The Blog. Is. BACK!

Hey-oh! Look who’s back at it? I had all these grand plans for lots of blogging this summer, but that didn’t happen. Then back to school rolled around, and it really didn’t happen. But here I am, creeping up on Labor Day weekend, settling in to back to school, and feeling like it’s time to write again. I won’t call roll, faithful friends, but I hope you’re still ready to be part of my sitcom-worthy ridiculousness.

I decided to write this post after a friend challenged me to a FB trend right now in which you post 3 things you are thankful for 7 days, and you challenge 3 new people to do it each day. “Uh…Hayley? This isn’t Facebook…” I know- it’s my very own blog, and I get to do what I want with it, so roll with it. As much as I enjoy social media, I am not really big on social media trends. I haven’t faced the Ice Bucket yet, I refuse to hashtag on FB, and I never play the games where you post silly statuses based off what color underwear you are wearing. I know. Party pooper extraordinaire. So, I didn’t accept the challenge on FB, because I am weird, BUT I do think thankfulness is a very important thing to practice, and I caught myself being exceptionally grumpy today. One of my favorite quotes says, “Gratitude changes everything”, so here’s a post of gratitude to help change my attitude.

Random Thankful Thoughts
1. I am thankful for this blog. It’s an outlet that makes me happy, and I need to make myself stick to a habit of writing more diligently.
2. I am thankful for these two stinkers.

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Lizzy is the sweetest baby girl who reminds me that love is best when it’s perfectly imperfect. Riley is officially the worst dog in the history of EVER who reminds me that love is patient. Really patient. Like give Job a run for his money patient. But nonetheless…love is patient, and I am thankful this rotten little dog reminds me of that.
3. I am thankful for Dolly Parton. No, really, I am. I am thankful for her, because she is so proud of where came from, and because she is so committed to social justice and children’s literacy. Oh, and I am also thankful for her because of this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhorHC-tOwQ
Ya’ll, I know I said I wasn’t into social media trends, but I really want to be Dolly in my next life. Or Richard Simmons. (Is there a Richard Simmons ice bucket challenge video?!)
4. I am thankful for sweet church ladies. I actually worked at my church this summer in the children’s ministry. I made new friends, met many new people, and had a very special time reconnecting with my “adopted dad” who is a pastor there. My favorite part, though, was greeting people at the end of each service- especially the little old ladies. I love their perfectly fixed hair and their perfectly pressed blouses and skirts. I love how I have to shake their frail hands more gently. I love how their eyes light up when I tell them how pretty they look. I love the moments when they want to hug me…and I hate the moments when they break the hug and pull away. They have no idea that I want to throw myself at their feet to stop them from walking away. They have no idea how much they make me want to weep for my Mamaw- the ultimate “church lady.” They have no idea this young girl they don’t really know is thankful for their presence from the bottom of her heart.
5. On that note, I am thankful for sweet surprises. I was cleaning and organizing this summer, and I found this note from my Mamaw dated the day I graduated college.
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 I seriously probably haven’t laid eyes on this since the day I graduated, but when I found it, I cried until my mascara ran, and I looked like the Joker, and then I cried some more. Love is patient. Love is perfectly imperfect. Love is the sweet, loving words of a loved one in an unexpected moment.
6. I am thankful college football season is back!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve missed you, Lee Corso. Let’s be besties.
7. I am thankful for my new job. I moved from the classroom to special education this year, and I am in love. I am using Wilson Reading with my students which is a fantastic reading intervention program, and while it doesn’t produce miracles overnight, it does produce children who experience success and pride and finally feel like maybe this while learning to read thing will work out for them. One of my assistants looked at me the other day while one of my groups was working, and man were they ever working, and she said, “Watching them use this…seeing this matter to them and seeing them try and want it so badly…it gives me hope.” Ya’ll. Stop. My. Teacher. Heart. I am thankful for that incredible compliment. I am thankful for those incredible kids. I am thankful for the chance to be part of something which I pray will give my students incredible hope.
8. I am thankful I finally quit Diet Coke for good. Just kidding. I just had to throw some sarcasm in there to balance out my sap. 😉
9. I am thankful I haven’t had a bucket of ice water dumped over my head yet. For reals. Dolly’s got me feeling the peer pressure, though.
10. I am thankful for forgiveness. The forgiveness we receive in Christ, the forgiveness of a friend when I didn’t deserve it, the forgiveness of our parents when we really don’t deserve it, the forgiveness of a student when I fuss at them for something they didn’t do, the forgiveness of my dogs when I leave them at home alone too long…forgiveness is a pretty big deal, and it comes from one thing- love. We should be fall on our knees grateful both.
11. And a random list to finish this out…I am thankful for dogs, my small town upbringing, easy friendships, running shoes, COFFEE, homemade desserts in a cool-whip container, toothless grins (old and kids alike!), laughing at inopportune moments, Richard Simmmons (ya’ll knew that was coming), kind strangers, Southern accents, Diet Coke, and candy corn. Oh…and YOU! I have missed ya’ll! So, now I challenge YOU to cling to this thought and to hold me to it: “Gratitude changes everything.”
Xoxo,
Hayley and Riley (The dog who is not thankful his momma went back to school.)

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