Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 8 of Thanks

... and 9.

So, it didn't take long for me to forget a post! Since I neglected to give thanks yesterday, today's post will be doubly thankful.

Number 8 on my thankful list is my friends. I have been so incredibly blessed throughout my life with amazing friendships. Just this week, I had dinner with my 4 best friends from high school, and it made me so appreciative of the bond we formed at such a young age. As our lives are constantly going in different directions, I believe it is so special that our friendships seem to know no time. Every time we get together it is like we've never been apart, and we always pick up right where we left off. These girls who I grew up with are the sisters I never had. We can always count on each other to be a source of support through the difficult times and a smiling face through the happy ones; and, it's amazing how one girls' night can make the stresses of life dissipate... even if just for a little while. We share more memories together than I could possibly list in one blog post... and many that I don't want to list in a public forum (thank me later, girls), but I would never trade one second of any of them for all the riches in the world.... well, that might be a stretch, but you get the idea. Chelsea, Jen, Kelly, and Kahla, I love y'all so much, and I thank God for you always!
A post about friends would absolutely not be complete without mention of my college girls. When I left my small town of Winnie, Texas almost 10 years ago, en route to Southwest Texas State University (now, Texas State University) in San Marcos, Texas, I never truly believed that college and my fabulous sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, would give me the strong friendships I have today. My best friends from college know me in a way that no one else does, and we have a bond that can never be replaced. We have so many memories (from dorm life to spring break road trips to fraternity parties to post-college girls' nights where we like to pretend we're still in college), and have remained best friends through it all. These girls are always there when I need them, and enrich my life in so many ways. I feel so blessed that God put these beautiful ladies in my life, and honestly do not know how I made it 18 years without them. So, Grace, Brandi, Miranda, and Jillian, I love y'all dearly, and I'm so very thankful for all of you!! (and, yes, that warranted a double exclamation!!)
A "friend post" cannot possibly go forward without mention of my friends who, although they cannot necessarily be classified as a "high school friend" or "college friend", are equally valuable to my life. Friends like Siobhan, Jenny Dean (Who is actually a Latiolais now, but will always be Dean to me...), Whitney, and Sarah (and Charles, too, of course), Chrisa, and Andrea... and others who I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention right now. These girls bring so much happiness to my life, and I absolutely adore each of them. We share memories ranging from touring all over London, jamming to Easy-E before Dixie Dance Hall, making Twilight t-shirts for the midnight premier, attending cake decorating classes, and Royal Wedding viewings, among many other random, albeit always fun, adventures. I cannot imagine my life without you girls in it, and I love you all very, very, very much!

Clearly, I have been blessed beyond belief in the friendship category, and this blog, if nothing else, solidified that fact in my mind and heart. I absolutely adore all of my wonderful friends, and feel like the luckiest girls in the world to be surrounded by such beautiful, intelligent, strong, funny, loyal, and incredible women. I love you all and I'm eternally thankful for you!

Now, moving on to number 9...

The ninth thing I am thankful for this month is my dishwasher. I know this topic is a little lighter than previous ones but, seriously, as someone who has lived an extended period without a dishwasher, I know that it is something to be cherished and I, personally, will never take mine for granted again. So, as my dishwasher runs in the background, I write how thankful I am that God blessed me with a home in which I do not have to manually wash the dishes, and I pray that I never have to go without a dishwasher again.

There you go, friends- numbers 8 and 9. See you tomorrow as I reveal the long awaited number 10!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The 7th Day of Thanks

... Similar to the 7th Day of Christmas, minus the swans-a-swimmin'... and the song... and gifts, in general. So, really nothing like that at all.

As I begin my 7th entry in my list of reasons to be thankful, I'm torn between two topics. The good news: I don't have to think too long and hard to come up with a topic for tomorrow! So, that being said, topic number 8, know that you were so close to being topic 7...

Today, I am thankful for my students. I feel so blessed to have a job from which I can leave some most every day feeling as though I have accomplished something "worth it". My students have taught me so much about myself, my job, and life in general, and they continue to enlighten me daily. Even on the days when it seems as though I've said the same thing 100,000 times and no one is listening, or when I have to give a lecture on the importance of respect for yourself and others, I can truly say that I care deeply for each and every one of the young men and women in my class, and only hope that I teach them as much as they teach me. Because there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be the person I am today without the students who have sat in my classroom over the past 3 years, I do not feel that I could go another day without making mention of them in my blog. So, here's to you, kids! And, don't think this gets you out of writing any essays...

Goodnight, cyberspace! See ya on Day 8!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 6th Day of Thanks

On this, the 6th day of November, I add number 6 of my "thankful list":

Today, I am thankful for my "aunt", LouAnn Rainey. LouLou, as we call her, is one of the most giving and loving people I've ever known. Because of a tragedy that took my mother's biological sister before I was born, my brother and I never had the opportunity to have a relationship with our maternal aunt. Knowing this, LouAnn, who has been my mom's best friend since they were born, assumed the aunt role and has been dedicated to that position for 28 years. She has celebrated with Dallas and me through all of our great milestones, been a shoulder to cry on and a source of support through the difficult times, and has been the friend we can go to when we need an adult, but don't want to tell our parents. (*wink-wink) I can always count on her when I need a sushi night, work advice, a home cooked meal, or a friend. I feel so blessed that God gave us LouAnn when he knew our Aunt Kelly couldn't be there, and I can't imagine my life without her being such a huge part of it. Thank you for everything you do, LouLou! I'm so extremely thankful for you!!

Thanks for reading, friends. Try to not to lose too much sleep in an effort to contain your excitement for DAY 7!

Hasta manana!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Blog of Thanks

Like the Pilgrims, but online... and I didn't take this blog from anyone else and then force them to teach me how to use it...

So, I've seen a lot of posts on my Facebook news feed about what people are thankful for this holiday season. Apparently the newest Facebook trend is to post one thing you're thankful for every day for the month of November. Being inspired by this, but not wanting to flood my friends' news feeds with the same status from everyone every day (you're welcome), I decided to take it to my blog. Since I'm already 5 days behind, I will list 5 reasons I'm thankful in this post, and subsequent posts will only contain one... unless I skip a day... but you get the idea...

Here we go!

1. I am eversothankful for the man in charge of it all, our Heavenly Father, Himself: God. Because I feel that none of my blessings would have been possible except through Him, it only seems appropriate that He would be my first reason for thanks. I read a quote once that said "Sometimes God calms the storm... Sometimes God lets the storm rage and calms his child." These words have given me so much inspiration and strength, and are a daily reminder to me that, instead of being down about adversities, I need to be thankful to God for giving me the ability to handle life's curve balls, and for constantly proving to me that His hand is in everything... even when I go through moments of doubt. So, on this the first day of my "thankful" blog, I give the glory to You, God. I look forward to many more opportunities to have my eyes opened to the power of Your unconditional love.

2. I am incredibly thankful for my fabulous, wonderful, handsome boyfriend: Mr. Zane Vayon. He has been such a blessing to my life, and a constant source of support. Zane always thinks of me first, and truly has my best interest at heart. He loves me in spite of my hard headed (and, yes, sometimes bossy) ways, and always reminds me of my strengths. I feel so lucky to have found a man who shares my morals and goals, who loves and seeks a relationship with God, and who always encourages me to be the best version of myself. More than anything, he is my best friend and he can always make me laugh. So, here's to you, Zane. I love you SO much!

3. My heart is filled with thanks for my incredible parents: James and Kemper Gibson. These two people are truly "home" to me. They are the two people who know what I'm thinking and feeling before I even tell them, and I feel so blessed that God chose to make me their child. They have always made my brother and me their priority, putting themselves second countless times. Though I didn't always agree with them growing up, I am so thankful for their "strict" parenting style, and the morals they instilled in us. I truly believe that Dallas and I are the product of wonderful parenting, and I hope that I can be half the parent that they have been to me. After over 30 years of marriage, they are the prime example of the way marriage should work, and that the strongest marriages are those who place God at the center of their relationship. I feel so blessed to be able to call my parents my best friends, and I know that I could never thank them enough for everything they've done, and continue to do, to enrich my life. I love you both more than you could ever, ever know!

4. I am very thankful for my little brother, Dallas. When Dallas was born 19 years ago, I could never have imagined the wonderful person he would become. I have always been so protective of him, sometimes moreso than my parents, and am admittedly hard on him so often because I always want him to be the best and most successful at everything he does. We are the perfect example of the old stereotype that big sister can say whatever she wants, but if anyone else picks on her little brother there will be "hell to pay"! In spite of my nagging and pushing, Dallas has proven to be an amazing person, brother, and friend; and, while I'd love to take credit for his success, I know that it is largely because of his inherent good. He has one of the biggest hearts I've ever known, and will always look out for the underdog. No matter what happens, we are always there to support each other, and I am so incredibly thankful for that. Here's to you, Dallas! I love you and am so, so, SO proud of you!!

5. While this is probably the most difficult to write, I feel that I cannot go forward with this list without making mention of my maternal grandparents: Butch and Beverly Morris. Aside from my parents, these two people were my perfect example of what it feels like to receive unconditional love. They loved me before I was born, and everything they did from January 11, 1984, until they both passed in 2002 and 2011, was evidence of their overwhelming love for their grandchildren. While I sometimes took advantage of the fact that they were always there, every day of my life is a constant reminder that I have so much to be thankful for because of them. I continue to see their hand in my life in so many ways and, while it makes me sad to think that they won't be here for the rest of my family's big milestones, I feel so blessed to have had a relationship with my grandparents that many people aren't lucky enough to know. I miss them both more than I can find words to express, and feel so incredibly thankful to have been their granddaughter.

So, there you have it- The first 5 blessings on my "reasons I'm thankful" list! I am truly going to try to keep up with this every day, as I think it is very encouraging and good for the soul to remind yourself of your many blessings every day.

Thanks for reading, friends! I'm thankful for you, too!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Because you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your.... brother?

Or, something like that...

Somewhere in the area of February 1992, my parents sat down for a serious conversation with their 8 year old daughter. It began a little something like this...

Parents: Leigh, what is the 1 thing you want more than
anything in the world?

Leigh: A trampoline??!

Well, as you may or may not know, my parents never got me that trampoline. (Convincing them that a Super Nintendo would improve my hand/eye coordination was hard enough. Arguing for a toy that could potentially result in a broken skull was a battle I would never win..) They were, however, announcing to me that, in just a few short months, I would be a big sister. (There were times I would have argued that the trampoline might have been a wiser investment... When my precious little brother ate my deoderant, for instance... But those are stories for another day.) Eighteen years later, and although there were times in my somewhat over-dramatic childhood when I was convinced my parents brought him into this world as some kind of cruel and unusual means to fulfill their need for my family to be a constant source of embarrassment for me, their sweet and innocent daughter, I can now honestly announce that I'm glad they didn't give me that trampline.

All joking aside, this school year has been a year full of nostalgia, as every event is Dallas' "last" something, and today is no exception. This evening, my 18 year old baby brother, along with many of his friends who my family and I have watched grow from 5 year old boys to 18 year old men (?), will embark on their last-first, of hopefully many, playoff basketball games as the East Chambers High School Runnin' Bucs. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the days of spending Saturday mornings at the EC Junior High gym watching him and his fellow 8 year old teammates struggle to get the basketball into that 8 ft. high goal, but I would never trade the relationship and bond that we have today.

So, here's to you, my amazing brother and best friend. I am so incredibly proud to be known as "Dallas' big sister", and can't wait to see all of the awesome things that lie ahead. After all, as our very own Mary Poppins (aka Mom) always says, you and I are the only people in the world who have our same blood! ;)

Have a super day, Cyberspace!

and, GO BUCS!!