Being Thankful in These Trying Times

I usually write some post about Thanksgiving and what I’m thankful for, but I’ve had no time or energy to write lately.  This is a season of thankfulness, but I’m not sure that I’ve felt very thankful.  Sometimes I feel so pessimistic that I forget that my life has been far more privileged than that of a lot of people.  I have a family that loves me.  A boyfriend that makes me smile a lot.  A job with benefits and great coworkers.  I have my own place and a really cute dog.  I have a car that I don’t have to make payments on.  And for the most part, I’m healthy, except for the current moment, because Bobby gave me his cold.

And maybe I find these times trying because I don’t have the community or church that I had back home.  And I thought I didn’t have community there, when I did.  Life never really turns out the way you expect it to.  Thus, I complain too much.  I complain, and I don’t make enough effort to make things better, because I’m too tired or too lazy or just too… too much myself.

So I had a meeting with someone from the counseling department to get my masters in counseling at UNA.  And it seems like a real possibility.  So maybe I should be thankful that I moved to a college town, and even though I really want to move out of it sometimes, Florence is not a bad place.

People, be thankful.  You’re not starving.  You’re not a victim of genocide.  You have a roof over your head.  And things can always get better.

My Thoughts on the Day Before Thanksgiving

I don’t really care what you have to say about Thanksgiving.  I know that it became a tradition in an unsavory way.  I know that people want to say it’s a white privilege holiday.  I know that this land is stolen.  I know this land isn’t promised.

But I don’t really care.  And I’m not even a Thanksgiving advocate.  I literally just don’t care.  I have never once thought about or celebrated this holiday because of pilgrims having a dinner.  I don’t even think of pilgrims.  I associate this holiday with thankfulness.

There’s a guy I know.  Not a guy I like.  This guy always has to have something to say.  He always has to be right.  He always has to have the last word.  And when I tell him to stop, he refuses.  He says sexist statements because he thinks it’s funny.  He calls me militant.  But that’s not what this is about.
This guy.  This male specimen.  He has spent more than half of his life in the United States.  I’m pretty sure he was born here.  He just spent a portion of his growing up, elsewhere.
The other day, he made a big, offensive deal about how he hates Thanksgiving and he doesn’t even know when it is.  He never paid attention because “we all know what happened when that dinner was over.”  To have spent all this time in America, regardless of whether you celebrate a holiday or not, something is major cannot be ignored.  You’re going to know when it is.  Everyday Muslim, Jewish, and Jehovah’s witness know when Christmas is.  People know when Thanksgiving is.  You’d have to be stupid, more than ignorant, not to.
How does he not know that you can change the meaning of a holiday?  I know it doesn’t matter.  And I know he’ll never care.  But I needed to say something.  Thanksgiving is in the name.  It is always a time that I have believed to be set aside to be thankful.  He believes everyday should be thankful, which is true.  But that’s not the point, is it?  We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, don’t we?  Shouldn’t we be showing how much these things matter on a day to day basis?  How bad is it that we set aside a special day as well?

This is my first Thanksgiving away from California.  This is my first Thanksgiving since losing my mother.  I don’t even want this Thanksgiving.  But it is a part of life.  So I’ll live through it.  Maybe.

Can’t we celebrate if we want?  What is the point of making someone feel bad for wanting to have a little joy in their life, even if it might be manufactured propaganda?

The only one who loses, is him and the turkey.

Everybody can shut up now.

Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving

So I do this every year.  Usually I talk about what I’m thankful for, but currently my mind is not headed that direction.  I think I’ll just talk about my Thanksgiving this year.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  My brother puts on a dinner for all of the climbers in Bishop every year, and I was expected to go down and help out.  I didn’t ask for Thanksgiving off, because I needed the money, so I was supposed to work 7-3, which would give me enough time to go drive down afterward for dinner.  Instead my schedule changed so that I wouldn’t be off until 4:30.  It’s a 45 minute drive to Bishop from where I live, and the dinner started at 5, which meant that I had to decide if it was worth it or not.  As the day got closer, I just felt like I would rather have a family Thanksgiving, and since that wasn’t offered, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it down.  The day of Thanksgiving a coworker called in sick, so I worked over time until about 7 instead, which I didn’t mind at all.  It was a decision made for me.

After work I got invited to several different houses for dinner.  I grabbed dinner and dessert at a friend’s house and went home, waiting for a call.  A certain someone had asked me to come over and watch a movie, but got tied up in his own plans, so didn’t come to pick me up until like 11pm.  So obviously I fell asleep, which by the way, why do people think that it’s normal to live on 4 hours of sleep?

I saw a Facebook post from a friend about how he wasn’t celebrating Thanksgiving, because that was what started all of the racism and whatever in America.  So, props to him for having an opinion, but also, is it so bad that I’m down to celebrate a holiday, regardless of how it began?  It’s a part of our culture.  Not that I celebrate being an American often, because I’m not that proud of it, but Thanksgiving has always been a part of my life, and I’m not being racist or killing people by eating a turkey with people I love every year.  It’s not bad to be thankful.  That’s what Thanksgiving is about for me.

And I could say so much more.  But I’m tired.  I’ll stop complaining now.

Another Round of Thanks

So, another year, another Thanksgiving.  I’ve been going pretty good with these typical holiday posts, so I may as well keep it going.

What am I thankful for this year?  I’m thankful for unexpected adventures.  I’m thankful that I ended up in Mammoth, living with awesome roommates, working fun jobs, and making dope friends.  My life is so much different than I ever dreamed it would be, but I’m all the more glad for it.

I’m thankful that my mother’s health is on an uphill climb.  I’m thankful that my parents still love each other and me.  I’m thankful that I can always come home if I need to, and that there will always be a place for me here.

I’m thankful for Gus and how funny he is, and all he does around the house to make life that much easier and more fun.  I’m thankful that he’s not a jerk.

I’m thankful for Anu and how she’s been the best roommate ever.  I have learned so much from her in the short time that I’ve known her, and we have been fast friends.  I’d like to keep her. I’m thankful that I get to live with a girl again.

I’m thankful for Abi and how much of a blessing it has been to get to know her again.  Having friends is so fun.

I’m thankful for Jam and Nat, and the best teachers ever.  They truly know how to believe in people.

I’m thankful that Megan and Evan are super awesome classmates and that I can call them friends as well.

And I’m thankful for funny text conversations.  And music.  And poetry.

And that God has orchestrated this all.  He’s so sneaky.

Yesterday Was Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and it seems that I should feel obligated to blog about what I am thankful for.  Everyone does it.  I’ve done it before.  Should I do it again?

I baked my first pie yesterday.  At least I think it was my first.  I’ve baked a lot of things before, but have I ever baked a pie?  Well now I have.  I baked an apple pie and it was wonderful.  My lovely friend Aaron helped me.  I’m thankful for friends like Aaron.  He opened his home so we could all contribute to a Thanksgiving dinner.  He helped bake pie, mash potatoes, amongst other things.  He even made the turkey.  And it was a good turkey.  I got to spend dinner with new friends and old friends and I got really full and I smiled.  I am thankful that I had food to eat and a family of sorts to eat it with.  Twas a wonderful time.

I find that although Thanksgiving is all about figuring out what we’re thankful for, we tend to bring it back to ourselves.  What am I thankful for?  We want the dinner to go smoothly and we want everyone to be happy and we want to be full so that we can sleep well and go blow a bunch of money on Black Friday sales.  I’ve never really gone Black Friday shopping and this year didn’t change anything.

I know one person who didn’t think of himself on Thanksgiving this year though.  I called my dad to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving and he said they were doing Thanksgiving as a family tomorrow, which is now today, because they were helping my brother sponsor a meal for climbers.  I remember my brother talking about wanting to have a Thanksgiving meal for all the climbers in the Bishop area, because they usually don’t have a home or family to go to, and he actually did it!  My brother with the help of family and friends put together a free meal for any climber that wanted to come and all they had to do was show up and eat.  The turkeys were made and all the fixings as well.  That is honestly the best outreach idea I could ever think of for the Bishop area, and he pulled it off.  And I am proud.

So what am thankful for?  I’m thankful that I have a brother who saw a need and fulfilled it.  I’m thankful that everyone I know had a place to eat and fellowship yesterday.  I’m thankful that I am alive to see it.

But I’m not thankful that I’m sick.  Ugh colds.

Thanksgiving cliche Thankfulness

Well, it’s Thanksgiving today in the U.S. of A. and I thought, what a better way to express my thankfulness than to write a cliche blog about it?  But seriously though, I have a lot to be thankful for, and I haven’t just blogged in a while.

So here goes Sara Froi’s Top Ten Reasons to be Thankful

  1. A clean slate.  All my sins are forgiven because Christ died for me.  That’s amazing.  God didn’t have to forgive me; He didn’t have to forgive anyone.  He could have easily have wiped us all out when Eve took that first bite of fruit and started all over again.  But He wouldn’t do that, because He’s God, and God is love.  He loves us.  He doesn’t have to, but it’s so much better to be loved by someone who doesn’t have to love you, than by someone who has every reason to love you (because you take care of them or something, I dunno, come up with your own examples).
  2. My life.  Almost a year ago, I would have done anything to not have a life.  In fact, I did do everything in my power.  But seriously, I am so thankful that I survived.  I’m going to do amazing things with this life God has given me.  I hope to be an example and that I can use my past, my life, my testimony, to help others who are in similar situations to mine.  All is a privilege from God, including life, and no one deserves it, it’s a gift.  So I’m going to use my gift to shed some light on this world.
  3. My parents are still married.  While it’s true that my mother and I don’t get along, I know that she loves me in her own way.  And my dad loves me more than anyone else I know, and would do anything for me, which blows my mind.  I love him so much.  Seeing the way he loves my mother, even though she’s often insensitive to the feelings of others, and is rather sexist toward the male gender, he knows that she still loves him.  When she was diagnosed with cancer, he did everything he could to make her better.  With all this family has been through, he could have easily bailed years ago (I probably would have), but what matters is that he didn’t.  I don’t come from a broken home, and I know someday I will be able to understand love and marriage because of this.  In April, my parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, and I am thankful for that.
  4. My dreams.  I’m so thankful that I am realizing my dreams, and that God even gave me dreams.  I pray that I don’t step out of His will while following them.  I’m thankful that, without realizing it, I’ve been writing my entire life.  I’m thankful that I can look back and see how far I’ve come, and that I can use writing to reach out when I feel like I have nothing else.  I’m thankful that people acknowledge that my dreams matter.  Dreams, life goals, they’re what keeps me going some days.
  5. Friends that have stuck by me.  Michael, Michelle, Hannah, and Jenny, to name a few.  They’ve been there in the hard times, and I hope that they know that I’ll always be there for them as well.  Even though they don’t understand, and are not always willing to listen, they have begun to know my heart.  I know God has put them in my life for a reason, and I have learned so much from them.  I’m thankful they haven’t let me give up.  I’m thankful that they tease me, and that they let me tease them.  I’m thankful that I’m comfortable with them and they’re comfortable with me.  And I’m thankful that they will never hold me back from accomplishing all that I was made to do.  Thanks my loves.
  6. I’m in fairly good shape.  I’m thankful that I’ve never had a huge struggle with overeating or under eating or any sort of eating disorder.  I’m thankful that I’ve spent my life fairly active, and that I’m capable of running, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, etc.  It’s amazing that God created bodies, as intricate as they are, to be so simple to take care of.  I pray that I will always be able to take care of myself.  I’m thankful that I’ve never really overeaten on Thanksgiving.  There are plenty of people that have to spend holidays in hospitals.  I’m thankful I’m not one of them, but in the same way, I wish there was something I could do to help.
  7. I have a car.  I love driving.  I drive stick and my ’98 honda civic has a racing clutch, short-shifter, and racing engine (no, I don’t race).  Yeah, I’m still paying it off, since this is a fairly new addition to my life, but sometimes I know I don’t deserve it. I have truly been blessed with the way some things work out for me.  I’m thankful for my driving ability.  What else can I say about this?
  8. I have a job.  I know lots of people, especially in this economy, searching for jobs, constantly.  Not only do I have a fairly okay job, I know I’ll keep it as long as I attend Life Pacific College (I work in the cafe).  I get paid minimum wage, and I don’t always get the best hours, but it is something.  And I love my job.  I love the people I work with, I love the environment, and I love that I’m good at it.  My boss is nice.  We play volleyball.  It’s good.
  9. I can worship God openly and freely.  There’s many countries where being a Christian (or other religion) is illegal.  There are underground churches and people are killed because of their faith.  No, we don’t hear about this very much anymore, but it still happens.  I’m thankful that I grew up in a country where I can share my faith, and worship my God publicly, and attend an open church every Sunday.  I’m thankful I have a church family.  I go to a Bible school.  Without God, I would be nothing, and had I grown up somewhere where Christianity was illegal, I’m not so sure that my faith would have always been strong enough.  Thanks, God.
  10. I have running water, shelter, clothing, and food.  I feel that these are things I often take for granted.  I don’t always shower everyday, but the fact that I have that option is something to be thankful for.  Plenty of third world countries don’t have that.  I am not starving, and I go to bed warm at night.  I have more than one shirt, pair of jeans, and shoes.  I don’t need anything else, but a couple weeks ago, I bought new skirts because I got rid of my old one.  Places in Africa, etc., people are lucky to own a nice skirt.  I hope I never take these things for granted again.

With that said, I have a question and a request.  My question is, what are some non-superficial things that you are thankful for (not that all of my things are non-superficial).  And my request is this: I am thinking about completely simplifying my life.  I might get rid of most of my clothes, my shoes, my furniture etc., and help out with the money I save, while also learning how to appreciate what I have.  I’m not sure if this is a direction God is leading me in, but it’s something that I’d like to possibly do.  So, basically, I am asking for prayer about God’s direction in and for my life.  I want to move to England when I graduate, and there’s a possibility that’s also not His plan for me.  So please, join with me in prayer as I figure out some new parts of my life.

Thanks 🙂

Thanksgiving: the giving of thanks

I watched this video today.  I really hate holidays and holiday blogs, because I feel like they’re all the same.  I feel like they all are a little cliche.  But I feel like this is something that I needed to do.

What is Thanksgiving?  I feel like everyone talks about what they are thankful for and how the pilgrims and Native Americans had the meal together and how much they love the food.  But do we really give thanks?  I know we say what we are thankful for, but do we actually go out of our way to give thanks?  This is what I want to do.  But, for cliche’s sake, I shall say what/whom I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my life, and for Christ who died to save me.  I would not be alive today without the salvation Jesus gave me.

I am thankful that I get to attend Life Pacific College, and that my parents are willing to support me and help me pay for it.  I’m thankful that I have job and a car.  Not everyone does.

However, right now, I am really thankful to God, for all of the people He has put in my life to help me through all my ish.  They are in no particular order…

Mary Snyder:

She's been there since high school

Mary has stuck by my side through thick and thin.  She is one of the only people that I can sit in a room with and be completely content without saying a word or doing anything.  She is capable of loving me and walking through life with me, even if we are physically apart.  Right now, Mary is over seas, traveling through Europe, and apparently going to Africa on missions soon?  That last part may be false, not sure yet.  But I am so thankful for the amazing woman of God she is becoming, and for everything she has ever been for me in my life.

Michael Glenn:

The best friend/older brother he knows how to be

I don’t know what I did to deserve a friend like Michael.  I don’t even know where he came from.  Why does he love me in the unconditional, platonic manner that he does?  I’m not sure, but I am so thankful for him.  I know that if I really need someone, I can call him.  When I am at my lowest of lows, he’ll search me out to make sure I’m okay.  He truly does love and care for me.  I am so thankful that God has given me such a perfect brother like Michael.

Jenny O’Grady:

The perfect first roommate

Even though we no longer live in the same room, let alone the same building, Jenny is still acting like the perfect roommate.  She’s always willing to listen to me, and she doesn’t mind my honesty.  No matter what, she wants to understand me and to help me through everything.  She’s always willing to do whatever I need.  I am so thankful and blessed to have had such a perfect first roommate who blossomed into one of the best friends I could have ever asked for.

Josh Luke:

Oh Joshua Luke, my A.B.B.

I never expected to become such great friends with this man.  He has been such a light to my life.  I feel like we truly bonded over our almost-birthday-buddiness, but he has become so much more than that.  The brother in Christ that he has been to me has truly been a blessing.  He’s always caring for me and willing to listen to every stupid thing I have to say.  He is constantly touching my life.  The fact that he notices when I’m not around is so amazing to me, and I am truly, truly thankful to have been touched by my lovely friend from Hawaii, with the smile that looks like this :D.

Michelle Wheelus:

Yeah, that just happened

There is so much I could say about this girl.  She is the sweetest, nicest, best thing that’s ever happened to me.  She’s gone so far as to open her home to me in times of need.  We’ve had so many late night drives and talks and music parties that I’ve lost track of everything.  We have the stupidest inside jokes, and it’s just too amazing.  Her love for Jesus and the people around her is so amazing to see.  I love watching her grow and seeing how far we all have come.  I’m thankful that we can be weird and goofy, but have the deepest, most serious bonding moments that make our friendship all worth while.  I know that I will always have Michelle, and I am so thankful for that.

There are so many more people that I could talk about, but the time is late, and tomorrow is THANKSGIVING TURKEY TIME!  I pray that everyone has an enjoyable holiday season, no matter how much I hate it.
Think about what you’re thankful for, and let them know.