At the end of each day, I swing open the burglar bar gate, then the wooden door, place my bag on the chair, and drop my keys onto the kitchen table. Strong rays of sunshine combined with my never-ending to do list usually leave me exhausted and covered in a layer of sand. I say hello to my kitty, grab a glass of ice cold water, sit in front of the fan, and immediately press the cold glass to my forehead in an effort to cool my overheating body. Sweat constantly drips from my brows and my filthy feet remind me of all the distance I've traveled in the village throughout the day.
I take a moment to reflect upon the days activities and reach out to grab two glass containers. One is labeled "take time to remember" and the other says "the moments that matter." The first container contains blank, folded up pieces of paper waiting to have something written on it to give it meaning. The second is of course, to contain my precious memories of all the things I love, appreciate, and give thanks for. It only takes a few moments to jot down the moments that brought a smile to my face that day, and I'll be so happy to have them written down in the years to come.
Somewhere along the line, I've become an avid fan of taking time to see life's little blessings. So, naturally, thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all. It's a WHOLE DAY devoted to recognizing all that we've been given. I try my best to remind my loved ones how much I love and appreciate them all through out the year, but I admit that I'm human and I don't always find the time to really give them credit for all they do.
Joining the Peace Corps has been life changing and it's near impossible to put my finger on what has taught me the most. Leaving the comfort of home has taught me so much about myself, integrating into a new community on my own has taught me to have endless amounts of patience, motivating behavior change has taught me that development work isn't as romantic as it sounds.
Life is life no matter where you're at on the globe. People are people everywhere. There will always be someone who has it worse than you do, and in turn, there will always be someone who has it better than you do. There's something to be said about following your dreams and climbing your way to the top, but one thing that's certain to me is that you can't get anywhere without the people who support you.
I wouldn't be where I am today without you.
Thank you… to those of you who pray for my adventures.
Thank you… to those of you who respond to my emails in an effort to keep me informed.
Thank you…to those of you who don't respond to my emails because you are busy touching the lives of others.
Thank you…to those of you who call frequently to ask about the nitty gritty of my work.
Thank you…to those of you who send me photos of what you're doing back home.
Thank you…to those of you who help me see the light & lead me through the darkest of my days.
Thank you…to those of you who send letters, care packages, and love.
Thank you… to those of you who urge me to measure smiles instead of HIV transmission rates.
Thank you… to those of you who send me quotes, songs, and books to read to maintain my optimism.
Thank you… to those of you who make home seem much closer to me than it is.
Thank you… to those who yell at me when I'm being a sissy and complain about how frustrating work can be.
Thank you… to those of you who continue to believe in the work I am doing.
You all know who you are… thank you for you.
My heart is truly overwhelmed with gratitude. I am me because of you… because you love me, support me, and believe in me. Your faith and dedication helps me get through the worst of my days. I am beyond blessed to have established such a relentless support group in the states and I continue to find joy in my new family and friends in Botswana.
I feel very lucky to have genuinely kind and compassionate people in my life, sprinkled all over the globe. We're not so different you know… I mean, all of us around the world. People never cease to amaze me.
I pray that you can take some time on thanksgiving this year to really reflect upon all you've been given. Treasure your memories with your loved ones, give more hugs and kisses than you've ever imagined possible, and don’t be afraid to show people you love them. Time will not wait! Your blessings are abundant. Give thanks for each and every blessing… today & every day to come.
Love & Light,