I’m a pretty reflective person, and I actively try to express gratitude in my everyday life. But there’s something special about Thanksgiving that brings appreciation into the forefront of daily activity.

But, truth be told, I prefer the term “grateful” to “thankful.” According to Google, grateful deals with kindness; thankful is about relief.

(If this seems like a blatant rip-off of pieces like these, well, it is.)

My life has radically changed in the course of 2014 thus far. These changes have caused me to look retrospectively at my life and the people in it, which in turn causes mountains of unsaid thanks to bubble up inside my heart.

I’m grateful and incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to attend and graduate college. Creighton, no less, a small-knit liberal arts institution that seems to inject a bit of magic into lives and situations.  I recently read Daniel Menaker’s memoir “My Mistake,” and in it he had a wonderful bit about a humanities education, highlighted by the quote: “If you are lucky enough to be educated well in an ivory tower, it will help to prepare you to descend from that tower and deal with un-ivoried reality.” So true.

Desembarco de los puritanos en América by Antonio Gisbert. Public Domain via Wikimedia
Desembarco de los puritanos en América by Antonio Gisbert. Public Domain via Wikimedia

My mentors deserve a big, heaping spoonful of thanks for pushing me to follow my dreams, not the practicality and structure I am so fond of. It’s because of them answering my questions, letting me call them at home and being inexhaustible cheerleaders that I am happy today.

I’m grateful to have a job that I like, a job that I feel is important and serves a purpose. I’m learning a lot about everything, it seems: Nebraska, broadband capabilities, the Bureau of Prisons, football scoring…the list could go on.

And I’m lucky to live in a world where we help others across the finish line, where people are still moved by an act of humanity.

I’m glad I live in the U.S., where people can ask questions and express their opinions. Not only do I live in this country, I am lucky enough to live in Nebraska, that place that once seemed a prison and now is a bountiful, safe, beautiful place full of intelligent, kind-hearted and good people.

I live in my hometown, and I’m grateful to be able to examine it with educated, critical eyes and finally conclude (or would the proper term be acquiesce?) that I’m from a great place with an incredibly low unemployment rate.

I’m grateful for my family and friends, near and far, who love me and listen to me complain and help me heal a self-imposed heartbreak and drink beer with me and put up with my need to incessantly chatter about Taylor Swift’s new album.

I’m grateful for sound health and sparkling water and the power of a good haircut. For Hot Tamales and the Internet. For curiosity. For heated blankets and mint tea. I’m grateful I have the capacity to learn, question, love and communicate. I’m grateful to be alive.

What are you thankful for?


The upside of conversing with jerks

Normally, I love Octobers. 

The fall cliches are in full swing, and the sunlight seems to be tinted a golden orange, which means the world looks as if it has been dipped in champagne.

But I feel like it’s been an off month. 

Why? Because I’ve had a lot of conversations with jerks.  Continue reading

Are there really no stupid questions?

Ah, the splendor of fall.

Summer went by like an out-of-control locomotive at a break-neck pace, and now fall is settling in for its months of golden glory.

I love autumn nights. (And Autumn Night, the scent of the new wallflower room smell-ify contraption from Bath and Body Works that smells like “crisp autumn nights come to life with nutmeg and cinnamon stick layered with applewood and cedar.”

So now I’m sitting here, smelling Autumn Night and reflecting on my summer. It seems to have been the summer of the question mark, filled with enigmatic inquiries and soul-searching and just plain figuring out how to do things.

Below, a series of questions that crossed my mind this summer: Continue reading