Category Archives: Thankfulness

My first chance to hold my newest niece, Joy Tatum Hale.

My first chance to hold my newest niece, Joy Tatum Hale.

It was the third time we’d had a moment like this. But for me, it was very, very different.

I drove down to Jacksonville on a Sunday and met my parents at my brother’s church. I got to surprise my mom and dad who hadn’t seen me in a few months, my mom in tears after seeing how much I’d changed since she’d spent more than two months by my side in Denton County hospitals in the fall.

After church, we went with Graham, Leslie and the two little girls, along with Aunts DJ and Ann to Spring Creek Barbecue in Tyler and then to our hotel to get a night’s sleep before heading over to the hospital the next morning to welcome the arrival of niece #3.

She arrived just as scheduled. That’s the way c-sections work, I suppose. I had only heard of the term before my first niece was born, more than 5 years ago. I’ve learned a little since then, but I haven’t asked too many questions. Some things are better left with a little mystery to them for the time being.

This was our first Texas baby, and so, the first one I was able to greet in person on the day of her birth, big sisters Ava Grace and Edy Rose having been born in Arkansas.

There’s more to read, but first, here’s a few iPhone photos from the big day and my darling nieces.

As I drove to East Texas early Sunday, the day before the delivery, to hear my brother preach, I was overcome by the East Texas pines and the beautiful blue sky, textured with towering white puffs of cloud. I couldn’t help but thank God for the gift of life. The gift of a new life in our family, a new baby to hold, a new little girl to watch with anticipation and “joy” as her personality develops, as she takes on the qualities from the two families that have been poured into this precious little vessel.

But also the gift of my life, which I almost lost in the fall due to a series of circumstances that I have yet to write about here. I’m not ready to, not yet.

While making that drive, I rolled down the window and stuck my hand out and let the air whip across my arm. Just to feel that… to smell the scent of piney woods, and animals, and burning fuel and the warmth of the blacktop, and to know that I was traveling to spend time with my family who became legends for their faith and love and devotion among my friends and co-workers while I lay in a Denton County hospital bed unconscious. We both quietly and publicly celebrated both of the twin gifts of God – the creation of life and the sustentation of it, and we understood it in these terms because of an even greater gift of life that we all hold in common… the supernatural, everlasting life that comes through faith in Jesus.

They’re mysteries all – the creation, the sustentation, the atonement. And even though we’ve fashioned explanations medical, scientific and theological, for me they still retain the mystery that points to the biggest, most wonderful mystery of all – that the Supreme Being who created and sustains all things in the universe loves us and wants to relate to us. Thankfully we don’t need the explanations to enjoy the mysteries – especially in the moment. As C.S. Lewis wrote, a man who is hungry doesn’t need to understand the intricacies of nutrition and digestion to appreciate a meal and know that it is a life-giving thing for him.

It’s been eight weeks to the day since I walked into that room and met that beautiful girl for the first time. I was happy to be given camera-duty (my comfort zone!) to capture all the moments between the parents, big sisters, grandparents, great aunts and even long distance moments with my sister and Leslie’s sister (through the miracle of iPhone). There were plenty of posed shots, with me fussing over lighting (especially for the photos of me holding Joy), Leslie still trying to influence “quality control” of the images even though she had just delivered a baby, but the best moment of the morning was totally unrehearsed.

Ava Grace was finally given the opportunity to hold her little sister for the first time. She couldn’t take her eyes off of Joy, and for a rare moment seemed completely oblivious to the rest of us in the room. She slowly rocked her sister in her arms, bent her head low, and softly sang a lullabye of her own creation. I recorded the song on an iPhone, but modern technology can’t reproduce the pure sweetness of the moment in that hospital room in Tyler, Texas. It just illustrates another remarkable mystery that I’ve discovered since becoming an uncle. I can’t explain how it’s possible to love someone so deeply when you’ve never even seen them before. But I think it is, once again, a small slice of the creator inside all of us. After all, He knew us before the foundation of the earth, and we are only able to love Him because He first loved us.

With the blog posts I wrote for Ava and Edy, I shared lyrics from songs from New Jersey-born folk singer John Gorka’s 1998 album “After Yesterday” where he spends a few songs with some nice reflections on becoming a parent himself for the first time. The first two girls used up all the thoughtful, reflective, serious lyrics. So for JOY, a song on the album that has always brought a smile to my face.

He looks just like an angel when he’s sleeping

There’s a little piece of heaven where he lies

He looks just like an angel when he’s sleeping

But he looks like Charles Bronson when he cries

He looks like Charles Bronson when he’s crying

He doesn’t have a mustache, but he’s trying

When he’s content, he’s like a present sent from paradise

But he looks like Charles Bronson when he cries

Joy Tatum’s Vital Statistics

  • Weight – 7 lbs., 14 oz. (bigger than both her big sisters)
  • Birthday demeanor – Just chillaxing in everyone’s arms.
  • On her birthday, May 6, the following people were born: French Revolutionary figure Maximilien Robespierre (1758), Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856), American Explorer Robert Peary (1856) who claimed to be the first person to reach the North Pole, silent film actor and heartthrob Rudolph Valentino (1895), American director and actor and radio dramatist Orson Welles (1915), baseball hall of famer Willie Mays (1931), American boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (1937), singer-songwriter Bob Seger (1945), former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair (1953), actor George Clooney AKA “Booker” from Roseanne (1961), Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (1982), and NBA all-star Chris Paul (1985).
  • On her birthday, May 6, the following people died: Author Henry David Thoreau (1862), “Oz” author L. Frank Baum (1919), German actress Marlene Dietrich (1992), hall of fame pitcher Robin Roberts (2010), actor George Lindsey AKA Goober Pyle (2012).
  • Famous events on May 6 – King Henry VIII ordered that English-language Bibles be placed in every church in England in 1536; Louis XIV of France moves his court to Versailles in 1682; Arkansas seceded from the Union in 1861; Crazy Horse surrendered to US troops in Nebraska in 1877; the Eiffel Tower officially opens in Paris in 1889; an executive order by Franklin Roosevelt creates the Works Progress Administration in 1935; the airship Hindenburg is destroyed after catching fire in New Jersey in 1937; John Steinbeck wins the Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath” in 1940; Bob Hope performs his first USO show in 1941; Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run a mile in under four minutes in 1954; Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Houston Astros in a one-hit shutout to tie Roger Clemens’ major league record in 1998.
  • May 6 is also International No Diet Day and Teachers Day in Jamaica.
  • For more breaking Joy Tatum, Edy Rose and Ava Grace news, check out Leslie’s outstanding blog.

Joy came in the morning


Two Wonderful Women

I’m doing this entire post via iPhone, so let’s see how it goes.
Twenty-three years ago yesterday (May 8), it was Mother’s Day. I was 10 years old. I don’t remember what I got my mom, if I got her anything at all. I’m not sure it mattered, because she was having what I’m sure was her most memorable Mother’s Day ever.
Seriously, I think I could give her an all-expense paid European vacation and it wouldn’t trump the memory of Mother’s Day 1987. Also I couldn’t give her an all-expense paid vacation to Tulsa right now even if I wanted (enjoy the flowers Mom).
On that day in ’87, our family welcomed my baby sister Casey into the world. I’ll never forget my brother’s first words upon seeing her.
“It’s a boy!” he cried. He’s gotten a lot smarter since then.
“No Graham,” my mom said. “It’s a little girl. This is your little sister Casey.”
Now she’s no longer little, though she’s still our Caseybug. She’s receiving her diploma from College of the Ozarks today and we couldn’t be prouder.
And to top that, she’ll start a graduate school counseling program in the fall. The picture below is Mom and Casey at Babe’s in Roanoke, Texas, moments after she was notified of her acceptance in the program.
So Happy Mother’s Day Mom (I’m sure it’s another memorable one up there in Missouri). And Happy Birthday and Graduation Day Caseybug! And thanks to God for the blessing both these women are to me, and the cool way these two great days will always be linked in my mind.

Thank God for Charles Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the prince of preachers

I was working late up at school, worn thin and bare by some recent circumstances and in need of some encouraging words. So I turned to an old friend, who despite having gone to his reward more than a century ago, has provided much uplifting advice for my soul over the past 10 years or so.

And sure enough, the killer combination of the Holy Spirit and Charles Haddon Spurgeon came through for me again.

I went to the words of Spurgeon found in his daily devotional Mornings and Evenings; then I went to the Lord in prayer.

It’s one of the things I admire most about the “prince of preachers,” how he consistently urges me to run toward the Prince of Peace. Thanks Charles… I look forward to meeting you on the streets of Glory and hugging you like my own brother.

Here was this evening’s entry (emphasis mine). I pray it guides you toward hope and reminds you that in this world of darkness, we have a great and piercing light.

“A very present help.”—Psalm 46:1.

Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell Him all thy grief? Has He not a sympathizing heart, and can He not comfort and relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord. Art thou burdened with this day’s sins? Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it. Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again. Come to Him at once for cleansing. Dost thou deplore thy weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon Him? Dost thou feel naked? Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Stand not looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear. Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.” What! wilt thou not go to Him, and ask Him to give thee of His abundance, when He has given thee this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with Him, and has made over all that He is and all that He has to be thine? There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on His shoulders, the more precious will He be to us.

“Let us be simple with Him, then,
Not backward, stiff, or cold,
As though our Bethlehem could be
What Sinai was of old.”

Kiwi, hold the keys

I was blessed today to share what might be my last meal with a good friend, at least perhaps the last North American meal.

I met my friend Paul James and his brother Mike at Weck’s for lunch. I’ve known Paul for a few years, one of several great people I’ve met through several incarnations of a homegroup at the Village Church. I once drove him to Dallas so he could get his eyeballs laser-beamed or something like that. He’s actually come to hear my band play more than once. We’ve even jammed some together with mutual friend Adam in my living room.

We drifted apart a bit when he moved to Tyler a while back, but we’ve always kept up via technology, blogs and texts and Twitter feeds. And this is the second time in the past six months that he, Mike and I have gotten to meet at Weck’s and share what’s going on in our lives over a plate of tasty goodness.

In a little more than a week, Paul is hopping a plane and moving to New Zealand. He’s in love with a girl named Lydia who lives there. I’ve never met her, but she must be pretty great, because Paul is one of my favorite people on the planet.

He’s sold his car, and is boxing up everything but some clothes, his Mac, a digital camera and a baby Taylor guitar, which will accomany him on his flight to the land where they filmed the Lord of The Rings, and to a lesser extent, Xena: Warrior Princess.

During our lunch, he noted that when he checks out of his apartment in Tyler, he won’t own a single key.

“Do they use keys in New Zealand?” I asked. “Or do they just scan your thumbprint?”

“They used to have them in Old Zealand,” he replied quickly. “But they left all that behind when they came to New Zealand.”

I love this guy.

The rest of the conversation was good – with goofy jokes about putting a video evidence on YouTube of how New Zealand toilets flush backward, and good affirming talk about both of our struggles to feel accepted and loved by our Creator. I left feeling so thankful for the time together, for the friendship, and for the guidance that seems evident in each of our lives.

We paid and said our goodbyes… Paul gave me the heads up to go ahead to start looking for a plane ticket to NZ so I could come visit him. I told him I’d do my best. I gave him a semi-awkward but totally sincere hug. And then we left… both heading the same direction because we had parked near each other.

“Isn’t it awkward when you say goodbye to someone and then have to walk with them to get to your car?” Paul said.

“Don’t say goodbye again,” Mike added.

“Don’t even make eye contact,” I chipped in, laughing.

It was a great way to leave a guy whom I’ve always felt on the same wavelength where sense of humor is concerned.


Thanks for Paul and Mike. Thanks for a great meal and conversation that ran deep and full. Bless him as he leaves the States. Bless he and Lydia and whatever you have in store for their future. Thanks most of all for loving all of us with a love so big and wonderful that we can lose ourselves completely in its midst. And give us the grace to do just that.

In Jesus’ name,


More West Texas ear candy

Also mixing well with the windy bleak dust of Lubbock and the bland decor of the La Quinta lobby are the outstandingly simple songs of the Nick Drake-esque Alexi Murdoch from the “Away We Go” soundtrack.
“Away We Go” (John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph) was easily the best film I saw in 2009, and the soundtrack is perfect for the reading and journaling I’m doing today. Folky acoustic guitar, Alexi’s smooth, strong baritone – do yourself a favor and check him out on iTunes or Pandora. The soundtrack also includes tunes from George Harrison, Velvet Underground, Dylan and The Stranglers
Guys like Alexi and Ray Lamontagne are slowly restoring my faith in new music and I’m thankful for that.

The prettiest Rose I’ve ever seen…

Safe in my brother's arms, little Edy Rose lets everybody know she's finally here.

We knew the day and time in advance. My sister-in-law Leslie was scheduled to deliver her second daughter by c-section on Thursday morning. The only concern was whether little Edy Rose, the babe in question, would cooperate with her mommy, daddy and the doctor’s plans. At 7:50 yesterday morning, my sister Casey sent me the first photos of my new sweet niece. Edy Rose was right on time! And for the second time in less than three years, I became an uncle. 

As I reflect on little Edy’s arrival, I can’t help but recall my thoughts when her sweet big sister Ava Grace was born in 2007. Most of the same feelings are there – there’s a little person a few hundred miles away in Fort Smith whom I’ve never met, only seen in pictures, and yet I wonder if I could ever love her more than I do now. 

But the truth that I’ve found is that yes, my love will grow into something more full and complete than it is now. It definitely has with Ava Grace, the way my heart melts when she says “Coe-wee” or when she lets me hug her or leans in for a sloppy kiss. And so it will grow with Edy Rose too. It will grow not because she’ll become more precious, but because as she grows, I’ll be better able to see God’s craftsmanship and blessing in her. 

I’ll see more of her mother and father and my parents, all whom I love deeply, and the traits my sister and I share with her. I’ll see all the similarities and differences between her and her big sister and how they’ll grow (with prayer and guidance) to celebrate both in their love for each other. 

Check out this little beauty!

When I reflected on Ava Grace’s birth, I reflected on the idea of fatherhood for myself. I said at the time that I didn’t know whether I’d ever be a father myself, but that I knew it required a lot of grace and trust. I knew I could stand on the grace, but still had a ways to go with the trust. 

In the past few months, the answer to that question for me is becoming clearer. And the trust is coming along nicely as well, thanks to the one who is always faithful. I can’t help but look at these pictures of Edy Rose with a swell of hope for the future. 

As I sit here listening to the same John Gorka album I was thinking about when Ava Grace was born, I have to quote another beautiful song, “Cypress Trees,” when I think of what I’m praying for this beautiful family of four. 

Maybe we will grow together 

like cypress trees in summer 

standing close and tall, green fingers in a row 

Maybe we will grow together like cypress trees. 

And that’s my prayer. That by God’s grace and Leslie and Graham’s faith and obedience, this branch of the Hale family will grow in love, a little grove of trees whose lives become intertwined and bonded, as they wave in the gentle breeze and grow strong and reach and stretch their green fingers under the cool of the rain and warmth of the sun. 

Edy Rose’s Vital Statistics 

  • Weight – 7 lbs., 12 oz. (a tad bit bigger than big sis)
  • Vocal chords – By all accounts, in perfect working order (it runs in the family).
  • On her birthday, Jan. 21, the following people were born: King of France Charles V, also known as Charles the Wise (1338), Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1824), French fashion designer Christian Dior (1905), German highwire acrobat Karl Wallenda (1905) founder of the famed Flying Wallendas who said “Life is being on the wire; everything else is waiting,” WWII hero Major Richard Winters (1918) who was a major character in HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” American actor and “Players’ Club” spokesman Telly Savalas (1922), longtime college basketball coach John Chaney (1932), American disc jockey Wolfman Jack (1938), Golf legend Jack Nicklaus (1940), Spanish tenor Placido Domingo (1941), Former Texas Rangers manager Johnny Oates (1946), “Carribean Queen” singer Billy Ocean (1950) – “Get outta my dreams, get into my car,” current Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke (1950) and current Attorney General Eric Holder (1951), Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (1953), American artist Jeff Koons (1955) famous for his stainless steel baloon animals, actor Robby Benson (1956) who provided the voice of the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast,” actress Geena Davis (1956), NBA stars Hakeen Olajuwon and Detlef Schrempf (both 1963), Run-D.M.C. DJ Jam Master Jay (1965), actor Ken Leung (1970) who plays Miles on “LOST,” singer Cat Power (1972), and Spice Girl Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton (1976).
  • On her birthday, Jan. 21, the following people died: King Louis XVI of France (1793), Russian leader Vladimir Lenin (1924), writer George Orwell (1950) – author of “Animal Farm” and “1984,” film director Cecil B. DeMille (1959), singer Jackie “Mr. Excitement” Wilson (1984), Hall of fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer (1993), Elvis Presley’s manager Col. Tom Parker (1997), Hawaii Five-0 actor Jack Lord (1998), and singer Peggy Lee (2002).
  • Famous events on Jan. 21 – Louis XVI, former King of France, was executed during the French Revolution in 1793; future Confederate president Jefferson Davis resigned from the US Senate in 1861; Albania declared itself a republic in 1925; USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine was launched in 1954; Vietnam War Battle of Khe Sahn begins in 1968; commercial flights by the Concorde began in 1976; President Jimmy Carter pardoned all Vietnam War draft evaders in 1977; Iran hostage crisis ended when American hostages were released after 444 days in 1981; and Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for his second term in 1985.
  • Jan. 21 is also Flag Day in Quebec, Grandmother’s day in Poland, and National Hug Day in the United States.
  • For more breaking Edy Rose and Ava Grace news, check out Leslie’s outstanding blog.

Year in review

Dear friends,

Even though I’m still at work, surrounded by papers to grade and e-mails to send, and lessons to plan, I still feel a definite excitement not just for the new year, or the next semester, but just life itself.

2009 ended well for me. I reconnected with an incredible woman through a series of circumstances that just don’t seem coincidental, and today marks one month since our second first meeting. I feel God is growing and stretching and shaping me in new ways as I discover, for the first time, what it’s like to really experience this kind of relationship. I’m thankful that Dani is a part of my life and I’m looking forward to getting to know her and her very cool son, Spencer, more and more.

It was also a very good year for my newspaper. My kids put together three top-notch issues, earned the Best of Show award at the state convention, and pulled in a slew of national awards for last year’s papers. I’m thankful to them for making me look so smart.

It was also a good time for family. Three different occasions this fall, either my brother, sister, Dad, or a combination of the three were able to come to Texas for a fun weekend. Whether it was “Screams” with Graham, UT-Baylor with the whole bunch, or UT-North Carolina hoops with Truman, I had a blast and reminded how blessed I am to have these bonds of love and friendship with my family, not to mention how rare it is that we all share the same faith.

But most important, I got to have an incredible time of revival during my Thanksgiving visit to my hometown. It was something that I prayed for with a pastor at The Village, and God definitely answered that prayer with abundant blessings. Even as I got the difficult news about the health problems of a spiritual mentor, the Lord turned it to good by awakening a spirit of prayer in me that I hadn’t known before. 

2009 was a good year. And 2010 is starting well. It just feels like a bit of reset in my life. There’s been so much starting and stopping and stalling and starting again over the past 32 years. And while I know the road ahead won’t be easy, I’m confident that it will be good.

My hope is in Christ and my prayer is to learn to trust and love and enjoy him more each day.

Wishing the same for you, Happy 2010!



My newspaper staff uses a special web-based software to write their stories, get edits and just communicate in general. One of the features is a board where we can post topics for discussion.

So for our last class before the break yesterday, I posted the following thread.

Giving Thanks

Take a little time and share some of the things for which you are thankful.


We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Then I posted my thankful list.

Mr. Hale is thankful for the following: Fantasy football, Strawberry Bliss Smoothies from Bahama Buck’s, the amazing Cuban album he found at Goodwill for $1.99, the Sunday Homestyle Chicken Dinner at Cracker Barrell, the barebones deliciousness of an Icedream cone from Chick-Fil-A, the generosity of his family, the kisses he’ll get from his 1-year-old niece on Wednesday night, the health of his parents and grandmother, the drop in gas prices, the literary genius of Flannery O’Connor, the musical genius of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the fact that his DVR will not let him miss the series finale of The Shield on Tuesday night, his new friends in Texas and old friends scattered across the country and around the world, the technology that allows him to keep in touch with them, his faith, his church, future grace, the return of Tony Romo, his brother’s sarcasm, his sister’s laugh, his sister-in-law’s smile, a home to go home to, a new haircut, a great job; and a staff that works hard, gets along, cares, laughs, makes him laugh, makes him proud, and makes the job so great in the first place.
Oh yeah, and Grub Rub from Dickey’s Old Town Meat Market. That stuff is off the hook/chain/charts and whatever else you got.

I asked the students to post their own comments. I heard them talking and giggling about it throughout the rest of the class period. I figured it just turned into a string of inside jokes and silly back-and-forth comments. I totally misjudged my kids. I forgot how smart, funny and profound they really are. Here’s a sample of the things for which they were thankful:

    • for Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson.
    • for Snapple and Chicken Fried Chicken. Cheeseburgers, Fratelli’s pizza and the Godfather.
    • for having awesome parents
    • to have more than what i need, people to love and to be loved from
    • for surviving cancer and catching it early
    • for the male gender..because if the world was all would suck
    • for creepy vampire books
    • for overcoming shyness
    • for silly animals..they make me laugh
    • I’m also thankful my parents didn’t name me an insane name like Bronx Mowgli.
    • for being able to work and make my own money
    • for having a roof over my head and clothes on my back
    • that me and my brother aren’t on the verge of killing each other any more (sounds familiar)
    • for soccer, even if i cant play for a while 😡
    • for the newspaper and having more stuff to do that takes me away from my house
    • for Harrison and his crazy jackets and singing
    • for my mother who has given the world for me
    • Also music. and the concept of love. that’s some pretty great stuff right there.
    • for a staff that works hard, loves the newspaper and each other, and is also arguably one of the best looking staffs out there.
    • for football – paticularly the Dallas Cowboys. TO AND ROMO REPRESENT!
    •  for the random phtoshop creations on the wall only a few of us understand.
    • for my job, even though at times they screw me over more than anyone should. The people there are some of the coolest people ever.
    • for the beauty that is cinema and the way I can look at it so throughly to the point people think I’m a freak.
    • for living life and being around amazing people throughout high school, and throughout my life in general. Leaving this place in May is going to suck, but the memories will last forever.
    • for good music *radiofire* , these super awesome laptops, my new house, my good friends, life, the cold weather, forgiveness, the wonderful memories i have of my brother, my cell phone :D, vans brand shoes, sunny D, food, my cats and dog, my family, twilight the movie, hair extentions from hot topic, LHS, Choir, all you wonderful newspaper people, and of course, the way i feel when i walk in this room. all my worries are left at the door and i feel welcome, needed, and even better, wanted.
    • for my small but sweet family of two.
    • for coming to Texas.
    • for Mr. Hale and his interesting taste in music.
    • for The Sooners kicking Texas Techs butt on saturday, for the bears beating the rams, my amazing family, my amazing friends, very thankful for my sister moving out and me getting my own room finally, thankful for my grandpa letting us stay in the house for atleast Christmas.
    • for my nasty disgusting tooth finally getting pulled even though it hurt reallly bad
    • for a fabulous newspaper staff and the wonderful people who make it up, my family, the freedom that comes with living in our country, Jason Mraz, my health, John Mayer, DANCING, Maroon 5, cranberry sauce on thanksgiving day, my Gotta Dance posse, dark chocolate, my dog Sophie, my nasty green 1998 Nissan Altama, gushy romantic movies, the gifts God has given me, Jimmy John’s Beach Club with no tomatoes, my parents who love me, my 11-year-old brother, having teachers who care for my future, my education, my church.
    • for all the memories I have created during my lifetime. For all my amazing friends. For my family that has always supported me and given me everything I have ever known. For the stars. For the rain. For the weather that brings back many more memories and allows for creating more. For how easy it is to make me happy.
      I’m thankful for all the simple things in life.
      Life would be so much better for everyone if we all just took the time to enjoy the simple things.
    • for mr hale putting on free bird!
    • everyone’s little quirks because without that the world would be boring, guitar solos, air guitar, football, LOST, tv, the internets, the sun, the ocean, schlotzkeys, the farhar staff, creativity, photoshop
    • white chocolate covered pretzels..The seasonal limited aditions to the starbucks menu..the many smiles i have during this time of cellular device..the break coming awsome grandparents love and doggy..the good times in newspaper..the diversity of great music
    • to live in AMERICA so i can be free
    • for the following: The outdoors, forests, tractors, fires, electric blankets, computers, his 360, modest mouse, all other music, people, candy, chicken fried steak
    • my sisters cello playing ability
    • staying up all night with a voice recorder
    • Also all of newspaper staff. Especially Hale. Wouldn’t want to do this without any of you guys.

This life is a blessing. It’s just a shame that it takes so much effort just to see that.