November 27, 2014

Your Not-So-Typical Thanksgiving Post

***Clearly I am posting this hours after I wrote it, but enjoy***

I’m currently sitting in a plane with my surrogate mother and 200 strangers en route from Milwaukee to Los Angeles. (I’m starting to realize my best writing is done in airplanes. Perhaps it’s the disconnect from media and life that gets my happy fingers going; we’ll never know.) It’s noon in Milwaukee but I’m honestly not sure which time zone I’m in right now. What I do know is that it’s Thanksgiving Day and I don’t have any plans to sit around a table and confess to my family that I’m thankful for them and the warm environment in which we live. Rather, I am praying that once in Los Angeles, everyone else is sitting around a bountiful feast roasting and toasting their glasses to yet another Thanksgiving full of laughter and love so that there is minimal traffic on the freeways. Either that, or lazily slopped into a plush couch watching football. (I know which I would choose. Hint: #BeatTheSeahawks.)

And, you know what’s awesome about all of this? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m on my way to see a beautiful bride marry her soul mate! I’ve heard a few people this week express concern that I won’t be with family, invite me into their warm homes for a tasty turkey, pity me for traveling on Thanksgiving Day. Truthfully, it’s way better than traveling the day before!
So, instead of awkwardly confessing out loud to my family and a few friends some of the things I am thankful for this year, I now publicly announce my top 2014 Thanksgiving-worthy remarks.

1. I am thankful for being brave. A year ago, I was thankful for a joyful, warm life living in San Diego and playing in the sand year-round, not even thinking about Milwaukee. Honestly, when I got into Marquette, I had to look up Milwaukee (and Wisconsin) on a map of the United States. Oh, it’s near a lake? Sweet, at least there will still be beaches (there’s one but it’s currently covered in snow). Without my ridiculous sense of adventure, I’m not sure how I would have made it here. God sure did give me a wanderer’s heart and for that, I am extremely thankful.

2. I am thankful for the community of friends I have been blessed with in Milwaukee (and across the country). I remember in 2010 when I was leaving home for the first time heading for San Diego, I was so certain that I would never find friends as good as those from childhood and high school. Although that assumption has proven true, I have found plenty that really give my long-timers a run for their money. So, if you’re reading this and it applies to you (likely does), thank you, thank you, thank you from the depths of my heart for showing me your hearts and allowing me to share and bring loud laughter in your lives. I wouldn’t change one thing if I had the choice.

3. I am thankful for the freedom and privilege I have to travel and adventure. I’ve been living in Milwaukee for only six months (almost to the day) and have seen and experienced a ridiculous amount of fun. Although I adore the west coast and will always consider it home, being in the Midwest feels so central to everything. Also as a side-note for all my friends in California, I do not live on the east coast.

4. I am thankful for the joy I find in learning. In finishing up my undergraduate degree, my brain was beginning to feel stale. Kinesiology is brilliant and a useful degree, but not if it isn’t your passion in life. Starting nursing school has reminded me that learning can be fun and interesting and better yet, challenging. Week after week (ps: is it week 15 yet?) my cohort is thrown so much information, so much instruction which makes it extremely difficult to stay attentive. Thank goodness for those 50+ classmates (and my patient roommates!)—I would actually be L.O.S.T. without their wisdom and guidance.

5. I am thankful for good health and for actively improving the health of others. Nursing school has been so, so good to me and as noted above, has taught me a great deal. I never knew my brain could expand this large, but wow, it has. I find joy being in the hospital and first-handedly being involved in the care of so many different patients. I enjoy seeing them improve and return home to their families. It’s promising that I feel this way now, because the rest of my life will (hopefully) revolve around this.

6. I am thankful for many means of communication and for staying in touch with loved ones throughout the country. At first thought, moving most of the way across the country seems like a substantial change and adjustment. Although there may be a little truth in that, it doesn’t feel much different than when I moved away the first time. My ability to chat and chat and chat greatly benefits me when it comes to staying in touch with all of my non-local joys. The darn time-change though…that’s the only (very, very minor) issue.

7. Last and certainly not least, I am thankful for the unwavering, everlasting, unconditional grace from Jesus. I mess up every single day and every single day, I am still adequate. I am still loved. I am still seen as perfect in the eyes of our Lord. There are days where I find myself feeling like a sinner (most days), entitled, dumb, irritated, hopeless. I may not feel beautiful, perfect, gifted, loved, encouraged, adored, or highly thought of but here’s some serious Thanksgiving-worthy news: I am. And so are you. If you’re shaking your head, stop that. We are dearly loved, adored, gifted, and cared for thanks to our Savior.

I pray this blog finds you peaceful and bubbling with joy today. I pray that you are laughing with family, friends, acquaintances and strangers on this beautiful Thanksgiving Day. I hope you know that I am thankful for you. I am thankful that somehow our paths crossed and pray they continue crossing. I am so thankful you allow me into your life and pray we continue growing together as life continues progressing.

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving from my heart to yours! Now, turn your attention to the one thing substantially more important than this blog: my 49ers beating up on the Seahawks. Good ole Thanksgiving Day stress…I mean football.

One very final thing (promise): I hope your Thanksgiving meal looks prettier than mine. :)

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