1. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
2. I am richly loved.
3. On my twentieth birthday, I had a crush on this hot guy I went to school with, and on my thirtieth birthday, he’s my husband.
4. Our firstborn son, Judah Stephen. Tall for his age, and lanky. Funny, quirky and confident, he loves people, but needs his alone time, and can occupy himself for hours. He’s at peace with the person he is and doesn’t have to follow the crowd. I envy this quality, and hope he never loses it.
5. Our baby girl, Amelie Claire. As beautiful and unique as her name, she astonishes me every day with her thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and goofy sense of humor. She’s our social butterfly, half tomboy and half girly-girl. I never thought having a daughter could be so much fun.
6. My husband and children have shown me the depth of my sin and my need for Christ in a way I never imagined. And this is a good thing. They bring more meaning and joy to my life than I ever dreamed possible.
7. Parents who love Jesus deeply, love me deeply, and have supported me in everything I’ve ever done.
8. Kenny and Danny, who’ve made both my childhood and my life now rich indeed.
9. A mother and father-in-law who defy all the “in-law” stereotypes. They are delightful.
10. Two sisters-in-law and two-brothers-in-law who I’m thrilled to call family.
11. My niece and nephews, four of my favorite gifts from this decade.
12. Extended family and extended in-law family, among my best friends in the world.
13. The gift of getting to serve God overseas.
14. A long-prayed-for, long-worked-for dream being realized. All the people who are part of this dream being realized.
15. The door closed on the hardest year of my life; opening my eyes to see with gratitude that God used it to humble and change me in ways I needed to be humbled and changed.
16. Our family story will forever include living in this big, loud, vibrant country with people who are so very different and so very dear.
17. Amazing girl friends who love me in the good times and the bad. Maybe I could live here without them, but I wouldn’t want to.
18. Watching my husband work in a job that he loves.
19. My best friend, David, who inspires me to live my dreams, who gives me space and time and affirmation to figure out who I am in the world.
20. People back home who miss us.
21. So many people back home to miss.
22. A lovely birthday getaway with my husband . . . rolling farmland, exotic birds, hibiscus, and mouth-watering food. Friends who babysit for birthday getaways and for regular dates with my man.
23. The gift of being literate. My Kindle, Amazon.com, Flipkart.com, and lots of bookstores in our city. Books to be discovered all the time.
24. Josh and Grace, who gave me a new blog and have no idea how much happiness it brings me.
25. Living in the land of eight dollar pedicures and one dollar lattes.
26. Wireless Internet, Facebook, Skype, and our Vonage phone—sheer lifelines.
27. Knowing that I’m right where God wants me to be.
28. Good health—the wonder of feeling great when I wake up in the morning, the hope that it’ll just keep getting better and better.
29. Dancing with my kids.
30. Jesus’ blood never failed me yet/This one thing I know, that he loves me so.