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Image Credits: Florida National University 

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Thanksgiving! Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was writing my list of the top 5 things I was thankful for last year. Not much has changed in the past year except that there’s definitely way more than 5 things that I am thankful for. I tried to narrow it down to just the top 10 here.

1. God. I definitely developed a closer relationship with God in the past year. I started going to church on a regular basis (actually I am a member of two churches now — Gloucester County Community Church and Washington Baptist Church). I’ve been reading my bible more and more and really praying. I feel a much stronger connection to God and my life has improved tenfold since I’ve learned not only how to talk to God, but how to listen to him, too. God has definitely blessed me in the past year and I am thankful to have such an amazing, awesome God in my life.

2. My Amazing Parents. My parents are two of the most amazing people that I have ever known. I really couldn’t ask for better parents. They’ve especially been great with me and my surgery. Ever since my audiologist recommended looking into the Cochlear my mom got the ball rolling with doctor’s appointments, testing, and everything I would need. If it weren’t for my mom I wouldn’t have gotten it done nearly as quickly. And after I was implanted my mom took some time off of work to take care of me and make sure someone was always watching over me. My dad forfeited sleep to watch me and make sure I was okay for the first few night and he made me special soups and food since I couldn’t eat solid food for a week. I wasn’t allowed to wash my hair for 10 days after my surgery, so my mom went out and bought dry shampoo and took wash clothes to my hair to try to clean it the best that she could. Both of my parents are always there for me to show love, support, and care 24/7 for me. They don’t just do what parents are supposed to do, they go above and beyond — all the time.

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My amazing parents

3. My Amazing Boyfriend, Larry. Larry and I have only officially been dating since September 13th. He’s been really amazing. Remember when I wrote a list of everything I was looking for? Larry wasn’t EVERYTHING on the list, but he was about 95%of it which works. I mean, we did meet on OKCupid with like a 95% match anyway lol. In the 2.5 months that we’ve been together we have already grown so much. I hit him with a lot in a very short period of time especially with my cochlear implant surgery. It could definitely be confusing and overwhelming especially to someone who’s not familiar with the deaf/HOH culture. Larry has always made every attempt to understand it all and he’s followed through with his word of being with me every step of the way. There were many times when we’d just sit and talk for several hours all about the implant, what it was and what it would do. After my surgery he stopped by and brought me flowers and gifts to make me feel better. He didn’t care that I looked like a hot mess — he still said I was beautiful and I know he actually meant that. Larry is not like any of my ex boyfriends and that’s definitely a blessing. He never screams at me or loses his cool with me, he never tries to push me to do anything that I don’t want to do (we’re always on the same page with the same wants, needs, desires, and goals) or tries to change me. He accepts and loves me for me —flaws and all. We always have a great time together whether we’re at Frightland or Wheaton Village or even just at my home playing board games or Super Mario World. He’s my best friend and I love him to pieces and am so thankful that God brought us together.

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Here’s a picture of Larry and I at Frightland in Delaware taken in October just before Halloween. It was very cold lol.

4. My friends. My friends have always been there for me this past year. It hasn’t always been an easy year for me, especially in the beginning of 2013. There’s been many times when I have made poor decisions and done a few things I regret —namely giving people second chances who had no right to even stay in my life at all. My friends do not always tell me what I want to hear, that’s for sure — but they tell me what I need to hear even when it means verbally kicking my butt or screaming “KIM WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”. I may not always do the best job of listening. Sometimes I need to make mistakes and have things fall apart a bit before I listen, but in the end I come around and see that they were right. One of my friends even recently messaged me to say “I hate to say I told you so…but I told you so. Aren’t you glad you didn’t get the things you thought you wanted originally? Everything now worked out the way it should’ve and is so much better for you.”

My friends have also been incredibly supportive with my cochlear implant surgery. I am floored by all of the support and encouragement they have all shown me over the past few months.I feel like I have a whole team of people cheering me on and it’s such an amazing feeling. I definitely have a really great group of friends and I’m incredibly thankful to have all of them in my life.

5. Washington Baptist Church – I technically  belong to two churches now, but this is the one I connect the most with and consider my “home church”. I enjoy going to my mom’s church, Gloucester County Community Church, with her, but it wasn’t quite giving me what I needed. I enjoy the sermons and the music, but needed more of a sense of belonging and a deeper connection with the people. I wanted to feel like I had a church family. So one day I took a walk around town in search of a nearby church. I stumbled across Washington Baptist Church, took note of the outside sign, and made plans to attend service the next Sunday. Ever since I first walked through those doors everyone has been so incredibly welcoming. I met pretty much everyone in the church on that first day. I continued to attend and got to know people better and on a more personal level. The church has and continues to pray for and with me especially in regards to my cochlear implant surgery and I know those prayers have not gone unanswered. My pastor, Pastor Lex DeLong has also been incredible and always sends me a message to make sure I’m okay and always takes the time to see how I am doing. I can’t wait to be activated and healed from my surgery to get back to going to church again.

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Image Credits: Washington Baptist Church 

6. Dr. Wilcox and Everyone Else at Jefferson – Originally I was trying to decide between two places on where to get my cochlear implant done — Jefferson University Hospital or UPenn. However, after just the initial consultation appointment at Jefferson I made up my mind to continue with them and cancelled my appointments with UPenn. Dr. Wilcox was highly professional, confident, and able to answer all of my questions. Him and his surgical team were all great as were all of the nurses and everyone that worked on me.  Before my surgery Dr. Wilcox even called to tell me he was praying for me and that the surgery would be a success. During the surgery they were precise and made very clean cuts and helped me to heal and helped me with all of the aftercare. Dr. Wilcox has even helped me to group appointments together at the last minute for convenience. Nothing has been too much for them. They are very professional and really care about their patients.

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Image Credits: Jefferson University Hospitals 

7. My New Audiologist, Sherry. You know how some people say everything happens for a reason? I’ve always been one of those people and I definitely believe that when it comes to my cochlear implant surgery. I usually have my hearing appointments in Cherry Hill because it’s close to where my work was located (we used to be in Mount Laurel) and it was easy to just go from work to my appointments. However, with my work in the process of moving I’ve been working from home in Washington Township for the past two months. Turnersville is much closer so my mom switched my appointments to this location. With a new location came a new audiologist…Sherry. At this stage in the game I was still working to save money towards new hearing aids. I was previously lead to believe that Miracle Ear’s new ClearVation Hearing Aids would be good for me. My mom asked Sherry for her opinion and she basically said we’d be wasting our money because it really wouldn’t help me. What would help me though was a cochlear implant. If it weren’t for Sherry I probably wouldn’t have ever seriously considered getting a cochlear implant, let alone actually went through with it and got it.

8. Gizmo. My cat is awesome. Everyone will say that about their cat but no mine really is awesome. He’s way more like a son to me than a cat and he totally thinks he’s human. After my surgery he really went into watch-kitty mode. He was by my side and making sure I was okay for several days after my surgery especially when I would wake up and no one else was out in the living room. He knew I wasn’t feeling well and that something was different. Gizmo is a really crazy, funny cat that brings a lot of joy to me and everyone in my home. I’m very thankful to have Gizmo as a pet.

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Sometimes Gizmo likes to help himself to a snack…

9. My older sister, Noel. My sister and I haven’t been on the best of terms over the years. Put it this way: the last time I’ve seen here was about 2 years ago and I barely spoke to her in those 2 years. But I’m getting back to talking to her again now. We’ve been exchanging letters and working on reconnecting. And I know she’s not a perfect person. She’s made some mistakes, but that doesn’t make her a bad person. She’s just simply gotten mixed with the wrong groups of people and in the wrong situations. She’s still managed to teach me a lot since I’ve been writing to her though. Some of the most important lessons she’s taught me are how to be more forgiving and accepting of others. Forgiveness is something I’ve always struggled with but she has been helping me with it a lot. I’m thankful to have her back in my life and I can’t wait to see her again whenever that may be and to really be sisters again.

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I don’t have many pictures with my sister and I.Between her bright red hair and my yellow hair, this picture is pretty ridiculous but I love how happy she looks here.

10. My job, WebiMax. I really really really love my job as a social media marketer/inbound marketer/freelance writer at WebiMax. Anyone who knows me knows that. I hate taking time off. I frequently voluntarily work from 7:30am-6pm. It’s fun and challenging and rewarding. I work with a great team of people too. I am thankful for the support my co-workers and boss and everyone has shown me with my surgery. They’ve certainly helped to work with me and all of my appointments and time off. I’m especially thankful for my social media co-workers who have really stepped in and helped me during the time that I was out to ensure my work still got done. I love that my job allows me to be creative and try new things. I’m thankful to work for such an amazing company and I’m excited to see what the next year has in store for us all especially as we move to our final Camden destination.

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This picture was taken after my last day in the old WebiMax Mount Laurel office.

As you can see this past year has certainly been filled with many blessings and things to be thankful for! I hope that everyone reading this has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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