Dear 100 Hour Board,
What's a way you've been blessed recently?
Weirdly enough, I was blessed that my ultrasound last week actually showed that I have gallstones.
I've been having a lot of issues lately that my primary care doctor attributed to my gallbladder, and the surgeon I was referred to essentially just said it was post-pregnancy problems. I definitely didn't agree with him, so I was glad to find out that I wasn't crazy and that despite the trouble, I'm getting my gallbladder removed sooner rather than later. It also means I don't have to try to figure out what the heck is wrong with me if it wasn't my gallbladder.
Dear Good vibes,
Since I stopped going to church back in 2009 I haven't used the word "blessed." It makes me break out in Seriously, So Blessed hives. Hives named TAMN.
I have, however, had a lot of positive things happen this year, because of luck, people I love, and myself. My best friend, Unlucky Stuntman, scooped me up out of a bad situation last summer. I live with her in Portland now. I did some intensive mental health treatment and got a correct diagnosis, which means that therapy is actually helping now, after I started having symptoms 18 years ago and first got treatment almost 11 years ago. Stuntman has been unbelievable, my therapist is great, and I have worked my voluptuous keister off. I am blown away to have people who are willing to help me the way I have been helped to make some steps forward possible.
- The Black Sheep
Probably the best spiritual blessing was meeting my boyfriend. It's funny because on our first date, he mentioned that he had just won a gift card for a Star Wars t-shirt contest at the movies for his Starry Night Stormtrooper shirt, and I felt a spark instantly because a) Starry Night and b) I own the exact same shirt (which Auto Surf gave to me for my birthday, actually). Later, when visiting his home, he also had a giant Starry Night poster hanging above his bed and told me about how much he admired Neil Hilborn, who's been one of my heroes since I was a teenager. I don't know that I believe in fate, but Van Gogh's work has never led me astray so far. And in this case, it led me to an amazing place and an even more amazing person.
We've been together for almost five months now, and I've fallen for him a little more each day from that first date onward. He's one of the strongest and kindest people I've met, and I look up to his ability to see the good in people and situations rather than let negativity overcome him, even when it'd be easy to do so. He's compassionate, hilarious, and just plain adorkable—and with an artistic eye that I both respect and admire. He makes me want to be a better person and, with him by my side, I believe that I can be. It's the peace while praying and the contentment he's given my life that suggests to me that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. Life is hard at times, but meeting him has shown me that sometimes, hardships lead us to where we're meant to be.
Dear Buena Onda,
I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have made some amazing new friends these last few months. I'm constantly learning things from my friends and we're almost always laughing. I literally don't know what I'd do without all my friends.
Dear Good Vibes,
I discovered about 8 months ago that it was literally impossible to live in proximity to the school I teach at and also support my family. We bought the cheapest house possible in our new city, decreased our spending to bare essentials, and we were still losing money each month. At some point, it became clear that I had to get a second job to supplement our income until my salary increases a little bit. I got an hourly job unloading trucks at night and it is the best possible job I could have gotten. The hours are perfect: 7-11pm on weeknights which means I can still eat dinner with my family and it doesn't keep me up so late that I can't also get up in the morning to teach. Also, I never ever work weekends so I can spend Saturday and Sunday with my wife and kids. Also, one of my coworkers has become one of my closest friends. He also has a contact at a company that I've always wanted to work for. In the event that I need to quit teaching forever (a likely possibility at this point considering my financial situation), I have a very good chance of getting hired at an excellent company doing work that I would love.
I firmly believe that this set of situations has been provided for me by God. During these last 8 months, this situation has changed me for the better. I have a better relationship with my wife, a more secure financial situation, and a second job that lets me keep at least the root of the things that are my reason for doing all of it in the first place.
The Man with a Mustache
I got a hot wife named Vienna.
Dear Good ~
In January I went on a girls' trip to Nicaragua. It was easily the best thing that has happened to me in years. (Kids are excluded here, because they are people, not things.) I won't get into details here, but suffice it to say that I came home determined to change, and in process of birthing a New [Dragon Lady]. (Fill that in with my real name, and it has a much better ring.) Part of that change included trashing, DIing, and selling many things. (To be fair, that started before the girls' trip, but it was increased drastically after. Another part of that change was simplifying my time. I said no to things. I picked and chose what I wanted to spend my time doing. I got a vacuum bot and kickstarted my housekeeping skills (which was helped along big time by my drastically reduced clutter). I became more brave. I allowed myself to embrace new things. I stopped caring (as much) about The Right Police. It was incredibly freeing, reduced much (not all) of my anxiety, and allowed me to serve more. All of this was a HUGE blessing in my life. Especially following the darkest depression I've ever felt a year or two previous.
But all of that allowed me to easily offer my home up to a family of 6, and good friends, when they had to flee Nicaragua (where they were expats) unexpectedly due to political unrest and found themselves homeless for the summer. Having 7 kids aged 3-8 in my house hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't change it. I have been able to serve in ways I'd never have been able to. (Yellow has called it "super ministering.") They have served us in many ways. Our kids have built much deeper friendships. Our kids have had new kinds of conflict resolution training. (Which, while hard in the moment, will be good for them in the long run.) I have learned new parenting tools for my tool belt. We have live-in board game playing friends. (Though we don't play as much as we would have expected or hoped.) I sleep in without guilt because she is a morning person and makes breakfast. He bought a truck, so my big junk items have finally been taken to the dump. Despite 7 kids, we still clean our main floor every single night so our vacuum bot can run. I have someone to meal plan, shop, and cook with. I can take a nap in the middle of the day with kids home and not worry about them doing stupid things without supervision. I can volunteer at the school without taking my younger kids.
In a nutshell, there are two major categories I have been blessed recently: Discovering New [Dragon Lady] and living with my best friend, while helping her family in their time of need.
~ Dragon Lady
I've been working night shift in the ICU for the last week, which is a real bummer. But on the plus side, it meant I was actually awake to watch the Royal Wedding! Gawking over the beautiful dresses and flowers and music was a blessing compared with watching people throw up blood, which is how I spent the rest of my night.
I moved into a new apartment that is beyond beautiful. My brothers and two of my best friends live next door. The space has allowed me to cook dinner for my sister-in-law for Mother's Day. I've had a bit of a self-awareness moment that my friends have met with encouragement and affirmation. I have quiet time now that school is out.
Dear Good Vibes,
I'm not sure if this qualifies as a blessing, but can I share my favorite experience from my current job?
Part of my role involves dealing with angry guests who are escalated to me. Sometimes they're angry about the most ridiculous things. Sometimes they're legitimately crazy, and I'm not sure if that was the case with this particular guest, or if maybe it was a prank.
But the guest wanted to complain about, and I quote, "that damn mouse." So I start speaking with him, and he tells me he was visiting the park last week, and decided to take his children to meet Mickey Mouse. Everything was going swimmingly, until the guest turned away for a brief moment.
When the guest turned back, he claims Mickey had dragged his child into a nearby fountain and was busy pouring coconut oil all over him. Naturally the guest was flummoxed, because upon getting ahold of his child again, Goofy joined Mickey in the fountain. Goofy and Mickey then proceeded to take each other's pants off, while a crowd formed and started chanting "Nibbler!" Then Snow White walked by with the 7 dwarves and was so shocked that she immediately started weeping.
The guest sounded legitimately upset, and said his children were traumatized, so that's the kind of fun situation I get to apologize for. It's maybe not a true blessing, but oh boy is it the most entertaining guest interaction I've ever had.