Giving Thanks

Did you know that it was President Abraham Lincoln that started the precedent of Thanksgiving as a holiday? It’s true! On October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanks—even though the country was in the midst of a civil war, Lincoln realized that the country had much to be grateful for. (If you’re interested in the rest of the history of this proclamation, check out this link).

I don’t know about you guys, but I sure have had a lot to be thankful for this past year, so I wanted to take some time to reflect and share on these things.

Family

San Fran Family
Our family photo from when we visited San Francisco, CA-Spring Break 2012.

When I’m having a particularly rough day (or week) full of tests, papers, and homework, the first people I turn to for support and encouragement is my family. Likewise, whenever I find out good test results or exciting news, Mom and Dad are the first to know. My parents never fail to give me words of wisdom, even if they can’t help me study for a test or write an essay. Usually they are telling me to take a break, relax a little bit, and not stress out so much. In August before my sophomore year, my dad gave me some of the wisest words I will ever receive. I was expressing my anxiety about Organic Chemistry (a notoriously challenging class). He said, “Julie, someone in the class has to make an A. It might as well be you.”

My four-legged family keeps my spirits up.

My four-legged family keeps my spirits up.

His faith in me gave me the confidence I needed to approach Organic head on, like any other class, instead of being intimidated by it. And you know what? I LOVED Organic. It was seriously one of my favorite classes, because I had confidence going in that Organic is just like any other class and that if I applied myself, I could do well in it. My older brother, who graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2011, also passed on some wisdom before I started school: don’t get so caught up in schoolwork that you don’t get to enjoy your time in college. I’m so thankful for my family that shares in my achievements, supports me through my hard times, and gives me wisdom so I can succeed now and through vet school.

Friends

Without friends, college life would be almost impossible. My friends keep me sane, and prevent me from taking academics too seriously so that I don’t get burned out. Sometimes, all it takes is a few good jokes in lab to get me to loosen up and realize that even though school is important, making and maintaining friendships is equally as vital.

IMG_0406
Lindsey and me chilling out before the 2013 LMU Awards Ceremony

My roommate, Lindsey, and I try to be sure that we make time to eat a few meals together each week so that we can catch up on what’s been going on. Sometimes, we hardly see each other because of our crazy schedules, but having dedicated time set out to sit down and eat allows us to take a break from being studious and chill out for a while. It’s really handy to have a friend to let off some steam to when I’ve had a rough day, because she understands my frustrations and usually has some good wisdom for my situation. Lindsey is a nursing student, so she gets how stressful school can be–in fact, I think most of the time she has it worse than I do! Surrounding myself with strong, studious friends like Lindsey has helped be a more capable college student.

Chelsea and I try to out-do each other with mail...she usually wins.
One of Chelsea’s artfully decorated letters.

I’m also in constant contact with my past suite-mate, Chelsea, who transferred to a college closer to home a couple of semesters ago. Chelsea and I are good ole fashioned pen pals—we communicate a lot by snail mail because we both have a stationary obsession. I always get really excited when I check my PO Box and there’s a new letter from Chelsea, because I’m guaranteed a good laugh and an interesting letter to hang up on my wall. I enjoy replying to Chelsea’s letters because I get the chance to sit down, reflect, and take a break from technology (even though I love technology!). Checking my PO Box and discovering I have mail is much more gratifying than checking my phone and opening an email, because I know that Chelsea put some extra time and effort to write and send an actual letter. I’m thankful for my close friends that keep me grounded in the midst of the chaos of college life, whether it be by eating a meal together or being pen pals several hundred miles away.

Gadgets & Gizmos

Technology is a wonderful thing. I like being able to keep up-to-date on the latest news from LMU, LMU-CVM, and my favorite musical artists on Twitter and Facebook, and I love the fact that I can be in contact with people that I don’t get to see often because they are on the other side of the country. During the summers of 2011 and 2012, I worked out at Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, Colorado, as a wrangler. The Wranglers are the motley crew of cowboys and cowgirls that fed, groomed, and saddled the horses, led trail rides, and gave riding lessons to ranch guests. When you work with a group of people all day, everyday, for 6+ weeks, you tend to get pretty close; so close, in fact, that I call these people my “ranch family”.

2012 Wind River Ranch Wranglers (photo: Jenna James)
2012 Wind River Ranch Wranglers
(photo: Jenna James)

Without social media, it would be really hard for us to keep in touch with what’s going on in each others’ lives, especially since the majority of us are in college or busy with jobs. I’m thankful for a place that we can come together to encourage each other when life gets hard, and celebrate with each other when we have successes, even when we can’t physically be together to support each other. Technology, such as digital cameras and iPhones, allow me to capture countless memories and carry them around with me so that when I get nostalgic (or “ranch sick”, as we call it), I can simply pull up some photos and relive those enjoyable moments. I frequently use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype to video chat with my friends all over the country (or even overseas!) whenever I need an encouraging word or I just miss them. I’m thankful that I have a way to stay in contact with close friends over long distances.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and celebration for blessings of the past year. Now that I’ve shared some of the many things that I am thankful for this year, let me know what you want to give thanks for by leaving me a comment!

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Posted on December 3, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Julie – This is the first time I ever saw your blog – it is indeed impressive. I agree that when it comes to family you are truly blessed. I only hope that you keep this one thing in mind, when you admire your father – thank your grandma. While your dad has a lot of his father in him he also has a more gentle side, a side I believe your grandma is responsible for. Through the years I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say a mean word about anybody and while she may not have had a demonstrative role in Johnny’s upbringing she provided him with a strong spiritual back round, a quiet confidence in himself and a knowledge that he was and still is indeed very much loved. Your dad could not have passed on these things to you if he had not gotten them from somewhere himself. – God bless you -I love you – And I’m proud of you – Love – Uncle Jay

  1. Pingback: I’m Nerdy and I Know It | From The Horse's Mouth

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