All of life is a journey; which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Come Full Circle

How to even begin a post like this is difficult to do. This particular entry is more for myself than anyone else. I wanted to make sure and document it before the details became fuzzy and the spirit of this day weakened by life and time. Today was the first Thanksgiving in my 26 years on this earth that I did not share it with my family. Most times it was my immediate family, and other times my extended family. In this Town X, going to share Thanksgiving with my family was just not possible. I had my co-worker, and friend, invite me over to share Thanksgiving with her family. I really did not know what to expect. I knew it would be full of love and sharing, but I wondered if my missing my own family would overcome the gratitude that I have felt lately. Although I did miss being with my family, and thought of them constantly, this particular Thanksgiving is one that will live on in my fondest of memories. Here are some of the reasons why.

The first is the incredible people I got to share it with. The day was spent with family and games, laughter and cooking. I taught their family and grandparents to play stupid (only the best card game ever!) and it was unbelievably funny. In the game the 10 is a special card that can save you from others. Well when their grandmother played her 10 she followed up with a terribly sad, "Oh no!" Confused and concerned everyone at the table quickly asked what was wrong. Her response, "That was the card that made me most happy and now it is gone." Needless to say that should have been a preview to the highlight of comedy for the evening. That arrived when, as she was leaving and hugging goodbye, she looked at her son and said, "How do you like the new hair?" I thought she must have recently gotten a haircut. Boy was I wrong! It was at that moment that she followed it up by saying, "Do you like it on or off?" Then she grabbed her hair and pulled it off revealing a very bald head. My jaw must have dropped because no one stopped laughing for quite some time. Being a character does not even begin to describe how amazing this woman is.

After the festivities and "hair raising" fun at the house, I went and met a friend at his AA meeting. Here is where the introspective and humbling part of this Thanksgiving came into play. I have been to my fair share of AA meetings, but never on a holiday. I sat quietly and listened to the stories, the gratitude and the love in that room. For some, sobriety was new. This was their first Thanksgiving they would remember tomorrow. For others, they offered stories of hope and faith to those struggling and feeling alone. This meeting offered me a chance to truly examine what I am grateful for this year. It offered me perspective for my life and the challenges that I face. In the midst of darkness, these individuals offered clarity and joy. When I looked into their eyes I was given the opportunity to catch a glimpse of their strength and determination. It was remarkable. I cannot even begin to express the joy I felt today. So often I think of Thanksgiving as the last hurtle before the Christmas season that I love so dearly. But this year, this day, has offered me more than I could ever have imagined. I realized that although I may not have been able to spend Thanksgiving with my biological family, it was indeed spent with family. To all of those people that have filled my life with love, I offer my sincerest gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Great Garter Caper

Today's post is one of those moments in time that you think, I am an idiot and then laugh your head off afterwards. Allow me to explain. One of my best friends, my soul sister, got married to the love of her life last week. The wedding was Friday, so the last minute craziness ensued on Thursday. I got to come up and be part of the pre-nuptial fun. We had spent the day running errands such as going past the florist, last minute tux adjustments, facials, and picking up pictures. As the day was coming to an end, her fiance reminded her that she needed a garter for the reception. Now the bride-to-be was not a fan of the garter toss. However, the groom-to-be felt otherwise and wanted the tradition to remain at their reception. So off for this last errand we went, racing against time to get to the hall to set up for the reception. My first suggestion was David's Bridal. I knew where it was and figured, they must have them there. This plan was inherently flawed, however, because it was know by everyone in the free world, other than myself of course, that they are very expensive and that other places would be better to visit.

So stop number 1, Victoria's Secret. Here is one hint for you readers, the secret is that they do not carry garters. So stop number 2, a wedding place called White Elegance. Now here is where the real story took place. We walk in and quickly realize that this is a very religious wedding boutique. However, one glance to our left and we see a display of bands of lace and ribbon and think, perfect we have hit the jackpot! We run over and look up and down the options. She picks some up and feels them, and me being the task oriented person I am wonders what is taking so long to make a decision. I hurriedly encourage her to pick whichever she would like, as they all look pretty and white (the only two criteria we had). As she is holding one she mentions that they seem rather stiff. I dismiss this comment, mostly thinking that I never would have noticed that, when she looks over with wide eyes and says there is a problem. I look confused as I can see nothing stopping us from picking one and going. That is when she points to the tag which labels these lace and ribbon displays not as garters so much as "Infant Headbands". Oh yes, at that moment the woman working there asks if we need assistance. As we burst into laughter we explain that we are actually looking for a garter rather than a baby's hair accessory. She looks mortified at us and suggests we go to Dirty Joe's, because apparently garters now belong in a sex shop.

So as we leave White Elegance and head over to, you guessed it, David's Bridal. We are pleased to find a display of actual garters that are not only labeled as such, but also on sale. At the end of the day, a garter was bought, a groom made happy and a memory created that I will think of every time I see a baby with a white lace and ribbon headband on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas A Little Early

So I will be honest, there has been a bit of a dry spell in Town X, which has made life a little rough. I felt like I was in a rut. Work went along, but sometimes it felt as though little progress was being made. I work in vocational rehabilitation, and it seemed that if anything we were moving backwards. Until Saturday. Then Christmas came a little early this year. I was working with a man we will call Roger. He is a good man, not from this country, who had been in the program almost two years. His English was conversational at best, but he has improved dramatically since he began. He always wanted to work for UPS. Why UPS? I am not sure, but anytime he talked about his dream job, UPS was there waiting. His time in the program was coming to an end last week, and he and I had been working on applications for weeks and weeks. Although he could speak well, reading comprehension and vocabulary were difficult for Roger, so we took time nearly every day working on applications and the required assessments. It seems that no matter where you are applying, there are now accompanying assessments to submit with your application. For many these are inconvenient, but do-able. For Roger, 75 questions would take us 2 hours. To read through and explain the meaning and choose his answer. Where did he apply? Places like Walmart, Kmart, KFC, Pizza Hut, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, you name it he applied there. Then came the listing he had been hoping for. UPS Driver Helper. We applied and received the follow up interview information. We practiced possible questions and scenarios, but ultimately, it was up to Roger. He went in and completed his interview, but parts of his application needed verification. So he went back, and back again. Finally he thought he had another interview tomorrow. Well Saturday the woman that interviewed him called me back from a previous message I had left and informed me that his interview tomorrow was not an interview after all...

It was Orientation!

I could hardly believe it. I was so excited for Roger, tbis is what he had hoped, worked and prayed for. She explained that although his interview was difficult because of the language barrier, that his enthusiasm and dedication shown through. She said she could not live with herself if she did not give him a chance. It is amazing the tender mercies that surround us every day. It may seem like a small thing to most, getting an entry level job at UPS. But to Roger and myself, it was an answer to prayer and hard work. I will miss seeing Roger at work, but I am humbled to know that he is moving on to the next chapter of his life. I could not have asked for a better Christmas gift.