Many years ago, as a university student, I took a New Testament class from a great professor.

I later became his teacher’s assistant until the time of his “official” retirement at the age of 72. He lived another 20 years, though, working and researching continuously.

Today, I found a listing about him on Wikipedia, and read a long and wonderful interview with him that must have been done in the last 10 years. The interview was wonderful; I loved learning things about him I didn’t know (such as his World War II service) and hearing his jokes throughout the interview.

He invited me to his home for his birthday once, where he had brownies, since he didn’t like cake. I loved that, because I don’t like cake much either, and it was a tradition that we adapted in my family with my children.

He always introduced me to people. I met a lot of well-known professors and scholars this way. If someone came into his office while we were working, he would immediately introduce me. If I came into work and he was talking with someone, he would stop the conversation to introduce me. While it may seem a simple matter of being polite, it isn’t something I saw done by anyone else (including other professors that I worked for later), and it always made me feel important.

His wife and I worked together too; I used to model historic clothing for her. I loved the way he supported his wife in all her endeavors, no matter how much space they might occupy in the middle of the house at the moment, and I wanted a husband who would be supportive in that same way (which I have!)

I reflected today on how thankful I am for the opportunity to know and work with this man. It is interesting how different people can change and shape our lives, and I am grateful for the ways this man changed mine.

What are you grateful for today?

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  1. Dear Brandy,

    This is such a moving story. I just mailed a Christmas card to a professor who never taught me but always
    supported me spiritually. He is now 90 and the other day I was thinking of how much I will miss him when he is no longer
    with us — and how much I cherish him. I have had several teachers and professors who made all the difference to me.
    Two teachers stand out in particular — my Japanese Canadian Grade three teacher who on my first day said she knew my grandfather
    as he had taught her. She knew because my eyes look like his. She went away on sabbatical and a year later my doorbell rang. There she was
    with a Japanese doll in a kimono for me. It made me feel so special. My other cherished teacher was an immigrant from Holland. I remember her telling me how she almost betrayed her parents during the war when she looked towards the hidden radio when their house was being searched.
    She had almost died of starvation during WW II. As a recently arrived refugee and a new English speaker, her grammar was impeccable. She saw me through an incredibly difficult time and became a steadfast friend. What I would give to be able to sit down with both of them for a cup of tea and a visit. I am thankful beyond words for all of them.

  2. Brandy, what a beautiful description of the positive impact that people can have on one another! It seems as though your professor had that kind nature in him and it was his personality to behave that way. It wasn’t a performance.
    Although we have never met in person, I have been inspired by you and your grace in the 6-8 years that I have been reading your blog. You respond kindly to questions, keep this blog a place where people can meet, learn, be inspired, and share their joys and challenges. You demonstrate the joy of beauty and beautiful things. I’ve never read a whine from you.
    Yours is the only blog that I read consistently–and look forward to–because of the tone you set.
    Thank you for being an inspiration to me and many others.

  3. I am a tiny bit thankful I have found a procedure to turn a liter of whole milk into a lower fat whipped cream using 2 T of cornstarch. I love Youtube instructional videos. I wonder how the finished “cream” would do in an ice cream maker. When we were in lockdown last year and with few local grocery delivery services then available, cream was one of the foods I missed the most until I ordered a caseful of shelf-stable cream from Utah.

    I also am thankful no families I know have students who attend Oxford High School. The after-school activities at our local high school are canceled tonight because of the near-by tragedy. Oxford is a community with a charming downtown and full of families who moved there to raise their children in a peaceful country atmosphere. So much pain.

  4. What a wonderful, loving tribute to your teacher and friend.

    I am most thankful today that a long and stressful responsibility is almost completed. Thank you, Brandy, for helping us keep our faces toward the positive and loving in the world through your curating of this blog.

  5. In keeping with the theme I am thankful for social media for helping me reconnect with teacher I had from 6th-12th grade (small school). She was great role model for a woman who worked outside home which is what I wanted to do. Each year on her birthday I post a picture from my senior awards day when I was Star Student and selected her as Star Teacher. This year as I looked at her birthday comments to see who I might know a few students I knew but who were way younger than me (school was so small you knew absolutely everyone) but had also selected her as Star Teacher. I try to send her cards on her birthday and Christmas giving her updates in my family. (she taught us all).

  6. What a nice tribute to your former mentor. I, too, was lucky enough to hae someone in my life, a nun from my high school. She was so strong and assertive that I tried to model myself after her.

  7. Today I am thankful for my health. I have come a long way from almost 2 years ago though it was over a year before that I was connected with the doctor who knew who and probably what I would need to get on the right path. It was very hard at times and exhausting; and I still have those days. I sympathize with anyone who has had to work their way back from something so big. I had done it from hip surgeries, but from the heart is totally different. At first I needed to rest a lot. But every time I did anything again I got a little stronger. I have my family, friends (including all of you), and people that I connect with in all the normal places in life to thank for encouraging me; realizing when I seemed a little more like myself, a little stronger, or a little lighter. Reading your posts about working outside, sewing, or anything else that I did so effortlessly before made me strive to get back to it. I made a promise to my doctor that if he could get me moving again I would do whatever it took to stay that way. Before the surgery I realized something that made the A-fib worse in a certain area . He said it was really good that I realized that. Afterwards he told me that particular area was the worse place. Even though I wasn’t told to, I made some immediate changes to my diet. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard. Some boundaries I set for myself cause a little conflict at times, but they were needed. And I still have four azaleas that need my attention, but I will get to them!

    Thank you, Brandy, for the thankfulness month. If all the little things are put in perspective, the big things are easier.

  8. Brandy–First of all, I am thankful for this series each year. It helps me to focus on the good things as our daylight shrinks moving toward December. Your entry today made me remember one of our advisers in college. We were in an experimental program to train directors of Christian Education. I was the only woman admitted in the first year. The professor had certain requirements for all his classes including a 2,500 word paper, 500 pages of outside reading and intense studying. We learned so much from him. My husband and son connected with him in Edmonton as they drove a car from Alaska to Mn. We had a triple spaced syllabus for church history that I wrote 6 lines of notes in. My husband used my notes for the class and also got an A in it. Thankfully I never had him for 2 classes a semester. I couldn’t have done that and continued to work while I went to college!
    This weekend we are supposed to have -41 Saturday evening. My husband is filling in during December at church, but I doubt I will go out in that! I’m doctoring for a heart condition and afraid to go out in that. So, I am thankful to be able to worship electronically. We are so blessed!

  9. I am thankful that the rain has stopped and our property is above water 🙂 .

    We are mindful for the people in the lower level of our town where some of their homes have water running through them currently.

  10. I am grateful for modern technology. At one time, I would not have dreamed of saying this other than for modern medical knowledge. I definitely understand where the Luddites were coming from though I would not have gone as far as burning down factories. We did not have a television until 2 years ago and still go without many gadgets most people find essential to modern living. However, I have learned so much from spaces like this one where kindness and encouragement reigns. I have learned so many skills from YouTube videos and vlogs on a wide variety of subjects that have saved me money. I have benefitted from the experience of others who have children with special learning needs, as I do, which has helped me navigate potential services and methods to help them learn the best way for them. I have sold items on FB and other sites which has helped me turn no longer needed items into money we can use for things which are more important to us. While we live in a very rural area, we have fiber optic internet which allows my husband to have his work from home IT job. I would not trade having him home with us for anything as he has missed none of my children’s growing up and special milestones. While I am still wary of much technology, I am grateful I have come to see it all as tools, nothing more, nothing less. Tools can be used for good or bad. It is up to the user to determine how to do so in a way that is consistent with their beliefs and lifestyle. I think this may be one of the greatest challenges of this Information Age – how to navigate the astounding amount of information available and to thoughtfully discern its appropriateness in our lives as well as how to remember to use it for its helpful purposes and then to turn it off and go live our lives.

  11. I am thankful for those who are still kind and respectful in today’s turmoil. I love your story of manners. I was reminded of how many hurtful snubs I’ve endured over the years and how I have to work at not allowing offense. Just not worth it. To me, I am saddened by the hurtful way many treat others who they deem unimportant. No amount of, “I didn’t realize who you were.” pandering will ever make up for rude hurtful behavior. As a result, I’ve learned to seek out those who stand alone at gatherings and to purposefully include everyone. Lessons learned as a result of experiencing the pain of being ignored. Thanks for the reminder to continue to be kind and use manners and to not take offense. It’s a tough world out there these days.

  12. I’m thankful November is over! It was a hard, hard month. We went to Hawaii and everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Fortunately, it was just glitch after glitch, and no one got sick or injured. But 3 days after we got home, my husband got VERY sick with diverticulitis. (I’m thankful this didn’t happen in Hawaii). Over a week later, he is still recovering. I am, however, very thankful that I listened to that “still, small voice” and insisted that he go to the ER in the middle of the night, even though he said he was too sick to go. (That’s when you need to go!).

    Since we are on the topic of teachers, I am thankful for Ann Jablonski Remington, my 5th grade teacher, and Dorothy Bannister, who was my 8th grade teacher for one month. Both really encouraged me (and all girls) at a time when the boys had it all. They were also excellent academic teachers who taught 34-35 students with no help in the classroom. (And in dresses and spike heels!). Mrs. Remington was 23 years old and only a second-year teacher in 1956-57. When I look back on what I know and when/where I learned it, I realize how much she taught me. She was a Navy wife and we lost touch after her husband got transferred to Guam.

    About 10-12 years ago, I decided to track her down and tell her how much she meant to me. She had talked about her family in Muskegon, MI, all the time. Her maiden name of Jablonski was the key to finding her. I called 4 Jablonskis in Muskegon and reached her nephew, whose dad–her brother–lived with them. He was right in the room! He was absolutely thrilled by my call. We had a wonderful conversation about her. I learned she had died at the age of 61 and her husband died a few years later. On a side note, I had left a voice mail for another Jablonski. He wasn’t any relation, but he called me back to offer his help in finding her. What a nice person!

  13. I am thankful for my sons. Especially my youngster he has been through a lot in his young life. But he is getting stronger. We love him. He turns 28 on November30.

  14. I am thankful for my therapist and the mental health nurse who has been coordinating my care. My whole family has had an awful year with my difficult pregnancy and serious anxiety that left me unable to leave the house or have anyone in the house for months. Now I am starting to get better, I am looking back and am thankful for the good experience I have had with engaging with mental health services and being helped to get better. There’s still a way to go for me, but I’m grateful to be at the point where I can see the progress I have made and can feel the therapist’s techniques working.

    I’m also grateful for you, Brandy, for running your annual November thankfulness posts. It’s come at a great time for me, and while I haven’t joined in every day, it’s been lovely to look at my life and be able to see the blessings rather than just the stresses. It has meant a lot to me this year.

    1. I’m glad it has helped, Suzie.

      Thankfully, a lot of stores have made it easier to shop online for food. I hope that’s been a help to you.

  15. Can I ask who the professor was Brandy? I attended the same university that you did – and I had many great ones as well

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