This year on Thanksgiving  I helped the kids make a poster of all the things we were thankful for as a family. After doing this with them, I have decided to take some time and really reflect on what I am grateful for in my life.  As I have said before, I feel blessed in immeasurable ways, and I think it is so important to take time and really appreciate all the little, yet BIG things in life.  So,  I decided I would make a list of 35 things I was thankful for this year....since I recently celebrated my 35th birthday.   I challenge you to take the time this Christmas season and really search your heart for what makes you smile?  In doing so, I promise you will come away filled with so much joy and thanksgiving. 

  1. A family who brings me more laughter, love, and comfort than I ever dreamed of.
  2. My husband, Cesar, and experiencing God’s plan for us the past 11 plus years and knowing without a doubt the years we spent together growing up were a big part of HIS plan.  I cannot put into words how much I love this man and am so proud to call him my husband. 
  3. A mother who will drop everything and get on a plane at a moments notice to be here for her grand-babies births (nothing ever went as we "planned" for our babies arrivals)..this same super mom has always made it a priority to be here  for birthdays and holidays so that I wouldn’t be alone,  has driven many miles with a dog and children all in tow, so that we could spend summers in Florida with our family... and who has truly been a best friend for the 35 years of my life.
  4. A father who has always been a shining example of giving and sacrificing all for his family –he has shown us that family is always first.
  5. Parents who have been married 40 plus years and showed us that marriage is truly God’s plan:  to live out our life as Christ, a true example of unconditional love, forgiveness and so much more.
  6. God’s grace and mercy, and the joy I know through my relationship with Him.
  7. Middle of the night nursing—I know it sounds crazy, but I cherish those times with each of my babies, where the whole world is quiet and we have that sweet time together.  I have especially treasured this with our last—sometimes this is the only time during the day that I have with her un-interrupted.
  8. Dr. pepper.
  9. A six year old daughter, that spends every night that her Daddy is deployed, next to me in the king size bed…these conversations, snuggles, and moments are truly priceless. (see picture above)
  10. Saturday mornings:  oh, how I love sleeping in late and so do our kids (most of the time).  Nothing beats Pancake Saturdays and all the kids in bed with us!
  11. Living in a country where we can chose to live the way we want and become who we wish to be.
  12. Email and video chats—when you have a spouse gone for 7 plus months at a time, these become a lifeline, its hard to imagine how the WWII  generation did it.
  13. A babysitter that my children are excited to see arrive and one whom I know will take great care of them.
  14. Friends that have been there through so many life moments, who know me inside and out and love me for it.   Whether far or close in proximity, they are always close in heart.
  15. Sisters—there is nothing better than having a sister to share the world with (NO ONE knows you like your sister) and I am so grateful that my girls have each other …but in turn, I am so happy they also have a brother. My brother taught me so many things about life .  I hope they will all remain close forever.
  16. A mother n law that I love like my own mom, who treats me as her own daughter, who I can share anything and everything with, and has taught me many good recipes.
  17. My nieces and nephews--what an awesome thing to see your siblings and you’re your husband’s siblings  families all grow. And I am so thankful that my children are very close to all of their cousins, even living states away. They really adore them.
  18. Being a mom—I always knew I wanted a house full of children, but never knew how deeply they would each touch my life.
  19. Deployments-you grow a lot as a person and as a couple during these separations. I am grateful we can serve our country in this way.
  20. The invention of the flat iron.
  21. The excitement you see when your child “gets something” like learning to read, a new concept etc. 
  22. The beach—brings back wonderful memories of my childhood spent with my siblings and parents.  And now we look forward to our annual Florida beach trip with all the siblings and grandchildren.  Haven’t missed a year yet!!!
  23. The four seasons---growing up in Florida we did not really experience seasons, so this is something I’ve fallen in love with…the hot white sand in the summer, the beautiful leaves in the fall, seeing snow on the trees early in the morning before anyone wakes up, spring and all of its glory…
  24. 3 c-sections, 1 miscarriage, and a premature little baby girl--without enduring these difficult times, I wouldn’t be the mother I am. 
  25. The smell of a clean house.
  26. A good night’s sleep.
  27.  Finding pleasure in the small things in life.
  28. Good manners.
  29. Kisses and hugs—I can never get enough.  
  30.  I Love You’s.
  31. Lunch dates with girl friends.
  32. Date nights—doesn’t need to be anything fancy, I just cherish the special moments we can sneak in alone.   
  33. Dancing with my children and hearing their laughter throughout the house.
  34. The blessing of being a stay at home mother and wife—I know that this is not for everyone, but I am grateful for every day I get to do this;  no doubt we do our share of sacrificing, but I really enjoy this time with my family—I  wish the days didn’t go by so quickly.
  35. 35 years of health, love, happiness, and pure joy. I have experienced many heartaches and trials, but these events are what mold us into who we are.  I am grateful for it all!