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Thankful for the obstacles that make me stronger
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This is now a time for thanks and, oh boy, I am thankful for the obstacles that have made my life how it is today.

During this time, I usually enjoy nothing more than to sit around my grandmother's table, stuff my face full of food and crack inside jokes on other family members. But Thanksgiving is also the perfect time to replay all the unbearable times I've dealt with and how the outcome has become something I am thankful for.

Last time, I wrote about my feelings starting out eighth grade. After experiencing eighth grade for about four months, I have more than a mouthful to tell.

Going from seventh to eighth grade is a big jump. The work is stricter; everything is so serious and always concerns high school. What has me unbalanced is the fact my organizational skills have never been up to par. That being so, I have to discipline myself to meet eighth grade standards. Every weekend since starting my current grade, I've never had a "free" weekend, because I'm bombarded with homework. With that being said, I gradually lost sight of the things that make me feel whole, like writing this column and clogging with the Toe Jam Cloggers at The Barn. I completely stopped writing the column after my first one published and clogging seemed so much of a chore, but I remained with it.

To add to my stress just last week, I literally lost my entire science project because of losing my flash drive. My mother was enraged that I'd lost something so valuable at such an important time. The next day, all I prayed for was another chance to prove not only to others but to myself that with so many odds against me, I could still pull through.

About mid-September at a career fair, my board was based on wanting to be, of course, an author. The centerpiece of my board was my first published column and a good percentage of parents who saw it said they had previously read it or would look out for the next one. Hearing all the positive feedback, I was thrilled and more motivated than ever, but I needed that big push many people need from time to time.

After my misfortune, the next day, Miss Michelle, the editor for this newspaper, called and asked if I would write another column for the upcoming holiday issue. After hearing that, and after being notified by my teachers that I could redeem myself with another science project I cried and cried till there was probably nothing left but invisible tears. I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders. But most importantly, I was thankful.

Whether it was a high or low, sunshine or heavy rainfall, a K.O. or undoubted victory, It all brought me to the place now where, against everything, I am thankful.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving!

Elizabeth Leary is an eighth grader attending Memorial Middle School. You can reach her at