Thanksgiving is the beginning of my favorite time of year. It’s the gateway to a month of family moments, gratitude, the spirit of giving, traditions, and the special red cups from Starbucks with hot Caramel Apple Cider. For our family, it starts on Thanksgiving Eve – the sky gets dark early, we go out to dinner, maybe watch a movie and then snuggle up in our warmest pajamas to get our bodies ready for the incredible food we’ll have the next day.
When we wake up the next morning, we stumble towards our family room in our slippers and robes and turn on the Thanksgiving Day parade while my husband works on the Thanksgiving lunch we’ll be hosting for our larger extended family. My daughter raves about her favorite floats and balloons and the fireplace gives a satisfying glow to the room. And while we watch the parade and the smells of the upcoming meal waft through the house, we each take a moment to tell each other our gratitude list in preparation for our Thanksgiving celebration at the table.
Each of us have to share our gratitude list out loud with our whole family at the dinner table, so we know that it needs to be reflective and heartfelt. It’s one thing to write down a gratitude list, but when you say it out loud, prayerfully to the universe in front of family and friends – that takes it to a whole new level. And so, I would like to humbly share my gratitude list with all of you. Because I am grateful for you – sitting wherever you are and reading this. You are the sole reason we pour our hearts, minds and spirits into this space and we are so glad you join us. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!
A List of Gratitude for 2013
This year, I am thankful for…
* Incredibly supportive and grounded family and friends
* A brilliant, funny, kind-hearted daughter who both reflects and defies my own strengths and weaknesses into her own unique little person
* A husband who is a partner in every sense of the word
* A community of educators – teachers and learners – whom I respect, admire and am humbled by.
* The ability to share resources, ideas that are both powerful and inane, and real-life experiences through an online space and still have people willing to connect with me
* Truly amazing school districts and arts organizations who have opened their doors to me and shown me what education looks like across this country.
* The power of listening, receiving and giving both simultaneously and independently of one another.
* The possibilities the lie ahead.
PS – If you haven’t yet had a chance to purchase our iEduCreate t-shirt, it’s on sale now through December 13th. 100% of proceeds goes to Creating Communities, a non-profit organization bringing the arts to the homeless and mentally-ill. While we have much to be thankful for this year, there are many who are struggling to whom the arts can bring comfort. Please consider supporting this cause!
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.