Giving Thanks. Running. This Whole Vegan Thang. Health.

Since the first day of November, I have been posting on Facebook those things for which I am thankful. I have not been alone in this. Nearly every person on Facebook has posted about being thankful for something in this month. The thanks range from sickeningly sweet posts to random posts about being thankful for the ability to block people. I’ve tried to not waver too far in either direction. You can decide for yourself if you think I’ve gone thanksgiving crazy!

November 1: I am thankful for steadfast family and friends.
November 2: I am thankful for my soon to be acquired punching bag and boxing gloves.
November 3: I am thankful for Burris’s FCA huddle. What amazing students!
November 4: I am thankful for carbohydrates that will fuel tomorrow’s insanity.
November 5: I am thankful for the ability to even think about completing a marathon.
November 6: I am thankful for being able to recognize beauty.
November 7: I am thankful for students who are open to new ideas and who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.
November 8: I am thankful for coffee, vegetables, and wild rice and the farmers, truck drivers, and grocery store workers who bring them to us.
November 9: Today I am thankful for waking up.
November 10: I am thankful for falling asleep at 7 last night and waking up at 330 this morning. I think I could get used to that schedule. Maybe that’s why opening shift at Starbucks always worked so well for me!
November 11: I am thankful for all of those who choose to serve our country and to guard our liberties, even when they don’t necessarily agree with trivial wars or the choices made for them by their superiors.
November 12: I was thankful when all the sour milk smell was finally off of me after Harvest Fest. There are so many reasons I have never had children, and I think that smell is one of them.
November 13: I am thankful for the beauty with which we are surrounded. I saw two deer while I was running this morning; they ran on the trail with me for about 100 yards and then turned abruptly, jumped over the fence, and scampered up the hill.
November 14: I am thankful for my rainbow toe socks and cabbage/broccoli stir fry.
November 14: Again today, I am thankful for Julie M., who provides me with fresh herbs. Tonight I am making whole wheat linguine topped with butternut squash caramelized with sage and olive oil.
November 15: I am thankful for options. Being able to choose makes me happy.
November 15: I am thankful for the high school choir, who just kindly seranaded my classroom with a musical rendition of “Jabberwocky.” Only at Burris.
November 16: I am thankful for the small things: tootsie rolls, incense, Coke Zero, and gel pens. I am thankful for the big things: compassion, kindness, love, and peace.
November 17: I am thankful for Burris FCA. The faith of these students is amazing. And, we always have good breakfast.
November 17: I am thankful for driving and spending a weekend away. I am thankful for new babies and their beauty and innocence.
November 17: I am thankful for mini-vacations and for Chicago, the city that makes my heart sing.
November 18: I can think of nothing I am more thankful for than running to the end of Navy Pier watching the sun rise over Lake Michigan, then turning around to see the light shimmering off of the windows of all those skyscrapers. Natural and manmade beauty collide, and I love it.
November 19: I am thankful for family in all shapes, sizes, and relationships.
November 20: I am thankful for long drives and a nice comfortable bed at home.
November 21: I am thankful for two days until break, otherwise known as the grading marathon.
November 22: Today I am thankful for my Facebook friends. Some of you I barely know in real life, but you make my days better and my mind stronger. I am thankful for those of you who challenge my beliefs and for those of you who camp in the same thought camps that I do. I am also thankful for my students who come to my room early (or on their lunches, or during their study skills classes) every day to try to solve the puzzles my secret pal bought for me!
November 22: I am thankful for Faith Pennington-Serf. I always leave our meetings with sore abs from laughing so hard, and I never leave wondering why I am a teacher.
November 23: I am thankful for long walks by the river with my dogs. Two miles with the sun coming up and the river burbling is the perfect way to start a long day of grading.

Today, as I sit here typing this in Starbucks, I am also thankful for grace. I look around and realize that I don’t deserve any of the amazing blessings I’ve been given. I am so blessed, but it’s easy for me to lose sight of that blessing when I get bogged down in the rut of my days. I am not a Christian who tends to revel in her brokenness, so it strikes me when I find myself reflecting on how undeserving I am. I sometimes wonder how fair it is to even call myself a Christian anymore, but that’s a conversation for another time and another post.

I tend to try to live in the renewed life and love that we are given as new creatures in Christ, but I sometimes forget that everything is a gift. It’s humbling, you know, when I consider that I could have been born into any circumstance and grown up into any circumstance. But I wasn’t and I didn’t. I was born into an awesome family and given awesome friends. I was encouraged to grow up into a unique little snowflake. 🙂 Every day I am challenged and supported. Every day I am given grace and inspired. Every day I am loved and I love, which is a blessing.

All my problems are trivial and finite, but grace is significant and eternal.


My brother and I are running a 5K trail race on Saturday, and I am quite excited for it. Running has been going really well, since I didn’t finish the marathon. My mile times have been up to two or three minutes faster than they were leading up to the marathon, and my feet and legs haven’t felt heavy or tired for a couple of weeks. Since it’s gotten colder here, I haven’t done any real barefoot running (minimalist instead), but I am going to start going to the BSU track in Ball Gym to get in some serious barefoot miles. I have moved my running from the morning to the afternoon and that seems to have helped both my ability to deal with the early sunset, and my ability to run well. Maybe being more alert helps the speed. I am so not a morning person!


I am wavering back to my commitment to being vegan. I’ve had lots of dairy in the past two or three weeks, and I am starting to think that my body likes the extra protein. However, I can’t stand the fact that my consumption of dairy leads to the dairy farms we pass while driving in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I can’t stand to see so many animals jammed into such a small, muddy, shitty space with no fresh green grass or pasture. More disturbing are the veal huts set up on the opposite side of these farms. Little baby cows chained to tiny little huts, standing in straw and manure, mooing for their mommies. Yeah, I am a bit cheesy about stuff like this, but I can’t stand it. It breaks my heart, and I absolutely hate driving past the dairies. Then, when my gut is full of cheese or milk, I want to throw up at the fact that I am implicit in this operation. It makes me sick. Almost literally.

I suppose I just need to figure out how to get more protein while still being vegan. Maybe I could add in more nuts or beans. I know I need to get more fresh vegetables, so I am going to try a two-month juice fast from January 1 through the end of February. I am hoping to use that time as a time of bodily cleansing and intellectual purification before going back to being vegan. Of course, the juice fast will be vegan, but it will also be an exercise in discipline. And, of course, I will need to have it finished by the time Elizabeth, Sarah, and I embark on AWP in Chicago!


Last, but not least, I have started taking niacin and vitamin C again. The two nutrients are a homeopathic remedy for mood disorders, and since my mood swings have gotten out of control, I decided to take matters into my own hands and take some proactive measures to get things under control. I figure some niacin and some vitamin C is a whole lot cheaper than the $100 an hour a psychologist would cost. (It’s probably cheaper than going to court because I punched someone in the face, too.) Supposedly our insurance provides psychiatric care, but I imagine that it would be equally excellent coverage to our medical care, which is almost like not having insurance at all. Our pharmaceutical coverage is excellent, though, according to the pharmacist. Doctor $$$ > Drug $$$ = The health care system in the US is fucked.

One response to “Giving Thanks. Running. This Whole Vegan Thang. Health.

  1. Love the facebook idea!

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