100 random things I’m thankful for

It’s that time of year again. Time to be thankful. Thinking it should be more than just one time a year. But I’m going to take a moment and be thankful. Here is this years non-inclusive random list of 100 things I’m thankful for. Of course is no particular order

  1. Sunshine 
  2. The hard days (they make me appreciate the good days even more 
  3. Laughing 
  4. My family (I would list them all but that would take up all of my hundred things) 
  5. The old guy who lives in my apartment building. He makes me have a different perspective on life. 
  6. Snowmen
  7. My cell phone (even though sometimes I need to remember to just put it down and be in the moment) 
  8. Trees
  9. Rain. Because it makes things grow
  10. My cozy spot
  11. Music
  12. Scentsy (makes the apartment smell good) 
  13. Role models
  14. Family
  15. Movies
  16. Date nights
  17. Really good customer service
  18. People who are good at and love their jobs 
  19. The color orange 
  20. Opportunities
  21. Blessings
  22. My gym shoes
  23. Gum
  24. The beach
  25. Airplanes 
  26. Books
  27. The TV show This is Us 
  28. Doctors
  29. Socks
  30. Chocolate
  31. My noise cancelling headphones
  32. My refrigerator 
  33. My pastors. All of them. Past, present and future. 
  34. Cupcakes!!! 
  35. Hoodies
  36. Bon fires
  37. Memories
  38. My friends
  39. People who believe in me and never give up on me. 
  40. Love
  41. Hugs. Even though I don’t always like them…. I’m starting to be thankful for them. 
  42. Blankets
  43. Cozy pants 
  44. All things pumpkin spice
  45. Fireplaces
  46. HGTV
  47. My cuddly diabetic cat
  48. Stand up paddle boards
  49. Snow. Especially if I don’t have to drive in it. It’s really quite pretty.
  50. Sunsets
  51. Mexico
  52. IKEA
  53. The Internet
  54. My glasses. Even though I would rather wear my contacts
  55. My running shoes 
  56. The seasons
  57. My new car. 
  58. School supplies
  59. My education
  60. The roof over my head
  61. The fact that in all reality my jeans still fit. 
  62. The air in my lungs 
  63. Children. They bring lots of joy into my life.
  64. The opportunity to influence people’s life’s 
  65. My job. As much as I complain about it. 
  66. Vacations
  67. Disney 
  68. Jesus. My lord and savior
  69. My DVR
  70. The Green Bay Packers
  71. People who told me I could never amount to anything. I like proving people wrong.
  72. The fact that everyday is a new opportunity 
  73. Hot tubs
  74. Stars
  75. Christmas
  76. My credit card
  77. Photos
  78. Artwork
  79. Free will
  80. People who do the jobs that I could NEVER do.
  81. The mountains
  82. Clouds on a sunny day
  83. Sunglasses
  84. People who see things differently than I do
  85. Games
  86. My coworkers
  87. The little things in life
  88. Target!!!!! 
  89. Facebook
  90. Ice cream
  91. People who “get” me
  92. Flowers
  93. The struggles
  94. Animals
  95. Rainbows
  96. Fall colors
  97. Adventure
  98. Competition
  99. People who put their lives on the line everyday to keep us safe
  100. And a special shout out to the boyfriend. I’m more and more thankful to him everyday. And I don’t know if I say it enough. 

Thoughts from my therapy run 

So… 4 days ago I turned 35. Thirty. five. That means I am 5 years into my thirties. Like I’m edging closer to 40 every day. Before I Get to why this is a big deal… I have to show you how I celebrated my birthday  

 A run, a cupcake and some time with the boyfriend. All around a really great day. Anyways.. Moving on… 

Truth of the matter is I think it’s kinda bugging me a little. Making my brain a little foggy and making wearing my “crabby pants” way to easy these days. Sometimes I just stare off into space. Some days the whole “Choosing Joy” thing  just isn’t that easy. However tonight on my run I think I worked some things out. Weird as it sounds I think I’m having a “midlife crisis” if you will. Here’s the deal. Growing up you have this picture of what your life will be when you “grow up”… Right?!? My picture included a house, a husband, twins a dog and a job as a teacher. I even “knew” who this husband was supposed to be for years and years. Of course I was way to young to “know” this.. Not to mention that he was totally wrong for me…but that’s beside the point. Back to the picture… It of course had a deadline. I was thinking 30 would be when this would all fall in place. Ummm.. About that… 


Lake George. tonights therapy

 I am 35. I have….an apartment, no husband, no kids, a fat….lazy diabetic cat… And a job as a bill collector. Sometimes it seems like my siblings got everything that I wanted.. You see I am the oldest of 5 kids. One of my sisters has the twins I always wanted (plus another adorable little boy) . One of them is running a daycare (that was actually what I went to college for), my other sister is married and has a dog! and my brother has 2 adorable children. People that I graduated with have teenagers!!!  Those are the facts. My life isn’t what I thought it would be. I am not the person I thought I would “grow up” to be…and everyone “seems” to have what I wanted. Or thought I wanted….. 

Here is the conclusion I came to when I was running tonight. I am freakin blessed. I have a great life and I need to out on my big girl panties and realize  it. Here is the deal. I don’t have a house (I did at one point, that’s another story) …but I love my apartment! I don’t have a husband….but I do have a pretty terrific boyfriend. I do not have any kids… But I do have 4 awesome nephews and one amazing niece. I have a little bestie and a littlest bestie whom I lobe very much. I have the two girls I baby sat for almost their entire lives. I have cousins, and cousins kids and church kids and….. You get the point. God has placed a ton of kids in my life to have influence on. And as far the at the cat thing goes: IMG_3712 

  I kinda like him. I have gotten to travel and see so many things that I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to do!!  And the job thing… Some days a it really sucks. Some days it really stresses me out. Some days it makes me want to start drinking (I don’t drink, never have)… On the other hand some days it’s exciting and fun… And I honestly feel like I am changing people’s lives for the better. And then I realize I can afford things like vacations ( I really like vacation!!) and insulin for my diabetic cat…and shoes, running shoes!! And… Well, you get the point…. because of my job… It makes it not so bad. 

Bottom line from tonight’s 5 mile therapy run was this. No, I am not living the life imagined I would be when I was little. But I have a pretty freaking amazing life. I just needed a little wake up call to realize it. I have people around me who love me (even when I am unlovable) and that is what really matters. Thinking that what God had figured out for My life was a little (okay… Maybe A lOT) better than what I thought. And I may be 35… But I refuse to grow up. Cuz that in an option. I am, and will always be, just a big kid. And I kinda like the person I am becoming. As far as the rest of my life goes…. We shall see. Life is an adventure and I’m excited to see what’s in store. 

Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

It’s Christmas Eve!!!

So I’ve been deep in thought about Christmas once again. Was getting my hair cut the other day when I ended up in a conversation about Christmas. The hype is crazy. The pressure to get the right thing, to spend enough money, to decorate just right, to make all the goodies PINTREST worthy, to make everything just perfect. We live in a culture of abundance. Too many presents, too much food. Too much hussle. Too much bustle. 

My challenge to you is think about how you remember your Christmas growing up. Do you remember what you “got”. The girl cutting my hair and I could each think of 3 things we got. 3!!!! However, I look back fondly on my Christmases growing up. Some of my most treasured memories are of time spent with my family at Christmas. Was a time of the year where we just spend time together. My mom worked her butt off all year round to provide for us. But Christmas Eve was a time we could all be together. 

These are some of my most treasured memories:

Visits with Santa


This happens to be my favorite photo of Santa and I.

Christmas crafts were big in my house. Painting ceramics. 

Decorating the house was also fun. Christmas music in the background. All of us kids working together to make the house look festive.  We always had presents on the wall

Driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Christmas programs.  Journey to the center of Christmas! 

Going to candle light service at church and mom dripping wax on her hand. Also mom trying so hard to clap along to the songs and having no rhythm. Getting home from church and having treats and pizza for dinner. And opening presents sitting around the tree. 

Most of all was baking cookies. Eating so much cookie dough and frosting that I had a giant stomach ache (totally worth it!) my brother throwing cookie dough on the Ceiling to see if it would stick. Using too much flour and making a giant mess… Always ending in a flour fight. Having contests to see who could make the prettiest cookie. Getting yelled at for sneaking a cookie cuz those were for the people mom worked with. Also getting “the look” when I “accidentally” got frosting on my fingers and then licked them… Oops! Then getting excited when we got to eat them. Cookies for breakfast! 

My sister coming down in her undies Christmas morning to open gifts. Sorry sister, it’s adorable and part of my memories 😉 (I’ll spare the photo on this one)   Ps. She was little! 

I always enjoyed everyone else opening their presents, and always wanted to be the one to hand themall out.  (Even when I was in first grade and had just had my tonsils out).  Here is a photo of me watching the gift opening:  

Playing games all day Christmas Day with my siblings. Just being together. Enjoying each other. We didn’t always get along, but we tried on Christmas.  It didn’t matter if it was board games, marbles, Legos, Nintendo or some made up game we came up with. We just hung out! 

 Here is our Christmas In a nutshell. Love the coordinating wind suits. Notice how we aren’t real thrilled about the “lets take a photo thing” makes me giggle. 

And In case you are wondering what gifts I remembered: 


My new kids on the block comforter!

My pen-doodle-um. The coolest craft thing ever!

The other was my “cheerleader wanna be doll” but I don’t have a photo of her. But I did find this photo of my Hyper-color sweatshirt that’s loved as well. If you don’t know what hyper color is… You are missing out!   

So.. To wrap it all up. *notice the pun*

For me. Christmas is about being present. Not the presents. It’s about spending time with family. Not money on family. It’s about giving and not getting. It’s about love and kindness. Finding the true meaning of the season. And of course cookies and frosting. 

Merry Christmas and God Bless. And find the magic in the season. 


Don’t judge me 

In today’s episode of “what’s going on inside Tonya’s head”. 

Today I went for a walk… And here’s what came out of it.. Besides these lovely scenic shots of the Mississippi River:  

   In my job I get a chance to hear about the real struggles and hardships that people go through in life. Real stuff. Hard stuff. Life changing and world-turning upside down kind of stuff. Things I couldn’t imagine going through. It’s Teaching me a lot of things. One thing for sure is that I. Am. Blessed. No if’s, ands or butts about it. My life is pretty freakin spectacular. Yes, my job is stressful… And my life isn’t perfect. And I don’t always take the opportunity to realize that I am blessed. But I am. More recently I’m learning that everyone you meet has a story. You really have no idea what people are going through. People go through challenges and struggles and life can kick people around. Relationships crumble, jobs cause stress, bank accounts empty, things break down, people get sick/ hurt, we make mistake. Life happens. I don’t need to know exactly what people are going through to do my part in not making the situation worse. A simple smile can turn someone’s day around. It’s really the little things in life. Also you never know when it will be your last chance to make a difference in someone’s life. People come and go in your life… Take the opportunity to make their life a little better (guess what… It will makes yours better too!). 

Something else I’ve been thinking about recently is death. It’s true. Why? Because I thought I was going to lose my kitty. 

 Made me think.  You really never know when your last day will be. Why not make every moment and every interaction count. Be kind to people. Love unconditionally. Hug tighter. Laugh more. Life is simply too short and very precious. Ps. My kitty (Fat Cat, as I affectionate call him) is alright. 

Bottom line. Life isn’t always easy. I’m going to try not to add to the difficulty. Maybe smile at a stranger. Keep my attitude in check and choose joy. Is this easy? Nope! Because we are all fighting battles. We ALL go through crap! Am I perfect at it? Heck no! But I’m going to try…. I think it would be beneficial. I think this pretty much sums it up. 

Until next time. Be good to one another.  

Lessons my mother taught me

There is not a person in this whole wide world that means more to me than my mother. mom and i (3)

She has made me who I am. She has been my rock and my inspiration for 33…well just about 34 years. She has taught me lessons that are more valuable then she will ever know. She has a heart of gold. Probably the sassiest person I know… good thing I didn’t get that trait from her… oh wait… I might have a little sass in me 😉

mom and I at austin grad party

She taught me that it’s not about what happens to you in life, but how you handle it that matters. She has taught me about work ethic and doing the right thing.. even when it’s not the fun thing to do.  She has taught me about love and sacrifice. She taught me to be kind and generous and loving. She also taught me that it’s okay to eat Ding-dongs for breakfast once in awhile. She tried to teach me about being responsible… but sometimes I just don’t listen too good. 😉 She has taught me that hard work and dedication pays off. I have learned about being loyal and forgiving. She has taught me that it is okay to be goofy and it’s okay to laugh at yourself.

mom and i christmas hats

She loves me for who I am. I don’t think I could have picked a better mother for myself. I must say I am extremely blessed to have what I consider to be the best mother in the universe! I could probably write a book on all the stuff my mother has taught me…. but for now I will end with this:   I am proud to call her not only my mother, but a best friend.  Mom, I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.

Mirror… Mirror… On the wall….

Question: what do you see when you look in the mirror?!?! Something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I don’t particularly care for them. I used to avoid the weight room at the gym because of mirrors. Why?!?! Well because when I look in the mirror I see me. All my flaws, imperfections, failures, mistakes and short comings. However recently I have tried looking at myself as other people see me. Full of will power and strength. Someone who is strong and has come a long way. I was told recently that I have no body fat. It made me giggle… Because I still have way more than I would like…. However it made me realize that others tend to see the best in us. I still struggle on a regular basis with accepting a compliment. This is an area I need to work on… I know. Here is another thing… Other people tend to believe that we can face temptation and overcome it victoriously! Why don’t we look at ourselves with love and kindness!?! Talk to ourselves like we would talk to a friend? Build ourselves up… Instead of tear ourselves down?!?! Negative self talk… And not loving ourselves isn’t helpful. You are worth loving. I am worth it. There I said it 😉 let’s not be our biggest obstacle… And a wise friend told me the other day to “not best myself up because life can do that on its own… It doesn’t need help.” Stay strong.., stay the course and make good choices. And let’s work on loving what we see in the mirror!


Ps. Happy Halloween! This is just how cool I am… Gotta love a day when you can rock a tutu!

I am sure I have more to say but I might be on a sugar high (oops, about those good choices) ….And I might be slightly ADHD 😉

Just a thought…..

Sometimes someone can say one simple thing and it kinda rocks your world…. This happened to me on Saturday and the “someone” was my four year old niece.


I said something along the lines of “Kiersten, Auntie loves you” expecting an “I love you too, Auntie” but instead I hear her go “I love me too.” At first I was like… Hey! What about me??!? And then it hit me… This kid is onto something… I told her that she should love herself. What’s not to love!?! I went on to tell her why that was awesome that she loved herself. Hours later I thought about that moment again…. Wondering why it can be harder as adults to love ourselves. Not giving ourselves credit for things we should… Beating ourselves up over things we can’t change… Living in the past… Not having hope for the future… Those types of things. I think if we treated ourselves with love… We just might have a different approach at life. Just a thought. Triggered by my brilliant, beautiful, spunky, 4 year old niece.