Pegasus (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am very thankful today for my car, Pegasus*. I have had my car since 2008 and it has been so many places with me. I am grateful I have transportation (especially in today's rainy weather), I am thankful I can travel to places when I just need to get up and go, I am thankful for a stereo that can blast my favorite music (usually a musical) and I can sing along without annoying the neighbors.

*I also name everything I own, so my car's name is Pegasus because I got the nickname Hercules from one of my students. One of my old bible study leader's affectionally called my car "The Beast" because it was so big (although I've been in larger).


Be Still (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am thankful for God's promises in his words. For his comfort, his encouragement, and his covenants that he is who he says he is. I am thankful I can be still (even though it is hard for me to sit still) and know that he is God and that I am not. I am for poetry and words to express what can often feel inexpressible. I am grateful someone else, like David, chose to share his fears, doubts, his worries, his anxieties, his frustrations but always remembered that God is sovereign and God is good.

Psalm 46
God is our refuse and strength, 
a very present help in trouble. 
therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, 
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 
though its waters roar and foam, 
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of her, she call not be moved; 
God will help where morning dawns. 
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter, 
he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
The Lord of hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 
Come, behold the works of the Lord, 
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; 
he burns the chariots with fire. 
"Be still, and know that I am God. 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth!" 
The lord of hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 


Running (30 Days of Gratitude)

I never thought I would actually say that. I hated running all my life before this year. I had to run a cross country race in both 7th and 8th grade as a part of being on the basketball team and each time I wanted to just fall over and die. Apparently I've moved beyond that and maybe I just miss playing sports, being active. But I've been really grateful for the chance to run in my neighbor and on campus (although I feel like I get the weird looks of why I'm not at the SRC running and I want to have a giant sign that says I'm not a student, ask me more about when I don't run past you and when I'm not out of breath - but that's another story).

I am really thankful that I am actually having motivation to run because it is healthy, obviously, but it helps me feel like I'm doing something. I'm in a season of extreme processing - that means a lot of journaling, thinking, talking, and writing - what it doesn't mean (just yet) is a lot of action. Running helps me feel like I'm going somewhere and that I am doing something. I feel focused and energized and it gives me new spirit and vision when I could easily be bogged down by everything that could be going wrong.

And then I think I should run like Phoebe. "Did you ever run so fast you though your legs were going to fall off, like when you are running to the swings, or running away from Satan... the neighbor's dog."


Burritos and Boats (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am just thankful for an evening of really good conversation over delicious Freebirds burritos with Brendan. It was an amazing conversation that just gave me a lot of faith and hope for the future.

And really funny text messages from Sarena as you can see next to me. I appreciate the Finding Nemo reference.

And Darin beginning to open up and be real with his struggles and the state of life he is in right now. I appreciate his honesty and his willing to begin letting God dig into the deeper parts of his life.

It could have been an exhausting day since I didn't sleep well the past two nights but it was a good day, that was extremely productive personally and ministry wise. It reminded me of why I love doing ministry - to make an impact and influence in student's lives. And I was very much reminded of that today.


Being Sent (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful today for the powerful words that Ben Vail shared with our CSUN students. I am grateful that our students were challenged to live life on campus as one who is sent there rather than one who has been exiled. I am thankful people were challenged to prayer, a vision we have had since the start of the semester - now confirmed. I am grateful because I see a room full of students who are able to make a difference on this campus and are beginning to see themselves as I have always seen them - as world changers and campus changers - people who can make a difference, whose radical love for CSUN, the people and the campus begin to radically bring revival here to the campus.

I am grateful for hope and a future of this campus, for these people, for this fellowship. For a promise to prosper rather than to harm.


Nachitas (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful today for random adventures, goofy antics, laughter, and unexpected superhero ideas. I am grateful for the opportunistic to take what could have been a very difficult day and enjoy it with unexpected friendship moments from Laura and Erin. I am thankful for good food and drink and even new ideas of combining nachos and fajitas (copyright pending). I am thankful for made up words and catch phrases and inside jokes.

Because as I learned in the book, Stand Tall, sometimes we just need to laugh or else we'll cry.


Musicals (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful for musicals. Today has been at home day, which meant a lot of listening to music on my computer. Recently, I've been listening to a lot of musicals. I love them - I love how the writers find a way to express a range of emotions through songs and stories. It puts two of my favorite things together - music and stories into a seamless portal of a particular aspect of life.

My love for musicals may seem silly unless you are one of those people, and I count myself among them, who find musicals as a great way to express emotions and life. I love the variety that I have come to know - Sound of Music to Spring Awakening to Les Miserables to The Scarlet Pimpernel. I am grateful for an empty house and an empty car to sing along loudly without bothering anyone and I grateful that I have really nice headphones to listen to them as well.

It makes me miss the old Cake and Frank days where my sister, Emily, Jane, and I would make delicious desserts and watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or Kiss Me Kate.

So I am thankful that in a musical anything seems possible. There is singing, for dancing, and for being able to do it an alleyway - even if it seems weird.


Dad and Daughter Dates (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am thankful for the adventures my dad and I took today. We just spend the day hanging out without much thought for where to do go or what to do.

I am thankful for a dad who teaches me the things he knows, whether it be how to properly shoot a gun or how to love people deeply or how to communicate effectively with people.

I am thankful for a dad who blesses me with gifts whether it be a new pair of running shoes or an extra $20 for gas.

I am thankful for a dad who is patient, especially as we sit through dead stop traffic just to go a super late lunch and we know we are both hungry.

I am thankful for a dad who encourages me, whether it be to run that 5K, to follow my heart's desires, to chase after my dreams, or to get the banana split that sounds really delicious.


Family Stories (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am grateful today for family stories. I am grateful we can sit around a table and laugh for hours upon end at the same stories we heard last time we were all together, and a hundred times before that. I am grateful that we are all such good story tellers and love to share our embarrassing moments with each other. I am grateful for the craziness, the laughter, the joy, and the tall tales my family has been telling over the years.

Whether it be the time my mom lit her sweater on fire by reaching over the candle one Thanksgiving, the time I hid in a clothing rack in a store and freaked my mom out, the time my great grandmother pulled off some guy's ear while in a car accident, the time a bear got in the back of my uncle's truck, how my great grandmother changed her name when she was four years old, who later called her husband Bill even though his real name was Owen, how my grandmother was told by her grandmother to move a pile of rocks if ever she said was she was bored (and how my grandma threatened the same to me and my sister), how my uncles had their own file cabinets in the hospital, about the naked man with red shoes that haunted the orange groves near my mother's house, the time I slid through gravel and my mom had to pull the rocks out of my hand, or when I fell face first onto the mall floor and chipped my two front teeth, or even that time I put a bead up my noise and I never found it.

I love my family's stories, they prove we are really crazy and talk way too much.


Days Off (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful for days off of work that allow me to sleep in a little more and spend more time on campus. Usually Fridays I chill in the USU Freudian Sip (they even know who I am now in there and know which table I like), but since this Friday campus is closed for the holiday, I was bummed to miss out on that. This week, they let my office out early so I didn't even have to go in and I got spend all day on campus.

I am even grateful for the chance to hangout in the dorms again and just watch movies. It's been a while since I just chilled in the dorms - brought me back six years. (And I was even mistaken for an actual resident who lived there - of course it was dark in the room so they could only really see my plaid shirt).


Breaking Down Walls (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful that I am in a season where I am letting God tear down some walls in my life. I am thankful for the safe spaces to wrestle with hard questions, for safe people to be around, and that hopefully I will be able to do some swinging.


Minons (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful for my student leaders today. They have joked that they are my "minions" from Despicable Me. They do what I ask but kind of drive me crazy and I don't always understand what they are saying (look up clips on you tube if you've never seen the movie). But they are so much more than that. They are an amazing group of 12 people who are letting Jesus work in their lives in radical ways this year. I don't think I would have asked for any other group this year. They have blessed me in ways I can't describe and have been instrumental in my healing from my brokenness with students in the past. They have helped return to me my confidence in my ability to lead others, they have both encouraged and challenged me, they have made fun of me, they have laughed with me, cried with me, screamed with me, and even go on random adventures with. They are some of my favorite people who I will treasure for ever and keep in my life for a long time.

I am grateful for Amanda who quite literally saves my life when it comes to organizing details and who is willing to give the difficult things in life a second chance.
I am grateful for Anne who came in last minute and immediately jumped into leadership and our vision, who is letting Jesus give her strength and confidence.
I am grateful for Brendan who never wants to settle, never wants anyone else to settle, and is letting his heart heal from the things of the past.
I am grateful for Darci who is open, honest, and vulnerable even in the hardest of times, who seeks after justice and the gospel for all those she knows and those she's never met.
I am grateful for Darin who is willing to step outside of his comfort zone, take risks, and is willing to go where Jesus has called him.
I am grateful for Jenel who is opening herself up to transformation by Jesus, even if that means letting him into the hard places in life and who is seeing God's kingdom with new eyes.
I am grateful for Mark who is open to God changing his world view and who is sensitive those that others may be ignoring.
I am grateful for Miriam who doesn't want people to stay where they are at and who vulnerably shares in order to bring people into her own life and struggles so they may do the same.
I am grateful for Monique who's sensitivity to the Holy Spirit teaches us how to listen and for her desire to see others experience the Lord's grace as well.
I am grateful for Ryan whose musical talent blesses anyone with ears to hear, his laughter is contagious and his heart longs loves all he comes into contact with even those that are different than him.
I am grateful for Sabrena who takes care of those in her midst, providing food or comfort or even challenge to those around her, and for taking risks in new areas.
I am grateful for Sarena who sees all those around her and longs for them to be seen for who they are, and that she is discovering how to use the unique gifts God has given her.


Generosity and Faithfulness (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am thankful that God provides in fundraising. This is an Urbana year, where students from all over the country will be head to St. Louis to learn about God's heart for the cities, the poor, the world, and for mission. We have 15 CSUN students going, which is pretty amazing.

But fundraising has been difficult. I come from Cal Poly, a large fellowship, where we have a specific way of doing fundraising - we rely on big events such as dance parties, potluck dinners, t-shirt fundraisers, etc. Since we have such a large base to get people to participate this, and a wealthier community they all work very well. Let's face it, they have not been working well at CSUN. I attempted to do a t-shirt fundraiser and it was like pulling teeth to get people to participate. A lot of work for not a lot of money.

So I felt God asking me to keep it simple, just ask for the funds. I took two students with me, Mark and Jenel, to my home church Lake Ave to ask a one small group to support us as we head to Urbana in about a month. I didn't give either Mark or Jenel much explanation but they remained faithful, sharing why they wanted to go. I don't think people in the small group were moved by their stories as much as they were moved by the spirit to give.

After making a 10 minute or less announcements, and staying afterwards to talk, we raised $650. I was amazed and blown away by God's provision, in what seemed like no effort. But it wasn't me, or even my students who somehow convinced people to give to us, it was the Lord, who worked in the hearts of people to give so that 15 students may learn more God's heart for the world.


Scones and Wisdom (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am thankful for scones. Carrie Minturn seriously makes the best scones. With her recipe and her natural talent for baking that I have yet to posses (I think I may get when I become a mother), and that every time I've had one I'm about ready to have an emotional break down, they are seriously the best things in the known universe. These are probably my favorite food of all time, the banana chocolate chip ones being my all time favorites. She is a genius.

But not only does she make the best scones on the planet, I am so blessed by her wisdom and her truth. Carrie is a straight shooter but a gracious one at that. She is always imparting on me the wisdom of her years and experience and I hope I can possess some of that as I grow older. She is a wonderful role model to me of what it looks like to be a godly woman, mother, and wife - who not only seeks to love Jesus but to love the city and to strive for justice. I am so thankful I did FUI in 2010 and I got to know her (and benefit from her cooking) and that I can come over to her house and she welcomes me home. Because of her hospitality and love, I have always felt like that house was another place I could call home and feel safe.

And her scones are the best. THE BEST. I am still thinking about them and that says something about how good they are.


People, Places, and Things (30 Days of Gratitude)

Ok, I'm not really thankful for all nouns today, but I just had so much this weekend I need a laundry list of them all:
  • A car to take me to my homes away from home
  • Fresno and it's hidden beauty 
  • Local flavor of Fresno Brewing Company, Estrella Bakery, and Pho 75#2
  • Pho and egg rolls 
  • Pan Dulce and cute four year olds who flirt with you
  • Delicious beer and the glasses they come in 
  • Sitting with children while they tell you how to color
  • Being buried in pillows 
  • Friendships both new and old
  • Wisdom of those older than me 
  • Hard hitting truths 
  • Late night conversations and many Friends references
  • The purple room and my other bed 
  • Twinship 


Be There

I was sent this blog post, Journeying Together, by a dear friend of mine.

Silence isn't awkward all the time. Sometimes you just want to sit with a friend and not talk about the things that are bothering you. Sometimes all you need is for them to be with you in the pain, in the frustration, in the confusion, and in the messiness, knowing that there has to be no words. No scripture, no quick thought, no problem solving, no questions, because there are no easy answers. Because sometimes, "I know, all that is required of me is to be there."

Rest (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful for the chance to rest, to relax. I had a meeting cancelled today and it meant that I got to spend the day at home. It was the perfect day to rest at home, cloudy and overcast, allowing me to curl up in my pajamas and catch up on missed tv shows. It's the kind of day you listen to Norah Jones while drinking hot tea and reading a good book or journal. The kind of day where even though you are in sweats the whole day, you feel surprisingly productive. I love those days.


Questions (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am known to ask a lot of questions - you know those hard questions that you don't want to answer but you have been thinking about for a while. I picked up the skill from my old InterVarsity staff workers who would often do this to me. Then add in the two summer projects and I learned how to pull all these out of my hat for any situation.

But today I am thankful for them being used on me. There aren't that many people I have found who are brave enough to ask those tough questions - that get at the heart of what you really feel or what you are really wrestling with Jesus. I am thankful for the bravery of my friends and even my students to look me in the eye, call me out or ask me the hard truths I'm avoiding dealing with. It is needed in discipleship and friendship - for both to be vulnerable and for both to take risks.

I wish I could say I came to good answers by the end of the day but all I came away with is that there is a lot I need to wrestle and bring to Jesus and that will take some time. Answers come later I suppose.


Unexpected Dinners Part 2 (30 Days of Gratitude)

To keep with the food theme here from yesterday - had another day where I was unexpectedly fed. I was actually home this evening and my roommate told me she was making quesadillas. That was a blessing because I wasn't sure what I was going to be making tonight and I wasn't in the mood to cook anyway.

Clearly the way to my heart is through my stomach.


Unexpected Dinners (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today is simple. I was hungry and I was surprisingly fed. I am very grateful that the girl's house had extra chili for me to eat tonight. I didn't have to make dinner or buy it and that was a victory for the day.


"Senior Buddies" (30 Days of Gratitude)

When I did theater my freshman year of high school, I never would have imagined I would still be still be friends with the seniors I met then. As a young freshman I counted it as a privilege to be accepted by seniors but I never thought I would still be friends with them long past high school and even college.

It was some of those seniors who took me out my 21st birthday for my first drink (although they insisted it was not possible for me to be 21). It was those seniors who have supported me financially in InterVarsity. And now it is those seniors who I consider to be my dear friends, older and wiser and such a wonderful influence on my life. I have been blessed to know them for almost ten years now, and that we are still friends to this day.

Meg and Kathy - you are amazing and wonderful women of God whom I am blessed to have in my life. Thank you for the advice, the support, and your friendship over the years.


Prayers (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am simply thankful for prayer today. After a long, stressful, and tiring week, I was approaching burn out but an entire conference lay before me. It was not one to simply complete, but to remain present and active for. I simply did not feel I had the energy to finish it out well.

But I am thankful for the people in my new InterVarsity family being willing to listen. I turned to Enrique, one of our older staff, and just expressed I didn't want to be here. He looked at me and simply offered to pray for me and for the day. I know the reason I made it through the day without crying or checking out or falling asleep is Enrique's morning prayer.

Thank you.


Happiness (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today was the second time in a few weeks I've been told how much happier I look. This is a big deal for people to say this to me. One year ago I was a teacher at a middle school and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I quit back in February for a multitude of reasons and it has been a long and ongoing journey to recover from what I went through there.

But I am thankful that job is over. I am thankful to be free from the disfunction and the torment. I am thankful I have a job I love, even though it is far from easy. I am thankful I can wake up every morning and the biggest success of the day was not getting out of bed. I am thankful for having the life back in me and for the joy returning to my soul. And I am thankful people are noticing how much happier I do look.

Yes, working for InterVarsity as intern staff is not an easy job by far, but it is a challenge I look forward to and I know I can grow from. I am thankful I have been given a chance to not just be redeemed from the brokenness of the year but to heal and thrive into something better.


Beer and Wax Seals (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am pulling double duty on the thankfulness.

First off, I am so thankful that I got to spend time with my old college roommate, Nicole. I lived with her for most of college and we first met way back in the day during our freshman bible study. She is a friend I will treasure forever, who has been there for me through a lot rough times, and has really seen me grow from the stubborn little butt headed freshman, to a less stubborn, and slightly less butt headed adult (ok, I have seriously grown up, I promise). I enjoyed so much that she was in town for a presentation and we got to enjoy a beer together, reminding of the good days in SLO where we'd talk over a pint at Spike's.

Secondly, I was sincerely blessed by a wonderful surprise present from two of my students, Amanda and Jenel. I have been in a letter writing mood for the past month and I made a brief comment of how I wished for a wax seal to seal my envelopes with. Several days later, Amanda brings me a present of a my very one wax seal, with the letter "M" on it, for no reason other than to bless me with a gift. I am so thankful for their thoughtfulness and listening to me when I suppose I ramble. It not only touched me to receive a gift out of the blue, but one so personal and unique to me, it only made me feel more seen by my students.

At this point, I can no longer admit I am not seen by my own students (sense a theme here). I have no evidence to back that up anymore. And when I forget, I am thankful I have written this down to remember. And I can mail myself a letter and seal it with my stamp! (To say I'm excited to have this gift is an understatement - I'm completely nerding out about it, it's like an English major's dream come true).


Challenge (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am thankful for Sarena. I thought long and hard about this post because I know Sarena doesn't like to be in the spotlight a lot. But I am very, very grateful that she is on my leadership team. She is a leader who is taking a lot of risks this year, from leading a bible study to opening herself up and being vulnerable with new people, to showing people her emotional side. She is dedicated at everything she does. But more than that, Sarena challenged me last night while we were talking in two specific ways.

One, Sarena challenged me with seeing people. As you might have figured out by now, I struggle with feeling seen by others but I can easily fall into the trap of focusing all on myself (not that hard of a trap to fall into if I am completely honest). But Sarena, unknowingly challenged me to see the others in our leadership team, in our fellowship, or even right in front of me. I had, in fact, not been seeing a lot of people because I was so focused on making sure I got seen. I don't feel guilty but challenged to take steps outside of the lie that life is a story about me.

Secondly, Sarena challenged me in giving praise to others. I always saw myself as one who gives praise well because I have a way with words. As I spoke my standard praises (that I'll admit I have recycled over time) she told it was great to hear but it didn't mean much if she didn't know to what it applied. So I had to make sure I meant what I said when I told her of her value and worth by giving examples. She challenged me to be honest and genuine and not just give praise to make people feel better or stop crying to but to build and encourage.

It is difficult to be challenged and called out by the people you lead, but all together necessary. I am so grateful it was done with grace and forgiveness.


Upside Down Kingdom (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful I have a right to vote. I am thankful I my voice is not silenced. I am thankful, as a woman, my voice can be heard. But I live in a broken world, with broken rulers and kings, leading broken people. I am thankful I serve someone greater than any president.

I am thankful that I am more than just an American citizen, a part of a country and a state but a part of an upside down kingdom. I am thankful, no matter who the future president is - a good one, a bad one, one I agree with or not, republican or democrat or neither, man or woman, ultimately they are not the one I serve. I serve a peasant king, a carpenter who was homeless during his ministry, who challenged us with a new way of thinking and living, who did what he preached, and who died on a cross so that others might be saved.

I am grateful to be a part of a kingdom that seeks to serve rather than to gain, seeks to feed rather than to take, and longs to see revival, even if it comes at personal cost. I am thankful I serve a God who is perfect and good, who's love and mercy will outlast any ruler here on earth. I am thankful to this God who knows my name and my inmost being. I am thankful that with him, I am never alone. I am grateful there is grace and whomever our countries leader is, I know they will fail us sometimes. They will succeed at others, but the King I serve never fails, he always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always preservers.


Wombats (30 Days of Gratitude)

I didn't think I would be saying this but today I am most thankful for Ryan Whyman. (Don't let it get to your head man) but let me tell you what I appreciate it most about him.

Ryan has a unique ability to see people in the small ways, especially women. I have seen him compliment women about the smallest things - their clothing, new hair styles, any the other small things that women especially want people to notice. And somehow he does it in a way you know he is saying it as your brother and friend and not anything more. It is rare and unique gift that he doesn't realize how amazing it is. During a difficult day today Ryan just gave me a hug and told me he liked my scarf. Sometimes that's all I need is a hug and a compliment with no questions. So I appreciate his sincerity in compliments and care.

Even though I've never called him such, one of his nicknames is Wombat. I prefer Rhianna Whywoman but that is a whole other story for another time.


Seen (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am very thankful for my students. It was a difficult week, and Saturday was the hardest day to come. Today, the exhaustion hit me and I was burned out and done. I cancelled our leadership meeting and just invited students over to dinner, for when I don't know else to during chaotic times, I stay busy. As we ate, my leaders shared vulnerably about their difficult weeks and I sat there, wanting to stay silent. This was my burden, my struggle, and I didn't want them to have to bear any of my burdens - they didn't need to shoulder that responsibility. I cared for them too much to add any more burdens to their own.

But one student told me we were meant to share our burdens with each other, so I shared my stories. I shared the deep wounds from the past when it came to supervisors and how that invaded my present, I shared the overwhelming loneliness I feel being the only staff here, and I shared how I didn't feel safe to fall apart anywhere. I was afraid to share because I didn't know how this would be received. Many times when I share personally, people just don't know what to do with it, especially when I share with those I have authority over. I feared what I shared, however personal, would be left hanging in the room still when everyone left.

But my students chose to stay with me. They stayed two hours past when they had anticipated leaving. They cleaned my dishes and put away the food, despite my insistence I could do it. For I knew they had homework and the like to do at home I didn't want to keep them there. I also don't handle being taken care of well since it implies I cannot do something on my own.

When I said they could just go home and I would finish the clean up one student, Jenel, looked at me and said, "Melissa this is how you are being seen. I know it may not be the best way or the way you want it, but let us see you and accept that." I was overwhelmed by her maturity and challenge. She not only voiced that my students did in fact see me but I was not letting myself realize it. She recognized my past hurt of feeling ignored and my present pride to be independent. By the end of the night my heart was full and I felt seen and acknowledged by my leaders in a way I had never felt before. It was a great moment to see the growing depth of my leaders and their willingness to sacrifice for others, and for myself to let myself be taken care of and poured into by those I serve.


Redemption (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful for Tom Allen, our regional direction (essentially my boss's boss). After my time in teaching I have a really hard time receiving written (and even sometimes verbal) feedback. I know how important it is but since I was so used to receiving negative reviews that almost cut to the core of who I was, every time I receive an "evaluation" I start to panic. I am thankful for Tom Allen's gracious words of wisdom, where there were no negatives, only areas of improvement, and he began by finding serious positives in the talk I gave. I am grateful even God is beginning to redeem every aspect of my life - from giving me students who actually listen when I talk and what to engage with what I have for them, with supervisors who care about my own personal well being, and with evaluators who look what what I actually do well and give suggestions in order to help me improve, knowing I am already faithful to do a good job.


Adventures (30 Days of Gratitude)

I am thankful for adventures. I am grateful I get to share part of my history and life with my students, something I never got to do with my friends at Cal Poly. I am thankful for their adventuring spirit and reminding me to embrace life and enjoy the light hearted moments.


Gemela (30 Days of Gratitude)

Today I am thankful for my twin, Sol. I miss her like crazy and it hurts sometimes that we are in cities so far apart. But I am thankful she knows me so well. I am thankful she understands when I don't speak it's because my emotions are so deep no words are appropriate, I can slip in and out of our fake accent and it never phases her, and sometimes it is good enough to quote endless lines from Friends on the phone. I'm thankful we wrestle with the hard issues most people won't touch. I'm thankful she is not white and brings me into her culture gracefully and gently. I am grateful she is finding herself and bringing me along the journey.

Her trust and her friendship are something I never thought I would have growing up and I never expected to get. It was a pure gift from God and shows even spending six weeks with a friend can be enough to solidify your friendship for a lifetime. I am excited for the adventures to come in our friendship.

30 Days of Gratitude

Back in January I did a blog series about Joy Dare from the book One Thousand Gifts (which I still need to read, Mom, and you have the book). It was an interesting experience because the month itself was one of the hardest months I've been through and it was a challenge every day to find Joy in a lot of pain and suffering  I was ultimately rewarded by the experience because Joy is more than a feeling, it's a choice to have joy during the hardest of times.

I believe thankfulness is the same way. I've never been fond of the holiday that appears every November because I really don't like Turkey and we never seemed to be very thankful, except for perhaps the couple of hours before dinner. 

As I learn about myself in the recent years, I find I am a not a very positive person. I won't ever be super bubbly, and I am ok with that, but I want to grow in my genuine thankfulness at the wonderful things my life has. I find it a challenge to be thankful because I find I come off insincere and fake sometimes. But this month, I am going to blog every day, about what I am thankful, even if the day was hard and difficult, even if I don't want to, and even if I have to say I'm thankful I got out of bed, I still will be faithful to be thankful.