I meant to get this posted before Thanksgiving... but in the midst of holiday insanity, I didn't. Obviously. However, I think that any time of year is a great time to praise God for His continual goodness!

Where do I start? God has blessed me in so many ways this past year. Some unexpected surprises, some blessings in disguise, some painful lessons -- but blessings nonetheless. So I thought I would recount some of them. Not all of them... pretty sure that would be the never-ending blog post and I would end up boring everyone to death because I would probably try to find a blessing in Randy's X-box being stolen... but that's another story. When I'm ready to throw in the towel (or the diaper), I'm going to go back and read this. I am!

Healing.  Right after my junior year at college, I got really sick with some stomach issues. College? Stress? Probably will never know. Without going into too much detail, I was basically nauseated all day every day. It was like permanent morning sickness, except worse -- it didn't pass after 12 weeks and it most certainly didn't come with a sweet newborn. The word miserable pretty much covers it. The first year of our marriage, Randy and I prayed and sought the Lord daily for healing, yet I continued to feel worse. But I'm not here to tell you about all the aches and pains because there are a ton of people out there that have way more issues than I ever had. What I do want to say is, in the past year, God has touched my body and given me healing. I still have occasional moments where I feel sick, but it is nothing compared to what I had. I don't know if having a baby contributed to it, but this I do know: God has graciously given me healing!

Friends. This one could take a while, so I'm not going to say a lot. But I am especially thankful for those who have prayed for me, encouraged me, and been true friends in the midst of my crazy life. It's rare to have those few friends that you can connect with and talk to about anything in the world... but God has been good to give them to me. You know who you are! :)

My mom. Hard to believe it's been over five years since she was diagnosed with her brain tumor. After her most recent gamma knife radiation treatment, she had an MRI and found that the tumor has shrunk. Not a lot, but it's gotten smaller! Earlier this year, I was thinking, Why would God choose her? She's amazing. Why couldn't He choose someone else? And then it hit me. God chose her because He knew it would glorify Him most. Through all of this, my mom has had the grace to trust the Lord and His purpose. Yes, I know there have been times where that hasn't been easy, but she has shown others how truly sweet it is to trust in Jesus! I am so thankful for her friendship... outside of Randy, she's my best friend. Love her so much.

My family. Couldn't make it without six incredible siblings and two wonderful parents. They've seen me at my worst... and loved me. I think, anyway. I hope. Right, guys? In all seriousness... they are some of my greatest earthly blessings!

Direction. Randy and I prayed for a year and a half for the door to open if God wanted us to be in the military. We asked for specific things, and He answered very specifically. For a year and a half, at least, the answer was "not yet." And then He opened the door in a clear, gracious way. It's been a crazy journey, but we're so thankful. Praise His name alone!

Provision. Ever have those days where you really don't think you're going to make it to the next paycheck? No, you really don't think it's going to happen. Ha. When I quit work after having Landon, I had several of them. I never cease to be amazed at how God always provides. He has never, ever failed us. He said he wouldn't, and He has been true to His word.

Landon. Wow. I still can't believe I'm a mom. It's been almost a year since the doctor placed that darling little baby in my arms. Ever since I was young, I knew that's ultimately what I wanted to be: a mommy. Never thought it would happen as soon as it did, but God saw fit to bless me in that way, and I am forever grateful. I don't think a day goes by where he doesn't make me laugh (and lately, he's been laughing back at me -- I pretend it's because I'm funny). God has given me a sweet, precious, healthy baby boy to cherish and disciple, and I am so, so grateful for that privilege.

Randy. God gave me Randy at the most unexpected of times. To say I am thankful for him would be an understatement. I absolutely love marriage. What girl doesn't want to be with their best friend every day? Do we have ups and downs? Well... I could pretend we're both perfect and say no... but that wouldn't be true. My stubbornness always throws perfection out. ;) Something I am incredibly thankful for is Randy's devotion to our family. Yes, God has called him to the Marine Corps, and that is his job, but before that comes his family. I have never for one second felt that he values the Marines more than us, and I am so thankful to the Lord for that. He's given me a man who loves God with all his heart and desires to put His desires above his own, an incredibly sweet husband, and an amazing daddy.

Grace. I guess that pretty much sums everything up. Free and unmerited favor of God. I don't deserve health, amazing friends and family, a sweet baby, a best friend for a husband. What I do deserve is hell. But Jesus, in His infinite love and kindness, has given me the greatest blessing of all time: He rescued me from my sin and Satan's grasp and covered me in His righteousness. And then He blessed me with all these "other things"! I think Psalm 103:1-5 is the best summary of praise I could give to God for what He's done in my life this past year.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name,
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

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