1. The blank page on which I am typing this post...it has been more than 2 years since I've attempted to blog, and I missed it more than I realized. After posting "3 Blessings" each day of November to Facebook this year, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy, peace, and contentment. It felt amazing to be writing again, and even better, to have the focus of my thoughts to simply be thankfulness. The old hymn holds true, "Count your many blessings-- name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." I've always known that I am blessed beyond measure, but there is a difference in my attitude when I stop and actually NAME them, instead of simply taking for granted this charmed life that I live. This blog is my attempt to keep up the game all year. I plan to use the "Joy Dare Collection" from Ann Vosscamp as my inspiration for daily posts of thanksgiving, throughout the next year. While I don't know if this blog will be read by anyone besides myself (which I'm ok with, because I think the exercise wont be any less effective if I "go it alone"), the potential accountability of having a few readers would be great (so if you're out there, feel free to call me out if I start slacking!).
2. Snow! Sure, we don't see much of it in my neck of the woods, but I consider myself blessed to have witnessed it often enough to still appreciate the majesty and wonderment of it. Our first married Christmas, Jason and I drove 19 hours (with his mom and grandmother) to Salida, Colorado to visit Jason's brother, Grant. We arrived on Christmas Eve and to my great disappointment, there wasn't a flake of "the white stuff" to be seen anywhere, apart from that on the mountain peaks in the distance. However, we awoke the next morning (Christmas Day) to a fresh blanket of new-fallen snow! I had never seen anything like it in all my life. It was pristine. No footprints, no mud. Only smooth, flawless white. My mother-in-law had written a message for me on the windows of her van "Look Angela, it Snowed!" It was a magical, perfect "first married Christmas" memory.
We were blessed to enjoy many more snowy Colorado Christmases B.C. (before children), skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte and Monarch, an epic snowball fight outside of the lodge, and playing on top of the frozen river. Still, my all-time favorite "Snow Adventure" was in Bryan, Texas in February of 2011. It involved MAYBE 3 inches of snow. The kids were 3 and 5, and it was their first snow ever. (Not to mention one of the only times in Jason's and my lives that we saw snow stick in our hometown.) It wasn't the pure, white variety of powder, like I'd seen years before in Colorado, but it was beautiful in its own way. It was the kind of snow that you could actually roll up like a carpet. And roll it up we did--almost an entire front lawn's worth! We built a grass-speckled family of snowmen with blueberry eyes and strawberry noses, and each one had it's own fabric scarf (in each of our favorite colors at the time). We had so much fun playing in it (and eating chicken noodle soup afterward) It is one of my happiest memories as a family of four, and I hope that Norah and Eli will remember it when they are grown.
3. My wedding gown. It may not be as fashionable today to do so, but I chose white. I think the modern color options are gorgeous, but wearing a white dress was important to me. I'm old-fashioned like that. (And as fair as my skin was, it was the only chance I had at looking darker than my gown) I felt regal and grown-up when I put it on...but also innocent, naive, and at 20 years and 6 months, so. very. young. God has faithfully blessed our marriage in the 13 years since that day, and I'm so thankful to still be spending my life beside the only man I've ever kissed.