Few days are "perfect" days, and today, just like any other had it's ups and downs, but lately I've been inspired to look up in the midst of a potential down sort of day. The words of my dear friend's father echoed in my mind today:
"reality + expectations = disappointment." I had some idea of what a birthday should go like, and although there were a few little hiccups (from a late start, missed nap time {no, not for me} and some general life stress) I honestly have nothing to complain about, and everything came together for an ultimate good. In honor of this 24th birthday and everything truly good that's come about, in no particular order ('cept the first, you'll see why) here are 24 things I'm grateful for. 

1. God, because He deserves to be first and foremost. 

2. Real Simple magazines (see what I mean? No particular order ;-)

3. Rain --- I'm an Arizona girl, it's a novelty. 

4. Getting to say I have more than one best friend, that is a gift. 

5. Parents that have taught me patiently (I'm a slow learner, especially life lessons)

6. Art. I had no idea my life would go down this road, but I'm so thankful it did. 

7. My husband. And this one deserves a few bullet points -- 
  • his guitar playing skills, it soothes my soul
  • his God given talent for being a father
  • the fact that he still calls me "sweetheart" (and now Christian does too sometimes <3)
  • He still pursues me 
 8. Friends. Ones close, and ones that stay close even though they're hundreds/thousands of miles away. People warm my heart.

9. A baby boy that will give me endless hugs and kisses, tell me he loves me, sit with me while I read, make sure I'm ok if I seem sad.. on & on.

 10. My camera -- I get to look at a precious face, a sacred moment over and over and never forget it.

11. School. I met so many inspiring people, learned about even more inspiring people, and found a part of myself in the middle of it.

12. Being a part of two cultures; it's taught me that one way isn't always the "correct" way. I could grow up traveling, was privileged to learn a second language, and have my heart in two places at once.

13. Music.

14. Memories, they're what fuel my passions. They remind me of why I am where I am.

15. Fashion. I love that people are free to express themselves (modestly of course) -- hipsters, keep on rocking it. ;-)

16. Traveling, if I'm able to I'd love to keep on exploring this magnificent place we all call home.

17. Books. Not just any books, ones that wreck me in one way or another, if even only for a moment. A good book is one that's quotable, potentially relate-able, and said in a practical and concise way. And who doesn't love a happy ending to boot?

18. In terms of books, the Bible must be mentioned. It's my manual, if I'm feeling any array of emotions, or don't know what to do I can talk to God, refer to His Word and find the answer.

19. Science. I would've never said this a few years back, but then I married David, and he loves the stuff. And he's showing me how important it is, and even if I don't understand it (let's be honest, it's way over my head), I'm grateful for it and I love it now too.

20. I got to know my Gramma, and I was well loved by her. She handed down to me many passions.

21. My bird Marley, don't tell the dog he's not on the list.

22. Chocolate cake, and not just any chocolate cake, the one in the picture. My mama made it and it's the best.

23. This past year, my 23rd. I graduated, got connected with an amazing organization, had a beautiful adventure, made new friends, I could make a thankful list just for last year -- don't worry, this one's almost done.

24. Tomorrow. It's always new, always a second chance, always a door waiting to be opened. A truth I (really) need to believe with every day's end.