I still remember our Thanksgiving program from kindergarten. That would be back in November, 1983. Isn't that amazing? 26 years ago already. What I remember is my statement, "I'm thankful for my family and my dog." And I was! I remember feeling confident that I had included everything important in that statement: all the living, breathing beings that meant so much to me.
And I still feel that way, even though Josh, the dog mentioned, passed away nearly 20 years ago, and while since then I have had three siblings born, gained two great brothers-in-law, and now have two beautiful nephews. What would life be like without the unconditional love and support of families? Besides feeling protected and cherished, I can honestly say that they are my best friends and the people I most love to spend time with.
I am grateful for a job that I love. There are moments of intense frustration and times when I feel overworked and underappreciated (I admit I sometimes have to fight back my inner drama queen), but these are often reminders of how invested I am in my work. I feel privileged to work with students whose lives have so recently been turned upside down by moving to a new country and trying to navigate the perils of adolescence with the added stress of a new culture and language. These students are amazing for their resilience and survival skills, but also their gratitude and compassion.
Finally, I feel enormously blessed by my faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The joy I have felt in seeking to become more Christ-like, the refinement I have felt as I have tried to overcome my own faults, and the perspective I have been given on the meaning of life and the relative importance of what happens every day, have molded me and made me who I am.