Yesterday was my birthday.
To me, birthdays are a great reminder of things to be thankful for, and luckily for me, my birthday always falls around (and sometimes on) Thanksgiving.
Yesterday was also (dun dun duuuuuun):
Heath and my one year anniversary! He asked me to be his girlfriend on November 25, 2011. Yay for multiple celebrations!
::Sorry for my poorly written photo comment on Instagram that put some of you in a frenzy. My bad. There aren't going to be any Ringlets running around any time soon, I hope.
We decided to do it up right last night by cooking new and different things. I used our new Kitchenaid stand mixer we got from my mother and made a delicious strawberry cake with strawberry icing...ahem...from scratch. Shout out M-Stew for the recipe.
I baked it in the afternoon and listened to Babel by Mumford and Sons on repeat while Heath took a Sunday nap. This may have been one of the greatest birthday presents I could have gotten. Baking is something I just love to do. By the way, can I just say how much the song "I Will Wait" has stolen my heart? Because it has. I am now heartless. It's fine...
Isn't she pretty?
Since this was a MAJOR celebration, Heath and I forwent our usual chicken we cook on the weekends and got a little crazy: we got a couple ribeyes from the grocery store, and that's all she wrote. I had never cooked steak before but last night I became a friggin' champ. I cooked them on the stove and then in the oven in a cast iron skillet (my dad would be so proud). Then...THEN...I got extra crazy and jazzed those sons of guns up with a little Pioneer Woman. Yes, you heard me. PIONEER WOMAN, I LOVE YOU. I made her legendary Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce that put both Heath and me in the most lovely of food comas. If you're feeling adventurous and not caring about your diet for the night (clearly this was a lost cause), do yourself a solid and try it. I'm having leftovers tonight, and I'm not ashamed.
Once the steaks were done, Heath and I went to the living room for a quiet, lovely dinner celebration. We talked about what we were thankful for, how crazy it is that we have been together for one whole year, and what a lovely year it has been. To me, this was the best kind of Thanksgiving meal I could have asked for.
Here are a few iPhone photos from the night.
The Hunk being the cutest...because he just can't help it.
one year of loving Heath Ring is one year well spent.
Later we sat side by side and shared a massive piece of cake. And then I did not share a massive amount of insulin.
At church yesterday, the sermon was on thankfulness and being content with what one has. I feel like I am constantly being challenged in this area. Sometimes I fail but when the victories over myself rise, they are just too sweet. The pastor referred to the old hymn "Count Your Blessings," and it was hard to not have this stuck in my head the rest of the day. "count your blessings, name them one by one. count your blessings, see what God hath done."
My challenge to myself these past few months have been to live a life of thanksgiving, not just this particular time in my life. I want my life to be one that honors the blessings I have received because they are not ones I have earned. I wanted to throw out some of the things I am thankful for (in no particular order):
10. My house.
As much as it can be a pain in the rear because The Pearl is SO OLD, I just love my little house and all its charm. I'm thankful for a lived-in home, one that Heath and I are slowly but surely making our own. My school threw us a wedding shower and since we didn't register for anything (because we definitely don't need "things"), we asked if maybe they could throw us Home Depot/Lowes giftcard shower and those ladies and gents DID NOT disappoint. Yay Project Pearl!
09. My jobs.
Man...getting to invest in some pretty fly kids every day is not for the faint of heart, but boy, do I love it! My kids rock my world and are constantly teaching me new things every day. Things about life, things about myself. I can't imagine doing anything else for a while. I love my job so much, in spite of the paperwork :) I am also grateful to work at a gym that gives me an opportunity to lead other's in their road to physical health. Shout out to athletic gear! Also, I love being a photographer and getting to work on the side. What a treat it is to still do this and being able to enjoy my clients so much.
08. My family
The Simwells are the glue that holds me together at times. They are some of the most incredible humans of all time. My family is a force to be reckoned with: we love with a selfless love that seems unbelievable at times. We have endured a lot together, and seeing where we are now, it is just so humbling that I got so lucky to spend many of my best and worst memories with them and be loved. Always. No matter what.
07. Elliot and Eden
Yes, my nephew and niece get their own number. When Elliot arrived, I remember looking down at his tiny face, into those big black eyes and thinking, "how in the world is it possible to love someone this much?" He made me believe in love at first sight. He made me feel grateful that a piece of my dad was being born into this world: the same blood that ran through Elliot and my veins, also ran through his. And now, there will be another one. My heart won't be able to stand it, I fear.
06. The Rings and The Smiths
Heath's family has opened their arms to me from the beginning, and I am so grateful to have such wonderful in-laws. Seeing both his mother and dad on Thanksgiving was such a treat. We are so blessed.
05. My mother
Talk about someone who fights for those she loves. I cannot ask for a better example to follow than my mother. She has always been one of my closest friends and the person I could always talk to. Her prayer and guidance and discernment is how I am where I am today. I cannot imagine any other person raising me. I love her more now than I ever have. After losing my dad, I realized she is the closest thing to him that I will ever have, which makes me see so much of him in her. It is weird, I know.
04. My friends
I have been blessed with some really lovely creatures that I am honored to be able to call my friends. One of my favorite sayings is "Friends are the family you choose." I just love that because it is so true. I have kept some and lost some, but the ones I have lost have taught me almost as much as the ones who have remained constant and true.
03. My spiritual walk
Speaking of constant things, I cannot fathom my life without my walk in Christ. Talk about a faithful friend. The one that encourages you but isn't afraid to put you right in your place. I am nothing without Him. Daily I am challenged and reminded of this fact. There really aren't words to do it justice. So I won't do it the disservice.
Music is a way for me to get inspired and be creative. I am always so grateful for any and all inspiration. Plus, music is a way for me to feel things deeper than words can express. It gets me motivated when I don't want to and relaxed when I do. It also is a way I reach my kiddos at school, which is huge for a nerdy English teacher :)
01. The Hunk
My darling. My best friend. My partner. The one who will always make sure I get the good fluffy towels for my shower before he does. The man who gets up with me when my blood sugar crashes and fixes me peanut butter and honey toast while in his boxers and with bed head, no questions asked. My love who wakes me up when he hears my breathing change because he knows I'm having a nightmare, so he does what he can to stop it. That precious fella who when I chuckled nervously while standing in front of the jacuzzi tub at our honeymoon, freaking out enternally about dropping my towel, gave me the biggest smile and put his hands over his eyes and said, "I won't look until you tell me to." The man whose voice singing songs at church is my most favorite singing voice in the world. Yes, that one. I guess you could say I'm thankful for him.