1. Parents who love me and have provided all of my needs and most of my wants, often at their own sacrifice.
2. An abundance of extended family, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who have showered me with love and attention my whole life.
3. Salvation in Christ, a life worth living, and forgiveness of sin.
4. A sweet baby sister who grew up to be my precious friend and gave me my three darling nephews (see #31).
5. A small-town upbringing, immersed in the idea that people are important and a simple, quiet life is optimal.
6. A life-long friendship that seems to transcend time and space with the dearest, sweetest girl who is now the dearest, sweetest lady and mom of five I know.
7. Education that I did not appreciate at the time, but now greatly value.
8. Bible studies, retreats, camps, and conferences that offered opportunities for reflection and spiritual growth and greatly influenced and encouraged my walk with God.
9. A loving, encouraging church family and many opportunities for fellowship with friends.
10. Opportunities on mission trips to minister to others' needs and help them in Jesus' name.
11. Failures that seemed catastrophic but have proven to be life lessons with great significance and have been more instructional than any successes could ever be.
12. Falling in love with God's choice for me at the exact right time and learning to cherish and appreciate all aspects of this man.
13. The wedding of my dreams, a near-perfect day.
14. Delightful in-laws.
15. Early days of our marriage when we had little more than God, each other, and a Fry Daddy.
16. A beautiful baby girl, who taught me how to be a mommy.
18. Staying home and loving it.
19. Loving family who were also eager babysitters.
20. A great job for my husband in our little hometown.
21. A precious little baby boy to snuggle, nurture, and protect from #16.
22. A house for our family that we could afford.
23. All of our many loved ones who worked really hard to make that house a beautiful, warm and comfortable home for our little family.
24. Holidays and special times when memories were made and stories were written.
25. A second baby boy, our gift from God, to complete and enrich our family.
26. The delight in seeing the evidence of active kidneys upon his arrival.
27. Homeschooling and the many benefits that accompany this close family lifestyle.
28. An aunt and uncle who have fostered a love for travel in all of our hearts and have graciously invited us to visit numerous places that we would not otherwise have been able to enjoy.
29. Inductive Bible study, which inspired a new love and reverence for God's Word.
30. A home-based business, deveoped by my genius husband, which has allowed our family to work and play together in new and exciting ways.
31. Nephews, three special little boys to love and the joy of being present at one of the births.
32. God's supernatural protection and provision for myself and my loved ones.
33. Health and healing.
34. The comfort of God's presence in the toughest of times, the ones where all you can do is take one step and hope you don't fall.
35. A new church home with new friendships and deep discipleship.
36. The experience of building a house, always a dream of mine, and the joy of living in that new home with my sweet little family.
37. The sale of our previous home, a complete act of God and one that continues to amaze me every single day.
38. Almost twenty years of happily married life with the man of my dreams and the expectation of even more great times to come.
39. Watching my children grow into young adults with a real love for God and great desire to serve Him.
40. Growing old with the ones I love.
Somewhat chronological, this list is certainly not exhaustive. I am truly blessed beyond measure.
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