To Let Them Know My Gratitude the one who has blazed a trail for women in our church and the whole Church, who has boldly followed her calling even into new territory, who is always ready with an encouraging word straight from Scripture, who does much but is wholehearted and diligent and devoted always. thank you for showing me what it looks like to say yes to Him. the one who put a basket on her desk, right next to the story time rug, and encouraged me to put my stories there, who read them (in all their half words/half picture glory) to the whole class, who looked past all the poor plot development and weak sentence structure of my first-grade talent, who encouraged my creativity as it poured it through more stories than would fit in that basket. that is the first memory i have of writing and sharing my words, and i remember it often as i still write and share them now.  thank you for being a teacher who believed in the art of her students and affirmed the art i was just starting to make. the one who taught me chords and scales and the difference between sharps and flats all before my tiny hands could even stretch a full octave, who opened her home every afternoon to let each of us sit before your baby grand and make magic happen, who was so graciously patient in response to my stubborn frustration, who wrote notes on my music to help me remember the transitions, whose love felt like a grandmother's. thank you for teaching me about patience and practice and hospitality while also teaching me how to play piano. the one who made me feel special and seen, even in a class of twenty-something gifted and talented students, who gave us word processors (in the pre-laptop days) to write stories and helped us to bind them into real books with covers made from the cardboard of cereal boxes and wrote our names on stars to pin on the bulletin board when the process was done, who figured out our learning styles and played into them but didn't let us off easy either, who challenged me in new ways with math and was patient through all my angry frustration, who still sends Christmas cards because teachers like that become friends, too. thank you for being a teacher who equipped her smart and curious students with the very best tools in the most fun ways.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

May we thank the ones who love and lead us. May we use our words to express our gratitude now while we can, for life is short and chances might not come again. May we always remember we are all in this life together, giving and receiving, blessing and being blessed, learning and teaching, growing all the while, and may we find the beauty in all of it.