Monday, October 9, 2017

Thankful for the hard things

It's Canadian Thanksgiving. We had our family celebration at my house this year, for a change, and everything went well, except for the cheese straws I tried to make.

Cheese straws are supposed to look like this (image taken from

This is what my cheese straws looked like

I think the recipe I got has the wrong measurements *sigh*

I have a lot to be thankful for, but believe it or not, I'm quite thankful for my recent suffering.


I had a terrible migraine last week that could not be tamed with the usual methods of medication, dark rooms, and bed rest. It was so bad that I actually had to miss a day of work. Yet, after it was over, I was grateful for it. Why? Because I often take my health for granted. I am not thankful for my good health unless it's taken away from me. When wellness returns, I become appreciative of the ability to look around without visual disturbances (one of the characteristics of my occasional migraines) or that my head does not feel like it's full of knives.

My migraine and the subsequent recovery meant that I had to postpone the start of my Cross Fit Lite class. Around this time last year, I wrote about working with a personal trainer and a research assistant. My personal trainer closed her studio in 2017 and the self-directed exercises weren't creating the same results for me. My good friend and fellow teacher-librarian, Moyah Walker, recommended that I sign up for classes at Cross Fit Canuck. Zach is the class leader and he really put us through our paces, so much so that I couldn't walk properly for three days. My legs, behind, and arms hurt something fierce! I hobbled around like if I recovering from some sort of accident. I'm not a masochist - I didn't enjoy the agony itself. What I knew was that the pain had purpose. My muscles hadn't been challenged like that in a long time. If I keep trying, I'll get stronger and increase my stamina. Do I want to do 150 squats in 15 minutes again? No, not really; but if it helps me keep fit, that's a good thing.

My challenges this week were not all physical. Terry Soleas, my research assistant, and I, set a goal to write a research paper based on our work and to submit it to a peer-reviewed academic journal. Writing a real research paper has been a goal of mine ever since I finished my Masters of Education degree from the University of Alberta. Unlike my other writing projects (like writing this blog, or writing for The Teaching Librarian magazine), academic writing does not come easily to me. I tend to over-quote because I worry about plagiarizing. I wrote, and re-wrote, and revised, and edited multiple times. Thankfully, Terry is incredibly skilled and talented. We collaborated online on the writing and spent a good two hours on the phone going over the document sentence by sentence. We have some "critical friends" examining the paper right now and then it will be submitted. Keep your fingers crossed that it will be accepted!

I also attended my first class for my Media Part 1 Additional Qualification course this past Friday. I love teaching media and I'm excited about learning from the great minds in the course. Our first reading assignment, due this Thursday, is to read an article about Marshall McLuhan. No problem, right? Well, it's 16 pages long, with 3 columns per page, and it's actually pretty dense. Once again, I'm thankful. One, because it will provide me with something to read and do while I'm in the jury duty pool selection tomorrow. Two, because it's going to push me mentally in a way that I haven't since my last AQ course. It's not all "putting your nose to the grindstone" - the media walk we did at Yorkdale elicited some excellent conversations in class. (Here are a couple of photos I took of examples of the key concepts of media literacy.)

Clarifying time: of course I am thankful for the good things in my life, like my family, friends, health, job, opportunities, home, food, and more. Maybe this is a reflection of my faith practices - suffering can be an offering; if we are fat and happy, we are less likely to turn to God for supplication because we are content and don't need to request anything. I don't hope for more migraines or busted legs or difficult tasks, but I'm thankful that these challenges can help me to become a better, and more grateful, person.

1 comment:

  1. Argh. You amaze me. Your outlook on things makes me want to shake myself and go "yeah, Noble - that is what we're aiming for!"
    I am so very thankful for you! Be careful with the crossfit thing, okay? I'd do it, but I'm scared of getting hurt, and that's terrifying for me.
    One of the big things that popped out at me here is that you did all of these difficult things with help, with support, with critical friends. That's what I think my takeaway needs to be. We can't do it alone.