I know I should be posting about how much my life has changed in the past 7 weeks. I will. It will be the longest darn blog post you'll ever read, but trust me it will be entertaining. If I haven't talked to you in person, some major drama went down and I was in a bad living situation. I have since moved and started working, and life is SO good right now!!! Let that be known. For now, in honor of Thanksgiving, here is a list of 20 things I am thankful for most in my life. I could technically make a list of a million things, but then I'd be here all night.

20 Things I'm Thankful For:

20. Modern Technology
         Can you imagine our lives without computers? The internet? Cell phones? iPods? GPS? Ok, maybe it's imaginable, but is it desirable? Not to me! I love that I can keep up with friends from elementary school without having to track down their phone number to awkwardly call them or scope out mundane gossip. I love that when I am bored stiff, sitting in a quiet waiting room, I can text with my friends. I also love that every single time I make a wrong turn or miss one in this huge new city, my GPS "recalculates" with a British accent, and gets me there. And I'll just come out and say it... I couldn't live without my iPod! I have to be listening to music at all times, and my old ghetto 1st edition iPod is my best friend! "I really love technology. Always and forever."
19. Modern Medicine
         Same kind of deal here. Have you ever watched Little House On The Prairie or played Oregon Trail? Those people died from the common cold! (Or Dysentery... did anyone ever find out what that was?) I don't like to take medicine unless it is absolutely necessary, but I am so glad it exists for when it is. Sorry boys, but Midol, I LOVE YOU! Tums, thank you for existing. Thank you anesthesia. I really didn't want to feel that root canal. Fifty years ago, 75% of us would have had lobotomies. Say thank you to psychiatric drugs! I could go on and on and on...

18. Moments and Memories
         I'm so thankful that we can hold on to the good times we've had. Focusing on the present is key in life, but little moments and fond memories are what got us here. I have some incredible memories, and have had some amazing moments in my life. I am so grateful that I can keep those in my heart and that they're not gone forever. They stay with us, and I think that is such a cool part of living. Yes, we also have the misfortune of holding onto painful memories, but we can make the effort to outnumber the bad memories with new, meaningful ones. Think of wonderful memories from the past and how they still make you feel. That feeling should drive us to attempt to make every present and future moment meaningful. Make every moment mean something, because those are the ones that will live with you forever :)

Groomsmen/family snowball fight on my brother's wedding day
Towing my uncle's car out of the neighbor's yard that same morning
17. Words
          I'm thankful for words. I'm thankful that we can put words together to sound beautiful and meaningful. From poetry to song lyrics to stories, we have the power of putting words together to ignite feelings and emotions. Words have the potential to be powerful, and when put together in the right (or wrong) way, they can change lives. I don't think we think about this often, but language, words, and writing are incredibly strong forces, and affect us in ways we don't even think about. Advertisements, songs, books, scripts, and blogs, even. It's amazing!

Lyrics to my favorite song, "Everlong"

16. Living With No Fear
         It took me a long time to get to this point in my life where I realize I don't need to be scared of the possible, and I am so thankful that I got here. I spent 20-something years of my life in constant fear of everything. Death, especially, was this terrible anxiety-inducing fear that I couldn't shake. I don't know what it took for me to be on such good (maybe too good) terms with death or whatever negative things could be handed to us in life, but I got there. I'm not scared anymore. I mean, I definitely don't invite any of those things to myself or others around me, but I've come to terms with the fact that life is temporary, and it's happening fast. Things are going to happen, good things and tragic things, but it's all temporary. Why spend so much time fearing what could happen? Living in fear and worry all the time will turn your life into a tragedy anyway. I'd rather live with open arms to whatever gets thrown at me and deal with it when it comes. In the meantime, live it up!
Found this on Google. Yes!
15. Love
         (I had a whole write-up for this section, that somehow was deleted... I'll fix it later)

14. Forgiveness and Second Chances
         Everyone makes mistakes, overreacts, and is completely wrong sometimes. Or what seems like all the time. Can you imagine if every time you messed up or hurt someone, it was over? You were done? Not to sound like a complete screw-up, but if people didn't believe in second chances, I'd be an orphan with no friends or family. Forgiveness is one of our greatest gifts and qualities. It humbles us. It's very important that we are forgiving, too. Not just to others, but to ourselves. I'm very thankful for forgiveness, and very thankful that I have a forgiving heart. Nobody is perfect, so forgiveness is key.

"To forgive is divine. So let's have a glass of wine."

13. Red, White, and Blue
         I know the economy sucks right now. I am a prime example of someone who has been screwed by our current financial system, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a great country to live in. I like having access to clean water and I like having a say in who is in charge here. I like that I don't have to cover myself from head to toe and keep my mouth shut, just because I am a female. I like that I can marry whoever I want or not marry at all. I enjoy heat and air conditioning. I like the occasional McDonalds Happy Meal, for crying out loud! I like being allowed to work and I like being able to write this on my blog. America has flaws, and I'm suffering for some of them right now, but considering a lot of the alternatives, I'm so grateful to live here.

Dad getting interviewed after stepping off the plane from his tour in Iraq
12. Accomplishments and the Continued Drive To Accomplish
         So I have this 5 page typed Bucket List, and I love marking things off of it. I love to see what I've done in my life, and I also love that I have the drive to do more. I've accomplished so many things that I've wanted to do, or not even known that I wanted to do, and it makes me feel good. I've bungee jumped 3 times, visited the Kennedy Space Center, road tripped across the country, gone streaking, touched my favorite rock star, met my teen idol, been on the news, TP'd houses, stole street signs, got my nose pierced, had pink and purple hair, got invited backstage and on tour buses after concerts, cliff jumped, attended a Broadway play, had a poem published, survived Lollapalooza, worked at a film studio in Hollywood, won money in Vegas, stood at the top of the Empire State Building, sat in the actual coffee shop set from "Friends", went skinny dipping, snow boarded on Mt. Rainier, and helped raise over $5,000 for charity by organizing and putting on a large scale concert, among so many other awesome things. My life has been amazing, and I can't wait to keep crossing things off my list!

Oh just me and my teenage love, Taylor Hanson :)
Hanging on the Central Perk set! 
11. Expression Through Art
         I would die if I couldn't express myself. I would die if others couldn't express themselves. Thank you Art! Painting. Writing. Sculpting. Singing. Rapping. Dancing. Acting. Playing an instrument. Drawing. Sewing. Crafting. Designing. Building. Whatever! I'm so grateful that I can do it, and I'm so grateful that others can do it so that I can benefit from the results. Creating is a huge part of my life. Call it right brained or whatever, I have to have some sort of creative project going at all times. It's therapy. Usually I work on a bunch of ideas all at once, and it gets crazy, but I'm so thankful for creativity. Art makes me happy and I'm grateful for what it means to me.

Designing screen-printed t-shirts for the Hanson show
Finished products!
10. Having A Job
         I know this is cliche, but I'm thankful to have a job! No, being a back-up nanny is not what I really want to do with my life, but I'm good at it and the paychecks are awesome. I'll start looking for something more desirable in the spring, but I'm grateful that I got any job this fast. Not only am I thankful for having a job, but I'm thankful for being able to help families through my job. I don't know why I'm really good at getting babies and young children to do things their parents can't get them to do, like taking naps or eating, but I am. I've been able to help these parents and give them new ideas. I get so much gratitude from them too, so I know I've helped. And I can't lie, it feels good that all the families I've worked for in the last few weeks have told me that they loved me and would be requesting me again. I've already had one family ask me to work for them full time (they have a nanny) and I was at the mall playing with a baby this week, and had a random mall parent offer me a full time job on the spot. So, not only am I thankful to have a job, but I'm thankful that I'm making a difference in the lives of these families. You can't say that with every job.      

My lovey-pup <3
9. Laughter
      I'm addicted to funny. I'm so thankful for comedy, humor, and laughter! I can't get enough. I can find funny in almost all situations. I can't even tell a lie without laughing. 99%  of the TV shows and movies I watch are comedies. My favorite celebrities are either rock stars or comedians. My favorite friends and family members are the funniest ones. A hilarious guy gets like 2 extra numbers on the hot scale, and if you can hardcore banter and keep up with my funny, you get 2 more. Funny is the best. Laughing is the best. Bring on the laughter!

Tom Haverford... Self-explainatory

8. Health
      I'm very thankful that I don't have any serious health problems. There are people everywhere dealing with health problems that I can't even fathom. So many people are stricken with cancer, HIV, amputations, Autism, Alzheimer's, mental and physical handicaps, blindness, deafness, and on and on and on. There are way too many serious illnesses, and I am so grateful that I have been spared thus far. I need to be more thankful sometimes. I whine about my thighs, yet I have a beautiful friend who is younger than me and has tumors in hers. These tumors prevent her from walking or being on her feet long without a cane. She's had nine surgeries in a year, and I'm whining about how my butt looks in my jeans. I need to reflect on what good health I have been blessed with more often. I'm very thankful for it.

My kind of workout!
7. Bipolar
      I know I just went on about my health, and maybe this doesn't make sense to some, but I'm thankful for being Bipolar. I'm also thankful that I'm still alive despite my Bipolar. I wouldn't be who I am today without having gone through such dark times. One day I'm going to write a whole blog post about my struggles with the disorder, but here I'll just say that I'm thankful for what it has made me. I've been through disturbing times that you wouldn't believe, but it has fueled a fire to reach out to others in similar situations. Because I've been there, because I've been there alone, and because everyone around me was too scared or selfish to help me or reach out, I have a burning desire to help those that are suffering and share my story. I'm just now getting to the point in my life where I can and want to share my story. It took a lot of years of pain to get here, but it has been worth it. My experiences have already helped a couple friends get through hard times, and seeing my pain turned into good, makes me want to help more people. There's a reason I came out of the darkness alive, because I shouldn't have. I'm determined to save lives and help those who are alone. Most people can't imagine the pain people deal with every day, but I can. I can help, and I am beyond thankful that I can take my rock bottom and turn it around to reach out to others. I'm incredibly grateful that I'm not one of the MANY people who are ignorant about mental illness and addiction. It's upsetting that most people choose not to reach out and turn their eyes from those who are hurting. It happened to me, and I'm thankful that I have the heart and knowledge to help.
Me in my prime emo days. Thankful that is mostly over!
6. Chasing Dreams
      I'm thankful that I'm finally brave enough to chase my dreams. I've been wanting to move to Seattle for six years, but was too scared. Change is scary, even if it is for the better. I am grateful that I have finally reached a place in my life where I'm not scared anymore. If I want it, I have to at least try to get it. So here I am: Dream chaser extraordinaire! One dream down, and ready to chase some more! I'm thankful that I'm finally doing it.
Me and Dad, my first night in Seattle.
5. Music
      Oh wow, what can I say? Music is my favorite thing in the entire world. I would have made it #3, but I feel like my family and friends would take offense. Haha The right music makes me feel like nothing else in the world can make me feel. A world without music, to me, would be the worst possible hell. I need it like oxygen. Maybe more. I have to be listening to music at all times of the day, if I can. If I can't, I'm listening to it in my head. It's never silent, which is great, because I hate silence. It just means so much to me. I am more than thankful that I am a "music person" and that I have the ability to feel songs, because I know a lot of people don't. Some listen to it for entertainment, and it's not important to them. That's why popular music is what it is. I'm glad I'm not like that. I'm grateful that music is a passion of mine and that I have such a strong reaction to it. I feel sorry for those that don't because they'll never know what they're missing.

Sasquatch Festival
4. Friends
      My friends are extremely important to me. I would do anything for them! You get to a point in your life where you realize who really matters and who kind of doesn't. You start to realize that being there for or spending time with those few, really good friends, is more important than spending meaningless time trying to keep up with a bunch of people that you don't care that much about other than what they do socially. You start weeding out the drama-prone, the Debbie downers, and the ones that never call you back.  You also start to notice that, oh hey, so-and-so has been such a great friend to me all this time. Why am I not spending more of my friend energy on that person? I've been through that. I've realized who my real, true friends are, and I am so thankful to have them. My friends mean the world to me! Whether I've known them since kindergarten, or met them last week, I am incredibly grateful to have them in my life. Thank you to all my friends! I don't know why you like me, but thank you!!!

The night we found an adult moon bounce :)
I love this picture and these girls
West Coast buds
3. My Family
      I can't even begin to express how much my family means to me. I don't even know where to start. I have the most incredible parents. They've been married for 30 years, and still like each other... a lot. I don't understand this, because they're polar opposites, but for some reason it works. My parents would do anything for me, and have. Now that I'm older, I've noticed that selfless parents aren't that common. It's not just a thing that happens when two people have kids. They don't automatically devote everything they are to their children. Some parents don't attend every game, performance, awards assembly, or event you're involved in. Some parents don't go out and buy you 500 bottles of Powerade because they were on sale and you like them. Some parents don't send you care packages, call just to say "hi", or drive across the country with you to chase some crazy dream. They don't, and I didn't realize that until I got a little older. Now I really appreciate everything my parents have sacrificed and done for me. Now that I'm around the age they were when they had Trey and I, I realize how imperfect they were. They're real people. Nobody is perfect, which means there are no perfect parents. I realize that now, and I am insanely grateful for them.
    I'm also thankful for my brothers. I always complained about not having a sister, because it seemed like all my friends had them and they were best friends forever. Now I realize I would have hated having a sister. I would not be who I am today if I had grown up with a sister. Another girl in my spotlight? No thanks! And I'm so glad I grew up surrounded by boys. There were very few girls in my life growing up, and now I'm kind of thankful for that. I love being a girl and girly things, but I love that I can also hang with and keep up with the guys. I can thank my brothers for that. And for teaching me many sneaky ways to say the word "pubes" in public.
    I'm thankful for my extended family, too. I have a huge family, full of cousins that I'm very close to, which I have also learned isn't common. I still have all four of my grandparents, and while all of them mean so much to me, my two grandmothers have influenced me in ways they'll never know. I have the most amazing, wonderful, female role models in both my grandmothers, and I am so very thankful that I was blessed with them. They're inspiring women.

Me and Mom
Me and Dad
The tallest boy is me :)
Brothers. We's weirrrrd.
My family with my wonderful grandmothers
One of my favorite places to be with some of my favorite people.
2. God
      I don't know how He puts up with me or why He gives me the time of day, but I am so unimaginably thankful that I have God in my life. He has never given up on me, and keeps pulling me out of these holes I've dug for myself. God has impacted my life in such purposeful ways, that I just can't imagine life without Him. I can't imagine a life without faith, to be honest. There have been times in my life where I have begun to drift away a little bit, and He has shown Himself to me time and time again. It's not like He has to either, but He does and He has. I wish I was as faithful to Him as He is to me, but I'm trying. I am thankful for nothing and no one more than I am thankful for God. He is SO good to me!!!

Gotta love having a photographer cousin :)
1. Being Me
      I never thought I would say this in my life, but I am finally thankful that I am me and nobody else. I'm thankful for the life I have lived. I'm thankful that I look the way I look. I'm thankful that I like the things I like. I'm thankful that I laugh at everything. I'm thankful that I love music and going to concerts. I'm thankful that I'd rather watch the X-Games than the Superbowl. I'm thankful for my crazy curly hair. I'm thankful that I can write, draw, paint, and sing. I'm thankful that I think every Youtube video is funny except the ones where people get hurt. I'm thankful that I'm creative. I'm thankful that I love kids. I'm thankful that I'm not afraid to be silly. I'm thankful that I have opinions and a voice. I'm thankful that I'm an insomniac because I do my best thinking at night. I'm thankful that I grew up in a small town but moved to a big city. I'm thankful that I'm a Christian, yet accepting of everyone. I'm thankful that I'd rather eat at Red Robin than Ruth Chris. I'm thankful that I'd rather play in the rain than sit inside. I'm thankful that I have a passion to help and be there for people. I could make a list a mile long, but I'm just really thankful that I'm me.

What are YOU thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

<3 Whitney
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