8 - Friendship
Sometimes I feel excessively blessed with friends. I am grateful for each and every one of these friends and the wonderful treasures that each one brings to my life. There are a few special ones who have truly encouraged and supported me with their unconditional love. These friends have become more like family than friends and their presence in my life is worth far more than I could ever hope to express. These are the ones who I feel secure enough to be vulnerable with, the ones who can read my heart, the ones who see who I really am and love me dearly. And I am incredibly grateful and blessed to have them.
9 - Home
While I am very thankful that we own a home and all the benefits that come along with that, in this case I am thanking God for the wonder of a relaxing in the comfort of home. We love to have company over and frequently invite friends and family into our home. But, we just as much love to have a night in all to ourselves. And I personally love the nights I have to myself when Josh has to work. I love the comfy, cozy feel of our home - our recliners, the kid's artwork gallery on the living room wall, the love seat in the dining room under the one ceiling fan, family and friend photos covering the walls of the hall and stairway, our super comfortable and lovely bed, etc. It is lovely to be at home especially on a rainy cold day - we like to have the windows open, the door open with the screen closed, wrapped up in warm blankets with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book to read - heavenly! We have a tradition we call Pajama Day when we stay in, wear our pajamas, eat yummy food, and watch TV, play games, read or nap all day long. It's so wonderful to be home together, doing "nothing" - you should do it too!
10 - Family
I am so thankful for my family. I have wonderful parents who have been such a daily example of what it means to love God, love people and have faith, even in (actually especially in) times of trouble. They make me laugh, they love me unconditionally, they are always available to listen and give advice or assistance, and they are the BEST parents in the world! I am thankful for my grandparents, my aunts and uncles and all of my cousins. I don't get to see all of them as often as we might like, but I know they are there and that they love me and that means the world. I am thankful for my in-laws - for their love and support and for all our wonderful nieces and nephews! I am thankful for the friends who have become family - the Palmer family, the Watties family, our Beloved Duncan/Bekkedahl/O'Brien family and many others. You are all truly a gift and I am so thankful. “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” ~ Philippians 1:3-4
11 - Reading
Oh, how I love books!!! Books make me so happy and I'm thankful that every day in one way or another I get to be around books. Reading is such a wonderful pleasure and I'm so grateful for parents who love reading and shared that love with me and my sister. I'm thankful for my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Overholt who taught me to read and allowed me the ability to come home and teach my 3-year old sister how to read. I am thankful that my Dad took my sister & I to the library every other Saturday so that we could borrow books and we often came home with the maximum of 20 books which caused us to arise extra early on Sunday mornings to start reading our new books! I am thankful to have a husband who enjoys reading as much as I do. I am incredibly blessed and grateful to work in a library where I get to be surrounded by books and have access to new and exciting books to read. I'm thankful for libraries, bookstores, Amazon.com, my aunt Annette who frequently send boxes of books to share, friends who loan me books, and any and all ways I can get my hands on a new treasure to read. I'm thankful for the things I've learned through books - new ideas, the ability to have empathy for others, fascinating adventures to places I might hope to visit or never want to go but am still glad to read about, wonderful characters, treasured stories and wise truths about life and love and friends and God. Reading is a pleasure and a gift that I am soooooo thankful for!
12 - My husband Joshua
My husband is such a blessing to me and I am thankful every day for him. I'm thankful to Match.com and the way he was brought into my life (...although I definitely know it was actually God using Match.com). I am thankful for his humor and silliness, his ease in interacting with all people, his amazing hugs and even better kisses. I love the way he takes care of me when I'm sick - making sure I have what I need, reading to me to help me fall asleep, rubbing my feet or legs or stomach when they hurt, and just making me feel taken care of and loved. I love his joy for his many interests and the way his eyes crinkle when he's really happy and smiling. I am thankful to have a husband who loves me, listens to me, supports me and encourages me. He is a gift that I am thankful for always.
13 - Theology = "knowing God"
I was never interested in theology as I understood it - deep, dry, boring study of huge Biblical study books. I thought it was too difficult, too hard to get into and ultimately something I didn't need in my life. But I was wrong. Through experiences I didn't want to go through, I was drawn into the study of theology and learned something pretty cool. Theology just means the study of God. And I already knew I loved God and knew a lot about Him. I've learned much more on this journey of theological study and one of the most important things I discovered was the importance of knowing God for yourself. Not because of your parents, your friends or even simply your pastor. It's necessary to know God through an intimate, ever-growing, personal relationship with God and that begins with accepting the death and resurrection gift of His Son Jesus, and then develops by reading His Word the Bible, praying and talking to Him and then being quiet and listening for His leading. I didn't want to go through the experiences and struggles I've been through, but I also know that I would not have come to the beauty and depth of my relationship with God without the struggles that drew me closer to Him. And for that, I am eternally thankful.
14 - My sister Kelly
Although we have had our moments over the years of not getting along, we've never had a falling out or lost any length of time to hurt feelings or anger or anything. We are very different people who look at, think about and experience things in sometimes opposing ways. However, no matter what might happen or however vehemently we might disagree, I am incredibly grateful to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my sister loves me and will support me and always has my back. She makes me laugh, she only good-naturedly makes fun of me when I cry, she always wants to spend time with me, she always has a place for me, and through her I have an incredible niece and nephew whom I love dearly. I am thankful for her deep love for God, and I am encouraged by her desire to know and love Him more and more. I love our fun times watching Parks and Rec or silly videos online, I love our serious times of deep discussion, and all the time, I deeply love my sister and I am so thankful for her presence in my life.
15 - Restaurants
As much as I love cooking, I adore going out to eat at restaurants. Josh & I love to try new places and of course have many repeat favorites as well. When we have the extra money, we definitely like to splurge on some nicer places now and then. Two of our current fancy favorites are Les Rendez-Vous which is a delicious French restaurant in San Bernardino, and the Cracked Crab which is an amazing seafood (especially crab) restaurant in Pismo Beach. I am thankful for the financial ability to afford to go out to eat, for the wonderful fun of reading a menu and deciding what special treat to order, and then enjoying our meal and discussing what we loved about it. Restaurants are so much fun and I am definitely grateful for the opportunity to enjoy them.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You so much for the special people you have placed in my life - wonderful family and friends who are such a blessing to me. Thank You for the ways You have drawn me closer to You in the past years. Thank You for the experiences and struggles that pushed me deeper into Your Word and allowed me to learn and grow in knowledge of and love for You. Help me to remember to always be thankful and to let the people who are special to me know how much I love and appreciate them. Thank You for loving us. I love you too. Amen.