Thank You to my co-workers (30 days to be Thankful, day 25)

Dear some of my favorite co-workers-

Andy- Who knows where you are, or what your last name even is. Days spent working at the movie theater with you were the best. You always made me smile.

The entire crew at the Answering Service- You know who you are. Thank you for making an insane job more bearable, and even fun. Denise & Patty, you guys were some of the weirdest managers I’ve ever had, but you were always ready with a sarcastic comment or witty remark to make the pain a little easier. Paul and Karen- You guys had a lot to share about life, and it was a pleasure to work with you. The rest of you, you all rock. THANK YOU.

FedEx, round 1- Thank you to the person who hired me. She told me that she loved my shoes, which I think of every time I wear them. And thanks to Josh, because the competitions we had made the busy days more fun.

FedEx round 2- Thank you to Andrew, for being one of the most responsible people I know, I was so happy when you were promoted, even if it meant losing the best loader I’d ever had. Thank you to Jess, for this bit of wisdom, “Admit Nothing, Deny Everything, and Make Counter accusations.” Thank you to Tim for singing the circus song on those bad days. And thank you to Amanda, for being so kick ass.

Sitel- Thank you to Mike and Casey. You know why. And thanks to my manager, whose name I have forgotten, because you understood.

MD:ELC: Thank you for giving me a chance to shine, and for letting me work the weirdest hours so I could get my job done. I loved working for you, and wish I could have stayed.

My current company- Thank you to Justin, for hiring me. You didn’t know what you were getting into, did you? But you were always entertaining and helpful, and the entry level job you hired me for let me get my foot in the door for my career.
To my current coworkers- This group is amazing, and I love it. You make this a great place to work, and I’m thankful for all of you. My manager is inspiring and amazing, and her manager has a way with words, a way of connecting my job to the rest of the business that makes me very thankful.

Thank you!
jen

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Thank You to my extended family (30 days to be Thankful, day 24)

Dear family-

I wanted to thank my grandparents on my Mom’s side, both of whom have passed away now. Thank you for loving my family, for the little gifts and long phone calls. Thank you for the trips to see us. Thank you for always welcoming us into your home. Grandpa- Thank you for Pink Purple Poke-dots and your sunny sense of humor.

Aunt Karen and family- Aunt Karen was always sunny but determined every time I saw her, and I miss her. Thank you to her, her husband, and her children for running in corn fields, riding on tractors, and blowing up fireworks. I did not get to spend a ton of time with them, but I always appreciated the way I was welcomed when we visited. And special thanks to Fred, who keeps in contact via Facebook, your posts make me smile.

Aunt Nancy and family- I always associate Aunt Nancy with the trees, which is a weird thing, I know. Thank you Aunt Nancy for teaching me about life and about opening your heart to others. Thank you to Beka for giving me a window into unconditional love. Thank you to Danny, who was always just smart enough to keep us from serious trouble when we ran around.

Uncle Bill and Aunt Debbie, the last time I saw Uncle Bill, before he died, was when I took Landon back to visit my mom. The two of you welcomed us with open arms, and treated Landon exactly the way a grandchild should be treated. The love in your eyes for him, even though you’d only met him the once, made me so thankful for you. I know we don’t agree on political issues, but you are amazing people, and I’m thankful to have had you in my life.
Cousin Bob- Somehow you were always my favorite, the big cousin I looked up to. Thank you for all the Star Wars and geek love, and thank you for being able to come and visit us. Having you around that one summer was a bright spot in my life, and I’ll always remember it. Tim and Amanda, Thank you for always being willing to include my little brother and me in your games, even when we showed up and took up space in your house. I have great memories of us all playing together.

Aunt Beth and Aunt Paula- Thank you for keeping in contact and inviting us to visit. You make me still feel like family, even though more than just distance keeps me from visiting. Thank you for taking care of Grandma as she aged. Aunt Beth- Thank you for being the fun Aunt, and for never hiding who you were.

Uncle Scott and Aunt Joyce- Thank you for hosting family get-togethers, and for sharing your horses. Visiting you guys is always a pleasure.

To the rest of my extended family on both sides, especially the ones that exchange Holiday Cards or keep in touch, Thank you. I love that I have that connection to my roots. You all rock, and I really appreciate the efforts to stay in touch!

love
jenny

Thank You to some special people (30 days to be Thankful, day 23)

Dear Katie, Erin, Fyr, and Josh-

The four of you got me through some rough times. You were supportive when I needed you most, and I miss you in my life. Thank you for being my friend. I feel like I need to thank you and also apologize to you, which is how the four of you ended up in a letter together.

Katie- Thank you first of all for sitting Bobby and I down and pointing out that we had crushes on each other. I’d like to think we would have gotten together on our own, but you certainly sped that process up! Thank you for taking initiative.
You were my best friend during a very weird time in my life, but you were a steadfast friend who really helped shape me into the person I am today. I miss having you around and I miss talking to you. I know that I was a stupid teenager who handled some things poorly, pulling away when I should have been strengthening bonds. I am so sorry. You helped me become a better person, and I will always be grateful to you.
Thank you for all the long walks, all of the sharing of dreams and ideas. Thank you for exposing me to new ideas and religions, and for encouraging me to question. Thank you for being my friend.

Erin- Jr High is hell. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through when I met you. You helped me embrace my geek self and survive during a scary and rough time. The fact that we managed to stay friends for so long, despite going to different high schools is pretty awesome. Even though we’re not nearly as close as we once were, only keeping in touch via Facebook and the occasional run in, you still always bring a smile to my face. You are awesome, and I need to apologize for not being able to keep you closer. Our lives are so busy and so filled with our family and friends, but I want you to know that I am grateful to have you in my life. Thank you so much for being my friend, even now.

Fyr- Thank you for being yourself. You have always been a bright spot, and hanging out with you has always been and adventure. Thank you so much for all the stories. Thank you for all the times we drove the Geo Metro out to Apache Junction so I could see my boyfriend. Thank you for the off-roading, for the crazy times on Mill, for the hair dye and the randomness. Thank you for late nights spent gaming, and hours upon hours of Monkey Ball (and other games). You and I have had our ups and downs and up and downs and ups and downs. I love you like a sister, I always will, even when we’re on the outs. I’m sorry that you and I often get frustrated with one another. I’m sorry that we can’t be as close as we used to be, because I really do miss you. You are such an amazing person, and I know my life is richer for having you in it. LAT.

Josh- My freshman year of college was rather difficult, but you made it so much easier and so much more fun. Thank you for driving me around when I needed it. Thank you so much for going to watch movies and for people watching with me. I felt like we could talk about anything. I feel like I’ve apologized for all the things that caused us to drift apart. I miss you dude. Thank you for the years where we were friends, you enriched my life.

I want all of you to know that I think of you and smile. That I miss you having you in my life in a more integral way, and that I’d love to see you and catch up sometime.

with love,
Jen

Thank You to my “online friends!” (30 days to be Thankful, day 22)

Thank you to my “online” friends

Is there a word for people you feel close to over the internet, but have never met?
(Jason’s response of “Friend” is accurate!) This letter is for my friends who I’ve never met in person, but who hold a special place in my heart.

Tiffany & Gord- Thank you for being so open about your lives, for sharing. I love reading about all of your adventures, and your blog posts often make me smile. Your kids are amazing, and getting the future picture of life with boys is also awesome.

Nicole A- Your children are adorable. I love how sweet your posts are, and I the love you feel for your kids is evident with every post you make. I love your pictures, and the pics your husband posts as well. I feel like if we could sit down and let our kids have a playdate it would be epic. Thank you for all your posts!

Jason- I love the links you share, and I love your notes about customers. I really enjoy your point of view and your general love of fandom. Thank you!!!!

Jake- I feel like I know you in person sometimes because of our mutual friends. Thank you for making my friends happy, and for being a stalwart friend to them. I’m thankful for your posts, and wish you could come for a visit someday!

Brianna- Sometimes I think that you and I, if we lived close together, would be the best friends. I love reading about your family, and your husband. I wish I could give you a hug

Nicole T- I am thankful for your staunch defense of vaccines. You and your family are a comfort to me, and I thank you.

Jen A- You have so much strength. I can’t help but admire you, thank you.

Crissy- Seeing your son always brings a smile to my face and give me hope for my future. Thank you.

Melissa H- You’ve been through a lot, and been so strong. You inspire me. HUGS

Melinda- You are such an amazing person, and a great parent. Thank you for being so open and willing to share.

Melissa J- You continue to amaze me, and your strength shows with so many of your posts.

Monika- I really enjoy your point of view and your posts! Thank you!

Kirsteen- You are the strongest person I know. You have inspired me in ways I didn’t even consider. My heart swells for you. I am so proud of you and how you’ve gotten through everything life has thrown at you. Thank you so much for sharing, you rock.

Briana- I feel like you are in the trenches with me. Knowing someone else is going through some of the same things I am brings me comfort. Thank you for sharing your struggles. HUGS

Darlena- You are so open and so real, it’s a refreshing read. Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there.

And so many more. I love you guys. I love how the internet has brought us all together and I love the peek into your lives. To know that people living all over the globe care about me, and that I care about them, it’s an amazing feeling. I’m so sorry that I don’t have time to thank each and every one of you. Thank you for every post, for every picture, for every article shared and website linked. I am grateful to you all.

And thank you to everyone still on LJ, who still posts, who comments. You all rock!

with love, from that crazy online person,
jen

Thank You to the teachers! (30 days to be Thankful, day 21)

Dear Teachers-

I want to thank all the teachers who I’ve worked with, and all the teachers that put up with me a student over the years. Teaching is such a challenging job, and the monetary rewards just aren’t there. So thank you for doing the job anyway. So many teachers have helped me over the years, I want to make sure that everyone knows that teachers are important, and I’m grateful for you.

Ms. Hackett, who changed my life. I sometimes doubt I would have made it through the horror show that is Jr. High without her reading class. She had us write in a book journal, which she read and handed back, and I could ask her all sorts of things. The main thing she wanted us to do was enjoy reading. She is the one who had me read “The Outsiders” for the first time, and she exposed me to the Titanic. She gave me something to look forward to every day in the seventh grade. She had a way of making learning amazing and fun. She inspired me to be me. I will always be thankful for her.

Mr. Schiesser was my high school Earth Science teacher, and he was someone I could talk to. He made the class so much fun, and he has such amazing energy. I wanted to make him proud of me, which meant I worked harder and learned more there than in any other science class I have ever taken. Thank you.

Mr. Lomeli supported weird clubs and helped keep us on track. He totally rocked. Thank you for letting us hang out in your room, you made high school a better place to be.

Ms. Chomokos, who put up with having both Bobby and I in her class at the same time. She and Bobby had arguments over correct answers, and got along like a house on fire. I also appreciate the way she helped Bobby out, and how she worked with him when he became a paid tutor.

I want to thank some of my elementary school teachers too. Ms. Pethel, for the seashells. Ms. Reed, for figuring out early how to get me to focus. Ms. Blumel who made second grade fun. Ms. Boyle, who helped me learn that reading is the best thing ever.

Thank you to all the preschool, daycare, and elementary teachers who have taught my sons. Ms Tish, who potty trained and worked with Oliver, and got through to him in a way no other teacher did. Ms. Cindy, who continues to work with Ollie and helps him through his day. Ms. Eckman, his preschool teacher who works with him and supports him, who has such great faith in my Oliver.
Thank you to the teacher who sat with Landon when he was 4 and helped him learn to write. Thank you to Landon’s teacher’s for working with him and helping him learn to focus.

Thank you to everyone of my friends who are teachers as well. You guys all rock. Thank you for taking care of and educating our children.

Forever thankful,
jen

Thank You to my awesome Inlaws! (30 days to be Thankful, day 20)

Dear family acquired via marriage-

You know, there are an awful lot of in-law jokes out there. Thankfully most of them don’t seem to apply in my situation. As a whole, Bobby’s entire extended family has been super welcoming. I mean, I’ve been in this family officially now for thirteen years, and hanging around and annoying them for eighteen years in total. I’m so thankful that you all have been so welcoming and accepting!

First of all, Thank you Bob and Mickey, I spent time thanking you in your own letter early this month, but I had to say thank you again. Thank you for all your love and support. I can’t say enough how much you guys rock!

Donny- Thank you so much for all the hugs, and for your amazing art. I love your work, and your art has been a constant presence in my life and hanging in my house now for a long time. Amee- we don’t talk often, but when we do, you are always willing to listen. Thank you for all the love you’ve shown us, and for putting up with me always pointing a camera at you. Your family is such a blessing, and its so wonderful to see you all together. Thank you so much. Chyna- You are such an amazing teenager. Thank you for reading, because books! Thank you for making me smile with your amazing sense of style. Van- You are such a rocking little dude. Thank you for making your own way, and for all the little smiles you share. Your whole family is rocks!

Chandra- Thank you for always moving forward. Your determination to keep going even when life tries to knock you on your ass is inspiring. I love it when you set a goal, because I know you will fight to achieve it! I know we don’t always see eye to eye, but thank you for being willing to talk and let our differences not keep us from being friends. You’re an awesome person, and I’m glad to know you. And thank you for putting up with all of my attempts to be an awesome Aunt to your girls, because your girls are AMAZING. Scott- Thank you for being supportive, and for bringing a smile to Chandra’s face. It is so wonderful to see you both happy. Bree- You have come so far and grown so much while I’ve known you. It’s been a true blessing to watch you become the woman you are today. You are so freaking nice to everyone. Thank you for always being sweet to me. Thank you for being such an amazing mom to your two little ones, they are both so ADORABLE. You have come so far in life, and I’m so delighted to have you in my life. Nicolette- Thank you for being so tough. I’ve always admired your determination. I was so honored to see you at your wedding and take all the pictures. You are so beautiful, inside and out. Thank you for being strong, and for fighting to find your own happiness. I love it whenever we spend time together, thank you for being there! Love you all!

Shain- I don’t even know where to start with you man. You’ve always been so amazing. You have become the big brother I never had. Thank you for driving home with us when we moved back from OR. I don’t think we could have done it without you. That truck scared the crap out of me! Thank you for all the rocks over the years, for sending them to my mom, for making us amazing little pieces. Thank you for your music, and for always inviting us to your events. Thank you for rough housing with the kids and making them smile. Thank you so much for taking on India, and for loving her. Sometimes, I’m not sure what to say around you, but I really value you, Thank you so much for being so awesome. I’m so thankful to have a big brother like you. Debbie- I’ve just started to get to know you, but thank you for helping to make Shain smile. Thank you for being welcoming and open, and I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know you better.

Heather- I feel like of all Bobby’s siblings, I know you best of all. I remember eating lunch with you on occasion in high school, fighting over who got to use the phone with you, and bonding as we went floating down the Salt River. Thank you for having the time for me, even back then. Thank you for all your love of animals, for how hard you work to take care of everyone. Thank you for all the times you’ve helped out with Landon, for all your kind words about Ollie. Thank you for standing tall at the head of a family of boys, even outnumbered as you are! Thank you for listening. Jeremiah- Thank you for working with Bob on the business. Thank you for being fun loving and willing to jump in with both feet when faced with challenge. Thank you for playing with all the nephews! Gabe, Eli, Levi, Jesse- Thank you for being awesome, for hanging out with your cousins and showing them the ropes. Thank you for always being willing to have fun. To the whole family- Thank you so much for being there, and for being so adorable in all the family photos! I love taking photos of you guys!

Leanna- Thank you for being awesome. I love following you on facebook and seeing all your adventures. You always seem to have a good attitude and to keep things fun. Know that you are in my thoughts!

To the rest of my inlaws, You are quite the bunch! Thank you for being welcoming and sharing your lives with us. You all rock, and I’m so happy every time we get to see you!

Those of you that share the cabin, thank you for all the upkeep and the willingness to share it, some of our best family memories are of that place.

In gratitude,
Jen

 

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Thank You Bud, Wanda, and the Willis Clan! (30 days to be Thankful, day 19)

Dear Bud, Wanda, and the other Willis I once knew-

I don’t actually know where you guys are now, or what happened to you. I don’t even know how you became part of our family. What I do know is that for a time, I had an extra set of Grandparents, and it was awesome. I’m thankful for all the times we got to hang out, and I’m thankful for the way your grandchildren became pseudo-cousins.

I’m thankful to Bud and Wanda for feeding my family’s rock habit, and for inviting us up to see them. I’m thankful for the little gift shop they used to run outside the Petrified Forest, and I’m thankful for the family vacation when we went to visit.

Most of my favorite “Winter” and “Snow” memories are around the Willis family. We’d go up to Snowflake or Showlow and spend time with all of the kids. Ben, Clint and I would play in the snow, go sledding, build snowmen, and run around like monkeys. I’m thankful for all the times I got to spend hanging out with them. I’m thankful for hot chocolate and toes slowly warming up near a heater.

I’m thankful for Ben Willis, as my childhood “boyfriend” who was always so much fun to hang out with, and was always so generous. I still have this amazing wooden stool that he made me in shop class, and I still adore it. I’m thankful for all the time we spent together. Ben is an awesome Dude.

I wish I had a way to contact them and find out what happened to everyone. I’m so thankful for the time we had together growing up. Thank you for enriching my youth. Thank you for teaching me to share.

Forever in my memories,
Jen

Bud at the rock shop:

 bud at petrfied forest

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