memories to last a lifetime

my son went to summer camp. he returned today after five whole days and nights away. this was his third time attending (last summer, and this past winter) with our church. he had such a wonderful time. he's sitting on the couch reminiscing and researching some of the songs he heard and shared with his camp family. he shed a tear (a huge alligator tear) for the friends that he made, the times they shared, and for the overwhelming good time.

i explained that his feelings were normal and a sign that camp did everything it was supposed to do. these are memories that he won't ever lose or forget. camp is a memory that lives in perpetuity. it lingers on and on always bringing a smile.

we are fortunate enough to live just a half hour away from the mountains and the grand hospitality of Forest Home. the staff and facilities are top notch and geared to make a ten year old boy wish for camp — just minutes after having arrived home.

the three pictures above are courtesy of the Forest Home site. they do not allow electronic devices or phone calls (unless an emergency of course), which allows the kids to completely disconnect and take in the beauty of the world around them. the camp is faith focused and shifts the children's understanding of Our Savior Jesus Christ into a deeper yearning and learning. my son is already discussing his future as a counselor.

what more could a mama ask for? his prescription medication was loaded electronically into their site and administered daily by a nurse. their app: Forest Home Adventure Guide allowed me to receive updates; including when medications were administered, the plan for the day, the focus of the lesson shared, and my son's "camp store balance" (as cash is not accepted).

a faith based focused dedication on the Majesty of the Lord!! three allergy-free meals a day. mandatory hydration is required at all meals (drink two glasses of water). a safe yurt-like structure to share with his camp mates. a camp store in which to spend (his whole $15) frivolously. clean and accessible restrooms and showers. and all of the chaperoned and safe fun a ten year old can handle for six days. i am forever in debt to our church Immanuel Baptist, our children's ministry director, numerous dedicated chaperones, and the capable and trustworthy staff of Forest Home.


that picture and the gravity-defying toss are courtesy of our children's ministry director: Jaime and our church orchestra leader/director: Mr. Mike. thank you!

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bah, humbug!

that’s right, i’m a scrooge. i don’t deny it. but it’s not that simple, let me explain… it’s october second and i can see christmas decorations. of this, i am not pleased.

my earliest holiday memories included the last quarter of the year. we would bid g’bye to the summer with a labor day bash and settle in for the winter with family, friends, fires and festivities. the seasons would (actually) change, the leaves would fall and that was the cue… that the holidays were to begin. october brought us halloween. candy and costumes! what’s not to love, right? november would peek in and before you know it, we’d all be gathered together for thanksgiving!! more family, friends and food. snow would fall (somewhere, it’s too hot where i live) and december would bring the best holiday of them all: christmas. more family, friends and food — but this time, with GIFTS! and since you all know me so well, you know i’ve always looked forward to the new year. not really the year as much the party to issue in the new year. but these days.. i just want to change the calendar and move on. i’m frustrated by the holiday season and it bothers me.

i spent the larger part of my childhood with my grandmother in a sweet little suburban southern california town. she had a group home for developmentally disabled men. there were no less than six of us in the house during those years. she cooked breakfast lunch and dinner for all of us, everyday. by herself. she also entertained the larger part of our extended family for the holiday seasons. she was an excellent grandmother and she excelled at all things in the awesome homemaker category (i could be a little biased).

we decorated the house for halloween as conservative as possible. usually just two carved pumpkins at the top of the stairs leading to our front door. sometimes with that spiderwebby stuff. on halloween night, my gramma would open one of the windows and play a spooky halloween record — you know the one with the creaky door, the ghost moans and chains.  good stuff.  classic. we always had our porch light on, we always gave out candy and she always let me go trick-or-treating door-to-door as long as i remembered to stay away from “those” houses. which houses? it’s hard to say… my grandmother had an innate sense of OHHELLNO and didn’t like certain things for her own reasons. i think i have it too.  but either way, halloween tradition carried on until the bestie and i determined that we were too old to go. saying goodbye to october meant november! and thanksgiving!!!

thanksgiving was a situation. it was intense. my grandmother would start her round of calls early in the month to check in with the family and find out who’s doing what. she would pull the dinnerware from the shelves and cabinets and start in on the cleaning and polishing. that’s right!! polishing the silver. a lost art, if you ask me. such a time consuming chore, so full of detail but the reward that comes with a full table, completely set and everything aglow with it’s own shine and sparkle is worth it (again, if you ask me). it obviously was to her.

the days of november would dwindle. my gramma would collect her head count and about a week before, there was the shopping. the mountainous, endless, heavy, grocery shopping. the menu never varied so the list was always the same. she would put everything away, count the sleeping spaces, wash the linens and prepare herself for thanksgiving week.

tuesday of thanksgiving week was beginning prep: the cleaning, pruning, and dicing of any and all ingredients. tuesday evening she would bake a pan of cornbread, the size of a twin-sized bed, to the most beautiful golden brown with dark edges and burnt corners. she would set it out to cool, always scooping a corner out for herself to “try”.  wednesday was when the kitchen really started movin’… for this was the day she made DESSERTS!! sweet lord baby jesus the desserts!! again, always the same: peach cobbler (mmm!), sweet potato pie (mmm!), pecan pie (mmm!), lemon ice box pie (mmm!) and POUND CAKE (i just had a heart attack!). sadly, there weren’t many dessert leftovers. she would end the day by greeting the over-nighters, helping them get settled and finally putting the turkey in the oven.

on thanksgiving day, my gramma would be up before the sun. i don’t think she slept much as she would get up periodically to baste and check the turkey. when the rest of the house was brushing it’s teeth, she would be assembling all of the  need-to-stay-cold items. and from there it was nothing less than master chef. she really was amazing:

  • turkey with giblet (eww!) gravy
  • a HAM! (with cloves and pineapples, and NOT from honey baked)
  • sage cornbread dressing (i would slap you r’now for some)
  • mashed potatoes (lump free!)
  • green beans
  • corn
  • okra (uhh, i don’t like okra)
  • cornbread (but i DO love cornbread)
  • dinner rolls
  • cranberry sauce (i like the cranberry salsa or chutney or something that the bestie’s dear sweet aunt ruth used to serve with pillsbury crescent rolls)
  • waldorf and carrot & raisin salads (fruit +  mayo = wth?)
  • black eyed peas (occasionally)

she did it all herself. we didn’t help much, she didn’t ask for much and everything went as planned. i remember one year having about 12 or 14 people at the table. we had to add two leaves to the table and still didn’t have enough room. my grandmother’s china collection was stunning and when it all came together (at one o’clock) it was truly divine.

there would be laughing, playing, tv watching, cheating at cards and general familial mayhem. my gramma didn’t drink much so we didn’t have too many drunken outbursts. everyone would hug and love and just enjoy the day. most of the family would leave at sunset — stealing my desserts and always loving her up for feeding them so well. the next day, the only clue there had been a thanksgiving FEAST would be the leftovers. by the middle of the next week: homemade turkey soup. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh– the good ole days.

and in begins the christmas season. we used to go to a christmas tree farm (obviously weeks prior) and have them cut the tree that we had chosen. we would spend the evening decorating a live fragrant dirty dusty sappy beautiful christmas tree. we used the same ornaments for as long as i can remember. they were always carefully placed and stored in the same boxes marked “xmas”. the tree would be lit every night from dusk to bedtime. on christmas eve we would turn the lights on and they would stay on until the end of christmas day.

my grandmother always played santa and surprised me with something that would be over-the-top. my most favorite christmas morning surprise was a HUGE box of books. really? yes! it was a box from May Co. and it was big enough to hold king sized bedspreads, so, IT WAS HUGE and it was filled with books. i still have some of them.

the christmas spirit, leftovers and remnants of packaging took us through to new years eve. we always watched dick clark and we would light the christmas tree (for the last time) and waved to the year gone by. sometimes i made it to see the new year, other times… not so much. on new year’s day, we would disassemble the holiday season, pack away our holiday cheer (and every last decoration) and make resolutions that we never intended to keep. 😀

but NOW! now, we can hardly get through august without seeing ribbons and bows peeking through. and as i pointed out, on october second there are decorations hung for purchase in the local stores. what kinda $h!t is that? why would you do that? to sell more? are there really people out there just frantic to buy decorations before the rest of the free world? they don’t have anything from last year? why? there are people still putting up those nasty huge bulbs (i call um ghetto bulbs) from 1982!!

my list of questions could go on for days, but the point i’m trying to make is that selling things and marketing have taken away my holiday cheer. things change as we age and mature and especially when we have kids. but for me, the real holiday season was wrapped up in everything i just mentioned. in the family and friends. the celebrating. not in the buying, the receiving or black friday (which i avoid like the black plague). i can carry on with my family traditions, but it’s not the same and i don’t think it will ever be that way again.

the holidays used to be a warm time: filled with family, friends, food and good cheer. it was a way of celebrating the old year and celebrating the new year. it was a time to reflect and pull fond memories and share them with thoughtful gifts or handmade goodies. a time to forgive, to bond, to share. but now it’s just a marketing scheme. a horrible gaudy expensive marketing nightmare. people camp out in parking lots to buy the new craze or they just bogart the local toys ‘r us with pepper spray and take what they want. thanks, but no. i’ll stick to sugar cookies and turkey dinners with the ones i love. you can bombard my senses with your holiday crap but i refuse to accept. i can’t see your ornaments or fake trees. and i certainly don’t smell those God awful cinnamon scented migraine inducing pine cones or hear that holiday music. i’ll have my christmas when i’m ready, thank you. right after thanksgiving. you can take your marketing scheme and shove it, i’m not shoppin’ here no mo!

chasing crystal cove

it’s no secret that my son and i spend a majority of our time with our best friends: affectionately referred to as the bestie and the babies.  last weekend we made our seasonal debut trip to the beach.  we’d talked about it for weeks and were finally able to bring it to fruition. an afternoon with three kids and two snackin’ SuperMamas can run pretty costly so if and when we find something budget friendly, we’re in.

we all love the water.  our trips to the beach have become pretty status quo over the years. visiting at least two or three times in the summer months.  kids are so amazed and enamored with the sea. i have come to discover that my own love of the sea is long standing and strong. i have always been attracted to the sound, the sand, the shells and the animals. we have previously visited more popular and populated beaches… where finding your own sand station for the day is challenging. with the magic of four wireless digital devices a few traffic setbacks and this:

the “are we there yet?” trio. available in loud, louder and screeching.
SuperBoy, SweetHeart and The MadMan respectively.

we were steered to crystal cove. a state park.

after paying what we thought was an enormous amount to park and speaking with a very pleasant but slow talking park representative, we were advised that the beach itself was about an approximate half-mile walk away. we pressed on.

we decided to take a tour first to determine whether or not we wanted to set up camp. we gathered the children and the keys, trekked through the tall wildflowery path and voiced our skepticism and hunger along the way. there was a vantage point that allowed us to survey the cove itself.  it was quiet and serene. there were beach-goers, but plenty of space.

we decided to set up camp. i went back to the car and gathered everything we had determined to be necessary and required (remind me never to volunteer for that duty again).

with the help of passersby i managed to navigate the hill in the picture below with a packed ice chest, duffle bag, back pack, two more bags, two buckets, an over-sized shovel and all the while, wearing flip flops. this is also the main reason that our little camp is located right here. right in front. we didn’t realize it then, but we were right in the way of the state park beach cruising truck.

the hill of death. and that’s our camp. and that’s callie: my SweetHeart.

after setting everything in it’s place, applying sunblock and giving the sand toys, the kids scampered off until we managed to make our sandwiches and set everyone up to finally be able to eat. and we all ate. some of us (us mamas) standing, some of us (our babies) sitting and most of us quiet as a mouse.

turkey sandwiches, cheetos, grapes and gatorade.
it’s what future CHAMPIONS are made of.

we were all so happy that we stumbled upon this little place.  we had a great time.  i don’t really have a lot to say about it because i think i took some good pictures.

The MadMan, enjoying his own section of sand…

we ate, we played, we danced in the water. we fought off a very aggressive fearless seagull that pecked his way through a few paper towels (my guess is he was looking for crumbs and scraps, but all he got was paper — and probably some mild constipation).

the boys and i started the most non-sandcastle-like sandcastle compound, but the princess of the pack decided to completely mow over our hard work to construct a sand turtle safe ground:

sand turtle safe ground complete with seaweed retaining wall

eventually the sand got boring and the waves got interesting… the water was NOT hot, or even warm, but that doesn’t deter children very much. they ran into and out of the waves, with goosebumps on their arms and legs and teeth a-chattering. cute as can be.

watching the waves and poised for their attack!

look at him (AJ on the left), bent down low like a mouse-chasing cat! ready to pounce.

The MadMan never let the water catch him.. not once. but he had insurmountable fun waiting for the waves to TRY. and he threw sand at it. i still haven’t figured out why.

they got cold from time to time and i created a nice little “warming station”:

on a warm towel, under a warm towel, refueling with some fruit
(and sand “what’s crunchy, mommy?”)

or we buried them… … what? why are you looking at me like that? oh, ha! yeah, we BURIED THEM in the sand!

isn’t that the best expression? he looks like he heard the same thing “let’s bury him”… withOUT the “in the sand” part… 😀

that was pretty much our entire day. shannon took the kids down to the tide pools to see the sea critters. i held down the camp and had words with some birds. the SuperHeroes saw some things, touched some things and mistook a crab for a rock!! we all got sunburnt and the ride home was 300% quieter than the ride there. but what a day. and now… for my three favorite pictures:

seagulls. about every half hour for the duration of our stay…

via instagram: my SuperBoy just absolutely enjoying himself.

via instagram: my “disney” photo finish. the MadMan had just warmed himself in the sand next to me. when he jumped up and ran away, i got this shot. ❤ it.

the only thing i can’t really share is the look on their faces as they ran from the waves, shared with me the amazements they saw in the tide pools and how much it made me melt. they are all such good kids. these are the moments that will never leave our minds. “the little things”. a trip to the beach, some sand castles and free waves. it’s times like these that prove how amazing friendship can be and precious it is. we are all blessed.. and i will never let them forget it.

enveloped in empathy

i am an empathetic person. not just sympathetic but empathetic. i put myself in another’s position and often feel their pain. there is no need for it other than i have a big heart and i feel a need to help those that want and can be helped. my grandmother always told me that it was a noble quality but an exhausting one and that eventually it would lead to pain. she was right. over my lifetime i have taken many college courses related to people and behavior including sociology, philosophy, child development, humanities and many courses in the sciences. i am an observer. some would say a keen observer. i tend to notice the details. this has all culminated into the fine art of being able to read people. no, i’m not a psychic. no i’m not a profiler or anything of that nature. i’m just able to see what hasn’t necessarily been exposed to me. for the most part, i am able to see past the outside to the inside. i won’t say that i’ve never been duped, but i feel that i have helped plenty of people who were truly in need and not in desire.

my first notable empathetic experience was with one of those horrid commercials relaying the details of a starving child’s daily life. their little bellies distended with want and requirement. i think i cried for days. i couldn’t imagine wanting food and not having it. i had free reign of the refrigerator and pantry and could come and go as i liked. there weren’t many rules placed on the consumption of any one thing and i was mindful of my waste. i couldn’t imagine what their mothers felt like unable to provide for their children. the babies unable to nurse because the mom’s lacked the nutrition to produce milk. i couldn’t get the images out of my mind. the look of hopelessness in a child’s eyes is nothing less than devastating. children hold within them the brightest light and the most beautiful truths. to see that tarnished with unfathomable hunger made me hurt inside. all over. my grandmother suggested that we make a ten-dollar monthly contribution to that particular organization and i was elated. i received a little newsletter of sorts thanking me for my care, concern and monetary donations. i had done a good deed and was proud.

after a YEAR, after twelve months, we received a letter with crushing news. the letter stated that we had been duped. yup, you guessed it: scammed. the company was a farce. they had no connections with anyone anywhere, they weren’t helping anyone but themselves and my money was gone. vanished. never having reached one of those little distended starving bellies. i was more crushed than crushed. my gramma apologized profusely because she knew that my sharing had come from my heart and that my heartache was actually coming from my brain. she vowed that we would not venture down this helpful path ever again. she felt awful because she felt as though she had researched and found a worthy cause. even years later she apologized. needless to say, we were both disappointed.

years later, my grandmother and i were out shopping for “school clothes” and we saw a homeless man. he was in a wheelchair, his legs, amputated just below the knee were visible. his pants had been cut and tucked so as not to leave the oddly shaped limbs exposed. he had on an old army jacket and there was an american flag attached to the back of the wheelchair. he was dirty. he was unkempt and i asked my grandma for some money to give him. she told me no. she said that not everyone on the street was “hard up”. she explained that some people had given up on their life and they used the heartstrings of little girls like me to fill their pockets with hard-earned money that they didn’t deserve. (i think she was a little jaded from the scammers). while we shopped, my mind wandered from my own clothing to his. i wondered how long he’d been in those clothes and when was the last time they were washed. i wondered if he had a place TO wash them. i found myself thinking about what his home might have been like and why he chose not to be there. i wondered what he had done in the military and what it’s effects on him were. i wondered if he’d been to war to fight for my freedom. i wondered a lot.

we completed our shopping and upon return to the car i begged my grandmother to let me share something with this man. she gave me one single dollar. we pulled up next to him as we exited the parking lot and i hopped out. i was too shy to speak, so i just extended my little girl arm. the man took the dollar from me and said “thank you sweetie, God bless you.” i got back in the car radiant with the feeling that i had helped someone in need. my gramma said that i was a good person with a good heart but that i mustn’t allow myself to be taken advantage of. she reminded me, again, that some people just didn’t want to work and would hold their hand out hoping for someone to fill it. she told me “don’t let people mistake your kindness for weakness.”

i don’t remember too many “giving” occasions until much later in life.. when i could make my own decisions and spend my own money. my grandmother was a very kind woman and she was very giving. but honestly, she had no room in her life, mind or consideration for lies or cheats. she didn’t care who you were, what you had done or how bad you felt, if you were honest with her…well, you were good.

another incident comes to mind: in high school, there was a homeless man approaching vehicles in the mickey d’s drive thru. the man approached a red hatchback asking the female driver if she would kindly buy him a cup of coffee. she was actively rolling the window up as he was talking and all but punched the man in the face with her negative response to his inquiry. i was horrified. as we walked inside, i decided that i would eat light and use my leftover money to buy him something to eat. i collected “change” from my comrades and bought as many cheeseburgers as i could. along with the thirst aid of a small beverage. the man had left the drive thru and was standing under a tree on the back side of the restaurant. it was hot out and he looked disparaged. as i stood in line making my purchase for him, i stared at him. i wondered when he had last eaten and bathed. i wondered if anyone was looking for him or cared about him. i wondered his name and age. i gathered my gift and took it outside. i approached him quietly and with my arms extended i said:

“hi. my name is Tanisha. i saw you asking for assistance in the drive-thru and i figured you could use a little more. i bought you some food and something to drink. i hope that’s ok.”

he reached out and took the items from me. his facial expression changing from that horrible hopeless look to that of a simple man having received a small gift. he broke a very slight smile and quietly said:

“thank you. thank you very much.”

he put the drink in his pocket, and removed one of the five cheeseburgers from the bag. he unwrapped it, took a bite, wrapped it back up and returned it to the bag. he put that bag in the other pocket and walked slowly towards the railroad tracks. i felt good. i did not feel that this man had deceived me. i could see that he was hungry and i assumed that he took only one bite in an attempt to not make himself sick and to not waste his meals. he probably had no idea where that next meal was coming from. i was satisfied. i turned to go back inside and found myself being applauded. everyone on the inside watching me through the glass and cheering for my good deed. i can still see his face.

many years later, i worked in a downtown area. there tend to be a following of homeless near parks, water fountains and walking malls. they reap the benefit in the wee hours of the night, taking cat naps, bird baths and eating the unadulterated leftovers of local businesses. i always saw the same guy as i pulled into the parking structure. he was on his way to somewhere unknown from somewhere unknown. once he came into the hotel where i worked. a frequent problem with a public restroom. he came to the front desk and asked if he could use the restroom. because i had seem him so often, i simply explained:

“i’m not allowed to let you do that. however, i know that you are homeless. if you go use the restroom, handle your business and leave quietly without incident, i will allow it. you can’t come back. you can’t harass my coworkers and you cannot act up. just go and leave it at that, ok? or we’ll both be in trouble”

he nodded. he disappeared into the men’s room and a moment or so later he resurfaced. as he left the premises he waved very low and nodded once again. eventually i left that hotel but still worked in the area. i continued to see him. always in the same clothes. i found myself wondering about him one evening and i decided to do something to help. i contacted a friend who was about the same size as the man. i asked for his “good will” clothing and he gave. i had several days worth of clothing and some winter items. i thought ahead and found something for him to carry the items in. i even raided the cabinets and found some personal hygiene items to include with my care package. i went to work early the next day and when i saw him i honked. i waved to him to follow me as i parked my car. he was very apprehensive. he seemed almost scared. i waved him towards me and assured him that he was not in trouble, that i just had something i wanted to give him. i opened the trunk of my car, pulled the old backpack full of clothes from it and handed it to him. his face went from skeptical to surprised. i just blurted out:

“i packed you some clothes. i don’t know if they’re the right size or not, but they are men’s clothes and there’s a belt too. i didn’t bring any underthings for obvious reasons, but i did include some hygiene products in the pocket in the front. i hope this helps you out some.”

i held my hand out and he seemed even more surprised. yes, i wanted to shake his hand. i didn’t know if he was sick, contagious or terminal. i had no idea when he had his last meal, bath or hug. but he seemed genuine to me. he seemed like a guy who needed some help. he wiped his hand on his jacket profusely and tried to refuse me but i stood firm. he finally reached out and we shook hands.

“why? why did you do this for me?”

“you need help, right? i was able to help and so i did. is that ok?”

“yes. thank you. i don’t even know what else to say.”

“thank you is enough. i hope it helps.”

he backed away slowly, slightly smiling. i could tell that it had been a while since anyone had touched him. not a kiss, not a hug, not a hand shake. i wondered why. i wondered if he was homeless because life fell out from under him or if he was homeless because he fell out from under his life. i decided that it didn’t matter as far as i was concerned. he needed help and i was able to do something about it. my part was done. whenever he saw me after that, he always waved. his eyes always said “thank you. thank you so much” even though he never uttered a word. soon, i no longer worked in that area, and i have never seen him again. i can still see his face too.

there haven’t been too many more occasions since then that i have given anything away. mostly because i have needed it myself. my grandmother taught me well. she told me to be kind and to be generous but not to put myself out to help another.

“don’t lend money (or anything else for that matter) unless you can do without that money forever. sometimes people need things but they never know when they can pay it back. if you need it, don’t give it. if you can do without it, then go ahead.”

there has always been a homeless population here in california. they stand out from the rest for obvious reasons. now, don’t get all sensitive about it and think that i’m looking down on them. i’m not. you should know that by now. but back to what i was saying…the homeless population has always looked… well, homeless. perhaps unkempt, needing a bath, a shave, a haircut, some clothes, shoes and a new attitude. they used to loiter outside of small businesses asking for “spare change”. over the years they have come into a whole new way of conducting their business. they moved from the small business entrances to the freeway off ramps with “will work for food” signs written on cardboard. their desire to work seemed more than debatable and eventually they seemed to realize this too. soon the signs changed to more thought-provoking quips like “vietnam vet. homeless. god bless” or my personal favorite “why lie? i need beer.” i recently saw a young woman with a sign stating “homeless. pregnant. don’t judge me.” sadly, it is at this time that i have to hold on to what i have and am unable to be as generous as i once was.

i lived in hawaii for a couple of years and it was an amazing time. one of the most outstanding memories to me was a guy known as “Mango Man” (amazing what you can Google!). he was homeless, or supposedly homeless, but I saw him all over the island. and i mean all over. from one side to the other, by the mall, by the beach, everywhere. he looked to be in his forties and he had one huge dreadlock that appeared to act as a sleeping bag. it was almost as wide as his shoulders and hung down to his knees. it was wide and flat. during my time there, we always waved to him. we always shouted “Mangooooo Maaaaaaan” and threw up a “shaka brah” and he always waved back. not once did he ask me for anything. not a dime. in fact, the homeless population as a whole was different from anything that i had known before. i don’t recall ever being asked for anything, seeing a “will work for food” sign or harassed for “spare change” at any point in my time there.

i have given my fair share of spare change, shared a meal, bought a meal and donated clothes and time to help those in need. i feel that all of this has been possible because of my empathy. if given the opportunity, i will talk to those in need in an attempt to hear their story. everyone has a story and everyone wants to be heard. some people have exhausted every other option and others have turned them all away. i think we all deserve a chance. sometimes a second, third or fourth chance. i understand that occasionally someone is completely undeserving. but more than that, i understand that sometimes it’s just too hard to reach out. it’s painful to even think about being scowled at, yelled at, denied or mocked. and it is those times that i extend my hand and my ear in hopes that just listening will renew their spirit, give them hope and show them that it’s not over.

circumstances and boundaries in my life have changed. i’ve moved a few times, changed jobs a few times and become a mother. my surplus of spare change, spare food and spare clothes has dwindled down to necessities for myself and my son. i have moved my empathy from those abroad to those closer to home. i try to do a little more for my family and friends because they have done for me and continue to do for me. my empathy is strong, but i don’t let it consume me or bring me down. i use it to fuel me into being there for the people who have been there for me. i use it to be a better me. “tis better to give than to receive”, yes?