Raise your hand if the holidays stress you out? You can't see it, but I'm raising my hand. I LOVE the holidays (who doesn't?) but let's be honest - it's a chaotic and stressful time! There's the traveling that involves packing everyone up, piling in the car and driving from house to house to visit everyone. There's the cooking - who's bringing what? What time is dinner? Will your cousins be late again like they are every year? Did we forget the cranberry sauce again? And I'm just talking about Thanksgiving! Don't even get me started on Christmas and the gift exchange. What to buy for the family member that has everything? Can we find something for everyone while sticking to the budget?  Who's going to find the time to wrap all of these gifts? If you're like me, you might find yourself saying a lot this time of year: "I have to... go there, buy this, see them, stop here, visit there, etc. Excluding Christmas, (because I mean, who doesn't like Christmas? #Grinch) Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so it's disheartening to me that we come down from our Halloween high and start decking the halls and flocking everything in sight. We breeze right over Thanksgiving which is why I think - all that stress & chaos? We bring on ourselves. Thanksgiving is so special to me because it's the holiday focused solely on mindfulness. For one day, we're supposed to stop and find ourselves completely aware of how rich our lives are because of the blessings we've been given and the people around us. Instead of always saying, "I have to...", I'm making a conscious effort this year to say, "I get to...". I get to pile in a car and make the journey to see my family - because I have one worth making a trip to see. I get to go to the store and pick out delicious ingredients that go into a dish that will fill my family's bellies. I get to anxiously await the arrival of those cousins that are always late so that when they do walk through the door, we can welcome each other with a tight hug. I get to immerse myself in the craziness of holiday shopping because I can financially afford to celebrate my loved ones by hand selecting the perfect gift for them. And because I can, I can also help those who can't. So, as we enter into the week of thanksgiving, I challenge you to find a time to sit down in a quiet moment and really meditate on the things you're thankful for. Write it down. And when the chaos and the stress starts to creep in, you can look back and feel a peace knowing that you are blessed beyond measure.

I   A M   T H A N K F U L   F O R . . .

1. Jesus - I am so thankful for his unconditional love and his compassionate heart. I'm thankful for our time together each morning. I'm thankful for his grace and mercy when the last thing I deserve is grace and mercy. I'm thankful for a God who keeps showing up - even when I'm "too busy" to make time for him. I'm thankful for who he's growing me to be and that I don't have to "figure it all out" because his promises for me are good & perfect and he'll walk with me while it all unfolds.

2. My family. Duh. No, but really. I hear stories about people who don't have loving relationships with their families and I am so, so grateful to have a family that loves, supports, prays, and fights with (I mean, for) each other. And my in-laws! I'm thankful for their families and our dynamic that can be crazy but is always laced with love.

3. Good health. Our family has experienced some highs and lows with health this year and it forces me to be more aware of my own health. I'm thankful for the mindset that I have to take care of myself now so that I can prevent any problems later. I'm also thankful for things like advanced medicine & knowledgeable doctors to help those around me who aren't.

4. The struggle. I know you're thinking - "What?" But, this is what I mean by "write it down so you can look back..." I'm thankful for the struggles that life brings us from time to time because it forces me to stop and let go. It forces me to throw my hands up and submit to God (which is SO HARD when you're a control freak like me.) It forces me to say, "Lord, I trust you. I don't know how we're going to get out of this, but I know we will." And the next time I find myself in a struggle, I'll be able to remind myself that there is always beauty to be found in a mess and these moments are specifically designed to strengthen my heart.

5. You. Yep... YOU! If it weren't for you reading this, supporting my music, telling your friends about it, rooting for me - none of this would have any life. So, THANK YOU!

G E T   T H E   L O O K