"but like, you're deep..."I recently heard these words from someone who I hadn't seen in years.at first, I was a bit taken aback by her remark, but then I thought, who am I kidding, she's right. She doesn't even know me all that well, and she is so right!for a while, I was afraid of my depth, and even ashamed. because the truth is, it sometimes got the best of me, but I am realizing it is my depth that is the best of me.it is what allows me to experience the type of joy that brings me to tears. to carry the burdens of others. and to look farther into life's lessons.and so here I am, looking deeper into life's lesson—to find gratitude in the midst of transition, challenges and uncertainty.when we intentionally set time to be grateful, we are forced to stop.to stop the noise. the distractions. the busyness of life. the voices that tell you that you can't or you aren't good enough or you will never be loved or that you aren't a good enough daughter, mother, wife, ________________(fill in the blank).stillness creates space for gratitude and gratitude welcomes joy and joy is what fills us. it is what allows us to love ourselves. to cultivate healthy relationships with the ones you love. to be creative. to be the best versions of ourselves.but we must go through the challenges and the unknown to fully grasp the depth of gratitude. Because if all was well, if life was perfect or gave us everything our little hearts ever desired, we wouldn't know to be thankful, we wouldn't experience the joy that comes from gratitude. after all, it is with heat and pressure that a diamond is made.I see a trend in these life lessons, and they usually come in times of transition because change sometimes can be unsettling and confusing and scary. And though I am tempted to ask the question, "what will my next chapter be?" I am giving myself grace to stop. to reflect. to be thankful for all the previous chapters that have led me to this point.as I am finishing up the last pages of this chapter I like to call, "Teacher Diaries: Teenagers are a Beautiful Mess", I am reminded of the time I first watched Freedom Writers. It was after watching that film that I knew I needed to be in the classroom. to try to be a positive influence to young kids. I reflect on all the moments I had with those that allowed me to know their hearts. I feel honored that they chose me to hear their stories. there will be so many that I will never forget— those that did more for me, than I could have ever done for them.You know, the truth is, I was never qualified to be a teacher--but I was full of passion.and so, if and when I ever doubt myself, I have to remember that all it takes is heart and passion.but today, I will choose to stop and to be thankful.I hope you do too.