Thankfulness is something that does not happen naturally for me. I might dwell for a few minutes on some blessing in my life that I am grateful for, but I all too often move quickly on to the next item on my 'want' list and forget to express gratitude for what I already have. Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year, and like every cliche it makes me reflect on the things for which I should be giving thanks on a daily basis.
I want to keep it short and sweet, but I don't want to let this year pass by without recognizing the most beautiful parts of my life. Here are the things I am most thankful for in 2017.
1) I am thankful for Willow's birth mom, who chose not only to give this precious babe life but made the courageous and difficult choice to place her for adoption. A lot of people have asked why she 'gave Willow up' to be adopted and I want to tell each and every person this, that I learned from our adoption training: she never gave up. She didn't give up on Willow or herself or anyone else. She chose the best future she could imagine for a tiny baby in a complete act of selflessness. There was no "giving up," only giving life.
2) I am thankful for my business, this year more than ever. I am thankful for incredible clients who make my life joyful on wedding days, during portrait sessions, and in sweet emails filled with kind words. I am thankful to be able to do work that I love and still be at home with my little one. Balance is an impossible concept to perfect, but walking this tightrope of time with my baby and time spent working is exactly what I hoped and prayed for when I began this venture almost five years ago.
3) I am thankful for our church community that has been life-giving, encouraging, and more than I could have hoped. We have made friends who feel more like family in less than a year, which is a miraculous feat. I was worried when we became one of the only couples in our very new friend group to have a baby, but rather than become frustrated at our limitations and our sometimes fussy little one, they instead embraced us and surrounded us. They have come to our house so Willow could sleep in her bed. They have invited us over and provided space for her to play and sleep. They have loved her in a way that I never expected. What a gift!
4) I am thankful for a husband who I've watched become a father. Between the two of us, Nathan was the one who always dreamed of being a parent. While the transition has not been pain-free it has been beautiful, and I cherish the moments when he can't stop laughing at her antics, or sends me pictures from the disc golf course with his little buddy. I knew way more facts about babies, but Nathan knows how to love her - and me - well, and he shows it every day of our lives together.
5) I am thankful for wisdom that comes to me in all forms from all people. I love reading my Bible, and I rely on it and the One who wrote it daily. I love hearing advice from experienced moms who understand the hard days and rejoice in the happy ones. I love talking to my family during decisions both big and small. I truly could not live my life as joyfully or as wisely without these influences that I welcome with open arms.
There is so much more I could write. So much for which I am thankful. But those, this year, are my top five, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude just thinking of this incomplete list. What are you thankful for this year?