Tuesday, November 19, 2013

32 for 32

I am going to let you in on a little secret. Today is my birthday! I love birthdays, but I'll admit that I love other people's birthdays even more than my own. It's not the getting older part that bothers me. Actually, none of it "bothers" me. It's just that I love celebrating other's birthdays more because I love giving gifts and parties and warm sentiments. So with that in mind, I thought that the perfect way to celebrate my birthday is by giving thanks for those things in my life that are worth celebrating. So here it is: on my 32nd birthday, I am giving thanks for these 32 {and many more} things.

1. My husband
I don't know what I would do without this man. He may drive me crazy sometimes, but there is no doubt in my mind that we are exactly where we are supposed to be - together. I am so thankful that he is mine. I am eternally grateful that he gave me Canon. I am proud of the man that he is, and is constantly becoming. I admire his intelligence, perseverance, ingenuity, and creativity.Not to mention he has dimples that make my knees weak even now and lashes that go on forever. Yep, he was made for me and I couldn't be more thankful.

2. My son
It is constantly said, in our household, that Canon is the best of Craig and me. That couldn't be more correct. The child is brilliant, cute, has an infectious laugh, and is probably one of the funniest people I know. Not that he had a choice in the sense of humor matter - he wouldn't survive in our family without it. Seriously though, he constantly amazes me with how quickly he learns and how deeply he loves. It is true what they say - being a parent is like having your heart walk around outside of your body constantly. There is nothing I wouldn't do for him and I love him more and more each day.

3. My family
First of all, I'd like to thank my parents for doing that so that I could be here. Yeah...ahem. Anyway, everyone always says that they have the best family ever, blah blah blah. They have no idea. My family may be crazy, dysfunctional, and all over the proverbial board in thoughts and dreams, but you will not find a better mixture of personalities anywhere. It doesn't matter what is going on in our lives, if one of us needs help then everyone does what they can to help. We love each other, and sadly from what I can tell, that is lacking in lots of families these days.

Very important note: I do not have any photos of us with Craig's side of the family. This is to be remedied ASAP. Do you hear me Megan, Kurt, and Kara?! ASAP!

4. My best friend
Technically, she could be listed in the "family" section, but I wanted to give her a special shout-out. See, family "has" to be there for you and love you. At least that is the case in our family. Paige, though? She didn't have to stick with me all of these years. She didn't have to open her home to me when I had no where to go or stick up for me {or to me} when others were afraid to. She is my sister from another mister...and mother. {Lame.} Truthfully though, I don't know what I would do without her. Also, if she would evict sweet baby boy on this special day, I wouldn't hate it. Just sayin'.

5. Our health
There are so many people out there - young and old - that are fighting serious issues. It seems as though everytime I turn around I hear of another cancer case or debilitating injury that has brought a family to their knees. I realize how amazingly blessed I am to have all of our parents, all of our siblings, my husband, and my child healthy. Not only healthy, but thriving. Trust me, I do not take that lightly. Thank you, Jesus, for our good health.

6. My camera
I know this sounds trivial, but hear me out. My camera allows me to capture our memories and keep them forever. Without the pictures, would we remember the face that still makes us laugh that we made on top of Mt Tibidabo in Spain? Or what about the smirk that Canon gave us as a baby that only lasted a couple of months? What about the special moments with my Grandfather before he passed away? These snippets in time are priceless to me and to know that I will always have something to help me remember those moments makes me so immensely grateful for my camera. For the ability to capture those memories forever. 

7. My past experiences
I have gone through, and done, lots of things - some good, some not so good. All of it, though, has shaped me into who I am today. Even the painful times have molded me into the person that I have become so far. I am thankful for my ex-boyfriends because they taught me what I did and didn't want in a spouse. Those experiences allowed me to see my husband for the man that I longed for and needed. I am thankful for falling off the deep-end after the loss of a loved one. Even though I would bring him back in a heartbeat, the way I handled that grief was eye-opening. I did things that I am not proud of, but that I can use as a teaching tool when Canon comes to a point in his life where hard decisions will be required of him. I will be able to, honestly and knowledgeably, help guide him into taking the right path. All past experiences are learning tools and I am thankful to have gone through so many - good and bad. 

8. My dancing background
I have spoken before about my love of dance, but I am still so thankful that my parents helped me and encouraged me to find that outlet for creative expression. I felt beautiful, even during my awkward phases growing up. I had a purpose and something to work towards. To this day, I know that if need be, dancing is something that I will always be able to do or teach. Through dance, I learned confidence, grace, discipline, and strength and found a voice that I otherwise wouldn't have known.

Don't mind the crazy fingers. That was the thing at the time...at least in my mind.

9. Music
I am confident that my love obsession for all genres and forms of music came from my dance studies and I am so lucky to have been exposed the way that I was. It may seem silly, but being exposed to so many different things allows me to open my mind even more to different cultures and world views. When I hear music of any kind, I feel a connection to it and so also to the artist. Plus, nothing can put my mind at ease more than a good mix of songs from every inch of the globe.

10. Art
Though I have always had a love and appreciation for all types of art, seeing my husband fall in love with painting has opened my eyes even more. I am amazed at the talents that people posses, whether it be painting, music, dancing, drawing, sewing, or photography. I love that no two pieces of art are just the same - everyone puts a personal spin into their own. That makes it beautiful and unique and I appreciate it all. Bonus: Canon now wants to follow in his dad's footsteps and paint every night and I couldn't be more proud.

'Family Regatta' painted by Craig in 2010 for Canon.

11. The internet
Where else can you find a recipe, the names of all 12 disciples, and watch a child's reaction to their mom eating all of their Halloween candy? Where else could I waste so much time doing absolutely nothing catch up with old friends from elementary school and watch my favorite tv shows while keeping up with world news at the same time? Welcome to the coolest invention of our time. *Note: I didn't say the "best", just the "coolest". No stone throwing, please.* 

12. My phone
Though I am not thankful for the bill every month, I am so thankful that I have a phone that gives me the opportunity to keep in touch with my loved ones as often as I wish. I can also keep up with Facebook, Instagram, email, and listen to Pandora wherever I happen to be. Smart phone? Pshhh. It's an Einstein phone, son.

13. Makeup
I am very fair-skinned and fair-haired. My parents joke that I am basically albino since my dad worked at a nuclear plant when I was ordered. Therefore it stands to reason that unless I am wearing eye makeup, I actually turn invisible. Don't believe me? See Exhibit A.

Exhibit A

Told you.

14. Our desire to travel
I am so thankful that Craig and I are both on the same page about what we want out of life. We don't have a lot of money, but what money we do have we choose to spend on 'experiences' rather than 'things'. Instead of getting the latest and greatest tech gear or the biggest house, we will save our money for a trip somewhere. Memories last longer than things and we both have a longing to see the world so we will do whatever it takes to get there.

15. Netflix and Hulu
This seems trivial, but I don't have time during peak times to watch tv shows or movies, so I am grateful for the opportunity to watch them whenever I may possibly make time. That time is usually really late at night when I can't fall asleep. I will turn on an hour long episode, and about 4 episodes later, I am usually ready to turn in for the evening. If I didn't have these services, I may have to actually count sheep or trying falling asleep by closing my eyes. *Shudder*

16. My faith
I know I am probably going to be getting a couple of eye rolls with this one, but here's the thing. I don't care. See, I have seen and done so much that has proven to me the existence of God. I trust that He will help me through anything, because He always does. There have been too many times that I should have fallen flat on my face {or in jail, or in the hospital, or in crippling debt}, but I was extended grace. So now? Now, even though I stress about things that are out of my control, I ultimately don't let it consume me because my faith is stronger than any short-term issue that I may face. God will provide. He always has. Amen and amen.

17. My high school typing class
So you know those people that can type a million words a second whilst facing away from the computer to listen their spouse talk about something completely different? Yeah, that's me. Thanks High School Typing Teacher. I don't remember your name, but I am so glad that you taught me how to place my fingers correctly on the keyboard so that I can quickly and accurately type away using muscle memory. And all of those that thought that class was a waste of time? I hope you got caught up in the years since, or else you would be like Craig and still pecking away at a one page document 3 hours later. Sorry babe, but you know I will help you out if you just ask. ;)

18. High heels
"How do you walk in those things?!" I couldn't tell you how often I hear this, and I always provide the same answer. I learned to dance in high heels before I even learned to walk in them. I love wearing heels. They make me feel more graceful and give me better posture, so I will wear them until my body no longer allows me to. Plus, who doesn't feel like they can conquer the world with a sexy pair of peep toes?!

Come to mama. All of you.

19. Our house
We have had our house on the market for 6 months. Actually we just opted to take it off of the market for a while. The point is, we have been wanting to sell it for a long time, so long that sometimes I forget how much I love this house. Don't get me wrong, it is not a dream house with crown molding and a winding staircase. It is a 3/2 split floor plan with a small backyard and a couple of water spots. I love it, though, because it is the first place that was "ours". We bought it the week after we came back from our honeymoon. We have put blood, sweat, and tears into it. We brought Canon home in it and have raised him thus far here. It is the only house he knows. It is our home and I am so thankful that we can call it our own - however long we have left with it.

20. Our friends
Craig and I have lots of acquaintances, but we also have a few people that we consider true friends. These people are there for us more times than we deserve. They have allowed us into their hearts and homes. They have become so dear to us that no words could express it aptly enough other than to say that they are family. We love them and are so blessed to have them in our lives. You know who you are. If you are sitting there thinking it could possibly be you, then you are who I am talking about.

21. My blog
Funny story. I love this blog. Ok, not funny. Also, not a story. I am a terrible story-teller. Just ask Craig. Truth time though: I really do love this blog, and though it may only boast a couple of consistent readers (Hi Mom, Dad, and Craig!), I am proud of it. I put a lot of thought and time into each post and I get so excited when I am notified of a new "follower" that I want to shout it from the rooftops. Plus, the time spent on this blog means it is less time spent getting in trouble somewhere else - like getting sucked into cat videos on youtube. {Full disclosure: I actually do not watch cat videos on youtube. I usually get sucked into watching music videos from random artists. Cat videos sounds more dangerous, though, so I went with that.}

22. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
These things are the best thing since sliced bread. And no, I don't know what the best thing was before sliced bread. If you wanted to send me a birthday present or wanted to butter me up for a favor, sending me a bag of this crack will put you at the top of my list. 

I'm ready to dive in.

23. Coffee
Though I do love the taste of coffee - some more than others {I'm looking at you Archer Farms Buttery Caramel} - it actually is a necessity for me to function on those early work mornings. Whitney + Mornings is worse than dividing by zero. BUT add coffee and the scales tip a little more in your favor. 

24. Photobooks
Remember #6 and how much I love photos? Well, I have begun compiling yearbooks of our pictures to help us remember our experiences over the past 12 months. I have used both shutterfly.com and mypublisher.com {my favorite}, and absolutely love the fact that all of our most cherished memories can be found in one spot. It is a wonderful way to look back and remember, but also to see how far we have come in such a short time.

25. Cheese
Oh, cheese, how do I love thee? I could not live a day without tasting your perfect goodness. If I had to choose just one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would be, sweet nectar of the cows and goats. I love you forever.

26. Weekends
Weekends are God's answer to hellish work days. I vote for longer weekends though. Five days of weekend, two days of work week! Who's with me?

27. Sarcasm
I hear that sarcasm is a sign of intelligence. My family is brilliant...every one of us - even Canon. Heaven help anyone that comes into this family when we are all together. Craig and Morgan {my sister-in-law} have survived and even thrived, but I can't say that everyone would. Only the strongest can. You've been warned.

28. External hard drives
Between all of my photo and music obsessions, my poor computer would never be able to keep up if I had to keep all of my files on it. Thank goodness for external hard drives. They keep my computer clean, and allow me take my data anywhere {i.e. on vacation or out of the house in an emergency}. I back up all of my files in multiple locations, but these babies are my favorite!

29. The holiday season
I have to hold myself back from keeping my Christmas decorations up all year 'round. I have to force myself to wait until after Thanksgiving before decorating my home with a tree and lights. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Hands down. The excitement of the season is exhilerating, and seeing it through a child's eyes, is overwhelming. Although teaching Canon the real meaning behind Christmas is the most important thing to us, I find so much joy in having him find his elf every morning. It isn't just Christmas that I love, though. I love Thanksgiving too. See, the whole holiday season provides us with so many opportunities to see family that we may not normally see very often. There is nothing better than gorging yourself with amazing food and spending time with family. Nothing in the world.

30. Laughing
If there is one thing that we do in our house consistently, it is laugh. We have more fun listening to Canon's imaginative stories, watching Craig's silly dancing, or acting out one of my favorite childhood books. Sure there are plenty of days when we don't feel like even smiling, but I am so thankful that we are consistently hit with something that just makes us laugh. Laughing together keeps us living life together and being happy together. 

In case you needed a laugh today. You're welcome.

31. Trials
We live in a first world country with only first world problems. We have an amazing family that actually loves each other. We actually enjoy each other's company. We have more good times than bad, but that doesn't mean we don't face trials. The thing is, if we never faced trials, we wouldn't realize just how strong we are. I am thankful for those reminders. I am grateful that we are sometimes forced to rely on each other and get through situations using a bit of creativity and a lot of faith. Without those, we wouldn't appreciate the good times so much.

32. Love
I know this sounds trite, and even repetitive, but hear me out. Love, to me, of course is my family and friends, but it is also my cat curled up with me after a long day. It's that young boy holding the door for the elderly woman walking with a cane. It's the man giving up his coat for the cold child. It's the family giving of their time and money to ensure that their neighbor doesn't go hungry. It's the girl who, when she doesn't know where to turn, finds herself in the arms of a Savior, courtesy of a pastor or friend or even a stranger's kindness. All around us acts of kindness are being performed and it is so refreshing and humbling to see love being poured out from people of all walks of life. The smallest acts can make the most difference. Who knows - it could even save a life. So I am thankful for a world full of love, even though sometimes you have to look really closely to find it.

If you made it to the end of this post, then first of all thank you for sticking with me. I apologize that it was so long, but I guess that what happens when you get older. You feel the need to be thankful for more and more. Either that or you just get long-winded. Or bored.

In any case, tomorrow I will be back with a shorter {and hopefully more fun-filled} post. See you then!

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