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Thankful Thursdays #77: summah!

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Every summer, I become a broken record: “It’s soooo hot,” I moan.  Me and the heat-we don’t really get along.  Especially since I love baking, and summer heat makes it very uncomfortable to turn on the oven.  I really hate sweating.  Which may explain why I don’t exercise very much. ;)

But lately I’ve been thinking about all the great things about summer and it’s actually really changed my attitude a lot.  I’m still miserably hot, but at least I’m having a great time while sweating my butt off!

Why I’m thankful for summer:

*You can hover over the photos to get a description for each.

Summer is when our crops are grown and harvested and without summer, we’d all starve to death!  Thank you God, for giving us summer, which is the perfect climate for producing delicious corn, berries, wheat for our bread, gorgeous tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and the enormous cornucopia of colorful delicious vegetables and fruits.

Which brings me to…

The farmer’s market! I rejoice every summer when it opens up for the season.

I enjoy the vibrant, happy colors of bountiful green on the earth and blue of the sky.  Every season owns a unique beauty and summer is no exception.  God is the ultimate artist.

Babies!  Baby bunnies, ducklings, and goslings are everywhere in early summer and they are just so cute you have to stop in your tracks when you spot one to “oooh and awwww” for a while.  Unfortunately, I missed any photos of them when they were really small and only caught them once they were already half-grown, but they’re still pretty cute. :)

Ever since I was a baby, I’ve spent my summers swimming in lakes and pools and I continue to enjoy it as an adult.  One of the most delicious feelings is soaking up the shimmering hot heat of the sun and then running into water that is hot at the edge and gets cooler and cooler the deeper you go.  Swimming is my favorite exercise, next to biking, and there’s no other time of year I can do it since I don’t have access to an indoor pool.  It is also one of the best exercises since it is low-impact and a whole-body exercise, so I’m thankful for summer for helping me get more active by enjoying one of my favorite things.

Summer time means extra time with the nephew, which is always a reason to be thankful.

Danielle’s eyes were closed and she asked if I could Photoshop her eyes open. Aren’t you jealous of my Photoshopping skillz? And aren’t you glad you’re not my sister? lol

The Wichita River Festival, where there are myriad outdoor activities to enjoy like paddle boating, kayaking, outdoor concerts, miniature golf, an ice cream social…

Last year Dennis went overboard in his kayak and he had to be rescued out of the river.  Not that I was thankful for that, but it was a pretty good laugh. ;)

Picnics and barbecues!  It may be hotter than Hades, but that’s OK when there’s good company and good food to enjoy.

What do you love about summer?

Thankful Thursdays #28: I made my 5% goal!

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Thursday: Is there anything better than getting baked goods, like homemade banana bread, in the mail?  I bought two loaves, one with chocolate chips and one without, in an online bake sale and had forgotten about it so it was an even sweeter surprise when it arrived!  The chocolate chip (not pictured because I totally ate it all before I even thought to take one) makes a yummy breakfast, especially spread with peanut butter!

Friday:  Life has been chewing me up this week.  First I find out that in order to keep my job, I’m going to have to pass a test I already (barely) passed in order to get it seven years ago.  Tests really stress me out, so needless to say, I’m not thrilled about this.  Then on Friday, a situation arose with someone close to me that put me over the edge.  I was a bit of a wreck on Friday, so I was hugely thankful for the human kindness that helped me through.  While crying at work and after asking for prayers on Facebook, I received a lot of it firsthand.   As the kind words and prayers poured in from these dear souls, God comforted me and gave me the strength I needed to drive to this person’s house and have a heart-to-heart.  While I wouldn’t consider the situation completely resolved, it is much improved and I’m no longer constantly worrying about this person.  So I’m also thankful for that!

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Saturday: 11 years of wedded bliss with my soul mate, and cheap fun!  We celebrated our anniversary by doing all the free stuff that comes with a $5 River Festival button and did paddle boats, kayaking (Dennis went overboard twice and gave everyone a good laugh–see pictures of that here), and saw the Marshall Tucker Band live!  Not bad for $5!

Sunday: Aldi!  It’s our first stop for groceries because it’s got the best deals.  I remember back when we both worked for the Church of Scientology and were dirt poor, we could live off of $15 a week in groceries from Aldi!  We make ten times more than we did back then, but Aldi is still a lifesaver when it comes to our tight grocery budget.

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Monday:  Books, magazine articles, and Weight Watchers often warns people to watch out for salads at restaurants because although they seem diet-friendly, too often they are fat bombs in disguise.  Well, I’m hugely thankful for this means of eating a large portion of fat without going (too far) over my daily Points Plus allowance, thank you very much!  Using lettuce and other vegetables as the base of a meal makes for a huge, satisfying plateful of food that is very little calories, so I’m totally cool with drowning it in cheese, beans, eggs, full-fat dressing, nuts, whatever strikes my fancy.  If it weren’t for salads, my fat intake would come mainly from the butter in my weekly dessert indulgences, so I’m thankful for these beautiful plates of healthful, satisfying, fatty goodness!

Buffalo Chicken (made with real butter) Salad with (full fat) Blue Cheese Dressing (that I thinned with heavy whipping cream-bwahahahahaha!)

Romaine Salad with Chicken, Cheddar, Apples, Spiced Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette (made with no small amount of extra virgin olive oil)

Tuesday: checking off most of my to-do list!  I have a small planner that I carry in my purse, and I leave it open at my desk at work so that I can add things to each day’s to-do list as I think of them.  By the time I come home, the day is crammed with things to do and usually I just put them off until the next day, and then the next, etc.  Today I started my day with a prayer of thanks for the day itself, and asked God for help in using it to its full potential.  By the time I went to bed, I’d made more checkmarks than I have in a long time.  I really love seeing those checkmarks!

Wednesday: Finally!  I finally did a good job teaching the toddler Bible class.  Not that I was bad before, but I just wasn’t comfortable and knew I could do better.  I did tonight!  God gets the glory here as well, because both Dennis and I prayed about it and I know He was there with me because it was so different.  The children really listened, they didn’t get bored or frustrated, they were adorably polite (plenty of please and thank yous!), they participated with relish, and I think that I got through to them.  Here are the cutie patooties I had in class tonight, working on building arks (the focus of the lesson tonight was Noah and the ark, although since the blocks were out, we also went into the tower of Babel a bit):

You can see how cramped we are and why I was so thankful a couple weeks ago that we’re moving to a new and bigger building at the end of the month!

Oh wait! Can I be thankful for two things on Wednesday?  Because I’m also thankful that I met my 5% goal at Weight Watchers today!  I’m hoping to be up to ten pounds lost by next week.  (I started going eight weeks ago so I’m averaging about a pound a week.)  I love Weight Watchers!


OK, your turn!  Anything you’re particularly thankful for right now?

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