Life can get very difficult at times, and we may question why these things are happening to us. Why did we lose a loved one? Why is college so difficult? Why am I this sick when I've been exercising and eating healthy? Sometimes it can be hard to stay positive in a world full of negativity, but there are so many things to be thankful for. I get it. It's so cliche, but here are some reasons for why I'm thankful and why you should be thankful too.

1. My Hometown

Coming from a small town is a very amazing experience. In high school, it was always a very humbling experience walking around town and having some of the people who knew my father say, "You're one of the Gille kids, aren't you? I've seen your name in the paper. Keep up the good work." Shullsburg will always be home in my heart even when I'm not there. I'm thankful for the how close the entire town is. We are one giant family. You never felt out of place. My high school was absolutely amazing. The teachers cared so much about every student. I will always miss playing sports with my brothers, and we will always be brothers. We may have grown distant, but I'm always here for any of you. It's amazing to just drive through the country and see all the small farms. You really realize the true beauty in the country when the sun is setting. You should be thankful for whatever hometown you come from, big or small. That town raised you just as much as your family in a sense.

2. My Family

A family can be one of the best things in a person's life. I'm not blind, though, and I realize that there are many people who have not had siblings, not had a mother or father, or were abused. I could never imagine having that type of family, but they still influenced you. You know how to be better than them, and if you have children how to treat them the way they should be treated. I'm thankful that I came from the best family in the world. My siblings took care of me considering I was the baby. They made me strong by picking on me and beating my up once in a while. They also taught me how to love and how to treat people with respect. My parents deserve the world, and I hope my accomplishments in life will reflect their teachings. First for my momma. Thank you for always loving me unconditionally. At the end of the day, you are the most important woman in my life. You deserve to sit on a beach and watch the tides roll on in like we always talk about. I hope to make that dream come true for you. Thank you for showing me that being gentle and kind solves issues, not violence and anger. I'm a mommas boy and I always will be your little pumpkin. Now for my father. Thank you for always being stern and chewing me out when I needed it, but also for coming back in five minutes to hug me and say you love me. You have worked your butt off for all of us kids, and we love you so much for it. I hope you do buy that Mustang, and I hope you and Mom cruise through the country singing your favorite oldies. Now for both of you. Thank you for always being at all of my sporting events. Thank you for crying, yelling, and laughing with me through everything. Thank you for hugging me and telling me you love me everyday. I hope one day to be an amazing parent, and I know I will be because I had the two best parents any child could ask for. I love you both from the very bottom of my heart. It's a Gille thing, and you just wouldn't understand.

3. My Friends

Your friends have to have certain attributes about them that you love. They need to be the people that love you, that know when you're unhappy or mad, and they need to always be there for you. They need to be funny, loving, happy, weird, crazy, willing to fight for you, cry with you, die for you, and they need to be loyal. I love every single one of my friends. I would absolutely risk my life for each and everyone of them. I HAVE fought for them, I HAVE loved them, I HAVE cried for them, and I HAVE always been there for them. For my friends, and you know who are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for handling my craziness. Thank you for listening to me ramble, and for always being loyal. You fill me with so much happiness and joy, and I hope that everyday I provide the same for you. My best friend said this to me once. "Everyday is going to be a battle. You're strong, you're tough, and you are you. When life gets tough, I will be here for you, and I will be the shoulder you can cry on." That my friends is what kind of person you need to have in your life.

4. Loras College

By coming to Loras college, I have grown so much. It's crazy how close everyone is here. We are literally one giant family that looks after each other. You will make friends everyday at Loras. You will fall in love with how amazing and caring the professors are at Loras. They look after you like you wouldn't believe. During Fall, campus is absolutely breathtaking. The different amount of colors and beauty represents it's faculty and students very well. We are all different. We all have our own weirdness, habits, and customs, but we are all so beautiful. I couldn't imagine being at any other college. They provide you with all the tools to succeed, which directly puts the ball in your court. Even when tragedy hits we come together. When the Vis burned down, everyone came together like one big family. Everyone here is so selfless, and it makes your heart melt. Duhawks always fly together!

5. Faith

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Whether you are religious or not, faith is something everyone has. For some, they put faith in people, in ideas, and their family. I put faith in God. I pray at least once a day for so many things. I pray that my family stays healthy and happy. I pray for good things to happen to all of them. I pray for my friends. I pray that they find their path in life, that they find love, and that they feel accepted in this life. I also pray for myself. I pray to find love someday. I pray that she is out there struggling through life just like I am and that we fill the gaps in our lives. I pray that she will be caring and thoughtful. I pray that she will be a good mother, and that most importantly she will love me every single second that we are together. I hope she loves sunsets, driving and singing at the top of her lungs, and laughing at my stupid, corny jokes. I hope she has a similar faith to mine, loves dancing even when there isn't music playing, and loves adventuring. I also hope this person realizes this about me. I would love her until the end of time. I would protect her, sacrifice for her, and always care for her. I have such a big heart, and because of that I always go out of my way for everyone. I love to have fun and go out, but I also love relaxing and listening to music. Finally, you would be the sunshine in my life. Your smile alone would light up my world on my darkest days. I would adore you every single day that we are together. You would feel loved, wanted, and appreciated. You would wonder how you lived before you met me because I would be so loving and kind to you. I'm not being boastful, it's just that I know what kind of person I am. I know God has me on the right path, and that is why I am always patient. For it is said, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). Love is the most powerful feeling, and it needs to be respected.

If we constantly live in fear, sadness, or anger, we will truly never live. We need to be selfless, love everyone, and be thankful everyday for everything that is good in our lives. There are so many great things in our lives, so don't let the one negative destroy the 10 positives.

You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way! - Dr. Seuss