Nov 8, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Eight - My Students

I've had the opportunity to teach so many incredible young people through the years. The lessons they've taught me, the humility and strength they've given me, and the undeniable ways in which they've changed me make me commited always to working in the educational field.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of one of their deaths. That day, five years ago, and the aftermath that followed, altered my world and forever impacted my perspective on the deep importance of doing meaningful work in this life. To that end, I thought I'd share a paragraph from the acknowledgements section of my first book on education that recognizes these young people:

And lastly, thank you to all the students throughout the years who have crossed my path and reminded me that this work matters. A special thanks goes out to all those students who, during a particularly difficult year of tragedy a few years back, proved to me time and time again the strength, resiliency, and compassion of our youth. You are my inspiration. You are my why.

Nov 7, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Seven - My Love

I'll keep this brief and fairly vague because he doesn't like me writing about him online, but I'd be remiss if I didn't dedicate one day to the man I share my life with. His patience, gentleness, intelligence, humor, support, and love make me thankful a thousand times over each and every day. I know every morning when I wake up and every night when I fall asleep that I am blessed beyond measure to be walking through life beside him.

Nov 6, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Six - Sunny Days

There's just something about the sunshine that makes me want to get up and move. I grew up in a place with abundant sunshine, and I think it took me moving to another part of the country to truly appreciate those days when I wake up and the sun is there to greet me - streaming through my bedroom window, warming me up when I walk outside, and reminding me that there are forces much greater than you and I at play in this universe. As the days get shorter and winter settles in, I'm more thankful than ever for those days when the sun fills my day with its warmth and glow.

Nov 5, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Five - My Health

I'm thankful for my health. I'm thankful for a body that lets me move freely, run long distances, and hug the ones I love. I'm thankful for a mind that can remember important moments in my life, solve problems, and think critically about the world in which I live.

Today I helped a friend move into a new apartment. It was my body that allowed me to pack up and pick up boxes, run down stairwells, drive a car full of stuff, unload boxes, move heavy furniture... you get the picture. And it was my mind that reminded me that helping a friend move was a meaningful way to start off my weekend - a little act of kindness to someone who has been a great friend since the day we met.

Being thankful for the health of the body and mind I've been given makes it so much easier to accept me for me. It also makes it easier to make healthy choices in my daily life - whole foods over junk, exercise over watching tv, rest and sleep over excessive work. Sometimes, all we need to be thankful is a little shift in perspective.

Nov 4, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Four - Clean Drinking Water

I'm thankful for clean drinking water. It's something that's so easy to take for granted if we have it. But the reality is that it's a privledge not afforded to all. UNICEF publishes some pretty alarming stats on the number of people who go without clean driking water every day. Depressing stuff, really. But the flipside is the hope that comes from seeing so many people and organizations who work tirelesly - day in and day out - to bring clean drinking water to those who don't have it. It's a worthy cause, to say the least.

On a completely different note, it amazes me how so many of us who DO have access to clean drinking water every day neglect to drink enough of it. Water is a powerful resource and so, so beneficial to our physical and mental health. A short list of some of the benefits of drinking water can be found here. Check it out if you're so inclined.

As I'm reflecting this month on all the things, people, ideas, places, feelings, etc. I'm thankful for, I'm seeking balance between the obvious and the less-obvious parts of my life. And as I was sitting down to enjoy a tall glass of water with my vitamins this morning, I couldn't help but see the ways in which this thankfulness exercise is already altering my outlook on things.

Cheers to that.

Nov 3, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Three - College Friends

I'm spending the month of November reflecting on and writing about things I'm thankful for. Inspired to chart your own thankfulness journey? Leave a comment in the comments section below and I'll make sure to stop by your blog for some inspiration. :)

I'm thankful for my college friends. We are a close-knit, diverse group of women who were lucky enough to all be housed together as college freshmen. We bonded instantly, lived together for the better part of four years, and saw each other through some of the most transformational years of our lives to date.

All these years later, I still feel like my college friendships are some of the strongest in my life. Time and circumstances have created physical space between us, but whenever we have the opportunity to get together it's like no time has passed at all. They serve as a powerful reminder that it's not important to have "a certain number of people in your life, just a number of people you can be certain of."

It's comforting to have people in your world who knew you when...

Nov 2, 2011

Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Start an exercise program.
Commit to eating more whole, plant-based foods.
Forgive someone for a past mistake.
Forgive yourself.
Take that leap of faith and start your own business.
Help revive an existing one.
Believe in yourself.
Believe in others.
Reach out a hand.
Smile more.
Become important in the life of a child.
Speak up for yourself.
Speak up for someone else who can't.
Listen more.
Love more.
Dream more.
Live more.

Nov 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Two - My Parents

I'm spending the month of November reflecting on and writing about things I'm thankful for. Inspired to chart your own thankfulness journey? Leave a comment in the comments section below and I'll make sure to stop by your blog for some inspiration. :)

I have really awesome parents. Seriously, I do. I have a dad who will call me at 6 in the morning, excitement ringing in his voice, just to tell me about something he recently read that he thinks I need to know about. And I have a mom who will spend an entire weekend rock climbing with me and a bunch of other 20 and 30-something women.

My parents have taught me some of the most important lessons through the examples they live every day. My dad has taught me, time and time again, to always seek new horizons. He's continued to pursue creative ventures, take risks, and live from his heart. And my mom has instilled in me the importance of taking care of myself and my health. I eat well because she eats well and I exercise daily because she has always set that example for me.

When I was a child, my parents had a way of always making me feel like my goals and aspirations mattered. And as I've become an adult, their unwavering support in my journey through this life makes me, above all else, incredibly thankful.

So as I walk through life, I feel indebted to them always. On my best days, I hope to live out their values and make them proud. And during those times when I stumble, I know that they'll be there to help pick me up and carry me through to brighter days. They've shown me the most unselfish type of love. Always and without condition. So, so thankful...