8 Gifts I Received This Holiday That Didn't Cost A Penny

8 Gifts I Received This Holiday That Didn't Cost A Penny

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1. Company of friends and family

Sometimes the best gift is to be surrounded by others, soaking in every moment you have with your loved ones. It doesn't cost a thing to be in the same room as all of your relatives and spend time with them.

2. A full belly

Sure food supplies cost money but a full course meal that took a whole day to be made is priceless. And it's even better when it's shared at a table with the people that you love.

3. Photographs to look back on

As the years go on, and gifts get repeated, you will forget about the socks your great aunt bought you when you were 12; however, you might remeber their bright color in years to come, because of a simple photo that captured the face you made when you unwrapped them. Photographs will always be a priceless joy.

4. Guidance on my future

Relatives are always curious what is going on in your life. Sure it's easy to lie and say, "I'm doing good" when in reality you have no clue what you're doing with your life. For me I like to be completly honest about where I'm at in life, because chances are an aunt, uncle or cousin has been there too at a point, and they are able to give the best advice.


5. Priceless entertainment

Television and Netflix and all that stuff may consume your free time; however, a big family get together can be more entertaining than an episode of "Shameless." Talking about embarrassing things that have happened to you has always been a hilarious conversation at my family get-togethers and always make the night just a little more interesting.

6. Stories to tell my friends

Along with entertainment there's always that one weird uncle who drinks a little more spiked eggnog than nessecary, with this comes great stories to not only put on Snapchat, but to tell your friends and to share at Christmas's in the future.

7. A realization of my priorities

Family has always been an important part of my life; however, at times it's hard to always put them first when school is rough and other things get in the way. Being at home or at your families home with them can truely make you realize what's most important is what's right in front of you. These are the people who care about you the most and who you should show that care back to no matter how hard life gets.

8. Memories I'll never forget

Each year holds its own special story of how what went down and each year holds its own memories. Hold onto these. These are the things you will share with each other the next holiday or moments you share with your future children and grandchildren. Memories are the best gift you may ever receive because you can think of them whenever, without having to worry about where you put them and you can't lose them, and most importantly they are the only gift than can be shared with as many people as you want.

Cover Image Credit: rush country foundation

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.
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Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!

JQ

Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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Your Work Family Is The Next Best Thing To Your Real One

Shoutout to my work family, I'd have another job if it weren't for you.

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Let's admit it, no one ever really likes going to work. I may enjoy my job, but after awhile I start to wish I was in bed watching Dexter with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. The one thing that never fails to get me through a shift, though, is my work family.

If you walk into my work, you know right off the bat we're all like family. In fact, a lot of our staff is actual family. Brothers, sisters, parents, you name it. You're considered "weird" if you aren't related to another person that works here. Even though I'm not related to anyone there (yeah, I'm one of the weird ones), I still feel like I am. Some of them treat me like their daughter, and I know I can go to them for advice just like I would with my own mom.

Honestly, I feel bad for the people who don't work in a family-owned business or don't have the same coworkers for a long period of time. I've been at my job since I was 17, and in that time, we've probably kept 75% of the same staff. I've seen the same faces for the past three and a half years, and others can say they've seen the same faces for over ten years. Not many chain restaurants can say that. Other perks include a slim turn-over rate, stricter hiring criteria and awesome benefits.

But one of the most unique aspects? We truly treat each other like family. We laugh and make fun of one another whenever the situation presents itself. Everyone has a nickname (mine is Sherp in case you were wondering). When it's slow we goof off, but when it's busy, we're all making sure each other is on top of our game. I've seen some of my coworkers at their lowest and highest points, just as they've seen me at mine. I've seen their children grow up, I've seen them fall in love and I've seen them excel in their lives outside of work. We're all pretty comfortable around each other; maybe even too comfortable, depending on who you ask. Sometimes, seeing each other 30-40 hours out of the week isn't enough. We even hangout outside of work, whether we're throwing a beach party, going to a concert or meeting up for breakfast.

My favorite part (and probably everyone else's as well) is that we are all the reason we stay. Serving is serving. There are tons of restaurants in the area that any of us could go to. Except it would never be the same. The reason we have so many regular customers and the same consistent staff is because of the relationships we've built with one another. We're such a tight-knit bunch, and that's rare to see in a lot of other establishments.

Yes, every once in awhile we may get the urge to rip someone's head off, but who doesn't have those thoughts about their blood family? We get over it, just like real family does.


Basically, if you're fortunate enough to work in an open and comfortable atmosphere with some badass coworkers that double as friends, don't take it for granted. Your work family is just as important and necessary as your real one.

Cover Image Credit:

rawpixel

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