Dear Jesus,

Thank you for another year of life. Thank you for all that has taken place this year—the joys, the adventures, the pains, and the changes. Thank you for your faithfulness, your mercies, and your love. Thank you for never leaving my side, for being my constant, my peace, and for holding my hand through some very tough circumstances. Thank you for drawing me closer to you this year. To think about your power even in the time between 35 and 36 is incredible. Then to look back at over 3 decades is indescribable.

Thank you for my husband. Thank you for all that you’ve walked us through this year, and for your continued blessings to our marriage. Thank you for a husband who sacrifices so much for our family, and who loves You more than life on earth. Thank you for my sons. When I told You years ago that I was at peace being a forever dog mom, you gave me 3 birthdays with a newborn baby. My oldest was 16 days old on my 31st birthday. My middle was 11 days old on my 33rd birthday, and my youngest was 26 days old on my 35th birthday. What wonderful surprises.

Thank you for the beautiful friendships you’ve blessed me with—for the moms, sisters, and women who do life with me. The ones who are real about everything, and life is simple because of them. The ones who are like second moms to our boys, and who have loved them and invested in them for years. Thank you for the older women you’ve put in my life to mentor and guide me spiritually. Who share their life experiences, lessons, and wisdom openly. Thank you for the friends who know it’s ok to call or text me in the middle of the night to pray with them or who just show up randomly to talk or eat snacks with me. Thank you for the friends who I may not see often or who live far away, but when we do talk, we pick up right where we left off.

Thank you for showering your immense love on me this year. Thank you for reminding me that your sacrifice was enough. Thank you that this morning, my wonderful husband took the boys to school so that I could have a quiet house for an hour, so that I can reflect on Your goodness. That I can sit here with my coffee, my journal, and my Bible and be still. To look out again, on this fall day, out the same window that I have each year with a newborn. To feel cool breeze coming through the window, and see leaves just starting to change color. To be reminded of your steadfast love and goodness. Thank you for this beautiful beginning to year 36–of a life I never deserved, but of a gift I’ll forever be grateful for.