I woke up this morning thinking that I need to squeeze in at least a short work out before getting ready to leave for our annual trip to Evansville to celebrate Christmas with John's family. And the thought hit me that I need that work out because I have such an abundance of food to eat (and choose from) that I can easily gain several pounds in a day or two. How often do I truly comprehend what an amazing blessing that is and stop to thank God for food? I take so much for granted because I've never known hunger or the fear of not having enough to eat.

I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night -- but in a soft, warm bed. I may have to lie there for a while before going back to sleep, but I could not be in a more comfortable state of insomnia.

God has blessed me with a husband who truly loves me, protects me, appreciates me and doesn't spend a lot of time focusing on my flaws. The ones I have can be glaring at times. I'm emotional and sensitive and way too often personalize something that should not be personalized. But we never fight. And I've got to tell you, it's because of him. He is the one who doesn't react to anything. And we both care more about the other's feelings than we do about being right, or worse, proving someone else wrong. That's another amazing blessing. And that is one blessing that I am extremely conscious of and do thank God for on a very regular basis. It's the first thing I thank God for every time I'm lying awake in the middle of the night. I am always aware of how blessed I am to have John right there beside me.

I am so thankful for my family. I'm blessed with a son I have always had a close relationship with and one who has always loved God. He has been a spiritual inspiration since he was young. And he has always pointed me to Christ. I am blessed with a daughter-in-law who I can truly call one of my dearest friends. She lets me know how much she loves me, that she wants me around and that she considers me a great grandma. I don't take those things, or her, for granted. I know mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law don't always have the kind of relationship Rebecca and I have. There is mutual respect, appreciation and lots of love between us. There is also an acceptance of our different personalities and the freedom to respond differently or even disagree without lasting consequences. And there is open communication.

As evidenced here on my blog, I have adorable grandsons. I love them so much. I'm so thankful they are healthy and I don't have to worry about them being cared for well because Danny and Rebecca are incredible parents in so many ways.

I am thankful for my extended family. Life is funny. We are not always good friends with someone simply because the same parents brought us into the world. Many times we are just born such different people. It's nobody's fault. That's just the way life is. I always felt like the different one in my family, growing up and as a young adult. I would have given anything to be more like my brother, Todd. I thought he was much more lovable than me. And I envied some of his traits. I wasn't crazy about most of my own. I remember desperately wanting his love and acceptance for so many years. And I am thankful I'm not needy in that way anymore.

I love all of my family, whether we are close or not. And I always will. But my love now is not out of need. I accept our differences and I accept each relationship for what it is. It does not have to be ideal. I know that both of my brothers love me. One I definitely feel more acceptance from and feel closer to. But I love them both equally. They are each important to me. And they are gifts in my life, just in different ways.

I am blessed with a sister-in-law that is more like a sister than an in-law. We have been through so much together. I know the real her. And I love and respect her very much.

I am also blessed with a slew of nephews and nieces, whom I have always adored. I am thankful for each one of them and the special relationships I've had with them since they were little. I can't imagine my life without any one of them.

I am blessed with great in-laws. John's family is my family. His mom is a mom and a buddy to me. She is amazingly wonderful. And I am so thankful for her. She also loves me just as I am. She makes me feel so loved whenever we're together. I just love spending time with her. And I love to spoil her and make her feel special, because she is. I'm so thankful to have that kind of relationship with her. And I just love John's whole family. We always have so much fun together. And from the first day I met them, they have welcomed me into the Howerton family with open arms and made me feel like part of the family. I will never forget the comments from John's brothers early on in our relationship, "Well, Johnny finally got it right."

I have a lot to be thankful for. I will never be able to fathom why God would be so merciful and would choose to bless my life so abundantly. I do not deserve all these gifts. All the good deeds (if I'd done them) in the whole world could not merit such a blessed life. And I am so very thankful.

I just wanted to begin Christmas Day with a public thank you to You, Father. Thank you for sending Jesus into our world. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for every trial and every opportunity to know your grace. And thank you for all my undeserved blessings.


Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing your grateful heart. I appreciate you and how you always shower me and my boys with love and affection. I hope you know how much you are loved. Thanks again for all the yummy food Sunday. We always have a blast visiting you guys. Tell the Howertons Merry Christmas for us!
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