Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 Top 10 List

The month of November always seems to be hard for me since we lost Caden.  I often wonder what our lives would have looked like had he been around to share in these past 4 years with us.  It often makes me sad but yet encouraged that he is in the best place possible and one day we will see each other again.

I thought that since our holidays were kind of mellow this year that I would just share a bit about the top ten things that I am thankful for this year.

#1    My Husband
Tom and I have been together for a very long time.  We have been married for 10 and a half years, but we dated for 3 years before that while I finished college.  He has been through a lot with me.  We have had some really great and wonderful times and we have had some really terrible moments too.  He has always been the best friend I could have to lean on when things get tough, and also the first person I want to tell about the awesome things that happen too.  He is the kind of guy who values relationships and always strives to do what it right even if it means not being so popular sometimes.

#2     Jaycee
I honestly have a hard time remembering what our lives were like before she came into this world.  She was such a huge blessing and has been a really great kid.  Right now she is in the twos which I hear are pretty terrible.  She does test us and pushes her boundaries and even her luck sometimes, but I would not have things any other way.  She came into our lives at the perfect time when we needed some cheering up.  Having her was the beginning of learning how to live with the peace that only God can give.

#3     Home
We have been living in the same place for the last 9 years.  While we have had to replace a lot of things, our home has been there for us.  It shelters us from this crazy Kansas weather.  You know what I'm talking about.  The wind that practically blows you into the next state.  The extreme temper changes where you leave home in the morning without a coat only to find that you need it when you head home.  The heat, it is so hot that you drip buckets of sweat just from standing outside doing nothing.  Anyway, I have really liked all of the do-it-yourself projects that we have been able to do to make our home truly unique and ours.  Lowes, Home Depot, and now Menards have gotten to know us well.  There is still more we want to do, but for now I am learning to try to be content with what we have done to the place.

This is our house now.  We just this past summer painted the outside.

This is what our house looked like before we painted it.  

 #4     My Parents
I am really lucky.  I couldn't ask for better parents.  They have been huge examples of the kind of hardworking and responsible person I want to be.  I am sure that it wasn't easy for them raising 3 kids who couldn't be more different.  I remember so many things about my parents as a kid, and now I am being repayed for some of the things I did as a kid (ask me about the grocery store sometime).  Through the years, Tom and I have grown really close to my parents.  They were so supportive to us when we lost Caden.  Really they didn't do anything special, but they were there and called, and checked in on us and just made every effort to show us that Caden meant something to them too.  That really means so much to me, and it has helped my relationship with them grow even more.

My dad reading a book to Jaycee.

My mom with Jaycee and her cousin at her first birthday.
(I think I need to take more pictures of them together)

#5     Friends

Tom and I are so blessed to have some great friends.  We have leaned on them through some very trying times in our lives, and they have allowed us to be whoever we needed to be at the time.  Most of them know who they are, but we have such a great connection with the Wells.  They have been so comforting to us after losing Caden and that has stuck with us.  They also were so open to being friends with older people and we have an amazing connection with them.  Wish that our lives would slow down more so that we could see them more, but life doesn't always ask us what we want, so we get together with them at a moments notice sometimes.  It is great to have friends like that who just accept you for who you are mess and all.  We have so many other friends that I would love to talk about too, but since I am sharing Thanksgiving moments I thought that I would spotlight them (we had an amazing taco salad thanksgiving dinner with them last night).

#6     Health
I wish that I could say that I am in tip top perfect health and right where I want to be physically.  I'm not, but what I can say is that I am able to jog, walk, lift weights, take a zumba class, and play with my daughter without pain (maybe a little, strained shoulder from a football injury).  But I say all this to say that I am thankful that I can be active no matter what shape my physical body is in, I am able to get out and do things.  I have seen some people recently in our family who have not been able to do much of anything lately, and I thank God everyday that I can get out of bed and prepare for the day.  One of my goals is to do this more regularly and to have a set routine.  But I'm working on it.

#7     Bible Study
I have been going to a Monday night Bible study with some girls for the last several years now.  We are all from different walks of life and we know each other from each other.  That is to say that we were all invited by someone in the group and that is how the Bible study was formed.  These girls are truly amazing.  They will not hesitate to help in any situation that I have found myself in.  I have also gotten to know some of them really well despite tragedy.  In a way that brought us closer.  I was able to open up and share with some like I hadn't been able to before.  I love those girls. 

#8     Part Time Job
I am really thankful that God has allowed me to continue to job-share with a terrific teacher this year again.  I love the schedule that we have and I love that I can spend some more time with Jaycee.  I get the best part of her day.  While I wish that I didn't have to work at all,  I know that I have a great talent for sharing the joy of learning with kids.  It is not something that I thought I would be so good at, but third graders are pretty great sometimes.  I also feel like I am helping contribute to our families budget and that not all of the financial burden is on Tom's shoulders.

#9     Family
The last few years have been quite interesting for our family.  When I say this I mean aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, and grandpas and all of their kids.  Our family has really grown and now that me and all of my cousins are having kids of our own, it is fun to reminisce about some of the things we used to do that our kids are now doing at grandmas.  It has also been great to see the blessings that babies and kids bring to the family.  My exteneded family has had several funerals to go to and it has been tough at times not to see those people at family functions.  I miss the interactions with those people and what they bring to the group.

#10   God
While I have had my ups and downs with God and have wrestled with Him over many things.  The truth of the matter is that He does not ever leave me.  He holds me in pain and listens to me and cries with me and lets me know that He too carries my burdens with Him.  All to often I forget that.  I am thankful that I have Him in my heart and that He reveals parts of Himself to me everyday.  

So there it is my list.  I never thought that I would be so into lists, but maybe it's just a phase or something, but I sure would love to know what your top ten things to be thankful for are.

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