Branson Recap and Being Grateful

Happy Monday readers! It’s the start of Thanksgiving week or should I say the start of the Christmas season?? I spent last weekend on my Annual Girls Weekend with my college friends. That’s capitalized because it’s that important. We’ve been doing this since 2011 but we’ve been friends since 2000. Actually, I met them in 2000 and they had all met before. (Brandy was my roommate sophomore year through graduation. Ann was Brandy’s best friend in high school and became my friend too. Jaime was their good friend from living in the dorms their freshman year and I decided she would have to like me too.) When we started Girls weekend, I was living in Iowa so we met in Omaha or Minneapolis. We always shopped, dined, and hung out. This year, we met in Branson, MO. We stayed at a little cabin type condo that was about 4 miles from the strip. Loved it! I’m a huge fan of staying in a house instead of a hotel when you’re with friends. We spent most of our time hanging out at the cabin and doing nothing except eating, drinking, and talking. The pineapple jalapeno margarita mix I brought went over really well! 

We did venture out for awhile on Saturday night to go to Dolly Parton’s Stampede. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it. When you first go in, you get to walk through part of the barn and see all the horses. After you get into the building, you watch a pre show, and then you go to the main event. It’s an hour and a half show with horse drill teams, trick riders, and other acts. Since we were watching the Christmas show, they also had a live nativity scene complete with goats, sheep, and camels. It was quite impressive! While you’re watching, they serve you a delicious 4 course meal. The time and effort that go into planning and performing that show must be hours and days.  I can’t imagine how long those trick riders have to practice. I mean, I’ve hung off the side of a saddle while a horse was running, but it wasn’t on purpose! 

Anyhow, I’m just feeling extra grateful and happy today. I have amazing friends who I can share everything with. Also, my parents are coming to visit this weekend so I’m excited to show them our new home and new city. We may even venture on out and look at some potential homes! Hopefully by next Thanksgiving, we’re in our new home. 

One thing I don’t get grateful for is Black Friday. In college and that first year after college, I worked retail at a makeup counter. Black Friday is miserable. People lined up at 4:00 am to get some deal on something. One thing to know is when you work at the makeup counters, your product doesn’t go on sale. People have holy shit fits about that! You also don’t know what’s on sale in the rest of the store so people get crabby about that too. I had a little old lady get mad at me because I didn’t know the ornaments were 50% off. I just saw an ad on TV last night showing that store would begin Black Friday deals at 2:00 pm on Thursday. What the hell? People aren’t even done with Thanksgiving dinner yet. I hope those stores pay their employees extra that day. These people are missing out on their family time so shoppers can be out getting deals. It makes me so mad that people have to work for a company that cares more about making money and less about their employees. If you’re out on Black Friday, good for you. Be nice to the retail workers. I’ll be up with my coffee, eating leftover turkey, and checking online for deals. Nothing screams Christmas spirit like laying around in your jammies. 

Ok, rant over. Seriously though, I am very grateful for the things I have this year. Last year this time, James and I weren’t loving our lives and felt stuck. We kept saying we’d move in about 5 years. Then an opportunity presented itself and we were able to completely change our lives. None of those changes have been easy but so far, they’ve been totally worth it. James is liking his new job and we are really enjoying living in Arkansas so far. We love the house we are renting and we’ve started looking at homes to buy. With the housing prices here, we should be able to get everything we want in a home. Every year on the way home from Girls Weekend, I would get really sad and teary eyed. This year, I was happy the entire way home and ready to get home. Liking where you live and liking your house really impacts your outlook. Although I haven’t gotten a job yet, I’m earning an  income through Pruvit while pursuing my passion of health and fitness. That makes me feel better as I’m able to contribute to our financial goals.  I’m looking forward to the kids coming for Christmas and starting some new traditions. And, since my oldest stepdaughter is going to have a baby in 2019, I have a feeling next year will include even more new traditions. Things really have changed since 2017!! 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that nothing in the past year has turned out the way I thought it would. Actually, nothing in my life has turned out the way I thought would. I didn’t plan on marrying a guy from my hometown and then moving to Arkansas. I planned on living the rest of my life in Des Moines, Iowa! However, I’m grateful for these experiences and for the way my life has turned out so far. I’m grateful for a husband who is pretty awesome and for some reason, still puts up with me. I’m grateful for friends who keep in touch and for their plans to visit me. Well, I pretty much ordered them to come visit but I have found cool stuff to do while they’re here! This Thanksgiving, I’ll miss my family back home, but I’m grateful for a quiet holiday with my husband and dog. Wherever you are, and however you’re celebrating, I hope you find something you are grateful for too! Happy Thanksgiving! 


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