November 22, 2012


I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones
That love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed
~Martina McBride~

  You know, I take my life for granted. I find myself complaining about taking out the trash or when my mom just simply asks me to do something, or even griping about homework and how I'm just over all of it. But, then my eyes are opened to kids who don't have clean water or have no shoes to wear or have lost their loved ones because of diseases or natural disasters, yet have the biggest grins on their faces. That puts things into perspective for me. It reminds me that I have so much, and have absolutely no reason to be that way.  So, being that it's that time of the year where we all get overly sentimental, pouring out our feelings like we're a Hallmark movie, I've been trying to truly reflect on my life. I've been thinking about what I have and who is in my life. And I'm finding that sometimes it's hard to put into words just how much I appreciate all that I've been given.

This year, as all the years past, I can't believe how much I have been blessed. God continues to amaze me at what He does in my life. This year, I am thankful for all that I have and all that I don't; unanswered prayers. I know that there's a reason for everything that happens, and I just have to trust in His timing. Until then, I'm learning that I need to be content with all that I have, and there's a lot.

Because I love making lists, I figured it would be easiest to make a list of all of the things that I'm thankful for, even though some of these are duplicates (bear with me):

    1)    My parents: I don't know where I'd be without my parents. They are two of the most selfless people I know. Everything they've practically ever done has been for me, whether it has been putting me in the best private schools, going to concerts, helping me meet the people I admire most in the industry, driving me to hang out with friends, or just showing me love and support over the years. They've always been troopers when it comes to that stuff. They've always been there to make sure that I'm living life to the fullest and am having a good time. We may not always see eye to eye, we may drive each other crazy, but at the same time, I know they're always there to talk to and will always love me. No matter what.
    2)    My friends: No matter how many friends I've had or what group I've been in, I have always felt left out. I've always felt like something was missing or that I was the one who cared too much, while others could care less. And I was the one who was too blind to see it. This year, I'm extremely thankful for knowing that I have a really small group of close friends that I can always count on, whether it's just asking them to say a prayer or venting over the crappy day I've had. My list of people I truly pour my heart out to gets smaller and smaller. But, to the ones that have taken the time with me over the years and have helped grow. THANK YOU. It means more to me than you'll ever know and I love you guys so much. I have had an absolute blast getting to spend so much time with them, whether it was a short road trip or hanging out at church. I truly believe that I owe a big portion to them for my branching out more this year on my own.
    3)    New friends! I feel like this has been the year for new friends, whether it was through school or meeting people at CMA Fest and other events throughout the year. I'm thankful that I have had so many great times with some really incredible people that I never would've known had I not taken chances or put myself out there. Now, I can't imagine what life was like before I had people to gossip about the latest TV shows or music out there. It's nice having people to fan girl with.
    4)     I'm thankful for music, because there is a song or a lyric to describe my every thought and mood. So many talented artists have released music this year, and it has inspired me in a way like never before. Because of my passion and love for music, it has opened up a lot of singing opportunities for me, as well as meeting new people through artists.
    5)    Education. For the first time, I'm really starting to see that my education is going to pay off for me in a big way. I'll be able to transfer to a university next fall, and everything is finally coming together with where I'm at right now. All of the hard work I've been putting into it is finally starting to make a dent and that feels really good. I know how many people out there would love the chance to get to go to school and get and learn what they can. I've been trying to hold onto that idea in those moments when I really just want to give up.
    6)    Extended family! This year, I'm thankful that I've gotten to know some of my extended family even more, like my aunts and uncles. I've always been close with them, but mainly through my parents. I love the fact that I now feel close enough to text them on my own and keep them informed on things that are going on or just see what's up. I'm especially grateful for my aunt's help with my online summer math class. I honestly don't think I would've passed without her. I love all of my family so much, and I'm thankful for all of the moments I've had with each of them this year.
    7)    I'm thankful for the once in a lifetime experiences I've had from things like an Evening with One Tree Hill to show tapings or meet and greets, as cheesy or lame as that sounds. I'm not trying to sound superficial, I genuinely mean that I'm grateful for those opportunities. I don't like doing things in LA just because I can or to let other people know that I can do them, but because of how much I have a passion for the entertainment industry. And always have. I have learned so much from observing behind the scenes action or listening to actors talk about their life in the spotlight, as well as being able to "chat" with some and ask for some of their opinions on Twitter. I seriously think celebs that tweet with their fans are the coolest.
    8)    A house, food, clothes! These are some of the most important things that I really take for granted. Because my family has never really struggled all that much, and I've always had the things that I've needed or wanted, I just always assume that they'll be there. But, as I talked to more people and really observed more of my friends' lives, I realize how good I've honestly had it. That has inspired me to really want to give back to others and to seriously help out all of the people that have helped me.
    9)    Trips! I've been able to do a lot of traveling this year, and I have enjoyed every bit of it. I am so thankful for the great city of Nashville that always feels like home when I visit, and being able to visit South Carolina/Wilmington for the first time ever. The memories that I have with my family and being able to see where One Tree Hill was filmed are things that I will never forget as long as I live.
10) God's grace. I've been a Christ follower basically since birth, but it wasn't until this year that I really started learning how God's grace works. There has been so much healing in my life, and knowing that God forgives me, regardless of what I've done in the past is everything. I'm thankful for my relationship with God, and how far it has come. I have a long way to go, I know, and it's going to take a lot of work, but I'm willing to keep at it. My relationship with Him (or lack of, at times) affects everything I do. I'm learning that I don't have to control everything, and it's best to just give it up to God, and let Him handle it. He never ceases to amaze me.

I could go on and on about everything I have to be thankful for, but we'd be here all day and night. I feel so at peace with everything I've been given, and everything that is taking place in my life right at this very moment. Instead of sitting here wishing I was here or there, I'm content with the fact that I am where I am and I have what I have. The Lord is so good to me and I know that He is going to provide, and I have nothing else to wish for.

Tomorrow, I can't wait to be in the company of my loved ones and simply just be. That's what this holiday is all about; simplicity. It isn't about all of the hubbub of the season or the decorations or the trimmings. It's a holiday that's all about what you already have, not desiring more. Yesterday, my grandpa was admitted into the hospital, and as far as I know, he's going to be okay, but he's in a lot of pain. It'll be the first Thanksgiving dinner at our house he hasn't made it to in quite awhile, so our get together will be a bit smaller, and it hit me. You just never know what can happen; you don't see things like this coming, nor do you plan for them. Even if you do, you never have it scripted just right anyway. All of those moments I've taken for granted of him being here for the holidays, or me being too busy getting ready to sit down to spend time with him came flooding back. Usually I'm so wrapped up in my phone or can't shake the chaos of thoughts in my mind.  I don't want to keep making those same mistakes. I want to fully be aware of spending time with my family, and not miss what's right in front of my eyes. I don't want to think back and live with regret. I want to look back on those moments and smile because I remember every detail, every smile, ever laugh, and every word spoken. I intend to do just that.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and take time to just unplug from the rest of the world and focus on the people that you love the most and that love you right back. Don't worry about what could've been or what might be. Just be here and now. I'll be trying to take my own advice as well.

That's all for now,

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