Next week at this time, we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, so I wanted to use this week’s blog to share with you what I am thankful for, especially during these challenging times, and to encourage you to do the same.

I realize that many of my thanks are found in areas that relate to the five critical concerns of Maria College’s sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy: the Earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism and women.

First, I am thankful for my womanhood. I take pride in the gifts and strengths that God has given me. Although I complain (a lot!) about how busy my days are, secretly, I pat myself on the back at the end of the day for working hard at my job, cooking meals, keeping my home pleasant and inviting, remembering to send out birthday cards and so much more. My husband is a wonderful man, but he uses his gifts elsewhere in our lives. And I am so proud of the hard work and sacrifices that so many of our students here at Maria College make (especially the moms) to better their lives and the lives of others. 

I am thankful for the beautiful environment around me here in the Albany area, especially in the autumn (my favorite season) as the leaves brighten and then drift to the ground, as that little bit of crisp, cool air greets me as I walk outside, and recently as I looked up into the night sky and wondered at the beauty of the super moon. I pledge to be mindful of our earthly environment and to care for its condition as best I can.

I am thankful that God blessed me with a strong upbringing and a rational mind that allow me to understand that there are always peaceful solutions to almost every problem. A kind word, a friendly smile and a willingness to listen and think are some of the most powerful tools there are. 

As our country goes through the turbulent changes of a new presidential administration, I am thankful for the elements of our democracy that allow each citizen to speak out against any behavior that caters to racism, bigotry, hate and ignorance.

And, of course, I am thankful each day for those small but significant treasures that are the real substance of individual moments: my husband’s wonderful sense of humor, the warm snuggle of my cat Livvy (sometimes too early in the morning but always welcome), the friendships that I have here at Maria College and in my home life too, the delicious hamburger cooked for me by the chef at Swifty’s the other day, the charming and fun “elevator pitches” delivered by the students in my FYE class this week, the dramatic fall season finale of Chicago P.D. last night on television, and the anticipation of tender turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and apple pie that will grace my dinner table next Thursday.

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Until next time…



  • Comment:

    “Thankfulness” — the perfect topic to reflect on with Thanksgiving a few short days away. Anne’s blog prompted me to think of what makes ME thankful, many of them the same! That I live on this wondrous and beautiful Earth. Even though the winter ahead is not my favorite season, I always appreciate the beauty of the snowy days and know the “sleeping” environment will be renewed once again in the spring. I am so thankful for being an American descendant of Polish immigrants who made their way to this country in search of a better life. They forged a path for me to follow — to support my students of diverse backgrounds in their search for a great life as well. I am so thankful for the time I get to spend with my students, who give back to me more than words can ever say. I am thankful for my family — especially my husband and two grown daughters, who make me so proud each and every day, and they hear about the joy I find in connecting with my students on a regular basis. My “work” isn’t really work when the rewards are so great. Thankfulness abounds!

    Submitted by Barbara Ruslander on

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