The many blessings I have to be thankful for this year

original photo by talon.k

Looking over the past year, there is much--very much--for me to be thankful for. Seeing as it is Thanksgiving, it only seems fitting to pause to look back and reminisce over all that has been given to me, all that has painted the story of my life this past year.

I am thankful for...

...making it in Grand Rapids--moving to a new city, knowing one soul and taking on a new job in a position I knew little about.
...meeting incredible people and friends and spiritual mentors during this short season of time in my life
...the grace and strength God gave me while living there, as I learned to appreciate solitude and turn to him when days seemed too hard to handle.

...the long-distance relationship I was able to nurture over this past year and for the dozens of plane tickets that allowed it to flourish.
...Michael's unending grace and forgiveness toward me, as I learned how to cherish another person's heart.
...his commitment to take me as I am, countless imperfections and all, and propose to me with marriage, on a dark Friday night as the rain poured down around us in his driveway.

...being able to plan our wedding in 10 weeks, with detail after detail falling into place to create the wedding I'd always hoped for in a budget that my parents could happily afford inspite of our impossible-seeming timeline. (Many of my prayers during this time revolved around begging God to be my wedding planner to get everything done in time. He truly wears many titles and answers many prayers!)
...the shower of kindness we received from friends and family with wedding gift after wedding gift so that we hardly lack a thing.
...finding a reasonable apartment to live in during our one-month stint in Grand Rapids as newlyweds.

...moving to Atlanta and locating a beautiful apartment to call "home sweet home."
...having an income to support us, even after quitting my full-time job for the move.
...getting to work from home as a freelancer and make up my own schedule, so that I can hang out with Michael while he's home, and work while he's at school or studying. It has been such a great opportunity to start off our marriage this way, rather than rushing past each other on my way here or his way there. We actually get to spend time together.

NEW LIFE down the street from a lovely, sprawling park perfect for people-watching and spending time in nature on a slow and sunny afternoon.
...finding a new church, only blocks away from our home. It is here where I am learning to appreciate liturgy and search out community.
...learning to become a helpmeet and a homemaker. Even in this season where I have a job and we're not yet starting our family, I'm becoming aware of what my future holds and the virtues and needs that it will require. So I begin to take tiny steps to prepare. One today, one tomorrow. Soon I will be ready for the future when it's time has come.

LOVED ONES family, the one I was born with and the one I've been given through marriage. As is the case for many newlyweds, times have financially been tight. Whether it's receiving our honeymoon as a gift from an in-law or my cousin offering to fix my persnickity laptop for free or Michael's grandma sending us "in-case-of-emergency" money, we have yet to feel the burden of our situation alone. friends, who are only a phone call or an email (or a Facebook message) away, and always willing to respond to my random queries and make "home" feel a little less far away. husband, who continues to be my very best friend who makes me laugh more than I ever have and always encourages me, even when I come to him with my tail between my legs, apologizing yet again. I've learned that one of my Love Languages must be gifts because nothing gets me as excited as when he brings me an unrequested cup of coffee (just the way I like it) and a dark chocolate candy bar. He knows me all too well :) God, who never gives up on me, never kicks me to the curb, even when I deserve it. Even when I abandon him, he does not abandon me, but takes me back when I take a tiny step back toward his direction. He provides for me even during those times, proving to me again and again that I am his beloved, the apple of his eye, that he is ever good and ever faithful and ever merciful. Time and time again.

For all this and much, much more, I am thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

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