Thursday, November 27, 2014


It’s that time of year again, and though I think we should reflect on the things we’re thankful for every day of the year (I’m including myself in this), I’m happy for a day dedicated to giving thanks. And I know I did a very similar post last year, but I’m not even going to look at until after this post goes live, when I will then examine both the similarities and differences of these two posts.

This morning started off on an early note, as I completed my fourth consecutive TXU Energy Turkey Trot. Remember when I hated running? Yeah, me too, but now I can’t imagine my Thanksgiving without a 7:30am run through the Houston Galleria area. I left early, so as to hopefully avoid some of the traffic I hit last year, and I managed to get a good parking spot, enjoy the warmth of my car, and then hit the pavement for a 6.2 mile run. I honestly could not have asked for better weather, and I am so glad that I got to start out my Thanksgiving doing one of my very favorite activities. And a HUGE shout out and thank you to the many volunteers who were out there at 3:00am. You guys made this race possible, and are the real MVP's!

And because it’s Thanksgiving, and we’re all about to eat our body weight in turkey, here’s a Houston Turkey Trot Fun Fact for you guys:
  • Wild turkeys have excellent vision during the day but don't see as well at night. They are also very mobile. Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and they can fly up to 55 mph.”
This came straight from the TXU Turkey Trot website, and now you have something with which you can impress all of your guests.

Now, let’s get to the cheesy part of this post – what I’m thankful for.

Where do I even BEGIN with this post? I have so much to be thankful for that I don’t even know where to start. This new chapter of my life has been such a whirlwind, in the most overwhelming and exciting and humbling way. So I think I’ll start with that.

I’m beyond thankful for my job. That I have a job. That I have a job that is something new each and every day. A job that keeps me on my toes and never gets boring, and kids that simultaneously infuriate me and make me laugh all in the span of five minutes.  I am thankful for such a supportive and encouraging administrative team, who handles everything that comes their way with both class and professionalism. I am thankful for students who (sometimes) listen to me and impress me and make me think really hard about ever having kids of my own (I’m kidding, sort of). They fight me and joke with me and exasperate me to no end, but if I can be a bright spot in even one of their days, I’ve done something right. I’m thankful for my own teachers, because no one can know how hard your job is until you’ve experienced it from the other side. And I can't end this without making the very bold statement that some of my fellow Bellaire teachers are some of the kindest people I have ever met. I'm constantly being asked how I'm doing, if I need anything, and just reassured that I'm doing a great job (which might be taking things a bit far). I'm lucky, and I'm so happy that I am where I am.

I’m thankful for volleyball. Not only for the years that I played, but also for the opportunity to be on the other side of the game and give back to the sport that gave me so incredibly much as a player. When I played my final high school volleyball game just over five years ago, I never would have dreamed that I would be one day be back. But, here I am! I’m thankful for the three other coaches who were patient with me, who showed me grace, who taught me something new each day, who understood that they “threw me into the ring of fire” (Ap’s words, not mine), but still told me that I was doing a great job, and that I have a great work ethic. I’m thankful for the girls' parents who came to every game, despite the fact that they knew it was going to be a blowout, who sent me words of encouragement when I was feeling like I was in over my head, and who were patient with me as I navigated the waters as a first-year coach. I’m thankful for hard-working, funny, and musically-talented (ha!) girls who made the long hours at school absolutely worth it. I have loved getting to know them not only as players, but also as young women, who taught me so much about what it means to love and support other people.

Glory days
I’m thankful for my sweet parents, who welcomed me back home with open arms. Who probably could have told me that my job was going to be hard, but let me figure it out on my own. Who have encouraged me from day one, who have very literally been with me every step of the way, who met me at a place convenient for me to bring me dinner from my favorite restaurant, who came to my volleyball games – both when I was the player, and now as the coach. Who do my grocery shopping for me, who proofread my vocabulary quizzes, who do my laundry and my dishes, and have made my life as a first-year teacher one thousand times easier. Who make sure I actually get out of bed in the morning, and who give me money to buy books for my reluctant-reading kiddos. Who listen to my stories and complaints and successes and tell me daily that they're proud of all that I manage to balance. They have done so much for me and I don’t tell them thank you nearly enough. They have done more for me than I could ever put into words, and to say that I am thankful for them is an understatement.

My rocks
I’m thankful for a job that allows me to see the sunrise each morning, because we all know by now that they’re my unofficial love language. Dylan laughs at me because he said if anyone looked at the photo album on my phone, all they would see would be sunrises and food. There are worse things in life, right?

Speaking of Dylan, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that today marks 18 months since our very first real date at Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Austin. He has been there through a whole lot – through student teaching and the interview process and the waiting game and now my first year teaching – and he has listened to me cry and complain, and he has listened to me tell endless stories about my students, and he never fails to tell me that I’m doing a great job. He also tells me what I don’t necessarily want to hear (but need to hear) in that he lets me whine and complain but he also gets me to snap back to reality and realize that no, every day isn’t going to be great, but that there is great found in every day. He doesn’t let me feel sorry for myself for long, because he inadvertently reminds me how lucky I am to have the job that I have. That I’m making a difference even when I don’t realize it. He has shown me grace and forgiveness and so much love from afar, and all of this while being an absolute rockstar in Austin. More on that to come. Sure, we've experienced some choppy waters, but they have led to some smoother sailing. He never said one discouraging word when I didn’t even apply for a job in Austin, rather, encouraging me through the entire application and interview process. I think he was more stressed than I was when waiting to hear back from Bellaire. It’s been 18 months of laughter and fun, and growing and being challenged, and I’m so, so happy to have him by my side.

I’m thankful for traffic (yes, you read that correctly), because it gives me more time to listen to music. I’ll admit that I don’t have an active “quiet time” each day, but every day on the way to and from school I listen to KSBJ, and I have learned more and more that Jesus speaks to me through the words of the songs that play on this station. Luckily, I don’t have to sit in too much traffic these days, but if I ever do, I try not to be frustrated, yet look at that as more time to spend with Him. There are perks to living 20 minutes away from where I work, and that is certainly one of them. All of that being said, I still think Houston drivers are the craziest of all.

I’m thankful for weekly walks at Hermann Park with Sarah, for a best friendship that didn't end when the sharing of suite 1 did. Her being a full-time medical student, and me being a full-time teacher, it would be easy to brush off hanging out, blaming it on the fact that we’re both entirely too busy. Lucky for us, Bellaire isn’t far from the Houston Medical Center, and we’ve managed to keep up with weekly walks at Hermann Park, catching up on what these first few months out of undergrad have brought us.

I’m thankful for reunions with roommates. It was weird going from seeing my best friends every single day, without even having to make an effort, to going days without seeing people my own age. I’ve gotten to see Natalie and Sarah, as they reside in the same city that I reside in, but Jamie Lynn gave up a weekend to come visit us, and I was able to squeeze in some time with Katie one weekend when we were both in Austin. I’m thankful for friendships that didn’t end when we walked the stage, and for our Clubhouse group text that demonstrates that none of us have really changed at all, even when living in very different cities.

I’m thankful for legs that allow me to run (I know for a fact that I said that last year) because running brings me a lot of joy and peace, a roof over my head, felt tip pens, food on my table, clean water, high schools friends who make it so incredibly easy to pick up right where we left off, dark chocolate, sunshine, a job that allows me all the same breaks that I'm already used to, gummy vitamins, blankets that keep me warm, podcasts, Happy Socks, chapstick, the sweet Kopy Kingdom ladies, snooze buttons that allow me those extra few minutes of calmness, a car that runs, Longhorn football that improves with every game (Hook ‘em Horns!), and for all of you who have stuck with my inconsistent blogging habits. I sometimes feel weighed down when people ask when there’s going to be a new post, but it only means that you guys enjoy reading the nonsense things I have to say, and that means more to me than I could ever express.

And finally, and most of all, I’m thankful for a God who pursues me even when I ignore Him. I am almost finished with this journal that I started on one of the very last days of 2013. It has carried me throughout this entire year, and I decided to read through it a couple of weeks back. I found what I wrote the day after my interview at Bellaire, and I’m thankful that even when I don’t see Him, and even when I don’t acknowledge Him, He is with me every moment of every day. He placed me where I am for a purpose, and it’s so reassuring to know that He answers prayers and holds me in the palm of His hand. He has a plan just for ME, and that everything is done on His timing. What a sweet promise, and what a reason to give thanks!

And a final thank you to all of you who have actually made it this far in the post. This was a long one, but would you expect anything less from me? I hope you all enjoy an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by loved ones and reflecting on all that you do have before getting caught up in the Christmas-season frenzy. Here’s to eating lots of good food, watching lots of good football, and spending lots of good time with some of my favorite people. It’s no wonder that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! 

1 comment:

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