As turkey and stuffing begin to settle into my stomach, I first hope everyone is having as good of a Thanksgiving as I am. There is nothing better than good food shared with family you love.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year because God has given me so much. I’m going to highlight some of it in this post.
Most pressing, I am thankful for the fact my grandfather, Jim Weiderstein, had a successful operation to remove a large aneurysm near his kidneys. He is 82 as of Nov. 22, which is the day he had the surgery. He is doing well and will hopefully get to come home by the end of the week.
I am also thankful for knowing and learning from Les Anderson, who died recently. He was my professor and adviser at Wichita State University. I learned so much from him. I just wish he wasn’t taken so early.
My family is a huge entity I am very thankful for, including the aforementioned grandfather. My parents, Steve and Karen, always support me no matter what I want to do, and my brother always has my back. Even if he and I don’t always see eye to eye, I love him and wouldn’t know what I would do without him. All of my aunts and uncles are also important to me. I can go to them with anything, and they always help guide me down the right path. And don’t forget all my cousins. Hanging around with them is always a good time.
Friends. I am lucky enough to have so many that I honestly can’t list them all here because it would take up so many words and so much of your valuable Thanksgiving time as you read this. And no. I’m not talking online “friends” who I’ve never met in real life, though I am glad to have them in my world as well because they are good for bouncing ideas off of and inspiring new ideas for me to pursue. I’m talking about people I talk to face-to-face on a regular basis. They are my safety net. When the wheels start coming off, they are there to help put everything back together or throw away the pieces — which ever is necessary.
I’m thankful for God and the soldiers that fight for this great country to remain free, so someday I can raise children in a world not oppressed and stripped of all the rights and safeties I have grown up with.
Also, I’m thankful for all my previous teachers, specifically those from Hutchinson Community College (Alan Montgomery and Janet Hallford) and from the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University (I owe a lot to the entire staff, specifically Amy DeVault, Dr. Jeffery Jarman and Dr. Patricia Dooley to name just a few of the wonderful faculty members I took classes from).
I’m thankful for journalism. It is my passion in life. It helps keep the government transparent and functioning as a democracy. It holds those in power accountable, and comforts the little guy. It keeps the populace informed about what is going around the globe and down the street. It is a powerful force, and of course we wouldn’t have it without the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I never would have found my love for journalism if it wasn’t for the American Legion Boys State of Kansas program.
Marrying both my great education and instructors from HCC and WSU and my love for journalism, I am so grateful for my decision to become a high school journalism teacher. I love teaching, especially about journalism. I’m thankful for all of my students, even the ones that drive me crazy.
I am also thankful for the fact I have achieved my dream of publishing a novel — Murder at St. Alfanus. The day I received the first copy was one of the greatest days of my life.
Of course, I am thankful for so much more than what I have highlighted in this blog post. I am lucky to have all that I have in my life, and I try to appreciate all of it every day. I hope you do too, especially today.