This past year has landed its own set of challenges. Reading last years blog entry, I was thankful for things like losing our home, Gabriella's failing heart, strains amongst friends and family relationships, our tested marriage, etc. Still to this day, I thank God for the paths he led me down and how it shaped the way for the year 2010 would be.
I am thankful for medicine. The fact that this is 2010 and because of the advancements in medicine and struggles of heart families in the past, there was a miraculous procedure available and perfected to save my daughters life. Because of the research and procedures Dr. Bailey began over 30 years ago and the hard work put in by the team over the last 3 decades at Loma Linda University, Gabriella is sitting at the table on Thanksgiving day scarfing turkey and pumpkin pie. :)
I am thankful for a very special family, who took their tragedy and turned it into someone else's miracle. They are a part of group of people that I find to be true heroes... organ donor families. While I am thankful for the decisions our donor family and all donor families made, my heart aches for them and their loss. But I am thankful for the possibility that their loved ones can live on and be honored by their recipients!
I am thankful for my heart healthy son who keeps me on my toes and reminds me that we are still the typical family! Still looking for the thankfulness and "calm in the storm" to the terrible 3's.... but I am lucky to have him nonetheless. :)
I am thankful for the amazing support we have been shown by people outside of 'the circle'. Our family and friends have always been there and such an amazing support, but the love and compassion we have been shown from strangers, new friends, organizations, blog readers, has been such a pleasant breath of fresh air. We have been able to be part of some pretty amazing events with Ronald McDonald House, heart communities and groups and support systems that have introduced us to some fantastic people.
I am yet again thankful for financial struggles. This has been the hardest year by far. With overtime, Paul is making just enough to cover the bills, medical expenses and necessities. It is hard, absolutely terrifying sometimes, but has taught us very valuable life lessons. It has taught us to appreciate the dollar, and not only the dollar but the necessary items that dollar buys. Because we have decided that I need to stay home with Gabriella and PJ due to her medical and school needs, we turned this limitation into a learning experience. Of course, I would be thankful is we won the lottery as well. ;)
I am thankful for my husband who works hard for our family. Also, that he trusts me so much with Gabriella's medical care. Having been married almost 9 years, I know that it would be impossible for us to have the super deep level of marriage that we possess without our severe struggles. You can't reach the top unless you've been to the bottom, right?
I am eternally thankful for my faith. God is my rock, my only solid foundation. To know how much I am loved by Him helps me to be a better person. I have seen and experienced His miracles firsthand and feel lucky to have been chosen for that purpose.
I am so blessed to have amazing nieces and nephews and friends kiddos, supportive family members, loving friends both new and old. So blessed to have a cozy apartment and 2 working cars. Blessed to have our needs met. Blessed to be able to give back to other heart moms, charities and organizations by donating items or time or telling our story.
And I am thankful for little things like splurging on a Starbucks latte, the ocean breeze on the Pacific coast, crisp cool mornings in the desert, photographs, DVR, and so much more. :)
On this Thanksgiving, no matter what your story may be, make it a point to focus on one seemingly negative event that happened this past year. Really think about that, and what you can be thankful about from that situation. Encourage others to do the same. This may take a traditional of saying what you are thankful for together and turn it into a dinner conversation topic!
God bless everyone this weekend. Make memories. Take pictures. Think positive. Be thankful.