Slowly, I am getting stronger.

My body is recovering from the chemotherapy.

My skin is softening and looking healthier.

My energy levels are reluctantly rising.

My hair is coming back.

I am thankful for these things, and for so much more.

My family is healing from all the trauma of chemotherapy too.

Slowly, but surely, we are finding our way back to an easier normal.

We have been being very intentional with our time together–loving each other, and working with each other.

For this, I am thankful.

This is not a turkey. It’s Harry Potter. (Eddie’s disguised Thanksgiving Turkey)

Of course there are still struggles. Two of us are battling anxiety (possibly more than two, but two of us have the diagnosis). Charlie has a disturbance in his own force. This weekend has helped me believe he will be fine…or at least he is able to be fine. He will start some new routines and strategies on Monday. We–he and I and Cortney–are all maintaining a positive attitude.

My Bird has many gifts: he is thoughtful. observant, quick-to-learn, and slow to give in. He is imaginative and creative.

For this, I am thankful.

We had wonderful parent/teacher conferences for the boys. My gratitude for a school community who loves our boys and who are committed to helping them be the best versions of themselves they can be. The boys love their school, their teachers, and their friends. They both love to learn.

For this, I am thankful.

Eddie is thriving in another year of scouting. He loves the brotherhood it brings him and the adventure.¬† He is helpful and kind. He seeks to understand others–including his little brother. He loves to read and write and laugh. He is goofy and willing to talk about all the things.

And he continues to love Harry Potter.

For this, I am thankful.

Alice has been my innocent, pure joy from the beginning. She gives fierce hugs, has a protective nature, and loves¬† all things pink, princess, and unicorn. When she senses stress, sadness, or conflict, she gives kisses and reminds us all, “I love you!” She dances and twirls and reminds us all to find joy in small things.

For this, I am thankful.

My children drive me crazy to be sure, but they also give me a reason to get up. To face the challenges that are still ahead of us. They make me brave. They make me work harder and be better.

For this, I am thankful.

I recently came back from Houston, Texas where I attended two professional conferences for English teachers. I was able to spend the weekend with my sister friend, G. She and I have both take a ride down the River Styx this year, so it was good to have each other. To lean on each other. To share and laugh and learn with each other.

For this, I am thankful.

Photo Credit: Erin Barkel Photography

We had a very mini family photo shoot earlier this month. I almost skipped family pictures this year for a number of reasons, all that boil down to not really wanting to record this moment in my life. As much support and love I am given, I still feel very fragile about my looks.

But look at that guy standing next to me. Look how he looks at me. That look sums up all that he has been not just in the last seven months, but for the past fifteen years. He sees me. And he still loves me like that.

For him, I am thankful.

And the list could continue to include other precious friends and our church family and my school family and our jobs and doctors and nurses and modern medicine and all of you and your spirits of grace and generosity.

I can’t even count all of the ways gratitude has oozed from me this year.

And for that, I am very, very thankful.


Monday I start my radiation journey. The countdown to the end begins.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.