My sister Shelby posted this link a few weeks ago on Facebook, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Today, I was going to complain about how B was called in to work weekend duty this weekend, so he has the car, and how we will be far away from our family this holiday season, and I’m sure I could think of a million other minuscule things I could rattle off to “complain” about….but what would that accomplish for me, or anyone else reading it?
So instead, I am going to rattle off some reasons why I am blessed beyond measure and incredibly thankful during this Christmas season.
I am thankful that B is working today because that means that he has a steady job that he loves and is good at, and it provides for us fairly comfortably. Last year at this time, Brandon was in Afghanistan, fighting for our country, which may be a bit broken in places, but is a relatively safe, free place to live. I missed him every single day, especially on each holiday he missed, but am proud of what he does and what it stands for. This year, we were able to gather our friends and military family at our house to celebrate Thanksgiving and create new traditions, which will become an important part of our life here. We were able to pick out a Christmas tree together, and spend an evening decorating it.  We’ve bought a few gifts here and there, but mostly, we are just grateful that we get to spend time together this year.   
Yesterday we dropped off gifts for the Angel Tree at the base where B works. Knowing that we are financially able to help provide a better Christmas for a family not quite as fortunate is an amazing thing, and I thank my parents for instilling those values in me.  Every time I walked into the BX where the Angel Tree was located, it was filled with a mountain of different presents.  That shows me there are people in this world, and at this very base, who still have compassion and love in their hearts, despite what we see on TV and social media every day.  

Yesterday I also worked my last day of 2013.  I can’t express how thankful I am to have a job that I enjoy doing.  It may not be exactly what I had hoped for, but I work with amazing people each day, am surrounded by sweet kiddos each day, and am not sitting on my butt at home!  I look forward to returning to work January 6th, refreshed and renewed, to continue working where I truly feel I have a purpose.  

I live in England.  That sentence alone should be reason enough to be thankful!  While I have seen others over here complain about being away from loved ones this season (and trust me, I understand, I miss mine too!), I have to be thankful that: a. we are in a safe place, away from the terror of war; a place with clean water; plenty of food; warm, comfortable (albeit small) homes, and b. we are in a place so filled with history and beauty that there is something to do, see, experience, and enjoy around every corner and in every small town.  I don’t think my mind will every fully comprehend how incredibly lucky I am for this opportunity.

This is just a small glimpse into my life full of blessings, and I thank God every day for what he has provided.  I pray that each person reading this can take a look into their own life and remember how blessed we truly are.  If you need some help getting started, here are just a few ideas…. 🙂

19 Signs You’re Doing Better than You Think



Buckle up, this might be a long one!


Ok, so I am officially a married woman! (AGAIN, ha)  When I posted last, B and I were trying to get a Space A flight back to the states.  Well, luckily, there was a flight flying out of Mildenhall to Pittsburgh (there is a reserve base close to the airport there) on November 4.  Only 5 seats were available, and we were fortunate enough to get on!  We flew on a KC-135, which is a cargo plane.  The flight was pretty cold {and by pretty cold, I mean I thought my toes were going to fall off and/or were frostbitten}, until Brandon found the warm spot, laying up on the cargo crates.  The flight was about 8 hours and we were able to stretch out, bring food, etc.  I actually prefer this method of transportation now vs. flying commercial!!  We flew out around 9am UK time, and landed in Pittsburgh around noon eastern time (I love gaining time coming back to the states!).  We then got a shuttle to the International Airport, rented a car, and drove the 2 and a half hours to Columbus.  It was, overall, an uneventful day of traveling {which is always good in my book!}

Our time in Ohio was fantastic!  We did a lot of last minute wedding planning, enjoyed quite a few drinks here and there, rocked out at the Charity Newsies Firefighter Pizza Cook-off my dad helps run, and of course, got hitched!

Before I go on and on about the wedding, BIG NEWS- I finally met Brandon’s mom!!  Yes, B and I have been together for over 4 years, and I had not met his mother before our rehearsal dinner [which, need I remind you, was technically 6+ months after we actually got married].  To be fair, he literally had not seen his family, due to the military and such, in that time either, so it’s not like he had been hiding me, haha.  Anyway, she is absolutely incredible and I love her!  I definitely lucked out in the in-laws category 🙂

The wedding was amazing, and, other than my photobooth not showing up (GRRR!), it was pretty much perfect.  I am so thankful so many of my friends came from near and far to celebrate with me!  Leading up to the big event, I got to spend the morning with my amazing bridesmaids, family friends, and cousins.  Everyone was so relaxed and I truly got to enjoy the “getting ready” process.  I did a “first look” with Brandon, which was incredibly special.  I am so glad I chose to do this, as I think it eased our anxieties and gave us much better photography options.  {Speaking of which, my photographers were THE BOMB.COM!  Gibson Photographics in Columbus, Ohio totally rocked my socks off!}

The ceremony and reception were full of laughter, stories, smiles, and all most of my favorite people!! [Those who couldn’t make it, I missed dearly!!]  I think because B and I technically were already married, I didn’t feel quite so anxious or stressed out as I thought I would be.  I do remember standing at the top of the stairs, ready to walk down the aisle, and I was just completely in awe of the moment.  I saw B down there and a sea full of faces, and I could just feel the love filling the room.  Then of course, I saw my dad and emotion just welled up, I was so excited that the first most important man in my life was walking me down to my next most important man.  As much as I would love to say that I savored every moment of the ceremony, it was all a bit of a blur.  I am grateful that I had two of the best women I know by my side (thank you sissy and Megs), my sweet reader, Julia, as well as our good friend (Brandon’s best friend, Chris) performing the ceremony—it was perfect.

My highlights of the day and night:

1. Marrying my kind, generous, sweet, smart, handsome hubby again 😉

2. Spending time with so many loved ones

3. Dancing to “Laid” with UD girls, so many memories 🙂

4. Dancing with the kiddies!

5. Dancing with my hubby!

6. Dancing with…well….everyone!

7.  Delicious food, Half-Baked Catering rocks!

8. My sister’s toast, by far the best I’ve ever heard!!!

9.  Going to the bar in my dress after the reception 🙂

Having the wedding on a Friday night was pretty awesome for us, because we got to spend Saturday with quite a few people who either lived in town, or stayed in town an extra night.  Again, I am beyond thankful for everyone who came and was a part of such a fabulous day, especially my wedding party, and most of all, my super amazing fabulous wonderful parents!!!!  For those interested, here is a link to the sneak peek of my wedding photos, there will be more to come!!—brandons-wedding

(Did I mention they are AWESOME?!?!?)

Ok, so after the wedding we had Sunday to recover, then we were off to try to get back to the UK.  We again, were trying to fly Space A, which we knew was going to be tricky, as there weren’t really any bases near us, plus not many bases fly straight into the Mildenhall or Lakenheath.  We decided to first get to BWI, as there were several passenger terminals for Space A within 2 hours of the area.  My dad had two free flights through Southwest, which he graciously allowed us to use to fly bright and early Monday morning.  We knew there were several flights going to Ramstein, which we planned as our “get to Europe” place, so that, if needed, we could fly commercial within Europe , which would be cheaper than buying a ticket from the states to London.  Luckily, there was a Space A flight leaving that same day.  We left BWI Monday evening and arrived early Tuesday morning.  That flight was actually on a commercial plane taking military personnel overseas, so we ended up having to pay like $17 for each ticket.  The plane was half empty, so we still got a pretty comfy ride for dirt cheap.  When we got to Ramstein, we found that there was a flight going to Mildenhall the next morning, so we got a room at the inn on base and hung out in Germany for the day.  We mostly just napped and checked out the “shopping area”,but it was pretty darn impressive. I can’t wait to actually explore and discover Germany!!  Wednesday we spent most of the day at the passenger terminal, waiting on our flight (which was delayed…but I won’t complain about a free flight!!).  We left that evening and made it back to Mildenhall around 8.  After customs and such, we finally got home…*BEST FEELING EVER*  It was an extremely exhausting 3 days, but like I said, I can’t complain about getting to travel for basically nothing.  I am SO glad we went back for the wedding, but I am honestly looking forward to not going back to the US for awhile {that means y’all need to come visit me here :)}


So, before we left for the states, B and I had talked about hosting thanksgiving at our house for people that he works with/ our friends….When we got back, we thought maybe we should do Christmas instead, when our house is more put together and we feel prepared. Well apparently that didn’t go over too well, as people were all excited that we were having it, so we ended up hosting it anyway.  I worked Thursday and Friday (jet lagged as all get-out), then cleaned and put up Christmas decorations all weekend, worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before people came Thursday morning.   I am SO glad that we ended up hosting, it was a wonderful day filled with friends, drinks, and TONS of delicious food {ladies, there are some good lookin’ single airmen here that certainly know how to cook!!}   We fried two turkeys and had alllllll the fixin’s and desserts you could imagine!  I truly am thankful and lucky that we have a “family” over here, especially during the holidays.


Work is going well, I am starting to really feel “at home” at my school and am enjoying what I am doing.  My principal has dropped like a bajillion hints about trying to get me certified through DODEA, as she apparently wants to put me in a regular classroom, so I am super bummed that my Georgia certificate won’t automatically transfer.  i am hoping that somehow she can push me through and put me in a classroom….otherwise, hopefully once I start my master’s degree I will be able to start building credit hours to update my certification.  I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have my own classroom here 🙂

Brandon and I’s friend Jeff just got here, which is super exciting, he is an awesome person and a ton of fun to hang out with…a few other guys from Clovis just got here not too long ago too, so it’s nice to see some familiar faces!  We went and got our Christmas tree last weekend, so our house is looking festive 🙂  We can’t wait to actually celebrate Christmas together this year!!

I am sure I am missing a billion things from the last month, but that’s a pretty good start I would say 🙂  I will post pictures of Thanksgiving soon!