Giving Thanks

Hello, my turkey and cranberry eating friends!

I don’t really get into the Thankful Thursdays or 30 Days of Thanks. But, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I would do a couple of posts on things that I am particularly thankful for.

One thing I am very thankful for is family. And not just in the 2nd grade, “my-teacher-made-me-put-something-on-my-turkey” kind of family. Real family, with all its many faces and foibles. I am thankful for:

Parents. For parents who cared for me and raised me to strive to be all that God has created me to be, and who still support and encourage me. And for in-laws who raised my husband and accepted me into their family with love.

Grandparents. I am thankful for the unique roles my grandparents have filled in my life, for the grandpa who took me fishing and taught me why you wear long pants when weed-whacking, for the grandma who made road trips fun and taught me to knit, for the grandmother who inspired my love of books, beauty, and the color red, and for the grandfather who encouraged me to be anything I wanted to be and never let a visit or conversation end without being sure I knew he loved me and was proud of me.

Siblings. Growing up as an only child, I think I may appreciate brothers and sisters more than many who grew up in a house full of other kids. I am exceedingly thankful for my brothers- and sisters-in-law who have accepted me as one of their own, and become dear friends, as loved as any natural-born siblings could be.

Aunts and Uncles. I’ve been blessed to have parents who both came from big families, and I have a wealth of aunts and uncles. They have cared for me, taught me, spoiled me, and advised me in every area of life. And without them, I would not have:

Cousins. Cousins are a strange bunch. You often start out close as children, grow apart during adolescence, and then rediscover your friendship in adulthood. Cousins may be very similar to you, or completely different, but no matter what, they are your people. Like siblings, they share your stories, your traditions, your past, and they know all the embarrassing stories, so you have to keep them close, if only for self preservation.

Nieces and Nephews.  I have absolute proof of love at first sight since meeting my new niece and nephew this past week. I am also thankful for the opportunity to get a little taste of having a newborn before I have children of my own.

The Others: Whether you come from a large family or a small one, whether you live down the road or across the country from them, if you are blessed you will find those rare and precious people who, though they have no genetic connection to you become a real and true part of your family. I am thankful to have been blessed with these special others who round out my family.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and make sure to take time to appreciate and enjoy the special people in your life!



It’s The Little Things…

Specifically 10 “Little Things”. The ones I spend 8 hours a day with,  5 days a week. In this current chapter of my life, I teach in an elementary school. Anyone who spends all day with any number of young people can tell you, children have a 6th sense for raising blood pressure. Can I get an “Amen” from my fellow teachers and stay-at-home moms? Only children can ask the same question 8 times, get the same answer each time, and still feel the need to ask a 9th time. They can be completely convinced that it is a reasonably good idea to put goldfish crackers in strawberry yogurt. They can make a hangnail seem like an injury on par with having your spleen removed with stone-age surgical tools. I have named knots in my back and shoulders after particularly trying precious students. And yet, they can bring joy to my spirit and a smile to my face in so many unexpected ways. Care for some examples?

  • When you’re faking your death because the classroom is so messy, and 9 kids are laughing at you, but one says, “I don’t ever want you to die; you are the nicest teacher.” I’m glad at least one of my students doesn’t want me dead.
  • When a little boy chooses a princess pony out of the Friday Treasure Box instead of choosing a Nerf football, just so he can give it to his little sister.

  • When someone is complaining about their schoolwork, and you hear a little voice say, “You should be happy to be at school. Education is great!” And they mean it!
  • When you find the one or two 8 year-olds that you can actually discuss classic movies and literature with. More than you could with your friends in college.
  • When a little someone hands you a whole bouquet of dandelions, and it is more precious to you than a thousand roses.

  • When you get letters in the mail from past students and they make the same spelling mistakes that you nagged them so much about when they were in your class, but this time you’re glad they made them. It feels familiar.
  • When you read a story by a 2nd grader that manages to combine aliens, fruit and God along with at least 3 instances of the word “awesome”.
  • When a 2nd grader suddenly can explain the properties of multiplication…even though she can’t spell “multiplication”

  • When you’re standing outside the library and you hear your whole class singing a song about the Bible, and you didn’t even suggest it to them.
  • When you read Anne of Green Gables to your class, and the little red-haired, freckle-face boy in your class can’t get enough of it.
  • When the boy who could barely read at the beginning of the year is now the last one in line – every time – because he can’t put his book down.

  • When you get to explain that there is no “Specific” Ocean, and that “cinnamons” are not words that mean the same thing. And then you start using those words because they’re just so funny.
  • When you get that one kid that everyone thinks is just too much trouble to do something really great, and you see the pride on their face.
  • When you get invited to an 8 year-old’s American Girl themed birthday party, and she really does want you to come. And then you show up, together with Samantha, whom you’ve had since you were 8. And Little Miss thinks it’s the greatest thing ever.

I could go on and on. No matter how rough a day at school has been, it’s very rare that a whole day goes by without some ray of sunshine.  And even if I can’t think of anything else that has gone right that day, there’s always the fact that they are going to home, sleep it off, and start over again the next day.

May your heart be glad!