Sunday, February 26, 2012

On Compassion

When we moved out to Western Albemarle about two years ago, I was most excited about having my own four walls.  We were buying a house with its very own garage, driveway, and fenced backyard.  It was so freeing and exciting to come home to something that was ours.

What I didn't fully realize was that we were moving into a real neighborhood, a community.  Even though nobody shares walls or addresses, people are invested in others.  They reach out and say hello.  They offer to help.  They share in life's celebrations and misfortunes.  They invite others to participate in community events.  When we lived in our townhouse, I don't think we even knew the names of the people that we shared walls, staircases, and parking spaces with.

Today, a fire nearly destroyed a family's home in our neighborhood.  Thankfully, nobody was injured but their two cats didn't survive.  From the minute the fire trucks arrived, neighbors were on e-mail asking for donations and arranging help for the family in need.  Jeff and I donated some of our emergency cash to the family, people we don't know and haven't met, because we knew that our community would do the same for us.  When I dropped off the donation there were 3 other families there doing the same thing; giving cash and toiletries and offering their own homes as a place of refuge.  It truly warms my heart that there are such selfless and caring people living around us.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Looking Back, Moving Forward

I was fortunate enough to go to college knowing what I wanted to do with my life before I walked on to campus.  I enjoyed my classes and received scholarships and recognition.  I got a masters degree in the field and got a job straight out of college.  It's what I've wanted to do since Career Day in 8th grade.  It's part of how I define myself.  It's a profession I've dreamed about for years.  

Said profession is nothing like I hoped and dreamed it would be.  It is a constant battle with others and no one wins.  I've changed my attitude, approach, physical location, and co-workers.  I'm exhausted.  Drained.  My self respect is a shadow of it's former self.  My emotional well-being was at a breaking point two weeks ago and I took a hiatus from work to pick up my torn, mangled self from the bad, bad place I was headed.  

I didn't use my 11 days as a time to craft, be a lady who lunches, or clean every closet and drawer in the house.  For a few days I simply existed and tried to remember that my life consists of more than how my job makes me feel.  I didn't really "enjoy" my time off the way I would have liked to, but I really needed time and space to reevaluate what I'm doing here on this Earth, in this place.  I mourned the profession I thought I loved.  I vowed to not let it continue to treat me the way it has been.  There are things that are far more important than what I do from 9-5 everyday.

I spent a lot of time with these fuzzy faces whose lives I envy a little.  They love without limits.  They find joy in the littlest things.  They forgive easily and forget quickly.  

When I return to work tomorrow I hope I can remember that my job is not the overflowing bucket of dreams I once thought it was.  It's a job and I can make it until June.  

I'm not sure if my husband told me this, but I think it rings true...

"Your job is not your life.  You have a job so you can make a life."

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Labor of Love

For Jeff's birthday, I decided I was going to make him a quilt.  And just a side note, I got my first sewing machine for Christmas a month ago.  Ambitious, eh?  More like crazy.  I hoped that I would have some quilting in my blood since my grandmother made some beautiful quilts for me when I was younger.  With some patience, tears, a seam ripper, and necessary breaks so I didn't end up throwing it out (um, like the dishtowel with the semi-attached pompoms that I gave up on), I did it.  I used this Amy Butler free pattern because it seemed easy enough for a novice. 

All of my mess-ups with cutting crooked, funky measuring, and sewing wavy lines ended up being fine at the end.  I did almost lose it when I basted the quilt and put the backing on the wrong way.  Tip:  Re-read that part in the pattern a few times before doing it.

 Jeff was very appreciative and proud of me for actually finishing my project.  I'm glad he likes it!

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