A Grateful Heart

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With Thanksgiving tomorrow I wanted to take a moment to share what I am thankful for. There are many things on my list this year. Some are the same things year after year while others are new or have a new light on them this year.

The past year has seen much change for us. After years of making less than great decisions things caught up with us in 2012. 2013 has found us still struggling to find the correct balance in our lives but as the year nears it’s end I feel confident that The Hubs and I are on the right track. Things are still tough but we are finally learning to live the way we should have done for the last 2 decades. Yes, a little slow to learn, but learning. This has to be one of the biggest things I am thankful for. This is 2-fold; First I am thankful that we landed on our feet with a second chance at things and secondly I am thankful that both the Hubby and I are finally figuring out how to take the blinders off and face tough choices with the right actions. We still have a ways to go but with each small, correct choice we make I have no doubt we will continue to move forward toward the future we dream of.

The past year has also opened my eyes to the beauty that is our daughter. I admit that I had been terrified to hit the dreaded teen years, and rightfully so as her 13th year was a bit rocky. With the hardships that we went through last year I have seen our Midge blossom into an incredible young lady. Now half way through her 14th year and a freshman in high school this kiddo’s level of self-confidence, compassion and love for others as well as herself is truly inspiring. She helps make me a better person every day. I am thankful that I got to spend this past Monday with her. We worked together baking breads and rolls, we walked and jogged together, we laughed and joked together. It is rare that I get an unadulterated day of fun with my baby nowadays so when I do, I am beyond thankful for the time together. This kid is funny, smart, articulate, observant, patient, thoughtful, sensitive, strong… I could go on and on about her. I am one lucky Momma.
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With all the trials and tribulations in this crazy life I am forever giving thanks for the blessing that is my husband. We were just kids when we met almost 20 years ago. I was fresh out of a terrible (thankfully short) relationship and both our lives were pretty much upside down. I doubt there was a person out there who thought we would make it a year, let alone to where we are now. I don’t know how I could possibly love him more, but it seems with each passing day, my love grows stronger. He is my anchor, my pillar of strength and my heart. I am deeply thankful for the enduring love that we share.
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More great people to be thankful for, Cousin N, for keeping me laughing. My two best girl friends for being the greatest friends a girl could ever dream up. My circle of friends who have been there through the good, the bad and the ugly, you know who you are and you are all truly the greatest, sweetest and most incredible group of friends out there.
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Family; Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and In-Laws, what a wonderful family I have been blessed with. I married into one of the most incredible families who have made me feel like family from day one. My little family tripled when I married, what a different dynamic a large family is, and I get the best of both worlds. Lucky Girl, I am. The cherry on top was the birth of our first niece this fall. She is the cutest niece and I love her to bits. My brother-in-law and his adorable wife have gifted us with the sweetest little star and I am totally addicted to the Auntie Life. I am so very thankful for all the love that surrounds me every day of every year.
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Oh and of course I am thankful for the unconditional love of all our furry and feathered family members. Nothing remedies a less than stellar day like the love of a pet.
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Oh my I think this may be bordering on being a cheese ball post. Hard not to get all sappy when I am surrounded by all this beauty, love and friendship. I don’t think we realize how many blessings abound on a daily basis. Life gets so hectic and the days slip by, turning into weeks and then months. Next thing you know, you look up from your daily life to find another year has passed without you having taken the time to relish the love, laughter and light that is woven into each day.

Ok, if that wasn’t cheesy enough, here is a recipe for a southwestern flavored cheese ball.

Green Chile Cheese Ball:
1 can, 7 oz. diced green chiles
1 1/2 pound jack cheese, shredded
2 packages, 8 oz. ea. Cream Cheese
2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon mild chile powder
a dash or two of cayenne pepper, optional
2 cups chopped cilantro leaves

1. Grab a couple paper towels, stack them, spread the green chiles out on the paper towels, add 2 more paper towels on top of the peppers, press firmly to remove some of the excess liquid.

2.In a large mixing bowl combine the peppers, jack cheese, cream cheese, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, chile powder and cayenne (if using). Mix until everything is well mixed. Roll into one or 2 balls, depending on your preference. Place on a waxed paper covered plate. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until the ball is firm.

3. Spread the chopped cilantro on a cutting board or cookie sheet. Roll the ball around in the cilantro to coat the entire outside of the ball, pressing to help the cilantro stick. Wrap up in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

4. To serve: Place on a nice plate or platter and surround with corn chips, tortilla chips, wheat thins and/or crisp veggies. Enjoy!

cheese ball

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