31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 1 of 3)

31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 1 of 3)

On November 1, I decided to join a Facebook Thanksgiving challenge, where I would post daily what I’m thankful for. Yes, I know November has only 30 days–it is my birth month, yanno :), but I chose 31 days because I turned 31 years old this year. I’ll post these in three installments since 31 is a bit much for one post. So here’s the first part of a rundown of the many many things I’m grateful for.

  1. I’m thankful for my healthy, juicy, alert son!
  2. I’m thankful for my love for math and research (and my capacity to understand it) and a job that leverages that love and uses it to help communities across the country.
  3. I’m thankful to be a homeowner. Even though the market slammed me, it’s nice to have my special place. And I’m thankful to have newfound motivation (FDT) to get it organized and redecorated!
  4. I’m thankful for a mom (Mary Robinson) who loves and supports me through it all. And I’m thankful to be closer to her than ever before as I understand more and more each day what it is to be a mom. I thank her for giving me a stellar example to follow.
  5. I’m thankful for my culinary skills. Did some cooking this weekend and I have to pat myself on the back. And I have to give shouts out to my parents, my granddaddy, and my Aunt Sweet for teaching me how to fill my belly with yumminess.
  6. I’m thankful that to vote, all I had to do was make sure my information was accurate, then get in my car and drive to my precinct and push a few buttons–NOT pay a poll tax, take a literacy test, walk for miles, get spit on, or put myself or my family in harm’s way. Exercise your right!
  7. I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had as an AKA. Over the last 13 years, I have (and continue to) learned lessons (a slew of them), made lifelong friends, amped up my community service efforts, road tripped, partied, had fun, and developed my leadership skills by putting them to the test. No one could believe I let anyone tell me what to do for a whole semester, but it was so worth it. 🙂
  8. I’m thankful to have too many clothes vs. not enough. I’m in the process of making more room for my growing baby, and I’m just grateful to have had more than I need and to have looked good in it. 🙂
  9. I’m thankful for a world full of adventures and culture. Although I’ve had to significantly decrease my mileage, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in several states across the country as well as six countries (seven if you count driving through Luxembourg). And I live vicariously through my friends. I collect postcards and magnets, and my fridge is covered with postcards from other countries from my friends’ travels too. (The latest from this year come from Vee‘s trip to Australia, Mallory‘s trip to Ghana, and Paula‘s trip to Jerusalem.) How blessed we are to see what the world has to offer and to have a safe place to come back to!
  10. I’m thankful for my family. I couldn’t ask for a better support system. They are crazy when I can’t be, positive and encouraging when I’m sad, and always funny. And they take care of me any chance they get. ♥ ♥ ♥
  11. I thank GOD for the truth. What’s done in the dark will always come to the light, and I thank Him for personal growth and the development of my patience and trust in God’s plans.

It’s been a long road for me over the last year, and figuring out how to focus on positive things instead of my trials has been key. I still have my moments when I just don’t understand various aspects of my life, but at the end of the day, I have to hold on to (and remind myself of) my belief that everything happens for a reason and that God’s plan is perfect.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – 2 Corinthians 4:17

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36 Things for the Single Ladies

36 Things for the Single Ladies

Today, I read this post, which was a result of a blogger stumbling across this list.  Every leader should know how to be a good follower, right?  Well, I’m following suit and sharing what I’ve done in this list (by bold type). To all you single gals (and guys) out there, how much of this list have you conquered?  **I think it’s important to note that at some point, you have to consciously enjoy/bask in/take advantage of being single.  Time and place for everything. Don’t look back one day and wish you had seen the benefits of being single.**  Now that that is said, do you think anything is missing from this list?

36 Things Every Single Girl Must Do Before She Settles Down

**To Build Your Confidence**

1. Go to a movie alone. [I am a movie fanatic. I’ll probably always do this from time to time!]

2. Lift weights. [Now ask me when the last time I lifted weights was, and you may think I need to unbold this one.]

3. Try surfing, water-skiing, or some activity you don’t already know how to do. Could be riding a bicycle. [Wouldn’t everyone logically be able to bold this one? I mean, the first time you did any activity, you didn’t know what you were doing yet, right?]

4. Take out the trash, set a mousetrap, do your taxes, build a bookcase. [I’m good on the mousetrap…]

5. Live alone, or at least move apartments in NYC without the help of family.

6. Train for (and finish) a huge physical test like a half-marathon. [Does playing coed softball count?]

7. Go to a scary doctor’s appointment by yourself. [I’ve done this, and it was because I was too proud to ask someone to come with me and hold my hand.  Luckily, one of my friends had the graciousness to surprise me and be there when I got back to the lobby leaking tears.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing this just for the sake of it.  There’s nothing wrong with single folk asking their friends or family for support.]

8. Quit your job.

9. Fly to a foreign country by yourself. [I wasn’t by myself technically, but I was with a group of people I didn’t know, so I’m counting this one.]

10. Learn to stand up for yourself.

**To Be Able to Look Back and Say “I Had Fun”**

11. Witness something once-in-a-lifetime, like Jokulsarlon, a lake next to a melting glacier in Iceland. [errr… I mean, I don’t really remember so I’ll go with no?]

12. Revel in being able to watch all the TV you want.

13. Get drunk during the day, just because you can. Attend Santacon, the convention for santas, or similar. [I’ve never gotten drunk in the daytime, but how ladylike is that? I’ve had drinks during the day, though.]

14. Go on a date with someone who actually makes you nervous. [:)]

15. Go out with an older man who takes you somewhere nice and makes you feel like a million bucks.

16. Go out with a guy who makes you laugh ‘til it hurts.

**To Get Perspective**

17. Be a good wingwoman. It’s not always about you.

18. Chill with your widowed and single grandma. She knows “alone”! [Since my grandfather passed last year, this one isn’t so lighthearted for me as it comes across in the wording.  Don’t know how I feel about this one, but yes, I’ve spent quality time with her since then.]

19. Volunteer. [Y’all know I do plenty of this.  But lemme tell you why I think giving your time to someone who needs it is a huge one.  It’s good for you and your soul, and it’s good practice in sacrifice (which I hear is, in moderation, necessary for healthy, long-lasting relationship).]

**To Make You Appreciate the Next Guy**

20. Do at least one Valentine’s Day alone. […I mean, ok. I can’t say this was necessarily on purpose, but I’m pretty comfortable with giving myself, my family, and my friends love on Love Day.]

21. Attend a wedding (or 15) alone.

22. Date the creeps. You’ll really value the nice guys afterward. [This was not by choice though. Again, wouldn’t recommend anyone do this on purpose… C’mon now.]

**To Make You Feel Sexy and Attractive**

23. Buy yourself some flowers.

24. Invest in a LBD (little black dress) and some sexy stilettos.

25. Sit at a bar by yourself and drink a martini. Cool. [I have a sneaking suspicion that I have done this. But since I can’t recall a specific time, I’ll leave it.]

26. Buy something frivolous and expensive that you LOVE wearing.

**To Make the Most of Your Free Time**

27. Finish all your schooling if you can. [I’m bolding this, not because I’m “finished” but because I already have 4 degrees so if I decided I were done, who would question me? I’m not convinced I’m done though. I absolutely love learning.]

28. Throw yourself into something time-consuming, like learning a foreign language. You may not have time to do this again until you retire and the kids are off to college. [I could write a whole blog post about all the time-consuming stuff I’ve delved into. Anything that’s worth doing probably isn’t all that quick, right?]

**To Make Yourself a Better Partner in the Future**

29. Make a list of all your faults. [I’d like to refer to them as my areas for improvement. I also listed my assets. Focus on positivity.]

30. Learn to cook well. [And bake too.]

31. Get some hobbies. Something’s gotta keep you occupied—plus it’ll make you seem interesting. [Reading, playing softball, going to the movies, crocheting, blogging, etc.]

32. Let your married friends edit your online dating profile. [If I had an online dating profile, I’d probably do this.]

33. Get your finances in order. [This isn’t a concrete thing. They’ve been in order before. Headed back in that direction now.]

**To Appreciate Being Single**

34. Babysit someone’s baby for an hour. [Hey, I have 2 nieces and 7 nephews, so…]

35. Help a friend through her divorce or a bad break-up.

36. Host a girls-only night. I think some coupled-up women forget how much we need each other. [I’ve done girls-only nights, days, trips–who doesn’t like hanging with the homies?]

**Things not on this list but on Nada Dee’s list**

37. Road-trip alone. I think this is a true test of how comfy you are with yourself.  I’ve taken myself places just because I wanted to be unencumbered by anyone else’s schedules, timelines, and desires.  Great way to sort out thoughts too.

38. Maintain a roster. I know several people who believe that once they meet someone, they must devote all their time and attention to that person, even before any semblance of a conversation about exclusivity occurs.  To each her own, but as my mom told me as a youngin learning the dating ropes, until you’re married, you’re single.  So without established boundaries, I never assumed that I should behave like I’m in a committed relationship.  Have some fun, meet new people, enjoy getting to know them, and really make an educated decision about who you want to pursue something deeper with.

39. Create a vision board. Where are you going in life? What do you want? Can you really merge your life with someone else’s if you don’t really know the value of yours? Sit down, write down all your dreams and short-term and long-term goals, then make it plain by creating a board that you can hang up and look at regularly, reminding you of what you need to be working on to achieve your heart’s desires.

40. Romance yourself. I dunno what your idea of romance is, but whatever it is, do it for yourself.  Go get a massage, make yourself bubble baths, light candles during a self-prepared dinner, sleep in something that makes you feel good about yourself, etc.

What else should singles do before they settle down?  Any other ideas?