Saturday, January 24, 2015

Steve Smith

I'm thankful for this man I met when Iowa played Nebraska to reignite a rivalry.  He didn't know me from a stranger on the street, but that didn't stop him from wrapping me in his big arms with his signature kiss.  He instantly made me feel welcome.  Loved.  It was the first of many games we would watch in his man cave, his sanctuary.  Until the last game we watched together, also the Iowa and Nebraska rivalry, with a better outcome.  This time, the sanctuary was our new home.

I'm thankful for the son he raised.  So many wonderful traits I adore in my husband were either inherited or nurtured by his father.  The smile.  The laugh.  The generous heart.  The love for life.  The business sense.  The ability to see the good in everyone and every situation.

I'm thankful he showed my husband what it meant to be a father.  He taught him that being present is the best gift a father can give to his family.  He modeled for him how to provide for a family.  I know my husband will be the best dad because he had the best example.

I'm thankful he celebrated our wedding.  If you didn't already know, you wouldn't have had any idea that cancer was eating at him that day.  There were no shortage of dancing partners for him that night, and he made sure to give each one his undivided attention.  He hung in until the reception closed down, not wanting to miss a beat.  And, at the end of the night, he walked up seventeen flights of stairs to his hotel room, high on happiness.

I'm thankful for what he saw in me.  Sharing a cocktail on the deck in Okoboji, he knew I brought happiness to his son's life.  He knew my strength and passion in my career and in life.  He knew my love for his son.  I'm thrilled he encouraged my husband to make that first phone call and ask for that first date.  I'm honored he called me his son's fiancĂ© months before it was official.  I was blessed to be introduced as his favorite daughter-in-law.

I'm thankful I got to call him, Papa, too.  Even if it was for too short of a time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014, The Year of Challenges

There is really no way to sugar coat this.  2014 sucked.

We were reminded of this as I worked on this year's Christmas card.  It was a bit of a struggle to come up with a top ten list of things we were grateful for this year, hence number ten.

But, we recognize some years will be like this.  We also recognize such years will make us extremely grateful for the good ones.

Instead of rehashing all the moments that defined our lives between before and after, we've adopted a new motto for the next year: Moving Forward.