Friday, August 28, 2009

28 blessings

It’s my 28th birthday on Saturday. I know that some of you are saying “wow! She’s old!” and some of you are saying “wow, she’s so young still…”

I’m saying , “yeah, that’s about right.”

But I’ve been thinking lately about my 28 years of life. I feel so incredibly blessed. So I’d like to name 28 blessings specifically, in honor of, well, me! And my birthday!

(sing with me now: count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done…)

Okay, here we go:

1. I am SO blessed to be married to my very best friend, the man I have loved for eleven and a half years, and had a major crush on long before that. He is wonderful. He is mine.

2. I have a four year old who is healthy, creative, sensitive, brilliant, helpful, beautiful, and so so loving. She loves spending time with me (as long as it’s not to take pinkadink pictures), she thinks I’m pretty, and she must think I’m a pretty good mom, being as she does EVERYTHING just like me when she plays with her babies.

3. I have a two year old who kisses more than any kid I have ever known. Any time, any place, anywhere he can reach on your body. He does everything with all his heart. He sings, plays, hugs…everything, to the extreme. He plays ‘wedding’ almost every day. He refers to Lillian as “honey” and himself as “sweetie.” He has adorable curls. He loves his baby sister more every day, and his big sister a little less everyday. (Just kidding, but sometimes it seems like that.)  He is a sweetheart in every way.

4. I have a “baby” who thinks I’m the absolute most wonderful thing in the whole world. She is happy, healthy, and cute as can be. She loves laughing, and dancing, and almost walking. She plays ‘chase’ with her brother and sister, and she has the cutest little monkey expression on her face for the majority of every day. She brings more joy to our family than she’ll ever know.

5. I have a God who sent his son for ME. For my sins…and he took them away. He knows me, and loves me, and delights in me as I am. He died for me. And even when I think I can do things on my own, and ignore and avoid him and just get too busy, he welcomes me back. Time and time (and time and time…) again.

6. I grew up with parents who loved the Lord and loved each other. I got 25 years with my mom, and even more with my dad. I was blessed with an upbringing that I can only hope my children will get to experience. Our journey together was full of ups and downs, and always centered on Christ, with a wonderful example of marriage right in front of us.

7. I have in-laws who have loved and accepted me with absolutely no work on my part. They know me, respect me, love me. They bless me in so many ways.

8. I have 3 sisters who are my very best girlfriends. I’ve had to be very deliberate in establishing other friendships, because it’s easy to just rely on my sisters as my friends. They’re everything I could ever ask for.

9. I have a brother who, despite our distance and infrequent visits, loves and cares about my family, faithfully checks this blog, and teaches my kids how to say things like “go cubbies” at an early age. :)

10. I have sisters- and brothers-in law who so obviously follow God’s will in their life that it’s impossible not to recognize it. They are wonderful fathers to their children, and aunts and uncles to mine.

11. I was rescued from a dumpy, cockroach infested, private-parts-drawn-on-the-playground, stinky apartment , and now live in a wonderful house, which has been so much of a blessing that now we are buying it!!! (if you don’t know the whole “house story,” ask me some time.)

12. I feel so blessed to be healthy. Health is something so easily taken for granted. But last year I had a couple lumps in my breast biopsied which came out benign. There was a major rush of emotion involved in that whole experience, as you can imagine. Plus I was 2 weeks away from delivering Brielle. So to be where I am now feels good. A blessing. And knowing that so many people have to deal with sick spouses, and sick children…ugh. I am so so so blessed.

13. At this time in my life, I feel SO blessed to have the friends I do. I mentioned earlier that friendships have always been something extra hard for me. I’ve maybe not put the time and energy I should into relationships, and they kinda fizzle away, mostly. But right now I have some really great friends. I’m not gonna name any names, but you know who you are. :) And I’m so thankful for you.

14. Lately I feel a strange sort of feeling towards my college degree. Like I really appreciate it. And recognize it as a blessing. Not that you can tell from those sentence fragments and the use of the word “towards.” (actually, there’s no red squiggly under it. Does that mean that they now recognize it as a real word with the ‘s’ on the end???) anyway, I go through phases where I’m really bitter toward college. The fact that I spend HUNDREDS (yes, many hundreds. Gotta love partnership loans) of dollars a month to pay for a Spanish and education degree, all the while sitting at home speaking English to my kids who I have NO desire to homeschool, tends to get the best of me most days. But lately I realize it’s all a part of who I am. So I guess I’m okay with it. It’s a blessing…disguised as a huge monthly Iowa Student Loan bill.

15. Wow…only at 15? This is long…. I love the fact that I live close to family. I get to see one sister almost every week. We eat Sunday dinner together, we hang out at the lake together, we make crafts together. Other family members are close enough to visit spur of the moment, and weekends away without the kids are possible, all because we live close to family. Of course I DO wish that certain people weren’t across the state, or many states, or many countries…but I’m blessed to have so many ‘close enough.’

16. I’m blessed to have all my STUFF. Some of it matters, and some of it doesn’t. But it’s a blessing to have things that I care about, that I chose to spend my money on, or that I got as gifts. It’s in this house because I want it to be (well, most of it anyway). And lots of people don’t have lots of stuff they really wish they had. So while it seems really weird to say, and all non-environmental and stuff…I like my stuff.

17. And speaking of stuff, I have LOTS of it that has taken over my dining room and my kitchen counter. It’s what I call my “creation station” and it’s full of really pretty ribbons and flowers and bows and hats. And I feel SO BLESSED to have the best business in the world. I have so much fun designing and creating and burning my fingertips on hot glue. The pinkadink is a blessing that I never expected in my life. I hope I never ever get sick of it. :)

18. While the pinkadink is the best business ever…the best JOB ever is also mine! I wouldn’t trade being home with my kids for anything. I feel like it’s absolutely what God created me to do. I feel so blessed that we’ve been able to make it on one income (well, plus a little random money here and there from my businesses) so I can be home. Some days it’s so hard, but even on those days I still realize I’m blessed. Every morning, I wake up to my husband-looking and smelling SO good- giving me a goodbye kiss. And I get to roll over and go back to sleep and wake up later to the sound of my kids’ voices. It’s pure bliss (most days).

19. I’ll try make these a little shorter now…. Okay, I have been SO blessed by the MOPS program I’ve been involved with. More blessings in this upcoming year I’m sure. Yay!

20. My church has bible studies that I’ve been involved in as well. Good books, good friends, good times. I love it.

21. I happen to have the most adorable kids on the planet as my niece and nephews. I am sure most of you would agree. :) They are brilliant, vibrant, beautiful, wonderful little people and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being their “Auntie.”

22. I have a minivan. And it’s a major blessing. The whole story behind it, the way God plopped this wonderful van in front of us, perfectly matching the amount of money we could spend on a van, the number of times I’ve taken the seats out or folded them down, even the amount of trash that somehow makes its way in that vehicle every day….all of it is a blessing.

23. We have a great church where scripture is taught and people are loved. Where I have ten(ish) kids who let me teach them about God and life and the tabernacle. (that was a really long unit.)

24. We are buying a house in a really great neighborhood, with great neighbors, a park so close, and a huge beautiful wonderful back yard. Where I don’t have to worry about the safety of my kids. Where other kids feel welcome to hang out in our yard with us. I love it.

25. I feel so blessed that we are in the financial position we are in. I’m not going to go into details, but there have been many times in our short married life where we couldn’t pay our bills. And we had no idea why someone paid our rent for us, or why we got money in our church mailbox, or why blank envelopes would come in the mail with money we weren’t expecting, or why certain families or churches or whoever would just choose to bless us financially. People just followed God’s prompting, and it helped us survive some really difficult times. And God has provided everything we could possibly need and more. And we would wonder how He would do it, and then He’d do it, and then we’d be embarrassed that we wondered how He’d do it, and then we’d wonder again the next month, and then He’d do it again, and we’d be embarrassed again, and you know the drill. He just kept on…. And sometimes we still wonder. (isn’t that embarrassing?)

26. I feel blessed to be able to send my preschooler to a Christian preschool. It’s not THAT big of a deal. But since we live in a city, and public schools can be scary places (not that Christian schools CAN’T be, but…), and I’d love to send her to a Christain school forever, but we can’t…I’m just really thankful that we have arranged what we have arranged. And when I cry every day for the first who-knows-how-long, I’ll remember this is a blessing. And I know I’ll cry. I even cried at the open house when all the kids left and the parents stayed in the chapel. And then I had to quick pretend that I wasn’t crying and rub my eyes or yawn or do something else that might cause red watery eyes, just so the other “veteran” parents wouldn’t think I was crying already at open house.

27. I feel really blessed by memories. Good memories, bad memories, anything that makes me aware of who I am and what I’ve become, where I’ve come from and what I’ve been through. They are all what make me “me.” And one of my biggest fears is losing my memory…my memories.

28. This is probably going to sound kinda strange, but I feel really blessed by this blog. The chance for me to document the things I don’t have time to scrapbook, to share stories and pictures with people I love, to have a chance to just be “me” without worrying what other people will think, to be “me” without being “Lillian’s mom” or “Josiah’s mom” or “Brielle’s mom.” To realize there’s more to me. It’s kinda nice.

So there you have it. 28 blessings. This list has taken me a few days to compile. Little lists and notes-to-self have been created, and lots of thinking. Lots of evaluating. Lots of paying attention to what really matters. Try it. It’ll be a blessing. :)


Anonymous said...

This was awesome, Andrea! It made me stop and count my blessings. And your family is one of my many blessings!

Love you!


Teresa said...

Wow....what a fantastic are such a great writer! I consider our friendship to be a 'bonus' of my friendship with your sister and I have loved getting to know you and your kids over the years...may God even more richly bless your next 28 years!

Robyn said...

Thanks for sharing Andrea! What a great reminder to stop and reflect on blessings...I might have to steal the idea for an upcoming post! I hope you have a fantastic birthday!!

Angela Kim said...

fabulous! it is truly amazing how much we have to be thankful for. i loved reading every one of your 28!

Corinne Doughan said...

Happy Birthday Andrea!! Thank you for sharing how God has blessed you over the years. I pray MANY more blessings in the years to come! :)