Today I am drained. But for a most incredible reason! My student is “getting it” !!!!! I have pushed and pulled and fought and encouraged and even walked out two times. But today . . . .today brought praise from the professor for multiple things; today there was a twinkle in the eyes for the very first time since I started this endeavor months ago; today there was admiration from fellow classmates; today there were actually tears in my eyes for a battle hard fought and a victory gained!
This endeavor has been one of the most challenging I have taken on as an educator. I thought I had an idea of what I was getting myself into when I signed up for this adventure and truth be told, I had not even a clue! I did not know how very tedious it would be to write a one page paper. I did not realize that reading a single paragraph of a fifty page assignment in the textbook would be a half hour ordeal. I just didn’t know.
I have learned the difference between when to empathize and when to execute tough love to its fullest; when to let go and when to hold on tight and push right through that cement wall in front of me; and when to praise a mediocre job that is the result of honest effort and when to call the bluff of a pathetic “masterpiece” that was thrown together in minutes.
I am honestly not sure which one of us has gained more from this venture of ours. Is it she who has gained a very noticeable bump in self worth? Or is it me who has witnessed the blooming of a very delicate flower in this tumultuous season of storms? Either way, it is a success! A celebration both of us deserve. A time to be heartily grateful. And I am very GRATEFULLY YOURS!
So many traditions surround this time of year. The gathering for Thanksgiving and who brings what food item to the table each year. The early morning scramble to get out of the house before the crack of dawn on Black Friday. The watching of football, the hauling of boxes filled with holiday decorations from the attic, the challenges of figuring out which weekend everyone is free to bake cookies and send cards . . .the list just goes on and on.
My college friends and I have a tradition at this time of year as well. It started when we were still in college. We would gather at someone’s home for dinner and a secret gift exchange. After graduation, we managed to join together at someone’s apartment and a few years we met at a restaurant central to where we were all living. Over the years our group has dwindled a bit, for various reasons, mostly distance has just made it too hard or expensive for everyone to gather in one place. But those of us who live close to each other hold this tradition sacred and we will be gathering next weekend for our annual holiday meal.
We have missed a few years with this tradition because with growing families or sick family members or other such challenges, it just wasn’t possible for us to find the time together. And it left a big hole in my heart those years.
Traditions keep you grounded and give you something to look forward to. They build wonderful memories with those you love most. They become the heart and soul of whatever group with whom you have that specific tradition.
Today, as I anticipate the gathering of some of my college friends next weekend, I find myself grateful for our tradition. We will most definitely miss those who can’t be with us, but they too are a big part of our tradition and therefore part of our hearts and souls. This tradition of ours will always hold us together and for that I am most grateful.
It’s two days after the big “turkey-is-just-for-show-let’s-get-to-the-sides!” day and I am all about being super thankful for those LEFTOVERS!!!! You guys! Seriously . . . Thanksgiving should really be celebrated the day AFTER the turkey is cooked. There is nothing better than some big squishy slices of bread, stuffed to the gill with turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce all slathered in gravy or even mayo.
OH. MY. WORD!!
I could barely type that without drooling all over myself! You know how on Christmas Eve it’s hard to sleep because you’re all excited about the next day (oh . . . that’s just me??) well I have the same problem the night of Thanksgiving because I know what’s in that fridge downstairs and it takes every fiber of my being to stay in bed and not attack the fridge in the middle of the night.
Visions of big piles of buttery mashed potatoes dotted with corn kernels or leftover green bean casserole with extra crispy fried onions on top . . . .OH. COME. ON!!!! YYYUUUMMMMM!! And you and I both know that a warm piece of apple pie with vanilla ice cream dribbling over the sides is a perfect start to anyone’s day . . . bring on the fruit for breakfast 🙂 !!!!
Ahh yes. The leftovers. I love them. I’m not ashamed at how much I stuff into myself. And as always, I am . . . .VERY Gratefully Yours :).
Yesterday I was gifted with the company of some elderly friends in the area. I sat with them and heard about their families and their life accomplishments. I was given some incredible history lessons about the hardships some of them have overcome and lived to tell. Our elderly are such an incredible gift to us all and it hurt my heart quite a bit yesterday to see so many just barely getting through the day. To hear stories of their aches and pains. To see the sadness in their eyes and the slump of their shoulders carrying such burdens.
These new friends of mine have such a significant role in the life I live today. No, they did not raise me or even know me before yesterday, but their actions from long ago made a difference for me today. The freedoms I enjoy, the laws that keep me safe and protected, the young people they brought into the world and raised to be our leaders today . . . .its easy to forget in our day to day occurrences.
I met Cecilia as we were walking down a hallway. She had been sitting quietly in her wheelchair and her whole face just lit up as we passed and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving! She was anxious to share with us that she would be turning 95 in July. She instantly told us of stories of her childhood and the days she used to cook with her mother. I could almost see by the look on her face that she thought she was standing in that kitchen right then and there, smelling the food they prepared together and gathering her large family of ten children. She was so proud of each of her children. A few she has lost in recent years brought a deep sense of grief, but also an anticipation that she would see them again soon. I can’t imagine having to bury even one of your own children, let alone three.
Our elderly have so many stories to share with us and an abundance of wisdom! I am so grateful for the time I had to spend with some of them and even more grateful for the thoughts they so readily shared with us yesterday.
My day began with a glimmer of light peeping in through my window. As I walked downstairs, I was greeted by the friendly voices and exuberant laughter of some very special friends. We drove into the city and were welcomed warmly into the homes of individuals who truly were so happy to see us. They welcomed us with hugs and a freshly baked cake and smiles that just melted our hearts.
After spending some precious time with those generous hearts all morning, we went our separate ways and I was greeted by family and gifted with the most perfect feast and loving atmosphere I could imagine. We ate. We laughed. We played games. We cheered over football. The evening was perfect!
I came home to my quiet peaceful home, where I can sit lost in my own thoughts and where I find myself so completely overwhelmed by my plethora of blessings, it is hard to find the words to express my gratitude. But it is there. In full force. I am thankful to feel the touch of Your loving embrace today and everyday.
Your Loving Daughter
Today I was incredibly blessed to spend a better part of my day with two of my students. We were delivering meals to homebound chronically ill residents in our city. We were driving roads we were very unfamiliar with and navigating through destitute neighborhoods, delivering food to people who could barely get themselves to the door to open it for us.
Tomorrow I will have three more students with me as we deliver Thanksgiving meals to the elderly in our area. For these elderly friends, we may be the only visitors they have on this holiday that is centered around family and friends gathering together to enjoy the bounty of our land.
It is days such as these two I have mentioned above that leave my heart overwhelmed with gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Too many things to list individually yet each one has a significance in my heart that cannot be overlooked or taken for granted.
So although I am not mentioning a specific gift for which I am grateful today, the gratitude in my heart runs broad and deep. “To whom much has been given, much is expected.” I have a lot of work to do but I am so very blessed to have been given these high expectations to uphold.
Today is the birthday of one of my very favorite people in the universe! We have known each other for almost 30 years!!!! Good grief that is a long time! In those almost 30 years, I don’t think we have ever argued! I suppose there have been times that one of us was annoyed with the other for some ridiculous reason or maybe we wished a choice the other made was different, but we have always just accepted each other for who we are and respected the other’s ways. If that isn’t something to be grateful for, I don’t know what is!
K and I met in college. I was a transfer student and K welcomed me into her group of friends the first day we met. It happened that we were both math and education majors at our very small college, with less than ten people in our major. We were friends instantly. We just clicked. We found the same things funny. We shared a compassion for other people and found ourselves involved in the same activities. And I thank God every single day I had her to struggle through the challenges of a math major with, because oh good grief did we struggle at times!
Graduation happened and we both went back to live in our home towns. I never worried about what that space – time difference would mean because I just knew we would remain close friends. And we have. K got married, had kids, moved with her family even further away from where I was living and yet we still managed to connect with each other as if nothing had ever changed. Just this past summer, K left her busy family life behind to hop a plane and come visit with me for awhile because she was worried about me and my health . . . and just because THAT is how she lives her life . . .concerned about the other person and available at the drop of a hat.
We still laugh across the miles if something happens that reminds of us of our college days. We still call on each other for help solving math problems as her kids grow older and my students get smarter 🙂 . We still connect on a heart to heart level when we chat. And I know we always will. K will always be one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given in this lifetime and I do not take one bit of our friendship for granted.
Happy Birthday, K! I am so grateful for you every single second of every single day! You are the corn to my muffin, the calm to my needing to “get a grip”, and the MAGIC to my life’s very existence! I love you forever!