Today is one of my favourite holidays of the American calendar. Thanksgiving. Where all across the country homes are filled with families and sometimes spare friends, eating Turkey and pumpkin pie, watching American football on tv, going for walks after the chemicals in the turkey make you want to enter a food coma of sorts, and lastly sharing things we are thankful for with one another. My first year in Newcastle I got the week wrong and cried the day before thinking I’d missed Thanksgiving. (Hey, in my defense, I had just moved back to the country after a year away, had been here two months and was still culture shocking a bit and missing one of my favourite holidays when I didn’t know if I’d live in America again – it felt a bit traumatic!) My staff team pitched together and threw me a surprise Thanksgiving complete with all the trimmings. It was so special!  Since then it has become not just a regular holiday for our team but for all the students involved with us as well. 

I often don’t think I practice thankfulness enough so I thought that would be what I would write about today. Here is just a short list of what I am thankful for: 

1. That daily I experience God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
2. My family love me enough to keep in touch with me frequently (daily) 
3. But also love me enough to support me in what I do and don’t guilt me to move back to the US.
4. My mother has prayed for me every single day I have been alive. I am sure not a day has passed that she hasn’t prayed. 
5. I make deep and meaningful friendships wherever I go.
6. I moved to Newcastle fearful I wouldn’t make friends, and countless friends later.. I call Newcastle “my people, my city.” It has been one giant gift of friendships. 
7. I can dance. 🙂 
8. I don’t need to earn God’s love. Ever. 
9. God doesn’t just love me, he likes me. 
10. I live near a beautiful park that I can escape to and go for walks in whilst still living in the city. 
11. I have the most amazing sister in law and friend ever a girl could ask for. My brother definitely married well. 🙂 
12. To be fair, I have the best brother in the world. He is a man I truly respect
13. And he taught me all I know about winning a wrestling match. Today Sean attempted to get me with the squirty cream all evening. When it finally went down.. he was toast. Thank you Mark for wrestling and self defense skills. It pays to have been your wrestling dummy all those years. lol. “Nooooooo not another firemans carry!!!” 
14. Two beautiful fun loving nephews. 
15. The technology that exists so I can manage a relationship with them at that young of an age across all of these miles. Skype, Vonage, Whatsapp, FaceTime I solute you for keeping my family talking. 🙂 
16. That I have learnt the Lord is good even when he allows me to suffer. A lesson I can’t get my head around but amazing still that I know it. 
17. I have people who pray for me all over the world. Crazy.
18. I have friends all over the world. Dear close friends in the US, UK, Ireland, Chile, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Nigeria, Canada, Iran… the list could go on.. 
19. My big messy mass of crazy cousins. I love that we are loud, crazy, multi ethnic, multi cultural, multi lingual, and all have the same big grin. 🙂 
20. That though I sometimes feel homeless, I have many places to call home. 
21. That though I am yet husbandless, I know deep down Jesus cares about that and understands me, even when I don’t believe it and feel forgotten.
22. Gerber daisies
23. That I can run and play
24. That the Sea is near my city. Love the sea. 
25. I have had lots of adventures in my days. 
26. That I was able to have a university education.. something many girls in many times would not have been able to have.
27. Because of where I was born, freedom is what I expect in life. That is grace and not a given. 
28. Hope.
29. Laughing til your sides hurt. 
30. That I get to introduce people to life and hope and freedom and forgiveness for my job. Amazing. 
31. That God is not done with me. 
32. That the lilac scent exists. 
33. My bills are paid, my house is (relatively) warm (hey it’s England.. it’ll never be THAT warm! lol).
34. My daddy – hardworking, servant, and one whom I have experienced deeper understandings of grace and the gospel with. 
35. Friends in this city who love me, protect me, share life with me, laugh with me, cry with me, dance with me, and pray with me.
36. My best friend coming to see me this weekend –13 years and still going -we are so different but she is a gift to me as a friend.
37. God’s grace is bigger than all my sins.
38. The Holy Spirit is in the business of changing people – and He changes me. (more on that in one of my 30-30 blogs) 
39. My wonderful grey leather sofa that I got for free 6 years ago.. lol and all the boys who have helped me move it from house to house over the years. Love this couch. 🙂 
40. That “pretty” is an adjective that exists. I love pretty things, pretty people, prettiness. 
41. That the gospel makes me free. 
42. That the Africans, mixed their music with the Cubans and Dominicans and other South Americans and infused as immigrants in places like NYC and invented what I now call “salsa music” – it just makes me happy to hear those beats. 🙂 Muchas gracias latinos. 
43. That I can get a flight home in 8 hours and not a 3 month boat ride like the old days. I am sure I’d be a seasick puppy. 
44. The people I work with.. all over the country.. are actually more like a family. Incredible. 
45. There is a secret medicine in practicing thankfulness
46. Singing brings me great joy
47. that I’m short (yeah decided I like it after all) 
48. That God is a good Father
49. that I have the ability to read
50. That Jesus died and rose again to make me clean 

This road is above the park near my house. Loved this pretty dim lighting on the drive home tonight after our massive student Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂 

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