How often in life do we get a golden opportunity? Most of us, hopefully, at least once. The big question is…..Did we take it? If, yes, pat yourself on the back. You are way ahead of the game. If not…why not? What held us back? Was it a job, family, finances….fear? “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”~Confucius Today, I want to introduce Marshal Uhls. I met his amazing mother, Wendy, when we volunteered together on an eye clinic in Ghana. Through Wendy, I saw what a talented artist Marshal is. When I read about his acceptance in the exclusive Imaginism course (only 4 out of thousands of applicants selected!…read: Golden Opportunity!) and his need for funds to get there, I knew I had to help. My small donation may buy him a meal or two while he is there so I decided to help him further by putting this out to you.
This is Marshal.
First, let me tell you a little about Marshal. I asked him to write me a short biography. When I read it, I thought, he’s a great writer as well! Another golden opportunity, he can draw AND write! In his own words: “I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I think my mom and uncle still have sketches of mine from when I was very small. They must have seen something in me, because they both encouraged my endeavors as I got older and really started buckling down and trying to learn as much as I could about drawing and painting. So from an early age I knew I was going to be doing SOMETHING related to art, I just wasn’t entirely sure the specifics.” Cut to the present. Marshal has a Bachelor of Arts from the Art Institute of Phoenix with a degree in Media Arts and Animation. He has been working for almost three years as a digital painter and a 2D animator for a third party developer of casino games. Marshal also spent 5 summers working at Kings Island as an airbrush artist!
Family is important to Marshal, as you can see by these beautiful portraits of his brothers.
There is so much more to Marshal’s story but he and his artwork speak so elequently on their own! I encourage you to visit his blog, as well as the other links I have provided. He has truly been offered a rare and Golden Opportunity! I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does with it!
Next month, Marshal will be on his way to the Imaginism Workshop, check it out! Here is a link to Marshal’s Blog: mars2imaginism I would like to end this with one more of Marshal’s amazing sketches. I must admit to being a bit partial to this one!
On May 8th, 2013, my daughter gave birth to a perfect baby boy. It was a Wednesday. The following Sunday was Mother’s Day. It was his mother’s first Mother’s day and my first as a grandmother and it was Jace’s first full day at home. Being the seemingly prolific writer I tend to be, I imagined my words would just fly off the page. My beautiful, Tori, Jace’s mother, bought me a perfect notebook to jot down all my thoughts. I bought a new bag to carry my laptop around so I would also be “hospital ready!” What I didn’t imagine was that this depth of love gave me an enormous inability to articulate. There is just so much beauty and perfection being a part of the birthing process. I was, once again reminded of the existence of love, faith hope and ALL that is good. Even though this is the most profound miracle, I did start to feel a bit guilty about not being able to write about. Then I realized two things. The first, I didn’t write about his momma right away, either…and the second, I am ready now! So, I will share with you my open letter to Jace.
“It’s as if, in the mother’s eyes, her smile, her stroking touch, the child first reads the message:’You are there!'”~Adrienne Rich
“What children take from us, they give… We become people who feel more deeply, question more deeply, hurt more deeply and love more deeply.”~Sonia Taitz
You were born on a clear, sunny day. When I walked into the hospital that morning, I had no idea how much my world would change. Within 2 hours, I watched the miracle of your birth. I am honored to have been one of the first people to lay eyes on your perfect self. And I knew, from this day forward, my life could only be better. I have a new hat to wear: The grandma hat! The grandmother of Jace Isaac! This is not an honor I take lightly. You are, in simple terms, everything that is right with my world. Maybe it took me so long to write this because in the last three months, you have become more and more a part of our lives. We now mark time with “before Jace” and “after Jace.” It is very hard to remember that “before Jace” life. It was a life that we no longer want to go back to. You fill us with joy and no matter how angry, tired or frustrated we may become, you make us smile!
Here are some things I want you to know:
I will not lie to you. If you ask me a question that I cannot answer, I will tell you I cannot answer it. I will also tell you why (unless you are trying to weasel informaton about a surprise for you!)
I will always do what is in my power and control to do for you. I may not be able to move mountains, but I will always go to bat for you!
That being said, I will be your own personal cheering squad, right next to your beautiful mother!
There are admittedly, opportunities that we simply miss in life. We get to the store a day after the big sale ends. We find out about a great job, only to hear the position is already filled when we call. These things happen. We call them chance. We didn’t have any control over the outcome. In fact, we weren’t even involved. But, there are things that we blame on luck or chance but in reality, the result is dependent on us and our actions, not chance. For example, if I had known about the store sale and still got there a day late, I would need to take some ownership in why I didn’t make it on time. It’s the same scenario for the job. If you are looking for a job and someone offers you information, don’t wait.
Missed opportunities come in many forms. I remember as a child being torn over whether to go to the grocery store with my mother or stay home and watch TV. Both had their rewards and I was so afraid of missing out on one. I still have that problem. There are times when I simply can’t decide which to choose. It is usually my fear of the missed opportunity that helps me decide. I believe that choices are in front of us for a reason. We may not always know the reason but we should heed the signs.
Many of us fear of new situations. That fear can cause us to miss opportunities. Have you ever arrived at a place only to turn around and drive away because you didn’t have the guts to go in? How many times have you not sent an application, or made a phone call or tried out for a team because you weren’t sure you were good enough? These are missed opportunities.
“When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break.” ~William Hale White via Quote Garden
I attended a conference not too long ago. I didn’t know anyone else that was going there. It took me a while to RSVP because I was vacillating so much. I waited until the last possible moment, then decided to go for it. Then came the day of the conference. I drove with confidence until I was about five minutes away. Then the “What ifs?” started.
*What if they don’t like me?
*What if no one talks to me?
*What if I have to sit by myself?
*What if this really isn’t appropriate for me?
Rather than allow my anxiety to build, I came up with different set of “what ifs“
*What if I meet some interesting new people?
*What if there are people I already know there?
And the final, what ifs….
*What if I don’t go in?
*What if I give in to my fear of being alone and miss something valuable to me?
Another missed opportunity.
The last “what if” won.
“Seize every opportunity along the way, for how sad it would be if the road you chose became the road not taken.” ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
If you are given the chance, the opportunity to do something different, something life changing or even something small, take that chance, weigh the pros and cons. do reasearch, “phone a friend”, just don’t put yourself in line for a missed opportunity.
This month I participated in a writing series called: Perspectives. This is a team of five diverse writers who write their own perspective on the same theme. There is a new theme every month and I participated as a guest writer on this month’s theme, Loneliness. While writing my article, How to Accept Loneliness, I found myself going off into tangents. There is, decidedly, a whole lot to say on this subject, so, I am going to continue it here.
I have talked about lonely vs. alone,. I have written about it, too in Alone but not Lonely. It is truly important to know the difference in being alone and being lonely. I happen to enjoy being alone. I love the time to write, cook, watch tv or just relax. I like being able to talk on the phone or paint my toenails with no one needing something from me. That isn’t to say that I am not lonely sometimes. There are times when I wish I had someone to go somewhere with or sometimes it isn’t even a specific thing, just a feeling of missing someone and it can hit me with a pang that drops me in my tracks.
Sometimes loneliness can be confused with something missing in our lives. Single people often long for a significant other. There are times when they long for someone to “take over.” to help them shoulder the responsibility or to rub their feet when they are sore. This is also loneliness, a different kind of loneliness. My life is full. My activities are abundant. I have a loving family, a loving extended family, a job and friends. Still, there is a missing piece and it gnaws at me like a loose tooth that I keep on jiggling and twisting around!
I consider myself lucky. While I don’t have an abundance of family and friends, I have family and friends that are abundantly wonderful! The biggest issue I have in terms of being with them is that we are spread out all over the world. Whenever I get close to someone, either they move or I do. I wrote a little about this in Good-byes. Still, with all the ways we can communicate, we don’t have to be too lonely. We can call, we can Skype, Facetime, Google Talk, im, text…you name it…it’s available. It’s not the same as being there, but it’s the next best thing!
I have now joined the ranks of a smartphone owner. No more smartphone wannabe. No more surreptitiously sliding my phone out sideways, praying no-one would get a good look at it while I checked my e mails. No more having to take my battery out because I can’t shut Pandora off and I really need to get in to work, now! No more thumping and buzzing! (You mean regular phones don’t do that?!) No more walking into Sprint and having them roll their eyes when I say it’s not “sliding” again. Of course, that means no more excuses, either! No more “I’m sorry I didn’t get your text because this goofy phone is always screwing up!”
Four years ago, my kids told me to get a “Smartphone” I thought maybe I would but the price of the phone, as well as the data plan deterred me. Three years ago, I realized I’d made a mistake. Two years ago I decided to change that. And I did. But once again, the price threw me! So after some looking around, I found what I thought was a great deal. A free smartphone, no strings except for my 2-yr contract. Ah, but there were strings. The strings of a malfunctioning phone. The strings of frequent visits to the Sprint Store. The waiting for a new unit (they still make that model?!?) The loss of pictures, texts, memories, a wiped out sd card. Yes, there were strings. Make no mistake about it. My free phone cost me. Time, aggravation , frustration and embarrassment. I know, kind of silly to be embarrassed by a phone but my phone was an embarrassment! The list of its miseries goes on and on but I think you get the picture.
So…what to do. I finally acknowledged that I need a better phone but …I still wasn’t ready to spend a fortune. Thus began the shopping. Do we switch plans and/or carriers? We went around to each of the major carriers and I discovered this:
Each one has an individual strength, whether in customer service, price, network availability or service. Each one has an individual weakness. Same as above! If you average it, they are all about the same. What you pay for in one, you make up for in another and visa-versa. In the end, we decided to stay with Sprint. Their customer service has been beyond reproach. Their prices are comparable. The plan is unlimited and the biggest drawback of no 4g is supposed to be solved by March, 2013. The next decision was which phone. Now that’s a really difficult one because, while I knew I needed a better, more reliable phone, being my typical self, the allure of the “free” phones was difficult to turn away from. So we looked and tried and tested. I even thought about changing camps and switching to an iPhone (gasp!)
In the end, I went with a compromise. I wasn’t ready to spend $200 on a phone but I knew I had to have a reliable, high functioning cellphone. I decided to go with an HTC Evo for $100 (which still felt like a heck of a lot of money) but then fate intervened in the form of Black Friday. Read all about it in I caved into my whims on Black Friday. In a nutshell, the newest Samsung Galaxy s3 was going to be $50 instead of $200. 4 hours later, I emerged, phoneless, but triumphant. My new phone would be arriving iminently! But, fate intervened once again. This time in the form of a gift card. When I arrived at work the following day, there was a $50 gift card awaiting me! I had forgotten that I won a contest several weeks before! It doesn’t get much better than this!
A very long week later, my phone finally arrived and this is how I felt!
“OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.”~Dr. Suess
I love my new phone! I still don’t quite know how to use it but I am figuring it out day by day. Here are some of my favorite features:
S Voice. Ask a question. Get an answer.
Camera. 8 megapixels. Front facing. Burst mode and on and on.
Screenshots. Just plain fun!
S notes. JA nice little convenience.
Smart stay. A power saving device that makes eye contact with you and dims the lights if you’re not there!
Turn over. Allows you to stop your phone from ringing by turning it over if you forget to mute it in a meeting.
Share beam. You can share data with another s3 simply by touch.
These are just a few of my faves. There are many more to discover! But suffice it to say…..
….I finally did it!
I joined the ranks of the (real) smartphone users!
So many times in life, things happen and we can’t think fast enough to say or do what we wish we had said or done. Many nights, I have lain awake doing the old “Woulda, shoulda, coulda” routine. It’s a frustrating, helpless feeling to me. I have learned that there are not always do-overs. We don’t always get a second chance. This is the moment. The only moment. So, I try to think before I speak. I try to summon courage and say things that I may be afraid to say, but am way more afraid that I’ll miss the chance to ever say it at all.
I try to remember “Baby” in Dirty Dancing when she said “Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling for the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”
You cared about me for what seemed like a lifetime
But what really amounted to a brief moment or two
I still cared when you found someone “better”
And you both almost succeeded in making me feel
“Here’s my heart and soul, please grind them into hamburger, and enjoy.” Meredith Grey
So often, when a relationship ends or even fails to launch properly, we are left feeling undesirable. Usually, the biggest injury is to our self-esteem. We think: I invested in you: my time, energy, love, belief and I didn’t even warrant a proper good-bye. We expect the relationship to end with a similar sweetness to the moment it began. If that doesn’t happen, we devalue ourselves instead of realizing that it IS over and it’s time to move on. People spend more time and energy trying to rationalize the relationship than is healthy. We stay stuck in the moment instead of creating a new moment. You can read more about this in How to Let Go of Someone You Really Care About
In life, we make conditions for ourselves. We say things like: If I am really good and really quiet, good things will happen. We are afraid to “jinx” things. We don’t step on cracks or walk under a ladder. It is almost as if we have our own personal “Shelf Elf” to monitor our behavior. If we don’t get the expected, wished for, phone call, we are certain the phone is broken. This series of poems focuses on those feelings that cause us to feel dependant on someone else for our happiness. Sometimes it works even if only for the moment. (enjoy Rhythm of the Night by Plain White Ts) And, for those of you who are like me, please check out Believe in the Fairy Tale.
So still I sit. And wait…
….for the sound…of a text…a phone…a knock on the door.
Finally, 2013! Actually for me, 2012 went pretty quickly. Dare I say, almost too quickly? Still, everybody has been busy talking about resolutions, plans and mantras. The new year brings a fresh start. Many people give quite a lot of thought to their new years’ resolutions. They work so hard that I often think the resolution is more of a masterpiece than it’s intended goal! We tend to set unrealistic challenges for ourselves and then have a difficult time meeting them. Way to set ourselves up for failure, huh? If we are single, we not only set the self-improvement goals but also make some of those goals contingent on our single status. Please check out my hub on Great New Year Resolutions for Single People. I do want to emphasize at this point that what may be a realistic or worthy goal for one person could be entirely unrealistic for another. So….no judgin’! In no particular order, here are my resolutions for finding a partner in 2013.
Let go of the past
Don’t hang on to the past. There is absolutely no point in dwelling on what was or what it could have been. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move on. If you learned something, great! If you have nice memories, even better. Just don’t keep thinking that they will be back. They probably won’t.
Do not kid yourself into thinking that you will “grow to love” him/her. Unless you are marrying for citizenship or insurance benefits, that probably won’t happen. Better off single than with someone you are just not that into.
Don’t try to be anything else but who you are. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your best self forward when you meet people, it simply means that you want to surround yourself with people who like and appreciate you and your personality. For example: If you are by nature, a worrier, you don’t want to be with someone who belittles that trait in you. I have a friend who speaks somewhat loudly and animatedly. She is always “on.” She once dated a guy who admitted to being embarrassed by her bold personality. I am so proud of her for not succumbing and trying to act shy and demure, which she was tempted to do. Instead, she walked away. Avoid any relationships where the other person starts any of their unsolicited sentences to you with “You should …” “The problem with you….” or “You’re not doing that right.” Run, don’t walk from anyone who wants to “fix” or change you. Definitely, better off single!
Conversely, don’t think it’s okay to do that to anyone else!
Do not date someone just for the sake of not being alone! Too often we make the mistake of being in a relationship just for the sake of being able to say that we are in one or because we are afraid to be alone. There are people who seem to begin every sentence with “My boyfriend says…” or “My girlfriend and I….” To me, too many mentions reek of insecurity. It almost as if they don’t exist outside of that relationship. Which brings me to my next point.
Remember. Your relationships don’t define you! You are not who you are because you are friends with a particular person. You are friends with that person BECAUSE of who you are. Learn to love yourself first. Many of us have a tendency to rely on others to tell us our value. We don’t need others to tell us our worthiness. Believing in ourselves, loving ourselves and realizing our own worth will show people how we expect to be treated.
“Being with no one is better than being with the wrong one because those who fly solo often have the strongest wings…..”~Aaron Sledge
I will continue to be selective (yes, you may call it picky!)
As a single person, I think it is important to know the qualities and traits in that you would like in a partner. If you have a list, stick to it. If you don’t have one, make one! Take your time in creating your wish list. Be honest and realistic. Use it as a guideline. Better yet, use it to help you remember and articulate what matters to you. This past summer, I discovered Arielle Ford’s The Soulmate Secret and Wabi Sabi Love. I think they are a great resource for people looking for love. I am also a believer in The Secret and The Law of Attraction
One of the most important points I took away from this was in making room for another person in my life. I kept saying I was ready for another person in my life. Through the law of attraction, I have learned that I am often discouraging permanent relationships. Though most of it was subconscious, I was putting up barriers and that didn’t allow someone into my life. I kept describing myself as a single person as if being single was my defining character. Wrong, being single is simply a state! I know, crazy! I keep saying I want a relationship but I do so many things to sabotage it. I realized that verbalizing your readiness isn’t enough. You have to demonstrate it with actions that make a another person welcome in your life.You have to create a place for that new person to fit.
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in”~Morrie Schwartz
Time stands still for no man. I use to think that aggressive “manhunting” was not the way to meet someone but now I realize that waiting, watching and hoping are definitely not the way to catch your significant other. No one is going to come knocking on your door if they don’t know you are at home. As my good friend told me on New Year’s Eve, her mantra for the new year is: “Stop waiting. Start doing!” I’m with her! You won’t meet anyone if you are sitting at home. In fact, you will definitely continue to be single!
Don’t give up. I can’t say that I love or embrace being single but…single is what I am right now. I spent this New Years Eve with 5 women. For most of the evening it was just us girls. I knew 2 of the women quite well before the party and now have 2 new friends! I remember the stress and pressure of being with someone on significant days or holidays. That aching, yearning to belong, to be half of a couple. I won’t lie and say that I don’t want that anymore because I do. But….last night was a great illustration that life goes on. It can go on happily and strongly even if you don’t have a mate, I am not saying to give up. I am simply saying that there is more to life than being in a relationship. I am fortunate to have a beautiful family and good friends. I will continue to live my life by involving myself in activities that interest me and broaden my horizons. Having gone out this past year and joined events, including the ones for single people, I have met and made many new friends, including the lovely ladies I spent New Years Eve with! I’d like to think that these things helps me to define what a relationship is. In fact, these things are relationships….good ones!
That being said, do any of you know any good, single guys for me?!?
Last week when I got into my car, I looked up at the temporary handicap tag. It would expire in one week! And I didn’t need it anymore! Talk about something being right on time! Just this week for the first time in almost six months, I drove to work and parked not only in a regular parking space but in one that was further away where the rest of the employees park. It started me thinking about the expression “time heals all wounds.” Interestingly, up until recently, I always applied it to emotional healing. In my mind, the wounds that time needed to heal were related to break-ups, disappointment or even death. I never really thought about it as healing actual wounds. I first became aware of the expression when I was younger and my parents used it whenever we didn’t get something we really wanted. They would say something like, “Don’t worry! You’ll get picked next time. By next week, you’ll have forgotten all about this.” Forget about not being picked for pom pons, cheerleading squad, the football team!? How do you forget it when it’s all tied up in your self-esteem and there’s the public humiliation?! Forget it about?! These things could scar you for life! But….they were right. Time did heal those wounds. There were always other groups to join, and new friends to be made and those other dreams, just a distant memory from another time.
“Time heals all wounds unless you pick at them.”~Shaun Alexander
I became acutely aware of the expression when I lost both my father and father-in-law within five months of each other. I saw very clearly how the mourning process was set up to match our needs. In the Jewish religion, there are rules for everything, including death and how to deal with it. While we often balk at rules, the death of a loved one is a time that most of us are pretty relieved, even comforted by clear-cut directives. I found the Jewish ritual of mourning to be an accurate illustration of how the expression “Time heals all wounds” holds validity for me. When a Jewish person dies, first and foremost, is to arrange the burial as quickly as possible. The impetus is that the soul will wander and needs to go back to the earth. There is not generally a long waiting period but the body is never left alone during that time because there is concern that the soul will be confused and afraid. I think that the mourners are also confused and afraid and take a certain comfort in knowing that their loved one is not alone during this transitional time. Immediately following the burial, the family members start a seven-day mourning period called “Shiva” (which comes from the Hebrew word sheva, meaning seven) During this time, they stay in their home while friends, family members and coworkers, come to pay their respects. There are several other things that happen during this time, but most important, it is a time for the immediate family to grieve. They do not go out of the home during this time and have no distractions other than the visitors who come to mourn with them. After this first week, the family members may go back to work but for the next 30 days, they stay low very low profile. During the 30 day time period, they do not partake in social activities. The intensity of the mourning is mitigated from those first few hours through the first 30 days. This is for two separate reasons. Having a very specific time for each stage of grief allows for the mourners to both pay respect to their lost loved one, while not losing themselves in their grief. We wouldn’t want the mourners to fall into an abyss of grief during this time where they could remain trapped. There is much, much more than I am putting down here but for the sake of this post, I will skip to the next part of the grieving time line which is at the one year mark. During the 1st year, most of the time is spent in returning to the normal routine. Generally, only the children of the deceased still use this time to continue specific mourning practices. After a year’s time, a memorial is planned and the headstone is formally placed. For most people, their lives would return to normal, albeit without their loved one. After the first year, family members will light a memorial candle yearly. As you can see, these time periods are set up to give people practical, realistic periods to grieve and mourn. These parameters help form boundaries that guide people through their loss. Sometimes, we all need a bit of that. And, memorials give us a time to remember, to realize, hopefully, that time has at least begun to heal the wound.
“Grief is a process, not a state.”~Anne Grant
So, it was not without a bit of surprise, that I realized the statement, “Time Heals All Wounds” could probably apply to physical wounds, too! Once realized that, I couldn’t wait to come home and write about it. As I started to write this, I thought, maybe not everyone feels this way. Maybe most people interpreted it literally from the beginning. Then I went to look up my accompanying quotes and pictures. I’m not sure that I found even one pertaining to physical health. Everything I found was about healing the heart and the psyche. I felt a cross between validation and disappointment. My validation was for the obvious reason but my disappointment was because, now that I found a physical explanation, I wanted validation for that, too! Oh, well, this is only a small disappointment. Certainly not the kind that would have my mother saying:
“Time heals all wounds”
“Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyze it by encumbering it with remedies.”~Leo Tolstoy
According to Wikipedia, Black friday is: ” The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are “in the black“
Ok, now I get it!
I did it, caved in, succumbed to my selfish desires. I did something I vowed I wouldn’t do. I participated in a sale event on Black Friday. Principally, I really don’t want to shop or purchase on Black Friday because I think it is a horrific way to turn typical human beings into kicking, screaming, selfish individuals. Ok, I do exaggerate! Kind of! But, there are, in fact, several Black Friday specials that most definitely bring out the crazy in all of us.
Four years ago, a nearby mall announced that they were going to open at midnight.The kids and I decided to check it out. We had no plans to buy, just to walk around. Thinking we could walk around easily was our first mistake. Attempting to purchase an item at one of the stores was our second. The third mistake was assuming that the restaurants in the food court that were open, would actually have their regular menu! The following year we went to a different mall. This time we knew what to expect. Or so we thought. Lines snaked outside of each store as if they were giving things away! Oh, that’s right, some of them were! We continued the practice of going to the mall on Black Friday every year except this year. This year Ben had to work and I was the one getting him there and back. I dropped him off at 11:30 and the line outside the was already long. By the time I returned for him at 3:30 am , the lot was FULL. It’s beginning to look a lot like Black Friday! We did go to Old Navy and Ben was able to get a couple of things for a steal!
“There is sufficiency in this world for man’s need
but not for man’s greed.”~Mahatma Ghandi
Throughout the years I became more hyper alert-of Black Friday specials. I was aware and, sometimes even envious, when I saw that other people actually had a Black friday plan and even manged to be successful there! Watching others, as well as hearing war stories from my family and friends gave me vicarious pleasure. Four years ago, I realized that I like to watch! Who knew?!
Next week, my phone becomes eligible for an upgrade. Yay! I have had this phone for two years and it has been nothing but trouble. A couple of weeks ago, Ben and started phone shopping. Ben was choosing based on function, features and looks. I wanted to choose on those features, as well but I also was keeping price in mind. I have been the “free” phone route and that has cost me much more in the long run! We had our choices narrowed down. Now, just to wait for the upgrade date!
As A.A. MILNE said: “Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
Last week, we were bombarded with Black Friday ads. They were everywhere. I’d open the mailbox and out would pop three circulars on Black Friday deals. I’d go to read my e-mails and, again, Black Friday deals. I’d go to work and, you guessed, Black Friday signs everywhere. Still, I stayed strong. I thought there was nothing that I wanted enough to fight the crowds for. Until…..
Sprint started advertising The Samsung s3 for $50. Yes, folks, this phone was going for $200 with a new contract or upgrade but on Black Friday…wait for it…..only $50 (same restrictions apply!) Wow, $50! that would be less than the phone I had decided on and much better! And, you can do it online! It doesn’t get much better than that. So Ben went online to the Sprint Black Friday specials, only to be told we needed to phone the order in. Ok. So, Ben calls what he assumes is a phone line dedicated to Black Friday purchases. 20 minutes later, I dial in on my phone. One hour later, we reached a human, who sent us to another line. 15 minutes later, we were told that we needed to go into the store. Ok.
My first real Black Friday experience began here. How relieved I was to see that there were only about 15 people ahead of us (somehow that list grew mysteriously longer as other people were bumped up) I have never been in a slower line in my life and even though I tend to exaggerate for story-telling purposes, I am not exaggerating here! It was excruciatingly slow. We stood outside as they let people in one at a time.
I had to leave the line once after 2 hours to take Ben to his second shift of Black Friday work. We raced home, I changed into shorts and a t-shirt (it was hot out there!) got more water and returned to the line. It had advanced only one person. Really?….how long does it take to do this?!
In the meantime, I did what I do best. I chatted with my fellow gluttons. There were actually some people there that weren’t even planning on getting in on the Black Friday specials. In retrospect, maybe that was their ploy to get us to let them go ahead! I am glad that I had some time to chat as it made my final decision much easier but I sure wish i hadn’t had that much time to chat! There was, though a great camaraderie going. We were not those crazy Black Friday shoppers, throwing elbows and pushing people to get what we needed. No, we were nice and respectful of each other. We cheered as each of our buddies exited with their new possession in their hands! And we cheered as we got closer! Finally,3 and a half hours later, it was my turn! I walked in and waved to the guy who had been standing in front of me. I can see his palpable disappointment and I know….they’re gone…no more phones. The frisson of disappointment doesn’t last too long for me because I also know that they are honoring the price for all of in this line. I won’t go home with a phone in my hands but I will get it at this amazing price, whenever it comes in. All of a sudden, my associate walked away for a moment and came back with a phone in his hand. He had found one last one. I think I’m beginning to like this Black Friday gig! But, the guy in front of me was there first and he was leaving town, and I was going to be here and I was going to get the phone next week anyway, so…I let him have it. I don’t know when my new phone will get here but I walked out amidst cheers and made my weary way home!
There is a moral to this story. In the time that I stood there I spoke to many people. Very few were out there for the “sport” of power shopping on Black Friday. In fact, most of the people were there out of need. Many of their reasons were compelling, like Megan, whose husband is in a navy submarine, defending our country and she needs a phone that is reliable enough to be able to communicate with him at a moment’s notice. I also learned to never say never.
You don’t know when you might have to breakdown, bite the bullet and shop on Black Friday!
“Many small people, in small places, do many small thing, that can alter the face of the world”~Anonymous
Five minutes after my daughter left the house yesterday, just as I was about to get the laundry from the drier. my phone rang. I thought it was my friend who I was supposed to meet for lunch in an hour. Wrong! It was my daughter. “Mom. My car broke down on the highway. Can you come?” Of course I could. I ran out. She was at the entrance ramp of the highway, pulled to the side, but still in a very dangerous spot. I had trouble pulling over because the cars behind me were accelerating to merge onto the highway. She was on the phone with the bf and attempting to “fix” the cable that was clearly stripped from the battery. Why didn’t I think to take my toolbox?! Probably because, even with it, I’m not sure I could have fixed it. She is standing there next to the car, 4 months pregnant and crying. “What do I do?” Hey, I have an idea. How about we call our emergency roadside assistance? We did and they said they’d be here in 45 minutes. 45 minutes? Hmmmm. Long time to be standing on the entrance ramp of a highway. My baby and her baby. I tell her to call the police and let them know the car is there and I plan to take her off the highway. Just as we begin to dial the police, a car pulls up. A young man gets out and takes a look at the car. He asks me. “Would you like me to fix that for you?’ Uh, let me think, hmm, let’s see, pull my arm, ouch, too hard! Yes. YES, I do! But, I explained to him, I had no money on me. He waved me off and went back to his car. He returned with a toolbox and got to work. We chatted pleasantly with him as he worked. He told us he was a handyman here in the valley. Within a few minutes he had the car fixed! The tow truck was cancelled. The police didn’t have to be notified and we could all be on our way! He was so nice that he even waited for us to merge safely onto the highway!
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”~Aesop
I have so many things I want to say at this moment but I will start by saying that my heart is full. There are so many good people out there and yesterday I had the opportunity to meet one of the best! He stopped and did a random, selfless act of kindness that put himself and his auto in the line of danger for a complete stranger who couldn’t even repay him*! (Wow that was a long sentence!)
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”~Amelia Earhart
The irony to this story? I mentioned that I was on my way to meet my friend for lunch. Let me tell you about my friend. I met Michael almost a year ago. He told me about this unique program he had started called PIF. His enthusiasm for this great idea was contagious and I couldn’t wait to join. I thought at the time that this was right up my alley. I joined the group in March, 2012 (You can too! Just click here to check it out! )received my 3 cards, wrote my story and waited for an opportunity to do a random act of kindness. I had a few sprinkled here and there and wrote about those in another blog, but I still didn’t have that defining moment where I could physically do something for another human being and then hand them a cards and say to them that all I wanted in return was for them to do the same for someone else. Key word here, random. I was always looking for something and that kind of kills the random part!
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”~Albert Schweitzer
In fact, not only have I not had the opportunity to perform a random act of kindness, but I have found the tables have been turned and it is me who is the recipient in these past few months. That was a turn of events I hadn’t planned on and it is still a bit hard for me to reconcile. I became “dependant” on other’s help when I broke my foot, having to call on friends to help me out by getting my medicine, picking up my daughter, things I had never asked for help for before! Then, said broken foot, really put me in a financial bind and I had to get help to get my medical supplies. In addition to my suppliers patience in receiving his payment, I also had to rely on the wonderful people at The Banner Baywood Wound Center to provide me with enough temporary products to get me by until my insurance kicked back in. This was a totally selfless act on these ladies part because they never even asked me my name and hugged my daughter and I as we cried in gratitude! Last week, my son and I stopped to buy a drink at the gas station. A young guy came in right at the same time. He asked if that was all we had. I thought maybe he was in a hurry and wanted to get ahead of us. I began to let him in front of me and he said, no, let me get that. I didn’t know how to react. Who does that?! I had heard people tell stories of this happening to them. I have handed people ahead me change when they were short but for someone to just walk up and buy our cokes?! Wow! I was floored! I tried to refuse but ended up thanking him! This was truly a random act of kindness. There was one more random act which I have promised not to divulge the source. I purchased something online. When I received it, I had buyer’s remorse, felt like I really didn’t need it and called to find out how to return it. After a couple of calls and emails back and forth, the owner asked me to keep the product as a gift. I vowed 2 things that day, I would pay them the money owed and I would promote the product. Yesterday, our car broke down and we met Mark. And this brings me up to date. I know what I need to do now. I need to pay it forward. I cannot repay these people monetarily, at least not right now but I can, hopefully, do the same for someone else. In my typical way, I went looking for some nice quotes to put here. I didn’t just find quotes, I found a whole site. This is the link for Random acts of Kindness
“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us to develop inner happiness and peace.”~The Dalai Lama
*Well, I’m hoping I can repay him a little by getting his name and company out there for my local friends. If you want to hire a handyman with integrity, this is your man! His business is called I Know a Guy Home Repairand he is located in Mesa, Az.
You can reach him at 480-577-3616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He fixed our car, made sure we got safely on the highway and he did this all out of the goodness of his heart. This is the guy I WILL call if I need anything fixed in my home! I hope you do, too! Check out his face book page and “like” him!
I used to think that random acts of kindness involved money and physical things. I always give a dollar or two at the grocery store, to united way, etc and we donate all of our clothing and household items to goodwill. I am also a volunteer for our company’s OneSight program, where I have travelled as far as Ghana to help the needy to see! Yes, they are important. Yet, these are not the random acts I was hoping. Those indefinable moments, that in the end, ARE what defines you! Those random moments, those random acts. I realized this year that I do have a way of helping others. I can write about it. I always have something to say about something! When I first started writing on hubpages, I found a writer who posted a weekly poetry challenge under the moniker…yes…wait for it…Random Madness. He got me at the name! I have contributed to his challenges a few times and enjoyed it. You can, too if you sign up at Hubpages! Right after Hurricane Sandy, he posted a new challenge. The challenge was to write a poem about our personal experience about hurricane Sandy and link it to a charitable program. My friend Mary Ellen, had been posting about the devastation in her hometown. I was reading her posts as well as those of my cousins who were also in the east. I decided to take the challenge, wrote a poem and linked it to The Gerritson Beach Sandy Relief. What a truly good feeling I had when my poem was read on blog talk radio and the information was provided to donate to this worthy cause! I don’t know how much all of this has helped but I have written, tweeted, stumbled and tumbled about them and I hope my words have helped, even a little bit! This finally felt to me like a truly random act.