Today I am grateful for so many things! I am immeasurably blessed, and I am grateful for that. This post is going to be pretty darn long, so strap in.
Since I am 26, here are 26 things I am grateful for:
1. My life! With the burn injuries I sustained and the infections I had and as malnourished as I was, it wouldn't have been a far stretch for me to not have made it. Also, as I've dealt with depression most of my life, which has sometimes been quite severe, I'm grateful that I never took my own life. I love my life, and I am so thankful to still be living it!
2. My parents. I am so incredibly blessed to have been taken in by such wonderful people. Mom and Dad both have their faults, of course, but I have never doubted how much they love me. I never felt different from their other, biological children. I have never doubted that they want the best for me. My life would have been so different had Mom and Dad not chosen to take me into their family, and I am eternally grateful to them for that. I love my parents very much.
3. My sisters. I haven't always gotten along with all of them. There are 7 of us, after all! I haven't always been close with them, and even now I'm not as close to my older sisters as I'd like to be. But they have always been good to me. Much like my parents, I always felt like they accepted me as part of the family. I never felt like an outsider, even as a foster child. I admire my sisters. Each of them has traits that I hope and try to make part of myself. I feel very blessed to have the sisters I do.
4. My husband. I know I rave about Brett. I really try not to be sickeningly mushy, for your benefit. And Brett certainly has his faults. But I just cannot say enough good things about this man. He is a loving husband and father. He treats me as I should be--an equal partner in our marriage. He is concerned about me and does everything he can to ensure that I am happy and that my needs are met. He is affectionate. He loves our children and is involved in their lives. He helps to care for them. He plays with them. He is a righteous priesthood holder. He is funny and smart and curious and loves to learn. Brett is everything I ever wanted in a husband, and I'm so glad he puts up with me! I am so grateful to be his wife.
5. My kids. Yes, they most definitely try my patience. Frequently. Repeatedly. Endlessly. But I more or less knew what I was getting into. After all, they've got me for a mother! I'd be deluding myself if I thought my kids wouldn't be strong willed. Ha. But they are such amazing little people. Amy is loving and caring and smart and curious and everywhere all at once. She is fiercely protective of her little brother and loves to pretend to be me. :) David is adventurous but has a much more mellow personality than his big sister--although he definitely has the same stubborn streak! I am so blessed to be their mother. I remember a time when I feared I would never have children, and I wish I could go back and reassure myself. I love being a mother, and I'm especially grateful to have these two special spirits in my family.
6. My Savior. I'm grateful for his life, his ministry, his atonement, his death, and his resurrection. I am grateful for his love for me and his willingness to forgive me for my innumerable mistakes. I'm thankful for the relationship that I have with him.
7. The gospel. I'm so thankful to have the gospel in my life. I'm grateful for the knowledge and the comfort that it gives me. I'm grateful for the meaning it gives to my life. My faith plays such a huge part in who I am, and I'm so glad that it does.
8. Modern revelation. This includes scripture, prophets, and personal revelation. I'm so thankful to have modern revelation to guide me. I'm grateful that I don't have to rely solely on a 2000+ year old book (not to say that the Bible isn't great!). I'm grateful for the clarity that modern revelation provides. I'm especially thankful for personal revelation--for answers to prayers, for the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and for the watchful eye of my Heavenly Father. I know I can receive answers to my prayers, if I am willing to hear the answer.
9. Air conditioning. I live in Missouri. It gets hotter than heck here during the summer, and it's really, really humid. Because of my scar tissue, my body doesn't sweat like a normal person, so I can get overheated very easily. Summers are really uncomfortable! So I'm very grateful that I live in the time of air conditioning. Especially when I was pregnant. Whew. Super toasty.
10. Plastic surgeons. If it weren't for my doctors, I wouldn't be alive. Enough said.
11. Medicine! Medicine for me, medicine for my kids. Pain meds, antibiotics, immunizations. (Yes, immunizations. I've done the research, and I immunize my kids.)
12. Hospitals. Although I do NOT like being a patient these days, I'm grateful they're there. I'm thankful I can take my kids somewhere in an emergency and have them receive great care. And I'm thankful they're there to occasionally suture Brett's leg when he slices it open.
13. Missouri Children's Burn Camp. This camp changed my life as a camper, and it continues to have a profound effect on me as an adult. I'm grateful to have had a place to go where I was NORMAL. Where people didn't judge or point or laugh or whisper or tease because of my scars. Where I was accepted. And I'm so grateful now to have the opportunity to give back, and to be a counselor.
14. Friends. Current friends, past friends, rediscovered friends. Friends who have come and friends who have gone. Friends who stood up for me. Friends who stood by me. Friends who comforted me. Regardless of who or when, each friend I've had has changed me as a person. I am so grateful for the many people who have been and are a part of my life.
15. A home. We've moved several times in our marriage, but we've always had a home suited to our needs. I'm grateful to have a roof over our heads, and to have a comfortable, safe place to raise our children.
16. Basic necessities. This ties into the above. Despite
17. Cell phones. I love having a cell phone. I'm grateful to know that no matter where I am, and especially in emergencies, I can always get the help I need. Especially grateful for it, since I have 2 small kids.
18. The Internet. Yes, granted, I can waste oodles of time on Pinterest, but it's also super useful. I can look through the college's database of articles without leaving my couch. I can get directions to anywhere. I can keep in touch with friends and family. I can find fun new recipes, and ideas for crafts and gifts. I'm grateful to have such easy access to such an incredible resource.
19. Service. While I'm definitely grateful for service rendered, I'm most grateful for the opportunity to serve. I've grown more aware over the past few years of the blessings that come from serving others. I really do feel closer to the Savior when I forget myself, and I learn to better love God's children when I'm serving them. Even though the service often takes me out of my comfort zone.
20. Service. Yeah, again. As mentioned, I'm grateful for service given to me. I hate asking for help. I mean, I REALLY hate asking for help. I don't like to inconvenience other people, and I don't like admitting that I can't do everything myself. It's really hard for me. But when I do admit it, I'm grateful that there are always people willing to help me. This was especially evident during David's pregnancy when I was put on bedrest, and the women from our ward at church brought meals 3 times a week for a month. They called and checked on me. They offered to come help in other ways. And I was overwhelmed at their willingness to serve me. I'm grateful for that service, and very touched by it.
21. Electricity. Because how else would I read books until 3AM?
22. Other modern conveniences. Especially, with little kids, my washer & dryer, as I've mentioned in a previous post. My dishwasher. My oven and stove. Indoor plumbing and running water. I love the convenience of living in a modern age, and I'm grateful for the measure of ease that it brings to my life. I'm grateful that it allows me more time to spend on other things...like writing absurdly long blog posts.
23. My brain. I'm so grateful for my intelligence. And no, I'm not bragging or trying to make myself look good (although at one point in my life, I would have been!). I am grateful for my ability to learn, and the ease with which I usually do it. I'm grateful for a keen, curious mind. I'm grateful for my love of books. I'm grateful for the intellectual gifts I've been given. I really think I'd be a dreadfully dull person otherwise. I'm just not funny or witty enough. :)
24. Cars. I probably could've included this in my "modern conveniences" section, but really, it deserves its own mention. How drastically different would our lives be without these huge mechanical beasts? I love being able to hop in my car, plug in the portable DVD player, and drive 6 hours to go see family. I love being able to zip to the grocery store (although the process takes 4x as long with kids in tow). I'm so thankful for the opportunities I'm afforded by having a car.
25. My parents-in-law. I've told Brett and his parents many times how lucky I am to have them, and I've probably mentioned it on this blog, too. But really. I honestly dreaded the prospect of marrying into a family. I was terrified that I'd get stuck with some evil, mean-spirited people that I'd have to endure being around occasionally so as not to offend my husband. And I am so grateful that's not the case! I love my in-laws. They really are like a second set of parents to me. Barry and Barbara are such loving, kind people. I'm grateful to know them and be a part of their family.
26. My Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven who watches over me. I know I have a mission in this life, and I know He would never give me anything I can't handle without His help. He loves me enough to give me trials and challenges, knowing I will have to rely on Him to get through them. I'm so grateful for His guidance.