.  I've seen the excess of my frugal shopping ways, and I've been working on it.
For now though, this garage sale is an opportunity to shed the excess from the house!  I don't think I'll get thru the attics before Friday.  And that's ok.  I'm not going to hound myself to make it thru the house top to bottom.  Whatever we get thru, will be enough.
Right now I think the dogs are concerned that we are moving again!  Half the living room is packed with furniture and things to be shoved out the front door on Friday morning.  Half the dining room has boxes and bags of stuff ready to go.  I think we'll feel much better with so much stuff in the way of living!!
Tonight I am thankful for some good work this weekend towards getting ready for the garage sale!!  So far there is only one item that I've decided can come back in the house if it doesn't sell (a mini-fridge).  Everything else will not come back in this house again after this weekend!  Hip Hip Hooray!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Could Have

I got up early today to get some work done.  I got a little distracted.  And I got pretty tired.  I could have stayed up.  But I went back to bed.
I could have stayed at my desk working all day.  But I enjoyed time with the family at a Girl Scout outing.
I could have came home and gotten right to work.  But I took a nice relaxing bath and then a nap.
I could have cancelled our plans to surprise the kids tonight with a movie and just stayed home to catch up on work.  But we loaded the kids and went off to Find Dory at the Sun Theater.
I could have came home and gotten right to work.  But I spent a little time getting a few more things ready for the garage sale next weekend.
I could stay up right now and push on. But I'm going to go to bed.
Tonight I'm thankful that of the things I could've done today; I chose family time and some taking care of me time.  Today was a good day!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fell Off The Wagon

Aaaand, my struggle with scheduling hits home . . . again.  I guess I hid my problem during the first few weeks after the school year ended.  I'm not a closet bad-scheduler . . . I mean, I can admit it . . . I've made some great improvements too, back during the school year . . . and then, with summer break, I've fallen off the wagon.
I've landed from my wagon-falling with a giant THUD!  It can be see on my kiddo's faces when I'm working . . again.
It's so hard, ya know?  I've made these big goals for our family, and for myself.  And I get sent this work that I could do . . . somehow . . I could squeeze it in, right?  And this extra work will help us reach these goals sooner.  Then I get caught up in it.  And 15 - 17 out of 24 hours in a day are spent working.  When I'm home, the kids can come in and out, so it's not like I'm away that whole time.  But then I'm spending maybe 2 hours broken up throughout the day on things like eating, showering, laundry, dishes, etc.  I'm sleeping not enough . .  AGAIN.
In the back of my mind has been two conflicting voices.  One is saying, "Keep pushing!  You'll get to your goals faster!  You can do it!"  And the other is saying "This is too much.  It doesn't matter if you can do it.  You shouldn't do it.  There are other, better things you should be doing with your time".
Well I know which voice is correct.  But it's hard.  I really am a work-aholic.  All my times of jokingly calling myself that name have been correct.  I actually have a problem saying no to work.
I had a talk with the kiddos this morning.  I am going to make myself use my calendar again to schedule everything.  I HATE scheduling everything!!!  But, it's what I need to do, since I plan my days like I have 42 hours in a day instead of 24.  I will practice saying "no" more.  I will set work boundaries again.  I just left all these good practices when school was over.  It was like, well a big part of the house's schedule went away, I should just let everything stop.  But that wasn't a good idea.  Well, it wasn't an idea at all - I just did it.
Tonight I am thankful for the kids being open and honest with me about my problem.  This is really ridiculous, how much I have a problem walking away from work.  It is not the important thing in my life.  It isn't by far.  But that's not how I've been living.  So I'll work on this . . again.  But I will get back in line  . . . again.  I'm thankful I have time to fix this.  I'm thankful I have support to fix this.  And I'm thankful that I have prayer to fix this!  Because I really need more strength than my own to do this right!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Water Hose

I started off today hitting snooze an unknown amount of times.  Finally I dragged myself out of bed.  I stumbled down the hall to my office.  I don't know what happened, but something just clicked and I was awake!  I was determined and on task.  I was just crushing the tasks before me.
Boom, boom, boom, I was knocking it out of the park!  Then somewhere around this evening, seeing how much was still here, I lost it somewhere. This determination and energy has exited.  It's a bummer.  I was sitting here contemplating how to get this drive back, when I heard the kids.
They had been sent outside to feed and water the animals.  I looked out the window and there was the two youngest in a full out water fight with the hose and some big water gun.  They were giggling and laughing and having fun.
Now they did have to be reminded to finish their chores.  And they did finish.  But in the meantime, they had a blast - as life should be, work AND play.
Tonight I am thankful for my children.  They have a way of keeping life in perspective.  They have a way of making me smile.  They have a way of just knowing the important things in life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Stranger

I hugged a stranger today.  I do that sometimes.
My job as a Real Estate Broker is pretty fulfilling.  Helping people find their perfect house, or sell the property they no longer want, comes with a good reward of knowing that I've helped people.
My job as a Real Estate Appraiser is pretty much the opposite.  It's all solid properties and numbers and deadlines, and anxious clients who wish I could 5 hours of work in 10 minutes.  I do get good feedback from my clients, but I've never met most of them.  I probably never will either.  And for every good feedback, I piss someone off.  I hung up on a man just a few weeks ago who was yelling at me.  People get very unhappy when their house isn't worth what they want it to be worth.
And then there are days like today.  Days like today remind me that even with the appraising side, God can use me to bless someone.  This woman is selling her house.  I was there for the buyer's loan appraisal.  Her dog was acting silly towards me.  Her eyes got misty when she told me that the dog used to do that silly act for her husband.  Her husband had passed away about a year ago and the place was just too big for her to handle herself.
The people buying the house are buying it with a loan that requires the house to be in a certain condition.  I asked her about one thing in particular because it didn't meet loan requirements.  She got a bit panicky.  I explained to her what she would need to do to fix it.
She then asked me if it would delay the sale.  I told her that it really shouldn't.  My report can go to underwriting and the little tag-along saying she fixed the problem could just be added in next week.  Then her eyes teared up.  This has been so hard on her.
She was widowed once before, in her early 30's.  During that marriage she found out that she couldn't have children.  When she fell in love again, this man already had children.  They bought this house, he gave her the family she had wanted.  This was so much more than a house.  This was a home filled with love and laughter for decades.  And it was obvious that she didn't want to leave, but she didn't want to stay.  Dealing with that, and packing, and sorting thru a happy lifetime of things in closets was taking its toll.
I assured her that this one item was an easy fix - she should be able to get help right at Home Depot.  She looked relieved and heartbroken, mourning her soulmate whose absence brought on this huge change in life.  She thanked me for the reassurance.  I gave her a hug.  She hugged me so tight.  She thanked me for the hug.  She said she's a hugger.  She went back inside.  I finished the house and went home.
Tonight I am thankful for being able to be a blessing to people while doing my job.  I don't work in an office.  I don't have an office crew or coworkers who I meet at the water cooler.  I'm not out there where I can make a difference a lot of the times.  But some days . . . days like today . . . God reminds me that he can use something so little to mean so much to someone who needs it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Gloating!!

June 24th I was driving the hubby's van with my girls.  We turned a corner and something went *CLUNK*.  Then the van wouldn't move.  Well, it went forward about two inches and then acted like it hit a wall.  It would go in reverse.  It felt like the van was catching on the front right tire.
The tow truck guy made excellent time.  The hubster picked us up from the car shop.  He said it sounded like the transmission.  I told him, I didn't think so.  It felt like the front, right wheel.  The next day, the guy at the car shop said it sounded like the transmission.  We were told they were backed up, got a repair quote, and waited.
With our Dave Ramsey plan, we have been putting $$ away every month in to a car account for repairs, tires, etc.  There is a good chunk in there . . . but not enough to rebuild a transmission.  Bummer.  But we also have our emergency fund to help out.
Well, well, well, guess what?!?  The call came in today.  The transmission is fine!!!  The calipers seized up!  Ha!!!  Didn't I say I thought the problem was in the wheel??  Oh yes, that was me!!  Woo Hoo!  Victory Dance!!
So, the wheel is being fixed, and a few other little items are being addressed while it is in there - like the a/c motor. The hubster is very happy for that!  And at the end of the repair list, our new estimated total is considerably less than what we have in our auto savings account!  Woo Hoo!
Tonight I am thankful for having money set aside for emergencies.  And just because I'm sometimes like this - I'm thankful I was right!!!  Of course I'm thankful for this because the repair bill is thousands less.  But I'm also thankful for it just for the fact that I was right!  And yes, I'm gloating!!  :)  Just for a little while :)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Cheap Seats

I've been working off and on all weekend.  From the upcoming garage sale, to trying to catch up on work, it's just been a constant plucking away.  I have tried very hard to not stress out this weekend.  But I'll admit, today was hard.  I still am not caught up on work.  And now everyone will be back at work tomorrow.  I even brought my laptop with me to the fireworks tonight and did a little work while we waited for the sky to get dark.
Now ever since I started dating this Ron guy, we've pulled off the side of the road outside the fairgrounds to watch the fireworks.  It may not sound like fun to everyone, but we've made our own tradition out of it!  And as our family grew, the tradition changed a bit.  We've had a movie time in the van waiting for the show, a trailer with fold out chairs, licorice, coloring books, and all sorts of things to occupy our time while we found the perfect spot and waited for the show to start.
This year we backed the big van in so we were pointing towards the road and where the fireworks would be shot off across the road.  It was the perfect spot!  I reclined my seat and watched the fireworks out the windshield in comfort!  The kids opted to set up fold out chairs next to the van in the grass, and that was fine too.  They quieted down some out there!
Tonight I am thankful for the perfect ending to a busy weekend!  It was relaxing, we were together, and the show was beautiful!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Getting Ready!

I've seen lots of pictures this weekend of people up at lakes, enjoying vacations, and it looks great!  This weekend my household has had one task in mind!  We are preparring for a garage sale!  Two weeks from this weekend are the big days!
I seriously can't wait!  The clutter in my house seems to multiply faster than rabbits!
We moved in to this house four years ago.  We've been so busy with family and work that we still don't have all the house quite how we want it.  In that time, we have re-arranged furniture several times.  I think we have a handful of rooms pretty set.  But every time we get a room set well, there is furniture that kicks out of that room.  Add to that clothes outgrown and toys outgrown, and we've got quite a pile of stuff.
Tonight I am thankful for the long weekend to get our house in order and ready for de-cluttering!!!  It seems that the older I get, the less of a pack-rat I am, who knew?!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Bargain!

Long before Dave Ramsey, I was a bargain hunter!  I am not ashamed of my love for great second hand bargains!  Are you kidding?  I don't even understand the people who think that I should be ashamed for scouring a garage sale!  I think those people are strange who would rather pay $50 for a pair of pants, when I step out of my car on to some one's lawn and pay 50 cents for the same thing that was just worn a few times rather than off the shelf.  I don't get it!
This summer I haven't garage sale'd too much.  We really have enough stuff in this house.  But I do like to look for blankets at garage sales.  I wash them, dry them, bag them up, and put them in the attic.  This started a few years ago when there was a huge need for blankets in the cold.  I gave away all our houses' extra blankets that winter and then it hit me the following summer that I could just save them up at $1 a piece!  I have plans to expand to stocking up on winter coats, but I need to organize the attic first!
Anyway, today the kids and I had some places to go.  We stopped at a couple garage sales.  One was wonderful!  Every once in awhile we find one garage sale that makes all the other garage sales worth the time!  I got excited when we pulled up because the woman was putting a "1/2 Off Everything" sign up!  
I got a few little things for really, really cheap.  AND I bought four boxes of clothes for $10.  Everything was labeled about my size and the boxes said "work clothes".  I had looked thru the first couple things in the box and it looked like the lady had good taste.  So imagine my surprise when I got home, started loading things in to the washing machine, and found several brand new items with the tags still on them!  The majority of the items in the boxes were good name brands and in pretty much new condition!  I couldn't believe it!  I have a whole new work wardrobe for only $10!  
Last year I was blessed with many new shoes and clothes from my aunt.  Many of these items have been pilfered by my daughter who is now close to my size.  But I did get to keep many nice things at that time!
I am feeling so blessed!  I have to tell you, I really am.  Designers and keeping up with styles have never been something that I've thought much about.  But no one would know it looking at my clothes collection now!
We have some renovation plans this year to move my office and create a walk in closet.  Boy do I need it now!  Maybe I should pick up a sledge hammer tomorrow and get started!! I need some room to organize my clothes :)
Tonight I am thankful for the clothing blessings that have been in front of me.  Honestly, if I won the lottery I don't think I'd spend the retail price of all these clothes.  But free from my aunt and $10 at a garage sale are right up my alley!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Entitlement

Wherever you are right now in life, there is someone who wishes they had your life.  It is a true statement.  In my job, I get to enter many strangers' homes.  And many times, I enter their personal lives.  Because a home is very personal.
I hear many stories, good and bad.  And it seems that sometimes, I hear more bad; from people hoping for sympathy from me and maybe a higher value.  First of all, that doesn't work.  I am an ethical appraiser who goes by the numbers.  And Second, I have four children, I have had more acts for sympathy performed in front of me than I care to count!
I let it get to me this week.  I really did.  I shouldn't have.  The clincher was a home where I would bet $100 that the homeowners had their son recite a line to me.  It was just not a natural line of speech, and definitely not for one a boy his age.  It pissed me off.  To be quite frank about it.  These people don't even know me and they are assuming first of all that my job can be swayed and based fictionally on a performance from their child?  And they assume that I am stupid and can't see their little ploys?
But the main thing is that it continued.  People telling me why they need this and why they need that.  And that's not my job.  My job is not to provide for strangers.  Nor is it to find out what they want to do in life.  But sometimes, when it gets thrown in my face all week, it is disheartening.
I've written once before about the book we read in the school's book club this year, Home of the Brave.  If you haven't read it, I greatly encourage you to.  It is very easy to read, very quick, and very enlightening.
It seems to be an epidemic to have too much and act like we have so little.  I am guilty of that myself.  I take for granted that I can go to the grocery store when I need food.   I have never been so overwhelmed by the food that lines the shelves that I break down in tears.  But then, I have never seen hunger that claims lives.
I take for granted that I will have a house.  Whether I own or rent, or even if I had to live with family, I would have a house.  I've never had to worry about sleeping on the street.
I take for granted that I can go to my dresser and pick from a number of clothes to wear.  Cute clothes, practical clothes, any type of clothes, they are just there waiting for me.  I've never thought twice about it.  But then, I've never had to wonder about where I would find something to cover myself with.
The things that we call needs in this life are rarely needs.  This week I have heard how people need their new car, need their floors re-done, need the addition to the house, need the vacation to New York, need a vacation at all, need some time off work, need anything.
Tonight I am thankful for all the things in this life that area truly above Needs that I have.  I am thankful that I have been blessed with so much.  And I am thankful that I will lay this discontent to rest.  I will pray for those people who I have encountered this week that are staying in my heart.  I pray that they see how much they are blessed.  When you look at your blessings instead of your wants; all you see is how blessed you are, and not how many things there are that you still want.