Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for feasting, gathering, reminiscing, laughing, and remembering. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that I never stopped loving.

Thanksgiving, like Independence Day, is an American invention. Before the founding of this Republic, neither holiday existed. Yes, the pilgrims did celebrate their feast before the Founding Fathers were born, but it was America of all nations that remembered to give thanks.

To give thanks. Think about that. Thanks to whom? Does it matter?

It matters to me. I am thankful to a lot of people for a lot of things. Thanksgiving is a reminder to the nation to remember where we came from, how we got here, and who stood by us along the way.

So without further ado, the top 5 things I am thankful for:

1. I am thankful to God for everything. This life He gave me has a purpose, and it's a gift to be treasured every day. I am thankful for His gift, through the good times that I enjoy as well as the bad times through which I learn and become stronger.

2. I am thankful for my wife and daughter. If not for their love and support, I would be a broken, bitter man. They keep me sane and nourish me with happiness. I do not understand how anyone can take their family for granted. There are those in my past family history who failed to learn this lesson, and the sad, bitter loneliness of their meager existence serves as a warning not to follow their path.

3. I am thankful that I have work to do. Work may drive me nuts some days, but it is far better than not having any work at all. Work is a gift: of opportunity, of achievement, of improvement for me. Take the gift, make the best of it you can and give it your all. One of the rewards of a job well done is the joy you take in the knowledge that it was your job well done.

4. I am thankful for my friends. Over the years I am thankful that I have accumulated far more friends than enemies. I may not stay in touch with all of them equally well, but they're all loved and appreciated nonetheless.

5. I am thankful to be an American. America, in the immortal words of President Ronald Reagan, is the last, best hope for mankind. Nowhere else in the world, in no other epoc in the history of mankind would I have the freedom and opportunity to seek my highest level in life by the sweat of my own brow. I am thankful for our heritage, our way of life, our history - warts and all- and most especially my fellow Americans who face danger around the world defending our God-given freedom. To our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coasties: THANK YOU FOR KEEPING AMERICA FREE.

What are you thankful for, dear reader?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beyond that point, there be dragons...

From first to last,
The peak is never passed.
Something always fires the light
That gets in your eye.

One moment's high,
Then glory rolls on by,
Like a streak of lightning,
That flashes and fades
In the summer sky.

-Rush, Marathon
Power Windows

Well, I've reached the point of no return. Or maybe the "Point of Know Return" if you're from Kansas. I have passed the midway point of the class. So far so good. It's been a helluva challenge though, juggling work, family, school, sleep. This is no cakewalk, but I'm glad I'm doing it. We had our mid-term exam last week. I stayed up late reading , re-reading, re-re-reading - you get the picture. Reviewing notes, lectures and chapters till I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I really, really wanted to do well on the exam. For me, it was affirmation that I knew the tricks of my trade, that I am on the right track.

Problem is, I have test anxiety. Specifically, I go into exams confident and as ready as I can be, but halfway through, that dark-matter part of my brain marked "Doubting Thomas" starts second-guessing my answers. Is the answer A or is it really C? Did I answer that essay question completely enough? Did I write down too much and in doing so get it wrong? This armchair quarterbacking continues long after the exam is over until the grades are posted. Until then, sleep is fleeting. It bothered me all through school and I guess I never got over the problem. It's come back in spades.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Grades were posted yesterday afternoon. I aced that mother. I was in shock and had to read it twice to make sure I wasn't seeing things, but I'm a happy Gnu tonight. "Thomas" has been stuffed back into the cobwebbed recessed of my mind.

For now.

Finals loom large in the near future. Here, there be dragons.