A Month of Thanksgiving: gifts here, there, & everywhere

Since I am just a few many days behind in my month of Thanksgiving challenge (prompts can be found here), I decided to post one gift from November 7 to November 14.

November 7, a gift from my window

My African Violet just started blooming last week.  I have had this beauty for over a year and I just couldn’t get it to bloom.  What a joyful surprise when I looked up from the bubbles in my sink, to see little buds start to take life.

November 8, a gift sweet, salty, and sipped

Umm, can you say pumpkin spiced latte or salted caramel latte?

November 9, a gift of harvest

The love my brother has for farming and working with his hands.  He is one of the hardest working men I know.  I’m thankful for the work he puts in for a good harvest.

November 10, a gift found in Bible reading 

I love it when God has pointed me to a verse or passage that I’ve read before, but the Holy Spirit brings forth new insights or new application into my life.

November 11, a gift of remembrance 

I’m so thankful for the beautiful stone that was put in place in memory of my mother-in-law early last month.  So many of her close friends gathered around sharing their favorite memories of Jo.  I am so thankful for their stories and how their lives have been touch by one very inspirational lady.

November 12, a gift at noon

Having a dark Dove chocolate treat after lunch.

November 13, a gift behind a door

Opening the mailbox to find birthday cards!

November 14, a silent gift

White snow falling late at night.




A Month of Thanksgiving: 3 gifts of government

Today’s gifts of thanksgiving weren’t necessarily difficult to list, but made me stop, and think to be truly thankful.  For anyone who knows me, you probably know I don’t usually get into government or political conversations.  I am fascinated by the people who are interested, who are knowledgable, and who work to keep our government at the local, state, and federal levels running.

After much thought, here are my three gifts of government –

1. God’s Ultimate Authority 

“For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Romans 13:1

God has appointed our leaders.  He is in control.

2. Our Founding Fathers and the Celebration of Our Freedom

I can’t but be thankful for their vision and earnest devotion in writing our constitution and laying the foundation of our country.  These men were great leaders, and I am thankful for the legacy they left behind for our country and government.  Every 4th of July, in the midst of parades and fireworks, we remember the foundation of our government – freedom.

3. Voting

How many countries have the right to vote?  I am thankful for the opportunity to vote, for those who have exercised this right.  And I am thankful for the godly men and women who were voted into positions of influence and leadership for our country.

A Month of Thanksgiving: 3 gifts acorn small


1. Our wedding rings – I am so thankful for this daily reminder of the promises David and I made on our wedding day.  They also symbolize what we’ve learned as husband and wife, how we’ve grown and abounded in love, grace +truth.  They hold our treasured memories, our heartaches, and will be sure to capture all that our future has in store.

View More: http://kierstarhodesphotography.pass.us/wTx4G136590

Photo taken by Kiersta Rhodes Photography.

2. Change in the money jar – I LOVE change – pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I collect change.  And I am always so thankful when I have it to buy a coffee.  And I know David is guilty of taking change to get his caffeine fix, too.

3. Faith a small as a mustard seed – I love Jesus’ words in Matthew 17:20

“…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

It’s such a sweet reminder that nothing will be too impossible, or too big, or too overwhelming, or too anything as long as we have faith in our LORD and Savior.


What 3 gifts acorn-small are you thankful for?


November Goals

Before diving into November Goals, let’s do a quick recap of my October Goals (you can read them in more detail here)

1. Take more pictures.  This is going to be a challenge for me – carrying this goal over to November!

2. Find a creative outlet.  I tried watercoloring at a free workshop given by the public library.  I learned a lot of techniques, bought my own paint set, and now to continue practicing…

3. Blog more.  Well the first few days, I met my goals…and then in was November.

4. “Have coffee” with a new friend.  Well, I didn’t have coffee, but I am figuring out new ways to hangout with people and get to know them better.  I invited a friend to a Zumba Class at the Wellness Center.  Later this month, I am hosting a Harry Potter Movie Night.

5. Organize my closet.  A work in progress.  I did go through my closet and got ride of a few bags of clothes.  Now its figuring out what my style is and what items my capsule wardrobe need to be complete.  Shopping trip coming up!

November Goals

1.Take more pictures.  With all the fun, exciting and highly anticipated month ahead (birthday, trip to North Dakota, Thanksgiving, and more) capturing the moments is a MUST!

2. Blog more + a Month of thanksgiving.  My talented and beautiful friend, Lindsay at Martin Marriage Chronicles, has challenged me to use November as a time to be reflective and thankful.  Multiple times throughout the weeks in November we will both be posting things we are thankful for.  We invite you to do the same!  Link your blog to ours OR comment what you are thankful for this month.  I will also be using Ann Voskamp’s (author of 1000 Gifts) daily prompt found here.

3. Get a jump start on Christmas shopping.  Should I be saying Christmas shopping this early in November!?  I always wait last minute and end up scrambling to get what I really intended to gift.  Plus, all the creative gift wrapping seen on Pinterest has made me want to give more thought into the presentation of the gift.

4. Recipe Organization.  My meal planning has come directly from Pinterest and Budget Bytes.  This has made me rely heavily on internet access, remembering where I found recipes, and a very food splattered Mac.    I want to find some simple, yet unique recipe cards to write down my favorite go to recipes.  I always loved having handwritten recipes from my mom and grandma–handwriting is an art I don’t want to lose with all the conveniences of technology.

What are you November Goals?

three pumpkins

One thing that I absolutely love about the Fall and upcoming holidays is the opportunity to be creative in decorating my home.     I find so much joy and expression when I pull out my decorations and rearrange knick knacks and furniture to house the seasonal decor.

Here are a few ways I’ve decorated for the Fall season + things I’m loving about Fall decor and accents in the home AND a free giveaway!

  1. Use scented candles. When the first day of fall hit, I pull out my fall Scentsy scents.  The scents of Fall are warm reminding our senses of grandma’s apple pie.  When choosing a candle or scent, it should reflect the mood of the season.  My current scents are Vanilla Suede + Apple Strudel.
  2. Add fall color.  Adding the fall color – red, orange, gold – can be done in various ways.  An arrangement of silk flowers can add color and texture.  Or if you are having company over, why not place a fresh bouquet of flowers as a table centerpiece.  Some popular fall blooms are Dahlias and Mums. Add more Fall colors to your home with fall dish towels and throw pillows + blankets.
  3. Decorate with popular fall objects.  Pumpkins, squash, candy corn, wreaths all scream FALL.  You can choose to buy real pumpkins or set aside a candy dish of candy corn.  You can pull a bowl out  or find a basket and fill it with squash + gourds.  Decorating with anything that represents “harvest” will add to the fall theme.  Or fill your home with DIY fall art.

    fall3 fall2

three pumpkins – a free giveaway

*This post + giveaway is supported by Countryside Greenhouse.

As seen here, I decorated with pumpkins handmade by my mom [Dian Morgan], founder + florist, at Countryside Greenhouse.  To announce an exciting new venture of seasonal decor and floral design, Countryside Green and Blissfully Sweet Blog have partnered together for a free giveaway.  To be entered into the drawing, go to the Countryside Greenhouse Facebook Page and “Like”.  Once 50 people “like”, a drawing will be held.

What are some ways you have decorated your home for the Fall?

[Another] Woodard Weekend Wrap-Up

I have been anticipating this weekend for weeks.  And I am sad to see it gone so quickly.  But isn’t how we feel most Sunday nights or most Monday mornings when the dreadful sound of the alarm goes off before you are ready to pull yourself out of bed and start another week?

Anyways… More about the highly anticipated and wonderfully spend weekend!

  1. My parents came and stayed in Vermillion. After living here for over a year, my parents finally made it to our home and life in Vermillion.  I was planning the day the would come for month – thinking through all the places I would take them, what we would eat, and all the things we would do.  I took them to Mr. Smith’s, a bakery and sandwich shop in an ACE hardware store for lunch.  We were inspired for holiday and home decor at Wilson’s Florist – a floral shop, gift shop, with a little boutique.  Then we went to Cafe Brule for a warm cup of coffee, more specifically a roasted marshmallow latte.
  2. A Weekend of Volleyball.  My parents visit was planned around a tournament my sister was playing in NE.  So part of Friday and ALL of Saturday we cheered on Sami and the Knights.  I was so glad I finally got to watch her play at the college level and meet her team.  #Welove#7
  3. More Fall Decor.  A visit with my parents is alway accompanied with their generosity and gift.  Check out these cute pumpkins my mom made for fall decorations. [Maybe you want one too…]
  4. 3 tests in 9 days.  David has been dedicated to his books and notes.  I now think his iPad is attached to his hand.  We keep reminding each other that the next 9 days are going to be rough, but after that he’ll have a week off with zero school obligations!

Woodard Weekend Wrap-Up

A Woodard Weekend Wrap-Up is farrrr over due.  So I will post about two weekends in one.

Last weekend and this weekend has been some of the best.  David has been able to take off one night of studying (soon to change with upcoming Mid-Terms + Foundations 1 Exam).  We learned the hard way,  that these nights off need to be planned and intentional or we’ll both walk away feeling robbed of our date night.  For example, watching a movie at our house for a date is code for “Tanya will fall asleep within the first twenty minutes”.  And that equates to zero quality time.

  1. A “hawt’ date.  Last weekend David and I went out for dinner for our favorite food, Mexican!   It was a much needed dinner after two grueling weeks of studying.
  2. Our second trip to Ponca.  We first went to Ponca part over Easter when David’s dad came to Vermillion.  The trees were still bare, but the State Park was beautiful and a place we wanted to visit again.  Since we never made it over the summer, an early fall hike was in order to take in the vibrant colors fall colors and enjoy the minimal days of sunshine left.
  3. A watercoloring workshop. The Vermillion Public Library partnered with the Vermillion Arts Council to host monthly art workshops.  This month just so happened to be watercoloring!  I learned some basic techniques and must have supplies.  Two hours was not enough time to learn + create a piece of art.  I’m thinking Talens Watercolor Set will be on my birthday/ Christmas list this year.
  4. Campfire, Beef Hotdogs, Apple Cider, and Good Company.  Saturday night, David and I drove to Yankton to meet some friends who were squeezing in one last camping trip for dinner.  We filled ourselves with vegis + hummas, watermelon, and beef dogs.

As a side note, I did document 3 out of 4 of theses happenings…Hooray for setting goals!