Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving is a beautiful time. We are given a designated day to express gratitude and reflect upon the many blessings we have been given. I am grateful for my family, friends, and of course, my dedicated readers! Be sure to stop and give thanks today for what you have in life and celebrate being with those around you.

From my family to yours, a very happy Thanksgiving! And eat everything you want, because after all, this day only comes once a year.

xoxo,

Megan

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Yummy Hot Fudge Sauce

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While the weather may be cooling down, I’m still thinking about cold foods, like ice cream! This past weekend, I made this delicious hot fudge sauce for my friends and family. Everyone loved it, so I thought I would share the recipe with you! The yummy hot fudge sauce makes a great topping that’s not just for ice cream and is a great present (hint, hint)!

Ingredients:

1 pinch Salt

1 (6 oz.) bag Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

1/4 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp. Butter

1/2 cup Half & Half

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until ingredients are melted and hot.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Megan

Rules for…Well, Me

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Last week on Facebook, I noticed mothers giving their daughters a set of rules. This list included 36 pieces of advice for the daughters to use in life. As I skimmed through the tips, I thought about the importance of these encouragements and how everyone needs to hear them. Below are a few words of advice that now serve as rules for…well, me.

1. Make your bed every day; even if it’s right before you get in it.
2. Don’t wear holey underwear in case you’re in an accident and they cut your clothes off.
3. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
4. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
5. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
6. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.
7. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
8. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
9. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
10. Never lie to yourself.
11. Your body, your rules.
12. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
13. Practice your passions.
14. Ask for what you want. The worse thing they can say is no.
15. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.
16. Don’t skimp on good sheets.
17. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.
18. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
19. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.
20. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
21. Question everything except your own intuition.
22. You have enough. You are enough.
23. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.
24. No matter where you are, you can always go home.
25. Be happy, say your prayers and remember your roots.
26. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

xoxo,

Megan

Always Choose Kindness

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Today is World Kindness Day – a day meant to promote the random acts of kindness people do for others. But, why does this have to happen for only one day? Shouldn’t World Kindness Day be celebrated 365 days a year?

I’m currently reading the book Wonder (if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it!). In the book, the main character’s English teacher gives his students’ precepts. His first one is “when faced with the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” How cool is that? Always choose the option to be kind no matter what. A helping hand is one of the best things you can give a fellow human being.

I challenge each of you to live out World Kindness Day all year long and complete random acts of kindness whenever you feel like it. Need some ideas to get start? Take a look below:

  • Leave money on a vending machine for someone or unused coupons on store shelves
  • Volunteer at your favorite nonprofit
  • Pay for someone’s meal, groceries, tickets, etc.
  • Run an errand for an older neighbor
  • Reconnect with old friends
  • Send coloring books to sick children in the hospital
  • Write cards to senior citizens in a nursing home
  • Plant a tree at the local park
  • Insert coins into someone’s expired parking meter
  • Find opportunities to give compliments

These are just some of the many kindness ideas. Let’s spread the challenge and make the world a kinder place! Share your random act of kindness with me on Twitter using the hashtag #365actsofkindness.

Wonder where we’ll be on November 13, 2018?

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana 

xoxo,

Megan

Operation: Remembering Veterans

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The month of November holds several important days, such as Thanksgiving, Election Day, and one of the most important—Veterans Day. This day, observed on November 11th, is set aside to honor the military men and women who fought for our country.

Originally called Armistice Day, the holiday was created on November 11th, 1919, to commemorate the first anniversary of the end of World War I. (The war ended in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.) In 1938, the day was established as a federal holiday and almost twenty years later, in 1954, President Eisenhower changed the day’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Every year, numerous events are held throughout the United States to remember our veterans. Gather up your family and friends and choose one of these ideas to salute our heroes this Veterans Day..

  • Capture a veteran’s story: Sit down and listen to a veteran’s story about their life and military experience. Take it one step farther and create a scrapbook for the veteran and their family with their story and pictures. Also, you can get their story put into the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. This project was started by Congress in 2000 and collects first-hand accounts from veterans from World War II up to the Iraq War.
  • Write thank-you notes: Get a group together and write thank-you notes for veterans in the VA hospital or at local nursing homes. The closest VA hospital is the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury.
  • Contribute to the Honor Flight Network: This program flies veterans throughout the United States to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials. Regional airport hubs are available and families or friends can submit a veteran’s information to attend a trip. There are also opportunities for you to donate, sponsor and volunteer with the Honor Flight Network.
  • Donate new or pre-owned DVDs to veterans: The organization, DVDs4Vets, allows people a chance to give DVDs two ways: you can send your donations to your local VA hospital or mail them to the DVDs4Vets organization in New York. Portable DVD players are also accepted.
  • Bake desserts or call veterans you know: Send a sweet treat to a veteran in your family or to a veteran you know. In addition, give them a call and let them know you are thinking about them.
  • Sew a blanket, scarf or hat: This is a great idea for those who are crafty or love to knit or crochet. Through Operation Gratitude, you can help create a care package for a veteran. Within the care package, you can include a hand-made scarf, hat, or blanket, in addition to several other things that can be collected and donated to the organization, such as candy, cookies and letters.
  • Send a holiday card: The holiday season is just around the corner from Veterans’ Day. Remember veterans, active military members, and their families by sending them a holiday card through the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes. Contact your area Red Cross to find out times for card sorting and delivery. This is a great idea for large groups.
  • Collect coupons for military families: Send your expired or unused coupons to military bases throughout the country and overseas through the Support Our Troops organization’s Troopons program.
  • Volunteer at the local American Legion or VFW Organization: Spend some time in giving back to veterans through volunteering with non-profit organizations that work with veterans. Volunteer activities could include placing American flags on veterans’ graves, building homes, or preparing special lunches for them. Contact your local American Legion, VFW organization, or Department of Veteran Affairs to get involved.

For more information on these suggestions, visit each organization’s websites.

Take the time this Veterans Day to remember those who fought for your country. Honor the veterans you know and the ones you don’t know, not just on November 11th, but every day of the year. A simple token of appreciation can go a long way.

xoxo,

Megan

Article originally published for Forsyth Family Magazine. 

The Veterans History Project

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Every year on Veterans Day, people think about different ways to honor veterans. Some options are tributes and parades, but one of my favorites is listening to a veteran’s military story. You can take it a step further and record their experience for themselves, their family, and future generations to keep. You could put their story in a frame or scrapbook to preserve it. But with permission from the veteran, why not share their experience with others, including the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress?

The Veterans History Project (VHP) is part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and was created in 2000 by the United States Congress after legislation supported by representatives of the House and senators was passed. The legislation was then signed into law on October 27th, 2000, by President Bill Clinton. The purpose of the project is to collect and preserve military experiences while allowing future generations a chance to see into the realities of military life. VHP consists of firsthand stories in audio- and video-recorded interviews, memoirs, original photographs, letters, diaries, maps, and other historical documents. These stories are from veterans who served in World War I up to the present and are no longer serving. All branches of the military are welcome. Civilians who have also served the United States during wartime in a professional career are invited to participate. All of the stories in the project are contributed with the help of volunteers and organizations. VHP is perfect for families and friends to complete together. Boy and Girl Scout troops, as well as youth organizations are encouraged to participate.

One of the main purposes of the Veterans History Project is to provide history for the general public. People can access an online database on their website for research. The collection can be used for genealogy projects, documentaries, academic papers, and personal interests. Within the database, you can find biographical information on a veteran, as well as some digitalized collections. The biographical information contains the veteran’s name, the state of birth, and service history. Also, the Library of Congress includes some collections in their exhibits and presentations.

Want to participate and add your favorite veteran to VHP? First, start with reading the VHP Field Kit on the website. Within this kit, you will find an introduction to the project and information on how to participate. Also, a 15-minute long companion video to the field kit is available. Both of these packets help to prepare you for submitting veterans’ information and the guidelines to follow. Lastly, the field kit includes forms that must be submitted with the veteran’s materials. Once you and the veteran have gathered the information, send it to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. There is no deadline for sending in information, since VHP is a continuing project. In addition to the collections, the project can be supported through donations from education and outreach efforts. Allow for four to six months for the record to be processed online.

Some tips to remember when submitting are: the “30-20-10 rule,” which states that 30 minutes is the minimum length for recorded interviews; 20 pages is the minimum for diaries, journals, and memoirs; and 10 is the minimum number of original photographs, maps, and letters, and is the minimum page limit for military documents. Materials sent in must be the originals and unedited recordings. Information can also be submitted electronically through DVDs and CDs and sent to the Library of Congress via ground shipping through UPS or FedEx. Lastly, Spanish and English field kits are available.

The Veterans History Project is a great way to remember your special veteran. This collection preserves his or her military experience on a national level, and people throughout the world can read about their heroic sacrifices to the United States during wartime. Through the help of this project, more veterans’ military experiences are being preserved and kept for future generations to learn about. Just one of the many ways we can say “thank-you” to those who served our country.

For more information, visit the Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/vets. 

xoxo,

Megan

Article originally published in Forsyth Family Magazine. 

The Meaning of Veterans Day

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Every year on November 11th, we commemorate Veterans’ Day and those who have served in the military. There are tributes, thank-you’s, and parades. With all the memories, respect, and honor associated with the day, it is important to remember the history and meaning of Veterans’ Day.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, or the Great War. Originally referred to as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was initially created as the anniversary of the end of World War I. In November 1918, President Woodrow Wilson announced that November 11th would be known as Armistice Day. Although the war didn’t officially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919, November 11th will always be known as the end. The day was filled with parades and tributes, while at 11 a.m. a moment of silence was observed.

November 11th was further recognized as Armistice Day in 1921, when an unidentified American soldier, killed in World War I, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Also, on the same day, unidentified soldiers were laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Five years later, on June 4th, 1926, Congress passed a resolution stating the “recurring anniversary on November 11th, 1918, should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” Along with the observance, the president would issue an annual address for the day. On May 13th, 1938, an act declared Armistice Day an official legal federal holiday. Up until then, the day was commemorated in observance, but now November 11th was a legal holiday.

The name change from Armistice to Veterans’ Day came under President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 1st, 1954. Due to the efforts of American soldiers in World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act, changing Armistice to Veterans’ Day. Since then, the date has become a day to honor all veterans from all wars.

Veterans’ Day is celebrated throughout the world. Here in the in the United States, November 11th is observed with tributes and parades. At Arlington National Cemetery, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Many people will wear red poppies on the day, as well. The red poppy is a symbol of World War I and first appeared in the poem “In Flanders’ Fields” by John McCrae. Poppies are usually worn in the lapel as a tribute and sold to raise money for veterans’ organizations. Also, the poppies are a symbol for Memorial Day.

The meaning of Veterans’ Day and that of Memorial Day are often confused, and this is a common misunderstanding. Veterans’ Day is to honor all the living and nonliving military members, while Memorial Day is dedicated to honoring service members who have died in service to our country or from injuries resulting from battle.

There are many ways to get your family and friends involved in remembering veterans on November 11th. Some include volunteering with a veterans’ organization, attending a parade, writing letters to veterans at the Veterans’ Hospital or flying an American flag in your yard year-round. Also, take the time to listen to a veteran’s story about his or her military experience. These are pieces of history that often get lost.

Remember the veterans you know on November 11th and every day of the year. A simple “thank-you” for their service can go a long way. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ President John F. Kennedy.

xoxo,

Megan

Originally published in Forsyth Woman Magazine.