Thursday, December 23, 2010

My favorite day of the year

December 23rd has been my favorite day of the year since I have been in high school. There are always fun things to do and I feel like if I truly thought about it, I might be able to remember every 12/23 for the past 10 years. The anticipation and excitement that I feel for the next few days coupled with fact that I just finished wrapping the last of the gifts and making 3 kinds of cookies with my adorable mom makes me so thrilled for the celebration of the birth of Our King.

Today I am just thankful. Thankful for a Savior who loved us so much that he came to earth knowing that He would have to be the sacrifice for you and me. I am grateful for the love that He is despite my constant sin- not just the love he shows us, the love he IS!

(by the way- I am also really thankful that I am going to see the kids tomorrow)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010

This was yesterday. Lots of presents to be delivered.


Here we are on our delivery from today.  This is Meal's On Wheel!

I am thankful that nearly 6000 gifts will be delivered to sweet seniors this week! It is such a blessing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Believe it or not, I am completely done with wrapping gifts for Be a Santa to a Senior. To be honest with you, I cannot believe it myself. When this season started, I was worried. Worried was an understatement. I was sleepless and overwhelmed. This has been the busiest season our company has ever had, and I knew that i would not be able to devote every waking moment to micromanaging every second of the program.

If you know me well at all, you would know that I have a bit of a control issue... Again another understatement. So even though I was unable to control every bit of this amazing few months, it has been accomplished... And today as I sit on my couch watching 'The Invention of Lying' I feel relaxed and at peace and for that, I am soooo thankful!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Today has been so productive.  I have sent out two more shipments of presents- totally about 500 gifts to 200 seniors.  It is always so amazing watching the cars, packed to the brim drive away. 

Today I am thankful- more like overwhelmed.  I am so blessed that God has chosen me to work in a place that sees people as top priority, a place that no matter what will cling to relationship.  Nearly 4 1/2 years ago when I started working here at Home Instead.  I met a client named Mr. F.  This little man stole my heart from the first moment that I met him.  He is about 5 foot tall and weighs probably 100 lbs.  We actually provide care for his wife, and he had always done the insurance billing for her.

I will never forget the first time I met him.  He came in, feet shuffling beneath him.  In his hands was an envelope that held all of his wife's insurance forms.  He wanted me to sit and help him fill them out.  After looking through the paper work, I realized that no matter how I described the papers to him, he would still be confused.  The silly papers are simply confusing!  I told him that I would do it for him.  The look that came over his face was relief mixed with joy.  So because of Mr. F, I now bill nearly 50 insurance companies and handle claims for seniors. 

Every year for the past 5 Christmases, this sweet Jewish man sends me a Christmas present.  Today, I was feeling the stress of bills and presents and all, and there in the mail was this card... this card filled with a generous Christmas present!  Today I am thankful for God knowing just what we need, when we need it!  Check out those crazy birds wearing Santa hats!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December19th, 2010

Today was a great day.

When I woke up at 7:30 to the sound of my sweet parents putzing around in the kitchen.  I hopped right out of bed to make eggnog scones.  We had a nice breakfast and then my brothers, Rachel and myself went out to finish up some Christmas shopping!  It was a blast all being together!

When we got home, I wrapped all the gifts and put them under the tree.  I don't know about all of you, but there is something about wrapped presents under the Christmas tree that truly brings Christmas to the next level for me.

I get giddy thinking about cute little faces waking up on Christmas morning to open gifts and fish out goodies from stockings.  This year, the kids will be sleeping over on Christmas eve, so we will get to enjoy every minute of that with them!  I can't wait.  Today I am thankful that after 3.5 days of work that I get to be back here with this adorable family sharing Christ's birthday with them!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

failure... double failure

life is fast.  it is rushing by!

I don't even have time to think.

As I type this, I am being summoned to help my mom make her bed.

Today I am thankful for great relationships with my whole family.  We all get along great.  As a matter of fact, Slim and Greg have been off gallivanting across town the past 5 hours.  I'm off to make a bed- and then to play some cards!

Please be merciful to me :)  I will promise to do better this week!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Yesterday I was a failure, and did not post a blog.  To be honest with you, I didn't even think about it one time until I went to sign in to post today's thankful post.  Sorry to the two of you who read this.

Well believe it or not, we are a week away.  A week away from a couple days off of work.  A couple days off to celebrate with my dear and darling lovies!

They fly to Florida today from Colorado, and just simply  having them in this time zone makes my heart happy!  I am so thankful that we will be together for Christmas.  Together at my parent's house.  Though it was never my house, it has begun to feel like home.  I love waking up early there.  I love hearing my parents rustle through the kitchen at 6 am. I love wearing my bathrobe all day because just being together is enoug.

Today I am thankful for all of my immediate family being in the same time zone!  Silly as it sounds, I woke up and thought, today much more will be right with the world. 

My grown up Christmas wish for you is family, love and friends.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I can't believe that we are so close to Christmas.  So close to the best days of the whole year.  I simply cannot wait!  I can't wait for the feeling of waking up knowing that I get to be together with the ones I love the most here on Earth... celebrating the One I love the most EVER!

Today is a silly post, but hey, I am truly thankful for the following things.

Hot Apple Cider/ Caramel Apple Spice

Peppermint Mochas

and Mochas from Dunkin Donuts

I know it seems silly but I really am happy for this time of year, because all of the above are ok for me to drink because it is Christmas and the calories don't count... at least that is what I am telling myself!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wind Chills

Today the wind chill made the temperature this morning feel like it was in the 30s.  I know what you are thinking... a girl from Syracuse should be able to handle that weather.  Well I can, but it still feels very very very cold to me. 

Today as I sit and listen to the wind whistle outside my window.  I am thankful, very very thankful for this wonderful place that I live.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would live in a place where palm trees were dressed up in lights for Christmas, where the beach is the place people go for baptisms, and where 30 degrees makes me cold.

Though I am thankful for this amazing place, I am also so thankful that I grew up with the seasons.  I love the feeling of expectancy when I would hear that we were going to get dumped with snow.  I adored waking up to white blankets of beauty covering the trees, sidewalks, and roads.  I truly loved it!  I am thankful that I know what it means and feels like to have to scrape my car- or blow dry the ice to melt it so that I could open my door.  Those memories are amazing!

Here is a fun article that I came across the other day.  I am thankful I grew up there, but even more thankful that I don't live there now :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Constant reminders 12.12.10

Today, Sunday the 12th of December I am thankful for God's constant reminders of His love for us!

It may seem silly, but Friday night, I went to a Christmas performance of 'Creepy Crawly Christmas' and I was reminded through some adults dressed like bugs that Jesus didn't leave Heaven to come to Earth, Jesus is Heaven. 

Over the last couple of days, I have been very aware of Christ's presence with me. Whether it was because of the sweet man ringing the Salvation Army bell who was singing Christmas Carols and making up his own words.  It just brought such joy to my heart to see the large white man with New Balance Sneakers remind me of my Savior.

Strangely enough, I almost took a picture of my hair on the wall in the shower today (gross, I know)- it was definitely in the shape of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the manger. It was so weird but so amazing.  I am definitely not one of the people who see Mary in their toast and then sell it on ebay, but today I could have been!  Hahah!

I never doubt He is with me, but today I am even more thankful for the reminder of his love and presence. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 11 - The Slimtronic5000 takeover special!

I must warn up front that while this isn't an abnoxiously long post, it's certainly not short either... however, today, on December 11th, 11 days into the this journey of 30 days of thankfulness, I'm thankful that my wife never changes her passwords!

While many may frown on a spouse of "hacks" into the others, however I assure you it's with great cause as I, much like the angel in the Nativity story, bring good news of great joy!

I know what you're thinking:
"Are they moving?"
"Did one of them get a new job?"
"Did Slim's band, FellowBliss, get signed?"
"Oh dear, are they preggers!?"
"Oh no, I know it... Slim finally cut his hair!?!?!?"

No... it's none of the above... it's MUCH better!!

"What's better than all of that stuff?" I know you're asking...


With that being said, the Slimtronic5000 takeover edition of Laura's "Thankfulness" series is two-fold...

I'm thankful for spaghetti, spaghetti night, and pastas in general. As you may know, I'm a published food writer with a righteous, rich, and rather respectable palette (if I do say so myself)... so needless to say, I love me some food, especially when it's GOOD!

But more than the spaghetti and fine foods, I'm thankful for a bride that enjoys cooking and taking care of a shlub like me. I'm certainly not easy to put up with as it is, and definitely even harder to live with! With three jobs, one of which includes a touring rock band, my schedule is out of control. Couple that with the fact that I'm a genuinely awful human being, and even worse a husband, it makes sweet Laura into even more of a Saint!

Seriously, patience like I've never seen before! Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, but she's got a heart the size of my web presence on social networks (for those of you who know me, you know that's friggin' huge!) and is, in her own right, HYSTERICAL.

I know many people, and many funny people to boot... but nobody ever seems to get me chuckling quite like the L-Train does.

She's the greatest friend that anyone could ask for... honestly. She takes care of everyone that comes into contact with her, and would truly give you the shirt off of her back. (er... well... maybe not literally...)

There are so many things I could say about this ridiculously amazing woman... in fact, I found a small list that of things that I love about LBG that I wrote a month before our wedding. It's amazing how everything I penned years ago still holds true (and more) today:

Things I love about her...
• Her smile
• Her eyes
• Her voice
• Her own little language (i.e.: "Fiffernug", "Jean Ween" etc.)
• Her humor
• Her wit
• Her sense of style
• Her classy-ness
• She's a dreamer.
• She's prone to extreme silliness.
• She's honest and trustworthy and loyal.
• She has a bizarre sense of humor.
• She makes a good eggs.
• She's cute.
• She puts up with me.
• She's going to be a FANTASTIC mom
• Her energy is infectious
• She's adventurous, seeking out new experiences.
• She's sexy AND smart.
• How she continues to fight for me, even when I neglect her
• Her unflagging curiosity about everything around her.
• She's a great cook.
• She's not afraid of speaking out even if it means going against the majority.
• How she questions things most people take for granted.
• She's not afraid of goofy fun.
• Her writing is from the heart. She may claim she's not a writer, but her blog entries have made me laugh out loud and also teary-eyed.
• Her positive attitude and humor through experiences many other people would be constantly whining about and using as a crutch. Instead, these experiences seem just to make her stronger.
• The way she helps friends find cool opportunities.
• She doesn't mince words, especially when she's pissed off about something. You always know where you stand with her. No mindgames, no emotional manipulation.
• She's a great listening ear, sympathetic but also objective. Doesn't let me get away with self-indulgent crap.
• She's intellectually and emotionally honest.
• She's gorgeous.
• She's a loyal friend and an amazing woman. I feel incredibly lucky to be her friend.
• She has what I believe to be the softest skin in the universe.
• She can dance
• She can sing too.. although she doesn't always get the lyrics right...
• She is extremely photogenic; she does not take a bad picture!
• Spending the day with her guarantees lots of laughter
• She never takes life for granted.
• She gets such a joy out of her family's joy.
• She looks comfortable and classy in anything, from a slinky formal dress to baggy sweatpants and a t-shirt.
• The fact that despite her crazy schedule, she still makes it a priority to find time for me.
• She could spend hours browsing the children's section of a bookstore.
• Her playfulness.
• The depth of caring she shows her friends and family.
• The fact that she loves me
• Her sweet face
• The fact that she let's the Dude sleep on the bed in the master bedroom when I'm not around.
• "You wanna snuggle one time some times?"
• "I love you a whole lot of bunches of oodles plus 2?"
• "You... you... you... wanna get meeearrrieeed?"
• Her family
• Her friends
• Her stories
• Her laugh
• Her love.
• Her commitment to God
• Her general outlook on life
• Her heart
• Her life
• Her warmth
• Two words: "Fri" "tata"
• How she's picked up MY own little language
• How she moves her hands when she talks
• The cute little dance she does when she thinks nobody is looking.....
• How God designed her specifically to mesh with me
• How God made her my wife (to be)
• How it doesn't matter how long we're apart, she'll write little cards for everyday that we're away from each other.
• The way she hugs me
• The way she kisses
• Her smell
• Her touch
• She does my laundry

I love every single thing about her. As the days get closer to our wedding, I started to realize that I'm just falling deeper and deeper in love with her. I can't wait until we are old and hardly functional, so that I could look back on my life and realize that I had the greatest life ever, and that people would have killed to have my life and to have what I have. To look back on my life and realize that there really is a God, and that he loves me and shows me daily how much he loves me by putting such an amazing, stunningly beautiful woman in my life.

That's my wife... my sweetest babe... my friend... my lover... and most importantly, the maker of my spaghetti. She's what I'm thankful for, not just today... not just this season... but everyday of my life.

And his heart grew three sizes that day...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas is 15 days away!

Happy December 10th.

Can you believe how fast the time is going?  For me it seems that it is going way too fast.  I have so much to do for Be a Santa to a Senior that I can barely breathe... but at least it is something that I enjoy and know that it is making a difference!

Today I am super thankful for both of my brothers.  I love having an older brother because growing up, I had someone to look up to, someone to follow their lead, and someone hang out with.  I love having a younger brother because it was always fun to have someone to pal around with, and torment :).

As adult children, I really enjoy both of my brothers company.  Greg is an amazing father and super hard worker.  Jim is a great friend, hard worker and both are just a blast to hang out with. 

I can't wait to see them next weekend, and again the following weekend. 

Here is a picture of us from little Jimmy's wedding!  Do you think we look alike?  I have honestly heard both yes and no.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Today was a fun but very long day.  It was our office Christmas breakfast which was fabulous, and so I was up bright and early making some delicious goodies. 

Superficial thankfulness is still thankfulness... right?

Well today I am thankful for wonderful people who make products for poor people like me.  I have forever been a fan of Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo.  It smells delicious and leaves your hair feeling especially clean. 

A few months ago, while I was walking through Target, I spotted something that I had to try.  Suave, yes Suave has made their own version of the Rosemary Mint (compare to Aveda).  OH MY GOSH! Every time I use it I am so excited because the two bottles together cost me less than $3.50.  Now it is not 100% as good as the original, but it is one tenth of the cost and I would say it is about 95% the same!!!

So hooray for refreshing showers, and hip hip hooray for saving money!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Piggy Backing

To piggy-back on my last post, today on December 8th, I am so so so thankful for my amazing job!  People probably say it all the time how grateful they are to have work and to be able to do something they enjoy, but I truly truly mean it!

I would have never imagined myself doing the job I do.  I always thought, since forever that I would be a stay at home mom, who maybe taught every now and again.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be working with seniors, managing CAREGivers, or running an office... but I love it!

This week I have had to have some tough meetings.  Meetings where Home Instead almost had to part ways with CAREGivers, and even though the meetings were hard, they made me so thankful for what I do.  I work for people who truly care, they care not just about their office staff, but about the 200 or so clients we take care of, and about the 200 CAREGivers to whom we provide employment.  The Bidwells would seriously give the shirts off their backs to make life easier for someone else, and that is simply refreshing.

Every morning I wake up and get to work with these lovely people.  Man how the group has grown over the last few years.   When I started my job in 2006, there were about 8 office staff between our two offices, and now look at this great bunch!

God is so good!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7th, 2010

Every year this blog is busting at it's seams during the months of November and December with tales of Christmas gifts for sweet seniors. This year, with my non-blogging self, you have been spared the long stories of all I do during the holiday season.

More than ever, the Naples community has risen to the occasion of helping some of their own.  Yesterday, I sat with my amazing boss and went through about 500 gifts and I have to tell you that I am never not amazed at the awesome generosity of people.

We were opening gifts and each time calling the other to 'look at this' or 'oh my gosh, check this out' while bundles of presents bounded from the wrappings. 

So today, I am thankful for all of you.  All of you who see the importance of caring for someone who may have less, who may not have a visit from a friend or family member, and who may have lost the hope of something or Someone much greater!

As I am typing this, we just got a call from a women who last year donated homemade quilts for seniors who may not have gotten a gift.  She will be dropping some off today.  It is just overwhelming and amazing.

So Merry Merry Merry Christmas from us at Home Instead Senior Care and THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts-

Be a blessing to a senior- someone from the greatest generation!  Share a smile, a gift, a hug! 

*And that is a pretty amazing looking Mimi Claus if you ask me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6th.

Today I am thankful for my dear old friends.  I have some great ones. 

Ones who I have been friends with for much more than half my life.  I think of Gidget and Erin and all the crazy times we spent together during my teenage years.  I think of sweet Jenny and can't believe that she is going to be a mom of 3 by next summer.  Times just fly by.

I have some awesome college friends.  I think of Heather and Jake, who I adore.  I think of the the  Hams(Jessica, Heidi, Sarah, Lacey, Joette, Winebrenner, and Jenn) and all their shenanigans.  I think of so so so many people who made my times at Houghton some of the best in my life.   A happiest birthday to dear Jenn Bullock.  If you aren't friends with her, it is because you haven't met her yet.  The girl is amazing and probably the best at keeping in touch of anyone I have ever met.

I made some great friends during my short stay in Long Island.  I think of Mishy and her fun spirit.  I think of Judy and how she has 3 boys under 2.  It is amazing!

I think of all the wonderful people that God has brought into my path here in Naples.  I couldn't even begin to tell all of the people who come to mind.  If you are reading this... then that means you!

But on this December 6th, not only am I super thankful for the people and friends that God has blessed me with over the last 30 years of my life, but I am especially thankful for my darling best girl friend, Carly Jones.  Carly has seen me through some of the greatest and worst times in my life.  Even though we live thousands of miles away, she always has the right words and thoughts to keep me in line, or just the ear to listen when I need to vent.   She will be bringing her second little sweet girl into the world in the next month I can't wait to meet little Maggie Bell!

Car, I love you and am so thankful for you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The fifth

Today is December 5th.  20 days until Christmas, and I am definitely not running out of things to be thankful for.  God is truly good, and despite our circumstances, He is constant and supreme.

Last night I sat in the studio with Slim and Matt and listened to another cut of the Fellowbliss album.  Over the last year I have probably spent about 30 to 40 hours in that room, but last night I was reminded of how thankful I am for that crazy band.  I cannot believe that it has been two years of music, touring, and fun shared with some of the greatest people.  I love that Slim gets to pursue his music and gets to do it alongside such rad friends.

So on December 5th, I am thankful for the '5' members of Fellowbliss.  Five is in quotation marks because as of last week, it was announced that Magic Mike would have to be stepping away from the band to focus on work and his family.  In my eyes, he will always be a member, thus the 5.

Sheena Jubilee is a crazy fun friend with an amazing voice.  Mr. Matty A, aka my son, is a blast to hang out with, and is such a great drummer.  C-Bear, the newest member and youngest member, has such a great heart and passion for people, plus he does a crazy cool bass spin.  And of course the one and only Slim, who is by far the best guitar player I have ever heard- yes I am biased, but it is true.

If you have never heard the band, check out their newest music video. 

Happy Sunday, friends!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 4th of December

I am kind of in a funk today.  I am watching Giada's Family Christmas, and it is making me feel all mushy inside.  So far she has made Strifuli- honey cookies, as well as Polenta- two of my most favorite family dishes! I just love how food can remind you of family and people you love.

Speaking of people you love, for those of you who don't know, I spent the week before Thanksgiving out in Colorado Springs.  I got to spend such great quality time with family.  Today I am super thankful for three blessings.  Three incredible children who since the day I met each of them, they have been one of the biggest joys of my life.  I honestly don't think that I could love them any more.

Brayden is now 6 and is such the first child.  He is the leader yet loves to have that one on one time without the others around.  Davis who is 5 is of course not ours by natural birth, but couldn't fit better into our family.  He is a sweet spirit who loves pretty much everyone who he comes in contact with.  And of course sweet 4 year old Grace.  She reminds me a little bit of a Sour Patch Kid-- haha.  She is sassy and sweet and everyone loves her. The girl knows just what she wants and will fight hard for her cause.  I just love that about her.

I can't wait to see them in about 13 'dark naps' as Gracie calls them... and to be able to spend Christmas with those lovies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The 3rd!!!

Carly is asking for a few shallow things thrown in... so today she is getting her wish!

I have to be honest with you.  The last week has been so rough.  The weather is getting cooler, which I am so not complaining about.  We don't have a heater (not that my sweet hubs would let me use it anyhow) and so each morning, as I roll over to turn off my alarm, I am stunned by the frigid air that haunts my body.  Nothing in me wants to get out of the nice warm blankets.  Well I shouldn't say nothing...

There is one thing.  One thing that has kept me going all week.  And today, at the end of this work week, I am incredibly thankful that my darling boss blessed us with the a Keuring and the Green Mountain Holiday Coffee.

This week I have had all of the tasty flavors, and if you ever read this blog- the two of you who do, would know that I love the Gingerbread coffee with the Italian Sweet Cream creamer.  OMG.  It is delish! 

So I raise my glass of Holiday Blend and toast you today.  Praise God that in about 4 short hours I am celebrating the weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


October, November, and December are my absolute favorite months.  There are many reasons why, but one thing that I am truly grateful for is that I live close to my sweet parents. 

In 2003, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life; where I wanted to move; where I wanted to work- I knew that it had to be pretty darn close to my family.  I knew that they would be moving to Orlando within the next couple of years, so SW Florida seemed like a pretty darn good place for me.

We only live 3 hours from them, so Slim and I get to be with them pretty much whenever we want.  It is fantastic.  The truth is that we don't even have to be doing anything special- many times the entire day will go by, and I won't even get out of my pajamas and robe.

Jan and Bernie McElheny are constant reminders of God's grace and love.  They truly adore their children.  They want the best for us, and even though sometimes we don't do things just as they would, they support and pray regardless.

So on this second day of December, I am twice as thanful for these two lovebirds.  (almost like two turtledoves :) )

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roses in December...

Life is hard, isn't it? Times are different for my family... different than they have ever been. I am not going to go into details, but I decided to move on from the stress and discontent, and look to gratefulness.

For the next 25 days, I am going to blog each day about something that I am grateful for this December. There will be no particular order to this- each I am equally thankful to have

"God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December."
James Matthew Barrie

So today is December 1-

Have you met my husband? Slim Gillian is the craziest yet most amazing person that I have ever known. I have had countless people tell me that they wouldn't have put us together in a million years and to be honest I have even thought the same thing myself.
I work a desk job and wear professional clothes. He has piercings on his face, is covered in tattoos, and plays in a rock band. Things like this just simply don't usually make a good match. But our God has a great sense of humor, and knows just what we need. Slim calms me when I stress and helps me to loosen up a bit. I help him stay focused and try to keep him organized.

Through these last rough few months, Slim has been so constant and encouraging. His love and support has been overwhelming and amazing, and I know that I wouldn't be the same person without him.

I love you, babe- Thank you for all you are to me and to so many. I am so blessed to walk this journey alongside you!