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Thankful Thursday | I am not qualified

The other day, I posted something on my social media stories (a quote from someone else) about how social media has caused us all to think we have an obligation to share an opinion on every world event, even when we aren’t remotely qualified to say something knowledgeable.

sun behind trees.

I am qualified to comment on some topics (like frugality! furniture painting! nursing school!).

Conflicts in the Middle East, though? Decidedly outside my range of knowledge.

puddle on walking trail.

But here is what I will say:

Yesterday, I read an email from the New York Times with pictures of the hostages and stories of what is going on, and tears immediately sprang to my eyes. I will never understand how human beings can be so cruel to each other, and it breaks my heart.

I think the cruelty must be a result of seeing people as disposable; of not valuing each life as precious.

colorful berries.

When natural disasters take human lives, those stories are hard to see. But when lives are being lost because of human violence, that is even harder to see.

I feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness; there is so much suffering in the world, and there is so little I can do to alleviate it. I am only one person.

lichen on trees.

If I ponder that for too long, the discouragement will paralyze me.

And an immobilized me is going to do precious little good in the world. So after I read that NYT email, I reminded myself that I can only do the things that are in my locus of control.

I can’t stop the violence on the other side of the world.

I can love and help the people around me, both at home and at school.

And I can focus on getting my RN, which is going to allow me to go be a helper in the world.

cat sitting by Kristen, who is wearing student scrubs.

My lifetime impact will be relatively small, but my efforts, in my circle of influence, are all I have control over.

“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.” (Paul Shane Spear)

fungi growing on tree.

And if many, many people focus their energy on being a helpful force for good in their circles of influence, the cumulative impact of that will be far from small.

So, deep breath. We can pray for peace, we can donate to (reputable, responsible) organizations that can help the suffering people, AND we can focus on doing good right where we are.

Part of that for me is facilitating a thankfulness practice here.

Sooo, this week, I am thankful:

for my comfy bed

It’s been chilly here at night lately, and my goodness, I love snuggling under my warm covers at night.

tidy bedroom.

Chiquita usually sleeps down by my feet, which is very sweet.

for the fall weather

I know some of you hate cool weather, but personally, I am so very happy to be wearing jeans and hoodies. By this time every year, I am well and truly tired of being sticky and sweaty!

for public parks. Always.

backpack on picnic table.

The other day, I took some homework to a little nearby park on the water, and I was reminded again how nice it is that public parks make beautiful spaces available to everyone (even those of us who can’t afford to live on the water!)

for doctor appointments with my schedule

I am currently due for things like an eye appointment, a dermatology annual exam, and so on…four appointments total!

I made a bunch of calls yesterday to get them all scheduled, and miraculously, the first appointments they all offered me happened to fall on days/times when I am not scheduled at school.

that I had a productive Saturday

I had nothing scheduled last Saturday and I got SO MUCH STUFF done.


  • went for a walk
  • did my PT exercises
  • cleaned my bathroom
  • washed my shower curtain and liner
  • scooped Chiquita’s litter
  • changed my sheets
  • did four loads of laundry

cat in laundry basket.

  • did my tax paperwork for Q3 and sent it to my CPA
  • read three chapters for school
  • watched some lab videos while I folded laundry
  • made a med sheet for the drug digoxin (med sheets are papers we fill out with numerous details about a particular drug)
  • did a practice math exam
  • did two U assignments (practice quizzes for chapters that we read)
  • reviewed several lecture PowerPoints to prep for the exam
  • organized my pantry
  • made dinner

I would like to tell you that this productive day made my current week relaxing, but nope; I’m still barely getting everything done!

I have concluded that nursing school life just requires a lot of efficiency and hard work. Efficiency doesn’t really get you ahead; mainly it keeps you from falling too far behind.

But that’s fine! I can maintain this life for four semesters.

for portable learning

I am forever listening to textbook chapters while I do other tasks (cleaning, walking, cooking) and sometimes I watch lab videos on my laptop while I’m doing other things as well, like folding laundry.

laptop near laundry.

Combining a head task (video or audio) with a body task (walking, cooking, cleaning) has really, really helped me to stay sort of on top of my personal life while also maintaining a busy school life.

for crunchy granola

Guys, if you haven’t made this granola, you should.

(Unless you can’t eat oats, in which case, my condolences.)

granola on yogurt and fruit.

You just mix it up, press it in a pan, and bake. NO STIRRING WHILE BAKING.

Which means you will not be cleaning spilled oatmeal bits afterward (I always spilled some in the oven or on my counters with the stir-while-it-bakes recipes!)

Your turn! What are you thankful for?

P.S. I am not qualified to comment on the situation in the Middle East, and I am also not up for moderating a discussion about it in the comments. So, I’m not gonna publish comments that will lead us there. But do feel free to share your thoughts on what I brought up; I am sure we can find common ground there.

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Ingunn in Norway

Wednesday 22nd of November 2023

Thank you for writing this. I read the post a few weeks ago, and had to re-read it today after spending to much time scrolling on world news web pages. I need to keep reminding myself of what I CAN do, instead of all the things that are way out of my hands…


Monday 16th of October 2023

"I will never understand how human beings can be so cruel to each other, and it breaks my heart." This is exactly my reaction to all the reports from the Middle East right now, regardless of who is "right" or all the problematic history. It breaks my heart that humans inflict such pain on each other and I am praying for all those involved.


Sunday 15th of October 2023

I just came back to reread this post again. I needed and continue to need the reminder: despair isn't a helpful response. I need to do what I can where I can to help. Thanks for sharing.

Martha O.

Saturday 14th of October 2023

The Paul Shane Spear quote is rich and good. Thank you for sharing that, Kristen.

Blue Gate Farmgirl

Friday 13th of October 2023

Thankful for the local medical community as we rally around our co-workers who were called into service in Israel. We put together 200k of medical supplies, soldier personal supplies and humanitarian supplies for them to take for support. Out of extreme caution we were not told where they were being sent to and they are working to coordinate supply shipments. It is all heartbreaking and the feeling of helplessness is real. So on with the weeks business! Thankful for a catch up visit with dear friends from our old neighborhood (moved from there 47 years ago). Thankful for completing my always scary task of roof maintenance and gutter cleaning...I did not fall off any ladders, even though my puppy tried to follow me up onto the roof. Who knew that sweet pup could climb ladders? Thankful I had my cellphone on me & the neighbor rescued the pup. Good grief! Thankful for sweet neighbor who helped me fix a gutter on the big barn. I in turn installed a new tv antenna on his barn. Thankful for the garden slowing down, I'm ready for fall! Soups, stews, fresh baked bread, conversations around the fire. Sigh. Thankful for the local mushroom farmer. I purchased a load of compost and he gave me a small tote of mushrooms that didn't meet grade. Delicious and got them processed and frozen. Looking forward to taking my mom and her friends on a drive next week to look at the fabulous fall color. I am surprising them with a special lunch half way thru the color tour.

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