Archive for the ‘Thankful’ Category

Pulling Off the Surprise of the Century

March 19, 2009

chanda road trip2

Warning: This is a semi-long post. Don’t abandon it! 🙂

So, you may recall that for the past six years or so, some friends and I have gotten together on Labor Day Weekend for our annual “Chanda Reunion.” I lived with these girls when I did a semester abroad in London, and we have remained such great friends. Our very special group friendship is truly an incredible blessing that I try not to take lightly or take for granted. I could go on forever about how grateful I am for these girls, but then it would take me a long time to get to the title of this post. 🙂

As a small piece of background before I get to the “Surprise of the Century,” let me say that we had our usual Chanda Weekend in September 2008. We thought it would be our last time for a while with Sarah as she and her husband are moving to South Africa in August (2009). Sarah had a sweet baby girl about two months ago, and the rest of us were going crazy thinking about not meeting her before they moved.

[Enter the idea for the surprise…]

Sweet Cathleen brought up the idea, and the others of us jumped on board faster than we could send back Facebook messages to say, “Let’s do it!” We decided on a surprise March visit to see Sarah in Raleigh, NC. Remember, the rest of us girls live in Florida, so this would be quite the trek. The girls got the whole surprise arranged with Sarah’s husband, Casey and we were set. Shanel told Sarah she wanted to have pizza delivered for dinner one night since she lived so far and wasn’t able to bring them a meal (to help after having the baby). That “one night” would just happen to be the night we’d arrive. Brilliant.

So…last Friday we began the trip from Orlando to Raleigh. Shanel, Cathleen and I met up with Katie and her little girl Layne in Jacksonville and then started to head north. I drove the whole way from Jacksonville to Raleigh. We made one stop…that’s right ONE. We stopped for gas, and to borrow a table at the local Wendy’s where we proceeded to make our own turkey sandwiches and eat our lunch. 🙂

Shanel texted Sarah around 5pm to tell her that the pizza would be delivered by 6pm. Oh, and it was delivered by 6pm alright…by four of her closest friends! We picked up the pizza, drove to their house and knocked on the door. Sarah was SHOCKED. I don’t even really know the best way to describe it, but it was really one of the coolest things I think I’ve ever been a part of. After she realized she wasn’t dreaming, we sat down to enjoy dinner.

For the rest of the weekend, we did what we normally do…sit around, watch dumb TV shows, eat crap (seriously…crap = white trash sugar goodness, queso, cookies, etc, etc), wear pajamas, play cards, laugh, talk, catch up, laugh, enjoy each other. From the time we drove into Raleigh until after we left it didn’t stop raining and I don’t think it ever got above 45 degrees (quite a change from our normal beach weekends), but we couldn’t have cared less. It was amazing.

I am thankful…

  • for friends…
  • for laughter…
  • for common ground…
  • for surprises…
  • for sweet husbands who help pull off surprises of the century…
  • for sweet husbands who understand the importance of their wives’ friends and time with them…
  • for friends who are moms and wives, but who don’t sit around and talk about mom and wife stuff all day…
  • for friends who are ok with sitting around in pajamas all day…
  • for good gas mileage…
  • for the kind of friends who always, always, always pick up right where they left off.

I love you, girls! CHANDA FOREVER!

Chanda Reunion 2011: South Africa or Bust! 🙂  (Katie, do you think the Camry will make it there?!)

And, a couple of pictures…

Making & Eating Turkey Sandwiches in Wendy's

Making & Eating Turkey Sandwiches in Wendy's

Couch. Pajamas. White Trash Snack. Pretty Chandas. Wonderful.

Couch. Pajamas. White Trash Snack. Pretty Chandas. Wonderful.

Sarah and the Newest Chanda, Kieren.

Sarah and the Newest Chanda, Kieren.

Chanda. [Shanel, Katie, Me, Sarah, Cathleen]

Chanda...Shanel, Katie, Me, Sarah, Cathleen.

Check out Katie’s blog for her perspective.

And check out Sarah’s blog for her thoughts on the big surprise!


Really? Seriously?

September 30, 2008

Ok…I just have to vent. My left eye has been TWITCHING sporadically for the past TWO weeks. Aaaaaghhhh. I’ve tried looking up online and the only thing the Internet can come up with is stress or caffeine intake. Since my caffeine take has certainly not increased in the past two weeks, I’m going to chalk it up to stress. I don’t really “feel” stressed, but oh well. I have to blame it on something because it’s making me crazy. I’ve tried a new pair of contacts, no contacts, glasses…I’ve tried it all. Nothing seems to help.

With that in mind, I will remind myself that as annoying as this is, I am thankful for my eyes! Seriously. Sight is one of those things we take for granted, so I will take the twitching over not seeing at all.

Trying to be positive. Trying not to complain. 🙂

So Much To Be Thankful For

September 27, 2008

Friday-On Friday, I was thankful for a surprise complimentary lunch at Chick-fil-A. I was out running errands for work, one of which included a stop at Chick-fil-A to pick up some donated coupons. I decided to get lunch there, too, because honestly, who can resist it? To my surprise, the owner-operator of the store took my order and then wouldn’t let me pay for it. I know Neil from church, but I was so surprised at my complimentary Chick-fil-A lunch. Thanks, Neil! Oh, and how about that new Chick-fil-A sauce? Oh man…so good. I think I could drink that stuff (but only after I finish my sweet tea!).

Thursday-I am grateful for the little “chat” feature that is part of Gmail. It’s great and it keeps me entertained a lot of the time. Computer dork…I know.

Wednesday-As ignorant as this may sound, I am thankful that I don’t understand much about how our government operates. I really can’t elaborate on this because it will reveal more of my obvious ignorance.


September 24, 2008

Are you sick of these posts yet? I’m not…it’s a good perspective shifter for me.

Tuesday-On Tuesday, I broke out my new workout DVD, and I was thankful for the satisfying feeling of sweating from a decent workout. I need to do more of it. I makes me feel so much better. I need a routine. I need a personal trainer. 🙂

Monday-I’ve said this one before, but honest to goodness, I am thankful for Bible Study Fellowship. I’m hoping that once I move, I can convince my sister to go with me, and we can take Paul to join the kids group!

Sunday-On Sunday I was able to participate in the one year celebration of Heritage Community Church. HCC was started by my youth pastor and his wife (Sidney and Meredith Brock). [Sidenote: can I still call him my youth pastor when I’m almost 30?!?!!] My sister and her family have attended HCC since its first service. As I sat with my entire family at the service, I was thankful of the legacy of faith that has been left for me. My parents are incredible examples of Christ followers, and part of that is due to the influence of their parents and grandparents. Sid and Meredith have also been examples of faith to me throughout my life. I can still remember him explaining to me why he had to leave our church during my senior year of high school to go pastor at another church in another town. Understanding his faith and trust in God then, has been an ongoing example to me at different times in my life. I could give even more examples of faith-filled lives from other family members and close friends. I pray that my sister, brother-in-law and I can carry on the legacy of faith that has been laid before us and lived out in front of us for our entire lives. I pray that our lives influence my nephew (and any other kids that God chooses to bless our family with) to know and follow hard after a God that loves him and knows what’s best for him. I am thankful for a firm foundation and legacy of faith in my life.

Saturday-I love cooking and enjoying food with friends. On Saturday morning, I was thankful for a fun, big breakfast with friends–old and new. I made pancakes, my sous chef made eggs and Matt made bacon. Kasey was the trusty dish washer/kitchen cleaner upper and new friend, Brooks, came to enjoy a mid-morning meal with us. It was a great time.

Friday-On Friday, as I sat on the Ainsley’s back porch eating a scrumptious dinner prepared by my sous chef, I was thankful for new seasons of life. Seasons of life, such as the one I’m embarking on, are exciting, scary, consuming, tiresome, fun and new. But, they are also an incredible opportunity to increase your faith in God. I’m not a fan of change, as anyone who knows me well knows very well, but I am a fan of being a part of what God wants to do in and through me. So for reasons like these, I am thankful for new seasons of life. [Disclaimer: this is partially written as a reminder I’m sure I’ll need to read in a couple of weeks.]


September 19, 2008

Thursday-What an incredibly long day it seemed like! I think I was most thankful on Thursday when class was over at 10:00pm. 🙂

Wednesday-On Wednesday night, I was thankful for the trusty (most of the time) built-in webcam that my wonderful (most of the time) MacBook has. I got to count toes and fingers with Paulie. He told me about his day–with a lot of “yes” and “nos”. Before I hung up, I said, “See you Sunday!” And he said, “See you Sundeeee!” Oh man…I can barely handle it. That kid has captured me in a way few others have.

Tuesday-After a couple of somewhat difficult conversations, I was thankful for God’s graciousness in offering me small bits of confirmation that I was doing that He wanted me to do. I’ve got to write a longer blog (that I don’t have time to do right now) in order to elaborate on this, but I’ll try to get to it this weekend.


September 16, 2008

Monday-This was the second week of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and I am grateful for this great organization. Their tried and tested method of Bible study is so effective and applicable. This is my sixth year in BSF, and this year we’re studying Moses. Good stuff.

Sunday-On Sunday, I was very thankful for the sun. Although it was hot, it was a beautiful South Florida day. I’m a Florida girl and I love the sun!

Saturday-If you know much about me, I have a need to be productive, even on the weekend. However, on Saturday I was thankful for a relatively slow paced day without a “to do” list. I slept it, made breakfast, drank coffee, did my BSF lesson, had lunch with a friend, babysat for a couple of hours and then just hung out at home. It was great.

More To Be Thankful For

September 13, 2008

Friday-I am grateful for a relatively unscheduled, relaxing night. Simple dinner with friends at home. An appearance at a six-year-old’s pirate birthday party. A surprise visit from two sweet girls. Sarah Palin on 20/20. In bed early. It was a great start to the weekend!

Thursday-I am so thankful for the love of friends who want the best for me. I had a little “chat” with a friend Thursday night who gave me things to think about, and provided encouragement in love. 

Wednesday-On Wednesday I had a lot that needed to get done. I made my list and went after it. I am thankful for productivity. It’s just the way I’m wired. I HAVE to get stuff done. I can’t handle sitting around and not efficiently getting stuff done. I have to achieve….all the time. It can be annoying sometimes when relaxing seems impossible, but productivity is important too, and somebody has to do it.

Tuesday-On Tuesday, I was thankful for the wisdom of friends who are willing to speak truth into my life. There are times in life when each of us need the objective, outside wisdom of others. Of course, we must be open to listening and applying what we learn. God grants supernatural wisdom from those who ask and sometimes that wisdom comes from people who have walked the journey ahead of us.


September 12, 2008

Remembering a week’s worth of blessings in my life…I’ll catch up on the rest later…

Monday (9/8/08)-On Sunday night, my friends convinced me to stay in Orlando until Monday morning. Not to mention I got to see Kati and Paul on Sunday night. On Monday, I was thankful that I had a safe trip back to West Palm at 6:00am. It was a nice, quiet drive, and possibly a better option than driving back on a Sunday night. 

Sunday-Looking back at Sunday, I am thankful for new ideas. Some friends and I sat around dreaming up new ideas and opportunities. It is so life-giving to dream and be inspired for something greater. New ideas present new challenges and opportunities. I am thankful for the freedom to sit and dream.

Saturday-On Saturday, I was thankful for God’s faithfulness. I was able to participate in the first Orlando service of The Ascent. I was thankful for God’s provision for Winderemere Community Church and The Oates Family as they embarked on this new journey together. God is good. He keeps His promises. He is always faithful and for that, I am thankful.

Friday-On Friday, I went to Orlando to visit Kasey, Matt and Chad. We had a fun dinner in downtown Orlando, and then I suggested we head to SAK Comedy Club for some good clean fun. We had fun alright. Fun laughing at Matt. On Friday, I was thankful for laughing so hard you cry. Matt started “fake laughing” at the actors at SAK (who WERE NOT funny…at least not to us). His “fake laugh” was so real, but those of us that know him know how very fake it was and that made us laugh at him. I was seriously crying I was laughing so hard. Laughter with friends is good for the soul…I’m convinced. 

Thursday-On Thursday, I was somewhat grateful for the possibility of Hurricane Ike paying South Florida a visit. I know, I know…that’s horrible. I mean, it’s REALLY horrible…I shouldn’t wish that on anyone. But I was being thankful in a selfish way. I was looking for a reason to spend more time in Orlando with my family. Don’t judge me because I love my family. 🙂

Wednesday-I’m not too big into politics, but on Wednesday night, I was thankful for Sarah Palin. She seems to have her act together and makes me hopeful for our country. She makes me ok with the Republican party option. She seemed so “normal” and real. I am thankful that she is willing to take a risk and put herself out there in hopes of bettering our country. [On a sidenote: I want her bangs, and I want her accent…she’s so darn cute!]

Tuesday-What a hectic day! I was thankful for an early-in-the-day reminder from a co-worker of an evening commitment with work and then for the mercy of classmates when I realized I would have to miss an group meeting because of the work commitment. It was such a crazy day, and I was more than overwhelmed. I was annoyed at myself for forgetting about the commitments I’d made. My classmates were very understanding, and my co-worker was more on top of my schedule than I was that day. That’s something to be thankful for!

Monday-On Labor Day, I left the beach house after a wonderful Chanda Weekend and I was thankful for the safety and security of those friendships. Those girls are so wonderful and, even though we gave hugs and went our separate ways, I know that time and distance will not threaten the safety in those friendships. For that, I am thankful.


September 1, 2008

Yesterday, I was thankful for a hour of skateboarding with my pal, Katie. The sidewalks at the beach house are long and straight and wide. We had such a great time. We went to a little neighborhood that’s been sitting there for a while and only has 2 or 3 houses in it. There are a lot of empty lots and, therefore, plenty of wide open road space. There were two little hills, nothing huge, but big enough for us to ride down and have fun with. We even made some videos of ourselves. Stay tuned for those! Anyway, I don’t really have anyone to skateboard with around here, and it’s not quite as fun by yourself, so I am thankful for an hour of skateboarding fun with my pal, Katie.


August 31, 2008

I’ve got a lot to catch up on, but I’ve been keeping a running list, so here we go…

  • Saturday was a lazy day. I am thankful for friends who don’t care that most of us sat in our pajamas for more hours than I can recall. Really…what’s better than four of your best friends in the same room, lounging around, doing a lot of nothing and eating a lot of junk food? It’s great and it only happens like this once a year. Friends + pajamas + junk food + laughter = me being thankful.
  • Friday after work I met up with Katie to head to our 6th Annual Chanda Weekend. That night I was so grateful for friends who know me and love me just the same. My friend Shanel was telling us how she explained to her husband what each of us are like when we first arrive. She had everyone (and our personalities) down to a tee. All my friends know that when I first arrive to this cherished weekend, I am quiet, reserved and a little overwhelmed taking it all in. I love each of these girls dearly, it just takes me a little bit to warm up. Not sure why…it’s just the way I am. And, I’m grateful that my friends know that about me and love me just the same.
  • On Thursday night I started a new class-Work Motivation. After having a week off (the first Thursday night off since January), it was a little bit hard to get back into the swing of things and I was thankful when our professor decided to let us out of class a little early. His reasoning was so that we could go watch Barack’s speech, which I wasn’t really planning on doing. However, it was Chad‘s last night in PBG, so it was great that I could go hang out with him before he left. So, Dr. Shields, thanks for letting us out of class early!
  • On Wednesday, I had to choose to be thankful for the luxury of air conditioning. Our A/C has been a point of contention since we moved in and after more than two weeks of complaining about it, I decided it could be worse and I needed to be grateful. Having something that cools (or freezes) your house off is certainly a luxury and not something that everyone is blessed with. It’s one of those things you notice only when it doesn’t work the way you want it to or when it breaks. Even though our A/C doesn’t work the way I’d like, I am grateful that we have air conditioning.
  • Life gets busy (can anyone relate?) and on Tuesday night, I was very thankful for a night at home. I didn’t have any particular plans, but I just spent a nice night at home relaxing and getting things done. It was a nice night at home and I was grateful for that.
  • Monday at work involved a lot of meetings and team time. In an economy like our country’s at the moment, I am thankful for a job. I have a great team of people to work with, a few of whom are close friends of mine. My job makes a difference and serves a purpose much greater than myself. With several of my friends without jobs right now, I am thankful for my job.
  • I have been in and out of town on the weekends a lot in the last couple of months. That makes being a regular church attender a little difficult. I hadn’t been to The Ascent in a couple of weeks, so on Sunday of last week I was thankful for an incredible church body with amazing leadership who love the Lord and do their best to strive to please Him.
  • So last Saturday, I went to Ikea in search of a desk. Chad and Emily accompanied me. I get very overwhelmed with decorating or arranging a room. There are just far too many options. My trip to Ikea made me grateful for people with talents and gifts other than my own. Chadwick has quite the eye and just knows what looks good. I stopped making suggestions after the faces he made. I just let him do his thing. He picked out a great lampshade for my room and also some awesome pictures and frames for my bathroom. Surrounding yourself with people who have different strengths and abilities is a smart thing to do in any area of life. And, I am thankful for friends with talents and gifts that are different than mine.