A makeover for him, a change of thought for me

Life is always full of surprises. At times there are moments that catch us off guard, and a shift happens in our thought. That happened to me after watching this video. A bit of background and some honest transparency. Portland has a high volume of homeless people. Over time it is very easy to be desensitized. After seeing individuals or families asking for money at many intersections you begin to stop seeing them, and honestly you begin to stop trusting that they really are homeless.

I remember living in a neighborhood in downtown Portland a few years ago. An elderly woman would always stand outside of Whole Foods and beg for money. She did not really look that homeless, more just old. She was persistent, and I began to wonder if she was really homeless. A long time later (after we moved to the burbs) I was talking with friends about that neighborhood, and this woman was discussed. A friend said they knew the older woman’s family, and she was not at all homeless. Does that explain the trust issue?

So when I saw this video transformation it brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me that regardless of trust, honesty, or our lot in life we are all still just people. We all still want to be loved, feel like we belong, and have a purpose. It has opened my thought to remember that regardless of what we have each been through, we all deserve to be treated with respect. We do not always know another’s story. While we do not always have to respond with money, we can respond with kindness, prayer, and maybe sometimes bring them food. I hope his transformation impacts you as much as it did me.

Resilience, courage, and gratitude

I was talking to a colleague last week about how her husband was in the military at the beginning of their marriage, and at the time the only way to communicate was via letters in the mail. Ah, the art of the handwritten letter, the love and care it takes to sustain a relationship via mail. Today, it is much easier for families that have a loved one in the military to communicate via email, text, and phone.

It still amazes me how families do it, when their loved one is away for such long periods of time. I do not think I would make a good military wife (thank you, Chris for sparing me). I would be a basket case. I do love how much pride Americans have for their veterans. I kept seeing Veteran’s Day specials on the Internet last week and thought I would share a few. This is a list of 32 freebies for Veterans, and here are a few more freebies. So if you are a Veteran, take a peek and see if you want to get a hair cut, visit a National Park, or eat for free on or around November 11 (depending on the deal).

I want to send out many thank you’s and my gratitude to the men and women of the Armed Services. Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for all you do for your country, and for putting your precious lives in harm’s way to make this world a better place. I also want to thank your families for their patience, resilience, and courage. I do not know if I am brave enough to do what you do each day as you pray for the safety of your loved ones.

In gratitude.

Her story knocked me on my ass

There are days when I love when something knocks me on my ass. When I am challenged and I think wow, I need to hone my craft and be better. A story is a way I can be wowed. It can suck me in, make me forget what is on my To-Do list, make me want to stop everything to find out what happens next. The art of the story pushes me to learn more about myself and dig deep. A few weeks ago, I read a novel called “Barefoot Season” by Susan Mallery, about a war veteran who came home after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She struggled to acclimate herself back into civilian life. In the end it was an abused dog that brought her back to normalcy. Having the need to care for an abused animal helped her heal her own wounds, both physical and emotional. Her story sucked me in. I wanted to read on. I wanted to know more. The author did an excellent job at making you forget that you had a bathroom to clean or laundry to do. It was compelling enough that I forget my surroundings and could not wait to find out how it would end. Yes, it was a chick lit book. Yes, it was cheesy, and yet I got sucked into her story, her pain, her success.

There are times when a book will knock you on your ass because it will transform the way that you view the world. You are altered. Changed. Your filter and view of life will no longer be the same. You look at your friends, family, and neighbors with a renewed lens on life. Whether from a book you read, or from the mouth of someone you know, stories take us outside of ourselves, and often put us in another’s shoes. Whether it comes from a novel or the raw realness of life, the art of story means we are never the same.