Saturday, November 28, 2009

He's Just Fun!

As Thanksgiving break is draws to an end, I would like to tell you that I am thankful for my Granddaddy. I'm at his house right now, and let me tell you--he makes me laugh.

Today he reminded me that, whether he is telling me that I better get busy or I'll be an old maid, or if he is cluelessly about to sit on Darby the dog and Mal barely saves the dog's life, he is just always funny.

I stayed with him for a few months this summer to keep him organized and keep him company, and I had many great moments.

The first week I was there, he took us to J. Alexander's. As he was ordering, he said that he'd like the Fresh Fish and Seafood. That was not an option, it was like saying I'd like Entrees or Appetizers, like the heading of the menu. The waitress kept trying to ask him which kind of fresh fish or seafood he wanted, and he just said, 'I'd like all of it.' So, flustered, I just chose shrimp for him as I was trying not to either a.) be embarrassed or b.) bust out laughing. I learned to ask him what he wants before the waitress gets there so we would have it settled from then on.

And what about when we sat through the entire three hours of AUSTRALIA and when it was done, he said, "Boy, I never knew there was so much racism in Hawaii!" And I said smile/laughing, "In Hawaii?" And he said, "Haha, yeah, you didn't know it either, did you?"

We had another movie night one night at his house and had friends up and he watched the movie with us. About halfway through the movie, he got up to get a drink and came back and stood right in front of the tv, about 6 inches away from the screen. No one could see the tv. And I couldn't stop laughing. He had no idea that he was hindering anyone's vision.

I love that Granddaddy comes to our new church sometimes with my family. My old church, where he still goes, is Presbyterian, old, beautiful, stain-glass windows, and very traditional. Our new church, well it's a little more contemporary-- loud music, raising of the hands, a dark sanctuary. So a while back, he came with my family and during the singing time, people started raising their hands. So Granddaddy raised his hands too for a while, which he has never done. Then he looked around and saw that we weren't raising our hands so he took his down. You might have to know my Granddad, but I can't stop laughing when I think about this.

At Thanksgiving lunch, he got his plate and then walked into my aunt's bedroom because he told us that Ang told him that was where the table was.

But anyways, today, I was staying up here at his house again. It brought back mostly sweet memories from this summer. I spent hours going through their stuff, going through Nanny's closets and computer room, writing thank you notes, hanging pictures of Nanny, making dinners, cooking for other people, taking Granddaddy to lunch, having 'cousin nights' just about every night at Granddad's, just plenty of fun memories.

We had some funny moments of course. But really I just enjoyed being up there at that house and hanging out with Granddad.

So even though Granddaddy is sick, I love to still laugh (instead of cry), keep him company (even though he might not remember), and listen to stories from a lonnng time ago (because he does remember). He's just fun!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Favorite Day of the Year

Thanksgiving day: My favorite day of the year.

And that's pretty big, because I absolutely adore summer days and I love Christmas.

But, I like Thanksgiving because a.) it's not too hyped up b.) my entire family is here including the Nashville cousins c.) foooood d.) our annual Thanksgiving walk to the brow, and lastly e.) the weather always seems to be perfect November weather.

We also always have step-by-step photographs of what we do for this holiday.

Mother Dear cooked in the morning...

Bry and LA came down while Aunt Ang was getting ready to have everyone to her house for lunch. They juiced some oranges that Padre brought back from Florida.

Bry is adorable.

LA is a cutie.

Thanksgiving is usually at my grandmother's but this year it was at Aunt Ang's lovely new house.

Trey and Jack got into it on the kitchen floor. But they looked happy for the picture.

Mars and Lars.

The kids table...

Mal and Lars

We loved having Laurel and Caroline with us this year.

The adults table. We're allowed to go in there after we've eaten.

We can talk... A lot.

Elle got ENGAGED on Thanksgiving Eve so it was our first time to see her. We were so excited!

Elle and me with her ring. She's my "same-age" cousin (we all have a pair in my family)... It's so crazy she's getting MARRIED.

LeeLee and Bry on our "walk" to the brow.

It's Aunt Lori, Bry and Leelee.


Well, we actually failed at the walk this year. Time got away from us and it would have gotten dark by the time we got to the brow. Our solution?

We drove on our "walk."

We still got pictures... Even though we broke the walk tradition.

My cousins except the two oldest and one youngest. And Jack, who was taking the picture for us.

Look at that adorable couple!

Sweet Mego and Bry. She's holding him so he wouldn't run off the side of the mountain.

Loving my cousins.

We left Jack there accidently but we came back to pick him up. He was our photographer for the walk. Nice effect, right?

Anyways, it was a good day as we shared memories, broke a few traditions, and didn't even burn any of the calories that we consumed with a walk.

I am so thankful for this family that I have. We might be a little odd at times, as we pointed out yesterday, but that's okay. They make me laugh. And I have fun with them every single time we're together.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful in a Different Way

This is what I'm so thankful for today:

This is my family.

And I absolutely love them.

I wish we had a closer picture so you could see their faces, but you get the picture.

I will be seeing each of them this week except for my grandmother who passed away in March. This will be a sad holiday for that reason, yet happy because my family is still together and getting along. She did a good job at raising her 5 kids to be respectful and get along with one another.

I have been so blessed with a wonderful immediate family and a wonderful big family too--cousins who I have so much fun with, an amazing grandmother, an incredibly sweet grandfather-- just lots of Godly people.

So, this Thanksgiving I want to be thankful for what I still have here on earth, my family, as we celebrate the fact that Nanny is having the best Thanksgiving she's ever had in Heaven.

She gave me the best Thanksgiving that I have ever had last year when she miraculously got up from her bed after being there for 40 days, and she walked alone and then joined us at the table for lunch. I am thankful for those happy holiday memories with her that I wouldn't give up for anything. I am thankful that our family can remember her together with tears and with laughter.

It's a day to be thankful--thankful for the things that you wouldn't always think you could be thankful for, like the death of a dearly loved grandmother and friend. If I can't yet bring myself to be completely thankful for her death, I can be thankful that she is with Jesus, that I got to have her for 20 years in my life, and that she was the foundation for this close family that I have been blessed with.

So there we go, it's a start. I'm thankful in a different way this year. It's harder to be thankful, so it's different, but I'm thankful all the more.

"Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rescued from Darkness and Brought into the Kingdom

The thing that I am thankful for today has made my day a good one. I thought about it right when I woke up at 6AM today and my day has been different than recent days because of it. If only I truly understood this each and every single day, I would experience a joy that could not be shaken.

I read a great blog post from Steph last night, then I printed it off because I knew I needed to be reminded over and over, and I read it again as I was getting ready this morning.

The end of her post says:

If you have nothing else to be thankful for, be thankful that, if you know Christ, you have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of the Son who God loves, in whom you have redemption!
So, all the mornings I wake up in a bad mood. The days that I feel sorry for myself because I have bad grades. The times that I think about how bad my year has been. The times last year when I thought that nothing could get worse and it did. The weeks that I spent complaining about my joints hurting.

Well, for all those times, WHAT was I thinking?

I have been rescued from the darkness. Jesus died for me. God loves me enough to let His Son die. The Holy Spirit speaks to me even today. What could be better?

If during those days of darkness, hopelessness, battling of the mind, tension, illness... If those days bring me closer to Him, bring 'em on.

I saw a quote in my journal, and I don't know where it's from, but I don't think I made it up, and it says, "everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus." (I think it's a paraphrase of Phil 3:8)

The things that I think count so much [grades, surface relationships, stress, clothes, my well-being, future jobs] aren't worth even a smidgen compared to knowing Jesus. And I think in my life, God has had to take some of those things away from me, and it's been painful, but I think that I'll look back and be thankful for a few miserable college semesters, because in the long run, that misery will make a bigger difference in my life than having a few fun-filled, care-free college semesters would have made.

And I'd rather have that. I'd rather suffer and really know Jesus.

So, last night I prayed that the Lord would do whatever He wanted to in my life, whether it was in the "plan" or not, just as long as it brings me closer to him. And, that was a scary thing to do.

I woke up at 1:20 and was lying in bed, and got a phone call which I thought was my alarm clock going off so I grabbed my phone and clicked the button which answered the private number, and so then I had to say hello. The person on the other line said, "Dis Mel?" I tried to sound awake and replied, "Yes." The man just breathed in the phone for a few long seconds and then hung up.

I'm not sure if I was being ridiculous, but I got really scared as I was lying in bed. Immediately, I thought, God do you have a stalker in mind to draw me nearer to You? Because, I really wasn't thinking you'd take me seriously so quickly, and please, not a stalker. Please God.

I started praying to God that I wouldn't see a shadow in my window (big imagination + middle of the night) and that I could go back to sleep.

But I started thinking, what a blessing it is that I have GOD on my side! Yeah, we have the God who made this entire universe taking care of us. Everything won't be easy and safe, but it will be good and we will thrive with Him, no matter the circumstance.

Because I have been rescued from that dreary, dark night (literally and figuratively) and brought into the brilliant daylight, and it's nothing I did. I was able to wake up refreshed. And let me tell you, that wasn't my doing. I used to not be able to sleep in my 2nd story bedroom alone because there was a window behind my headboard.

That's something to be thankful for. Be joyful. As a believer, you have the most amazing gift and blessing that you could ever imagine.

Those little things from past days, yeah I'm thankful for them, but this thing, this being rescued by the God of everything- it's everlasting, forever, mind-boggling, life-changing- it is the only thing that will ever satisfy me and you.

And the word thankful, well it really can't describe my appreciation for it.

Thank Him, praise Him, honor Him, sing about Him, rave about Him, adore Him, and love Him, because even if nothing else appears 'good' in your life, you have been rescued from darkness forever, and can now experience the Kingdom of God-- and that is AWESOME.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Weather: Break or Make my Day?

It is Thankful Day Twelve!

Today I am especially thankful for the weather. The weather can make or break me. I think I've mentioned that before, but really, if I wake up to a cloudy, rainy, cold day, I have a hard time enjoying that day. I need to work on that, I know.

At any rate, I'm sitting outside right now, in the middle of November in Tennessee, in a sweater-type thing. You might actually make fun of what I'm wearing and call it a granny jacket (it actually was my grandmother's). But I don't care; it's comfortable.

(I was thinking the camera came out the other side of the computer, like a phone, so I thought I was taking a picture of the view from my balcony but it ended up being me... in my granny jacket.)

My point being is that my sweater is very light-weight and that I feel perfect out here on my balcony. Not too cold, not too hot.

And my view on this beautiful day, well, it is awesome. This is the hill that I look at each and every day that I spend here in Cuetee (my apartment complex). I look at this hill longing for the desire to walk up it for exercise, but I've only had that desire once while living here and let's just say that I had to wash my jeans and my shirt sleeves after scooting walking down.

So anyways, thank you God for these amazingly beautiful days you have given us in November. And I pray for many more to come. Please!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Appreciation for Bowls

Thankful Day Eleven

I know I've missed about 4 days or so of being thankful, but I was just not able to pull it together enough to post. But I'm pulling myself together now so I can write to you lovely blog stalkers.

I was sick on Sunday and Monday and stayed in the bed for the majority of that time, then made myself well and went to visit my dear cousin Taylor in Nashville Tuesday so didn't arrive home until 12:30, and I'm not sure if it's AM or PM, but it's the one at night.

So today, Wednesday, I woke up for my 8 o'clock, forgot my coffee and cold medicine on the counter, went to Panera but wasn't even late to class, fell asleep in class, got a free lunch, then left early from class thinking that I'd just slip out because the teacher was out of the room. I proceeded to ask around class to see which door I should exit from so that I wouldn't run into Dr. W. Out of the three door choices to exit from, of course I chose the one where I ran straight into him, one-on-one in the hallway where I had to explain to him what I was doing. I didn't have a real reason to be leaving so I just looked like a lying idiot... "Umm, I had to leave at 1 so I just thought I'd go ahead and leave so that I didn't interrupt class." You may have had to be in the situation to see the awkwardness, but it was.

So anyways, to the point, Natalie and I decided that today we would be thankful for bowls. They are our favorite because they can be utilized for most of my favorite things--ice cream, cereal, soup, salads, mixing, and any other food you want to put in there!

It's so much easier to eat out of bowls. I mean, have you ever run out of bowls and tried eating cereal off of a plate? Don't even try. It will ruin your entire morning. And have you ever noticed that a salad tastes better when it is in a bowl? Well, it does.

The main reason I run the dishwasher at our apartment is because we run out of bowls. I guess we've been eating a little bit too much ice cream cereal and salads.

So let's give it up for bowls.

Comment and tell me any instances that you've appreciated the bowl.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Crackling Fireplaces and Down Mattress Toppers

It's Thankful Day Seven, even though I missed Thankful Day Six. But I'll tell you two things that I am thankful for today to make up for it, don't you worry!

So for yesterday, I am thankful for fires in fireplaces. I got home yesterday to find the coziest fire going, the house smelling like apple cinnamon, and my parents sitting in the living room. It was the ideal Fall scene for me growing up. Our house was always cold because of high heat bill prices earlier in the year, so to warm up, we'd gather by the fireplace. Sometimes, my mom even moved the sofa to right in front of the fireplace so that we'd have a place to sit because my entire family was gathered there around the heat just about all the time, doing homework, talking, or watching tv.)

So anyways, not only are fires warm, they are cozy, they remind me of Fall, and they bring back sweet, yet frosty memories spent with my family close.

And for today, I am thankful for mattress toppers. My bed at home, well it isn't the most comfortable bed by any means, that is, until the feather mattress topper was put on top of the other crate topper. Now it's the kind of bed where when you get in it, you sink down.

As the story goes, I moved out to go college so Mother wanted to use my room as a guest bedroom. She moved me into the worst room in the house with a mattress that was unbearable. So, I get home for Thanksgiving break freshman year and my stuff is not in the same place as I left it, and my bed was slanted sideways... Oh, thanks Mom, I wasn't planning on catching up on any sleep or anything, no big deal.

Long story short, with a little work, Mom has transformed that mattress and bed into bliss with those two layers of padding, soft sheets, a heavy down comforter and a quilt to top it off.

This is making me want to go get in bed, and I just might do that! It is getting dark... Maybe that will cancel out the fact that it is 6pm. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guess What I'm Thankful For

It's Thankful Day Five!

See if you can guess what I'm thankful for on this 5th day of November...

The simple things in life make me happy, really. This item is quite a small thing, I would say no bigger than a foot tall but really skinny, it's soft and colorful, and it is flimsy.

When I go home and find that my mom has a new one, I have to spend time with it until I have thoroughly examined it, and this can take about an hour or more. Even after this, I have been known to go back through and look at them over and over because I think they are just so interesting. I have hung out with this while on my sofa, at the kitchen table, by the pool, in the car, and at Wal-Mart. I have even shared it with Merd or Mars as we sit on the sofa staring at it side-by-side.

When I am finished squandering my time with this item, I come away with tons of new ideas. I am a more creative cook, a resourceful decorator, a , and pretty much a better person all around, that is, until I forget my newfound knowledge a few hours later.

Just the site of this makes me happy.

What do you think it is?

The Real Simple Magazine

Yes, it's my favorite! Like I said, it's the things in life that are simple, really. And, I'm thankful for those little things.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Music

Thankful Day Four:

Christmas music.

Lately I've started listening to Christmas music on a regular basis. Yes, I realize that it is November 4th (and I've even enjoyed it in the summer), but I have to weight my love for the music with the fact that it is only "acceptable" to listen to it for so short a time. There are only 29 days of the year this year (from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas) to listen to it, and that is only 7.9% of the year for an entire genre of music.

Plus, it's not just any genre of music, it's a joyful one, a meaningful one, and a comforting one. When I turn it on, memories come back to me of wearing bright red sweaters with dresses and thick black tights, staring at the huge lit up star hanging off the side of the mountain, as a child in my grandmother's house playing with cousins, and sitting in church during the Christmas hymns, comparing the choir to angels. How amazing is it that we have so many songs, all to celebrate Jesus' birth?

So, that's what I'm thankful for- music that celebrates our Savior, brings childhood memories back, and never fails to bring joy and put me in a good mood.

If you're like me, go ahead and turn on the carols. Be excited for the upcoming season! (If you're not like me, I'll call you Scrooge.)

Some people have told me these past few days what they are thankful for, so I thought I'd include the ones that I can remember:
-The ability to smell, specifically Glade Cinnamon Spice plug-ins
-10 fingers and 10 toes
-Mel (me) having eyebrows and a phone that can text
-Mountains in Tennessee

Dear Jody...

Dear Jody,

You were always such a sweet little dog. I know that I wasn't always so sweet back to you, and all you wanted was for me to remember you when you left your paw prints on my church clothes. All you wanted was our loving attention when you chased our tires in the driveway. You really didn't mean to annoy us by making us stop and go as we were trying not to hit you (and I'm sorry for the times that I did hit you on the 4wheeler). And, the last time I was home, I know that I wasn't so nice screaming at telling you to get back outside when all you wanted to do was to join in the conversation in the living room because you didn’t know that once again you smelled like a dead squirrel. Sorry about that, I always though that it was just always understood that you were an outside dog.

I'm sorry you had to go in a traumatic way, but I think you were doing what you loved--chasing the UPS truck. I'm pretty sure that was the highlight of your every day since we lived on the mountain. You were always the fastest of all the dogs, you know. But I guess this time, you just didn't see the other car coming right for you.

I didn't think it would really affect me when you died because you're a dog and I care more about people than dogs. But, I do miss you even though I'm at school and I wouldn't see you anyways.

Just wanted you to know that there will be an empty place in our yard when I get home this weekend, and I'm going to notice it. These past 13 years you have always been right there, literally, when I got out of my car (even if it was when I was in my prom dress and you smelled like the pond).

Love, Melis

R.I.P. Jody


I'm sorry I didn't have a better picture, but there you are in the bottom left.

Thankful Day Two: Cute Little Kids

Being away from home during the school year presents one small problem: I never see little kids. That means I'm missing out on a lot!

Kids are care-free, funny, and just so little that I want to squeeze then!

So when I miss home, need a little cheering up, or am trying to find ways to procrastinate some more, I look through pictures from the summer.

And good thing I get links to blogs and e-mails with pictures like this so that I don't have to look at the same pictures over and over:

P.S. I think it helps that I have about twenty adorable little cousins who I get to be around all summer.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 2, 2009

November: The Thankful Month, For Real

It's November!

I love this month because it's the month when the bright red, orange, and yellow leaves contrast with these perfectly blue, cloudless skies that are lingering from October. The air is so crisp that I forget what humidity feels like. And it's just the perfect temperature to drink green tea while doing homework on the deck, meaning that it's cold enough to drink warm tea outside, yet warm enough to enjoy the outdoors without numb fingers and toes.

I'm telling you this because truly, I am dreading the winter, which makes me usually dread November because November means that the winter is on its way.

But I have decided, in light of Thanksgiving, that I am going to be thankful for at least one thing every day.

I'll keep you posted and I hope you'll join in and be thankful.

So, to start off, today I am thankful that my hair does not look like this any longer:

Enough said, you understand why, right? I'm kind of embarrassed that I even showed you this picture. Hopefully the man of my dreams doesn't type in on google: how to put gas in a boat, then find that my blog pops up first (yes, it's true!) and then he clicks on A Piece of Pie and just finds this picture. Boy, would I have no hope at all.

Long story short, the woman butchered my hair.

So to sum it all up, I am thankful that I can look at myself in the mirror without laughing.