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Giving Thanks After Thanksgiving

Today I was hit by a very real and very crazy realization:

IT’S ALREADY DECEMBER!

Please excuse the excitement, but it really is hard for me to not get excited around Christmas time. It is without a doubt my favorite time of year. I’ll probably go more into why I love Christmas time at a later date, but realizing that today is the first of December I began to think about how quickly this year has gone by.

I mean, I can literally remember what I was doing in my life the same time one year ago. To say that this year has been a “blur” would be an understatement. The change that’s happened in me has been unreal, and the men and women who have contributed to this change, I view in very high regard.

While at work, my manager contributed in a small, but significant way by sharing an attitude he was choosing to have throughout the day, and let me say that it was AWESOME! I’ll do my best to summarize:

“I’m choosing to find the good things, even when the situation is bad”

Short, sweet, and pretty convicting. How often do we actively choose to look at the good things whenever we’re right smack-dab in the middle of really lousy situation? Taking it one step further; how often do we actively choose to be thankful for those good things?

Just because Thanksgiving as a holiday is over, doesn’t mean that we should stop being thankful for the many small, but significant things that happen to us on a day-to-day basis.

Our lives will, in essence, be a self-fulfilling prophesy one way or another. Either you can be joyful and thankful in your outlook on everything, or you can be angry and resentful.

The cool thing is that you genuinely have the choice on how you view the world and how you respond to it. Will it be positive or negative? The choice is only yours to make.

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My Trip to the Arctic Tundra pt. II

Before I continue with this post, I sincerely want to apologize for not posting anything the past three days. One of the negatives about being in close proximity with family for extended periods of time is that sickness travels quickly. So again, I deeply apologize.

As my trip in Maine has come to an end and I’m sitting in the Baltimore airport with my parents, I can’t help but feel completely blessed for the time I was given to rest, relax, and enjoy time with family that is rarely available.

For the first time ever, I was able to see snow more the a quarter of an inch, and it was beautiful (both pictures posted were taken from Maine)! Seeing family, like I mentioned earlier, was great as well.

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I know this is a very ambiguous post, and it’s mainly due to having a hard time fully expressing my happiness about it all. God is so good, and he has blessed me far beyond anything I deserve.

There’s definitely more to come. Stay tuned for more thoughts, ideas, and all that jazz.

The Fruits Of Your Labor

Today I was reminded of the power of honest, hard work. I was running errands with my uncle today, and he took me to his farm. After grabbing a few things, he walked me around and showed me all his animals he was raising, and let me tell you that it was astounding.

He showed me his chickens that he was raising to sell, his goats and pigs, turkeys, cows, rabbits, and everything of the sort. It was all completely captivating to me.

The work that is involved in not only maintaining a farm and raising animals, but he also has an apple orchard with over 200 trees, a small business that him and his wife run, and does outstanding carpentry work.

After talking to him about his work and overall how busy he is, I was completely blown away. Just the amount of time and effort involved in everything he does is crazy and reminded of an amazing lesson; WORKING HARD IN EVERYTHING YOU DO.

At the end of the day, you can look back on your work and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Far too many people don’t take pride in their work nowadays, and it’s something sets you miles apart from the “normal” crowd.

Now, as promised, here’s a picture of an adorable baby goat that was born not too long ago at my uncle’s farm. He’s kind of hard to see, but he’s there! Enjoy!

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Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

Today marks the second post for my thoughts on the sermon at church, which I’ve decided to called the Sunday Supposition. That being said, this particular post won’t correlate exactly with the sermon, it has more to do with my thoughts inspired by the sermon and throughout the day.

While I intend to post more about this topic on the actual day, I’d like to talk about an aspect of Thanksgiving that I feel is particularly important and often times over looked; BEING THANKFUL FOR THE SMALL THINGS.

I, sadly, don’t have the opportunity to see my family very often. We live on completely opposite sides of the country, so visits are very infrequent. However, while I’ve been here and spending time with them, I can’t be anything but joyful at just the simple fact that I get to spend time with them.

Today, outside of going to church, I got to see my cousin perform in a play for her school. Just having the opportunity to do that was awesome, and I wish I could do it more.

The lesson I’ve been learning is to sit back and find joy in the smaller things that you might be over-looking. Those are the things that will more than likely bring you the most happiness day in and day out.

My Trip to the Arctic Tundra: Pt. 1

So, in complete honesty I’m not in the Arctic Tundra; I’m in Maine (close enough). So far, I have to say that this is an absolutely beautiful state. It’s cold, there’s snow, trees – pretty much the opposite of Texas.

Being able to see my family is incredibly great as well. Living so far away from each other, we don’t get to see one another very often.

Today I was able to see the majority of my family, got a good run with an uncle, destroyed a cousin in Super Smash Bros. It’s been pretty great.

Tomorrow I can say for certainty that my posts will be more “normal”. I was thinking that this would be fun to try talking about some different things, and for this to be a look into the events going on in my life.

Anyways, thanks a bunch for dropping by! I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to drop by and read the stuff I write about. While there aren’t 14 million people reading per day, I’m still incredibly humbled that anyone at all stops by to read. If anyone has any advice or suggestions to make this blog better, I would love to hear them! Just leave a comment, or email me at lukevanley@gmail.com.

Be on the lookout for some beautiful pictures (or as beautiful as I can get) and some more thought-provoking posts soon! Thanks again!!

Across the Country

During this Thanksgiving week, I’ll be traveling with my family to visit more family up in Maine. Dang. That’s a long way away from my home in Texas.

I’m super excited about getting to do this, and I’m going to be doing my best to post about the trip, and bring up any interesting thoughts/ideas I might have while I’m there.

At the very least, there will be some beautiful pictures that I’ll be taking, so hopefully that could be something to look forward to.  I’m also going to be posting primarily through my phone, which is a foreign idea to me. We’ll see how this goes.

Stay tuned!!

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True Nobility

About two years ago, the acronym C.A.N.I. was presented to me. It was used rather seamlessly into the conversation, so naturally I zoned out of the conversation trying to figure out what it meant. After about a minute of intense thought and rudely ignoring my conversation, I asked the person what it meant.

He told me that it stood for Constant And Never-Ending Improvement, and what an outstanding idea it was. Once that acronym was implanted in my head, it almost always seems to resurface when I’m starting to get really comfortable with my life; some would even say complacent.

Constantly improving yourself from now until the end of time is a big commitment and will certainly take a lot of hard work, but I know for me that just being reminded of the idea inspires me to keep improving myself as a whole.

Ernest Hemingway said,

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Something to think about during your day today. There is an incredible amount of stuff that I’m hoping to start doing, not only in my personal life but with this blog as well. I’ll keep people posted as to what will be happening, and while there are just a few people reading this blog right now, I really hope that we can start getting it growing very soon.