The Thankfulness Project - Part 2

This is the 2nd part in a series where I am sharing my gratitude for many of the people who are most important in my life.  See how the project started here.

It's a huge project and Facebook isn't always easy to navigate, so I want to also share my thoughts here to make it easier to go back and read them and remind myself just how much I have to be grateful for.

I took another little break from this, the holidays were busy and my head was elsewhere.  But a new year, and new intentions have me back at it.  This year, I'm really focused on how I interact and connect with the world around me, the people in my life, and with myself and my passions.  The parts of myself I want to nurture and grow have to do with creativity and appreciation alike.  I'm not putting a time limit on this project anymore because it's more important to me to just keep doing it, and to take time from my days and weeks to think about the people I love and why I love them.

September 21, 2017
To: Greg A, Cordelia, Sabine, Tessa

Have you ever had a “friend crush?”  Like where you meet someone and pretty much immediately all you can think about is how you want to be their friend and hang out with them?  And you wonder how you make that happen and why is it okay for little kids on the playground to go up to each other and straight up ask to be friends but then somehow we grow out of it?

I love it when I meet someone and we have things in common, and I love it even more when their intelligence and humanity is apparent from the first conversation.   Now that I think about it, the best friends I’ve had in life are all people I’ve experienced this attraction to from very early on.  I guess it’s a certain kind of human-being-chemistry.

Today I’m thinking about people who I had this experience with, and appreciating the things that made me want to have them in my life.

First, there’s Greg.  Once I’d gotten past being stunned into momentary silence by that whole blue eyes/dark hair combination (sorry, but it’s my favorite), I immediately wanted to be his friend.  He is intelligent, emotionally aware, and his energy is just really friendly and welcoming.  He’s been supportive of the work I’ve been doing within the poly community in Bellingham, and that’s really awesome for me.  He’s one of those people that you meet and know that they absolutely, genuinely care about other people, and that’s the kind of people I want to surround myself with.

I remember the first time I met Sabine in person.  She stopped at my work to drop off some business cards to me, and when we hugged it was one of the loveliest hugs I’ve ever had.  It was comfortable, warm, soft, and genuine, and she smelled amazing.  She is beautiful inside and out, and so transparent – so full of acceptance and the most genuine empathy and support for the people in her life.  I haven’t gotten the chance to spend as much time with her in person as I would like, but I look forward to her words and her amazing selfies every day.  She is serious, playful, and a little bit magical.

Of all my friends, I think I might enjoy Cordelia’s use of Facebook the most.  Being her friend is like reading a good book just a little bit at a time.  She is unique and eccentric, and caring of others, but also unapologetically of herself.  I think we should all make sure to care for ourselves a little bit more.  Some people might describe her as quirky or eccentric, and though both may be true, the thing she is the MOST is just Cordelia.  Her heart and mind are so open, and I’m honored to be one of the people she shares them with.

Have you ever watched someone bloom?  It’s one of the most amazing experiences to watch someone discover and become themselves.  I don’t think that Tessa and I have ever actually been in the same room, but she has become someone who I have come to look up to and look forward to connecting with in Facebook-land.  I don’t know a whole lot about her past, but I know enough to see that she is blooming.  Open minded, open hearted, and embracing life, Tessa makes me smile and helps my heart be full on a daily basis, and that’s pretty freaking amazing.

These people all come from different walks, but what they have in common is that they are so authentically themselves.  I admire each of them for their ability to be who they are and embrace life, and I am so thankful to have them in my life to encourage and inspire me.

September 21, 2017

It’s a bit hard to remember when I first started blogging.  I’m pretty sure that I was working at Borders, so that was about… 16 years ago?  I’ve always been a writer, from the time I was a little kid.  It’s gone through different phases – short stories, a lot of poetry when I was a teenager, journaling, high school newspaper, and now I’ve come to settle on personal narrative as my main form.  One of the ways I do this (not enough, but I’m working on that…) is on my blog.

I used to do a lot more networking in blog-land, I had a feedreader and left lots of comments, and connected with people.  Since I started doing this over a decade ago, there are some people who have stood the test of time, whose blogs I am still drawn to for good reason, and who I’m happy that I’m able to connect with in one sense or another here on Facebook.  These are the people who inspire me, make me laugh, and entertain me.

Yvonne, who I have watched bloom into an amazing photographer, and whose sarcasm and wit are right up my alley and make me laugh on the regular.

Brittany, who inspires me in so many ways, whose contribution to the conversation about body-acceptance and positivity are wonderful and important and who I look up to and who inspires me to share my story.

Amanda, who might win for having the life that’s changed the most since I started following her writing years ago, and who I’ve watched transform in the best way.

Heather, whose journey has been heartbreaking and nothing short of inspiring, partly because her smile and sense of humor are contagious in the best way, and who has inspired me so much to turn experiences into passions.

Adam, who is kind of weird, and probably unsettling for some people, and who I admire for being so much himself all the time.  Also I have a thing for people who are funny and snarky but then also have a caring, awesome heart underneath it all.

Amy, who has sons who remind me SO much of my own in some ways, who has given me hope because she shares their stories – challenges, triumphs, and all, and who makes me laugh (are you seeing a pattern here… I like laughing).

Jennifer, who has helped probably thousands of people, and I’m not even exaggerating.  She’s hilarious and authentic, and de-stigmatizing mental illness/depression/anxiety/etc is an issue that is REALLY close to my heart.  Also, she commented on my post yesterday and I had a little bit of a fangirl moment.

Amber, who I can’t even remember how I connected with, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with blogging or twitter or both?  I’ve followed her adventures and though we haven’t directly connected on a regular basis, she’s been a part of the support I’ve felt in my life so much in the last few years.

I’ve read books by two of these people, books that have inspired me and helped me hold onto and grow my dream of writing my own books and getting them published.    I’ve never met any of them in “real life” (though if I did, that would be amazing!), but they still hold a special place in my heart and bloggy brain.  I’m really thankful that at some point, so many years ago, I clicked into their little corners of the internet and found something I connected with, and thankful that they embraced sharing through these bits and pieces of sometimes funny, sometimes vulgar, sometimes touching, sometimes inspiring, sometimes raw writing.

October 10, 2017

It has been 15 years since I last held one of my dream jobs – working in a book store. Even now, looking back, I loved that job and the time that I worked there. I loved my friends there, and the things we shared and the moments. Over time, my relationships with them have dwindled and I have let go, which isn’t an easy thing for me. I’ve called myself an emotional packrat in the past, and that’s something that I’ve had to work on a lot in the past few years.

Chauni is one of the ones that has stuck around. If you’d told me when I left that job that she would be the one I’d feel closest to fifteen years later, I would have been surprised. At this point, I’m going to have to give in to using the word authentic. It’s a little bit uncomfortable for me, but I’m also realizing how blessed I am that these are the kinds of people that I’ve surrounded myself with.

She has a cat named Quinoa, and two chinchillas. One is named Pikachu, and the other is named Nick Stokes: Crime Lab, which is basically one of my favorite things ever. She makes beautiful and hilarious needlepoints, and makes me laugh all the time. She has that combination of smart and funny and quirky that makes my favorite kind of person. She has also supported me through everything I’ve been through. Even though we haven’t been close in proximity, she has offered me such genuine and uplifting support, and been there for me. She has always been someone in my life who is completely herself, and I am working towards trying to be that way in my life. I’ve gotten pretty far, and a lot of that is because of the people I call friends.

October 10, 2017

One of the things I love most about Facebook is that I have so many friends I’ve made who I would probably never have met if I wasn’t here. I don’t think I have ever met someone whose name fits them so well as Charisma. In the dictionary, the example for charisma is “she enchanted guests with her charisma,” which seems appropriate, because I think Charisma IS enchanting. She is beautiful and sweet, and exudes a peaceful confidence that inspires me to look at the bright side of things.

I have resisted the word “authentic” so much, because it gets used in such a self-aggrandizing way sometimes. However, as time goes on I have come more and more to see the value in filling your life with people who are authentic. When you walk around with your heart on your sleeve, it is just about the best thing ever to have people in your life whose energy is open, loving, and without pretense.

Charisma has invited me into her home more than once, and I am so happy to have had those experiences. She spends her free time creating beautiful, healthy meals for people who need them and somehow she puts her personality into each one. She is a mother and I see her do what is best for her children without a second thought. When I think of her, I think of strength and womanhood and loveliness. I’m so glad to call her a friend.

October 10, 2017

I wrote already about some of the people I’ve connected with through blogging, but there are a couple that I want to talk more about. These are folks that I connected with through blogging but who have come to hold more than a peripheral place in my life through the interactions we’ve had with each other, and who I have a bit more to say about. God, I’m wordy… ;)

I feel like I have shared so much with Audrey. In the time since we met, we have both been down a lot of hard roads. We have never met in person, but she knows me, and she has been there for me. We have shared the kinds of words that women share in a cozy café over a cup of steaming coffee. These are the relationships that blogging has been all about for me. I’m so glad she is in my life.

You know how sometimes, you meet someone and just keep discovering that you have things in common? That’s how it’s been with Shana. She has such a similar sense of humor, and reading her blog for me was like finding an old friend who you stay up all night with talking and laughing and probably eating some kind of brownies. It’s ridiculous that we live in the same state but have never met, but now that her son is in college in my town, maybe we will finally actually make it happen!

Kori is another women in my strange little internet tribe who I feel like I have been through so many big life changes with. She has always been there for me, with unconditional support and in some of my darkest times was there to remind me that the light would return. We don’t talk much anymore, but I am so happy to know her.

Rebecca has been one of my biggest inspirations as a writer. I have been following her blog since I got into the world of blogging, for over 10 years, it was one of the first I discovered that touched me somewhere deep inside. When she published her book, Rockabye, in 2008, I went to a reading and she signed my book. I was starstruck. Her family is beautiful, and her journeys as a woman, as a mother, as a writer, touch me deeply and ignite a fire inside me to share my own stories. We haven’t spent time together or communicated more than a brief meeting and a Facebook exchange here and there, but she has impacted my life. I am so thankful that she has shared herself and her beautiful, intuitive, amazing children with all of her readers.

October 23, 2017

It’s really hard to know where to start with Bill and Holly. I met them a couple of years ago through mutual friends, and I had no idea how lucky I was. I can’t really talk about them separately without also talking about them together. They’re one of those couples who have been together… forever. And it hasn’t always been easy, but the love and support they show for one another is truly inspiring. It’s beautiful, and they are beautiful. Also, they are, like, gorgeous, but that’s not really what this is about. ;)

Holly is so genuine. She inspires me with her commitment to being a mother and to taking care of her family. Not only that, but I have watched her stumble, and the way she rights herself and pushes herself to keep going… It may seem strange to talk about someone’s strength and at the same time their weakness, but there is something so vulnerable and so strong about sharing your struggles with the world. I admire that. Once she is your friend, she is loyal and caring, and she’s the kind of friend who will lift you up when you’re down.

Bill is possibly the best hugger I have ever met. I mean, like, you don’t even know. I think that it mostly has to do with intention, and I wish that it was as easy to connect with people’s hearts the way it is to feel Bill’s heart when he hugs you. He is funny and sweet, and his support has meant a lot to me in the last few years. I have seen him step up when he was needed, and there is so much to appreciate.

I’m so thankful I’ve gotten to spend time with both of these people, from laughing together and commiserating over the stuff that isn’t so great, to knowing that we’re all in it together, to honestly the best babysitter my kids ever had (Hi, Hayden!), what a blessing it has been to have them in my life. <3 br="" thankfulnessproject2017="">

October 23, 2017

Having a society as spread out as ours can be a wonderful thing – it’s pretty cool to be able to connect with friends in all different parts of the country and even the world. The downside to it is that sometimes our families get so spread out that we don’t get to see them very often. I have a lot of far-away family and I miss them on a regular basis. I used to be better at staying in touch, but as life happens and we get busy and add on to our born and chosen families, sometimes distance takes its toll. I’m so thankful for each and every one of these people and their place in my life.

I’m not actually related to Dennis, Craig, Diane, Lauri, or Reyna by blood, but they still feel like family to me. I haven’t gotten to spend much time with Craig and Lauri, but I enjoy them so much as people, and it’s always nice when I get to see them. Dennis, Diane, and Reyna… they just feel like family to me. One of my favorite parts of visiting Flemington is seeing them, the shared backyard, the barbecues, the feeling of love and community that’s found there. It’s always one of the hardest things to leave behind.

I’ve never met Scott in person (someday!) but he always puts a smile on my face. That’s something to truly be thankful for. Thinking of the rest of my far-away family makes my heart fill with memories. 

Three Aunts, who were always there, and who have been in my life in varying ways…

There is my Aunt Ann, whose art has brightened my life and whose daughters are some of my favorite people. Time together at the shore, at Marrones, at Manayunk, at Grandmom’s, just being together. Her kindness, her art, and her caring for others are intertwined in my childhood.

When I picture my Aunt Barb I picture the house she lived in for years, birthday parties and barbecues. I remember watching her hold Sam the first time we visited when he was a baby, and we spent time in Ocean City together. We don’t talk much anymore, but I love her dearly.

My Aunt Theresa, who has a beautiful family, and whose smile can brighten a room, and for some reason my memories are mostly Christmas-time, opening presents with her in Grandmom’s living room.

Uncle Charlie, Gayle and Carlie remind me of laughter and holidays and togetherness, and of Eagles football. I remember the first time I met Carlie and being blown away at how small she was – I hadn’t hung out with too many newborns at 18.

David, who re-joined the family after so many years, and whose love story with my Aunt Becky is the kind of thing that makes me believe in serendipity. My family morphed and changed over the years, and the benefit of that is that I have a lot more of it than I could have. Jacque was brought into my life through those changes, and my memories are of love and acceptance, family gatherings where I always felt 100% like I belonged.

My cousins Erica, Johnny, Laurie, Meg, and Thea, some who I’ve known since I was a small child, and others who came along later, how amazing it has been to see us all grow up and change and have families of our own. Well, not Johnny. He’s still in college and hopefully won’t start a family for a couple years. :P I watch Erica with her three beautiful children, I watch Johnny make amazing art, I watch Laurie become an international businesswoman, how amazing the roads are that we travel on. 

My uncles John, for there are two! One Uncle John who makes beautiful art in so many ways, who has always been one of my “coolest” family members, who inspired me to embrace things that I’m passionate about. Christmas Eves, family dinners with some of the most amazing food ever, with music and friends, were always some of my favorite memories when I got to visit. A second Uncle John who is the best (and everyone else is scum), who inspires me because he has come back to himself and his family. My memories of time playing and laughing in Grandmom Hayman’s house as a kid make me smile 30 years later.

How amazing is it that I have so much family? And these are just the ones who were assigned to me, not even the ones I’ve added and chosen along the way. Thankful doesn’t seem like a big enough word.

October 23, 2017

We have been living in Sudden Valley now for over 6 years, and there are many reasons we’ve chosen to stay. Being close to mom is a huge one, but in addition, if you can ignore the politics there is a great little community out here. My role in the community has shifted – when we first moved I was able to be more a physical part of the group of parents here, seeing them at the bus stop and park. Once I went back to work full time, my friendships moved more to the virtual realm. I’m so happy to know that these are the people in my neighborhood, and it gives me security to know there are people so close by that I can really count on if I need to. I’ve watched this neighborhood come together in times of sorrow, and of happiness, and I know that if I were to face something I have people I could reach out to.

First are the parents whose children are the same ages as mine, especially the ones with kids who entered middle school with Sam this year. Moms that I don’t spend a ton of time with, but who I know are there and sharing these experiences right along with me. Allison, Katie, Diane, and Laurah, I’m glad that this parenting journey has brought you into my life, even if it’s mostly peripherally. I’ve loved watching your kids grow alongside mine.

Then there is Tracy. I can’t remember how I met her, but I suspect it was through the Sudden Valley Moms group here on Facebook. She is kind and caring, and my kids are basically in love with her daughter Caitlin now that she’s babysat them a couple of times. My favorite thing about Tracy is the sense I get of her heart and soul, the compassion she shows, and the way she shows understanding. I’m glad to have her in my life and my community.

Colleen is honestly one of my favorite neighbors. I don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with her in person, but she is funny, witty, smart, and humble. There is something so comfortable and accepting about her, and I have always enjoyed her company. I am thankful to have gotten to know her and to move through the phases of our lives down the street from one another.

I met Kathleen while she worked as one of the counselors for the After School Adventure program Sam and Danny went to in Sudden Valley. She and Hope were absolutely amazing, they always showed so much caring and compassion and it was clear that they really wanted the best for my kids. As I got to know Kathleen better, I realized we had some important things in common, like a love of organization. :D She is one of those people where you meet them and immediately think… I think I want to be her friend. I’m so glad that I met her and got to know her through the Y, even though we don’t get to see each other that often anymore, I’m thankful to have had someone so amazing as part of my kiddo’s days for that time, and to have gained a friend out of it.

January 29, 2018

I first met Trish through blogging. I can’t even remember what or where I was blogging, but it was a long, long time ago. She was one of a handful of people I somehow managed to connect with online from Bellingham. Even when I lived down in the greater Seattle area, I suppose my heart still considered Bellingham home.

We were friends online before we ever met in person, and I’m pretty sure the first time we met face to face was when I had an Arbonne party at my house and the strangest assortment of people came. We were friends before we worked together, but the 18 months we worked together at Western Solar really let us bond.

There is a part of me that feels like Trish and I have always been friends, even though I know it’s not true. I can’t really remember not knowing her. When we were in Canada last weekend, we got to have dinner with her and her new(ish lol) boyfriend, and it was just… really nice. It’s bittersweet because even though I love where I work now the thing I miss about working at WS the most is definitely working with one of my sweetest friends.

Trish was there with me through some of the worst times, as many of my friends have been. Her support got me through hard days and she and another coworker once perpetrated one of the best things I’ve ever experienced – the Unicorn Birthday Caper of 2015. She is smart and intelligent, and I feel a bond in the way we have both come more into ourselves in our 30s. The ways that we got to where we are weren’t easy, but I see her settling more into herself, and believing in herself more, and it’s a beautiful thing.

In my mind, Trish is bubbly and eager, in the most positive way I can think of. She is someone who wears her heart on her sleeve (like me!) and who is absolutely supportive and genuine. I know that if I ever need her, she will be there for me in a heartbeat. I’m so, so thankful we somehow found each other through the series of tubes that is the internet, and that it led to such a comforting, long term friendship.

January 29, 2018
To: Jill M, Keely, Tere & Deborah

Sometimes we make our own friends, and sometimes we just poach them from our friends. Ha!

I think the first time I met Jill in person was at a mutual friend’s son’s birthday party. We were both hugely pregnant, in fact I think she was overdue with her daughter. As soon as I met her, I knew that she was someone that I would like to have in my life. We haven’t actually been in the same room for quite a while, probably years. But I love being able to connect with her on Facebook and watch her family grow. She is just another example in my life of a very beautiful human, inside and out, and I’m thankful for her friendship and energy.

I reconnected with Keely a few years ago at a retirement party for our Journalism professor, the teacher who inspired her to become a teacher. We sat at a table with people from our grades and in between who had worked on yearbook and newspaper with Mrs. Seilo, it felt like being at the kids table at a wedding or family holiday. Keely is the same age as my sister, so we weren’t really friends back in high school, though I knew her. I am glad we connected and that I get to be on the periphery of the life of such a lovely person. Even though she is in high school forever, Keely has such an aura of positivity and caring, and I would bet money that she will be the teacher for many, many students that Mary Seilo was for us.

 I met Tere through my mom. I know that anybody my Mom decides to be close friends with is worth knowing, because she has really good taste in people. If not for that connection, we never would have met, and I’m glad to know Tere and have had her insights and input on things I’ve posted from random to really personal and important. I’m glad she’s a piece of my puzzle.

Since Kate and I are so much on the same wave length, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that we both have awesome moms. I don’t know Deborah that well, yet, but we have time! Kate and I have been plotting a double date with our moms, and once that happens I think we’re all going to be in love forever. But seriously, no pressure. I love Kate, and peripherally it’s hard for me not to have some affection for the people who love her and make her laugh. Also, there have been drunk Snapchats from them to me, which has made me inordinately happy. I’m glad to know her.

Thankfulness Project - Part 1
Thankfulness Project - Part 3