Back in November I ran into our school board president at the local coffee shop. We had a great conversation, and as I walked away, I thought “I should really send him a note and let him know how much I appreciate all he does for the district and the community.”

But you know how it is. I got busy with work and class and life, and I put it off, thinking I would get to it over the winter break.

I never got the chance. He passed away on Christmas Day.

It made me think of all the times I’ve let the opportunity pass to tell someone I’m thinking of them, that they are important to me, or that they make a difference in my life.

Then a few weeks ago I came across this tweet.

So, I messaged Joy, she shared a google doc with me, and I wrote this post.

Lucky to Have a Friend Like You

Dena Budrecki: media specialist, technology goddess, passionate educator, colleague, friend. Where do I even begin to express my appreciation for her?

It is rare to find that colleague who matches you step for step, answers your questions with more questions, and just challenges you daily to be your best. Dena does that for me. I’ve been at this teaching thing for a long time (26 years), but I am still learning, still growing. I appreciate that Dena is right there with me.

When I am looking for ideas for a lesson, Dena is there with links, apps, and just awesome teaching tips. She isn’t afraid to throw a lot of things at me, knowing that we can sift through and pick out the best things.

When I am excited about something I have read for one of my doctoral classes, I know I can share it with her, and I get real conversation not just the polite head nod.

When I am frustrated because something doesn’t go as planned, I can complain, but then Dena helps me figure out the ‘So what…now what’ I need to move forward.

When I have an idea but need a co-conspirator, Dena’s right there, too (and I return the favor). Together we have accomplished some good things this year (reviving the Sunshine club at school, writing a weekly digital citizenship blog).

When I am grappling with a new idea or trying to assimilate what I have always done with what I need to change, Dena is there asking tough questions.

When I need an opinion on something I’ve written (blog post, letter to parent, email to one of my kids’ teachers), I can count on Dena to give honest feedback.

When I doubt myself, Dena is there to remind me of what I have accomplished and to encourage me to step outside my comfort zone.

And it doesn’t stop when the bell rings at the end of the day. Dena is my summer walking partner (yes, we still end up talking about school), she is a great dinner companion (especially when she sees I’m feeling down), and she worries about me when I’m off at class and the weather conditions aren’t the best (she calls and tells me to drive carefully).

I am blessed to have such a friend. Thanks, Dena. 🙂

Looking forward to the next big adventure,


It was originally posted here. Check out the blog for more examples of the power of appreciation.

So, if you’re reading this and think there is probably someone you need to thank, do it. You never know how far those words go.