Monday, March 4, 2013

Challenge Accepted: 20 Things I'm Thankful for

As promised!

1. Being born in the United States.  I'm not one of those "US flag tattooed on my left, Bud Light-holding bicep" patriots, but I truly believe that the US is the best country in the world.  Where you're born is sort of just the luck of the draw.  And as far as that one went, I won the lottery.

2. My body.  This isn't to say that if in some alternate reality, someone offered me the chance to be born with Beyonce's body that I wouldn't at least consider it.  I mean, really...

But even though I don't and won't ever have her curves, I am really thankful for my body.  I have put it through hell over the years (no one will ever convince me that we were made to run 26.2 miles), but it just keeps going.  It can do some pretty amazing things, and for that I am thankful.

3. My mom.  So cliche, I know.  How can she not be in the top 5, though?  I was blessed with a mother who somehow manages the almost unattainable balance between mother and friend, who never leaves me doubting how much she loves me but has always given me the freedom to make my own choices.  So props, Mom, for being awesome.

4. My dad.  You had to know this was coming.  My dad and I have a unique relationship, one that regularly involves extremely heated debates about gay marriage, TSA policies, and college football play-calling on the goal line.  But the real reason I'm so thankful for my dad is my collection of select memories that prove he would truly do anything for me (memories that are very specific, but are special enough not to share with my world-spanning fan base [riiiiggghhhttt....]).

5. This guy:

For the past three years, my relationship with Derrick has probably been the most influential in my life (not surprising, as we spent a year living together in almost literally a concrete box).  How could I not be thankful for a man who does his homework in a dorm room bathroom so the light doesn't bother me while I sleep?

6. Ray Lewis.  Enough said.

7. My siblings.  If I had to pick any two people in the world with whom to share DNA, I'd pick Jennifer Lawrence and Chuck Norris.  Just kidding; I'd pick Samantha and Nathan Clarke.  Always good sports when I dictator-style demanded that we play "School" followed by "Emergency Vets," they've grown into some of the most important people in my life.

8. The FIT XC Team.  To explain this one, I definitely could write at least a 1000 word essay on how much I value the friendships I made my 4 years running, sweating, dying, complaining, drinking, etc. etc. with these girls.  Instead, I'll include this:

And in case you're still not convinced, this:

How could I not be thankful?

9.  The 977 BC Gaeta Community.  According to Wikipedia, they're credited with documenting pizza for the first time.  Thank God.

10.  John Carroll.  No, not the first Roman Catholic bishop in the US.  I'm thankful for my high school.  Not so much the uniforms or strict "no gum" rule (oppression, in my opinion); more so because that's where I met the friends that will forever be in my life (except Hannah, she came from Saint Margaret's Middle School.  So thank God for that place too).

11. The internet.  I can't imagine not being connected to the world the way the internet connects us.  Maybe this smaller world is more stressful and lacks the values of simpler times.  But seriously, without Pinterest, how would I be able to make Krispy Kreme doughnuts in my kitchen?

12. J. K. Rowling's spare time.  Does this make me a nerd?  Yeah, but at least I'm among millions.  I sometimes have those fleeting moments of mourning when I realize that Harry and Hermoine aren't really my friends.  For these moments, I keep an emergency copy of the Goblet of Fire always at hand.

13. My dad's propensity for tradition.  Since literally before I was born, I've been going to the Outer Banks for a week every summer of my life.  I've only ever missed two summers: one, because I was in Prague with Erika (awesome) and two, because I was at work (extremely un-awesome).  Regardless, this is now how I imagine heaven:

14. Japan.  They gave us sushi, and for that, I will be eternally thankful.

15. Not being extremely good at soccer.  When I got cut from my high school's varsity soccer team my junior year (after an extremely long, drawn-out, rip-the-band-aid-off-your-scab-over-a-matter-of-days sort of process), I thought it was the end of the world.  Little did I know that it was actually the start of a brand new world, beginning with my first season of cross-country.  Had I been really, really good at soccer, I would probably never have been introduced to the love/hate relationship between a runner and her sport.  And I definitely would not have this 99 cent Kindle e-book type of story to share with you all.

16. My ability to dance.  My ability to laugh at myself.

17. My Kindle.  I've read 4 new books in the past month.  That wouldn't have been possible if that meant four different trips to the library.  I'm not sure if this really makes me thankful for a means by which to eliminate as much movement possible, but I'm thankful nonetheless.

18. Wine.  I like to enjoy a nice glass over dinner.  And occasionally  I like to enjoy a few more glasses with some friends over a sophisticated game of cards.

19. German Chocolate Cake, warm brownies and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I don't eat dessert very often, but when I do... in that moment, I cannot thank God for anything more.

20. Finding this Healthy sELF challenge and all of the wonderful bloggers associated with it.  I originally found the challenge through a blog I like to read (shout out, SSC cross country!).  From there, I was introduced to a whole other world of bloggers (see my previous post) and the Healthy sELF challenge.  I had fun writing this list, and for that, Healthy sELF, I thank you!

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