Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tis the Season to be Thankful

Every year at Thanksgiving dinner, my family goes around the table and announces what they are thankful for. This year, I thought it would be fun to do a "Things I'm Thankful For" post. I pieced together five different questions that I found online. Here goes!

1. What teacher are you most thankful for? What did you learn from him/her?
My third grade teacher, Miss Teresa Ladopoulos. This woman is the reason that I became a teacher. She made every subject fresh and exciting. She gave me confidence in who I was and taught our class as a whole to embrace the differences that we found in each other.

2. Name three days in your life that you feel especially grateful for.
The first, would be last Thanksgiving. It was the last family holiday that I got to spend with my grandmother before she passed. I told my father that I was going to fly home from South Carolina and surprise her. (I told the rest of my family that I was unsure about my Thanksgiving travel plans -- they all have big mouths!) When she opened up her door, she exclaimed, "What are you doing here?!" and the biggest smile lit up her face. 

55 Degrees - November 2015

The second, would be July 30, 2013 - the day I got my first teaching job. Even though after three years, I was worn down and miserable, I am incredibly grateful that the district took a chance on me. I was interviewed over the phone by all three administrators, and when Randy from HR called me that afternoon, I screamed with excitement. He later told me he had never met anyone so enthusiastic for a job. 

The third, would be January 31, 2014. Finn, my pride and joy, was gifted to me after her owner moved to Georgia. I couldn't imagine my life without her. My friends and family know my obsession with her, and they love her almost as much as I do. She has helped me through the darker of my days, and although she has no respect for hangovers, she lights up my life. 

The weekend I brought Finn home.

3. What philanthropic cause or organization do you feel thankful for?
I am most thankful for the American Cancer Society. My grandmother passed away on January 23, 2016, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. My teaching partner, Demi, had lost her sister years earlier to the same thing. Demi and I had a student, Joshua Vacey, who lost his father to brain cancer only weeks after my grandmother had passed. Students and staff members rallied around us with condolences and kind words. Demi brought Relay for Life to my attention and asked if I would assist her in heading it up. After doing some research, I jumped at the opportunity. I am thankful for events like Relay for Life because it gets the entire community involved while educating everyone about where their donations go, and how they help. Our school raised over $3,000 and my students had a great time helping us prepare for the event. 

Demi, Joshua and Myself - Summerville, SC Relay for Life 2016

4. What form of exercise or physical activity are you most thankful for?
Riding. Hands down my favorite physical activity. Many people have the misconception that the rider sits atop a horse, looking pretty and expending no energy. In reality, riding works every part of the body. Not only is riding great exercise, but it is even better therapy. There is an adrenaline rush during every competition. Even if I'm not in the ring, being at the barn early on a Sunday morning, when everyone else is at church, is my favorite. 

Me and Kensington (Jet) 2013

Me and It's a Reality (Al) 2015
5. What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for?
I am the most grateful for my support system. So many different aspects of my life were turned upside down this year; I have struggled since before the clock struck 12 on New Years Eve to figure out why. Almost a full year later, I have even more questions. My grandmother passed away, another member of my family was very ill, I quit my job, I moved my entire life to Charlotte to be with someone who turned out to be the opposite of who I thought he was; who I hoped he would be. I felt defeated. In September, it all got to be too much and I moved home. I am extremely blessed that my family and friends not only welcomed me home after being away for three years, but that they encouraged me to do so. No one has cast judgement for the mistakes that I have made. They remind me of how far I've come and how much I've sacrificed for others. They keep me going. 

What are some of the things you are grateful for this Thanksgiving?


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