Happy Thanksgiving week, friends.
This year has been quite a whirlwind. This month, in particular, has been extra crazy in our household.
But guess what? It’s almost over. Can you even believe that in just a few short weeks it will be 2016?
Oh, and did you know that in a few short days I get to decorate for Christmas? I may be a little excited.
Corey and I have been putting a lot of effort this month into recognizing the things we’re thankful for. We have so much going for us and sometimes it’s hard to see the good among all of the difficult. So, here are 30 things I’m thanking my lucky stars I have.
1. Jackson. Well, duh. But really, I adore this kid. Corey and I look at each other at least once a day and ask how in the world we got so lucky. I can’t even imagine life without him and I am so incredibly glad he is in our lives. He bring us so much joy – there are no words.
2. A strong marriage. Our relationship right now is stronger than it has been in a very long time and we are getting closer and closer every day. I feel like the more difficult times we go through, the more we learn to lean on each other and come out on the other side a stronger couple, and we’re really seeing the results of that in action now. We’re pretty blessed to have each other. I don’t want to be annoying about it, but if you’re the Bible-reading type, you’ve got to look into the 7-Minute Marriage Solution devotional Bible. Life-changing, I tell you.
3. Jobs we love. This year has been the first year (ever) that Corey and I are both totally at peace with our jobs. We’re both in positions that we love and where we feel challenged and appreciated. It’s a wonderful thing.
4. Potential. I’ll spill more on this later, but suffice it to say things are just bubbling over with anticipation and possibilities ’round these parts lately. It makes me downright giddy.
5. Renewed love for our home. For the last several months, Corey and I have been dreaming of a new home. One that is fresh and clean and modern and, let’s be honest, way out of our budget. But lately, we’ve been seeing the beauty in our home again. We’re recognizing why we chose to live here in the first place, and we’re reminding ourselves of how much we truly do love this home. It’s nice to feel at peace again.
6. Rituals. I am a creature of habit and I have been embracing the art of the ritual lately. Our mornings before work look exactly the same every single day. Jackson’s bedtime is its own little ritual. Corey and I have a ritual of doing a devotional each night right after putting Jackson to bed. These little things help ground me and keep me trucking along when things get tough.
7. Trader Joe’s. We just discovered this mecca of good food, cheap prices, and general awesomeness this year and we cannot. get. enough. Corey and I are both obsessed with this place and would go on the daily if we lived a bit closer. It’s my happy place!
8. Technology. I’m so grateful that we are able to stay close to friends who live far away thanks to the crazy technology we live with – Corey plays games with his best friend a few times a week via Skype and I’m able to keep up-to-date with my best friend’s current pregnancy, even though we live depressingly far away from one another.
9. My students. I don’t say this enough – I love my job! My students are wonderful, hilarious, smart, and exhausting, and they make me push myself harder than I ever thought possible. I adore them and I’m blessed to work with such an awesome group of kids.
10. Family time. Last year at this time was rough. Corey was working insane hours and we had almost no time together as a family. This year, we’ve both put a priority on having more family time and it’s made a huge difference. Our days feel a little bit slower and calmer and we are all so much happier.
11. Nighttime prayers. We recently started this ritual with Jackson and it is the sweetest thing in the world. At first, Corey and I would just pray, but he started asking to pray too. I came up with a short little prayer for him to repeat, and something about the way his voice gets a little softer and a little more reverential when he says it tells me he knows it’s important. My heart melts every time.
12. Health. This time last year we were in the throes of constant ear infections for Jackson. We were thisclose to having to have tubes put in his ears, and the infections cleared up just like that. He hasn’t had one since and I’m grateful for that every day.
13. Candles. Up until (very) recently, I never allowed candles to be lit in my home. When I was a little girl our house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, and I’ve been deathly afraid of fire ever since. However, something struck me this fall and I decided it was high time I tried some candles out. And guess what? I’m obsessed. I can only handle candles in jars (no open pillar candles for me!), but I love to light them in the evenings or when I’m cleaning. There’s just something special about a good candle.
14. Cold weather. I adore it when it gets cold outside. Scarves and cardigans and boots and hot chocolate (in a red cup, of course)…there is just something so special to me about the weather this time of year. Of course, it’s not quite as cold as I would like for it to be, but I know it’s only a matter of time!
15. Clarity. I’ll spare you all of the minute details here, but suffice it to say that over the last few weeks Corey and I have done a lot of soul searching and a lot of praying, and we have so much clarity and guidance about where we are going with our lives. We feel like we have a clear path laid out in front of us for the first time in a long time (maybe ever!) and it’s so reassuring and calming.
16. Wine. We joined a wine club for a local winery this summer and, while we haven’t taken full advantage of our membership yet, we’re loving it! There’s a little wine bar about 20 minutes from our house where we can go get a free glass anytime we want, and we want to start going more often. I’m thankful for the fun times we can have thanks to this membership! Also, wine is delicious. So there’s that.
17. Friends. Specifically, I’m thankful for the people who have remained close friends despite only getting to see each other once or twice a year and despite many, many miles between us. You know it’s a special friendship when it can survive being long-distance!
18. Sleep. I’m so thankful that I have a child who loves to sleep and who consistently sleeps through the night (and even lets me sleep in a tiny bit on the weekends). It’s the most marvelous feeling in the world to actually wake up on my own sometimes and not to the sound of a crying baby.
19. Organization. It’s this time of year that I always start to think about how I want to reorganize my life and do things differently in the new year. I’ve already bought my 2016 planner and started to add a few notes and goals for January, and Corey and I have big plans for some organization around the house. It feels so good to get things in order!
20. Good television. We’ve started watching a few new shows this year, and some of our old favorites are still making us oh so happy. The current faves? Doctor Who, Quantico, Best Time Ever, and Blindspot.
21. Toddler music. Yes, I know – it’s definitely annoying. And it gets old…fast. But when Jackson starts jumping up and down shouting “YAY!” as soon as his favorite song comes on, none of that matters. We listen to “I Am a Pizza” and “Slippery Fish” at least 12 times a day. Each.
22. My study Bible. I’ve had this study Bible for about a year now and it is the most amazing Bible I’ve ever owned. I have learned so much since I started using it and I have such a better understanding of a lot of the historical context of what I’m reading thanks to all of the notes. I cannot recommend this enough for anyone looking for a new Bible!
23. A short commute. Corey and I have both had the experience of working upwards of an hour away from home and it’s absolutely wonderful to be working so much closer to home now. Our commute could definitely be a bit shorter, but since we work in the same district we get to ride to work together most mornings, which is unspeakably awesome.
24. The holidays. Do I need to elaborate? This time of year is the best. Ever.
25. Priorities. Really, this could say “being on the same page about priorities”. I’m so thankful that I have a partner who shares my goals and dreams and who is willing to sacrifice with me to get to where we need to go! We’ve really been focusing in on what matters lately and reorganizing our priorities, and I can already see it paying off.
26. Clean sheets. Because really, there’s nothing better than freshly laundered sheets, amiright?!
27. Yoga. Over the last few months I’ve really been enjoying doing yoga videos in the mornings. I’ve fallen out of it in the last few weeks because I’ve been sick (and sleep has been prioritized over exercise!) but I’m ready to jump back in. I am more flexible, I have better posture, and I have more energy when I’m regularly doing yoga. And it doesn’t even feel like I’m working out because it’s so relaxing and peaceful!
28. Hope group. We are part of an amazing Sunday School group at our church that is filled with some of the most warm, friendly, and caring people I have ever met. We are continually trying to get more involved and get to know everyone a little better, and I am so thankful to have this group of people in my life.
29. Toddlers. I cannot express to you strongly enough how much I love this phase in my child’s life. Toddlerhood is hilarious, adorable, beautiful, sweet, and frustrating all at the same time and I cannot get enough. I want him to stay this little forever.
30. Blogging. This little hobby of mine has been with me for about ten years now and I am so happy it’s still around. This tiny corner of the internet is my happy place and I’m oh so glad I have the option to come here when I need a creative outlet. Some of you have been around for a long, long time and I’m so thankful that you keep coming back through my messes, my sporadic schedules, and the times when I’ve gone radio silent. There are big things coming for this little ol’ blog in 2016 and I can’t wait to get started!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?