friendship, giving

Lucky or Unlucky

Was it a lucky book?

Was it an unlucky wooden book?

Perfectly sized to fit the most amazing surprise. A neatly crafted wooden delight. A treasure chest of sorts. A wooden book filled with 50 cash surprises. Scratch. Scream. Sigh. Giggle. The battle of numbers is on. Will there be any winners? Will there be a big winner? Will there be disappointment or celebration? Time will tell. Take a look inside my treasure filled box.

I am in the processes of scratching off 50 scratch cards in honor of my 50th birthday. Such a fun and creative gift I received today.

The lucky number 8 struck after a few duds. Eights across the board as if I hit the jackpot on a slot machine. To my surprise it was just a one dollar win but multiplied by five makes it a whopping $5.00 win. For now I will pause on a high and begin my scratching again later when I may feel a little luckier.

Here I am again. The original scratch yielded $2.00. The second scratch off added $5.00 in wins. Will I make it over the initial investment at the end of the scratching? The shavings pile on the floor is adding up. The next round of scratching was a good one. Five singles doubled for $10.00. Then the next one has a wild card for instant win of $20. Rounding out the total to $37.00. Will I get over $50.00?

I have made it into the positive. Sitting at $55 with a few more scratches to go. My arm is a little cranky from scratching but it’s been a good time passer. Finally I sat down for the last few scratches just after 9pm. I had to move to a butter knife for scratching as my coin seemed worn out. I was hoping for a big win but ended up with just another dollar.

50 cards. $56.00 in winnings. Net result is positive $6.00. Nothing major but it showed me winning is possible even though I don’t make a habit of buying scratch offs unless it’s a holiday or I’m giving a gift of some kind.

Today I decided to pay it forward and bought the meal for a cute elderly couple at a local breakfast shop: 91 and 85 years young the couple was. I made them smile as they did me. My winnings were passed on today. Kindness and karma go hand in hand. I am thankful for my life, my friends and my good fortune. Never lose sight of how valuable it can be to pay it forward in some way.

Lucky or unlucky was the title of this post. This was of course referring to the scratch offs, however over the course of the day I really got a chance to see and feel how lucky I am every day as I sat back and enjoyed a day with some great friends.

Feeling lucky is how I choose to wrap up this post. Until next time….

awareness

The Chance Encounter

I met a girl.

Her name was Val for short.

Life had her down on her luck.

Valentine was sad. Mascara running down her face from her bloodshot eyes. Disheveled attire. Jittery all around. I could see her emotional pain from head to toe.

She spilled some of her story. Sad to hear. She was ready for a fresh start. Fate brought us together. A chance interaction.

I listened. I didn’t pass judgment. I passed a smile or two. I thought about my recent journal entry I wrote challenging myself to meet new people this summer. I did just that. A chance encounter. As random as it gets. I made conversation. I listened. I learned.

Today I thought about my chance encounter when I sweated a heart at the gym. Made me reflect on Valentine. Hoping her days ahead were going to be on the upswing. May sound corny but I took the sweaty heart as a sign that our paths were meant to cross on a chance encounter. As random as the heart on my shirt made from sweat.

Before the final proof read on this post, I had another chance encounter. I was making a purchase off an online marketplace. I met a cool dude. His name was Eric. He had a husband. He collected interesting items. One of which I wanted!  An old timey outhouse. I’ve been fascinated with having an outhouse for yard art. I’ve been waiting for the best looking yet vintage one I could find.

Can’t wait to put it to use. To think my chance encounter led me straight to the crapper. What are the odds?

I love meeting new people. Hearing their stories. Living my best life includes chance encounters. Loving my day today and the randomness it involved. 

awareness, perspective

Struggles

Everyone has struggles in life. Some dwell on them while other move past them. Sometimes struggles are magnified and lead to homelessness. Maybe not any one reason gets that person to such a state but there is a homeless population.

Some have drug and alcohol riddled backgrounds. Others may have some bad luck and financial woes. There may even be criminals lurking to hide out. Whatever the case they are human beings living through a struggle of life.

This past week I visited a homeless shelter. It was a big one and I came around the time where many were loitering outside in the cold. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was a dressed in business attire for my work- related visit. How I felt the pit in my stomach as I strutted by those not as fortunate as me.

I heard comments about my shoes, my jacket and so on. It was a humbling experience before I even got in the door. Once I got in the building I had to clear the metal detector and other safety measures. Something I didn’t even think was needed but that shows you how naive I am.

The lobby was full of a diverse group of people. I could share my mental picture in this post however I’m opting to keep it to myself as I think many need to experience a visit for themselves to appreciate what they have and offer kindness to others.

I was escorted to the second floor on this day. I was meeting with 50 men working to better themselves through a residential program. Each had their own stories and struggles that they will soon overcome. Each was blessed to be in the program. Each was making strides today for a better tomorrow.

It was a great experience. I met some people who may not have otherwise crossed my path. My experience gave me many things to think about.

How many will graduate the program?

How many will relapse?

How many will end up in jail?

How many will not live to tell their story?

How many will help others?

How many people don’t ever get the chance to spend time with people who are trying to better themselves, to go from hopeless to hopeful? 

I will never know the answers to these questions. What I will know is I worked to improve communities today. I was kind. I extended an olive branch to others. I provide valuable information to others and my hope is that at just one received my message. The point of this post is just one. Just one person can make a difference. Just one person impacted can then make another difference. The domino effect impacts positive change. Positive actions are free. We all have the ability to offer hope and kindness to others less fortunate than us.

Never lose sight of who you are, where you came from, your life struggles and how you can impact others. I share my story today to help anyone near or far who needs hope. 

perspective

Bird Poop

Birds fly by, zoom zoom. Nobody cares. General flights of birds cause no harm to humans. Life goes on for many.

Birds fly by and poop on your car and people get annoyed. It’s gross. You have to clean it and some times it’s just overly nasty. Again, life goes on.

Birds fly by and one launches a missile of turd on you, a human. Gross is not the word that comes to mind. It’s more like a shriek, eww, nasty and so many more words. A wet splatter. A solid turd. All combined in white, black, yellow coloring. Do you think they say ready, set, aim? Do they think the world below is a modern day potty?

I heard it’s good luck to be shit on by bird. I guess only time will tell if luck is on my side. I will tell you however that a bird shitting on you doesn’t feel good.

It’s wet. It’s dirty. It’s gooey. It’s just down right gross. I’m sparing you a picture on this one but felt it was important to share the rarity of being shit on by a bird.

I guess we have all been shit on by a human at some point in life and that is most likely more long-term suffering than a quick splat that is gone as soon as you cleanse the area.

Do you think birds carry corona? Just a random share on this hump day.

perspective

Showing Up without Showing Up

It has been a strange few weeks, to say the least.  We’ve switched from going about our busy lives barely knowing the word coronavirus around St. Patrick’s Day to a shelter-in-place order which started a few days ago in my home state. There have already been all kinds of twists and turns on this road, from learning how to do work and school from home, radically changing the structure and service model of my husband’s business, watching events we were looking forward to fall off the schedule and more.

At this point, my family is pretty lucky.  I still have a reliable income for the time being.  We have food, water, shelter, basic necessities and our health appears to be good.  Sure, there are the bumps and bruises that come with radical change but nothing insurmountable.  I can still go outside and exercise.  I can text or talk with friends using technology. All in all, right now things are sort of annoying and inconvenient (when I’m not anxious about the big picture), but overall we are ok. At this point, we are not forced to make the kinds of heroic sacrifices as those in healthcare or in public service positions are.  It could definitely be harder than it is.

I think the first gut punch I felt from this coronavirus quasi-quarantine experience came when a friend’s dad passed away last week.  At that stage, going out and about was already questionable, and groups of more than ten were not happening. Then, a couple of days ago, I learned that a co-worker’s husband unexpectedly passed away. By this point in the corona cycle, 2 funeral had been identified as events that spread coronavirus in a relatively rural community in Georgia, leading to many serious illnesses and deaths. So attending my co-worker’s family’s funeral to support her husband would, again, not happen.

Instead of going to pay my respects, I sent cards and texts and tried to support from a distance.

Honestly, it felt inadequate.  Disappointing.  And it made me mad.  Technology is great, for sure, but there are some things that you need to show up for as a friend and as a support. Like, physically show up for. I grew up Catholic and my dad taught me the seven corporal works of mercy, the last of which is to bury the dead.  When we cannot gather to express our sorrow, our comfort, our support, to just bear witness, what is lost? I heard about people doing Zoom funerals and I just shake my head.  I suppose it is something but it hurts my heart. It’s an extra layer of loss. So many emotions.

Other possible struggles are on the horizon.  Friends and family who have special birthdays coming up in the next week.  How do we celebrate them while adhering to health and safety guidelines?  Easter is next weekend.  What will our holiday look like, since our huge family egg hunt and crepe celebration really can’t happen?

I don’t have answers for these questions.  It is a very strange time.  While technology is great, there are some things that it can’t replace. All of this ties in to the concerns both of the chicks have shared about mental health at this time. I’m sure more will come up as time wears on. How do we show up for people when we can’t physically show up for them? It’s something I am puzzling over in this hard season. How have you been able to remain connected?  Are there any other life events that we need to do now that technology just can’t replace?

As much as I hear our country’s leaders talk about the “pent up demand” for goods and services brought on by the quarantine, I predict an even larger pent up demand for people.  For presence.  For connection.  For contact.  For togetherness.