1. My children: They are truly my greatest gift in life. They have taught me so much already and will only teach me more for the remainder of my life.
2. My husband: He has supported me many times when I needed it and is always someone I can go to when I need to talk about something important.
3. My parents: Obviously, I owe them my life. They helped mold me into the person I am today and I am forever grateful to them for their hard work and dedication (and love, of course).
4. My pets: Over the years, I've had several dogs and each has left a wonderful paw print on my heart (sorry for the cheesy imagery). I still miss the ones that passed occasionally, but I know that my future can only hold more awesome dogs (not cats).
5. My car: I've had my car for nearly 10 years and it has treated me so well, despite the fact that it hasn't been vacuumed in at least a year. I am continuously grateful for its gas mileage, get-up-and-go, and resilience. Thanks, car. I'll miss you when it's time to move on.
6. Artichokes: I am eternally grateful for the existence of artichokes. They are my life (food life). I would not be the same person if I could not have them.
7. Bragg's: I am so pleased to have been introduced to this tasty condiment, especially since it has endless uses!
8. Chocolate: Whoever decided that chocolate is a good thing is a good person. I'm not a huge sweets eater, but sometimes, you just need chocolate. It's nice to know that it's there for me when I need it.
9. An extra freezer: I used to have one in our previous residence and never realized how much I would miss it when we moved. I am grateful for the future awesome extra freezer that I will have again some day and all the wonderful, homemade food I will fill it with.
10. My crock pot: I loved my previous crock pot, but when the lid broke I was semi-devastated. I was fortunate enough to have been given a new one for free from a member of my church and though it is smaller than my first, it is fully functional! Crock pots are genius!
11. Trees: I think trees are some of the most beautiful, amazing, functional pieces of natural architecture in existence. The amount of life that can be supported by one tree is incredible when you think of all the bugs, birds, other small animals, fungi and even humans who benefit from its life. After the tree has lived its life and falls to the ground, it completes its cycle by decomposing back to its origin. It is the perfect symbol of a fully productive life and I am so grateful to be in the presence of trees regularly.
12. Gardening: Even though my gardens have not been amazing, I am so grateful to them for producing anything they have given to me. I look forward to growing huge, prosperous gardens in the future and storing the bounty in an equally awesome location.
13. My tea pot: It is electric. It boils water. I use it to make tea 5 times a day. It is my life. The end.
14. Beans: I am so thankful for the existence of beans even though I disliked them most of my youthful life. Now, they are a staple for me and I thank them every time I eat them. Thanks for being there, beans.
15. Peppermint Tea: My favorite. I love a good, strong cup of peppermint tea (no honey) at any time of day. It just makes say, "Ahhhhhhh." Love.
16. My dishwasher: Although I'm perfectly proficient at washing dishes by hand, it is so, so nice to have something to do it for you in large batches. Thanks for working (most of the time) dishwasher.
17. Air conditioning: Though we're nearing the end of the heat season, I still remember how delighted I was to walk into a nice, cool house after being out in the sun for a while. The person who invented air conditioning was brilliant.
18. Running water: There are many things I can live without, but running water is a pretty good friend of mine. I can do without a shower for a little while, but I'm pretty fond of toilets. Really, really fond of them. I thank them for working every day.
19. Our ancestors: Every person who has ever lived has played a role. None of us know how big or small our own roles will turn out to be. I am grateful to each person who came before me and paved the way for my life to be as comfortable as it is.
20. Electricity: Although I think it is something I could *almost* live without, I am incredibly grateful for its existence. I could handle not having lights, a computer or digital clocks, but I would have a really hard time not having a fridge or freezer. I'm glad I have those things.
21. Books: I drool for books. I live for books. I spent most of my undergraduate years at a bookstore. If I had endless alone time, I'd probably be reading everything ever. Some day, I will.
22. Traditions: Certain things remind me of the holidays (all of them) because my mother always made a point to celebrate everything possible. I am so grateful to now be able to carry those large and small traditions on with my own children and hope they enjoy them as much as I did.
23. Marching Band: Some of the fondest memories of my life are from high school days during marching band. Yeah, yeah, yeah...think whatever geeky, nerdy thoughts you want, but a team like that is incredibly important in the formative years of anyone's life. I wouldn't be who I am today without those experiences.
24. My trumpet: Yes, that is the instrument I played for a large portion of my life. I've "beat" that bad boy up so much and yet it still actually works. Amazing. It got me through so many concerts and performances and is still going strong, nearly twenty years after I got it. Even my children play with it out, so I'd say it was worth the money we paid for it.
25. Riding lessons: I am fortunate enough to have taken riding lessons as a young girl and gotten the chance to interact regularly with beautiful horses. I was able to compete a few times and still have the ribbons I won. I've already introduced my children to horses and hope that I may also give them the gift of at least a few lessons because everyone should have the chance to feel the beauty and power of a horse beneath her.
26. Harry Potter: I was not someone who started reading HP when it first came out. I actually didn't read the first book until I was in grad school, but after that time, I was hooked. I still haven't seen the final movie, but I love the story so much I just feel all warm and fuzzy when I think about it.
27. Heat: As it is getting colder these days, I'm grateful to be inside buildings and a car that provide my body with external heat to keep me comfortable. I pray for those who do not have heat and continue to be grateful for that which I have.
28. Hot water: Something we all take for granted is a hot shower; that is, until that hot shower must be cut short because there is not a lot of hot water available. I'm so glad to have hot water when I do and I relish the moments of a nice, warm shower every few days.
29. A dryer: At the moment, I do not have one and I am remember the ease and wonderful simplicity of throwing items into the dryer. I look forward to the day when I have one again and I will never take it for granted.
30. My computer: I complain about it a lot (I've had it since 2007), but I am so glad that I have it. If it wasn't for my computer, I wouldn't have the "adult time" I crave so often at the end of the day. Thanks, computer. I couldn't do it without you.
31. Natural Parents Network: Ahh, what can I say about such a wonderful website. I stumbled upon it by sheer accident and it has really changed who I am as a person and a mother. Of course, I also met some amazing people as a result!
32. Natural Parents Network Volunteers: I have met such amazing people in the past 10 months since I became a volunteer and I couldn't be more grateful. It is really difficult to put into words what these relationships mean to me, which is why I simply say thanks to everyone in this crew that has helped me in any way.
33. Work: I've held a number of jobs since I started working and each one has helped me in one way or another. I've met fabulous people and gained incredibly valuable experiences that I continue to treasure on a daily basis. I look forward to what wonderful work experiences lie ahead for me.
34. School: I loved school. I still love school, which is why I want to work at a school. I love learning, I love the atmosphere of college and I love every little detail about that experience. I would love to go to school for the rest of my life earning degree after degree, but hardly think that's possible. I do hope to get at least one other one in the future, perhaps when H & P are school age, because I cannot imagine a life without continuous learning.
35. Cloth Diapers: I'm so thankful to have been introduced to cloth diapering because I love it so much. In spite of every challenge I have faced in order to keep it going, I wouldn't go back to disposables if you paid me! Thanks to everyone who kept pushing me to do it!
36. Terri at Random Mama Brain: I know Terri in real life and I am so grateful to her for helping me on my road to cloth diapering! She was always available to answer my questions and is still a great resource for anyone looking to start cloth diapering!
37. Kirsten at Our Small Tribe: Yet another real life friend who helped me on my cloth diapering journey, she has also been an inspiration to me in a number of ways. She's a vegetarian and has given me some great recipes and she gave birth to her second child completely naturally, as I can only hope to do if I ever have another child. She is also the perfect example of perseverance as she pumped exclusively for her first son to have the best possible nutritional start. She's all around awesome so do check her out.
38. Stephani at The O'Hara Family: I feel like I cannot thank Stephani enough. She has helped me so much in the past 3 years it's scary. She has given me her breastmilk for Heidi, she has helped me pack and move on two occasions and repeatedly bestowed gifts upon me or my children. She's always ready to help me at the drop of a hat, even with two children of her own now. And she's also my HBAC hero. All around awesome.
39. Amy at Nom, Nom Yum: Amy is awesome. She also helps me whenever I need it and is one of those "real" friends you can count on to help with a move. She's also a pretty good Food Network date. And, she can cook a lot of things that taste good, especially since she uses coconut oil as her basis for life. She rocks.
40. Dionna at Code Name: Mama: She let me stay in her house! I, a perfect stranger to her, felt so welcomed and comfortable in her home during our awesome NPN get together last month that I am still flabbergasted at how willing she was to let random people stay with her for a weekend. Plus, she's totally awesome at everything else she does and is to be admired. I'm so grateful to know her.
41. Lauren at Hobo Mama: She's hilarious. She's a killer button maker. And she knows her stuff. I'm thankful that I get to interact with her regularly and that she's around to pick up my slack. I look forward to the day when I can punch her in person. Figuratively. With my wit.
42. Shannon at The Artful Mama: If I ever have to drive across the country again, I'll ask Shannon to go with me before anyone else. I'm so grateful to have had her with me on our long journey because even though she was pregnant, she kept up her end of the deal by switching with me as frequently as was needed. Before we even met in person, we were great friends and I am thankful for every moment she has taken to listen to my blabbering.
43. Jorje at Momma Jorje: Before I met her in person, I knew she was awesome. She is always willing to lend an ear and offer any advice she might have when needed. Beyond that, she is an incredibly compassionate and empathetic person who genuinely gives of herself as much as possible. She is an amazingly inspiring person who I cannot wait to see again.
44. Julia at A Little Bit of All of It: Even though I haven't met her personally yet, I've spent quite a few evenings staring at her dark cave of a house via Google Plus and I am always grateful to see her. She's a wonderfully caring person who I am so pleased to have met via NPN.
45. Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings: Melissa has been following me for a while, even before I really knew who she was. I've been fortunate enough to talk to her several times via Skype or Google Plus and she is always, always there with a heartfelt positive comment. I'm looking forward to the day she returns to the states so I might actually have the chance to see her in person.
46. Zoie at Touchstone Z: Zoie is one of those people I can feel the energy from through the computer. I've only ever commented back and forth with her, but since she is an avid gratitude poster, I have interacted with her a great deal. I'm so grateful for her continued participation and promotion of my weekly gratitude posts as well as her creation of the Mindful Mama carnival. Please check her out if you haven't already. She exudes amazing-ness.
47. Kelly at Becoming Crunchy: Kelly rocks my socks. She published a ridiculous guest post by me in spite of the fact that it was, well, ridiculous. I've really enjoyed getting to know her online over the past few months and I always appreciate the amazing opinions and ideas she shares on her page.
48. Amy at Peace 4 Parents: Amy is always a ray of nurturing light in our group of NPN volunteers, offering incredible insight and pure support. She is very open with everyone about her own past experiences in hopes that others can learn from the challenges she faced. Her spirit shines through the computer and I am so grateful to have met her face to face.
49. My phone: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am very thankful for my phone. When my computer doesn't work, or my GPS is screwy, I can count on my phone to save the day.
50. GPS: Even though it takes me on some wild rides, I'm glad to have it as a back-up if I'm ever truly lost and need a little guidance to find my way home.
51. My godparents: My mother and father picked truly wonderful people to be my godparents and I am still grateful to have them in my life. They have provided consistent, loving support to me throughout my whole life in many different forms. My godmother is a minister and she not only married my husband and I but she has also christened each of my children. She is a real blessing.
52. My pastor: I have only known him for about eight months but I feel like I *should* have known him my whole life. He is one of the best speakers I have ever listened to and he has counseled me and inspired me to be a better person. He played a tremendous part in the making of who I am today and I will be forever grateful that I was able to find and attend church with him in his final year as pastor.
53. The Associate Minister at church: Just as I am so glad to have been able to listen to and speak with my pastor, I am equally glad to have listened to, talked with and learned from the associate minister. She too has inspired me in more ways than I can count and is yet another beam of light in my life. I look forward to every day that I get to see her or hear her speak and I hope to take many more classes from her at church.
54. The Sunday School Director at church: I really can't even begin to describe how amazing she is, so my best effort will be lost in words of thanks. I thank her for being a wonderful influence on my children, a fantastic childcare provider and a great friend. Thank you.
55. My church: Of course this list would not be complete without me expressing my gratitude for the church as a whole. Never have I ever before felt so welcomed and at home in a church. It is my desire to remain with this church for as long as I am "supposed to" so that my children will have an amazing, faith-filled foundation for their lives. I am glad to finally be home.
56. Whole Foods: If you don't have a WF near you, I'm sorry. I have only lived near one for the past year and it has made all the difference in the quality of food my family eats. Of course I do not shop there every day (or even every week sometimes), but when I do (and I get awesome bargains!) I am able to stock up on what I know is great food. I trust this company because I know they are committed to providing fairly-traded, "properly" grown and raised products to the public. I hope to always be near a great store such as this one.
57. Wegmans: Another of my favorite stores, this one is perhaps "second best" to WF, but nevertheless, a substantial provider of good produce, local and organic products. They also put out awesome recipe ideas and great booklets for each month with valuable information, coupons and more. Now that I sound like a walking advertisement, let's move on.
58. Everything Natural: Back before it was "cool" to eat organic, natural foods, my mother and I frequented this store where we used to live because it was the only one of its kind to provide "the good stuff." It's still going after a number of years because of it's excellent variety of natural products, both edible and non-edible. If you're ever in the area, check it out!
59: My chiropractor: Even though I do not see him much anymore because he is located where I used to live, I am grateful for all the help he provided me over my life span. I saw him since I was a small child for anything that ailed me and he was always able to make me feel better. This, of course, was back when chiropractors were equal to martians from outer space, but even though I got strange looks whenever I mentioned him, I kept on trucking. He's still practicing even though he is well into his 80's and I'm sure he has a ton of people who are equally grateful for him.
60. Barbara Hoffman: Back in April, I designed and executed a small tribute to one of my favorite professors in order to honor her life. I am so grateful to have taken classes with her while she was still walking this Earth (in that body) and I will forever pay tribute to her awesome memory.
61. Sr. Rose: She is one of my favorite people ever. She is kind, loving, sweet and brilliant in so many ways. I was fortunate enough to have her as a professor and even as a private counselor of sorts for a number of years as a student and beyond. I am incredibly grateful to her for listening to me and teaching me on so many occasions.
62. Dr. Crawley: One of my favorite undergraduate professors, I owe him so much, especially for giving me the opportunity to teach right after I received my masters degree. He is a wonderful person to know.
63. Dr. Renjilian: He was my adviser all throughout undergraduate school and never ceased to challenge me in all of the classes I took with him. He's a wonderful teacher, friend and now colleague.
64. Dr. Bush: Another favorite of mine from the English department at my undergraduate school, she is absolutely hilarious yet incredibly full of knowledge. I fully enjoyed the classes I took with her and so wish I could learn from her again.
65. Dr. McMillan: I took nearly every class she taught, much like I had with Barbara Hoffman, because of how awesome she is. I learned so much from her and I am incredibly grateful to have been taught by her.
66. Dr. Morris: My adviser, program coordinator and favorite graduate professor, he single handedly helped me graduate. He accommodated me when I found out I was pregnant so I could still get my degree on time. I literally owe him my masters.
67. Dr. Mrykalo: Though he wasn't my favorite (sorry), he was an impressive teacher who influenced me a lot. He is full of knowledge and life experience and brought so much to the table.
68. My family: All of my family is wonderful. I am so, so thankful to be related to so many amazing people who care about me so much. I bless every day I spend with any of them.
69. Blogging: I started blogging as a means to write when I felt like I was losing my touch. I managed to generate a bunch of followers and 'likers' on Facebook and I am forever grateful to everyone who has stayed with me through my journey.
70. Everyone who has ever commented on my blog: Thank you for your time and thank you for your opinions, thoughts and wonderful words. You are all amazing!
71. Nursing: I haven't nursed a child in over six months, but when I look back on my nursing relationships with both children, I am happy. So happy I was able to nurse them as much as I did, to give them that amazing nutrition and have those experiences to reflect on for the rest of my life.
72. Not nursing: As much as I enjoyed nursing, not nursing is equally as enjoyable. My body is my own and that feels good.
73. My body: I've always been pretty pleased with myself and I still am. I'm grateful for my body that was able to grow and nurture two children and which continues to sustain me in good health every day.
74. Soft blankets: Who doesn't love a good soft blanket? I love their softness, comfort, fluffiness and warmth on cold winter's nights and cool fall evenings.
75. Paintings: My mother is an artist and I have a number of her pieces in my possession. I am incredibly grateful to have them as much as I am grateful to every artist who has ever expressed himself on canvas.
76. My camera: Steve purchased my camera as an anniversary/mother's day/every birthday for the next 10 years present and I love it. I asked him for a "good" camera so I could take more serious pictures and I am so thankful for the one I received.
77. My bookshelves: My father bought me a few bookshelves a number of years ago and I continue to put them to use in every home I'm in. Right now they are very multi-purpose holding books, sheets, towels and pictures. I'm so glad I have them because otherwise, my floors would be pretty cluttered.
78. Boots: I don't wear boots very often, but when it's snowing and icy outside, I'm very thankful to have them. They keep my feet reasonably warm and dry and give me traction in tough situations.
79. Toys: I complain about toys a lot, but as a child I had quite a few myself. Eventually I outgrew my use for most of them and kept only those that had deep meaning for me. I'm so glad to have kept them, though, because now my children have the opportunity to play with the same things I enjoyed so many years ago.
80. Music: I am someone who generally needs to listen to music whenever I'm in the car. I can get by without it for most of the day, but I really look forward to driving just so I can listen to the radio. I cannot imagine my life without music, much like I cannot picture it without writing.
81. Facebook: Sure, people complain about it all the time but it has served an amazing purpose. I've been able to keep in touch with so many friends and meet and interact with so many new ones. I'm very grateful to have it as an outlet.
82. Vacuum cleaners: I like a good broom and dustpan, but a vacuum cleaner is pretty nice too. Particularly with two small children who like to decorate the floor, it's essential equipment and I'm glad for it.
83. Jane, Julie and Juli: I was fortunate enough to work with these three women while doing my assistantship in graduate school and couldn't have dreamed up a better team of women. They were so incredible and I learned so much from them I have no words except thanks.
84. Traveling: I've done a lot of great traveling in my life so far including trips to Australia, Panama and some islands in the Caribbean and I am so, so grateful for all of those experiences. It really is true that each trip you take changes you in some way and I look forward to taking my children on as many trips as I am able.
85. My immersion blender: Steve got me an immersion blender for my birthday since I've been wanting one for a long time and though I haven't used it yet, I am grateful to have it waiting in the shadows for me to use at my will.
86. Reusable water bottles: I've gone through a ton of reusable water bottles because I wear them out pretty quickly, they get broken or misplaced. I'm so glad I have them, though, because they are the sole reason I manage to stay hydrated most of the time.
87: Water: Well, we really wouldn't be much of anything without water, would we? Thanks is not enough for the most important resource on the planet, but that's what I have for it right now. Thanks, water.
88. Farms: We owe our lives to farms, literally. Without farms, we wouldn't have any food and we certainly know where that would put us. Give thanks every day for the food that is on your table and the farm it came from.
89. Farmers: These are amazing people who work incredibly hard to feed the masses. I thank each of the farmers I met this summer at the farmers markets I attended for their hard work, dedication and willingness to provide good food to the public.
90. Farmers markets: I miss the farmers market so much right now that I'm almost looking forward to the summer just so I can go again. I feel displaced without having at least one to go to. I'm thankful that they will begin once again.
91. Great writers: So many fantastic writers have come before me and so many exist right now. It is amazing to be able to read the words of so many talented people from the past and present, to get lost in their imagery and entranced by their thoughts.
92. Stoves: I am so thankful to have a stove, even though it isn't my favorite, so I have somewhere to make the healthy meals I believe so much in. I really don't know where I would be without one so I thank it every day that it continues to work for me.
93. Elderberry: I haven't known of this awesome berry for long, but once I found it I knew it would never be out of my life. I know it has helped my family steer clear of illness on many occasions and for that I am eternally grateful.
94. My sewing machine: Although I'm used to sewing things by hand since that is how I've gone about it for a very long time, it is really, really nice to have a machine do the work every now and then. Even though it drives me crazy sometimes, I thank it for working when it's not being temperamental.
95. My dryer balls: I only have a few, and they're not very good, but I think they work a little bit. I'm glad I made them and really need to make some more so they work even better.
96. Wedding gifts: I didn't have a big wedding, but I received a wonderful bounty from family and friends to help us get started. I know I already sent out thank-you notes a long time ago, but I am still as grateful for those gifts now as I was then.
97. Baby gifts: Much as I am grateful to everyone who gave for our wedding, I am even more grateful for the continued support I receive for each of my children. Initially I was given so many of the things I "needed" for a baby that we truly wanted for nothing for months. We are still blessed to be receiving necessities for each child and I am still grateful.
98. Help: Sometimes, I need help. I'm sure this is true for everyone (right?) and as difficult as it may be to ask for it, I'm always grateful to anyone who gives it to me, no matter what form. Help is never too big or too small and is always, always appreciated.
99. The Gratitude Challenge Participants: It doesn't matter to me how many people participated in this Gratitude Challenge because I'm so very thankful for each and every one of them. Thank you, thank you, thank you one hundred times for joining me.
100. Sharks: The end.