T. H. A. N. K. F. U. L.

As I run and cook (not at the same time, but I am a mom/elementary principal and have mastered the “doing a zillion things at once” trick…so maybe I’ll try run-cooking in the future, not today.) for this glorious day with family and good food, I have some quiet time to THINK for a while about what being thankful means to me. We are all thankful for a host of things and people. (I will list mine in a bit.) But, last Sunday, my elementary Sunday School class discovered that it’s not being thankful for the “what” that is so important, but it’s “to whom” we should be  thankful that has much more magnitude. 

I am thankful to be saved by the grace and sacrifice of Jesus. I can’t imagine the pain he withstood for you and for me. He could have easily not gone through with being crucified, but he loves us THAT MUCH. He is the “who” that I am thankful to. He died so that I may have life; life to be thankful for on earth and ultimately, eternal life in Heaven.  I am so thankful, more than words could ever express, for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Because he died for me, I have the opportunity to “live” my earthly life for him. I am thankful for all of the “typical” things that we express thanks for throughout the season. My family, my church family, good friends, a tight-knit community, and my health. However, I thought I would take a moment and be just a bit more specific, and creative in my expression of Thanks. Here it goes: 

T – Teachers (those who have impacted my life & those whom I’ve been blessed to work with throughout my career.) Honorable mentions for T were Tech and Twitter – because they are part of who I’ve become as an education leader. 

 

My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Morris. She recently retired and is a long-term sub at my school.
  
VES teachers express our #gratEDtude for the Bank of Vici.

H – Home. I live and work in an area that is in the same county that I grew up in. My husband’s family, as well as my family, are both short drives away. Many of my students’ parents I have known since HS and have competed against either on the softball field, basketball court, or through 4-H and other school events. This is my home, and I’m grateful to have been able to return to the area and people I love. 
  
A – Arobic exercise – more specifically, running. (Had to get creative on that one.) Running, and exercise in general, are a form of stress relief, and an energy-boost. I am thankful for the sport, but in addition, I’m thankful that my health and body have the ability to move me forward down the road. Running helps me be able to do more ” running” at school-which, we all know is a necessary skill at times! 

  
N – “N”spirational Mentors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those key people, who, made such an impact on me at various stages in my life. My grandmother demonstrated sacrifice and determination to me beginning at a young age when she took on raising my brother and I. She is who I strive to emulate every day, in both my personal and professional efforts. My professional mentors are two people who have cheered for me, believed in me, supported me and valued my beliefs and opinions. I’m very thankful for Superintendent Randy Holley and Dr. Mary Aspedon – they care deeply about kids, and I hope one day to be the kind of leaders they are. 

 

K – Kids. Of course. I love them. I love their hugs, high-fives, smiles, innocence and energy. I love their “Mrs. Nelson, I love you”‘s, their exceptance, bright eyes and giggles. They are why I do what I do. They matter. They deserve my best every single day. I am grateful to GET to lead and interact with, form relationships with, smile, have fun with and enjoy kids every day. 

   
    
    
 
F – Family. I am blessed to work closely with my husband every day since he is the Superintendent at our school. I am grateful for this opportunity, and for our partnership to create a fun and challenging learning environment for teachers to teach in and students to learn in. We are also blessed with 3 children, whom I love and adore. They each have their unique personalities, favorite hobbies and challenges too. I love being their Mom, and I truly believe my mom-status has made me a better teacher and leader. 

   
      

    

 U – Unprecedented Oklahoma Sunrises. I guess one could say I’m obsessed with the daily artwork in our Northwest Oklahoma sky.  But it’s not just the beauty my eyes see each morning on the way to school. It’s far more than that. It’s an appreciation for another day, a new day, a gift from God, to be my best, do my best, and love those around me. Sunrises are what I hope my entire day will be like, wrapped in to one brief moment in time when those rays peek over the horizon. ☀️
    

  L – Laughter. My grandmother used to quote her Reader’s Digest quite often saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” As an adult, I believe it. Whether you’re 1 or 100, laughter is contagious, and I’m thankful that I can brighten someone else’s day by sharing a smile or a laugh. 
Being thankful is so much more than the “things” we are thankful for. Those things and people are important to us and DO MATTER. But today and every day, I am ever thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and loved ones! 

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