Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving. It’s that time of year to look back, give thanks, and offer gratitude… what a great time to reminisce.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m thankful for this year and I have come up with a few things to share.

I’m thankful for my mom, dad, brother, sister in law, nephew, and niece – I honestly don’t know what I would do without their support, love, encouragement, pictures, email, cards, gift packages, and phone calls week after week. It all brightens my day knowing that you’re thinking of me and only wanting what’s best in my life. I love you so much....Thank you!

I’m thankful for God’s endless blessings that He continues to pour out on me day after day. I usually see a beautiful sunrise and/or sunset and finally experience the changing season!

I’m thankful to have a job, the air in my lungs, and a roof over my head.

I’m thankful for the friends that I have back home who have supported me and my move out West 100% and those friends that continue to have my six. Not to mention the friends that I have made out here who have blessed me in countless ways by getting to the root of who they are, what we mean to one another, being my support system, learning about each other on an intimate level, growing in our friendships, trusting, and loving. I can’t imagine my life without any of you in it….thank you….

I’m thankful for God’s emotional healing. When things were at such a low, painful point and I didn’t know how to cope, He came in to my heart, comforted me and raised me up to show me that better things lie ahead in my future. We formed a much needed relationship with one another – one that I had sought for years. Broken hearts can be mended and later healed with time and nurturing. Our lives intersect with one another for certain reasons and sometimes it’s hard for us to figure them out in the here and now, but they become more revealed with each passing day. I’m thankful for the heartache and experiences that I’ve had because it’s making me a stronger woman.

I’m thankful for my church ladies (insert your visual of Dana Carvey here). They are a group of wonderful women that I’ve gotten to know over the past year that act as my mother(s), friend, counselor, and sisters. They have been beside me as I have walked through a spiritual journey that I have never been on before. They are loving, supportive, knowledgeable, generous, and hilarious! I look forward to seeing them every week because they are safe and comfortable….my home away from home.

And last, but not least – I’m thankful for the Steelers.

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends – share with one another (and me) what YOU are thankful for this year.

Everybody has something to share – take the time to listen and open your hearts…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day Trip

Old Faithful geyser (not THE Old Faithful though)

Me by the geyser

Redwoods at Leggett

Drive Thru tree

Me inside a stump

Ring tailed lemur...I like to move it, move it

Pregnant giraffes

He was curious and wanted to check things out

White Rhino named Eesha (meaning Princess)

Watusi cow named Eileen (she had a syndrome where she has both male and female horns) and she was all by herself...I felt sorry for her


Safari West from the hill

African Cheetah - she ate a bird in front of some 2nd graders the other day! The other cheetahs were raised on a reserve, so they were mellow, but this one never stopped pacing

Flamingos and giraffe

I had an opportunity to head up north to check out the Avenue of the Giants, Old Faithful geyser, and an African Safari over the weekend and it was so much fun! I love scenery and country side gawking around, so this was right up my alley. The weather was perfect and the trees were changing colors - absolutely beautiful! Going through the redwoods in the early morning light with the fog was amazing, too....I love how God always speaks to me through his 'artwork'!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


After ten years of making monthly payments to the U.S. Department of Education, I can finally say that my college student loans are officially paid off! WEE FREAKING HOO!!

I never thought this day would come - or at least I didn't think it would when I received my first bill in the mail. Talk about a cloud of doom hanging over a fresh graduates head...

In looking back, I sure borrowed a lot of money for beer, good times, and great memories :)

But it was so worth it.

Bye-bye loans.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To Accuse

Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How does that make you feel? I know for me, it feels pretty numbing.

I have been accused of many things - from personal attacks on my character to the 'what he said/she said' sorted comments that can be misconstrued through communication.

Yesterday couldn't have ended any sooner. Work was mind boggling to begin with, but knowing that I got to go vote afterwards gave me something to look forward to in order to top my day off. I was excited, I knew I was making a difference with my vote, and I was going to be a part of history one way or the other. After I got out of the polls, I came home to a note on the door - "Now what?", I thought.

I started shaking my head as soon as I opened it - it was a 3 Day Past Due Notice that the apartment gods didn't receive my rent check. Are you kidding me!? I am so OCD when it comes to paying my bills on time that I actually write my rent check out for the following month two weeks in advance. That's right... just to make sure all is in good order. Now, let me remind you that two months ago, they admittedly 'threw' my last rent check away 'on accident' - because, 'you know, it happens'... not only did I have to put a stop pay on the last check, I had to immediately take them a new one to cover for the 'late' payment. Even though it wasn't late. It was freaking lost.

Livid. That would pretty much sum up my feelings looking at this stupid piece of paper.

Naturally, I call to explain what is happening - and by 'explain', I mean yell at the poor girl who happened to answer the phone about how inept and irresponsible they were for not double checking the envelope that rent came in ... and then get transfered to one of the managers.

After waiting on hold for eternity, I get some chipper sounding woman who needs me to explain everything to her. People, I'm trying my hardest to stay calm and keep a pleasant tone, but get this - after I told her what had happened two months ago she says, 'Well, don't you think it's pretty ironic that it's always YOUR check that gets lost? Why is it always YOU who has this problem? I'm thinking YOU didn't pay your rent and you're trying to get out of the late fee that I'm going to charge you anyway for not having it in on time.'

My retort, "MY CHECK ISN'T LATE - YOU LOOOOST IT!!" So much for calm. Then it hit me - I can continue on arguing with this woman and not get anywhere or try a different approach. (Punching her in the neck was my actual approach, but she was out of arm shot.) I decided to be nice. To take it down a notch. Maybe she was having a bad day? But dang it, I had a bad day, too.

So I told her that I was sorry for raising my voice and that I wanted to resolve this - what did I need to do? Obviously, she still wanted to yell at me for being a dead beat and continue to accuse me of getting out of rent, not being responsible, blah blah blah... Calm... breathe... pray - God let this woman calm down so we can talk... God let me hold my tongue... deep breath...and wouldn't you know... the conversation changed.

I ended up having to go get a cashier's check, put ANOTHER stop pay on this check, and go to the rental office. It was like going in to see the principal - I felt like I was in trouble, but I know in my heart of hearts that I was being honest - I really did pay my rent. But how do you convince somebody that your words are true? I had the proof with my duplicate checks. It wouldn't help.

The lady I had spokent to was gone, but the other woman working gave me that condescending look and accompanying sneer and said, "Oh, I know what this is about. I'll take that." I smiled, said thank you and walked away.

But before I left, I stopped at the desk where the girl answering the phone was sitting - I told her who I was and apologized for being rude and raising my voice when I called. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Wow - thank you... you're so sweet for going out of your way... but these things happen and I'm sorry they happened to you." Yeah, me too.

You want to know what my bible study sermon was about last night at church? Persecution and how we handle it. Ironic? I didn't think so either.