Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #30

For this, the final Attitude of Gratitude post, I would just like to spout off a few things.

1. I have loved this little challenge I gave myself. It kept me focused on the holiday and spirit of Thanksgiving rather than getting caught up in the preparations for Christmas in the retail world. Also, it helped me realize all the things I have to be grateful for. I am so blessed and have such a great life.

2. I am going to continue this focus throughout Christmas but in a different way. It amazes me how Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually seen as two separate and distinctly different kinds of holidays when I think it's the opposite. I think Thanksgiving is a good time for us to prepare for the Christmas season. What better way is there to show your gratitude than by serving and giving to those in need? Thanksgiving allows us to focus on the things we have and then Christmas allows us to share our blessings with others. What a beautiful relationship these two holidays share! 

3. Now I would like to just share some other things I'm incredibly grateful for:

My Family
My Friends
My Faith
My Job
A Warm Bed
A Full Stomach
A Car
A Closet that is too Full
A Cell Phone
Entertainment and things that make me laugh
Having a life that allows me to laugh
A Healthy Body
Electricity, Running Water, Indoor Plumbing
Having things that I can take for Granted
My Uniqueness
My Talents
Good Music
Having an Opinion
Being allowed to share my opinion
My Country
Beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets
Full Night's Sleep
Dreams Both in and Out of Sleep

4. Thank you for tuning in.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #29

 Today I'm grateful for:
A Voice
It's one of those things you don't realize how grateful you are you have it until you've lost it. The past few days I could feel something coming on and this morning it hit me. I opened my mouth to speak and it came out raspy and squeaky. Oh great. My throat isn't sore so that is a blessing but work was great talking to customers and getting strange looks. Reminds me of a few years ago when I went to a Terri Clark concert and had lost my voice that day so I couldn't yell or sing along. Rude. 
Funny Text Notification Sounds
I just got a new notification sound on my phone for when I get a text. It's from the movie Despicable Me when Gru wins a big fluffy unicorn for Agnes who then screams "It's so FLUFFY I'm gonna die!" My niece loves it when it goes off and I just giggle when it goes. I went to a store meeting tonight and forgot to silence my phone and it went off in the middle of the meeting. It was quite humorous. 
Christmas Decorations
I'm finally feeling in the Christmas spirit. Gigi and I put up the Christmas tree and Mom and I started putting up all the other stuff. It's going to take a couple days to finish but I'm excited. Kinda want to do things a little different this year but we'll see. Yay for Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #28

Oil Changes
Phoebe feels better now. Today she got an oil change and her registration has been updated with new plates and everything. She's like a new car and her daddy has been spoiling her a lot lately. 
Always so refreshing to get a new haircut. I'm back to my natural dark hair and it shocks me every time I look in the mirror. I didn't realize how much I'd gotten used to the lighter hair. 
Catching up with Friends
I was really productive today. One of the good things about today was going to lunch with one of my best friends, Mike. This is really the latest picture of him and me at his wedding earlier this year. It was good to catch up with him even if it was just for an hour or so.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #27

Today I'm grateful for:

Warm Blankets
I was freezing all morning from the moment I got out of bed to the moment I got home. Still not sure what my problem was, but I snuggled under my blankets in my bed and warmed right up and took a nap. It was sheer bliss. 
I just helped my parents figure out how to put music on their new phones, and then I put some on mine. Just made me realize how awesome technology is and the day-and-age we live in that allows us to do some pretty dang cool things. 
Alka Seltzer
I'm feeling a cold coming on so I took some Alka Seltzer tonight. Maybe it's just a mental thing but the taste of this stuff alone makes me feel better. Wipe that disgusted look off your face. I love this stuff and it works!

Attitude of Gratitude #26

My New Love: The Beretta 9mm
I got to shoot a couple handguns for my first time ever today. It was so much fun. My absolute favorite was the Beretta 9mm. It fit like a glove. We also shot an AR15 which was awesome too. I wouldn't mind having a Beretta someday. Nope, sure wouldn't mind it at all. 
The Courtneys
Anna and Alan Courtney are two of the coolest people I know. They are such giving, loving, accepting, and amazing people. They took us out shooting today and it was a blast.
Law & Order: SVU
My all-time favorite Law & Order show because they never fail to deliver. I was worried with Detective Stabler leaving the show that they would run out of steam but I've been proven wrong. The writing is still really good. Olivia Benson is still there and still kicks butt. The new detectives are actually likable. I was worried that they'd be annoying or not as good as Benson and Stabler, but I think they're awesome. So far. I got caught up on this season tonight which is why I'm grateful for the show today. I love that it has been around so long and I hope it lasts a lot longer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #25

Today I am grateful for:

Black Friday
I hate the idea of Black Friday. It just seems so commercial and greedy and everything to me. Great deals, yes. Smart to shop those deals? Yes. But I think it shows the worst in people. That being said I'm also grateful for it. This year's Black Friday at Deseret Book was fun and I wasn't even there in the morning for it. We were busy all day which gives me hope for the rest of the season. We were worried because it wasn't picking up at all like it used to. Today we ended with a $25,000 day which is huge for my little store. Yay!
For being a kick-ass cell phone company. For giving my mom a good deal on two new phones today. For making me new phone hungry (is that the single guy's version of baby hungry?) today (Ughhh! I so want the Droid Razr and whatever that one was called that plays music amazingly). They're the only ones I've ever used and I've never had a single issue with them. It's been six years! Woot!
Ginger Snaps
Karly's mom brought these in to work today and I ate a bunch of them and could not stop. Oh how I love you but hate you at the same time!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

THANKSGIVING! (Attitude of Gratitude #24)

Today I'm grateful for three wonderful things:

I should probably explain this photo. Kira's new job that she wants is to be tackle practice for the NFL only she does the tackling. So she was demonstrating with Seth. Ah...Good times!
Yes, Seth is bench-pressing Kira. Pretty stellar!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #23

I've been discovering some great new bands lately. One of them is Fun. They have a great, unique sound that I'm super addicted to and is! 
Karly LaOrange 
For introducing me to fun. and for being such a crazy, awesome coworker. And for not giving up on me in the whole marriage department. (If she mentions Maddie Case one more time...)
Kelli McButtars
For having such a fantastically awesome life through I can live vicariously. For laughing at my dumb Irish-Indian accent. For keeping me posted on her ever-evolving love life. For playing Words with Friends with me and always kicking my trash (really...thanks for that...I love being humbled...). For being my personal editor on my book (she suffered through my attempt at a vampire book...poor girl...). And for our lunch dates whenever I'm in Utah or she's here in Idaho. Basically for being the awesome redhead that she is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #22

Hannah Falannah
Aristotle said that "Friendship is one soul dwelling in two bodies"  and I'm thoroughly convinced this is true. I have a few people in my life who I am close to and who I feel like we share a part of each other's souls. Hannah is one of those people. I got to work with her most of my shift today and it was awesome. Time was a blur and work was actually fun. Go figure!

Oh how I love my dog! I really don't know what I would do without him. As annoying as he can be sometimes, he is always there and never judges. He could care less what you did last summer; he will still cuddle up with you at the end of the day. 
I am so grateful for talents. Not just the ones I possess, but also those of other people around me. And I'm also grateful for the ability to develop my talents and to attain new ones.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #21

Today I'm grateful for:

Getting Some Christmas Shopping Done
I got my little sister and my nephews all done for Christmas! Yay! Is it hypocritical of me to do Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving when I made such a big deal about skipping Thanksgiving? Oh well. 
Gigi got a LalaLoopsy doll and a change of clothes and a Play-Do thing. 
The bitty boys got some Toy Story toys. 
She has released a new album even though it hasn't been that long since her last one came out. She's a favorite of mine and I got to listen to the tracks from Talk that Talk and it's good stuff! 
Ham Sandwiches
I got home from work and I was an hungered so I fixed a ham sandwich. Food just always tastes 1000x better when you're hungry. It hit all the right spots for sure!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #20

Today I'm thankful for:

Shirts that Fit
A few years ago I bought two shirts from Kohl's that were a little on the snug side. I really don't know what my thinking was. Part of it was probably denial that I was getting big. Maybe I thought I would get down enough to fit into them. Or maybe I liked that they were tight and showed off my "muscles." Well...I didn't really wear them all that much because instead of getting fitter, leaner, and smaller, I started getting bigger. We've had this discussion before. Well, I saw one of the shirts in my closet today and decided I would see if it fit. Lo and behold! It fit! Perfectly! And I now have the muscles that I wanted to be able to show off in that shirt. Woohoo!
I started reading Ally Condie's book Matched which is a dystopian/totalitarian (all the rage right now thanks to Hunger Games) society that pretty much tells you how your life is going to be lived. The whole premise is based on being matched to who you will have to marry. The Society links you with someone your most compatible with, tells you what job you get for life, and even tells you when you're going to die. I would go crazy, and I'm kinda going crazy reading it which, I guess, is kinda the point. Reading this book, even though I'm not that far into it, has made me realize how grateful I am for the freedoms I have and that I take for granted. Some societies out there act a little like the one in Condie's book (not to the extreme) and I'm grateful I have the choice of what to do with my life, who I can be with, and how I'm going to do everything. Oh how I love America! Even when our economy is in the dumps like it is right now it's still a pretty awesome place to live. 
I love how music can change emotions, heal, bring joy, calm us down, and give us a form of expression when words fail us. I have heard that "We sing because we have no more words; we dance because we cannot move." That just means that these artistic expressions allow us to convey things that words and motions can no longer do justice to. I love music in most of its forms and I'm grateful for its power in my life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Before I Fall

Rating: 5 out of 5 Last Kisses
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. (From

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. Lauren Oliver delivered with Delirium which was one of my favorite books this year, but the synopsis of Before I Fall seemed like there wasn't much to be done with it. And with the length of the book I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. Much to my surprise, Oliver got me hooked right from the get-go.

Oliver writes beautifully and voraciously. I wish I had an ounce of her skill with imagery. She manages to build characters little by little. A master of show-don't-tell, Lauren Oliver's book is a study in relationships and the human experience. At first you find yourself hating the protagonist. Samantha Kingston is a brat. She demeans her peers just to be accepted by her best friends. Oliver has certainly caught the flavor of high school life with all its cliques and hoops and idiosyncrasies. At times, it does have a little cliche to it: the popular girl dating the most popular jock. However, Oliver uses her somewhat crazy storyline and her bratty protagonist to bust through those cliches until you are left with a story that is a breath of fresh air. 

I think my favorite part about this book is the message it leaves behind. The fact that this is YA fiction makes me cheer because our young people need to learn this lesson! I found that the book left me haunted by the questions it forced me to ask myself, such as: Am I a good person? What would I do if today were my last day? If it isn't all about me, then who is it about? What will people say about me when I die?

We are left with a glimmer of hope at the end. Hope that Sam Kingston made a difference and that we, too, can start today and change things in our own lives. It's amazing how books can come along and apply to exactly what you are going through during that time. Maybe that is why I soaked this one in like a sponge; I've been needing to learn what Sam Kingston's story needed to teach me. 

By the end I love Sam Kingston, and I was rooting for her to make the necessary changes. The story keeps you guessing all throughout which just shows there is a master at work behind the pages. I won't spoil the ending for you. Instead you should go out and read this book. Your life will be all the better for it.

Attitude of Gratitude #17-#19

To catch up I'm just going to do one for each day (Thurs through Sat). Cheating, you say? No one asked you. Besides, this is my project. I do what I want.

Thursday November 17:

I had a not-so-good night at work on Thursday. So on the way home from work I blasted Chevelle. They are great for workouts, bad nights, and some catharsis. Don't get me wrong, I love chill music, but sometimes it's nice to rock it out. Their new album is expected December 6th and I'm dying to hear it!
Friday November 18:

I tried Yoga on P90X for the first time yesterday. Let me tell you: I was dripping with sweat and I have been really sore today. It was such a great workout! I'm sad it's taken me this long to discover it. Thing is: It felt like an experience rather than a workout. It was all new to me and I struggled, but I loved it and I felt more centered and calmed afterward. I'm a huge yoga fan now!

Today I'm grateful for:

Oh, how I love oranges this time of year. They may just be the highlight of November/December for me. Maybe it's from my time spent in Florida. I just have a soft spot for this fruit. yummy! Not only do they boost your immune system, but they are also tasty this time of year. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for creating such delicious morsels of citrus-y goodness!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #16

Ok, now I'm caught up to today. I'm grateful for:

This season hasn't really been my favorite because the plot seems to be trying a little too hard, but the last couple episodes have been game changers. I am always a Gleek (I have been a fan since the pilot episode...the first time it aired before Glee was a blip on the radar...yeah...) and tonight I watched it and the music was vastly better this episode than it has been all season. The Adele mash-up at the end was my absolute favorite. 
Cafe Rio
Always reliable for a good meal, Cafe Rio never disappoints. Oh, how I love your sweet pork barbacoa, Cafe Rio. Thank you. Thank you. 
When I was living in Rexburg with one of my best friends, we started what we called Man Home Evening, a spinoff from Family Home Evening which is a night set aside to spend time with your family. Man Home Evening is a night set aside to spend with your best guy friends. Tonight I had MHE with Adam who was a roommate and coworker and is a good friend of mine now. It was good to catch up with him and just hang out for a bit.

Attitude of Gratitude #15

Yesterday I was grateful for:

Prime Suspect 
Such a good show! And the episode I watched last night was particularly intense. Enough said. 

It's sort of a Taylor thing, but we call pancakes Panaloonycakes. My mom puts an egg or two sandwiched between two pancakes so that makes it more than just normal pancakes. And when it's waffles that we do it with we call them Awful Waffles. We're weird. 
Running Shoes
I got new running shoes about a month or two ago and they rock. I pretty much do everything exercise-like ever since. Every time I wear them I feel great and realize how grateful I am for good shoes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #14

Today I am especially grateful for:

A Clean Room
I'm a clean freak. Sometimes you wouldn't know it by looking at my room. I think better when things are orderly, organized and cleaned up. I find that I get frustrated more easily when the bed isn't made and there's stuff strewn along the floor. However, I get lazy and so I have to clean my room often. It's always a breath of fresh air when I do it and I feel like I have a nice little haven of organization and cleanliness to which I can escape. Today, I cleaned my room and bathroom and it feels great!
Wisdom of Kira 
I told myself that one of the rules for this attitude of gratitude thing I'm doing is that I can't repeat. Kira is a huge part and influence in my life, and I simply adore her. She has been especially helpful to me today. I usually give her crap and post the stupid things she says to me on Facebook because she's funny without even knowing it sometimes. Today, however, she has had some serious gems of wisdom, and they have helped me see some things differently. So thank you, Wisdom of Kira, for being so reliable and awesome whether it's serious stuff or just silly, dumb things. 
I guess I'm waxing philosophical today. Just been thinking a lot about love and relationships and everything in between. Kira's wisdom had a role in this too. She sent me a quote:
"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is war; love is a growing up." ---James A. Baldwin
Sometimes love means letting go of someone. Sometimes love means hanging on despite all odds. Love and who you love is between you, the person you love, and God. As we grow up and change, mature and experience life, we either drift closer to or farther apart from those we care about. That's life. Things change. I'm having to accept that love is something you have to be willing to fight for, but you can't be the only one fighting. So, today I am grateful for love.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #13

Today, I'm grateful for:

A Good Book
It has been a long time since I've read a book that I couldn't put down and anticipated when I could pick it up again. Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is a breath of fresh air. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed T. Greenwood's Undressing the Moon and I really couldn't put that one down either. Before these two books, I was going through a drought it seemed. Yes, I liked the books I read (sorta), but they weren't anything that really captured me. So today I found myself picking up this book every chance I got. Just like the old days. I love that feeling of being so swept away by a book. I've read Lauren Oliver before. Her Delirium book is a fascinating read as well. She's a gifted writer, and I look forward to more from her. She just released a middle grade reader novel called Liesl and Po that I want to read. So here's me showing gratitude for a good book. Not just Oliver's book, but any good book that is out there and can take me away from reality for awhile. 
Gigi & The Bitty Boys
Such cute kids! Oh, how I love them, and Oh, how they love me. I have a lot of fun with them even though, sometimes, it is taxing to watch them. They are all just little balls of energy and I feel so old when I'm around them at times. Here they are on Halloween of this year, holding still for once.  Still not sure how we performed that miracle.
Random Texts
I got a couple random texts today. One was not-so-good and unwanted, the other was very welcome. I love getting random texts from people because it means they thought of me and wanted to catch up (usually). I heard from an old friend today and it was nice to text with him for a bit. Yay for random texts and the beauty of technology!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude #12

On this the twelfth day of November in the two thousand and eleventh year of our Lord, I, Jake Taylor, am tremendously grateful for:

Cinnamon Rolls
I woke up early this morning and went to a store meeting. One miracle of the day was that I was the first one there. That's been a rarity for me. You wouldn't know by my actions of late, but I hate being tardy. At the meeting we had delicious cinnamon rolls that pretty much made my morning awesome. 
Hettie and her Intense Zumba Workout
After the store meeting I helped my sister move some things at her house then I went across town to a master class with Hettie Hansen, a Zumba instructor from Utah. She had some insane energy, and it was an hour and a half long class. I was sweaty and beat by the time it was over, but it was so worth it!
To me, compliments are like verbal hugs. I love giving and receiving compliments (for the most part...sometimes I feel weird taking compliments mostly because I'm never sure what to say back). Today was a verbal hug day for me. I was told at the store meeting that I was a "master imprinter." Hannah came in to work today and told me I always look sharp. Jodi, my Zumba instructor and friend, looked at me while we were at Hettie's class and said "You are good!" She can never see me doing the Zumba because, at her studio, all the lights are out so she can only see the front row. And, while I was moving stuff for Kate, she had this tool box she wanted moved but she wanted to make it less heavy and take the tools and drawers out of it. I was running out of time, and I wasn't sure when I would be able to be back to help her again so I hefted it. It wasn't heavy at all. My sister was surprised I could carry it that easily, so I took that as a compliment.

It is time for me to go to bed. Either I write a really boring blog or I've had an eventful day that needs to end with some wonderful sleep  time.