These are a few of my favorite things

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My counselor’s homework for me this week is to come up with a gratitude list.  As I began thinking through the things I’m grateful for, it became very apparent to me that I have so many little and big things that are amazing in my life.  I have decided to share these. These ended up turning into a really long post, with lots of pictures.  I did this mostly for myself, but if you interested, here you go…

These are a few (or a lot) of my favorite things…

Holding and being held by my love. Looking into each others’ eyes and knowing that we were made for each other.

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Knowing how loved and adored I am by my husband because he tells me all day, every day.

Cuddling with my babies in their beds at the end of the day. Talking to them about their happy and sad times.

My parents who have been beside me in the midst of joy and pain, laughter and sorrow. Their unconditional love for their children and grandchildren. Always being there. Allowing me to just talk and be heard. Their grace. The amazing memories I have of my childhood because of them.

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Joey. My brother who is no longer living. We were so close our whole lives, until we lost him to a terrible mental illness. I will always love him and remember our amazing childhood together. We were inseparable. His quirkiness, love of music, technical ability, creativeness, love of people, artistic ability, devotion to those he loved, and humor will never be forgotten.

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My mom and dad in-law who love me as their own and have taken care of our family on more than one occasion. They have always been there for us in our time of need. I love that they love without judgment and trust us to make the decisions that are best for our family.

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My amazing friends. So many that I couldn’t give credit to them all. God has blessed me with friends that I can call family. People who love me the way that I am. In all of my mess. With my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

Mornings cuddled up on the couch with my pup, drinking my pumpkin spice coffee, watching Gilmore Girls or Parenthood.

A clean house (which is rare, but I love when it’s clean!).

A messy house because it means that I allow my children to play and enjoy our home.

Allowing others into a not-so-clean-house and knowing that they don’t care.

Piles of laundry because I have family to wear it.

Farm Apple Pumpkin candle. The smell of fall wafting through the air.

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Carving a pumpkin with my family and roasting the seeds.

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Family style dinners in the dining hall with our amazing community. Dinners with family and friends in our home.

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Laughing until I cry.

Seeing my kids’ report cards and finding that they have met their potential after working so hard.

Evenings spent with my love on the porch, listening to the crickets, looking at the stars, talking about our dreams (and realizing that we’re living our dream).

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Talking with my best friend throughout the day thanks to Facebook Messenger and knowing that I have a best friend that truly knows what I’m going through. Being loved unconditionally by her.

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Coke Zero (aka “poison”) that brings me joy while I drink it out of my birdie cup with just the right amount of ice.

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Coffee. I drink it throughout the day. I don’t think I could live without it! I love it creamy and sweet. I’m finally okay with that.

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Plaid shirts, tunics, leggings, comfortable jeans, t-shirts, scarves, Toms, and boots.

Being comfortable with my body just the way it is, and knowing that my husband finds every curve appealing.

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Knowing that my support system is just a Facebook message/text/phone call away (and right outside my door), and knowing that they will always have the right words to say, at just the right times.

A new journey with our finances and knowing that financial peace is with-in arm’s reach.

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The kids’ amazing school that prays every morning before they start their day, the teachers have high expectations and know that the kids can meet them, and they are truly loved and cared for.

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Pumpkin spice everything (yes, I’m one of those).

Classical Christmas music even though it’s only fall. There’s something about it that brings me peace.

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Hiking in my “back yard” and knowing that my body can handle a lot of miles. I’ve been able to hike 23 miles in one day! When I feel up to it mentally/emotionally, I regularly do 8 or 9. I also love hiking with my family.

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Ethan and Karis’  joy with their new mountain bikes. They spends hours and hours riding.

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My love spending quality time with his kids, reading to them, letting them read to him, helping them with their homework, working together to clean, riding bikes, sitting on the porch, lying in hammocks.

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Our pup Lily. The funny way she drinks water as she puts her whole head in the bowl, her intense need to steal food from the table (or hands, or lap), her way of telling us that she needs to go potty, her love of cuddling, her need to be with her people, her sadness when her people leave, her love of playing.

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Learning to love who I am and how I am made, even though I am truly a mess sometimes. Embracing my mess.

JJ Heller, David Crowder, Caedmon’s Call, Charlie Hall, Needtobreathe, and Shane & Shane… whose lyrics touch deep in my heart and the music allows me to dance and sing, praise and worship.

The courage that I have to share my difficult journey with others.

Hearing from others just how much my sharing has helped them in their own journeys.

My medication because it has saved my life and helps with the ups and downs of my illness.

She Reads Truth, my Bible, and praise music in the mornings so that I can learn from God’s word, praise Him, and talk to Him.

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Making homemade play dough with my kids and knowing that they’re not too old for it. Pumpkin spice, gingerbread, peppermint, koolaid play dough.

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Season changes. Crisp cool air.

Christmas. I could celebrate it all year.

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Traditions with my family. Knowing that most traditions were started by my mom and dad. And the fact that my kids share my love of holidays and seasons.

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Playing games with my husband and kids. Simple entertainment brings joy.

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The tree that was painted on my wall by the people who lived here before us. It’s so *me*.

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The flowers that my husband brings me as often as he can, just because.

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The fact that my husband is willing to clean bathrooms, keep up with dishes, and do laundry even though I am home every day because sometimes it just overwhelms me.

The view from my back porch. I get to look at the rolling hills of the hill country all the time.

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Our camp family. We’ve only been here 5 months and it feels like we’ve been here for years.

The fact that my husband gets to do something that he feels called to do and truly loves. We plan to be here for years to come. This is the first time we have ever felt this way.

The kids are able to do things that most kids don’t get to do.  Zip lines, Nueces mine slide, mountain bike, hike in our “backyard,” play in the river, and will eventually be able to rock climb.

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My online journal (Penzu) and my blog so that I can write out what’s on my heart.

The little house that we call home and have made warm and cozy.

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How much the camp takes care of their employees and families.

Charcoal, sketching pencils, dry media paper, and canvas. Drawing brings me peace.

Coloring books and crayons. My favorite are Christmas!

Books. I don’t read enough, but I am always happy when I do. Jen Hatmaker and Lois Lowry are my faves.

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Hearing my kids say thank you, please, yes ma’am, no ma’am without being told.

The people our kids are, their individual personalities, their weaknesses and strengths.

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Selfies because they remind me that God made me beautiful (this may sound self centered, but it has taken me years to get to this point).

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My iPhone. I am able to stay connected with friends and family and take pictures of my beautiful family (and share those pictures!).

My semicolon tattoo to remind me that my story could have ended, but I have chosen to continue it. God’s not finished with me yet.

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My cross wedding ring tattoo. It reminds me that my marriage is in Christ.

A fire in our fire pit. Sitting in our chairs, staring at the fire, talking with friends. Roasted marshmallows. S’mores.

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Camping. Backpacking. Being outside.

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Fresh air. Mountains. Hills. Trees. Leaves. Flowers. Sunsets. God’s amazing creation.

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Beauty. In all forms. Shapes. Sizes. Colors. Beauty in people. Places. Creation.

Jesus. Life. Breath. Creator. Sacrifice. Salvation. Peace. Joy. Grace. Redeemer. Healer.

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