one thousand gifts.

Are you wondering what all the numbers are at the end of the pages?

I am giving thanks for one thousand gifts.

A thankful heart can make you see things you never stopped to notice in your day to day lives.

This book has inspired me to give thanks for the one thousand blessings I am given each and every day.

1. warm cinnamon toast baking in the oven
2. our beautiful children asleep in their beds
3. coffee brewing waking us all up
4. the sound of the school bus coming down our road
5. a hug and kiss from my husband before he leaves for work
6. leaves, colorful leaves falling from the trees all around us
7. the sound of rain
8. sitting together as a family for dinner
9. my husband pulling the covers up on me when I've fallen back asleep because I've been
up all night with a sick child, him kissing my cheek
10. doctors and medicine to make my baby feel better soon
11. prayers prayed for Katie
12. a mother's instinct to know something is wrong
13. caring doctors and nurses
14. medicine for Katie's pain
15. support from friends and family in our time of need
16. a God who listens to each and every prayer
17. knowing that prayers work, and seeing her get better everyday
18. friends who will keep our kids, even at 1:00 in the morning
19. the feel of coming home after a long hospital stay
20. seeing Katie laughing again
21. sisters talking, hugging, and giggling together because they missed each other
22. being able to cook a good meal after being gone
23. knowing that all five of us are tucked comfortably in bed at night again
24. curlers in hair, dressing up for trick or treating
25. sound of leaves crunching under feet
26. watching Katie spin in circles pretending to be Alice
27. Bradley playing with his pow-pows
28. a favorite Dorothy dress
29. people passing out candy and watching the dressed up children with delight
30. sound of candy plopping in empty trick or treat buckets
31. cool air blowing as the sun starts to disappear
32. colorful costumes on kids running here and there collecting candy
33. shadows on ground of kids trick or treating
34. girls asleep in backseat with bucket full of candy resting in their lap
35. going through candy with their Daddy as he takes quite a few for himself
36. warming up to hot chocolate after a cold night of trick or treating
37. worn ruby red slippers
38. the smile on Katie's face at 10 years old holding these shoes and remembering them
39. watching Katie create
40. the smile on her face as she proudly shows me her drawing
41. watching Jerome and Spencer pass football in the yard
42. soaking these moments up, knowing soon he won't be here to pass a football
43. laughter
44. passing the football with them, and hearing Spencer explain to me how to throw the football correctly for the tenth time
45. hearing the girls cheering for us from the front porch
46. freedom
47. our home we live in
48. grocery stores
49. food to put on the table
50. a roof over our heads
51. wonderful children
52. a school my children can go to
53. living in America
54. the sight of all the paintball guns laid out on our dining room table
55. seeing Spencer spending quality time with his dad
56. the boys proudly showing their "battle scars"
57. laughing at them telling us to go next time, as they show us deep purple bruises
58. a day with just our girls
59. cooking in the kitchen with Natalie
60. learning to step back to let her learn how to work in the kitchen
61. watching her cut the peaches with a knife
62. the peach lemon jam filling the kitchen with a wonderful smell
63. pouring jam into canning jars
64. looking at the jars of jam with Natalie and smiling because we were able to can
65. the sound of the lids popping letting us know the jam was sealed
66. sharing a piece of toast with Natalie, piled high with our fresh jam
67. listening to her tell me all the different kinds of jam we could make
68. hearing our girls read the chalkboard as they sit and eat their bowl of cereal in the morning
69. the wonderful smell of Christmas in our home
70. the way Christmas feels
71. listening to Christmas music
72. sipping a cup of coffee my husband made for me just right
73. kissing under the mistletoe
74. having Jerome home for Christmas this year
75. planning with our kids to send a Christmas package to someone deployed
76. sitting at the table together having dinner as a family
77. encouraging words written in a book
78. our kids being quiet while Jerome was on a military conference call
79. Katie's excitement about wanting Jerome to surprise her at school when he returns home
80. watching my family enjoy a new recipe I tried
81. the Christmas tree ornaments being hung only on the top half of the tree by our kids.
82. looking at our Christmas album full of pictures from years past with my family
83. hearing the stories our kids remember from each Christmas
84. watching Jerome and our kids give Molly an early Christmas present, a bone that is almost as big as she is
85. watching Spencer put the star on our tree, standing flat footed and reaching the top just fine
86. Katie reminding me that we need to put the snow on our tree still
87. our girls asking to sleep in the floor near the Christmas tree
88. putting pictures with Santa in frames on our mantel
89. reading our girls letters to Santa
90. tucking our kids in bed
91. how a little "magic" brings laughter in our home
92. seeing the excitement and anticipation of Christmas in our kids
93. date night with my husband
94. running into old friends at dinner
95. warmth of a new winter coat
96. a kiss from my husband in the cold night air
97. knowing that even though it will be our last date for a long time, we enjoyed every second of it
98. making reindeer pancakes with our kids
99. sleeping in on the first day of Christmas break
100. baking for the family get togethers
101. kids helping in the kitchen
102. wrapping presents
103. watching favorite Christmas movies with my family
104. family Christmas dinners
105. my girls in the kitchen learning how to bake
106. smell of chocolate cake baking in the oven
107. excitement Christmas morning
108. going to the movies
109. no more holiday shopping!
110. watching Spencer with his three year old and two year old cousins, Bradley and Caleb at our family dinner
111. the anticipation of counting down the days to see my husband again
112. the sound of the wheels on my suitcase rolling through the airport
113. landing safely
114. the feel of his hand touching mine, surprising me to where he is standing
115. his smile and the way he looks at me
116. the way his arms feel like home
117. the warmth of his kiss
118. hearing his voice in person, not just through the phone or skype
119. the way my heart skips a beat seeing him in uniform
120. having dinner together again
121. watching a sappy, romantic movie together...even though I know he'd rather be watching an action movie
122. holding his hand while he drives
123. talking about our future together
124. a pillow fight
125. driving around town, going nowhere, but just enjoying being together
126. watching him enjoy a good dinner, knowing he enjoys it much better than the galley food
127. the pride I feel for him, even though I'm sad leaving him
128. knowing that I will see him one more time before he goes over there
129. the kind smile from the older woman at the airport departure gate
130. the view from above the clouds in an airplane
131. landing safely....especially after a white knuckle landing
132. our kids excitement to see me again
133. the love I have inside for my husband and our kids
 134. the excitement of putting a birthday care package for my husband together.
135. watching the kids put the stickers on the box.
136. baking him a chocolate cake from scratch.
137. knowing he will have a little bit of home for his birthday.
138. proving him wrong that I CAN ship a cake and it not be in a million pieces (wink)
139. watching the video he sent me saying, "Thank you baby for my cake", then watching him blow  out the candle and hearing his laughter.
140. finding the perfect watch for his birthday present.
 141. the feeling of being all packed up and starting out on a long journey in the early morning.
142. sleepy kids in the backseat
143. my helper, the navigator, Spencer, who sat up front with me the whole time
144. crossing the Mississippi River and knowing we are closer to Fort Polk with every mile
145. driving through all the farm land in Louisiana will make you thankful for a little gas station alongside the road after miles and miles and farmland
146. the warmth of the sunshine in the South
147. watching the kids enjoy an ice cream from that tiny gas station
148. being asked where we are from, because of our "Northern" accent 
149. glancing over to see Spencer enjoying reading a book during the drive
150. long hair blowing in the wind
151. the sound of the girls hands clapping and rhyming games behind me
152. remembering playing the same games with my sisters
153. arriving in the town near Fort Polk and seeing all of the yellow ribbons
154. the feeling that swells up inside that comes from these yellow ribbons
155. looking at a convoy and trying to find my husband in the middle of it
156. seeing him for the first time
157. the sound of our kids voices yelling "Daddy" out the window
158. being a family again

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