the writer's block: feeling grateful

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. a loving husband, wonderful friends, and a growing family [in a few weeks, I have a nephew arriving!] we have a plan for the next few years and know where we are going after this school year is up. I've been able to travel and write, and though I pulled my shoulder last week and haven't been able to type so much... I've generally enjoyed good health.

this month I've asked my sponsors to share what they are grateful for this year - a tradition that my family used to hold around the Thanksgiving table. these ladies have had some incredible travels and experiences [some good and some not so good] but have managed to find silver linings along the way. read on to hear more from them, then be sure to visit their blogs when you're done!

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Kia ora, I'm Sarah, I'm in my late 20's and live in Wellington, New Zealand. Sarah Sees The World is primarily a Travel Blog, but also documents my 30 Before 30 achievements - It’s a list of places I’ve been meaning to visit, challenges I’ve wanted to take on, skills I’ve been planning to learn, and personal breakthroughs I’ve been hoping to have.

what experience are you grateful to have had this year? In June this year I was made redundant. After months of stress leading up to the event the stars aligned - an amazing job opportunity came to me. Even better, the start date allowed me to take 4 weeks off and travel to Canada and visit friends. While there were months of stress combined with a very unpleasant work environment, it's an experience I am grateful to have gone through as I can say I'm in a much better place now as a result of the upheaval, and would not be this happy right now if nothing had changed.

what is your favorite holiday and why? My favourite holiday is Waitangi Day. New Zealand's national holiday which falls on February 6th and commemorates the date in 1840 when the Treaty of Waitangi (effectively our constitution or founding document) was signed. Recently Waitangi Day was 'Mondayised' - before 2013 it wasn't celebrated on a Monday if it fell on a weekend. I won't get into the injustice of the treaty (there are differences between the English and Maori versions of the Treaty signed), but while the day sadly is known for its protests rather than celebrations, it falls at the peak of the New Zealand Summer and is the one public holiday you can actually rely on for decent weather.

how do you manage traveling during the busy holiday season? Fitting in travelling any time of year with a full time job and limited leave is challenging but is something I make a priority. The best thing about Christmas and New Year falling so close together is that by taking three days leave from work, you get 11 days in a row off! While I have family commitments on Christmas Day, I'll be heading off soon afterwards to explore somewhere not yet determined.

read more from Sarah on her blog: Sarah Sees The World

check out some of her favorite posts:

or follow along with:

Dollie of Two Wooden Spoons. I float in the space between home body and travel junkie. My blog is a space for me to explore and share my writing through stories. And just like a photographer slowly trains themselves to find and capture the truth (whether it be love, beauty, hardship, or pain) in every situation, writing has taught me the same thing. My blog is a space where I work on figuring myself out. This is a space filled with humor, success, failure, and a whole lotta’ quirkiness (and wine) to help mask the anxiety.

what experience are you grateful to have had this year? This year my husband and I traveled to Romania with my mom to go and take my 86 year-old grandmother on a road trip through Transylvania. After more than a dozen trips back to visit family in Romania, this was my first time seeing more than one tiny corner of the country. It also happened to be my grandma's first time seeing the country outside of her tiny village and the neighboring city. Getting to experience that with her, and giving her the opportunity to see her own country, was something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

who or what are you feeling most thankful for? I am grateful for my grandmother's health and that she was able to join us on our roadtrip across Romania. Many children who grew up with grandparents in another country know how difficult it can be to be away from family. You never know if your visit will be the last one, or if an elderly family member will make it through the next several years it takes to save the money for the trip.

what is your favorite holiday and why? Every year is a tie between Halloween and Christmas. I love Halloween because of the fun traditions and low stress of the holiday. My husband and I save every costume and prop we've ever purchased to creating costumes is always a great time. I'm sure it'll be even more fun when we have kids and get them involved in dress up time. Then again, I love Christmas too because of the magical feeling in the air. There is something peaceful and cozy the weeks leading up to Christmas that isn't around any other time of year.

read more from Dollie on her blog: two wooden spoons

check out some of her favorite posts:

or  follow along with:

I'm Christina, the girl behind the scenes here at Route Bliss. I'm a 30-something single wannabe vagabond whose practicality and realist side keeps her planted in East Texas. By weekday I write lots of reports at my job as well as daydream frequently where I want to travel to next, ways to motivate myself to getting fit for health and happiness's sake, and experimenting in the kitchen to make my favorite not so healthy foods healthier. I also like to take lots of photos of pretty things, furry critters (aka canines and felines), and beautiful destinations.

what experience are you grateful to have had this year? I'm not sure I'd call my dad's severe heart attack something I'm "grateful" for, but I am so very very grateful that he survived it thanks to everyone involved in the process being where they needed to be at the right times/places and as well as for the power of prayer from all of my real life & online/blogging friends and family. His heart was only functioning at 35% when he was taken from the ER to the cath lab on August 4th and a couple weeks ago he completed cardio physical therapy.

who or what are you feeling most thankful for? Aside from still having my dad in my life, that I still have a job. I can't elaborate on the interwebs, but sadly a few coworkers got pink slipped in the last couple of weeks.

what is your favorite holiday and why? Thanksgiving. Not only was my younger brother (& only sibling) born on Thanksgiving, it is a time to be so very thankful for what we have and the blessings we've had.

how do you manage traveling during the busy holiday season? I've only traveled once during the holiday season -- prepare and don't wait until the last minute! Make a list of what you'll need so you aren't scrambling at the 11th hour and forgetting a critical item that you may not be able to find at your destination (or might cost far too many pretty pennies).

share a holiday vacation memory. Spending Christmas 2003 in Vienna, Austria -- its a bittersweet memory as my granny passed away on Christmas Eve and I was far away from my family, but my penpal's grandparents welcomed me into their home and gave me plenty of hugs, a meal with a couple items from home, and the famous Sacher Torte as a surprise dessert :)

read more from Christina on her blog: Route Bliss

check out some of her favorite posts:

or follow along with:

ps: if you'd like to join my sidebar and be a part of the writer's block next month, spaces are still available through my sponsorship page!

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