Twenty Six Years.

It's Claire's Birthday

On Sunday, I'll be twenty-six years old. Twenty-six years you guys. That's a bunch. Half a card deck. The number of stories this cat fell from. Two-tenths of a mile less than a marathon. Twenty-six.

In some ways it feels heavy to sit down and try to write about my twenty-fifth year. I lost my job. I made up my own job. I ran a half marathon. I tried the paleo thing. We traveled to Seattle, NYC, Boston, Greenville, St. Simons, and more. It's been a rollercoaster of a year. But overall, I can safely say it's been been a pretty darn good 25.

I'm heading out of town for the weekend, but before I do—I wanted to look back over this year. When I looked back over calendars, blog posts, pictures, and more... I feel so incredibly grateful. Here are 26 reasons why.

26. For a husband who supported me when I came home crying, and said I'd lost my job.

25. For Clay Kelton's wife, who convinced me to go take the Johnson O'Connor test.

24. For our cute dog that keeps me company at home when I'm writing.

23. For Sarah and Abiola, who helped me finish my first half marathon.

22. For Ryan and Lindsay Doyle, who shared their story with me.

21. For Rhonda Smith, who invested in my life, and helped me discover my passions.

20. For Roger Lewis, who spent time with me and Patrick at West Point.

19. For having a home—even if this world isn't it.

18. For my sweet friend who will drive up from Atlanta whenever I need her.

17. For delicious food right on the farm, thanks to Hank Delvin.

16. For a lesson in sacrifice thanks to Miranda Whitcomb Pontes.

15. For advice about life, writing, and independence from Kim Green.

14. For a back porch to enjoy in the spring and fall.

13. For a family to visit who lives at the beach.

12. For family to visit who live just down the street.

11. For an impromptu trip to Boston that ended with this.

10. For a husband that would let me take an impromptu trip to Boston.

9. For the chance to see Seattle, and everything it has to offer.

8. For a church that teaches me more about God every week.

7. For fresh coats of paint, and what a difference they make.

6. For the chance to call Nashville home.

5. For the ability to write, and be paid for it.

4. For the chance to share my first short story.

3. For the return of Downton Abbey. (I don't know how this made it to number 3)

2.  For the sweetest marriage I could have hoped for.

1. For a Savior who doesn't care what I've accomplished, but has grace for me because of what he accomplished.

Today, as I sit at my kitchen table and look at the window and hear the birds chip and smell cookies baking in the oven—I'm convinced that I'm on the verge of something. What might 2013 hold that I never would have imagined?

Here's to twenty six more.