So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 19

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife. See past posts HERE}

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Once again it has been almost two months since my last So There’s That post.

And this time I can’t even say that I was “out of my mind” busy. Oops.

Well settle in, it will be a long one…

1. Celebrated My Birthday

One of my friends from college is in DC for a year-long fellowship and offered to throw me a birthday party this year. It was a great little get together, and though somewhat unplanned it ended up being all Kansas people.

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With Logan and Emily. Happy to have so many K-Staters here with me.

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We all share Brandi as one of our closest friends, so we decided she needed some Snapchat spam.

2. Beware of Jalapeno’s

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I am pretty sure I will immediately regret including this picture, but I always say this blog is about my life, so some funny/embarrassing stories and pictures just are not allowed to be omitted.

So… I love spicy food and I love jalapenos, so when I decided to make queso dip for my birthday party it was natural for me to grab a few (4) jalapenos to add in. Now I have cut up jalapenos a dozen times before and never had any problems but this time was pretty different. A few minutes after I was done chopping, my nose and upper lip started to BURN REALLY BAD. So I immediately washed my hands with dish soap and then washed that part of my face with my normal face cleanser. And then it started to burn EVEN WORSE. So I did what every other brand new 26 year old would do… I called my mom. She proceeded to start Googling what you are supposed to do and I tried a baking soda and water paste, then lemon juice and then coconut oil, all of which helped for a few minutes and then would stop. At one point I went back to the paste, which was a REALLY bad idea because it made things worse after the lemon juice.

Eventually I just held ice packs to my face for a few hours. We eventually read that soaps actually do not help (OBVIOUSLY) and realized that every time I used my hands to apply the different mixtures it was just eventually tainting them and spreading the heat to more of my face.

So with the picture to prove it, I really can not make this stuff up, and it REALLY was that dramatic. Just ask my mom about the phone call, I am pretty sure she is still laughing about it.

3. Crop Quality Report

This project took up most of my work life in September and October. It is a report that my organization puts about every year and this year we decided to do a complete redesign with the help of an agency. The challenge is there is a LOT of data that goes into, a LOT of people that contribute to it and it gets translated into five languages.

I was pretty proud of the final product and especially of Steph, my co-worker who put in way more hours than I did. If you are at all interested at actually looking through it, you can find it HERE.

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4. The Best is Yet to Come

In October, my church, NCC, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a service that included all eight of its campus at one location, held in Constitution Hall at the DAR. It was such a fun, inspiring evening!

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One of my small groups met up for dinner at Old Ebbitt beforehand.

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These wristbands lit up in different colors, based on our motions or by the tech guys. They were so fun!

5. “Coloring Book for Me” App

Friends, prepare for your life to be changed.
I can not remember how I stumbled across this app (probably because I was so excited about it) but YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. It is pretty straight forward… every day there are new blank designs to choose from, you have a variety of color wheels to choose from and then at the end you can add treatments. Honestly, I have done one almost everyday for the past month, but decided that sharing ALL of them might be a bit much for those who do not share my enthusiasm.

And dear creators of the app? Hit me up if you would like to sign an official endorsement deal…

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6. Kansas City

In November, I was in Kansas City for a conference that I still plan to separately blog about. But that also meant that I got to squeeze some time in with one of my favorite little families. Baby Robin has become a regular in these posts, but I was also excited to catch up with Leah and Ryan. She was my roommate my freshman year  and still one of my dearest friends.

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She is 7 months old now!

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Her parents are going to regret letting her call me Aunt Amanda someday…

7. Hiking

In addition to the big hike I already blogged about... I also joined my friend Kim for an afternoon on the Maryland side of Great Falls.  She recently got a new DSLR camera so she wanted me to teach her a few tips.

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8. Sunday Funday

In November, another one of my small groups from church went out on a Sunday to a small winery, lunch and then stopped by one girl’s family farm. It was one of the first colder weekends in the area, but we had a great afternoon! Northern Virginia is absolutely beautiful in the fall!

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9. Friendsgiving

This year I went to two Thanksgivings!

On Thursday, I joined my co-worker and his wife, who are also K-State alums, along with many others who have some connection to Kansas.

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And then on Saturday, I was invited by one of the girls from one of my church small groups to join a Friendsgiving hosted for another small group that she is in.

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In the last eight years I have only been home for Thanksgiving once, but I am always reminded how big my support circle is and the kindness of others.

10. Run DC

Since my plantar fasciitis developed this summer I have not been out on a long run or walk in DC. My foot still hurts, but I have contained it quite a bit so I decided to take advantage of the last semi-warm weekends and ventured out for a run/walk that accidentally turned into an unplanned seven miles. Apparently DC infrastructure is still hard to navigate after living here two years.

Anyway, as expected, it was a beautiful day.

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11. The People’s Tree

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So I learned this year that you have to get tickets way in advance for the Christmas tree lighting at the White House… but that the lighting at the Capitol is free. This was toward the top of the things I really wanted to do this year so I dragged my friend Logan out in the pouring rain to see it. They had a short but cute little ceremony led by Speaker Paul Ryan. The tree was from Idaho this year!

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I love Union Station this time of year!

12. Christmas Crafts

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My apartment is really small, but it had been too long since I had a fun project to do and my little windowsill was perfect to add a few things too. I blogged about making the tree and the sign last week. Read it HERE.

13. Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

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Views from my parents’ new property.

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Enjoyed my first “Paint Nite” with Allyson!

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I LOVE this picture and this view! Photo credit to my friend Casey Droddy.

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Took this out of my plane window on the way home from Guam.

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Good morning Union Station.

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Snapchats of Jack from my sister are my FAVORITE.

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My new tennis shoes are full of inspiration

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Enjoyed catching Reckless Kelly with my Kansas guys. We do not get nearly enough red dirt bands live in DC. And I LOVE my new dress, so I had to share.

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Miss Robin was the cutest little penguin. Even if she did not think so herself.

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True friends send you pictures from Kansas to make you miss it more.

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Sunday brunch to celebrate Sherin’s birthday!

13. Chris Stapleton

Three people sent me a link to an article about this song below in a matter of a week. Obviously my obsession with Chris Stapleton has been well advertised.

HE NEEDS TO RECORD THIS!

14. My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

So There's That Series

What’s Up Wednesday: October 2015

Oh hey, what’s up? This link up happens the last Wednesday of every month with the same list of questions and is hosted by The Larson Lingo, Mix & Match Family and Pinterest Told Me To.

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What I’m Eating This Month…

October is National Pasta Month and the 25th was World Pasta Day. In addition to some editorial and social media coverage at work, I organized two “Pasta Day” potluck lunches at my office. I made my Grammy’s stack salad and modified it to go better with a pasta base. Everyone in the office seemed to enjoy the lunches and there were so many yummy dishes!

world pasta 1 world pasta 2 

What I’m Reminiscing About…

Turning 25 is, as the hipsters say, “giving me all the feels.”
For the most part, everything in my life can be addressed with “How did I get here?”
Not funny? Hmm inside jokes are complicated.
Anyways, I thought this Buzzfeed article, 19 Signs You’re Finally Becoming An Adult, pretty much sums up life right now.

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What I’m Loving…
Kansas City Royals!!!! #TakeTheCrown
Trader Joe’s Almond Nut Butter
The wonderful reception and feedback I am getting on my new “The Road I Traveled Series”
My new discovery… dirty chai!!!
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15 Jokes Only Extreme ‘Gilmore Girls’ Fans Understand
Updates from two of my best girls who are both due with their first babies next spring!
This 3 year old who was devastated when she found out Adam Levine was married…
Fall colors, because #basic
My family’s loving dysfunctional group text messages
The “SWORKIT lite” phone app
And this meme… Holla!
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What I’ve Been Up To…
 Each month that I live here seems to go by faster! This month I turned 25, and had a pretty low-key birthday weekend because the weekend before I took advantage of having Columbus Day off and made a quick trip back to Kansas for a K-State football game and to visit with friends.

It might be awhile before I make it back there again, so I crammed as much in as I possible could and left with a full heart.

What I’m Dreading…
My always long, and always random to-do list. That’s the problem with being an obsessive list maker. I also finally got around to applying for TSA pre-check (not in time for my next trip) and got my appointment scheduled.

And as ALWAYS, I’m dreading winter. 

What I’m Working On…
I finally finished my fall burlap wreath (L) for my new office at work (which I wrote about here) and then my co-worker loved it so much that he asked me to make another one (R) for his entry way at home. I was pretty happy with how they turned out!

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What I’m Excited About…
As much as I hate winter, it does mean the holidays. Ever since I left for college, my birthday has always roughly marked two months before I go home for the holidays and when I officially start my countdown — and that had remained the same in post grad. During those two months I tend to get homesick a bit more often than usual. So… today marks 50 days until home sweet home again!

What I’m Watching…
As I mentioned in last month’s “What’s Up Wednesday” post, I was watching Friends for the first time from start to finish on Netflix and had been avoiding the last few episodes of the series because I didn’t want it to end. Well, I finally accepted it and faced the end. I sent a SnapChat of the scene where Rachel is individually saying goodbye to each of the friends to my bestie Megan in Kansas because she just finished the series as well and the scene hit a little too close to home for me…aka I cried. Seriously, every 20-something needs the friends in their lives.

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As I’m writing this I am also mastering my multi-channel TV watching skills with the Republican debate, Game 2 of the World Series (GO ROYALS) and the Trailblazers NBA season opener.
I couldn’t decide on just one.

What I’m Reading…
I skipped out last month, but I’ll recap my September and August reading list next week during Molly and Katie’s Bookworm Wednesday link-up.

This week, I also enjoyed this blog post that has been floating around titled, “Screw Finding Your Passion.” It’s a little blunt and definitely has some unnecessary language, but it really breaks down a topic that I have talked in circles about with different people and gives it a refreshing (minus the language) message that really resonated with me.

What I’m Listening To…

I haven’t posted a Friday Jam Session in a few weeks. I just haven’t been all that motivated to work on them throughout the week and when I would get to Thursday, they just didn’t happen at all. But my lists and comments are getting a bit long, so I’ll definitely be back at it this week.
In the meantime, like the rest of the world, I can’t stop listening to Adele’s new single “Hello”

And I’m loving this stripped down version “Out of the Woods” from T-Swift. I think I like it better than the original.

What I’m Wearing…

Like always, I never remember to take pictures of the (very) few outfits that I deem shareable. I did throw on my new blanket scarf this morning that I AM OBSESSED with. I mentioned last month that I spent all of last winter not being able to decide what print  and colors I wanted so I never got one. Back in August, I decided that it was a must-have item this season and finally chose this one. It is so warm and soft, and mixes and matches well with quite a bit of my wardrobe. I wore it once over dress as a shawl with a thin belt over the top… and the jury is still out on that style. But I am completely convinced that everyone needs a blanket scarf in their life.

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What I’m Doing This Weekend…
Watching the World Series and packing for my next work trip…

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…
 Early next week I head out to Lake Tahoe for a fall board meeting for my job. Since my Spoo grandparents live nearby, they are going to pick me up from the airport and spend the rest of the day with me. I haven’t seen them in over 3 years, so I’m REALLY excited!

And of course, Thanksgiving!! This year I’m headed down to Raleigh, NC for a little Friendsgiving action with some fellow Oregonian/K-State/East Coast transplants.

This Month’s Bonus Question: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe…

Ugh. Talking holiday food traditions makes me homesick.
Dad’s tri-tip and pork loin. Grammy’s mashed potatoes. Cousin Lisa’s pretzel salad. The Jorgensen family’s sweet rolls and more… Good thing all of those things are usually at the Christmas dinner table as well.

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Well, that’s what’s up this Wednesday!
Cheers!

So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 5

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five” except it’s probably not Friday and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife.}

1. Thanksgiving Vacation in Oregon

I surprised my family by coming home for Thanksgiving. I was able to stay for a whole week and spent most of it just relaxing and spending time with my favorite people. Oregon had a break from the lower temps and Thanksgiving Day was warm enough that my family was able to eat dinner out on the heated patio. Yah, my grandparents live the good life.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I was so thankful that I got to spend it with my family this year (for the first time since I moved to Kansas in 2009.) They are so patient as I do my thing out here in the Midwest. Over time I have come to realize that not everyone has this unconditional support, and for that I am eternally grateful. And I am thankful for my Kansas family. They’ve helped make this place my home and I am surrounded, in my not-so-humble opinion, by some of the greatest people around. I am thankful for this season of my life. It’s a season of constant change, challenges and more growing pains (do those ever subside?) But its also one of lots of learning, serendipity and just plain fun. There certainly is a lot going on in this world and I am thankful that so much of it is still beautiful.


2. K-State Kaiden

This story. This family. Cats man.

K-Stater’s have known about this little guy’s story for almost two years now, but ever since “Kaiden’s Play” during the 2014 Spring Game (featured below,) his story has spread. This is one of those things that makes it hard for me to understand people who don’t care for sports. Yes, I think Kaiden’s story would be just as special without K-State football, but the impact he has had on this team and it’s fans, that is what sports and family is all about. There are a lot of good articles covering this story but this one below is the most recent. Even if you aren’t a K-State fan or even a sports fan, go ahead. You will be glad that you did.

“Donors pitch in to send boy with leukemia to K-State’s bowl game”

 


3. Pinterest Cats

I’m really not a big fan of cats. But according to my Pinterest “Easily Amused” board, I sure do love a solid funny cat meme. It may or may not be from antagonizing all of my sister’s cats growing up…

And despite what she says, her current cat is well on it’s way to looking like that fat one.

(Click on the individual picture to zoom in. Links in captions.)


4. HannahBrencher.com

Been really digging what this girl has to say lately. She’s the mastermind behind The World Needs More Love Letters movement and is a true artist of words. I recommend checking her blog out.

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Instagram @hannahbrencher

 

5. Festival of Trees

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Enjoyed a fun “Ladies Night” at the Manhattan Festival of Trees with my bestie Leah. There was wine, yummy treats and lots of fun browsing and shopping. My family’s flower shop has always done a tree at our own local festival so seeing all of the creative, festive decorations was my favorite part. I’d say these three below were my favorites!

So, there’s that.

Family, Oregon

Thanksgiving Surprise.

This would have been my sixth year spending Thanksgiving away from home.
I hadn’t been home for the holiday since I was in high school.
So this year I decided it was about time to change that.

Woke up at 4 am to catch my flight....toooo much coffee!
Woke up at 4 am to catch my flight….toooo much coffee!

When I bought my ticket back in August I decided that this was the perfect time to try to surprise my family. It was something that I had always wanted to do, but this was the first time that the opportunity had presented itself.

Texting with my Mom the day before....if only she had known :)
Texting with my Mom the day before….if only she had known 🙂

I enlisted the help of my sister’s boyfriend Justin and decided that I would try to surprise everyone in my family. Now people, you have to understand, keeping a secret like this for three months was a BIG DEAL. There were so many times that I either almost slipped or gave in a told them.

So here is how it all went down.

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Countdown on my phone!

Justin picked me up from the airport and we went straight to my family’s flower shop. I had written up this poem (pictured below) in Christmas cards to be handed to my family right before I walked in.

IMG_1094My grandparents were in the shop and my mom was across the street getting lunch with a family friend that had stopped by. Justin delivered both of the cards and then came back to get me from where I was hiding in the back hallway.

My grandparents were a bit confused by the card, so when I walked around the corner I more startled them, then surprising.

Since my Mom was across the street, she was more confused that Justin had came in, handed her a card and then ran out again. It took her a bit to put together my handwriting and the cards message but as I headed over there she came running out too.

My sister screamed publicly. It was pretty funny.

My favorite reaction was my Dad’s though. He walked into the store an hour later, looked at me like I had three heads and said “What the hell are you doing here?” I love you too Dad.

Josh (my uncle) was out of town so I just tagged him in my Facebook status. His reaction there was about the same as it would have been in person.

IMG_1095Everyone in my family was genuinely surprised and I am super excited to be spending this entire week with them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

DIY and Organization

It’s In My Genes

A few weeks ago I spent my birthday weekend in Ellinwood, Kansas with my best friends Megan and Kyla. To pass the afternoon we visited a few adorable little antique shops where I found these treasures below. I knew immediately that I wanted to use the crock to hold a silk arrangement that I could change out seasonally.

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Growing up in a flower shop, you pick up on some rather unique skills. Call it a curse if you will, but I can’t look at any room or decoration and not try to make a project out of it. I spent about $30 to buy these silks at Hobby Lobby. Since they go really well with my living room colors and decor, my plan is that I will be able to leave them out from mid-October through January, because they encompass fall, Thanksgiving AND the holidays. For the base, I used a white styrofoam ball to secure everything.

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While I was making it, I started to think about how natural this creative part of me comes. My family has owned Cottage Flowers now for 26 years, first my grandma and now my mom. It’s a part of almost every memory I have. The flower shop is where I grew up.

I have chosen to spend my career in agriculture. I think what farmers do is honorable and I will never bore of learning more, and sharing that with others. But I do think that what my family does is important too. No, it might not bear a lot of responsibility, like feeding the world does, but it does make people happy. A little touch of decor makes every home a little warmer and a bouquet of flowers can make one’s day a little bit brighter.

When I’m talking with my farmers I like to share that I too come from a family business.
We’ve had setbacks and seen growth, and we have customers that depend on us.
Their kids were driving tractors, while I was cleaning flowers.
We are a family, just like them.
So I too am proud, proud to be a 3rd generation florist.

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And let’s be honest, I’m pretty excited to showoff the final product.

I guess the holiday season has officially arrived!

Life at Random

#MonthofThanksgiving – Part 3

Wrapping up my #MonthofThanksgiving by sharing Part 3. Hope everyone had a wonderful month and got a chance to reflect back on a few of the things that they are thankful for. I’m glad that I did. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays, I am pretty excited to finally be on my home in just 12 days! Enjoy.

#Day21 I am thankful for childhood #bestfriends that still support each other though we’re thousands of miles apart#MonthofThanksgiving

Kay, Chole and I as senior's in high school.
Kay, Chole and I as seniors in high school.

#Day22 I am thankful for technology that lets me be with my family on days that being far away stings a little bit more #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day23 I am thankful for faith, hope and love, and being taught to believe in each. #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day24 I am thankful for Caden Eli. 5 years ago today he was born and changed a lot of lives, including mine. #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day25 I am thankful for my roommate Kyla, for being my voice of reason & favorite crazy redhead all in one. #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day26 I am thankful for my mentors, who are there to lift me up, challenge and push me to be better and dream big #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day27 I am thankful for Smurthwaite Scholarship House, my sisters and the memories it has given me #home #smurthielove #MonthofThanksgiving

Seniors back for this fall's alumni dinner.
Senior Smurthie’s back for this fall’s alumni dinner.

#Day28 I am thankful to have grown up in a family business, to work alongside and learn from those I love and respect #MonthofThanksgivng

#Day29 I am thankful for the talent & character that God has given me & the drive to try to do something good with it #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day30 I am thankful that I get to live in this “crazy, beautiful life” of mine #MonthofThanksgiving

– Amanda

Life at Random

#MonthofThanksgiving – Part 2

Presenting part numero dos of my “#MonthofThanksgiving.” At first thinking of things that we are thankful for is pretty easy; mom, dad, friends, the dog and in my case, coffee. But I’ve found that I am really enjoying sitting for a few minutes each day and really thinking a little more in depth about things that I take for granted or don’t think about actually be “thankful” for. Just a thought to sure.

Thanksgiving day is this week! Hope everyone has a wonderful day with their family and friends!

#Day11 I am thankful for my uncle and our military who sacrafice everyday for our #freedom #merica #MonthofThanksgiving

Mom and I in Cabo last January. She’s a goof.

#Day12 I am thankful for my mom and my #bestfriend You can thank her for my stubborn streak and caffeine addiction#MonthofThanksgiving

#Day13 I am thankful for being raised in beautiful #EasternOregon. There’s something special about that way of life#MonthofThanksgiving

#Day14 I am thankful for obstacles that challenge me to work harder and be a better person #nopainnogain #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day15 I am thankful to have this #KState #family, hard to describe how important they are to this out of state girl #MonthofThanksgving

#Day16 I am thankful for my Daddy & all he does for our family & in education. He is the hardest worker I know #MonthofThanksgiving

Dad and I at my friend’s wedding this last spring that he cooked for.

#Day17 I am thankful for #lazydays, time to relax, refresh and refocus #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day18 I am thankful for #music, as a dancer and a lover of words, I can’t imagine a world without the art of sound #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day19 I am thankful for beautiful sunshine even on a cold fall day it makes everything about my day that much brighter #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day20 I am thankful to have been taught to strive towards finding & having a good balance of self-confidence & grace #MonthofThanksgiving

– Amanda Jae