Counting Blessings, Not Sheep

By Cami Colarossi, Director of Communications

Next week is Thanksgiving, and that makes me think of Christmas.

“White Christmas” specifically. The movie, not the weather. White Christmas

In the holiday classic, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney share a song over nighttime liverwurst sandwiches and glasses of buttermilk—“Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep:”

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings

Going into next week, we start a marathon of holidays—Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Year’s—which gives us all six solid weeks to ponder, assess, reflect, and be grateful for what we have, what we could not live without, and what we would never change. (Of course gratitude is something we should cultivate all year long, but sometime it takes a good holiday to remind us to do so.)

Exploring this attitude of gratitude, I posed the question to the entire Notre Dame community—“What are you thankful for?” Many of the answers fell into what could be called the Four Fs: Family, Friends, Faith, Freedom. Some ranged from the deeply touching—thanks that a beloved relative survived life-threatening illness—to the absolutely whimsical (thank heavens for baggy pants—Thanksgiving meal was never so comfortable!).  

counting sheepThere were too many responses to include in this simple blog, so here is a sampling of the many blessings NDP students, faculty, and staff count as theirs. As you read it, I hope you count your blessings, too! There can be no better way to embark upon the season of thanks, joy, love, and peace than to consider the gratitude we hold in our hearts—plus it is WAY more fun than counting sheep!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

N.B.: Bluenote will be on holiday until December 3.

“I am thankful for my parents. The education that they have given to me is one of the greatest gifts that I could ever receive.” Brianna Abraham ‘16 

zachery“My brand new ‘perfect’ nephew/godson.” Robin Albert, graphic designer

“My husband, who makes me oatmeal every morning for breakfast.” Anonymousoatmeal

“I am so thankful for our students, and I love that so many of them say ‘thank you’ to me at the end of every class. How lucky are we?” Barbara Barr, mathematics teacher

“The Class of 2015 #150strong” Jamie Berger ‘15

“I am thankful for my new grandson Evan and that I will be a 10 year cancer survivor this Christmas.” Melinda Berger, Middle Level assistant directorpink ribbon

“Music” Alexandra Charney ‘18

“I am thankful for my NDP sisters and clean water!” Izzy Gemma ‘19

grilled cheese“All my teachers, my dog, and the cafeteria’s grilled cheese. I couldn’t function without all of them.”  Allison Hardebeck ‘16

“During this Thanksgiving season, I am most thankful for the many prayers, thoughts, and kindnesses extended to me from the entire NDP community:  our fabulous faculty/staff, amazing girls, wonderful Board of Trustees, incredible parents and giving alumnae.   May you and your families have a very blessed Thanksgiving!” Laurie Jones, principal

“I am thankful for the opportunity to attend this school so that I can receive an outstanding education to change the world.” Paige Lininger ‘18

“One on one time with my daughter driving to and from school every day…we have never had that before and it is PRICELESS!!!” Shawn Osmeyer, alumnae coordinator and freshman parentcarpool

“I am thankful for my grandfather because he has had many surgeries in his life. He had to get a heart transplant 19 years ago and a kidney transplant when I was younger. He had throat cancer but was cured. Then a couple months ago he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He had to go through chemotherapy and radiation. Last week my family found out that after he stopped the chemo, his tumors were gone. We know that the cancer will come back eventually but until then he has many years left in him.” Julianna Perella ’16

labyrinth“Family, faith, friends/colleagues, students.  The Labyrinth as a metaphor for life:  the knowledge that even the unexpected turns ultimately lead back to the Center.” Marianne Reichelt, English teacher

“I am thankful for: 1) Seeing the light bulb go on when a student ‘gets it’! and 2) Girls who make me laugh out loud, and turn my day around.” Bridget Sheehey, mathematics teacher

“I am thankful for the experiences NDP has given me. I’ve gained a new insight on the world and I’m so grateful for the opportunities my education has given me, that I often take for granted.” Erin Shoul ‘16

“I am thankful that we are a faith-filled school, which can lift our community up to Christ at all times, seeking His guidance, wisdom and care.  Just as we do in our personal families, the NDP community can celebrate our triumphs and our joys while also displaying the loving spirit of Umoja in times of struggles, sorrows and losses.  May our heavenly Father refresh our minds and spirits during this Thanksgiving holiday.” Ellen Starr, director of counseling

“The NDP thespians! They’re phenomenal and I love them <3 I am eternally thankful for all the people who took the time to know me and become my friend, I cannot imagine a world without them.” Mumbi Wainaini ’17

“Cooking with my students in the Italian Club!” Mia Walsh, curriculum technologist and Italian Club moderator

puppies“I’m thankful that my family and puppies make me laugh when I’m having a bad day.” Andrea Youniss ‘17

love joy peace








Editor’s Note: Boy is NDP a grateful bunch! Even after this post appeared, we continued to receive information from folks who wanted to share their gratitudes. In particular, freshman Angela Estavillo presented us with this comprehensive and thoughtful list:

After taking a bit of time to reflect in the midst of my hectic study schedule, I’ve generated quite a list of “things” I am grateful for:

  • Good Health
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Glorious Weekends
  • Opportunity for an Education
  • Literacy
  • Taco Salad
  • Cell Phones
  • Internet Connection
  • Nature’s Beauty
  • Oceans
  • Kind Strangers
  • Love
  • Diversity
  • God’s Grace 

Thank you, Angela, and everyone who continues to keep gratitude top of mind!




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