Last year, I wrote this post on 32 things I was thankful for, and I’ve been thinking about it lately. I may have accidentally created a birthday tradition that is deeply meaningful to me, so why not carry it on?

2018 was… rough for us. There were some really low lows, but also some high highs. We struggled together, we saw victories together, we worked really dang hard together. And I just couldn’t be more proud of our family.

I reread last year’s list, and it just really made me smile. All those things- I’m still thankful for them. And it warmed my heart being reminded of all the treasures I have. Years ago, when we were so broke that we were selling our possessions to pay our mortgage, Ella asked me “what rich meant”. I paused. My heart heavy from our lack of wealth, I knew she was going to ask if we were rich after I gave her the definition. So I decided to set myself up for a win. “Rich is when you have a lot of something, baby. Some people are rich with money, some people are rich with friends.  Some people are rich with gummy bears, and some people are rich with love.” And sure enough, “Are we rich, mama?” “Yeah baby,” I responded, “we are so rich with love.”

I’ve had a few friends tell me that she’s said that to them: “rich with love”. They comment on how sweet it is, and it IS sweet, for sure.  But for me- it represents much more than a cute saying- it was a battle cry for contentment in our crazy hard season. And as I’ve been thinking on what I wanted to include in my list, that battle cry is at the forefront of my mind: we really are so rich with love. That’s what this list is- real things that I’m thankful for, mixed with battlecry’s of my heart. And let’s be real, friend, our human selves so often lean towards what’s wrong with our lives, instead of focusing on gratefulness, don’t they? Let’s not shy away from battle cries today.  Let’s look our negativity in the eye, stare it down, tell our hearts to rejoice, and let our battle cry resound. 

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So. Here we go:

  1. Jesus’s kindness. I can see His heart for us as I look back on the struggles 32 brought, and man am I thankful that He loves me.
  2. Our house. 7 years in, a few projects down, and I’m finally becoming a fan. I used to hate this house, so this one is kind of a fun, big deal.
  3. Ella’s new love for reading our Bible together in the mornings. She loves the Word, that girl. And she loves to talk about Jesus. And now I’m ugly crying.
  4. Nathan’s new job! We are over the moon for this opportunity that seemingly fell into his lap.
  5. Emmy’s “duddles”. Man that girl likes to cuddle. It’s the best.
  6. My growing tribe. Old friends and new that have made this a year rich with friendship.
  7. Konmari. Yes, I have bought into the worldwide obsession with Marie Kondo and I’m not sorry. There really is a lot of freedom in tidying up your life, and since it’s January I’m all here for it.
  8. August 9, 2018. Our saddest day, but yet a day laced with so much beauty and grace, it’s hard to not mention it on my list. Nathan and I have never felt closer, and heaven has never been nearer than that day.
  9. Heart For The World Global. I’ve started volunteering for them and I’m like school girl giddy about it.
  10. Chloe’s aggressive winter cuddles. She weighs a whopping nine pounds and needs all the heat she can get I guess.
  11. Matcha green tea lattes with coconut milk. FRIEND. I AM OBSESSED.
  12. My girls’ affinity for matching. They love to match each other and it makes me so happy I could die.
  13. Make up. Because if I get dressed and put on makeup I’m actually productive that day.
  14. Creating/Making things with my hands. I have been in a season of processing-through-crafting and it’s bringing life to my weary soul. Art/design is just how I process major things, I don’t know any other way.
  15. Hope. 
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  16. Jesus’s peace in our life.
  17. Our family. They’ve really stuck by our side through some hard things this year and man are we thankful.
  18. Writing. Even though I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sometimes I’m like “YAASS. Writing is the best and I’m a great writer!!” But most of the time it’s more like, “NOOOO I HATE WRITING AND I’M A WASHED UP WRITER WITH NOTHING TO SAYYYY.”
  19. Looking back. 2 years ago, Nathan was deeply depressed, in a dead end job that didn’t even pay the bills, and we were in a really bad place. Just recently, Nathan had a job he loved, and was approached by two other big companies (he wasn’t even looking to leave!). We keep saying, “If two-years-ago-us could see us today!” Looking back always leads to gratefulness for how far we’ve come.
  20. Hard work. We have really done some hard work this year. We evaluated it, counted the cost, and KILLED IT. It feels so great to know that your hard work has really paid off.
  21. Friends that share the same heart/goals. I have a few of these gems in a few different areas of my life and I just couldn’t keep going if it wasn’t for them.
  22. The way creating draws me into a deep place of worship.
  23. Tiny hands reaching for mine.
  24. Emmy’ tenacity and sweetness. That girl is gonna change the world.
  25. Ella’s tenderness and compassion. That girl is gonna change the world.
  26. Nathan’s love for me. He is so kind friend, especially when I’m not. I hit the jackpot with him.
  27. Mess. I mean I hate mess, but life is messy. And friend, there is life ALL AROUND ME.
  28. The girls have the sweetest teachers this year. Man am I thankful for them.
  29. The fact that our future is in His hands. I would have planned such a different life for us, on a totally different timeline. But now that we’re here, life unfolding in ways we never thought, I can’t help but see that He knows what’s best. And that helps me to trust that the areas of my life I’m currently dissatisfied with- that I’ll look back on them and say the same: “He knew what was best for us. He’s always known.”
  30. Is it lame to include the Marco Polo app on my list? It’s just really helped me connect with friends & family and make me feel like we’re hanging out all the time. I freaking love it.
  31. Realizing that Nathan and I have [now] built our life on a firm foundation. All the sand of judgement, entitlement, pride- all of it- has been shaken away. And I’m so thankful for the humbling seasons that have brought us to the lowest of lows. Jesus always meets you low, my friend. And when all of you has melted away in the fire of trials, man does He build you back up in more beautiful ways that you could have hoped for.
  32. Lilly’s dark chocolate bars and SO Delicious ice cream. This nightmare-gut-health-girl’s saving grace.
  33. We really are rich with love. For each other, for others, and overwhelmed by His never ending, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love.

Now that I’ve gotten started, I really could go on and on. But. What I’ll leave you with is this: my hope for this upcoming year is more Jesus and less me. More hope and less despair. More listening, less talking. More understanding, less assuming. More connection, less zoning out. More steps towards dreams, less stagnation. More of Him, and less of me.

Bring it, 33.

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