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Thankful Thursdays #69: home sweet home

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I apologize to those who are reading this on a work computer. I copied all the photos from MySpace and Facebook, and they likely will not show up on your computer if your workplace blocks those sites. I hope you will check back when you get home!

Our home is the last thanksgiving on my list of top ten, and I didn’t really expect to devote any more time to it other than mentioning it when I made the list.  But we’ve given  food to the same homeless man begging in the same spot for the last two Sundays, and I’ve seen more and more people begging in the streets, and it has made me reconsider.  Though I’m not sure how many of them are homeless, their growing presence is a poignant reminder to remain thankful for the basic necessities I take for granted, and even complain about, like the humble roof over my head.

Truth be told, we live in a small home.  550 square feet to be exact.  And yes, I have been known to complain about it.

I get frustrated that I don’t have enough room to store my cake pans, that I have to have a clothes rack in the garage because we don’t have enough closet space for our clothes (especially since I turned half of one closet into my cake stuff storage area), that there’s nowhere to store the vacuum so we have to drag it up and down the basement stairs to use it, that we have to move our (very heavy) coffee table every time I want to work out to a video.

We also live in a house with lots of problems.  The basement leaks, the garage leaks, we have no guttering, the walls are cracking, the porch is sinking and separating from the house, and did I mention my lack of cake pan storage space?

Jenna recently tickled me when she wrote a very upbeat post on Monday, in which she was showing step-by-step photos of her recipe process, including one with bacon grease spilled on the counter.  Her take on the spilled grease?  “Look at the grease you spattered on the counter and also feel good. Because you can just wipe it up with a soapy sponge, and the problem disappears.  And when your “problems” can be fixed with a sponge . . . well, then you can really count your blessings.”  This is what I will remember next time I can’t find a place for my 14″ cake pan.  If that’s the biggest of my problems at the moment, I can rejoice!

Because I not only have a home, but I have too much stuff to even fit in it.  What luxury!

Within my home, I can shower, cook food on the stove or in the microwave or oven, and store the leftovers in the refrigerator.  I drink purified water from a water cooler, go online and communicate with my friends by email. I can write a letter and mail it from the mailbox on the front porch, and I receive cards and letters and packages here–a great perk of having a place to live!  I can watch a movie with my husband, I can give my dog a place to sleep, and keep her safe from the storms that terrify her.

Our home protects us from the cold & heat, sun & rain, wind, hail & tornadoes, but the biggest blessing is the many beautiful memories that have been made in it.  This home is integral to those memories, and each time I look at certain things in my home, it brings those memories back.  They are intrinsically interwoven, and it is a joy to have a place to come to every day, to have parties, to have friends and families over, so those memories can be made.

If you have ever had a reason to complain about the home you’re living in, I encourage you to say a prayer of thanksgiving today.  Whether it be grand or humble, you have a home, and that is a blessing.  May yours be filled with many, many happy memories.

***

A jaunt down memory lane in our home:

The Davis girls on Halloween 2004. My sisters are the hotness!

We used to have Halloween parties every year. Our spread from 2007, above, was one of my favorites!  OK, this is a little embarrassing, but you see the cheese balls and cheese log arrangement on the far left?  Um, yeah.  That was my sister, Lacey’s, “Lorena Bobbit Cheese ‘Balls’ platter.” Oy. :)

She couldnt get enough of my fingers    Veronica

Showing off my new baby girl in 2004.

What I love most about my home is the man (and dog) I share it with!

Have I ever shared a photo of my Mom with you guys?  If not, I am now!  Here I am with  Mom and Dad after cake on my 27th birthday.

With Danielle and Mom after a holiday dinner at our house.

Goofing with Everett and Danielle in X-Men masks on Den’s birthday several years ago.  Have I ever told you I LOVE the X-Men movies?  It’s weird b/c I’m so not a sci-fi girl.  But I got pretty obsessed with X-Men.  I watched the first one so many times, I could quote it word for word from beginning to end.  I had way too much time on my hands!

Lacey (second from right) and I had a Mary Kay party at my house with our sister, Danielle (middle) and our friends, Jen and Carly.  Girl time is so much fun!

Dennis  Jessie 1/3/09    Veronica

These two make our house a home.

Dad and his girls in My Photos by Veronica Miller

Dad and his “men” as he always called us. We had a barbecue in our backyard for his 60th birthday.

My cutie-patootie nephew, Owen, making a magnificent cupcake creation!  He loves helping me bake. :)

Doggy sleep over: Jessie and her friend Jenny, tired from staying up late giggling. :)

My friend, Heather, stopped in for dinner while visiting family in Wichita, 2010.

Despite a a significant age gap, Bobby and Dennis were great friends for years.  He visited us after he came home from Afghanistan in 2010 (he was in the Marines), but he now lives far, far away.  We miss him so!

Dennis curled up with Jessie after he had oral surgery to remove a cyst.  Jessie’s a great comforter.

Pizza night!  Danielle and Everett broke up last November, so the pictures with him are terribly bittersweet for me (they were together 6 years!), but I’m so glad for the time shared with him and the memories.  We will always love him.

Action shot! This is Jessie and her best friend, Doc. They have sleepovers every few months.  They have known each other since they were puppies–they met at the doggy day care we used to take Jessie to.

I teamed up with a few co-workers for a weight loss competition in November of 2010 and they all came over to weigh-in.

At the end of three months, Erika won! We had a final weigh in party with plenty of fattening foods to celebrate our weight loss. :)  The Huggies in the background shall be explained shortly.

Nicole and her kiddos were supposed to join us for the final weigh-in party b/c we had planned a surprise shower (hence the Huggies and flying stork), but she didn’t come until everyone had left!  Her kids went wild drawing pictures while we chatted for hours. I still have their drawings on my fridge and it makes my heart happy every time I see them.

Last July, my friend Teri came over for a pie crust lesson.  She wanted to learn how to make pretty pies, and I needed some help making the kind of down-home-cookin’ my husband loves, so we made a deal to teach each other.  So much fun!!

Ever since we made these cut out pie crust cookies last summer (after a day of swimming, hence his trunks), Owen always asks if we can make these again!  “Can we make cookies in animal shapes with jelly in the middle?”  I’m so glad he loves to bake as much as I do!  We will definitely be making a lot of memories in this kitchen. :)

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Thankful Thursdays #63: Friends part 2, Memories

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I hid behind the refrigerator with my friends at a neighbor’s house, waiting to scare the neighbor’s Mom, who was coming through the door.  Unable to hold in my giggles, I ruined it by drawing the others to giggles and soon I was laughing so hard that I peed my pants, causing the others to laugh even harder while the Mom stared at us in bewilderment.

My third grade crush insulted me in front of the whole class, but I held in my tears until it was recess time. My friends surrounded me and hid me from view, ready and willing with hugs that soon mended my broken little heart.

My best friend and I stayed up late, playing MASH, and giggling.  We were so afraid of anyone finding out our secret desires of who we wanted to marry that we tore each paper up after it was filled, and flushed them down the toilet.

It was our first middle school dance and we were so excited.  I met my friends at the dance and not long after I arrived, wearing my tiny mother’s dress that was way too adult for me, I proceeded to rip the seam up the back almost to my butt while doing the running man (as a joke).  My friends stayed around me in a circle the whole night so no one would see.

It was the night before a big test.  I met my best friend at her house and we quizzed one another relentlessly and every time I missed a question, she thought of a way to help me remember the answer.

We sat on the kitchen floor of a friend’s house in a circle, eating cookies and telling each other funny stories.  “OK, don’t make me laugh,” I warned them.  “I’m going to get up because I have to pee.  Don’t. Make. Me. Laugh.”  As soon as I stood up, one burst into giggles and the rest followed suit.  I crossed my legs as tight as I could while I squealed with laughter, but it was no use.  I peed all over the floor and my friend’s Dad came running just in time to witness the glorious event.

Swimming at El Dorado Lake, the wind caught my inner tube and, wanting to show off to the surrounding boys, I quickly took off after the float.  Not realizing how far I might have to swim, I started to panic as I reached the halfway point, trying to float on my back to avoid drowning as I sputtered and gasped for air.  Suddenly, my best friend was beside me and gave me her float before swimming after the runaway float.  She probably saved my life!

We walked in the procession to pomp and circumstance, eager, excited, and sad.  Would this be the end of our friendship?  Would our separate journeys as adults divide us?  What did the future hold?

It was my big day, and I’d just gotten married.  I hugged person after person who went through the reception line, and I kept looking to see where my best friend was.  She waited until the very last to join the line and when she hugged me, she burst into tears.  “What’s wrong?” I cried.  “I just feel like, you’re leaving me behind.  That you’ve found a new best friend.”  “No, we’ll always be friends,” I promised.

We were painting addresses on curbs to make some extra money, and my best friend and I came across a freshly paved square of sidewalk.  Looking at each other with juvenile orneriness dancing in our eyes, we conspired together and wrote on it: “Let me out! I’m underneath this square of pavement!” before jumping in the car and taking off in a fit of girlish giggles.

We got a job together at the same place and sometimes I’d find a note underneath my windshield wiper after work that would make me bust out in laughter.

Scloomp, scloomp, scloomp. You've officially been scloomptified!

She brought me to Christ, is my long distance pen pal, makes recipes she finds on my blog and uploads pictures and pimps me out on Facebook, which always makes me smile.

We walked to the park with her kids and my other bestie, and when the latter joined the children in playing on the playground, we gave in and joined her, realizing how fun it is to let loose and not let the expectations of adulthood inhibit us.

We take vacations and weekend retreats together.  We call and text each other with good and bad news.  We mail each other packages and letters, share our favorite music by sending CDs.  We email frequently.  We buy things impulsively that reminds us of one another.  We rejoice in each others’ triumphs, and console each other when tragedy strikes.  Through the years, I can say that I made it through them joyfully because of my friends.  Friendship is one of God’s greatest blessings to us because when we call on Him for comfort, it seems like that is how it is delivered, through a smile, kind words, a hug from a friend.

And then there are my online friends, who are just as important to me as my real-life face-to-face friends.  Our connections vary in depth, but every one is a blessing to me, bringing me joy daily, and comfort in times of distress.  Some I confide in, baring my soul to them, including some readers who I know through no other medium than my blog.  Some have become so close to me that I do consider them real-life friends, even if I’ve never seen their face other than in pictures.  You know who you are. :)

Thank God for my friends.  You are my “quiet angels,” and I dedicate this song to you.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

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