Hi.

Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Giving Thanks: Win a FREE class! :)

Today I hit up the eye doctor and ordered new glasses, sometimes-contacts, and sunglasses. Whew. Luckily I’m the only one in the family who really needs glasses so far, that junk is expensive! I can’t wait for the new specs to come in, though! I’ve had my old ones for almost 3 years, and it’s time for a change. :)

We went to see the matinee of Tangled this afternoon with the fam, it was really cute. Lots of comedic moments, fun songs, 3D “in your face” and a cute song about dreams sung by Vikings. I would def. recommend for little kids!

After the movie we stopped on the way home to grab some essentials for tomorrow: namely the ingredients for holiday pies. Let’s just use the word ‘ingredients’ broadly, shall we? An entire pumpkin pie is still an ingredient, yes? I did make homemade whipped cream to sample some of the pie just now, and yes, by darn, those ingredients went great together!

The real cookery of the evening was the Homemade Apple Pie, capitalized because cooking is an Event here, and baking an even bigger Event. Granny Smiths, a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and my grandma’s secret of putting a few pats of butter on the apples before that top crust goes on, and yeah.

Here he is cooling on the stove as of 7:30 p.m. (Taken with Jared’s phone and the Hipstamatic iphone app.)

ThanksgivingEvePie2010.jpg

Other ingredients: caramel sauce and ice cream, and that aghaghagha noise like Homer Simpson makes about donuts. This officially marks the beginning AND the end of our Thanksgiving cooking. AAAAND I’m spent. ;)

Tomorrow we’re just planning to hang out together, watch a few shows, play a few games, go OUT to Thanksgiving dinner, and basically eat ourselves into a coma. MAN I love Thanksgiving.

But seriously, beyond all the turkey, stuffin’, potatoes, rolls, pumpkin pie, I love the whole idea of Thanksgiving - of giving thanks for blessings and showing gratitude for the wonder and beauty of life. It’s definitely something I am trying to cultivate - I think gratitude is a skill just like playing the piano - it takes practice and work to change your world view to the positive way of life, living a life full of awe and wonder and thankfulness for everything. Thanksgiving is a great reminder.

Positive Psychology, Gratitude, Character Strengths (and Winning!)

If you have some time this weekend, I recommend taking the VIA Character Strengths assessment. It’s a very interesting look at 24 different character strengths that have been identified by researchers in a field called Positive Psychology. The idea is that after you discover your strengths, you can work to improve ones you’re weaker at, but also play to the ones you’re stronger at. It’s been truly enlightening for me to have my top 5 strengths posted at my computer so I see them every day. One of the secrets to happiness - and I really believe this - is finding ways to be able to operate in areas of strength as much as possible.

Here is the link: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx

You have to create an account so it will save your assessments. After you make your account, click on the test called “VIA Survey of Character Strengths” to take the test. It’s 240 questions long, but it goes fast, and I promise it’ll be worth it!

After you take the test, please share your strengths with me in the comments. I’ll pick a lucky commenter to win a FREE CLASS from JessicaSprague.com - your choice! I’ll pick the winner on Tuesday night, so you have until 6 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday to take the assessment and post at least one of your top 5 strengths here in the comments. :)

For the record, here are mine:

  • Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
  • Love of learning
  • Curiosity and interest in the world
  • Perspective (wisdom)
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence

Alright, I can’t wait to see what your strengths are, and hear whether you’re surprised by them, and what you plan to do to play to those strengths in the coming year. :)

AAAAND, GO!

p.s. Let’s play tag. Tag two people in your blog post about this! I tag Heidi Swapp and Cathy Zielske. GO TEAM, can’t wait to see what your strengths are. :)

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Taken today.