Full of Thanks


'Giving Thanks' is one of fifty labels I use to categorize my blog posts (see 'What I Blab About' on the righthand side). When filtering for just it this afternoon, I found that it fit the bill in some way, shape or form for most of my entries to date. Others, like 'Greek Life' and 'Gossip Girl', got more usage from BOD circa 2009-13. 

I'm thankful for that evolution as this blog has grown up with me--to see that this space has always offered me a place to pinpoint things that often get taken for granted. I'm equally thankful that there's a day (a long weekend, really) devoted to doing the same. As you may have guessed by now, it didn't seem right to dedicate this week's post to anything but the wonderful reason for the season. Here's this weekend's edition of what I'm thankful for:

Skipping the stores and instead, spending quality time with my sis, scavenging the sales in cyberspace with champagne & a new do, courtesy of her at-home beauty salon braid service.

Her son and my oldest nephew, Sam, reminding us all of the great gift that is wi-fi during our family's circle of Thanksgiving. 

Blessings really do come in all shapes and sizes. Like my big girl nieces, Ceci and Ana, who painted pottery with me. Then, there's our brand new baby boys,

like Maximilian James, whose big family joined together to witness him join his bigger Christian family last weekend  

and baby Benjamin, who can nestle in my arms whenever he needs a nap.

Last but not least, there's littlest Lucas, who lit up the room as I took him on a FaceTime tour of his wild turkey family down in Texas.

courtesy of MK's Snapchat feed
For that, I'm thankful for my phone, allowing me to connect with loved ones near and far, like Merl, who I had a morning chat with, already making my day and bound to make my week, too.

At the same time, I'm thankful to unplug and the time to flip through a new book as well as an old journal, finding an abundance of answered prayers.

All last week, I watched my mom use her forty years of experience putting food (& flowers!) on the table for our happy (and always hungry) family. No surprise then that her children--and my siblings--did wonders with side dishes and dessert.

Then, I witnessed my dad's ability--after many years of experience also--to not let a disappointing loss for his Fighting Irish football team rob him of any joy or entertainment from a good game. 

And of course, sharing all of the above with William and in turn, being treated to the company of his also sizable family, a set of six sons and two parents who value their time together and share something just as special. 

There's an overwhelming trend as I read through what I've deemed worthy of mentioning. Above all, I'm thankful for my people, this weekend and every day. 

I hope you and your people enjoy this upcoming holiday season!

paix & prières & a post for Paris


In light of the attacks in Paris, I didn't want to wait any longer before posting this in dedication to a city that I--like many, many others--love. It has sat in my drafts for some weeks now as I've had recurring thoughts on my time spent there. Since it's been a work in progress prior to the attacks, the tone and mood of the content by no means reflect the weight of the tragedy that took place there last week. Still, it's a small way to reflect on the big part the city has played in my life. So, without further ado...

You may recall my trip to Paris last summer. What I failed to mention is that I packed all the wrong things. I discovered fairly quickly that not only is Texas bigger than France, it's also much, much warmer. My suitcase was stocked with several new sweaters and scarves upon my return, and I'm happy to report that over a year later, these items are still on heavy rotation. I've worn through a fitted white tee from a store I can't remember the name of; there's a lightweight Zara scarf I wrap around my shoulders at work once a week, if not twice; and, a black top with leather sleeves from another chain has become this year's fall's favorite transition top to throw on.

What seemed like nothing special in the stores--just solutions to my packing oversights--turned out to be everyday staples. I'll be the first to raise my hand in recognizing that the French have that certain "je ne sais quoi" when it comes to style: chic but simple, effortless but elegant. After people watching on the streets, perhaps I picked pieces out with that sense of style in mind, so they have naturally withstood the test of time. What's more likely, though, is that their permanent place in my closet reflects the permanent place Paris holds in my heart. In other words, the sentiment of the city reigns supreme.

That's why I rested a Paris metro map on my desk at home with Post-its pointing out the places where memories never to be forgotten were made. That's also why I'll always pick the croissant at a pastry window as the taste takes me back to the sweet smell of morning walks. And that's why I loved watching Sabrina for the first time, finding out she was the first to utter the phrase, "Paris is always a good idea."

In a world full of things, our possessions tied to the places and people we love will always outshine the other stuff. Paris, you've spread good 'round the world. Prayers for you, your people and a state of peace are being sent back.

More is More


There is--and continues to be--more and more noise that clogs our ears, our eyes, our hearts and our minds. With inboxes and Instagram, ads and alerts, news feeds and notifications, it can be numbing.

I make an effort to sift through that noise to find things of note to share with you all. But, with more stuff on my plate and less time on my hands, that sifting and sharing process happens less often than I'd like. So, instead of scrolling through my photo feed and skimming recently favorited articles, I'm recycling old material tonight.

I read my post, No I In Fear, to remind myself of my resolution for this year. What caught my attention was that less fear was really just the means to my end, more goodness. I wrote,

"As I strive to live a life with intention and meaning, this goal is aiming to extract more good out of life." 

Goodness is everywhere. Stress is just a symptom of trying to manage, balance and juggle all of it during the day. The more you seek it, the more you'll find it. I hope you find the good today and store it for the days to come!