Yesterday, as I played with my children who were all home from school for a teacher in-service day, I really loved my life. I loved being home. I loved not having to drive anywhere. I loved having children come over to play with my kids. I loved that this caused them not to argue very much. I loved the weather. I loved the leaves. I loved my hair. I loved wearing workout pants all day and not thinking about fitting into my (mildly) "skinny" jeans. I loved watching my baby take her very first steps. I loved being the only one who knew that she would be taking those steps. And I loved her falling into my arms when she did. It was a peaceful, beautiful way to watch the clock wind down on my 35th year.
Too often in life it is easy to overlook the beauty and blessings that frankly overflow our days. Well on this day, my 36th birthday, I'm going to take a moment to document 36 reasons I have to rejoice in the beautiful life God has given me.
I don't often do that, especially on my blog, because there are enough mirages of perfection out there, but today is my day, I'm going to recognize the happiness that is mine.
36 of My Reasons to Rejoice
(in no particular order)
1. My baby took her first steps like an old pro on the eve of my birthday.
2. I have a father who is sweet and tender and who once found a quiet afternoon to take me out to Dairy Queen for a banana split and who often let me hold the flashlight for him on cold, cold, cold, dark winter evenings while he tried to get our cars running so that he could go to work the next day.
3. I have a little flower girl named Autumn who brings me bouquets of colored, fallen leaves and who says she loves me most.
4. I get to stay home with my children as my chosen profession.
5. I cut my own hair sometimes, and I generally like the outcome. (phew!)
6. I love all of my in-laws. They make me feel loved.
7. I wake up in the morning (and in the middle of most nights) to the sound of someone either crying out for me or snuggling with me or both.
8. My son gives me great big hugs and leaves me love notes...and pinecones.
9. Because of the gospel I have become a better, happier person.
10. Life-long friends who know what I was like way back when, who remember my birthday, who buy me virgin daiquiris when I turn 21, who listen to me cry, who remind me who I am, and who give me sound advice. Oh, and people who call me J-Bird.
11. My Mom, the super strong woman who taught me how to be tender and tough...who wasn't afraid to tell me the truth about everything, all the time, who cooked for me and sewed clothes for me, and brought dinner to me in brown paper bags when I stayed late at school, and who I like to tell my dreams to.
12. Breakfast in bed. Parades. Marching bands. Jacks and marbles tournaments. Santa Claus at midnight. Conference cake. Getting the red plate. Gardening. And other family traditions instituted by my parents.
13. A husband who loves me, just the way that I am, and understands me, and doesn't ever hurt me, who makes me laugh and tells me he loves me every night before he falls asleep.
14. My little girl who is like a carbon copy of me...which is both amazing and scary.
15. I can take long baths all by myself.
16. Make-up. (I don't need to explain that, do I?)
17. P.M.A. and pompoms.
18. Working in the Nursery. I like it, and I wasn't sure that I would.
19. I know God is real.
20. I have a pen pal who sends me the sweetest letters and makes me feel like a million bucks.
21. My kids forgive me when I'm not a perfect parent.
22. The memory of the mud fight my siblings and I had that we kept a secret from my parents for decades. A secret that finally came out at Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago.
23. Dogs. All of the dogs we had growing up, their jingly chains, wet noses, and soft bellies.
24. My son who has a testimony and is going to be baptized next month.
25. All of the beautiful trees that I can see outside of my windows, all of the time.
26. How when I read my grandma's journals and letters I feel her very near, and I am reminded that she still exists and that I will see her and my grandpa again some day!!
27. I have siblings who set a good example for me and listen to my troubles when I call them.
28. My brother who served a mission.
29. I have been allowed to taste bitter and sweet.
30. My grandpa taught me how to parallel park, and I'm still impressively good at it.
31. I love to write. And it is a part of who I am.
32. I walked to school every day as a kid and had untold adventures with my friends of West and East Drive. And when I think of them, it's like coming home.
33. The fuzzy slippers that my husband made for me a few Christmases ago.
34. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, this too shall pass. This thought has helped me through a lot of potentially painful situations...like the removal of splinters and watching my babies get shots.
35. Dreams. Every kind of dream.
36. Knowing that the Savior lives.
Now, you tell me. What reasons do you have to rejoice today?