Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 30--Self

Dear Jaimee,

Thank you for undertaking the challenge to spend the month of November being thankful. Thank you for remembering and writing about all the reasons you love the people in your life. It has been cathartic to focus on all the blessings you have been given.

Thank you, self, for being a diligent student throughout your life. Thank you for developing a love of learning early on and continuing to follow that passion everyday. Thank you for being open to new experiences and people. Thank you for not letting the negative overtake your life and ruin your chance at happiness. Thank you for accepting change. You grow because you let life happen.

I am thankful that I have learned to recognize when I need help. I am thankful my pride has not kept me from seeking assistance when my plate becomes too full. I am thankful that I love myself enough to move through the dark days with an eye on the hope of a better tomorrow. I am thankful I have learned to forgive myself for my self torture and torment of the past.

I am thankful that I waited for my one true love to come back around. I am thankful for the life we make each day and for the blessing we have in our girl. I am thankful I learned to be a good mother pretty quickly so she always has a built-in biggest fan.

I love you, Jaimee...always will.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 29--Listography of Thanks

Top 10 Things For Which I am Thankful:

10. My Family and Friends

  9. My Puppies, Hope and Faith

  8. My Employer and Career

  7. My Education

  6. The house we call home 

  5. The trials I have overcome

  4. The people who inspire me

  3. Coffee on cold mornings

  2. My ability to be silly and to play

  1. You

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 28--That Dinner Everyone Always Talks About

This thank you is a little lame but at least I am still trying. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? Here's my guest list:

Matthew (yes my husband knows)

Mrs. Obama

The Queen

Sunday, November 27, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 27--My Blog Hero

Dear Elizabeth,

For the month of November, I challenged myself to write 30 thank you notes to those in my life whom matter and mean so much to me. You are on that list! It may seem strange (or slightly stalker-ish) that a stranger would call you her friend and blog hero, and it is probably oogie (and slightly scary) for that stranger to send you a letter of thanks. That's just me, your best scary, oogie, stalker/stranger friend. Thank you for not putting out a restraining order.

Thank you Liz for your blog, Flourish in Progress. Thank you for making me laugh and cry. Thank you for always writing a response to my crazy little comments on your blog. Thank you also for the very cool magnet you sent me for liking your page. It's the first blog SWAG I have ever won! Thank you mostly, Liz, for supporting my blog as well. I truly feel like a rock star has visited my home when you leave comments on my posts.

I began my blog because of the tragic loss of my sister this past March. Most of my followers are our friends and family. It was the only way I could work my way through this anguish. As I was looking for ideas for how and what to write about each day, I found the Happiness Project, which led me to your lovely blog. Girl, you keep me laughing with your Monday dares, and you remind me to laugh at even the most crazy things people in this world put us through. Your openness about your past reminds me that my happiness in life is not determined by the hardships of the past but of the joys we make of them. Thank you for your heart and your openness, Friend.

As for groups of friends, we are a troop of four peeps that became friends at work more than a decade ago. Sarah and I drug our sisters into the group and a few others. We truly are that crazy group that looks like that have a lot of inside jokes and tons of memories. Some days those are the only things we have to keep us from crawling under the bed and hiding there until this pain subsides. I want you to know you would always be welcome to join our little bit of crazy if you ever moved back to Texas.

Love ya, girly!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 26--One of My Heroes

Dear Ellen,

For November, I challenged myself to write 30 heart-felt "thank you" notes, one for each day. I have honored everyone I love dearly, and today I chose you to thank. It's a little weird to you, I guess, that you are on my list of dearly loved. To me it's as natural as can be because I spend each afternoon watching your show and dancing, laughing or crying as if I am spending an hour with a friend.

Ellen, in 2009 I relied on your show to make me laugh during a dark time of struggling with anxiety and depression that threatened to end me. Your show gave my husband and daughter a way to spend time with me and bonded us as a family even more, making me see all the blessings I have. In 2010, I took to heart your anti-bullying campaign and used your dialog and mantra, "Be kind to one another," as my main focus in parenting our then middle-school-aged child.

This year, I have clung to your humor to pull me through another dark time. My 38-year-old sister Gayla was killed in March when her car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer. My best friend and soul mate since birth was just ripped away from me, and it destroyed me, my family and the friends that Gayla and I shared. Then in August of this year, Gayla's and my best girl friend, Sarah, lost her 31-year-old sister, Becky, to a vehicle vs. pedestrian incident. Sarah, her other sister Annie, and I pulled together to get through another horrible tragedy, sometimes calling ourselves the sister club.

Each day we watch you to laugh and dance as part of surviving our losses. Also, I love that my now high-school-aged daughter loves to watch your show with me during a time in her life that hanging with the mama isn't all that cool. I thank you for being such a positive influence for us all. Sometimes we call each other just to say, "Did you see Ellen today?" Thank you for being our friend, Ellen. Thank you for being a friend we just haven't met yet (we hope to someday!). Thank you for reminding us to laugh and dance. Thank you for reminding us to be kind to one another. Thank you for being the perfect example of positive living. Thank you for touching our lives and our hearts. Thank you for being you.

My sincerest love,
Jaimee Hunter

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 25--Volunteering

A little change up from the thank you letters I have been writing this month. Today, I want to say how thankful I am that my sister Gayla was a volunteer in her life. She had spent time with Habitat for Humanity and the American Heart Association. To honor her life, I made a decision to also volunteer my time and energy to a worthy cause. I am thankful for my older sister's example and pray I am able to change the world just like she did. My chosen charity is City House in Plano, a shelter for children and teens. I am set to begin as a tutor and cannot wait to see all the adventures this new area of my life will provide. I encourage everyone to volunteer. Find something you are passionate about and make a difference.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 24--Happy Thanksgiving

My dearest followers and fans,

On this day of Thanksgiving, I want you to know that I am so very thankful to be blessed with each of you. Since embarking on this adventure in self-expression in March, I have been continually amazed that you follow my little bit of crazy each day. Thank you for the words of encouragement and support to continue writing. I send up a prayer of thanks for you and yours and pray you all have a very blessed Holiday Season.

Much love,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 23--Tuggle's

Dear Tuggle Family,

We are so thankful for your little family. It is such a relief to us that our darling girl has such a happy, loving family as friends. Thank you for always making us a part of your adventures.

To Sky-bear in particular, thank you for being a part of our family. Your willingness to travel with us to adventures unknown is a treasure. Your sense of humor and "good morning, sunshine" attitude are such a blessing. I love that I have a perky morning buddy to help me raise the troops. Thank you also for being open to freezing each time little Miss wants to go skating. Thank you mostly for always putting her first and being such a good and true friend. It's a comfort to know that Darbster will have a forever friend in you.

We love y'all so very much and thank God for putting our families together.

Love always,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 22--Hockey Family

Dear Eddie, Jo and Susan,

Thank you so much for adopting our little family into your friendship so easily and so happily. Thank you for helping me teach our darling daughter that making new friends is one of the greatest joys in life and can be the most rewarding thing you do in a day. Darby and I are especially grateful for the visits while Chad is out of town because it helps us not stagnate and miss him too terribly. You ease our hearts in many ways.

Eddie, thank you for always being so polite and helpful. Darby says you are one of the most patient and best "coaches" she has had. It makes me giddy with pride that you have taken an interest in making her a better hockey player. She is lucky to have a teammate and friend like you.

Jo, thank you for being the team's manager and photographer. We all three enjoy looking at the photos from each game and are always so impressed with your eye for the action. I know I will always be grateful for having this time in Darby's life well documented. Thank you also for being the easiest person to make friends with. In a very short time, we went from being a family nervous about starting a new adventure and knowing no one to feeling like part of a strong group of good people. That is mostly your doing.

Susan, thank you for being my visiting buddy and for letting me interrupt your reading time when the kiddos are hanging out. Thank you also for encouraging me and reminding me that I will survive being a parent. I am sure you said it in passing but it stuck to me like glue.

Thank you both for raising such a wonderfully polite and energetic young man. Eddie has the best kind of heart and that is in no small part because of your love. I just love meeting people who have changed the world for the better and they don't even know it yet.

Your Friend,


Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 21--Teachers

To Darling Daughter's Teachers, both present and past,

Thank you for teaching my girl about math, English, art, science, social studies, physical education and all the other things she will need to know in life. I appreciate your dedication to educating her mind as well as her heart. Thank you for the many complements like, "Darby is so sweet and quiet; she is so well-behaved." Thank you for not figuring out that part of that may be what her daddy calls her "smile, wink, wink gotcha." Thank you for becoming a teacher. Thank you for the many hours of lesson planning, grading and continuing education. Thank you for changing the world without even knowing what that will be.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. - William A. Ward

Your Student's Mama

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 20--Thank You Notes

Okay, so this is a good time to address thank you note etiquette or lack there of. Before I was married, I thought it was totally amazing that my sister-in-law sent Thank You notes for every gift on every occasion. I still stand in awe of the fact that she not only sends them for herself but creates and sends them for everything the nephews receive as well. Dana, of course is the most amazing influence in my life, so I took up (and dropped a few times) the habit as well.

I began my adventure in mothering by requiring Darling Daughter to write thank-yous to her friends and family before she played with or used her new found treasures. That only lasted one birthday and one Christmas before she totally refused to do it anymore. I tried buying her fancy stationary with her monogram on it. I even took a drawing she created, scanned it and created post cards one birthday; she filled them out and never gave them to their recipients, stating, "My friends think it's weird that you make me do this!" Me? Weird? That's just crazy!

What ideas do you have for Thank You notes? I have posted Ms. Post's (SHE HAS HER OWN WEB SITE...TOTALLY COOL! AND I WOULD TOTALLY DIG GETTING THE 18TH EDITION OF HER BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS!) advice below...I was surprised at how wrong I have been about this. I apologize to my mother for misguiding her about condolences, and, Sosie, you only have three months, not a year. Oops!

Etiquette According to Emily Post:
It’s never wrong to send a written thank-you, and people always appreciate getting “thanks” in writing. Why? Handwritten notes are warmer and more special than other forms of thank-yous. The rule of thumb is that you should send a written note any time you receive a gift (even a ‘thank you’ gift) and the giver wasn’t there to thank in person. But notes are not always necessary. If, for example, the gift is from a close friend or relative (and it’s not a wedding gift) you can email or call instead if you prefer. Below are some other note-writing guidelines:

Shower gifts--Even though the gift giver attended the shower in your honor and you had a chance to say thanks for her gift, you should still send a written note.

Wedding gifts--Each wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written note within three months of receipt of the gift. It’s best to write the notes as soon as possible after gifts arrive, however. Write a note even if you have thanked the giver in person.

Congratulatory gifts or cards--Anyone who sends a present, or a card with a personally written message, should receive a note in return.

Gifts received when sick--Thank-you notes should be written as soon as the patient feels well enough—or a friend or relative can write the notes. It’s okay to call close friends rather than write.

Condolence notes or gifts--Everyone who has sent a personal note, flowers or a donation should get a written thank-you. A close friend or relative can write the notes on the recipient’s behalf.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 19--God

Dear Father God,

Thank you for this day, which you made for me 37 years ago. Thank you for giving me such a blessed life. I thank you for my loving and supportive Mama and Daddy and their example of love. You blessed my life so deeply with Gayla and James II; they are the most amazing people to have for a sister and brother. Thank you also for Dana, James III and William; they are my joy.

Thank you also for Chad and Darby; you obviously knew what you were doing to direct our paths as you did. Thank you for loving and believing in us.

Father, I also thank you for Sosie and her family. They are amazing people who I am so proud to know and love. Thank you for our "Boys" and for opening our hearts so many years ago to such a beautiful friendship turned family.

God, thank you for all of our extended family and friends. The lives you have given to us are so beautiful. I also am so very grateful for Kevin and Evan and the business we are building. You really blessed me when you crossed our paths.

Lord, I thank you for the education I have and the home I am building with Chad and Darby. I thank you for the talents you bestowed on me as well as the need to always be learning. Thank you for knowing our needs and providing for us. You are amazing and your love is extravagant.

Love, your child,

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 18--Students

Dearest Former Students of a Crazy Lady,

Thank you, my sweets, for being the first children I could claim as mine. Thank you for learning all you could from me and making me feel like I somehow changed the world just a little by being in your lives. Thank you for making me laugh and even thank you for making me cry. Thank you for teaching me as much as you learned. Being your teacher was the most fulfilling calling I have ever had next to being a Mama to Darling Daughter. I am so thankful to follow your lives via FaceBook each day.

Micaela, you humble me and cause me great joy all at the same time by telling me you wrote a speech about me. I cannot wait to watch this most honorable gesture of love. Thank you, sweet girl. Thank you also for staying in contact with me and keeping me informed of all you are up to. I am so excited to see what your future holds for you, Love.

Ali girl, thank you for the birthday wish. I cannot wait to read what you wrote tomorrow. Thank you for always being a Godly woman with a heart of gold. You make me proud.

Caleb, you too, man! Your posts remind me that even with great pressures, God reaches out to us through so many avenues and reminds us to seek Him. Thank you, friend.

Chris, Collin and Kody, oh my goodness, where to even begin. The three of you kept me in stitches when I was your teacher and continue to keep me pretty dad-gum entertained these days too. Thank you for always taking that high road and for reminding me to be positive and to seek out the humor in all situations. Thank you for always making me feel like I matter to you.

To all my babies who have become parents since I was your teacher, thank you for teaching me that life goes on and God blesses us all. To my loves who chose to serve our nation's military, thank you for your service; thank you for ensuring the protection of our freedoms. To my children seeking that higher education, make me proud and be all you can be. Mostly, to all the students from Queen City, Flower Mound, and Plano, who I gave my all during the ten months you were my students, thank you for making me a better person. I'll love you forever, my children you will always be.

Chocolate Milk!
Miss Moore/Mrs. Hunter/Ms. Jaimee

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 17--Val

My Dear Sweet Miss,

Your friendship is invaluable. Thank you for adopting me just--wholly cow--SIX YEARS ago, really? Without your sense of humor and loving ways, I wouldn't have survived those years teaching...obviously, I lost my will to teach right after I left my wonderful team. Thank you for challenging me to be the best, fun, crazy, caring, responsible teacher I could be. Thank you for embracing my inner geek and helping me celebrate the crazy.

You inspired me then and you inspire me now, dear friend. Val, because of you, I write...a lot! Thank you for reminding me to embrace my talents and tackle my fears. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and heart with me. Most of all, thank you for sticking with me through all the ups and downs. Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself. It was an honor to read your novel, dear Friend. Thank you for trusting me with something so precious.

Val, thank you for getting me and being my "long lost fraternal twin sister by another mother and father." I always sit amazed at how our likes and dislikes are pretty much in sync to the nth degree. You make me feel like part of "normal" because I am not the only one that feels or thinks like this. Thank make me normal!

I love you, Val. Your embracing me in the last few months has been my saving grace. Thank you for understanding this pain and helping me tackle surviving the rest of my life with this loss. Thank you for reminding me of what Gayla would tell me. Thank you for helping me shoulder this life.

All my love to you forever!

Your Mrs.,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 16--Mike

My dearest Mike,

Brother Friend, first and foremost, thank you for not holding it against me that I am goofier than you prefer, and thank you for loving me anyway. You are an amazing friend, and I sit in awe that you actually like me. ;-D

Mike, thank you for loving MyJ-Man and making him happy. The two of you inspire and astound me constantly. Thank you for your laughter and hugs. Thank you for making us breakfast whenever we invade you for the weekend. Thank you for making that morning cup of coffee so much diverse fun. Yall's home is welcoming and comforting at all times.

Mike and Romeo
Thank you also for our "family" vacations. The laughter on the way to New Orleans, the line dancing on the cruise ship, the snorkeling among the jelly fish...all are precious memories. Thank you for always keeping our little group moving and adventuring. Thank you also for giving me some sense of style. Your introduction to the finer things in life make me just a little more cool.

Thank you, Mike for adopting my blood family as well. My Mama and Daddy love and adore you so very much. My brother friend, I thank you for loving my sister as well. She valued your friendship for the treasure that it is. Gayla was your biggest fan and she loved you as her own brother. You said it best, "Some people are family out of birth and some are from love." You are definitely part of our family of the heart, my love. I thank you so much for encouraging me during my crisis of faith and reminding me that it's okay to be mad and still believe. Thank you for being the best sort of Christian and changing the world with your steadfast love and loving heart.

Thank you, Mike, for saying you are proud of me for quitting smoking. You don't know how much that meant to me and made me stand a little taller and prouder. It made me want to succeed. Your support and approval are so very important to me.

I love you, my brother, my friend, my family. You are amazing in every way and an inspiration for me daily.

You Sister,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 15--Jeremy

My Dearest Jeremy,

Thank you, Brother, for always being our voice of reason. Thank you for being the perfect example of an accepting and open-minded man. Thank you for being the sounding board to my crazy without fail. You inspire me to be a better friend...a better person. You have taught me the real meaning of friendship (knowing the worst of the worst and still sticking to it).

Jeremy, thank you for befriending me almost 11 years ago. You embraced me from the instant we met and have never let me down. Thank you for that lunch run to the pet store where I got my first goldfish, Chocolate. Thank you for not razzing me too much when he committed fish-cide by jumping out of the bowl and onto the floor while I slept. On that same note, thank you for teaching me about fish aquarium maintenance so I didn't kill all of Darby's fish a few years back. You knew that the falling water gave them oxygen and the tank shouldn't be all the way full.

Brother, thank you for the many family vacations we have shared. I always feel safe knowing you are behind the wheel, literally and figuratively. Thank you for all of our inside jokes with which we torment Sosie. "Have you seen my baseball?" "Biscuits and mustard..." "Look, kids, big ben!" Thank you for keeping me entertained watching y'all squabble lovingly. Thank you for that trip to the zoo; it's one of my favorite memories of us all together. Thank you for always being our photographer and designated driver. You literally save our lives every time.

Thank you for bringing Mike into our little gang. He is the perfect den father for our little rag-tag group. It was such an honor when Sarah and I were asked to make that first valentines day surprise so special for the two of you (sorry about the candy on the floor). Y'all's love inspires the rest of us to love with our whole hearts and run head-long into the unknown because we know that our partners will be right there with us on the adventure.

Jeremy, thank you for embracing my family as your own. I am proud to call you Bubba. Your love for my parents is unmatched. Your love for Gayla is heartwarming, and it gives me peace to know that she always had you and Mike just down the road to be a part of her day-to-day life. She loved you so much and really cherished the times you two would go out when Mike was traveling. She loved spending time with y'all at the movies or out shopping. Thank you also, Bubba, for being my rock during the last few months. I will forever be indebted for your love, your friendship, your support, and your willingness to go with me to the mountains or just to the homestead.

J, thank you also for adopting my darling daughter as your art protege. Your support of her even when just helping her pick out supplies at the store makes her feel like she is important to you and that y'all share something special and your own. Thank you for helping Chad with whatever crazy project he has going on, and thank you for all the years of letting me be your helper on your own crazy projects. I am still afraid of heights but will always help you put up Christmas lights.

I love you, Jeremy. You began as my friend and will forever be my brother.

Your sister,

Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 14--Sosie

My Dearest Sosie,

Friend, sister, spirit that reaches in and touches my very soul, you are an amazing woman. There's not a day that goes by that I am not grateful that you picked me to befriend. In all honesty, I would have been too intimidated by your beauty and vibrant personality to have made the first step. I remain forever indebted to you for changing my life by just being my friend.

Sarah, thank you for adopting my family as well. It warms my heart when you and my Daddy play flirt and you and Bubba play fight. I don't think I will ever get used to you calling my mother and father Mr. and Mrs. Moore. They consider you their child so I always expect mama or daddy. Words will never be able to fully express our gratitude for you when it came to everything regarding Gayla. She loved you so much and was so very proud to call you sister friend. I will always remember you as one of the few people she and I shared equally in our lives. Thank you for being my rock in the last few months. I will never be able to repay your love and friendship. You are my treasured joy, Sister.

Thank you for working so diligently to make my birthday wish come true this year, sweetie. I just cannot wait to see all that you wrote. It reminds me of that first birthday you threw for me, and I say a prayer of thanks that your friendship is as strong now as it was then. You always amaze me, girl. Thank you, Sarah for being my biggest fan. You make me feel special and important. Your heart knows no bounds and is perfectly you.

Thank you also for sharing your family with me. I absolutely adore your sister and brother-in-law, nephews, nieces, parents, aunts and uncles. Also, Becky and Cale will forever be a part of my heart and the times they were in our lives are the most important times for our relationship. We will always be thankful for their love, and I will always be grateful that you shared them with me. Thank you also for sharing Flanagan with me. He is the perfect mix of picking brother and chilling buddy. I wish y'all all the love and friendship you deserve in the future. All of your people have hearts that are a reflection of you, Love.

Sosie, you have to know that your love for Darby is also a blessing. Thank you for loving my girl as your niece and being her "Cool Sosie." She adores you as does that knucklehead, Chad. Thank you for being his co-conspirator in whatever schemes y'all come up with. We are both blessed to call you sister. I love you, Sarah Elizabeth!

Your Sister Friend,

P.S. I would so have loved to name my baby girl after you and Gayla...Elizabeth Gail...we would have called her Lizzy or Izzy or something equally fun and cute like her aunts. ;-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 13--Employer

Dear Kevin and Evan,

I stand amazed almost every day that I have been so very blessed to work with the two of you at Key Residential. I knew when, during our interview in 2010, Kevin told me he would pray about me and get back to me, that this career change was going to be a huge blessing in not only my life but the lives of Chad and Darby as well. 

Kevin, thank you for believing in me and for constantly making me feel appreciated. Thank you for trusting me with so much and empowering me to do what I can to make us a success. Being your office manager and director of marketing is one of the best careers I have ever had. Your support and friendship is a plus. Thank you for always giving solid advice and for praying for us as if we were family.

Evan, thank you for being so easy to get along with and for understanding me when I give you that look of "HuH!?!" I am thankful for our staff development meetings each week and for getting to know you as a person, which helps make us a strong team for Kevin. Your sense of humor and work ethic make being your co-conspirator a breeze.

Please pass along my thanks to your families for their support of our team as well. We would have nothing without them. Thank you for being my blessings, guys.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 12--Jason and Hannah

Dear Jason and Hanna,

Thank you for being my brother-in-law and niece, respectively. Jason, your concern for our well-being during storms is always comforting, especially since I am usually unhinged at that time. Thank you for always being so thoughtful. Hanna, we are so thankful you are back around these parts so we get to see you. Thank you for keeping us entertained with your quick wit. You are so precious. We love y'all both so much and are looking forward to spending time together soon.

Much love,

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 11--La-La and Jesse

Dear Alicia and Jesse,

Thank you for being my family. Alicia, thank you for being my sister long before you actually were. Jesse, thank you for being my brother (even if you think that means picking at my gardening and crafting).

Alicia, I feel like I have been a part of watching you grow up, little one. Thank you for loving me from the get-go and for always making me a part of your life. Thank you for calling on me to guide you through growing up. Thank you for taking care of me so lovingly when I was sick or recovering. Thank you for understanding my sense of humor and finding it funny. Thank you for the hugs and understanding since losing my Gayla. Thank you for being my friend and sister.

Jesse, thank you for calling on me to help you with surprising Alicia. It meant so much that you trusted me to help you with this important step forward. Thank you also for helping my daddy with his boat parts. He's so thrilled to have "someone in the business" also in the family. I am proud to call you brother, Friend.

I love you both and say a prayer of thanks for you.

Your sister,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 10--Father-in-Law

Dear Mike,

Thank you for helping raise my husband to be a kind and loving man. Thank you for encouraging Chad to call me and bring me back into his and Darby's lives. Thank you for taking me into your heart as a daughter long before I was.

Papaw, thank you for always looking out for us. We give you a hard time about it sometimes, and I know you don't think we are listening. Please know that we hear you, we know you love us and want to take care of us. We love you and thank you for that.

Thank you for always providing a way for Chad to go fishing. As cranky as y'all get with each other, I know the times you spend on the water are some of the best for him. He loves you so much, Dad.

Thank you, Mike, for being a loving and doting Papaw for Darby. She really looks up to you, and I see some of you in her when she is creating some new project. Her attention to detail and frustration with imperfection seems slightly familiar. She loves you to pieces.

Thank you, Dad, for loving us. We love you so very much.

Your Daughter,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 9--Mother-in-Law

Dearest Kathy,

I guess the best place to begin this thank you letter is at the very beginning. First, I thank Granny and Roy for raising you in a home filled with love and for making you the center of their universe. I thank God for placing in your heart the strong desire to be a mother to Jason and Chad. I thank Him further for putting it on both you and Mike to bring Alicia into our lives as well. Your family has been my family for almost half of my life, and I  know I am a better person for it.

Thank you, Mom, for never giving up on Chad and me. You and Alicia taking me into your hearts when we were young and making me part of your family from the get-go is still amazing to me. Thank you for encouraging me to never give up hoping to marry my soul-mate and best friend. Thank you for having him call me even though he didn't think I would be open to him (both times!). Thank you for never giving up on either of us.

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing Alicia with me. Although it used to unnerve me that people thought she was my little girl, I am grateful that I got to be a part of raising her to be the beautiful, loving woman she is today. I am proud to call her Sister and look forward to Jesse being my Brother.

Kathy, I also thank you for all the times you and Alicia took care of me when I was ill or recovering from one of my numerous surgeries. Thank you for being my Mom even when you didn't have to be. Thank you for coming to my graduations and birthdays. Thank you for always making me welcome in your home.

Thank you, mom, for working so diligently to make my birthday wish this year come true, and thank you for supporting me in quitting smoking by bringing me that yarn. It is in dedication to Granny that I am making a granny square afghan for us to huddle under at the hockey games. I cannot wait to read all that you wrote. Also, thank you also for encouraging me to pursue teaching. Those were some of the best years of my life. I miss it and hope to someday return to teaching.

I love you, Kathy.

Your daughter,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 8--Nephews



Although I am sure their mama would save a letter of thanks until the boys could read it, I decided that I needed to make them a gift to show James and William how much I adore them and how thankful I am for them. This is really easy to do using! The most time consuming part is gathering all the photos. Using drawings of things beginning with each letter of the alphabet, letters we created or took photos of, and pictures of the families, Darby and I put together a customized ABC Book. I had toyed with the Pinterest idea of taking photos of colors and making a My Colors book but decided maybe next time. Another idea you could use could be to purchase a recordable book from Hallmark and record a personal message for your little ones in addition to reading it to them. James III told me last weekend that the one we made for his birthday this year is his favorite book of all. Each idea will cost around $30 but will be priceless when completed. Say a prayer of thanks for all the little ones in your life today and every day. They are our future.

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 7--Dana

Dearest Dana,

Thank you, Sister, for marrying that harry legged brother of mine and becoming part of our family. We are better people for knowing you, love. Thank you also for sharing those two little angels with us. James III and William are sunshine.

Dana, thank you for re-introducing me to the Girl Scout way. You improved me and my life by reminding me how to always be prepared. I will always be appreciative for the long drives to Mena where you and I would talk about anything and everything. Those were the times that I think bound us as sisters. Thank you for letting me be part of that part of your life.

I am constantly amazed by the neat and crafty things you do. Thank you, Sister, for getting me involved with card-making and scrapbooking, and thank you for continuing to encourage me to be creative. Thank you for always making me feel like I am talented and special. Dana, thank you for having us take all those pictures each year. Because of you, we have memories of Gayla that might have never been. You are a treasure.

Thank you, Dana, for teaching me how to be a "Cool Aunt Jaimee." By watching you with my Darby, I have learned how to shower those boys with love and attention. Thank you for loving her and making her feel so special.

Thank you, Sister, for taking care of Mama and Daddy these last few months. I will always be appreciative of the love and affection you have bestowed on us all. I find myself replaying that conversation we had the day after and all the love I felt from you coming across the line gave me strength to keep moving forward. Thank you. I love you, Dana.

Your sister, Jaimee

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 6--Bubba

Dearest James II,

Thank you for being the best brother a gal could ask for. I know we spent our early years beating each other up and being mean, but I am so very thankful that we grew to be really good friends. Thank you for making me laugh when all I want to do is cry. Thank you for understanding when I cry anyway.

Thank you, Bubba, for taking me with you when you went hunting and for keeping me safe by making me sit against that tree and not move or talk. It taught me hunting was not for me. Thank you for helping to move me home from New Jersey in 2000, and thank you for making me go to the top of the Statue of Liberty, even though I was scared to death. Thank you, my sweet  brother, for challenging me daily in our Words with Friends battle. I like that we are evenly matched. Thank you for always being willing and ready to play games like dominoes and Phase 10 with me. Thank you for keeping me on my toes.

Brother, thank you for looking out for Mama and Daddy. I am a little more at peace knowing that you and your family are with them. I hope someday to be there with my little family as well. Thank you for continuing to look for a way to help us make that happen, even if only in jest. Thank you, James for marrying Dana and bringing her into our family. She makes us all better people. Thank you both for giving us James III and William. They are our joys.

I am thankful, Brother, that you have been my rock this year. You made it possible for me to take care of business instead of crawl into a hole. I was proud to stand up there with you and talk about our sister. Thank you for making me smile through the tears. Thank you for understanding this pain and not judging me too harshly for being a weenie. Thank you for hugging me so tight when you see me and for telling me you love me. You are the perfect brother. 

Thank you for being a good uncle to Darby and brother to Chad. We love you, James.

Your sister, Jaimee

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 5--Daddy

Dearest Daddy,

Thank you for showing me how a good man behaves. Thank you for being the loving example of how fathers should love their children and husbands should love their wives. Thank you, Daddy, for being my number one man. Your example helped me wait for and choose the best man to be my husband.

Daddy, thank you for teaching me to fish and for instilling a love for the outdoors. Thank you for teaching me how to hit a baseball far and for taking me to the practice cages. Thank you for taking us bowling and camping. Thank you for not letting my crazy little ways drive you nuts.

Thank you for always making even my little accomplishments seem like a big deal. It's the times when you tell me you are proud of me that I really feel like a success. From the time I won you that German chocolate cake at the carnival to graduating with my master of arts degree, your pride in me always gave me a sense that I did well.

Thank you, Daddy, for holding my hand during all those surgeries and when you gave me a way. Thank you for quieting my fears when they felt like they would take over and run away with me. Thank you for taking me to New Jersey and thank you for bringing me home. Thank you for always believing in me.

You're a superstar, Daddy. Thank you for being a good daddy, a loving grandfather to Darby and a father figure to Chad. We love you so very much.

Your daughter, Jaimee Christine

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 4--Mama

Dearest Mama,

Thank you for giving me life and for raising me to lead with my heart. Thank you for being my friend when I need a friend and for being my mother when I need a good swift kick in the tail. I owe you so much for making me the woman I am today and for the heck I put you through growing up.

Thank you, Mommy, for always being my number one fan growing up. Thank you for attending band and twirling competitions. Thank you for the dance lessons and costumes. Thank you for reminding me that I can do anything that I put my mind to. Thank you for encouraging me to move to New Jersey in 1999, and thank you for welcoming me home when I gave up in 2000. Thank you also for letting me live at home when I became a teacher. Thank you for holding my hand during all those surgeries and getting me back on my feet quickly. Thank you for crying with me when my heart was broken and for jumping for joy when it was mended.

Mommy, you and I have a special connection that I thank God for providing. We are both so much alike and yet uniquely ourselves. I consider it a complement when I am accused of being like my mother. I know I am your spitting image in every way and am proud of it.

Thank you, Mama, for the days we get to spend hanging out. I enjoy our lunches and errands and wish they were more frequent. Thank you for always laughing at my silliness and making me feel like I am important.

Thank you, Mama, for showing me how to be a good mom. Thank you for loving my little family just like they are your own. We love you and are grateful for you everyday.

All my love and admiration,
Jaimee Christine

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursdays are Happiness Reports!
30 Days of Thankful: Day 3--Gayla

I think this is going quite well! That's the Happiness Report. In the last three days of writing about being thankful for the people in my life as part of my 30 Days of Thankful Challenge, I have toyed and tossed around when to thank Gayla. Although she was taken from us more than seven months ago, I will always be thankful for the 38 years I was given with my sister. I finally decided to go with it now rather than put it off. I needed a good cleansing cry to move forward anyway.

Dear Precious Sister,

Thank you for being my first and dearest best friend from the minute I was born. You may be the only person who could ever have put up with me that much. I thank God that He gave me you as my older sister for 38 years. I keep thinking about the choice we could have been given...only 38 years with you or none at all. I will be forever grateful for the years because they were the most wonderful, if not brief, years of our lives. I also will forever regret that two years we wasted being mad at each other over stupid boys. I want a do over! I wouldn't waste a single minute with you.

You taught me how to be a writer, sweet friend. You gave me those first words to copy from your paper so you could keep me out of your hair, but you inspired and influenced my life forever in that one moment. Thank you, Gayla, for always being my number one fan who believed in me...encouraged me. Your support was invaluable. Your faith, priceless. Thank you for never giving up on me even when I was at my worst. You were my savior.

Thank you, my love, for showing me how to be a good woman. Your heart inspired me to love with my all. You taught me how to give without expectation. I am who I am in part because of your influence. I love you, Gayla...I always will.

Your Sister, Jaimee

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:
  • August--being organized
  • September--eating healthier
  • October--having energy (hang my head in shame at the failure)
  • November--being thankful
  • December--focusing on family and friends
  • January--focusing on marriage
  • February--focusing on parenting
  • March--being creative
  • April--being helpful
  • May--working smarter
  • June--being adventurous
  • July--loving Jaimee