So, it’s the
day before week after Thanksgiving and I’ve had this post on my mind almost all month. I saw many friends and family posting what they are thankful for daily on Facebook during their 30 Days of Thankfulness series. I do enjoy seeing them, and it reminds me to think of my own blessings. So, while the thought crossed my mind to join in, I also realized I didn’t want to be tied to FB everyday or more likely, I would forget a day, get behind and feel guilty, ha! Instead, I’ve been jotting them down and am sharing with you here. I do hope you all know that you are most definitely included in my thoughts of thankfulness.
First, and for most, I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior. I don’t want it to sound cliche’, because it really is true. I was raised in the church, but starting my freshman year in college, I really started to grow in my faith. It’s become more and more a part of me and who I am. All my decisions and how I live my life are based on my faith. Do I do everything right? No way! But, I am thankful for a God who shows me mercy, and is revealing Himself to me more and more. He’s there for me always—even on the days I really mess up. He’s given us an amazing world to live in, and has blessed me with people and opportunities in my life. I wake up every day knowing He is with me always through the good, the bad and the ugly this life throws at me.
My parents-they gave me both roots and wings. I have always known this, but it was even more evident recently when we made a trip back to the Midwest for my brother’s wedding. I love going back to my hometown. It just always feels good. There have been many, many times I wished we lived closer. And we had an incredible visit there; it certainly wasn’t long enough. And yet, as it was nearing time to go, I realized I missed my home in Idaho too. My husband and I have made a great life here. We have a beautiful family, the opportunity to live and work on his family’s ranch, have made wonderful friends and have established ties to our community. I think back to all the opportunities I had growing up in 4-H and throughout high school to travel to different parts of the country and meet other people. I went to college across the state, and I fell in love with and married a man from clear across the country from my family! I still wish we lived closer to them, and I miss them dearly. We look forward to our Skype conversations and any trip we can make; however I’m also thankful for the support and love my parents continue to give me, as well as the confidence to go out and make a life for myself too.
My siblings-I think you always tend to appreciate siblings more as you get older, at least that’s been my case. I’ve always loved them, but we certainly had our moments of not getting along when we were growing up. I am thankful for the time we had this fall watching my little brother get married and seeing our kids and our nieces play together. Makes me wish we lived closer so the cousins could grow up together, yet, we must be doing something right because despite the distance, they played together extremely well, picking up right where we left off last time our family was together. I am proud of my sister and brother. Lacey is an incredible mom, and a gifted teacher in her own way. Ryan is making a name for himself in his industry and is so well-respected. It’s hard to not think of him as my little brother, yet it is neat to see him start a new life and family too. I’m thankful for their spouses, Clay and Leslie. They really complete our family, and bring their own unique personalities and gifts to the rest of our family. I look forward to seeing how their families grow and change, and see what exciting things come to each of them.
On the other side, I am also thankful for my in-laws, Josh’s siblings and the rest of his family. We are blessed to work with many of them on the ranch, and also live within a hour of much of his extended family. Our kids are blessed to be close to several sets of grandparents who love them dearly, are there for them in all their activities and are a great support to all of us.
My husband. I knew pretty early on after meeting Josh that he was someone I could grow old with. He makes me laugh, and I could picture us when we’re 80, still laughing. Well, not quite sure I picture what we’ll really be like, but I do know he was the one I wanted to go on this journey of life with. And, it’s certainly been a journey. Marriage is full of ups and downs. You have to be willing to compromise at times, stand your ground at others, give up your own wants/needs, show love even when you don’t feel like it, forgive, laugh, and laugh some more. I know there are times when I expect him to be more than I should because I’m asking him to meet needs that only God can meet for me. But, I sure am thankful he’s with me for the long haul. He works hard to provide for us, takes his work seriously and does the best he can. He is a great Dad and adores his kiddos. He is quick to forgive and knows how to say he’s sorry. And my goal for the new year, is to spend more time showing and telling him how much he means to me.
My kiddos. Some days it’s hard to believe God has entrusted us with four little people to love, teach, protect, guide and raise up to love and serve the Him and others. That’s ultimately my goal for them. Whatever career path they choose doesn’t matter so much as that they will love and serve God and others. They have taught me so much about life-to appreciate the little things, to enjoy the little things, to stop and smell the roses—or stop and pick the dandelion flowers as my little boy enjoys. Each one of them is different and unique. The make me want to be a better person every day. They certainly make me feel completely inadequate as a mother some days too, and I wonder how we all make it out of the house in one piece, but that’s where the grace of God steps in. I’ve always being a mother is the hardest and best job I’ll ever have, and I continue to stand by it. I wouldn’t trade my littles for anything—even when I’m up to my eye balls in baby food, dirty diapers, activity schedules and homework.
My work. Growing up in agriculture, I’ve always been passionate about it. I knew when I went to college, I wanted to educate and communicate about agriculture. I’ve also always been an artist and into the creative arts. I took four years of art in high school, and loved all of it. Photography had always been a hobby growing up. My publishing work with the Idaho Cattle Association, as well as my lifestyle photography business have given me some amazing opportunities to promote the Idaho cattle industry, as well as capture beautiful moments and memories for many Idaho families, children and high school seniors. I’ve traveled around our beautiful state telling the stories of ranching families for ICA and other agriculture publications. I also incorporate my love of writing into storytelling with with my lifestyle images as well. It’s just part of who I am. I’m thankful for those who trust me to tell their story, whether with words or images. It’s truly been a pleasure to be a part of your lives.
There are lots of little things I’m thankful for as well, and I try to think about them every day. A happy heart is a thankful heart. It may sound trite, but I know the days I count by blessings are the days I don’t let the worries, fears and troubles get to me. My life isn’t perfect, nor will it ever be, but I have much to be thankful for indeed!