Thank you
I've written before about the importance of gratitude for happiness and well-being - and even health. Indeed, many modern thinkers agree that gratitude is the key to abundance. Even Jesus said thanks before receiving!

As we near the end of the year, the Thanksgiving holiday gives us the perfect opportunity to look back over the past year and reflect on the things we are thankful for.  This year has had its share of challenges, but I still appreciate all of the wonderful blessings I have received, and in the spirit of the season, here are 4 things I'm grateful for in 2015!

Please feel free to share your own "thanks-giving" below as well - we'd love to hear what you're thankful for this year!

Here are my top 4 for this year - in no particular order!

1. My Marriage

I can't count the number of times I've heard people say, "marriage isn't easy," but I never fully understood what they meant...until I got married! The past year has challenged me in ways I had never imagined. Though there are certainly many more challenges to face, and some I will probably continue to struggle with for years to come, I am so thankful for all that I've learned in the past year!

In just one year, marriage has already helped me to become a more flexible, more forgiving, and
more vulnerable person. I am learning to let go of my fierce independence that often has kept me separated from others, and how to ask for help when I need it. I am becoming more open to being loved. I am learning to let someone else see me for who I really am, and how to share my life with someone else instead of always having it "my way." And many more valuable lessons.... These are still areas I will continue to grow in as my marriage matures, but I am so thankful for all that marriage has taught me so far!

2. My Home

It has been an incredibly busy first year on the homestead! Our new garden succeeded beyond my hopes this year, and blessed us with loads of beautiful, delicious vegetables, which I spent many hours canning, pickling, freezing, and otherwise "putting up" for winter.
(We're looking forward to incorporating some of our own yummy foods into our Thanksgiving dinner this week!) I did not expect such a bountiful harvest this first year, in an entirely new garden spot, and especially with the copious amounts of rain we received, which gave us a very late start, and then kept the garden halfway underwater for a good part of the season. It was so incredibly rewarding to see the fruits of our labors on the dinner table every night!  I can't wait to get more done around here so we can raise some chickens and maybe other animals as well, and become more self-sustaining!

We didn't get that much done on the house itself this year, but we did get the new geothermal system installed, which has so far been a very worth-while investment. We're loving our comfy, warm home, and it feels more like home with every little update we make! (New screen doors are finally in place this weekend.) :-)  

3. My Family

I suppose every new married couple has their battles about family when first starting out, and we were no exception. What constitutes family, and who takes precedence when it comes to family matters? Despite the geographical distance, I have always been very close with my family, and that means a lot to me. Incorporating someone new into my family was a bit of a stretch for me, but one thing that has become quite clear to me over the past year is that my husband, first and foremost, is my family. I love my parents, sisters, nieces and nephew as much as I ever have, and I miss them every single day. But my husband is the one who is here with me every day. He is the one who holds my hand through the challenges of life. He laughs with me, loves me, accepts me, challenges me, and appreciates me. We may have our battles, but he is my partner through them all. And with him I feel at home and complete. I am so very grateful to have him, and our dog Molly Brown, who currently completes our family with her crazy mouse-hunting antics and warm, excited, happy greetings whenever we return home. :-) 

I'm also grateful for my amazing, wonderful, and very different sisters - no one will ever know me like they do! And for my incredibly awesome and wise parents, whom I love and miss so very much. And for my smart, witty, loving, sweet, and charming nephew - I can't believe how old he's getting already! And of course, for my beautiful, adorable, hilariously spirited twin nieces - I miss them so much my heart aches whenever I see pictures of how fast they're growing, and I can't wait to see them and hold them again this holiday season....

4. My Passion

You probably know that my passion is natural and holistic health, but I think this was the first year that I really realized how important it is to me to follow my passion. Being able to do this full-time has become my main goal in life, and I am more and more driven in my mission to serve others in helping to share the truth about health with the world. I am so grateful to be able to write about things that are important to me, and that can truly help others at the same time! In the years ahead, I look forward to reaching more and more people, and helping bring forgotten truths about health and healthy living into the modern world. In fact, I think our future depends on it.

I'm also thankful for so many other things, including you, dear reader! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this blog, and if you ever have questions about anything feel free to ask!

What are you thankful for this year? Let us know in the comments below, and have a wonderful, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving!


P.S. Don't worry - we'll share the second part of the 2-part series on gut health next week! In the meantime, just try to exercise a bit of moderation this week - if you can....  :-)


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