I am linking up with Mallard Cove Mommy to complete my 25 Days of Thanksgiving Challenge. Some of my posts will have pictures and some will not. I realized that part of my hurdle was coming up with a picture for every post....so I am going to bend the rules :-)
Day Seven: The Beach
I remember the going to the beach as a teenager and sitting in the sun, with the sounds of the waves crashing in the background, thinking, "It doesn't get any better than this." I still feel that way. The ocean is therapeutic to me...I feel rejuvenated just by being in close proximity to the shore. This picture is from our vacation this past summer.
Day Eight: The Mountains
They are equally as therapeutic to me but for different reasons. When I stand on the beach and look out to where the sky meets the water, I am amazed at the enormity of my God. When I am in the mountains, I am amazed at the creativity and majesty of my God.
Have you ever been to the Great Smoky Mountains in October? We are blessed to be able to go every year for our wedding anniversary. The bluegrass music, the smell of the wood-burning fireplaces, the crisp cool air...I just soak it in! It's not really fall yet until we get our fill of the mountains!
Day Nine: My Husband
Mark is one of those complicated people that may seem quiet or even rude to a stranger, but he's really not either of those things. He is a thinker and he understands people. He is one of the smartest people I know but he still has the ability to think like and connect with children. He loves me and Kelsey more than we could have ever imagined. He met Kelsey when she was 4 and she is every bit his daughter as she is mine.
He is the epitome of "man." He owns an outdoor/hunting/fishing store and every November, he goes on a month-long hunting trip. I love that he has a hobby (and livelihood) that he enjoys.
More important than all of that, though....Mark has a heart for God. He doesn't wear it on his sleeve but he fiercely loves his God. I am thankful that God gave me a husband that has priorities and passion.
(This picture is of the three of us on "our" wedding day in 2007 and is courtesy of Alex Rowland Photography.)
Day Ten: My Parents
I was a terrible teenager. I thought I was smarter than everyone and I had the whole world figured out. Think of the story of the Prodigal Son in the bible, place it in the mid to late 90's and change it from a son to a daughter...and it's my story. I remember one day my dad said, "I think I understand why some animals eat their young." Yeah. He still says that sometimes.
But regardless of what I did or what I didn't do...my parents always loved me and they were always there when I came running home. They didn't always like who I was...but they always loved me.
I am thankful for my parents!
Day Eleven: My Mother In Law
Let me tell you about Joann. In a word...she is awesome. The first time I ever met her was two days after Mark and I had our first date. Mark invited me to his family home for Sunday lunch. I think I missed the part where he said EVERYONE in his family would be there...all 25 of them!! I was a bit overwhelmed but Joann made me feel so at-home. She hugged me and treated me like the rest of the family. This might have been the day that I fell in love with Mark...when I saw him with his family. I think she mentioned something about me being her future daughter-in-law. We laugh about it now.
I never knew that I could love someone else's mother the way I love Joann.
She facilitated my wedding. She designed, planned, purchased, worked, decorated...and pretty much gave me a dream wedding. She comes over to my house the week after Halloween and decorates my house for Christmas because she knows that I don't like to do it. She calls me almost every day just to check in. If I am sick, she asks if she can bring me anything. If I am tired, she encourages me to rest.
Because I can't find a decent picture of Joann, I'll show you what she created for my wedding reception. Isn't it beautiful?? It was held in an old horse barn that was restored as a community center (of sorts).
(Photo courtesy of Alex Rowland Photography)
Day Twelve: Elf
Elf...as in the movie. Maybe I am only thankful for this now because...tis the season. But I really love this movie. It makes me laugh. It puts me in the Christmas spirit. And really...what's better than a Will Ferrell movie? If it weren't Christmastime...this entry could have easily been Anchorman. Don't be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins! If you haven't seen this movie...grab a bottle of syrup, some previously-chewed gum and your best Will Ferrell impression and WATCH IT!!!
Day Thirteen: My Nephews
One belongs to my sister and the other belongs to Mark's sister. I love watching these boys grow and develop their own little personalities. I am thankful for these boys!!!!!
This is Kameron! Kameron is funny. He loves Spiderman with a passion. You watch out...he is going to be famous. The kid could clap on beat before he was one and he can sing like nobody's business.
This is Luke!! See that personality?? He loves to laugh and is one smart cookie!!! I took this picture on the day of his Baby Dedication at church. I think he knew he was the star of the show!!
Day Fourteen: My Girlfriends
Never underestimate the importance of good girlfriends...and I have the best! I have a group of five girls that I can call any time of day and I know they will be there for me. We love scheduling our Girl's Nights Out complete with high heels, baby sitters (usually our husbands), good food and drinks. We talk, we laugh and sometimes we cry. I love these girls! I depend on these girls! We balance that awkward place between motherhood and the people we were before we were mommies. I am thankful for my friends!!
Day Fifteen: Diet Coke
Yes. I am thankful for Diet Coke.
Day Sixteen: My Sister
We are four years apart and I would say we argued from the time we were born until we were both adults. Oh we bickered. A lot. But you let someone else say something against the other and defended each other tooth and nail.
As adults, there are still times that we don't see eye-to-eye but I love her and respect her. She has my back and I have hers. We keep each other's secrets and we laugh at each other. I am thankful that I have a sister. I couldn't imagine life without her...it would sure be boring!
Day Seventeen: My Church
I love my little church. I love our preacher. I love the members. Of course there are times that I wish we went to a bigger, more contemporary church but our little group is special. We do what we can do for God. We dream big and try hard. My church family is there for me when I am having hard times...I know they pray for me and I know they love me.
Isn't our church pretty?
Day Eighteen: Zofran
My total thankfulness for this medication has only been recent. Without it....I have morning sickness 24-7. With it...I am NORMAL!!! It's wonderful. I can work and eat and exercise without hurling all over the place.
Thank you, God...for Zofran.
Day Nineteen: Lesley and Ashley
Meet my cousins from South Carolina!!! That's me in the middle. They are more like best friends than family. I get misty-eyed when I think about how special they are to me. They love me, they love God and they love Kelsey. We are all very close despite the physical separation. One day, I think we will all love closer together but until then, I treasure the times we get to spend together.
I love them. LOVE. THEM.
Day Twenty: Casting Crowns
I know they might be a little too rockin' for some of you...and that's ok. I will never forget the first time I heard one of their songs. It wasn't long after Mark and I got married. I was driving down the road and "Who Am I" came on the radio. I can't believe that I even heard it on the radio because at that point, I rarely listened to Christian music. But I heard....and I mean I really heard it.
I heard these words, "Who am I, that The Lord of all the Earth, would care to know my name, care to feel my hurt." I would say what happened after I heard this is a blog post on it's own. But it got my attention...and I never looked back.
This picture is from their concert this past April in Greensboro, NC. In fact, this is the concert they used to film their DVD. If you look, you can see me and Kelsey and the rest of our group.
Day Twenty One: This Blog
Well, really this outlet of expression and all of you...who read, respond and who also blog. This is a community of people (mostly women) who share thoughts, insecurities and encouragement with one another. If you are a member of this community, then you know what I am talking about. If you aren't, you may be wondering how people who have never met can possibly have a profound impact on someone else's life...but it is possible and I am thankful for you.
Day Twenty Two: Sleep
So at this point in my pregnancy, I am very thankful for sleep. I get about 10-12 hours a night right now. I work full time so I cannot nap during the day but I make up for it at night. Poor Mark works late and doesn't get home until 7:30 or 8:00 some nights and I hit the bed not long after he walks in the door.
Day Twenty Three: Our Servicemen and Women
I am blessed to work in a field that daily remembers the sacrifice of our servicemen and women. Not only those in active duty, but also those in reserves, the National Guard, contractors and civil servants. They fight, they miss their families, they train, they see tragedy...and sometimes, they don't come home. They do all of this so that you and I can go to church where we choose and so that we can vote. They sacrifice for us and for our children. I am thankful for each and every one of them.
Day Twenty Four: My Life
I know this is cheesy....but I love my life....my job, my family, my friends, my house, my car. I am thankful for all of these things. I know, this is even a little sugary-sweet for me but I love this mess. I love that I can kick back, and enjoy what God has given me.
Day Twenty Five: The Cross
It's where Heaven and Earth collided in a battle of the ages. The place where Jesus was brutally tortured and murdered so that you and I could have everlasting life. The pinnacle of love and a slap-in-the-face to the devil. I point to the cross when I am having a bad day or when I need a reminder that God saw me, remembered me and still loves me.