Thursday, January 31, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 31: Friends

Really...where do I even start with this.

I am, without a doubt, the friend-wealthiest person I know.

What I am about to share with you is a mere slice, a small sampling of some of the people I love. It is in no way a full representation; for those who are not pictured here, please know that I am honoring you in my heart (...ok, or we have a picture and it was bad. There, that was brutally honest.).
As I try to write this, I can't really even come close to being able to name all of the people I love so dearly, so completely...the people who make my life good.
I have friends that have been in my heart since childhood...

Friends from college...

and graduate school.
Friends from jobs I've had...

and places I've lived.

I mean, really, how lucky can a girl be?

If ever there was a reason to drop to my knees and thank the Lord for something, 
friends are it. 
My friends feed my heart and soul. As long as I have them, I know I will never go astray. 

There will never, ever be enough words to express my thankfulness for the friendships I have. New friends, old friends, friends near and far, business friends, work friends...I've got it all.

THANK YOU for seeing me all the way through to the end of my 31 Days blog series! Through this journey I have had a chance to reflect on myself and all of the wonderful things I have to give thanks for. Today, on my last day, it is with a joyful heart that I give thanks for all of you, my newest friends, and look forward to the exciting things that are still yet to come!

Today, how will you honor your friends?

"Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends."  
-William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 30: Books

Ever since I decoded my first word, I have been a reader. I LOVE books. 

If I had to name an all-time favorite, it would have to be The Lonely Doll. I was mesmerized by the graphics...real photographs that were set up with the doll and the bear in intricate scenarios (although I'm not sure if I knew they weren't real!)
When I was in my 'tween years, my favorites were Sweet Valley Twins.
I think I had every book in the series. To this day, when I come across these books at thrift shops or other junk treasuries, I struggle to not buy them. 
Believe me, if I had more space, they'd be mine again. I'm not ruling anything out for the future.
As an adult, a speech-language pathologist, a teacher, an artist, and a human being, I can now intelligently reflect upon my love of books and give the proper credit for my language and vocabulary development. One of my most treasured compliments is when someone tells me that I am well-spoken; mastery of language is indeed the key to mastery of life.

I didn't spend hours at a time in front of the television; rather, the words on the page came alive in my mind and my imagination. Would you believe that now we actually have to TEACH children imaginary play? Yeah, looks like all of those e-readers (hint: your kids play games on them. I know...they come to school and tell us all about it!) can never quite fill the shoes of a good old fashioned paperback.

Today, friends, I am thankful for books. New, old, big, small, fiction, non-fiction...I love it all.

What is your all-time favorite book?

"The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." -Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 29: Beauty

There is just so much beauty in this world. 

Sometimes it's in plain sight, and sometimes it's hiding where you can't quite see it. 

Beauty is young,

 and old


and small

Each and every day, I step out into the world and am faced with infinite beauty and wonder. I am blessed with an amazing assortment of beautiful people, places, and things. 
Today, I am thankful for all of the beauty in my world.

What beautiful things did you see today?

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."  -Confucius

Monday, January 28, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 28: Organization

Everybody who knows me knows this:


I have a wonderful collection, but it's never quite enough. I suppose this goes along well with my business; beads, bits, and bobs fit quite well into these little beauties.

I love that feeling of pure satisfaction that comes with  finishing up a really great organizational project. For me, those projects always involve little drawers.
My gift-giver had painted this for me...I thanked him and promptly painted it white
Last year, a friend gave me a GORGEOUS set of the perfect little drawers: 20 letter-sized metal drawers (2 rows of 10) that house my beads, vintage flowers, antique earrings, lace, get the picture. This same friend gave me a gorgeous library card catalog for Christmas, effectively beginning my hunt for more of these gorgeous little drawers.
My $35 shining star
This past summer I found a magnificent 15-drawer card catalog for sale, complete with stand, for a mere $35. It was one of those breathtaking moments at the flea market where you look around to make sure there is no one closing in on your find...I handed that cash over like it was on fire.  

I love having things in order. I think that, if my physical surroundings are organized, then so too must be my life. Well...that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Do YOU love little drawers? Share your crafty organizational love stories with us!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 27: Senses

This is an ode the sensory system: a true work of art in itself. The 5 basic senses, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, are what we has humans have come to rely on for every single function and activity in our lives. Take away one of the Big 5, and you've got trouble.

Without sight, I would not be able to see all of the beautiful things that exist in the world.

It is my sense of sound that lets me hear music, voices, laughter...all things that I love.
 I certainly am a foodie, and without my sense of taste, a well-prepared meal would be reduced to a simple perfunctory task. 
Admittedly, my sense of smell is often hampered by my severe allergies...but I treasure the first whiff of my hyacinths blooming in the spring.
Where would I BE without my hands? My sense of touch is a precious commodity...each and every day I am using touch to craft, create, make, cook, drive, perform daily living tasks...the list goes on.

Today I am thankful for my mostly functional and completely relied-upon sensory system.

What beautiful things have YOU sensed today?

"We think of our eyes as video cameras and our brains as blank tapes to be filled with sensory inputs."  -Michael Shermer

Saturday, January 26, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 26: Memories

As I am writing this, I am looking at the sweetest picture of my grandparents at their 60th anniversary party. For those of you who might not know, I call my grandmother Bubbie and my grandfather Jeddie.
Bubbie and Jeddie, celebrating 60 years of marriage
Bubbie passed away in the summer of 2011 about 6 months after she was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. Jeddie is still with us, though in the year since Bubbie has been gone he seems to have begun to reveal his true age.

Looking at this beloved picture, I do not feel sadness. Yes, I miss Bubbie: she was my best friend. She used to tell me what we were best friends from Day 1, which is true. I am the oldest of their grandchildren, and was first born (albeit by a month and a half), so that pretty much put me at the top of the pecking order. What I do feel is a yearning for days gone by. I laughed out loud thinking of some of the funny things Bubbie and I used to do, and the stories Jeddie told us as children.

Memory is a funny thing. Physiologically speaking, it is commonly believed that the memory "lives" in the Hippocampus, deep inside the brain. Some new theories say that memories are coded here and then move out to the frontal lobes for the long term, but that's a topic for a different post (again...thank you grad school for my knowledge of the brain!). I think it's remarkable that this little section, deep down inside where it can be most protected, is where our memory "lives". Seems to be nature's way of telling us that our memories are among some of our most precious commodities.

Today, I invite you to take a moment and rejoice in precious memories you hold...they are the intangible treasures that make our lives uniquely savory and special.

What memories have you created today?

"So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good."  -Helen Keller


Friday, January 25, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 25: Warmth

You are reading that correctly. 4 degrees.
This image, courtesy of my bestie juNxtaposition, is a legit representation of what the weather has been like lately here in Pittsburgh.

It was this number that prompted the 2 weather delays (I gave thanks for these in a post earlier this week) that many schools in the area had this week.

Despite the frigid temperatures, I remain snuggled safely and warmly in my cozy bungalow (largely thanks to my purchase of a brandy-new furnace last year!). I definitely take this luxury for granted: I know that there are many people (in my city, sadly) that are without the warmth and comfort of a good furnace in a safe home.

I have the joy of being blessed with warmth in my home as well as in my heart. Each day I awake in my cloud-like bed and head off to my amazing job where my students warm my spirit all day. That is a LOT to be thankful for.

What warms your heart on a cold day?

"The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money."-   Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 24, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 24: Glitter


I love it. I honestly can't think of a single time when I've thought, "boy, that's too much glitter" (I'm speaking strictly in artistic terms...cosmetic usage is a completely different topic). 

When I say "glitter" I mean ANYTHING that glitters, sparkles, shines, and otherwise reflects everything overtly feminine and bling-y. 
In fact, I've kind of built a business around my love of these things.

Someone once told me I leave a trail of glitter everywhere I go...including toes (ha!). 
I am inclined to agree.

Today I am thankful for glitter because it evokes in me the senses of happiness and joy, 
beauty and femininity.

How do YOU sparkle in your everyday life?

"Some girls are just born with glitter in their veins. "   -Paris Hilton

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

31 Days, 31 Reasons to be Thankful: January 23: My Slow Cooker

Don't get me wrong, I actually do like to cook.

Some days, though, just aren't suitable for making full meals. Enter: my Crock-Pot.

This baby is a true vintage piece. It's a Rival CrockPot with a hunter green crock and a chic vegetable motif on the metal heater surround (similar to the one above).

Last night, it was filled with yummy homemade chili. That wasn't a miracle...I put it there. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home from a meeting to the sweet smell of a cooked dinner.

The real lesson? It's nice to have dinner prepared for you, even if you are the you who prepared it (did you get all that?).

Do you love your slow cooker? What's your favorite recipe?

"Show me another pleasure like dinner which comes every day and lasts an hour."
 -Charles Maurice de Talleyrand