An Evening With Justin Furstenfeld 

I just had the most amazing evening. Every so often something happens in your life that will simply touch you in ways you cannot imagine. It doesn’t have to be a grand spectacle. Sometimes it is just something that you would never dream would make a difference in your life. But these are the moments that can make a huge impact. So what was it? Well, you see I am a tremendous music lover. I attend many concerts. Some may say I attend way too many concerts (see Rock On!). But I love music, and I love feeling an artist’s work the way they intended for you to hear it; raw and full of emotion.

For a few years now, I have been a fan of the band Blue October. I have had the privilege of seeing them a couple of times in concert here in Nashville. Each time they played in small venues, so the experience was much more up close and personal than most concerts. When I saw that the lead singer of the band, Justin Furstenfeld, was coming to Nashville again with an “open book tour” called An Evening with Justin Furstenfeld, I quickly acted to make sure I got tickets (especially since this was going  to take place in a very limited seating venue).

As always with his performances, Justin did not disappoint. More than that, he exceeded any and all expectations I could ever have had for any concert…ever. You see, he has written songs for his band Blue October from some very high points in his life and some very low points in his life. In my opinion, his songs have touched every facet of human emotion out there. It doesn’t matter how happy I am, how sad I am, how angry I am, or even how emotional I am; no matter where I am emotionally at any given time, Justin has written a song that fits my emotional state. I believe Justin Furstenfeld is one of the most talented song writers of this generation. While Blue October’s music may not appeal to everyone, they are sure to have at least one album that you may like. Regardless of that, the show he put on tonight would probably help anyone truly understand why I feel this way about his artistic abilities. As the performance was so appropriately titled , I truly felt that I spent an evening with Justin Furstenfeld.

The show consisted of just Justin on the stage with his guitar. Here he opened up about his most intimate thoughts and experiences that shaped his songs. Songs that had already captured me emotionally now had a deeper meaning for me. I felt like I was there when they were written. I knew the thought process that went into their development, and even more intimately, I deeply felt every high and low that created those songs. I laughed at some of his stories. I cried more than is probably normal for many more. I truly felt like I got to emotionally live his joy and his pain through his music. And did I mention his talented singing ability? I cannot put into words the talent this man posseses when it comes to his vocal abilities. He did not need music to drown out his voice to cover any flaws, for there were none. At one point he even sang, without any music whatsoever, one of their harder rock songs (Bleed Out) flawlessly.

I have had many ups and downs in my life and when I look at my life compared to this man’s, my difficult times don’t compare in any form to what he went through. I was low enough to be on Prozac at one point, and I had enough love and support to help me get off it. I still have panic attacks, anxiety and moments where I know I can go back to a dark place at any moment. When I hear Justin’s lyrics, I know I can get through more than I think I can. I applaud and cheer for this man’s tremendous determination at defeating his demons and facing life head on one step at a time.  (Fear)

After the show, Justin held a meet and greet and merchandise signing. I debated saying something to him about how his songs have touched my life, and almost chickened out. But when I got up to him, I told him exactly how I felt. I opened up to him and confessed that no matter where I had been in life, he had written a song that has fit it. Now I didn’t feel any more special than any other person there, I just felt truly in touch with his words. However, the response I got from him by telling him this blew me away. He stopped and focused directly on me and gave me the most sincere thank you and God bless you I think I have ever received in my life. He shook my hand and I truly felt a gratitude like none other.

No, this was no ordinary show; and Justin Furstenfeld is no ordinary singer/songwriter. He is real. Good or bad, he has shared it all. From amazing highs to his most dark hours. And I feel privileged to have shared such an emotionally intimate moment with him. I am truly grateful.  (Home)

T

Let the College Search Begin!

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When you have children, amid the sleepless nights and multitude of diaper changes, it’s hard to imagine that your precious little baby will someday be college bound.  When your preschooler is busy exploring the world and learning their ABC’s, you still cannot picture the day you will be planning their flight out into the world.  While you watch your elementary school student sing in school performances and start venturing out to their first sleepovers, you still cannot picture the day when their “sleepover” will extend into months, or even years.  During the middle school period, when standardized testing is being pushed, you start to get an inkling that college will be coming, but it’s still barely a thought in your head.  Even when your “baby” enters high school, it still seems so far away that you may not give it very much thought.  Then one day it sneaks up on you. Maybe you are lucky and have this in mind at the beginning of your child’s junior year (or before).  Or just maybe you are like me, and out of curiosity you start looking into it mid-way through their junior year, only to discover you are now behind in planning.  That’s right, I said BEHIND.

Here it is, February, mid-way through my eldest’s junior year, and I thought I was making an early move by scheduling a local college visit for her.  Sure the timing for visiting colleges may be right on target, but there is so much more to consider than just the visit.  We scheduled our first visit for non other than Vanderbilt University.  Why Vanderbilt?  Because Vanderbilt is my family, my employer, my own school (albeit graduate school), and it is local.  We arrived at 7:30 on a dreary Monday morning.  Even though it is early February, the last few days were like spring, almost summer really.  I expected the same of this day.  We went to the grand ballroom where hundreds of other families assembled from all over the country to learn just what Vanderbilt has to offer (like I don’t already know), and what to expect from their admission process.  We were very fortunate that not only did they explain their process, but they also explained the overall admission process as it would pertain to the majority of colleges and universities across the US.  The session was very informative.  For my daughter…it was also very disheartening.  For as they explained their process and their order of importance for certain categories, they hit a few sensitive spots for her.  Here were the expectations that were outlined for us, in addition to points of importance for me that I will keep in mind for my youngest.

First, obviously they will place heavy ranking on ACT scores.  Now she is a very smart girl and has not even attempted to take the ACT as of yet; however, she feels that despite her awesome grades, she does not test very well.  I have tried to assure her that she doesn’t know until she gives it a shot.  The school even said that you can take it multiple times, and they will ONLY consider your highest score.  She doesn’t seem convinced.  Lesson #1:  invest in ACT practice literature – these usually come with software to take practice tests.  (Ours is now on order).  

As our lecturer continued on with their entrance requirements, their second emphasis was placed on letters of recommendation.  My girls just changed high schools because of our move, but I quickly noted for her that she should contact her former high school teachers, who know her very well, and ask them for letters of recommendation.  I am also pretty sure that some of the teachers at her new school will have a good idea of who she is by the time she submits her college applications.  Lesson #2:  think ahead and remember those important people in your child’s life that may be able to write a glowing recommendation for them when the time comes.

Next in line came the written essay.  Now, here I have no doubt that my daughter will excel. She loves to write and does very well with essays.  But this also tied in to the next requirement:  extra-curricular activities.  Here was our first major blow.  When my girls were younger, I exposed them to a variety of activities that ranged from girl scouts, music lessons and dance lessons, to ice skating, gymnastics and even bowling.  They were happy to have these experiences, but as they decided each one was not for them, I did not force them to stay in anything.  I was just happy to provide them with the opportunities.  By high school, I wanted my girls to be themselves and enjoy being kids for their final adolescent years.  As such, neither has pursued any “extracurricular” activities as a normal person would define them, and I was not one to push.  But now we were starting to panic.  There were no clubs to list on her application.  There were no outside music or physical activities to list.  After digging in and doing my research, I learned that there are many things that constitute “extracurricular”, not just organized school activities, these include:  Part-time jobs, volunteering, hobbies, any many other interests that your child may hold outside of school.  We feel better about this now, and can now breathe a sigh of relief.  Lesson #3:  Keep your children (or encourage them) to remain active in activities regardless of how old they are.  

So now we know the admission process for one of our school choices (probably the most difficult one), and we also know that many other colleges may have similar requirements, even if they are weighted differently.  Now comes the task of deciding which schools have a concentration in my daughter’s academic area of choice (she’s interested in neurosciences), and which of those we wish to visit.  Once we narrow that down, we can proceed with the fun part – VISITING!

We left our orientation information session and proceeded on our first campus tour just as it began to rain…without having umbrellas. There have been many points in my life where it seems rain brought good luck, and even though we were thoroughly drenched after our tour, I chose to believe this would be one of those lucky moments.  My belief was cemented when we proceeded to take a tour of one of the neuroscience labs here at Vanderbilt (thanks to my connections).  This little tour provided us with more information and insight into my daughter’s chosen career field than any ordinary college tour could ever provide.  Here her spirits were lifted, and she regained her enthusiasm for the future.  We now have two more campus visits already scheduled (within driving distance), and are looking to add a couple more that may even require travel by plane.  Even though it will be bittersweet in the end, after all it will mean that she will be moving on in life, I am looking forward to having this little adventure with her.  I am so proud of her, and I am truly blessed to be her mother.

 

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Anticipating the End

Love.  It’s a funny thing.  You can’t predict where love will come from.  You can’t predict when it will enter your life.  You can’t always predict when it will leave your life.  Sometimes it leaves with a goodbye.  Sometimes it silently walks away.  Just as it can begin without a beginning, sometimes it comes to an end without an ending.  In such a case, one never loses those feelings, they just push them aside and move on.  The sad part of life is no matter how much you love someone or something, there is no guarantee they will be with you forever. So what do you do when you find out that the most precious part of your life may no longer be around within a matter of weeks, or maybe months if you’re lucky. For some the answer is easy. Imagine having this extraordinary love; this love like none you have ever experienced in your life. Would you be surprised if I told you it may be the love between you and your pet?  You may laugh at this notion.  I may have also disagreed once.  Even though I have loved my previous dogs, I am not sure I would have gone so far as to say a love between a person and their pet could be so deep that their very existence makes life all that much more…..more what?  Here I lack the words.

My dog: Obi.  Obi the Dobie.  Obi-Wan Kenobi XX.  My guardian and protector.  My loyal, faithful, super-adorable, lovable companion.  My dog has shown me this very special love.  I cannot even truly describe it, it is that special.  But I will try.  When we are together, he is glued to my side. Sometimes it seems literally.  He is a Doberman, a breed known for being “velcro” dogs, because they do attach lovingly to their owners and like to lean against you wherever you may stand.  If you sit….well, they are happy to accommodate that as well.  Obi is no exception.  My 100-pound Doberman is a lap dog at heart. When I lay down at night to go to bed he will lay with his body between my legs, his chest on my belly and his head on my chest so I can snuggle and pet him until we are ready to move into our comfortable sleeping positions.  This beautiful creature is not short on love by any measure. I don’t think there is a human being alive that has shown more love than my dog has shown me. And as such, I probably love him more than I ever thought would be possible. But nothing lasts forever.

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About a month ago, my baby started coughing. It was right about the time he received a brand-new bone for Christmas. So we automatically assumed he had bitten off of piece and got it stuck in his throat. I called the vet to ask if there was anything that could be done, and the vet suggested we give it a few days to see if it would work itself out. In the mean time, my baby turned 9.  After about a week of coughing, I was about to take him in to see the vet, but then it seemed like he was getting better. So I did not follow through. A day later, his cough fired up again and was much worse. I made plans again to take him to the vet.  Then he seemed to get better yet again. This cycle continued over the course of a couple of weeks.  Each time he his cough was worse, scheduling conflicts made it difficult for me to rush him in to the vet, and when we could get there, he seemed better.  Then one night, when his cough appeared to have gotten better, we were lying in bed and I could hear his breathing. Heavy breathing with a thick gurgling sound. I immediately knew that meant he had fluid in his lungs, he would go to the vet the very next day – no matter what.

The vet wouldn’t be in until that afternoon.  So Obi was dropped off, and I waited to hear from the clinic while at work.  The day progressed very slowly. I am sure that it seemed even slower for my poor baby as he sat in a kennel all alone at the vet’s office.  That afternoon, I finally received the phone call.  I was provided with all the details, short of a diagnosis.  He had an enlarged heart, an irregular heartbeat, and fluid in his lungs.  All symptoms of congestive heart failure.  As any normal person would these days, I immediately looked up CHF in dogs and learned that this could be congenital for Dobermans.  The bad news…once it develops, even with the best case scenario of treatment, they may be lucky to live a year. I broke down crying. I was not ready to face the fact that my lovable pup may only be around another year.  Sure he is already 9 and a large dog, but I was hoping to exceed expectations and have him until about age 12.  I guess that is no longer a possibility.  After I got myself together and convinced myself not to despair (after all, nothing “bad has happened yet”), I went to the vet to pick my baby up.

As I sat waiting in an empty lobby for what felt like forever, I started to get anxious.  Why were they taking so long?  Did something already happen?  What could be worse?  Of course my fears were unfounded, as the vet was just busy.  When he was free to talk to me, I was given further details of Obi’s symptoms and what could possibly happen going forward. It was suggested that we get an ultrasound of his heart.  We agreed to set that up, and I went home with over $100 worth of heart medication for my dog. Was it necessary? I was told some of it was immediately necessary, with the most expensive being optional until the results of the ultrasound came back.  The ultrasound wouldn’t take place for another week, and I could not wait for treatment.  So to me it wasn’t an option.  I wanted whatever I could get to help my dog now, especially if there were any chance this medication would help improve his heart.  I didn’t care that it cost $100 for just this one medication.  I regularly pay $100 (or more) for concert tickets.  You’d better believe I would pay $100 for medication for the most precious part of my life. We proceeded home, and settled in the routine of medicating him every morning and every evening; waiting for his ultrasound appointment.

The day of Obi’s ultrasound finally arrived.  Once again, he was dropped off in the morning, and I had to wait to hear from the vet when it was completed. Optimistic me expected his heart to be better.  I expected that the medicines would have given us a miracle.  I expected the unexpected.  I wouldn’t get it.  When I arrived to pick Obi up, it was confirmed, his heart was rather enlarged.  Now forgive me if I mix some of the medical explanations up here.  I already don’t have the best memory, but sometimes it’s more difficult to understand everything when you find yourself emotionally weak.  I was told Obi’s heart produces impulses at a rate of 24%.  It should be at a rate of 40%.  It was a miracle he had not simply passed out on a regular basis due to the lack of blood flow.  He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and he is in the stages of heart failure.  We could give him another heart medicine that would help his arrhythmia.  While this may have a positive effect and “keep him from dropping dead” as the vet put it, it could also bring forth its own set of problems by dropping his blood pressure too low. I had to outweigh the trade-offs.  Not having this medicine could kill him, but giving him this medicine could also kill him. What kind of choices are those?  I could see a cardiologist for my dog, but apparently there aren’t any in the immediate area. Fighting back tears and jokingly telling the vet that he was killing me, I kept myself together and asked him how long he would guess Obi would have, good or bad.  Then then my world was crushed.  He could make it a few months… or he may only make it a week.  How could this be?  My dog has always seemed rather healthy.  We feed him only top of the line dog food.  We limit people food and unhealthy treats.  He looks healthy. He acts healthy. He’s still spunky like a pup. We did everything right.  But that didn’t matter.

In my car, the tears fell.  I knew I was highly optimistic to once think such a large dog could live to be 12.  But now it would be extremely optimistic for him to live to his next birthday.  My heart is slowly breaking, but all I can do is love my baby harder than I’ve ever loved him before. He is irreplaceable.  I cannot fathom where I’m going to be mentally the day he moves on.  I will lose the biggest love of my life.  But I won’t lose that love, for he will always be with me.  All I know is I don’t want that day to come.

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Big Changes in 2016

2016 has turned out to be one of the busiest years in my life.  Amidst my year of dealing with graduate school, several other big moments have taken place.  One, my eldest obtained her driver’s license, her first car, her first job and her first wreck.  Another, just because I had applied to graduate school did not necessarily mean I would get in.  So I did not put my life on hold…. and we decided it was time to move into a home that finally suited our needs, especially since Nashville is a hot real estate market at the moment.  After looking at what was available on the market, and watching every home with potential disappear before you could even ask for a walk through, we chose to build a new home.  In May the paperwork was signed, and the builder broke ground in August – the very week I also started classes.  My boss told me I was crazy for taking on so much at once.  Boy was she right!  But I am not going to focus on the topic of school here. Instead, I want to share my home building experience with you.  And since our new home is so close to our old home, I made it a point to visit the site every Sunday during the build phase to see its progression.

— Pre-Build —

May 29, 2016 – We took the plunge!  We were very fortunate to obtain an awesome lot on a cul-de-sac at a deep discount.  The best part….it backs up to trees, not houses.  The way the area is laid out, we will never have to worry about another house being built behind us.  We anticipate a closing date of December 15th. Apparently building doesn’t start for 12 weeks.  Until then, there will be a few design appointments to pick options.  Another highlight was that the sun will  rise on the front door – a sign of good luck.

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June 3, 2016 – We had our first design consultation to pick flooring, and tile options.  This is when you start to find out that every tiny thing will ever so slowly increase the price of your home.  Want to change from crappy carpet?  Yes, the base carpet is exactly that.  It will cost you.  Want to upgrade the carpet pad?  It will cost you.  Want any flooring that doesn’t look cheap in your expensive house?  It will cost you.  We didn’t jump for every upgrade, but we still walked away somewhat happy with what we chose.  My only disappointment was the carpeting.  While we did upgrade the carpet from the basic, it cost a pretty penny to get truly nice carpet, so we only upgraded a level.  I am sure it will be replaced again in time anyway, so I wasn’t about to sink a fortune into carpet right now.

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June 6, 2016 – We had what was called an “interactive systems” appointment.  At this appointment you decide where you want all your cable and/or phone outlets to go.  You can also have a home security system or a central vac installed.  I never knew deciding where to put a cable plug could get so complicated!  We also took time this month to meet with a realtor to discuss when to plan the sale of our current home.  We definitely have some time, but I still went ahead and started some cosmetic changes.   A new coat of paint went up on a few walls, I started pricing replacement carpet, and I even installed new bathroom flooring myself.  Not something I want to do again!

June 19, 2016 – Today we chose our external options – brick, vinyl siding, shutters and front door colors.  We also confirmed our counter tops and cabinet choices.  Up to this point, I went back and forth over having wood stairs with wood and iron railing vs. carpeted stairs and a wall.  It seemed like an awful lot of money for this simple upgrade, but this is one upgrade that I really fell in love with in the model home, so I decided to add it.  We also added a four foot master bedroom extension.  I’m not sure what I will do with all that space, but I am sure I will figure it out!  I really wanted to upgrade the elevation of the home so we could have a front porch, and even possibly add a back deck, but these were high dollar expenses that just were not feasible without making our home way more expensive that it needed to be.  In order to have some of the interior upgrades, I had to sacrifice somewhere.  So no front porch and no back deck.  Maybe in the future…

— BUILDING BEGINS! —

Week 1 August 21, 2016 – There isn’t much to see just yet.  The lot is cordoned off, and the house area is staked and looks nice and large. One neighbor’s house to the right of us is moving along rather quickly.  No neighbor on the other side yet, and we are told that it may be a long time before someone chooses to build there since there is a rather steep hill on that lot.


Week 2 August 28, 2016 – The footers have been poured, but there is still nothing else to see.  I am feeling impatient and want it this process to move along faster!

 

Week 3 September 5, 2016 – The foundation is down.  We are on a slight hill so the crawl space on one side seems tall enough for me to walk under while standing up.  With the foundation, the yard doesn’t seem as big.  It also seems we have quite the incline in the back corner of the yard.  This should be fun for cutting the grass.

 

 

Week 4 September 11, 2016 – The first floor is framed.  You can start to identify the various rooms of the house.  We started moving some of our belongings to storage in preparation for selling our current home.  We also hired someone to help with the interior projects to make it ready to go on the market.

 

 

Week 5 September 18, 2016 – Not only is the second floor framed, but the house is wrapped and the windows have been installed!  It actually looks like a house now!  The yard is back to looking large again.

 

 

Week 6 September 25, 2016 – No changes to the outside, but the heart of the house has been installed inside (electrical and plumbing), as well as the bathtub and shower.  This week we had our pre-drywall meeting to go over all the details of the things you don’t normally see.  We have been told the grading of the yard will change as well (there won’t be as steep of an incline).  I noticed “16 Settler’s Court” painted on the house.  Must be for materials, as this is not the address we were given initially.  The process is starting to get exciting, and it is now time to put our current home on the market.

 

 

Week 7 October 2, 2016 – The doors have been installed.  Finishing details for plumbing and wiring have taken place.  I don’t see any other discernible differences.  We put our current house on the market on October 1st.  On October 3 we already had an offer – at FULL PRICE!!  The down side – the buyers wanted to close at the beginning of November.  Our new house won’t be ready until December.  I did not anticipate such as quick sale.  We asked them to close at the end of November instead – on my birthday no less.  They agreed.  All seems to be going smoothly, but this isn’t my first sale, and I know the hassle of selling our home has only just begun.  I also know we will have to find a place to live for approximately 20 days.  Hello Airbnb.  I found a house in our area that I could rent for that duration…and they will allow me to keep my dog with me!

 

 

Week 8 October 9, 2016 – Drywall is up and surprisingly the rooms all look bigger!  I’m loving the lot we chose.  It is going to be so peaceful.  I hear reports that we have turkeys and deer in the yard quite often.  I love it!  Inspections on our current home have taken place.  We are anxiously awaiting the results. Even though we are moving a good bit of our items out and into storage now, I know the final move (furniture) will be a hassle.  Plus I will have to move those items out, into storage then back into the new home 20 days later.  So I began pricing movers that could accomplish the final part for us.

  

 

On October 12th, we hit a bump…my daughter, Virginia, totaled her car.  It would have been a relatively minor accident, but her car sat much lower than the one she hit, and because it was dark and she did not see it, she did not brake.  The other car suffered minor damage.  Her entire front end was demolished. By the grace of God she only had a few minor scratches and bruises.  Between school, buying a house and selling a house, life will be just a little bit busier for a little while since I will have to help her get to work and school until she is able to get another car.  But this is all fine by me.  I’ll take any and every inconvenience as long as she is alright and still with me, for the outcome could have been much, much worse.

Week 9 October 16, 2016 – The drywall is finished.  The brick has arrived, but has not been started yet.  I had forgotten which brick we had selected, and seeing it on the pallets made me worry about the color.  It’s funny how dusty and dirty everything is inside.  Now the hard part of our sale starts.  The buyers want a few unnecessary, and expensive things taken care of.  We declined.  They countered, wanting half of them (the most expensive ones) to take place and a drop in the price of our home.  I was so mad I told our realtor no, and told him to put it back on the market.  By Saturday, they agreed to our counter, asking simply for us to add a two-year home warranty to help them cover any repairs should they become necessary.  That was reasonable to me, so we were back in contract.  All that is left is for the appraisal.  I’m praying it comes in right where we want it.  Now the move crunch truly has begun.

  

 

Week 10 October 23, 2016 – The brick is half done.  Seeing it on the house, it is simply beautiful!  We made a great choice.  I am amazed at how much is completed inside!  The wood and iron stair rails have been installed.  This was a feature I almost chose not to get, but I couldn’t resist.  They looked so beautiful with the hardwood steps and entry way.  I am so happy I chose them!  The most exciting part…the kitchen cabinets have been installed!  They look black in my photos, but they are espresso and have a reddish tint to them.  Bathroom counters are in, as well as flooring in the bathrooms and the laundry room.  Everything is moving so fast now!  Time to get myself moving quickly on the rest of the storage items as well!

  

 

Week 11 October 30, 2016 – The brick is complete, the Trim is finished, the walls are being painted, and utilities are being dug outside!  Is it possible this will be ready before the anticipated December 15th date?  Time to decide on which mover I am going to fork over a hefty sum of money to!  And now I’m worried about what to do with my valuables that I don’t want to put in storage or send with a mover.  I also don’t want to leave them each day in a stranger’s house (our airbnb house).  Oy!  I also worry about my plants (yes there are some I’ve managed to keep alive).  I suppose they will go to the airbnb house too.

  

 

Week 12 November 6, 2016 – outside the siding, flashing and eaves are complete, and almost all the shutters are up. Inside paint was touched up and the hardwood floors were installed.  Even though it’s moving along, I was a little disappointed. A neighboring house that started after ours suddenly looked more completed than ours. It had its driveway, front stairs and all light fixtures installed.  Even the electricity was already on! Sure it is a smaller house, which may be the reason it seems to have been finished so much quicker, but I still couldn’t help but feel we were pushed back a little because of them.  But I guess in the end it doesn’t matter because we still are running on time. I noticed in this photo that the siding on the back looks beige; however, it is a light gray.

At our current home we continue moving things to storage.  In three weeks, we have to be out of this home.  I have moved a lot in my life so I don’t tend to get attached to houses or furniture, but during the course of this adventure, I found out that my youngest, though happy, was sad about leaving this house, because it is the only house she really remembers her whole life (she was 3 when we moved in).  Along those same lines, I sold a sofa that we no longer have use for, and my eldest voiced her sadness, because we have had this sofa her whole life.  It puts a new perspective on things when you hear how someone you love is attached to them.

  

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Week 13 November 13, 2016 – Today was a disappointment. For the first time since construction started, I was not able to get in to see the inside of the house: what’s more is the driveway still has not been formed as it should have been. Outside I can see that the front door handle, doorbell and garage door have been installed, but two shutters are still missing (or at least I think they are…maybe they don’t go there?).

On November 14th, I received a phone call update…the granite counter tops were installed, and appliances went in today!  I wish I could see the inside now!  Electrical details (light switches, outlets, etc.) have been installed as well.  The driveway will be formed and poured this week.  Next week they anticipate installing carpet, touching up paint inside and working on the yard outside.  Then it’s inspection time!!  The original date of December 15th is still a month away, but it sounds like we may be in much sooner!  I hope so anyway!  I also hope the Thanksgiving holiday doesn’t slow things down down next week!
  

 

November 16, 2017 – We received an email from the settlement company, we have our final walk-through on December 9 and we close on December 14. Yes, I am disappointed that our closing date only moved up one day.  I asked them if the walk-through is on the ninth, could closing possibly take place sooner. I was told that as of right now they cannot say for sure, but if it becomes a possibility they will let me know. Fingers crossed!

 

Week 14/15 November 26, 2016 – I stopped by the house today and was pleasantly surprised to see the yard had been graded, the trim work around the front door was complete, including the stairway out up to the front door, and we have a tree!  When we went around back, a back small deck was added.  Klara discovered that the back door was unlocked, so we finally got to see what had taken place on the inside! Carpet had been installed, the stairs have been stained…everything looks pretty complete except it is quite dirty. Overall it looks almost ready to be lived in. I cannot believe we have to wait 2 1/2 more weeks!

 

 

 

November 24th – Happy Thanksgiving! Last night I received a message from our realtor that the closing on the sale of our current home has been pushed back from November 28 to November 30. We receive some sort of lame excuse about regulations, but I’m thinking since they have had two months, this is just the case of the bank not doing their job and wanting to take a long holiday weekend for Thanksgiving.

We got back home from visiting with family for Thanksgiving, then spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday moving items into storage. Movers came on Monday, November 28, my birthday, to move furniture into storage. This took all day and it rained. Luckily the rain was light, but about the time they finished, it had gotten a heavy. Relieved that everything was done, we went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday.  While at dinner I received a message from our realtor stating that the buyers were doing their final walk-through on our home, this included them going into the crawlspace under the house. Now mind you it was pouring rain at this time, and this is not a waterproof crawlspace; therefore, there was some water trickling through the crawlspace.  Apparently, when their realtor saw the water, she freaked out and wanted us to have a plumber come back out. Seriously?!!  We were beyond pissed and said no.

November 30, 2016 – We finally closed on the sale of our home!  Such a relief! We went out afterwards and purchased a refrigerator for the new home (the only appliance the builder would not provide for some odd reason). I then drove by the new home and noticed that the final shutters were installed, the front stair rails were painted, and we now had a mailbox! I also noticed the number 16 on the house – the same number originally painted on the front during construction.  This was not the address I was given by sales or the mortgage company.  I contacted the builder and the sales office and discovered that the address we were originally given would not be the actual address, and the 16 was correct.  For some reason, the sales group had planned on one address; however, when it came to filing with the city, it had managed to change.  Good thing I had not submitted any change of address documents to anyone since we are only two weeks out from our closing.  I also It looks as if the only thing left for our house is for the sod to be put down.  The builder contacted me and asked if we would like to complete our final walk through on the 8th instead of the 9th.  Yes!!  Too bad it only moved up one day…but I will take it!  🙂

Week 16 December 4 – 10, 2016 – The sod is down!  The final inspection takes place this week and we had our final walk through on Thursday, December 8th.  The builder was very meticulous through our walk-through.  As he explained every detail about the house, he would mark small imperfections with tape so he could have his crew go back in and fix them.  Some of them were so small I could not even see what it was he marked!   I’m excited and so very anxious to move.  Our little airbnb house has served us well, but I think we are all tired of it.



    

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 a Closing Day – So excited that moving day has arrived. I got up early, took the kids to school, went and put the utilities for the house in our name. Then went to closing. Nine minutes prior to signing the paperwork, the mortgage company called with questions. They had to call back. We went into closing, signed all the papers, then it happened. The mortgage company pulled it due to a job change! OMG we were now homeless! I had movers coming in an hour to take our belongings out of storage. I had a refrigerator being delivered in the morning. I had utilities hooked up. I changed my driver’s license. I registered the kids for their new school. NOW WHAT?!! I broke down. I have not been his broken since I needed to go on Prozac a few years back.

I contacted our airbnb to ask if we could extended our stay. Sorry, it’s already rented, I was told. Numb I called and cancelled the movers. Called and cancelled the refrigerator delivery. Called and cancelled cable hookup. And cried.

After several calls and emails to the mortgage company, we were told that everything was being reviewed. Originally we were told it could be a month before we close again. Then a week. I pleaded. We would be HOMELESS! And wouldn’t you know Christmas is 10 days away. Merry fucking Christmas. Pardon my French.

At the close of business the final word was that if “management approves everything tomorrow, there is a 2:00 opening for closing.” Now I pray. Mother and Father God, please help us back into a smooth transition.

I went to bed at 7:30, probably out of depression. Woke up disappointed that it was only 9:30 the same day. It’s going to be a long night.

Thursday, December 15, 2016 – our originally scheduled closing day is here.  As predicted, I didn’t sleep all night. I’ve gotten some of my optimism back and keep telling myself it will all work out today. I’m just feeling helpless; not sure where to go from here.  My girls have been simply fabulous about everything. Their support is boosting my spirits back up. I just need this day to move along so I know what is happening.

2:00 and finally closing at. I drove to the settlement company less excited than yesterday. All through closing the attorney tried to make small talk and joke, but I wasn’t interested. I just wanted it to be over. When all was said and done, and I had the keys in my hand, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I quickly drove back to the airbnb house and loaded up some of our stuff and the girls and I drove to the house. I was finally excited.  I put the key in the door and turned the lock, and it didn’t turn!! What the f@$k! We tried the backdoor. Nothing. So I contacted the builder, and he had to have someone on site come over and unlock the door. It seems they intended to change the locks for us and they gave us the keys for the new locks, but they did not actually change the lock. So they will be doing that tomorrow. Movers come tomorrow. So much happens tomorrow. But for now, I am in my house, and I plan on spending the night on the floor. It’s all good, I’m finally here!!

Prologue – December 22, 2016 –   Moved everything into the house on one of the coldest days of the year.  Moving in took 9.5 hours, and that does not include unpacking – and where did all this crap come from?  It certainly did not seem like we had so much stuff in our last place.  Delivery of our new refrigerator was delayed for a few days, so there’s no food in the house yet.  The cable company won’t come out to install until after Christmas, so we do not have TV, internet or wifi yet (thank goodness I am on winter break for school!).  With only three days to go until Christmas, I tried my best to get unpacked and have everything set up, but I ended up dreadfully sick and in bed for a few days.  I suppose that’s my body’s way of telling me to slow down.  Now I am expecting family tomorrow for Christmas and nothing is ready.  Oh well….I’m still in my new house, and that is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for!  ❤

The Coupon Torment

Couponing. I seems everyone everywhere is couponing these days.  There are websites dedicated to this craze.  They will tell you when and where you can take coupon x to an already existing deal on product x to basically obtain said item for free.  No matter how hard I try, I could never get couponing down.  Heck, I could barely use a coupon to my benefit as it is!  Every time I go to the store with a coupon, I either leave it in the car or it is already expired.  It has become quite the joke in my household to the point where I receive cheers from my girls if I actually pull out a coupon at the store and it is still good!  I’m sure I’ve even blogged about my inability to use coupons already.  But it’s all good.  I’ve accepted my coupon failure fate. But then the universe decided to start taunting me once again.

My birthday was last week.  Each year I tend to get numerous emails and/or coupons specifically designed to reward me with something discounted or free for my birthday.  If it is a discount I may or may not use it, but if it is something free, then I try to do my best to not let a good thing go to waste.

Coupon #1 – a free Starbucks drink.  I went to Starbucks with a friend and was excited to see I had a free birthday drink on my phone app.  Before I could use it, my friend so graciously bought my drink and told me to save the coupon for a “second” freebie (thank you by the way!).  So I tucked my phone away.  I had forgotten that Starbucks changed their free birthday drink coupon from “use any time during the month” to “use within a few days”.  On December 1st, the joke was made that I had let the coupon expired, and I thought, “no I didn’t”.  But then I opened up the app, and what do you know…it expired November 30th.  Damn. Well I got one free drink, but lost the opportunity to obtain two.  Missed opportunity #1.

Coupon #2 – a free Dunkin Donuts drink.  On my birthday, I went to Dunkin Donuts and ordered my free coffee along with a few other things.  The girl behind the counter was an obviously new.  Thanks to the ordering screen, I watched her screw up the order twice and I talked her through correcting it twice.  Then I gave her my coupon.  Confused, she asked me what I wanted to get with it, and I said my coffee.  So she proceeded to add the coupon, delete the coffee, then delete the coupon.  Wrong method.  I had to talk her through the order again, and had to have her correct it AGAIN.  I then talked her through how to do the coupon (apparently I visit Dunkin Donuts too much).  I received my free drink…but if I had let her do it her way, I would have had the chance to use my coupon twice.  Guess that was a free gift from the universe I let slip away.  Missed opportunity #2.

Coupon #3 – a free meal from Au Bon Pain.  I was cleaning out my emails today and found an email for a free birthday meal.  Expiration date:  TODAY.  Thinking I was lucky once again for not letting another coupon slip away, I promptly went to Au Bon Pain to obtain my lunch.  When I went to check out, the girl at the registered messed something, so she looked and me and said “go ahead, have a good day and use your coupon another day”.  So yes I got my free meal, but I also got an opportunity to use my coupon a second time.  Unfortunately it expires TODAY!  Missed opportunity #3.

I find it amusing that the universe wants to keep taunting me with missed coupon opportunities.  But that’s alright, I still got my three freebies, and a little bit of a laugh on the way.

   

The Election Fiasco – and Kids

This started as a post on my Facebook timeline, but I think I want to add it here as well and add just a little bit more to it.

We have watched so much ugliness go back and forth in this election it’s unbelievable. It seems like everybody wants to spew hatred and play the blame game and point fingers, yet the very people doing this do not take responsibility for their own actions or even see the faults in their own candidates actions.  Let’s face it, there isn’t a good choice this go-round. And now I am seeing the most ridiculous commercial out there regarding this election and it has to do with elementary school children watching what is going on during this political circus. That brings me to what I posted on Facebook about kids.

The funniest part of this whole election are the comments people make or the ads I see about what our kids are seeing and what they will think. I’ll tell you what they see and think – and it has nothing to do with the election! I guarantee you there is not one child out there who is sitting and watching debates or paying any attention to presidential elections. They are too busy being kids, just like we were when we were in elementary school. As for them “respecting” whoever is elected….I can also pretty much guarantee that at their age, it doesn’t matter one bit to them. So stop putting this election off on what the “children will see”. They are too busy with video games, snap chat and enjoying life to care about politics.

Now what do they see? YOUR behavior. They hear YOUR hateful speech. They see what YOU do, not the candidates!

But let’s pretend for a moment that they do pay attention. Do you not think they don’t already deal with this kind of crap in school? Do you not think they won’t deal with this kind of behavior among people as they grow up in venture out into life? If you don’t think that they will, you obviously must lead a very sheltered life – or – you are one of those liberals that feel that colleges need to be a safe place where feelings shouldn’t be hurt. That’s just not reality. In a world where we have religious fanatics killing other people because they don’t have the same beliefs that they do, I don’t think shielding your child from hypocrisy or the like is a good idea. Use it instead. Make it as a teaching tool. Use it to help them learn how to rationalize and cope logically with these issues in life so that they grow to be respectable adults.

But if you feel you must shield them, then start by shielding from political propaganda. While you are at it, shield them from all news, and all sexually explicit or violent media. Now that I think about it, when I was very young, I wasn’t allowed in the room when my dad was watching the news. There’s a thought. What about divorce and ugly family drama?  Shield them from that.  Shield them from video games and song lyrics that may be a little crude or violent.  Wouldn’t that be the most reasonable and logical thing to do? Seems to make more sense to me than feeling you have to bring them into the political issue to begin with.  But hey, that’s just my opinion.

Welcome to Graduate School

So it has been a while since I last blogged, because I did actually start grad school and life has been very busy since!   However, I do wish I had been chronicling my experience so far.  Instead, I will recap what has taken place.  It all started on Saturday August 13th – orientation.

August 13, 2016 – Orientation.  This program is unlike any other traditional program in that I am with a group of people who will stay together for the entire program, taking the same courses and meeting in the same location all the way through.  Just like any other orientation, we were told what we could expect, and we got to learn more about each other.  I immediately felt that I was in a unique position, for I appeared to be one of only about 3 people who were not already in management positions.  This made me nervous.  Luckily, I would learn over the next few weeks, that there are a few more of us serving in different capacities that do not include managing people.

After an initial orientation, we were fed lunch and had a brief library orientation on research.  As part of our welcome package, we were all given laptop bags that were filled with “goodies”, which included an executive portfolio, a pen, a water bottle, a flash drive, and our first set of books – for which we had already received our first reading assignments to complete prior to our first Thursday night class and our first weekend class.

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After orientation concluded, we were invited over to the home of one of the instructors (whom I also believe is a board member for the program) for a catered “cookout” and to mingle with the class that was about to graduate.  It was nice to obtain their perspectives on how they felt the program was.  But no matter how many people I spoke with, the consensus was the same….it’s going to be challenging, and it’s going to be time-consuming.

August 20, 2016 – Module 1 Starts.  Our first Thursday night class was preceded by a full dinner that included alcohol, should we choose to partake.  It was very delicious.

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We then were introduced to our very energetic, and colorful Economics professor.  It turned out that while he was entertaining, many of us were not be able to learn a lot directly from his lectures.  In my opinion, this class seemed to be a rather difficult one to start with, as a good big of it incorporated knowing finance and statistics (which we won’t have until next Spring).  Luckily every Thursday night class was followed with a Monday night TA session that the entire class seemed to need to attend in order to truly understand the subject matter.  So my one-night-a-week program was going to be at least two nights a week.  We were also given our (here’s the dreaded part) first team assignment at that first class.   Knowing what a challenge team assignments were with my bachelor’s program, I had hoped working face to face with team members would provide a much better outcome.  At least I hoped being in a master’s program would mean a much better team experience.  I found over the coming weeks this could not be further from the truth.

I quickly attempted to get our team to meet to discuss our first assignment.  Out of four of us, only one team member, besides myself would agree to meet.  Teamwork was already becoming stressful.  The complications I proceeded to have with my team over the course of this module would only escalate.  Unfortunately I can be a little too outspoken, and it seemed to only made matters worse.  For now, I just have to deal with it and wait for the time when we will have new teams assigned…apparently in January.  God help me.

 

August 9, 2016 – The First Weekend Session. Once a month, we also have class on a Friday evening and all day Saturday.  On a good note, because of the length of time involved for the weekend course, one course is completed in just two weekend sessions.  On a bad note, one course is completed in just two weekend sessions.  That means you better understand the material rather quickly.  Just like the first course, this one would prove to be very difficult as well.  Being in a program where half your classmates are doctors is comparable to being in a program with half foreign students (and you’re the foreigner!).  Once the doctors started speaking on practices and procedures that I do not regularly deal with, I was completely lost.  But once again, I found I was not the only one, and we still had those Monday TA sessions that were a godsend.  I attended them faithfully.

Just like our Thursday classes, we are also fed dinner on Friday, and breakfast, lunch and a snack on Saturday.  This program is going to quickly affect my figure if I don’t watch it!

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The next few weeks seemed to go so quickly.  We had four team presentations, individual homework assignments and a few quizzes.  Then, before I knew it, I was taking final exams.  Module 1 had come to an end.  I have survived graduate school thus far.  More importantly, I have adapted well to the routine.  And the best part? – while I have not received my final grades for module 1, I have received enough information to know I did much better than I thought I had.

Module 2 began this past week, and this new course is much more “touchy feely” and right up my alley.  I think I’m going like it here.  🙂

One Step to Go!

I don’t even know how to begin….

My 2016 (Sagittarius) horoscope outlined two very important aspects taking place in my life this year.  “Even if you’ve been in the adult world for many years already, Saturn has something special in store for you. It’s time to create a solid foundation around your identity and life goals — even if you’re doing it all over again.” and “…you may take on a phenomenal career challenge that demands you to show the world what you’re really made of.”

A few years ago I wanted more out of life.  I wanted to change my position and status.  I wanted to open new doors.  So I took a leap of faith and returned to school in the hopes of doing just that.  The two years that followed were far from easy.  In fact, they were quite stressful.  So many times I found myself carrying the weight of my team projects and doing the bulk of the work on behalf of my school teammates in an effort to ensure I received the best grade I could.  A few times I was so frustrated that I wanted to quit.  But I stuck it through and finally obtained my bachelor’s degree last December.

When I finally graduated, it was rewarding, to say the least.  But a spark had been lit.  As anxious as I was to finally finish school, deep down I knew I wanted to continue on.  I wanted to pursue my master’s degree.  At first it was just a thought.  A wild and crazy thought considering the amount of stress I had already endured.  However, my dearest friend gently blew on that spark, making it ignite further.  Ok maybe he wasn’t so gentle (wink).  Still, the flame was small, and I was not sure what to do with it, but when you want something so strongly, and you believe in possibilities, sometimes the Universe will take over.  With uncanny timing, an opportunity presented itself, and I went to an open house that ultimately fanned the flames of my desire even higher.  So I applied for the program and waited.  After I passed step one, the application phase, an invitation was extended to me to interview to get into the program, which I did of course.  Step two was completed.  Then I was left to wait.  Today, step three is complete.  I got in!  But, I did not get into just any school – I was accepted into Vanderbilt University’s Owens Graduate School!  As I read the words “Congratulations….” I cried.  Excitement, achievement, exhilaration, and yes even a little bit of fear washed over me.  Why fear?  Because I still have one more step to complete – financial aid.  The biggest step of them all – well not as big as doing the work, but you get the point.  Being accepted into such a prestigious school is not cheap by any means.

So now once again I am sending my hopes and dreams out into the Universe and asking that I can overcome this final obstacle and enter the final phase of my educational pursuits.  A little blessing or prayer never hurt.  But no matter what happens, I definitely feel blessed that I made it this far.  I know I didn’t do it alone.  As my 2016 horoscope said, “Friends will benefit you in all sorts of ways!”  I am so very thankful to those who believed in me enough to push me.  And thank you to my bosses (current and past) that sent in letters of recommendation on my behalf. I just have one more small bump to cross, and I will be on my way!

Thank you Mother and Father God.

 

By Kris Heaton Posted in School

Helpless?

As I sit here to write this blog, the theme song of the 1980’s sitcom The Facts of Life is running through my head.

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.

As a young girl, I loved that sitcom.  So why is this song running through my head right now?  Well, everyone has their ups and downs in life, their highs and lows, their strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s fair to say no one can deny the fact that for every positive in life, there is also a negative. Sort of like Newton’s third law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Except in this instance, for every positive attribute there is a negative attribute.  This is most definitely in play where humans are concerned. Myself included. I have written a few blogs regarding my very own lows, shortcomings , weaknesses, or negative traits.  No matter what you want to call them, I’ve written about them, then I deleted them.  Why? Because I can be a coward.  The strong side of me wants to admit my flaws and own up to them.  The weak side of me doesn’t want anyone to know my flaws.  I want to be perfect.  But I am human, and therefore, I am going to be flawed.  That is a fact of life.

So I’m sure you are asking, where am I going with this?  Every so often, those closest to me see my flaws in their most raw form.  I am aware that often they see them before I am even in a state of mind to notice I’ve put them out there to be seen.  Then, after looking like the fool and being shunned by the very people I care about, I slip away in my own little safe haven to lick my wounds of rejection.  Lucky for me, my spirit bounces back rather quickly most of the time.  But even so, I am left in the wake of my actions pondering why it is that after all my decades in this life I have yet to master the yin to my very own yang.  Why am I not in more control of the emotional balance of my life?  Today, I caught a reminder as to why; as to who I am.  And even though it did not come as a complete surprise, it still made me sit back and say Wow. So who am I?  Well, I’m sure everyone is familiar with horoscopes and astrology signs. It’s not unheard of for someone to say something along the lines of  “he’s definitely a Taurus, because he’s stubborn like a bull.” Well I have found numerology to be an even more accurate predictor of a person’s personality traits. Not only because my own numerology chart has been a pretty accurate description of me, but others, whom I have provided numbers for have also attested to the accuracy of some of their basic numerology attributes as well. I’ve read mine so many times, and have even blogged about it, that I thought I had a complete understanding of who I am, numerologically speaking.  Boy was I wrong.

Today, while visiting with family, the discussion of numerology came up.  As a means to explain it, I pulled life path numbers for each person and then read the personality attributes that went with their life path number.  Even though I had used this same website before, I began to notice that what I was reading seemed to be different; updated if you will. Now the downside to any reading (whether it is numerological, astrological or psychic) is that, once again, no matter how positive they may be, there is always an underlying negative side that provides balance in the universe. Like dark and light, or yin and yang.  As everyone agreed that the life paths fit every person present, I finally got to my own reading.  Now I thought I knew what it was going to say, because I have read it before.  I was definitely caught off guard when I started reading and noticed almost immediately that this one was different.  While it seemed to be written lightheartedly, it did not seem as favorable as past readings had been:

The number 3 is like a gifted teenager who is still under the protection of its parents: a bit spoiled, certainly scattered and perpetually in need of guidance. Charm, wit and a sense of humor help a 3 individual along his or her path, and if that weren’t enough, good looks and compelling charisma make this “kid” particularly attractive.  No wonder so many are drawn to those with 3s in their charts. Followers are even willing to forgive less favorable traits exhibited by 3s, like a lack of focus and direction, a tendency to procrastinate, an inability to finish projects and an unwillingness to take responsibility. On the other hand, there is a superficial side to the 3 that can be harder to look past: a narcissistic streak, a vanity, a need to be the center of attention. It is easy for the optimistic 3 to enjoy day-to-day life as long as all is well, but when challenging issues arise, it can become quickly apparent that most of the 3’s focus has been on that sunny exterior, leaving its internal fortitude lacking. Without much moral strength or spiritual depth, a 3 can easily succumb to difficulties unless friends and family move in to support it.

The 3 has a nasty jealous streak, too. This jealousy stems from the fact that the 3 knows, deep down inside, that it has only been skimming the surface of life since birth. As a result, the 3 feels a deeply hidden sense of insecurity, a sense that others know things that have thus far escaped the 3. This is not entirely incorrect and, when confronted with this reality, it leaves the 3 devastated and helpless.

Wow.  Harsh words.  But I knew they were right.  Thoughts of the overconfidence I tend to have in my relationships came to mind.  Times when I thought it was safe to speak my mind and that turned out not not be so.  Thoughts of careless statements I have made without thinking that have sent my friendships tossing and turning like a ship on tumultuous waters came to mind.  Moments in my life where I found myself shut down by someone I loved, left standing alone, wondering what I said or WTF just happened.  Just like a teenager still maturing, I would be left wondering how a few quick moments of light banter suddenly turned dark and negative; leaving me standing alone feeling helpless. That word sunk in.  Helpless.  BUT I DON’T DO HELPLESS.  Then there are the moments of depression.  The anxiety attacks.  That feeling.  Helpless?  Now I understood.  But what do I do with this information?  Am I truly doomed to forever be a spoiled child, scattered and perpetually in need of guidance just because it is written into my numerological life path?  I won’t accept that.  I KNOW I am too strong to…..to what?  At this point I’m not sure.  I guess I still have a lot of maturing to do.  If that’s even possible.  I suppose I do still need guidance.  At this stage in life, that’s a fact that definitely leaves me feeling….helpless.

If you would like to learn and read about your own life path, click here.

 

No Matter How Small…

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I wanted to write about this the other day, and it almost slipped my mind; however, this is too precious to pass up. Tuesday night I went to a homeowner’s association meeting with my friend and neighbor Lori. While we were away, apparently a little girl and her father from the neighborhood came to the house and left a chocolate chip cookie for me. This precious little thing had made chocolate chip cookies for all the moms in the neighborhood and was going door to door to pass them out.  I have no idea what the circumstances were surrounding her desire to do something for all the moms.  Was it her idea?  Was it her father’s idea? Is she is motherless, and is this her way of honoring her mother?  I could ponder many questions, but I will never know the reasoning.  I suppose the “why” does not matter any way. I have no idea who they were since I was not there, but I hope somehow they know how generous and beautiful this gesture was.  This was an act of selfless beauty, and this man is doing a remarkable job of raising his daughter to spread love in a world that is so desperately in need of it.

So to whomever you are, I thank you both, and may your lives forever be blessed with the happiness you so easily spread to others.

 

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