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52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 2

Week 2: Significant Other

It has been said that you cannot fall in love with somebody else until you learn to love yourself first, nor can you be happy with another person if you cannot be happy by yourself. I have always brushed those two sayings aside, because I wrongly believed it did not matter if I was able to love myself or be happy by myself in order to be in a relationship. I was under the false assumption that my significant other would make me happy and love me, so it did not matter if I could do these things for myself. What I did not recognize was the amount of pressure I would place on someone else to make me happy, nor how I was hurting myself by relying on others for one of the most important things – self-love.

I have operated in this fashion since my first “serious” relationship in middle school. Rather than focusing my energy on loving myself and doing things that made me happy, I focused on what my significant other could do for me. If I could go back in time and tell my 14-year-old self one thing (okay, let’s be real…there are MANY things I wish I could say), it would be to love myself fully and NOT rely on someone else to give me feelings of love and happiness. I was allowing other people to have entirely too much control over my life, and it eventually began to tear me apart.

I am not going to go into the full story of my past in this blog post because I want to focus on my current relationship and the gratitude I feel towards my boyfriend everyday. However, I do need to mention a few things to provide a backstory to how I got to the point I am at today. Typically, the guys I have dated in the past have never built me up, but rather have torn me down. I cannot place all of the blame on them because, like I mentioned before, I placed pressure on them to make me happy and love me, so that I could be happy with and love myself. There is one particular relationship that was so emotionally draining it caused me to lose myself. I became someone I never knew before. I did not know how to be happy and I certainly did not love myself. Dealing with conditional love for over a year left me feeling like I could never do anything right again.

One thing I realized that had happened was that I left God out of my life during these bad relationships. After the above-mentioned relationship ended, I was lost. I wanted to stay in bed all day and not do anything. I grew more and more depressed and began thinking I would never find a decent guy. One of the best things I could have done during that time was begin going back to church, doing devotionals, and growing closer with God. I prayed that God would guide me to the right man and put my faith in Him. Instead of spending energy searching for a relationship, I spent the energy on finding the things that make me happy again. And most importantly, I began to love myself again. One realization I had was that God loves me even though I sin daily and am unworthy of His love. Because of His unconditional love for me, I grew to love myself again. And because of His forgiveness towards me, I was able to forgive those who had hurt me in the past. This forgiveness brought me peace, because the hurtful people in my past were no longer allowed to have control over me and I could move on to the next chapter of my life.

I had to share the above antecedent so you could understand (somewhat) the journey I’ve gone through when it comes to relationships. So now, here comes the good news: I’ve met the guy of my dreams, the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I have no doubts in my mind that it was God who brought us together. His name is Christopher, but I only call him that when he is in “trouble,” other times I just call him Chris. When he first asked me on a date, I could not believe it. Here was a handsome (okay, HOT), tall, firefighter with a dazzling smile and an incredibly cute puppy, and he wanted to take ME out on a date.

Chris and I

My boyfriend Chris and I

We had planned to go to the movies on a Saturday in June. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole week before the date was set to happen. I was so nervous but so excited at the same time. We had been texting beforehand and I felt like I had already known him for months. Then, I received a disappointing text saying he could not make it on Saturday because he was having problems with his truck. My heart immediately sank and I thought I must have scared him off. But, we made plans for Sunday afternoon instead, and I remember just praying he would show. Well, my worrying was for nothing (which I have learned it always is), because Sunday came and we went to see 22 Jump Street and laughed and laughed. Something happened during the movie and about halfway through, the screen just shut off. About 15 minutes later it came back on, but it just gave us something else to laugh about.

Chris and I on a date

Chris and I on one of our first dates

After that first date I knew that I wanted him in my life. It is hard to explain that feeling you get when you go on a date with someone but it does not feel like anything you have ever felt before, and it is just like a “you know this person is different and special” feeling. We continued hanging out, almost every day, and we had fun hanging out and doing nothing because it felt like everything I had ever wanted. On July 6 of 2014, we “officially” became boyfriend and girlfriend, but we were also becoming best friends as well, which is something I have always wanted to be with my significant other.

Silly photo of Chris and I

Chris and I being goofy

Words cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am to have Chris in my life. He does not belittle me, he does not tell me I need to diet and exercise, and he does not make me feel like less of a person for being myself. I can be as weird as I want around him and he still loves me (which he better because he is pretty weird himself, hehe). I prayed to God that He would send the right man into my life and I truly believe He has. I am no longer relying on Chris to make me happy or to love me, but rather I do those things myself and think of how I can make Chris happy and feel loved. And that is how a relationship should be. It took me a long time to learn that but I am so glad I did.

Chris and I dressed up

Chris and I dressed up at my cousin’s wedding

In a way, I am grateful for my past and the way it worked out. It taught me a lot about life, love and relationships. And allowed me to become a better person, as well as to realize what I deserve – which is a man exactly like Chris: caring, generous, kind, funny, loyal, family-oriented, sweet, considerate, etc. (I could list a bunch more positive adjectives to describe Chris but I will not make you read anything too mushy). He builds me up and encourages me when I feel down. He cooks for me (c’mon now, you are lying if you say you do not love a man that can cook). And he loves me unconditionally, for which I am incredibly grateful.

Chris and I at Cumberland Falls

Chris and I at Cumberland Falls

I thank God every night for placing Chris in to my life. I cannot wait to see what our future holds together as I am sure God has something amazing planned (I can feel it). I have gone through trials and tribulations to get to where I am now but I believe it was all worth it. God has placed Chris and I together, to begin a journey together, and I know with Him guiding us, we will make it an incredible one. To end this blog post, I just want to give a big THANK YOU to Chris, for not just being the man I want in my life, but the man God knows I need. I appreciate every little thing you do for me, and for loving me just the way I am. I look forward to tackling and enjoying life by your side, no matter what is thrown our way. I love you!

Chris and I on Christmas Eve

Chris and I on Christmas Eve

Thank you for reading my blog post written for the second week of my gratitude challenge! I look forward to sharing more with you in the following weeks. Stay tuned!

–Megan

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge

 

Gratitude

According to a quick Google search, gratitude can be defined as, “the quality of being thankful.” I know that I haven’t updated my blog since Thanksgiving (please forgive me for my slacking), but my last post was all about being thankful, and what I have learned about thankfulness (what else would I write about on Thanksgiving). But I have really learned over the past few years how to be thankful and not take anything for granted. However, that doesn’t mean I am always faithful in giving thanks when it is due and having an attitude of gratitude.

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge

During one of my late night Pinterest explorations, I came across something called “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge.” After clicking the link on Pinterest, it took me to a blog of someone who completed the challenge and I loved reading about it (check it out here)! It’s essentially a list of 52 things to blog about, while describing your gratitude towards said things. At least, that is my take on it and what I want it to be. I know that I am always saying how I am going to consistently update my blog and then I fail to follow through, but I thought this 52 week challenge would be a great way to get me blogging at least once a week (and hopefully more)! I’ve already got a topic to write about so no excuses, right?

I won’t be starting the challenge tonight, as I am almost ready for bed since it is after midnight. But I will be starting it either tomorrow or Monday! And I would LOVE it if any other bloggers want to join me in the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge! I think it will be an awesome opportunity to focus on the positive and show gratitude for things often overlooked, no matter how big or small it may be.

Below is an image of the challenge from the above mentioned blog, which I found via Pinterest.

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I hope you will all enjoy following me during this challenge. If you want to subscribe to my blog, I have added a place to do so on my home page. You can just enter your email and will be notified of my new posts. Also, you can follow me on social media by clicking the buttons on my home page.

Thanks for reading!

–Megan

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

Growing up, Thanksgiving had a different meaning to me than it does now. When I think back to the many Thanksgivings celebrated as I was growing up, I remember things like classroom parties, in which we would wear headbands decorated with feathers while eating together. I remember the Thanksgiving meals shared with family and friends in my home or theirs. I remember the silly things I was thankful for, as well as the serious things for which I am still thankful for today, like friends and family. When I was younger, I hadn’t experienced loss and grief. The worst thing that would happen in my world was someone touching my long hair, or being told “no.” But now that I’m older, I fully realize the giant impact a three syllable word has in my life.

Giving Thanks

Often times I am so consumed with complaints, anxieties, stress, and “I wish this or that,” that I forget to give thanks. I am so quick to turn to the negative, leaving myself blind to the positive in my life that is present every day. Becoming consumed with negativity leaves little room for me to see the good things in my life. I’ve had many days where I am so drained because I have had nothing but negative thoughts and the things that come with that, like anxiety and stress. That is not a way to live. Not everyone has the same spiritual beliefs as I do, and I am aware of that. But for me, prayer is a part of my life. Too often, I pray for things I don’t have, some of those things being things I need but often just things I want in life. I’ve realized that I also have to be thankful for what I do have and deliver that thanks to God, because all of the blessings I have received in life are ultimately from Him. I thank Him every day for the things I have, but He is not the only one I need to give thanks to. If there is one thing I have learned, it is to let people know how thankful and grateful you are for them. There are countless times I have depended on someone else and could not have gotten through whatever situation it may have been without them. I know some people say you shouldn’t do things for the “thank you” or the recognition, but I try to thank people as much as I can. I don’t do things for others simply to get recognized, I do them because I want to, but it is nice when someone recognizes what you’ve done for them. I just want to reach out to anyone who may be reading this that is going through a tough time. I’ve been through plenty of tough times, and when it seems the world is a dark place, and you’re looking for a way out, give thanks. In the process of giving thanks, you may realize there are things you are thankful for that you hadn’t even thought about before. There are so many things we take for granted and don’t even acknowledge, but when you sit down and think about it, you realize it’s there. Since I’ve started giving thanks, a new light has been brought into my life. I see the world a little differently and it isn’t such a dark place. So I urge everyone to try it. Whether you write it out to no one in particular, just making a list, or if you give thanks in prayer, I believe it can bring some light into your world as well.

My Thanks

I was originally going to write this post on Thanksgiving day, but I did not have time to do so. I always like to write out some of what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving, even though I try to give thanks every day. My father and I spent Thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s parent’s home. It was a lovely Thanksgiving with amazing people, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. But now that I’ve found time at 11pm on a Wednesday, almost a week later, I figured I would go ahead and share some of the things I am thankful for.

Family

I am an only child, so I don’t come from a large immediate family. Growing up, it was just my parents and me, and our dogs which were the closest thing I had to siblings at home. My parents were my playmates and I made them do all sorts of crazy things I’m sure. I’m definitely thankful for my childhood. I have been well provided for, I never had to question when my next meal would come, and I was never too cold or too warm because I’ve had a roof over my head. My mom was a stay at home mom and spent all the time in the world with me when I was younger, and my dad has always worked hard to provide for us. I am thankful for my parents because I have no doubt they’re what helped me get to where I am today. Whether it was through their support and encouragement, or just being there when I needed them, they have always told me I could achieve anything I put my mind to and I thank them for that.

I am thankful for my extended family as well. I may not get to see my nana, grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins as much as I would like, but the time we do get to spend together is awesome. I’m thankful for my family’s love and support and kindness, and I am thankful for all of the fun times we share together when we do get to see one another.

Friends

I have never been someone with a huge crowd of friends. But the friends I have mean the world to me. I am so blessed to have found the girls I call my best friends, even though we are really more like sisters. I am thankful for everything they have ever done for me, whether it be talking to me on the phone in the middle of the night because I got my heart broken, or driving through three different drive thru restaurants with me because I can’t decide on just one place to eat. My best friends have been with me through thick and thin, and have stood by my side loving me when I didn’t feel I was worthy and couldn’t even love myself. My friends have saved my sanity more times than I can count, just through simply texting me until I come to my senses. Even the newer friends I have made, I am thankful for them as well. I have always been a very guarded person and have learned to not let people in due to things that have happened in the past. But the people I have let in are amazing. My friends have kept me from going crazy during college, and DEFINITELY during grad school. I’m thankful for the reminders at 4 am that I could get through grad school and that I was doing a great job because sometimes it felt like I was not going to make it. I could literally type all night about the things my friends do that I am thankful for, but PLEASE know how much I love each and every one of you and how thankful I am for everything you do for me. I may not say it enough, but I couldn’t get by without all of my friends. They are my anchor when my mind starts wandering, they are my strength when I’m weak, and they build me up no matter how many times I try to tear myself down. I’m getting teary eyed just typing this because I have the BEST friends ever, and I really do hope they know how much I care about them. God blessed me with you all and I couldn’t thank Him enough for it!

My Boyfriend, Chris, and His Family

Now, I am not going to go through my dating history right now so to make a long story short, I have never been in a healthy, happy, and amazing relationship where I could be myself. I finally turned my attention to God and began to pray that He lead me to the man I am meant to be with. In July of 2014, I met Chris and was immediately attracted to him. But the attraction was on a deeper level than I had ever experienced. I feel that I am connected to him in a way that I have never been with anyone. He is my boyfriend, but also my best friend. I thank God every day for bringing Chris into my life. He is an amazing guy in every way. He is supportive, trustworthy, hardworking, funny, caring, kind, and respectful. He doesn’t judge me if I want to eat a second helping of dessert and he doesn’t tell me I need to lose weight. He doesn’t belittle me in front of others, or at all. I know I don’t tell him enough but I am so thankful for him and his love. I have never felt this way towards someone and I can honestly say that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I believe God has an amazing plan for our future and I can’t wait to see it unfold.

Not only did I meet an amazing guy, but Chris’s family is awesome as well! They are becoming just like family to me. I’m thankful for all they do for me, whether it is buying my meal on the weekend when I visit or buying me a special snack at the grocery store. I am thankful for their kindness and for making me feel, dare I say it, like a part of the family. I have always said that I don’t just want to find a boyfriend but I want to find a family I can be a part of. I have finally found both of those things, no doubt due to God placing them in my life.

I could spend hours typing out everything I’m thankful for. Those were the three that I really wanted to hit. I know I hit a few more here and there while typing those out. There are a few more things I would like to say but I am not going to separate them out like I did previously.

I’m thankful for where I’m at in life. I have two college degrees, which that second degree is something I didn’t know if it would happen or not, so I am thankful and proud to be able to say that I have two degrees. I may not have a job right now, but I am thankful to my dad for supporting me financially and providing me a place to stay rent-free. I am thankful to my mom for supporting me financially as well and making sure I am able to pay my car payment each month. I am thankful for their support while I do my “thrifting” business (okay, it isn’t really a business…yet) and job hunt. I’m thankful for my health, and know I do need to keep taking care of myself so I can continue to be healthy. And most of all I’ve just thankful for this life I’ve been given. I know I make mistakes, I know that I don’t always do what I should, but I am thankful for His forgiveness and His love and peace, which make my life worth it.

I appreciate anyone who actually took the time to read all of this. I haven’t written a long blog post in quite awhile. I always tell myself I am going to blog every day or atleast so many times a week, but then I forget or I can’t figure out what to blog about. Any feedback is welcome! What are some things I should blog about? I’m open for suggestions. I hope everyone has a good rest of their week and that the upcoming weekend is a good, relaxing one. I think my upcoming weekend will be spent decorating for Christmas! I’m definitely feeling the Christmas spirit now.

Until next time.

?Megan