Saturday, December 29, 2012

Today I turned 26.  My husband told me today I am old; I kindly reminded him I will never be as old as he is.  And let's be honest, 26 is not old, he just likes to make a big deal that I'm closer to 30 than 20 because he thinks it will freak me out or something.  Anyway, I have been thinking of my birthday thankful list for a few weeks, so here I go:

1.  My relationship with the Lord; He is always constant, never fails, and always gives me what I need right when I need it.  He has been faithful this year is so many ways.
2.  My Husband; I have fallen more in love with him this year as we have started our family and we have had to learn to work together on a completely different level.  He is the best daddy, he loves me unconditionally, he willingly helps me out around the house, he is a phenomenal cook, he laughs at my jokes, he is a spiritual leader, he is a hard worker, and so much more. 
3.  Eliana Joy; God truly did answer with joy when he gave me her.  Although she has been one of the most difficult babies I have ever known in my entire life, she is the sweetest thing.  Her smile melts my heart and her laugh makes me well up with joy.  Snuggling with her is one of my favorite things, and reading to her is equally as fun.  My days are far happier with her in them.
4.  My mom; she has willingly sacrificed so much to help care for Eliana.  She is offers a listening ear whenever I need it (even at 2 a.m. to complain that my child does not sleep), she encourages me, she also laughs at my jokes, she set an amazing example for me as to how to be a mom, she hangs out with me, she loves being a grandma, and so much more...
5.  My dad; he has sacrifice time with his wife to allow her to care for Eliana.  He makes me laugh, he makes sure our house is in working order, he picks things up in town when I need them, he checks to make sure I am doing ok, he loves being a grandpa, he, too, laughs at my jokes, he loves being a grandpa he sets an amazing example of what it means to be a fool for Christ, and so much more
6.  My sister and niece; I just love them.  My sister gets me and we share so many memories together, and my niece is just the sweetest thing you'll ever meet. 
7.  A good relationship with the in-laws; my husband and I have talked multiple times this year about how thankful we are that we get along with both sides of the family.  It makes things so much easier.
8.  To have been able to stay home with Eliana since she was born; God has been so faithful in providing, and I know I will never get these months back.  I cherish them with ever fiber of my being.
9.  To almost be done with my MSW program; I start my internship in less than 2 weeks, and while I may not be excited about leaving Eliana, I am thankful to almost be done and that I am doing my internship 15 minutes from my house instead of 35 and that I got to set my hours.
10.  My friends; God, again, has been so faithful this year with the friendships He has allowed me to make and keep.  There have been so many difficult days with a seemingly impossible baby and I have a couple friends who just "get it" because they've been there.  It's so encouraging to know there is hope.  And then there are other friends who don't have babies but love Eliana so well and still love me well even though my days and time is consumed with caring for her.
11.  Community Bible Experience; for lack of a better word, small groups, from our church read through the New Testament in an 8 week time frame; I loved it because it not only gave me a focus for reading the Bible, but going to group each week taught me more about the scripture and made me hunger for more of God's word.
12.  Living in close proxemity to my parents; some people may say that 5 minutes away from your parents is too close.  I simply love it.  It has been so nice since having Eliana to be able to run over there with her really fast if I need something, for someone to run home if I forget something, or for my mom to run over here if I need her to look at a mysterious rash on Eliana's body.
13.  Our Pediatrician; might seem kind of crazy to be thankful for that, but I am.  I have just been genuinely impressed with her; she personally has called me back every time I have called the doctor except for one time, she looked out for Eliana's best interest even though she kept her in the NICU longer than what I thought was necessary, and she took concern when she saw how Eliana was acting as an infant before we got her reflux/colic situation figured out.
14.  Volleyball; helping coach this year again not only allowed me to build my friendship with one of my best friends, but it also allowed me to invest in the girls' lives.  I love them all to pieces, and it is a privilege to coach girls who have character
15.  My job at FBS; working as a Family Behavioral Specialist for nearly 3 years has left a lasting impact on my heart.  I miss my clients on a daily basis, and I am thankful that I was able to invest in their lives and do what I did for as long as I did.  I am also thankful for the stories that I will forever have from them.
16.  My experiences in India; while I have not been since before I got married, I forever treasure my time there.  Not only did I meet some of the most precious individuals ever, but God shaped my heart for the nations there.  He taught me so much about who He is and what His desires are there as well, and I am forever changed because of it.
17.  The ability to dream for the future; from what our next house will look like, to how many children we will have, from what job I will land after my MSW, to whether or not we will move oveseas
18.  Couponing/Saving money; while I have always been frugal (some say a tight wad) I have learned to appreciate using coupons and price match and am thankful for the opporutnity to save a little money and have fun doing it!
19.  Facebook/Cell phone; keeping in touch with people is such a privilege.  I think we take it forgranted and abuse the way it has evolved by being too addicted.  I don't want to ever depend on it, but I am thankful that I have it as a means to say hi to those I love and to show those who live far away pictures of Eliana.
20.  That my dream of becoming a mom has come true; this really goes hand in hand with Eliana, but seriously, I have wanted to be a mom my entire life, and I love it.  Sure, it gets hard, especially with a child who doesn't sleep, but what a gift it is to be entrusted to raise her.
21.  A clean house; this always makes me feel so accomplished and satisfied.  I'm not sure why, but it does.  And I probably appreciate it more this year because it doesn't happen often with a baby and grad school
22.  IWU; I LOVED college, LOVED it.  And I feel like the four years I was there I learned so much about myself and loving others; I would not be who I am today without it.  And honestly, I am sure it has more to do with the people I met while I was there, but either way, I am thankful.
23.  Our Church; I love going to church on Sunday.  I just do...I might love it at another church, but I am thankful this is where God has us now and for the relationships we have built and for the freedom we have to even go to church to worship our Lord and Savior.
24.  Merom; the 17 or so years I went to church camp with my family are some of the best memories ever.  The relationships I built there I truly believe are eternal, and I am forever grateful for the time I was there and the ways God used that to shape me into who I am.
25.  A sense of humor; I seriously would not have made it this year without a sense of humor.  My motto a lot of days has been laugh so you don't cry. 
26.  For another year to bring honor to God, be with my family, watch Eliana grow, follow where the Lord leads, make memories and love others.

I am seriously so blessed...
Happy 26th birthday to me. 

Also, I rescued a cat from the barn below our house today.  I am thankful for that too...we will see if it sticks around. :)