Yes, It's been a while. No, I don't have some great and wonderful reason why. Life is just busy. I am sure all of us say that.
As I sit in my bedroom at my parents house in IL I am reflecting on many things. This year is almost over. Thanksgiving is tomorrow and the Christmas crazy time has really begun and will get even crazier as the days go by. I started writing a list of 100 things I am thankful for each year 5 years ago. It's been kind of fun for me (and I hope ya'll, too!) to think and reflect on the many blessings in my life. Some of them will be serious and spiritual and some won't! Many things carry over from year to year and this year will be no exception; So, without further ado, here is my 2014 thankful list:
1. My Salvation- I will always, always have that at #1- the best decision I ever made was to accept Jesus as my Savior...
2. My husband- I don't know how on earth I got so blessed with such an amazing, godly man who treats me like a queen and loves me so deeply, but, God truly smiled down on me when he gave me Bob!
3. My parents- they are just simply the best! I am who I am today because of them. They have been constant sources of support,encouragement, love and modeled Jesus to me. I couldn't have better parents.
4. My brother and future sister-in-law- my brother makes me laugh like crazy and is so funny. He is marrying a sweet girl next June named Erin whom I adore, too.
5. My in-laws- two of the most patient and generous people on earth. My Mother-in-law has had a difficult year- she broke two hips and had replacement surgery and retired from teaching- not been easy for her yet she doesn't complain and is as gracious as they come. My Father in law would give us (and anyone for that matter) the shirt off his back- they have loved me since day one and put up with me, so I say they're pretty great!
6. My friends- I have some amazing friends who are true blue, there for you no matter what and will laugh and cry with me....it's rare in life to find loyal, faithful friends. I am abundantly blessed.
7. My Godparents- Seriously, my parents made an amazing choice there! I love them!
8. Our "home"- this is kind of funny to explain, but, my husband and I really live in hotels most of the time which can be good and sometimes NOT so good! (I am an EXPERT on what hotels are good and which ones are not, ask me, I'll tell ya!) When we are off the road we are often at my parents in IL and we are blessed with some space of our own and a place to relax and work. Our official residence is in Nashville, TN and we live in the basement of my in-laws home. This year, my father-in-law with the help of some contractors (and I should mention my husband did a lot of work, too) remodeled and build on to the basement to give us somewhat of an apartment type set up. It works great and we are loving it and can't wait to get it completely finished! I am anxious to decorate some more!
9. My job-I HATE calling what I do my job, but in essence, it really is, yet it doesn't feel like it. I do work hard. I won't pretend I don't and I won't pretend I work harder than anyone else. I love the fact I get to live my dream of singing and ministering. There is no higher calling in my book than ministry. I know without a doubt I am in the center of God's will and would not want to do anything else. I also love handling the business aspects of our ministry. It's overwhelming at times, I have a lot of responsibility but again, it's a privilege and I love it! I mean, I can work in my PJ's and have Little House on the Prairie on and not worry about what time it is! How cool is that!?! :)
10. Diabetes- Ok, this sounds really dumb, but, hear me out. I struggled for a long time with some symptoms (neuropathy, excessive tiredness, headaches) and felt kinda sluggish and am glad my primary doctor finally said I needed to see the practice's nurse practitioner, Dara, who is an Endocrinologist specialist. She basically saved my life. I wish I had seen her a year ago, but I am thankful for her and her love for her patients and her love for Christ. She has been an amazing blessing in my life. I can call and text her anytime I have a question (and believe me, I have!) and need advice and she is always there to answer and help me. I am thankful for the samples of insulin and medicine she has been able to give me, too. It's expensive to have diabetes. Trust me! But seriously, I am thankful to have answers and thankful to know what to do to change my lifestyle to improve my health and hopefully one day (sooner than later) be off insulin completely! That's my goal! But, you won't hear my complaining about diabetes, even in the tough moments (and I have them but not near as often as most people) I am thankful to have this under control and have such a support system!
11. The souls we've seen saved and sanctifed this year- NOTHING thrills me more. I don't travel all the miles to play patty cake with people. I am on business for The King! I am overwhelmed with joy when people accept Jesus and are filled with The Holy Spirit!
12. The amazing people I meet- I have been privileged to meet some wonderful folks as we travel and I love meeting new people and learning new things.
13. Our ministry Partners- Our Covenant Partners are amazing- they pray for us, support our ministry financially and are great, godly people whom I love dearly.
14. Liz, LeeAnne, Sonya, Bert and Kat- ALL these folks have worked tirelessly for our ministry this year and been a huge blessing to us! I am so thankful for them and their talents.
15. Larabar's- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip ones are amazing and are life-savers! OMW! Check them out!
16.My Little House on the Prairie DVD Collection- ya'll, I get so much work done while this plays! In fact, an episode is on as I am writing this. It's my favorite show ever!
17. Essie Marshmallow Nail Polish- my favorite polish ever and goes with everything, looks clean and fresh!
18. my closets-I have a closet full of clothes,shoes, purses and accessories in IL and in TN. I don't lack for anything, really!
19. Stevie and Austin- read my last post to hear their story- still brings tears to my eyes. and as an update- they're doing great and about to have a baby boy very soon! God is good!
20. All of the churches and places we've been blessed to minister in this year
21. My trip to the Dominican Republic- My husband surprised me last Christmas with a trip this past February, I went with one of my closest friends, Sonya and it was a wonderful week! I will never forget it! We had a blast!
22. Social Media- it's awesome to be able to connect, share and network with folks all over the world!
23. My Mom's Strawberry cake- I CAN NOT WAIT for some for my birthday next week! Yum!
24. Jacuzzi baths- I love staying in a hotel with jacuzzi tubs! It helps my sciatica SO much to be able to take a hot, relaxing bath!
25. My Chiropractors, Dr. Jamie, Dr. Josh and Dr. Mike- 3 men of God who keep me moving!
26. My Bible- right after our honeymoon 5 years ago, I told my husband my current Bible had my old name on it and I needed a new one, he agreed and immediately got me a new Bible with my new name! I love love love it and I love The Word of God!
27. To live in the United States of America- I know as a Nation we are in trouble and have some serious issues going on- but there is no better place to live than the land of the free and the home of the brave!
28. Music- I love good music and love to listen and get lost in it!
29. 5 years of marriage- they've been amazing and I have learned and grown so much
30. The hope of heaven- I know I have loved ones waiting for me on the other side and I can not wait to get to heaven to see them! And of course, Jesus!
31. My phone- I can stay in touch with friends and family, read a book, answer email, check Facebook, twitter, my blog, instagram and more all from my phone as we are traveling! Pretty amazing!
32. Fall weather- I love being able to wear boots, scarves, hats, tights...it's my favorite way to dress!
33. Makeup- I am a lover of all things makeup. I am in a makeup club, ok, 2 makeup clubs and each month I receive a package of goodies to try and it's so fun!
34. New friends- we've made some great new friends this year! So awesome to see how God brings people into your life!
35. Movies- I love a good movie! I watch Anne of Green Gables ALL the time and never tire of it. I have some others I watch regularly too and I love good, clean entertainment!
36. Heat- I would be freezing cold this very minute if it were not for the heater running in this house to keep us warm!
37. My Mom's cooking- she is AMAZING. We eat out ALL the time and it's awesome to have her home cooking when we're in IL with her and my Dad.
38. Our Military- Past and Present- freedom comes with a price and these men and women have sacrificed so much for me to enjoy the freedoms I have.
39. The privilege to vote- Yes, I like to exercise my right to vote and I do!
40. Emma Grace- My precious 9 year old "niece" she literally has my heart and is wrapped around my finger. I would do anything for her
41. My mail service- they take care of our mail, shipping and all kinds of other stuff we need. It's such a huge help!
42. Music City Mission- it's a joy to oversee several special events each year and reach out to so many hurting people.
43. Our church, Grace Church of the Nazarene- thankful for a body of believers who support and believe in us.
44. Books- I love to read! It's one of my favorite things to do and so relaxing yet so fun to learn.
45. laughter- I mean, really, it doesn't get much better than a good, hearty belly laugh!
46. Games- I love to play games with friends and family, such a fun way to spend time together
47. Our cars- I sure wouldn't want to walk everywhere all of the time!
48. That God does not change- The Bible says He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
49. That God is faithful- He's kept every promise and has never failed me yet!
50. Pizza- My favorite food ever. My Dad made some pretty good pizza tonight for dinner, so yum!
51. My dermatologist- she is one of the sweetest people ever and keeps my skin looking good!
52. Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene- the church my Dad pastors in IL- they are so generous and good to us and support us.
53. For God's protection on my husband physically. He has had some days of sickness and some tough moments but I am thankful God has protected him through that.
54. Safety as we travel- we have been kept safe and out of harm's way week after week.
55. That when I have been weak He has been strong!
56. The anointing- I do not take it for granted....I plead for it each night I step onto the platform
57. Generosity- I have some generous people in my life who've been such a blessing
58. Shopping trips with my Mom- she's my favorite shopping partner and we have so much fun!
59. My Dad's wisdom- he can fix anything and everything!
60. Online shopping. So convenient and fun, too!
61. My Grandma's Bible- I love to read it and see places where she made comments and notes. Memories I cherish
62. Pictures- such a great way to remember precious moments!
63, Comfy jeans and sweatshirt- perfect for a lazy day
64. Fire in the fire place- so comforting and homey!
65. Diet Coke- my drink of choice aside from water!
66. that I am learning to like healthy foods- I have eaten Broccoli several times lately! Miracle of miracles!
67. That I have never had to go hungry or wonder where my next meal would come from
68. The ability to take care of myself
69. Sugar free gum!
70. Massage Therapy- seriously helps my back and sciatica with traveling! My massage therapist rocks!
71, Popcorn- I love fresh hot popcorn!
72. Purses- what girl doesn't like them?!!?!
73. Adoption- Such a beautiful expression of love. My husband is adopted and I give God praise for His hand upon Bob's life and giving him such great parents!
74. Teachers- my Mom is a phenomenal teacher and I have some great friends who are teachers, too! Not an easy job!
75. for a mind that is healthy and stable
76. Health- yes, I have diabetes, yes, my back hurts from time to time and so does my sciatica, but, that's nothing compared to what some folks deal with. I can function day to day and take care of myself and enjoy life.
77. For the servers, baristas, customer service personnel who wait on me (sometimes I am picky!) and do a great job in an often thankless and difficult job.
78. For my bed. It is SO comfy and warm!
79. For the relationships that broke my heart and that ended- I learned much from them
80. Grace- it's so amazing and undeserved yet freely given! Thank You, Lord!
81. My laptop- without it I wouldn't be able to blog and do work!
82. Mobile Banking! Seriously one of the best inventions ever!
83. My husbands warm hugs- he is always showing affection and love to me even when I am cranky!
84. That my Dad and Father in law call us everyday while we're on the road to check on us and hear how things are going!
85. My Christian heritage
86. Sharpies- I love them! Make writing fun!
87. Hand-written letters and cards- I love to hand write a card to someone
88. That I have never had to feel alone or that I didn't have anyone who cared.....
89. Google- you can find anything you want to when you need to!
90. Hot, clean water to take a shower with everyday!
91. Humor- it's the best survival tool and a real ice breaker!
92. My mentors- I love to listen and learn from those older, wiser and who've walked the roads of ministry, marriage and life!
93. That many days, because of my schedule, I do not have to set an alarm! I hate the sound of it.
94. Friends who call for no reason other than to say hi!
95. Midnight snacks!
96. Hot Chocolate on a cold day
97. Love- it's all you need! Isn't that a song? :)
98. For the things God has kept me from that I don't even realize.
99. That tomorrow I will sit at the table surrounded with my family and celebrate all that God has done for us and enjoy a delicious dinner.
100. For another year of life and the ability to write this...
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! You are Loved!