thanksgiving thoughts

Thanksgiving is an awesome day. In addition to the wonderful delicacies I am preparing myself for, it is a day of reflection and intention. Yes, we should be thankful every single day of the year. But instead of being pessimistic about the attitudes of gratefulness today, can’t we be thankful that on today there is widespread recognition of the things in our lives we should be grateful for? Following the trend of this day of thanksgiving, I want to verbalize the things I am most thankful for. I hope your day is full of family, laughter, food, and relaxation!

  1. One of the most profound blessings from God on my life is to be the recipient of an amazing scholarship that has enabled me to meet some really influential people, conduct research early, enabled opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise happened, and most importantly alleviated the financial burden of student debt. I feel overwhelmingly blessed, very undeserving, but extremely thankful for my scholarship.
  2. I am thankful for my hard working, loving parents. They never make me question their love for me. They are the fuel behind my ambition. They are my very best friends and I can only hope to make them proud with my life and my choices.
  3. I am honestly thankful for my health. Learning about genetic diseases and the multiple problems that can happen so easily and so spontaneously has really opened my eyes to the value of health. God has given me legs that walk, eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that beats. Though overlooked and often not appreciated, my health is so important to me.
  4. I am thankful for my sisters and brother-in-law. They are genuinely there for me and feel my pain and feel my happiness. They are the ones I share my life with and without them my life would not be as full.
  5. I am thankful for the ability to openly express my beliefs. I am thankful to live in a country that has soldiers that will fight for me without knowing me. I feel so blessed to know that my beliefs are appreciated and that no one can impose their beliefs on me. I am thankful for the ability to vote and exercise my personal liberties. I am thankful, in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, that I am an American.
  6. I am thankful for my roommate and suitemates. They love me, support me, and keep my life fun and full of happiness. College has been such an amazing transition because of their constant love and concern for me. My life would not be the same if I wouldn’t have met them!
  7. I am thankful for opportunity. Opportunity to love who I want, live how I want, and be whom I want. A lot of people around the world don’t have opportunity. A lot of people around the world are eager for the simple opportunity to find food, shelter, and happiness. I am very, very thankful I have all of these things and more.
  8. I am lastly thankful for my mind. My mind allows me to pray. It allows me to learn new things. It allows me to make decisions that I want to make. It allows me to know love. I don’t ever want to take that simple fact for granted. My mind enables a lot of my life, and I am thankful that I was blessed with a mind that works. It is the little things that are the most important and often not recognized enough.

2015 has easily been one of the best years of my life and has taught me how to be appreciative, humble, and thankful. We all have seasons of our lives where things feel so wrong. It is important in these times to take off the blinders of life and expose our eyes to the valuable and important things in our life: faith, family, and friends. I can’t wait to spend my thanksgiving with my family (and delicious food that isn’t cooked in my dorm microwave). What are you thankful for?

 

 

theories

I want to talk about the theory of relativity.

and compassion. I want to talk about compassion.

The theory of general relativity is honestly one of the most fascinating concepts to me. Over the summer, I read Einstein’s Cosmos by Michio Kaku while I was at the beach. I remember feeling overwhelmed and very, very small as I sat on the beach and glared into the evasive ocean and seemingly limitless aqua blue sky. I remember feelings of awe, and of curiosity of what lies out there. I remember feelings of gratitude and incomprehensible intrigue. I wanted to ask questions. One day, I cannot wait to have my most inquisitive questions answered by the great Creator of all things. I grew an even greater appreciation for Whom I believe made these magical, quintessential concepts. I wish I had the knowledge capacity to explain what the theory of relativity is, but I do not, and I would be lessening the value of the theory if I tried to explain it. I do know, however, that this theory concerns two heavenly objects in reference to each other or each in reference to a certain inertial frame. A subdued example of this is being in a train and looking out the sides. To you, the train is traveling at a fast speed and the trees and grass and sky are all artistically blending together. But if there was a train speeding parallel to you, traveling the same exact speed and you look out the window and see yourself in the other train, you will not be moving at all in that frame of reference. So, although you are moving and the train is moving, according to that inertial frame (where you see yourself) you are still. The term theory of relativity typically questions the earth in reference to other cosmological bodies. Relativity states that time can bend, and warp, and change. Time, on earth, is said to be constant. We have atomic clocks that inherently tell us the precise time. But in space, time changes. Time is warped. Depending on what reference point you are, time may be “normal” to you. It is relative.

I feel that this same concept of relativity can be applied to other areas of our lives. We have to remember that we are not celestial bodies in various frames of reference. We are humans with emotions. We are experiences. We are memories. We must maintain an open heart and be understanding of situations that require our relative frames of minds. Too many times I feel that we as a human race, collectively and individually, make decisions and judgements without being subjective. Every person we meet has an issue, a problem, a disappointment that we know nothing about. Every person we meet is having difficult thoughts that are discouraging. We all have them. Relativity tells us to greet these humans, sensitive and raw people that feel just as we do, with compassionate hearts and open ears relative to their situation. Do not judge. I am a true believer that within every earthly body, that proclaims a religion or not, remains a piece of good. For me, this innately “good” is implanted by a graceful God. For others, this may be a derivative of perceived consciousness. Whatever your greater self may be, look for that in other people. Seek the good. One of my favorite quotes comes from Randy Pausch, “earnest is better than hip.” When I first read this section of his book, I discounted the information in it and thought that quote was dated. But then I really dissected what this means. Being an earnest person, a person with integrity, is cooler and more rewarding than someone who does things and treats people a certain way to fit in. Be relative with people. View them from a personal, compassionate frame of reference. Treat others as if they are walking on the egg shells of life. Love people. Love them generously.


some great quotes from Randy Pausch (because The Last Lecture is one of my favorite books) and because I plan on writing about these beautiful concepts soon:

  • “Go and do for others what they have done for you.”
  • “No, the park is open until 8pm.”
  • “If I work hard enough, there will be things I can do tomorrow that I can’t do today.”
  • “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, only how we choose to play.”
  • “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is the most valuable thing you can have.”
  • “Focus on people, not things.”
  • “Find the best in everybody. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.”

 

 

Thoughts of Thanks

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This morning, I rolled over onto my side and looked at my clock. 7:57. I decided to wake and embrace the quietness before this undeniably busy, beautiful day begins. As I was climbing out of bed, I reached over to turn on my bedside lamp. Warm, saturated, yellow light filled my perfectly messy room. I put on my record player and brewed myself a cup of coffee. The tranquility of these simple tasks evolved into an array of simple, thankful thoughts. There are many misconceptions about the reality of people only being “thankful” on Thanksgiving, but I am inclined to believe that this premise isn’t true. It is very obvious that attention is brought to what we are thankful for on this day marked as “a day of thanks giving”. But I truly believe people are thankful every day, even if in a very small way. I know I have been thankful for something as odd and miniscule as my eyebrows before (for preventing an influx of sweat into my eyes!). I have been thankful for bad situations that have turned into intricately developed lessons learned. I am always thankful for my ever loving parents, sisters, and brother. I am not boasting, however. Because there are times I am stressed beyond my control (or so this is what my mind believes). I have been ungrateful for many things in my life. I will never be able to fully comprehend the merciful grace my God has bestowed upon me. He, after all, is what we should be most thankful for. I have watched my family, friends, and strangers go through unthinkable times and remain thankful. Victims of robbery that have asked for prayer for the robber. Families that have had their children, brothers, and sisters murdered and have asked for mercy on the killer. I pray my heart becomes as tender and compassionate as the hearts these individuals possess. Life, so many times, can make a genuine person shallow and unappreciative. And that is why I am thankful for days like today. Where we are consciously and incessantly reminded to “be thankful”.

Along with my inundation of grateful thoughts this morning, another thought rose to my mind. I am not entirely sure why or what triggered it. The only explanation I can come to is that sometimes God places thoughts on our minds for dwelling and understanding. I thought to myself the repetitive phrase I have heard many times from exposures of marketing techniques and, of course, my parents. “Nothing in life comes free” I thought to myself. Proceeding this thought was that this statement is wholly and utterly false. I started thinking to myself all of the things in life that are free. My family offers love and devotion to me for absolutely no price. The moments I spend with my sisters discussing projects we want to do, the anticipation we share for our little Ezra, the excitement we have for Christmas, and the always present, meaningful support we extend to each other has no price tag. The care, advice, and generosity my brother in law shows towards my education and college decisions are things I couldn’t pay for and am so thankful for. The generous sacrifices of time, money, labor, comfort, energy, and passion my parents undoubtedly and unthinkably show me on a daily basis are things I don’t deserve. Love is eternal and absolutely, positively free. Materialistic things, though I do favor them and get trapped in the worldly perception of them, are not free. My hope for today is that I can shatter my love for “things” and nurture my love for people and emotion. I will keep this thought at the forefront of my mind today as I am enveloped by the love from phenomenal people I am blessed to call my family.

I want to wish everyone who reads this post a very Happy Thanksgiving. May you spend it happily engrossed in conversation and delectable food!

“I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way, in all your speaking and in all your knowledge” 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NIV