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Twenty years ago I learned a veritable tome of lessons, some of which I’m just learning now, and it seems unbelievable to me that I can look back at anything in my life knowing it happened twenty years ago.  My mom taught me a lot about life while she was alive, and I’ve mentioned that before.  She taught me compassion, strength, and determination.  She taught me to seek adventure and levity in everything, to make people laugh whenever you can, and to live and love with all your heart no matter how scary the world feels.  She taught me to trust my instinct and eschew advice that doesn’t feel right.  She taught me to be myself.

What my mother’s death taught me was open honesty.  You never know when the last time you say “I love you” or “good morning” or “good night” will be the last.  It’s made me vulnerable at times, and I’ve had to learn to accept when it’s not reciprocated, but hey, another lesson, right?

But you see, it also taught me some less than positive lessons.  At twelve years old I was already well aware that I was different.  I didn’t have many friends, my anxiety and depression were already in full swing, and I’d already thought about suicide more times than I can remember now.  I needed help, and I was constantly told I was wrong, broken, or worse…that I was fine.  I was fat, I was slow, and I was constantly missing the mark.  At twelve I had already had at least one nervous breakdown, I was scared of losing everyone I loved, and I had been proven correct.  At twelve I discovered my intuition and empathy in the worst way, and I hated it, so at twelve I learned to hide.  I learned to expect the worst.  I learned to expect to be alone.  I learned that change is terrifying.  I learned to build walls, and forgot all those lessons about love and life and laughter.

When I started the Power of One it was immediately pointed out to me that when I’m uncomfortable or anxious I smile.  It’s a skill I developed at a very young age, but I imagine I perfected it at my mother’s funeral.  Since then it became a crutch I used to get me through parts of my life I felt I could not navigate, and it began to cloud the genuine me.  I’ve been lucky enough to have people in my life who could see through the fog and find that genuine me, but for most of my life I haven’t been able to see her myself.  I’ve merely been relying on the testaments of others who tell me they see her, like a fairy tale buried deep inside me.  As the lessons from my mother started to actually take root and as my intuition and empathy refused to be ignored, life got harder, and the more I stayed inside my walls the more the fires outside tried to cook me out. I tried to let myself be vulnerable…to the wrong people at the wrong times.  I tried to be happy…all the time, and ended up holding in the pain and sadness until I couldn’t, resulting in some pretty spectacular meltdowns.   I tried to be strong and independent…and all I did was feel more like a failure.

In the year since I seriously started putting effort into my transformation, I’ve worked on being open without being overbearing, happy without using it to cover up when I’m not, and to know when I can be strong alone and when I need to reach out for help. Not all has gone according to plan, but if my mom’s death taught me none of this other bullshit, it taught me that life doesn’t care about your plans, and unpredictability brings as much serendipity as it does tragedy, and the only control I really have is how I choose to react to it, process it, and move on with my life.    Losing my mother was not the first tragedy I’d faced in my life, but it was the first one I felt like I was facing alone.  The truth is, every situation we face in life we face alone, even if we have the strongest support system on earth, because we’re the only ones who can do the internal work it takes for real survival…and real living.


Love you, Mom.  Thanks for still teaching me.  after all these years.


Go now, keep learning..keep living….


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Yesterday was Beltane, and I didn’t have sex once. In fact, I turned it down for physical reasons. Later that day an acquaintance posted how hard Beltane was for those who are single or otherwise unable to have sex, and I realized just how many people miss the point. Yes, the lore of Beltane centers around sex, but like any lore, there are layers and layers of meaning, and no one meaning is correct. I’ve always had issues with events that center around kink and sex in relation to Beltane, because I feel like so much is lost in the need to free the libertine, especially in a group setting.
Let’s step back a moment, and I’ll tell you a story.

Two years ago I started running. My first focus was consistency. Making it happen on a regular basis was a struggle, but last year I began to focus on theat first mile. How was it improving as i went? How was I feeling after each new time landmark? Was I keeping that time and endurance consistent? Last week I hit a pretty big deviation in my mile. It wanted more. Not just faster, but it wanted more….something. Today I threw it all off course. Instead of the straight timed distance run, and int he spirit of the season, I chose a multilevel course on the elliptical that mimics a run through a state park. Despite the extra complexity, it shaved a noticeable chunk of time off my first mile, and an internal check begged me to keep going. By the time i was done with the second mile I was ready for more. Unfortunately I had more to accomplish today, but the energy raised by that second mile was powerful.
So, back to Beltane. Yesterday I recognized the energy of the season manifesting differently. There were primal urges, yes, but there was so much more beneath it. You see, Beltane isn’t about what fuels us, it’s about the spark that ignites us to push to heights we didn’t know we were capable of. It takes us out of a comfort zone and tell us to quit limiting ourselves to what we think we’re ready for. It reminds us we are beings of powerful energy and awe inspiring abilities. That we can make change and manifest our lives in ways even we can’t imagine yet. Yes, many people find that inspiration and raw power in sex, because it’s one of the most primal ways we have of letting go and letting our real power surge inside us. Sex makes us, for an instant, a different being all together. It allows us to step outside of our physical existence and experience the world around us, the universe, and yes, other humans, in ways the body cannot.
So no, this Beltane I didn’t have sex once…..but the spark of Beltane was very much alive inside me.


Go now, feel the spark.

In a recent post I mentioned briefly the adjustments I’ve been making in my relationships to conquer the distance inherently put between me and my partners by my job.  I’ve always held a strong position against long distance relationships.  I rely heavily upon touch and face to face interaction to ground me in a relationship and give me a sense of stability and connection, and I havent never seen that possible in a situation where I don’t see a partner more than once a month, but with the commute I make for my job I’m finding more and more that even my marriage has similarities to a long distance relationship.

At first I fought it.  Adjusting to the commute and unusual schedule was hard enough without taking into account what might be happening at home.  In turn, Hubby sought solace in his tangible life and partners he could reach out to and began to suppress fears that I was on the slow road to leaving him, and our life together far behind.  The next step in the downward spiral was a deep depression caused by feelings that I was gradually being erased from my own family.  I considered leaving.  Unable to voice this feeling properly, I only validated Hubby’s suspicions, and the unraveling began, leaving us both feeling alienated and alone.

The solutions seemed bleak.  We either had to accept that this was our life now or end it, and neither of us was willing to accept either option.  Hubby’s approach was to demand things.  My time.  Phone calls.  All my plans and commitments at home would have to be cancelled to spend time with him.  I felt exhausted, smothered, and stretched too thin, and I lashed out, suddenly understanding why trained tigers might eventually eat their owners.  I felt helpless.

Then something happened.  I started texting him every day.  I didn’t have the hour or five a day he would have liked to have phone calls, and there was nothing I could do about the frequency with which I had to end such conversations abruptly because of my schedule, but he started to realize just now much I think of him when I’m not around.

A transformation began.  He became easier to talk to.  We exhumed inside jokes that had lost their sheen in the midst of our fighting and developed new ones.  Suddenly I felt like there wouldn’t be an exhausting battle every time we spoke, so I started putting him on speaker phone while I readied myself for work.  In short, I got my best friend back.

Other relationships were not so lucky.  After months of not knowing how to fix it, Ralph and I decided we could only survive in each other’s lives as friends.  Other tentative relationships came to similar fates, while the ones that were able to find a way to reconnect in new way thrived.  This.  This is where I began to see where the strength was in myself and in my partners.

Since this experience, each new relationship has been a valuable learning experience in communication and bonding.  Things that are important to me have had to be compromised while new needs have emerged in order to gain the stability I need to be a happy, sane, openly loving wife, partner, and even friend in some cases.  It hasn’t been easy, and at times I feel like these new endeavours are an emotional game of chutes and ladders, but it’s forced me to take  second look and only spend that energy on someone I feel deserves that kind of time and energy.

I’m still not sure what my stance is on long distance relationships.  The impulse is to have more partners to cover the lonely times, but even people I don’t see regularly take the same amount of resources, and I know all too well the effects of polysaturation.  Instead, I’m learning to find what works with each partner, and to give myself some of that energy as well.  We’ll explore that concept a little bit more later.


Go now, reconnect.

There’s a point where you make a decision.  There’s a point where the only thing left to do is move forward and act on that decision.  There’s a point where you know it’s not quite the time yet, and all you can do is stand there like a horse at a starting gate.  This, friends, is where I find myself today.  I’ve been through all the doubts and fears.  I’ve been through all the options and best courses of action.  I’ve deliberated and debated, and the only thing there is to do now is throw it all out there and let life sort it out trusting in the guidance I’ve been given.  All I can do, however, is wait.

Patience, as I’ve mentioned before, is not really a virtue I possess, but right this moment I am my own lesson.  If I jump the gun I lose before I even have a chance.  If I wait too long I lose by the nature of the race.  If I trust the strategy of the game I have a chance, but that requires me to be still.  Patience is not merely waiting; it’s listening and paying attention to the cues and behaviour of the environment around me.  It means being quiet.  It means being focused.  It means freezing everything else around me and being…patient.


Go now, smirk at the visual pun.



Someone told me once that polyamory is not for a hopeless romantic like myself.  While I don’t completely agree, I do see where the sentiment comes from.  When things are falling into place polyamory is a great environment for a romantic like myself, but this is real life, and where there are glitches in any relationship there are exponential glitches in a poly situation.

The images and definitions you get when you look up “Polyamory” on Google look like a lot of fun, but none of them quite grasp what it takes to keep the wheels turning.  A Corvette is beautiful, but if the engine stops all you’ve got is a pretty piece of yard art.  Here’s a look under the hood.

Polyamory means:

Being a tribe, not a room full of chiefs.  We are a family of strong-willed, smart, leaders, but working as a team means each of us giving up a little control to support the whole.  There may be areas where I’m a little more experienced or have better solutions, but working together means not trying to dominate every aspect of our lives together.  It also means listening and forming ideas together, using the collective brain to fix problems and make plans, and not being too proud to step back and let someone else take the wheel.

Being a Time Lord.  If none of us had jobs or lives outside of this family time would never be an issue,  Fortunately, we are all more well-rounded than that.  This means there’s a lot to keep track of.  Not only do my plans have to consider my busy schedule, but Hubby’s and A’s as well, which ripples into their extended circles and those schedules.  Sometimes it feels like all of our time together is spent figuring out when we all have time to have more time together.  The answer?  Every poly family needs a blue police box. Or Google Calendar.

Being comfortable alone and in a group.  By the very nature of poly we are a large family.  This means a lot time spent as a group, which can be daunting for a hermit.  On the flip side, there will be times when everyone else is busy.  This alone time can be healthy.  It’s integral to me that I not let my whole self be absorbed by the collective.  I need to own my identity, which means learning to appreciate and utilize my rare alone time as much as I appreciate and utilize my intimate one-on-one and family time.

Being a communicator and a listener.  When I get nervous, frustrated, tired, anxious, or uncomfortable I talk.  When I feel overwhelmed, out-of-place, stupid, wounded, or slighted I get quiet.  This talking and not-talking, however, does not equate to communicating well or listening, and that’s something I have to remind myself constantly.  In groups, or when we feel like we’re losing something, we tend to speak however we think people will hear us.  Oftentimes we are more concerned about having a chance to make our points heard that we merely sit and wait to talk instead of actually listening to the person talking.  This doesn’t get anyone anywhere.  It just creates more chaos and heightened emotions.

Being an adult who can act like a kid.  Let’s face it, we take ourselves to seriously.  We are all professionals, parents, activists, anachronists, writers, and intellectuals.  It’s all very serious business, but we can easily lose track of the fact that we started doing a lot of these things because we enjoy them, and this leads us to take life and ourselves too seriously.  With all that rigidity something is bound to snap.  Sometimes it’s just as important to let loose and be ridiculous.  Alone, together, as couples, it’s all an important part of the bonding experience and, in my opinion, one of the secrets of life.

Being able to get off your own rollercoaster to help someone ride his/hers.  There’s a meme going around that says “Everyone is going through something,” and it’s true.  Whether good, bad, or just plain important, everyone has something happening.  In a poly family you tend to have a lot of this happening at once.  I may be starting a great new relationship, but Hubby might be having a rough time with one ending.  It is important that we each not get so wrapped up in our own feelings that we disregard the other’s.  I can be supportive of him without ignoring or trivializing my NRE (new relationship energy), and he can be happy for me while still processing his grief.  It just takes both of us being able to emotionally multitask.

Being open and optimistic.  We live in a society that teaches us to learn from our mistakes, which can be great, but sometimes taken out of context.  In poly we trend to forget that real relationship snags happen.  Just because we’re both poly doesn’t mean we’re compatible.  Just because the last guy with those stats was a jerk doesn’t mean this one will be, unless the stat says “jerk”. Poly requires an open, fresh heart every time we enter a new relationship no matter what happened “last time”. This can be one of the hardest lessons in love, the ability to let go and move on without forming a whole new litany of issues.  When I found Hubby I was overjoyed to never have to go through the dating process again, and dating as a poly woman can be discouraging and frustrating.  I encounter people who just want sex, people who think they don’t have to treat me like a real girlfriend because I’m married, and people who use me as a fill-in until what they’re looking for comes along because they think I shouldn’t require any commitment beyond now.  Add all this to the normal dating mishaps, and it’s a wonder anyone falls into place, but it’s a beautiful thing when it happens, and it will only happen if we stay open to the possibility.

Being a romantic realist.  I love surprises.  I love coordinating surprises.  I love sweet moments and little things to make those I love smile knowing they are loved.  I love surrounding myself with people who find creative little ways to do the same for me.  This is where polyamory is perfect for my inner romantic. It’s also the part of me that gets disappointed and a little pouty when we have to accept that sometimes things happen.  Intimate moments are interrupted.  Time is hectic.  This year Hubby and A went on a trip the weekend before our first wedding anniversary.  I agreed to it.  They needed the time.  We never got to do anything special for our anniversary.  Life took over, and we just never had time.  The romantic in me screamed and stomped, but the realist in me had to accept it knowing it wasn’t the last anniversary we’ll ever spend together.

Being able to wear the big kid britches.  I have needs.  Everyone does.  Physical need.  Emotional needs.  Sexual needs.  They all need to be addressed and tended to, but sometimes having a need means prioritizing.  It also means learning to tend to some of these needs ourselves.  When we form a family, especially a large family, we get used to being taken care of, but we have to remember that we’re all adults who took care of ourselves at one time or another.  None of us lost that ability when we found each other.  It’s nice to be taken care of when I need it, but if someone else’s need is greater I have to be willing to asses whether or not what I have is a need or a desire.  If it’s a desire, it can wait.  If it’s a need, can I find a way to satisfy it on my own?  Once that’s done I need to be able to not take it personally that I had to do it myself.  This can be the hardest part of all this adult behaviour, not forming resentment.

Being able to hold your tongue.  I hate to say it, but there’s no rule saying I will or must like everyone Hubby dates.  They don’t all have to like me either, as long as they’re respectful of our family.  This can be the hardest part of poly.  I don’t have to like who Hubby’s with to support him and be happy for him, nor does it mean am happy or relieved if that situation fails.  That’s not to say I might not be relieved, but my primary care is for his happiness and well-being. Unless he asks or there is a major conflict regarding respect or honesty, my responsibility to him is to keep my mouth shut.  It’s not my relationship; it’s his.  It may make group activities trying, but I am obligated to at least try before we discuss any overbearing issues.

Polyamory is a lot of fun, a lot of love, and a lot of adventures, but it’s also a lot of work and not for anyone who can’t handle constant change, re-evaluation, and adaptation.  We’re all learning as we go, and we all make mistakes.  It’s how we handle those mistakes, change our course, and move on as a solid unit that decides if we sink or sail.  Sometimes we improvise.  Sometimes it all comes together as planned.  In either case we do it with strong hearts and genuine faith in each other.  We are warriors.  We are wheels turning and hearts singing.  We are a tribe, and nothing is stronger than the tribe.

The Powerhouse Museum's Boulton and Watt steam...


Imagine a Steampunk-esque miracle contraption with gears and chains, cogs and levers, and even a little smokestack if you’d like.  When everything is running smoothly the machine can do anything.  It can fly!  It can swim!  It can grant wishes!


I like to think of a poly family like one of these Amazing Machines, within which we are all individual pieces.  We each have a function and a speed at which we work well.  When things are as they should be we are an unstoppable force, but if a piece needs maintenance of something gets caught in the gears the whole machine is impaired.  As a family, as opposed to a group of individuals, we have created a system of woven interdependence wherein the health of the individual maintains the health of the whole.


We all have bad days, and we try not to take our frustration out on those we love, but even if I don’t throw a shoe at Hubby he can usually tell when I’m in  poor mood.  Most of the time he tries to fix it.  If for some reason he can’t he tries to be supportive.  Whether or not this puts him in his own poor mood it still weighs on him.  Seeing someone we love hurt, sick, or unhappy is never an easy thing for anyone.  When I’m stressed, he’s stressed.  When he’s stressed, the same process is repeated between Hubby and A.


This ripple effect comes into play most profoundly when one or more of our relationships is having a rough patch.  When Hubby and I argue it puts him on edge and off kilter in the rest of his life, including his time with A.  When they have issues it causes the same uneasiness between us.  Depending on the severity of the problem, it also tends to affect the relationship that A and I have built.


One of the best solutions here is maintenance.  Obviously the more we tend to the machine the better it works, but maintenance means more than that.  It means being aware of the health of the machine and catching small issues before they become large ones that could break one or all of the parts.  It means keeping the gears oiled.  With our family that means checking in on each other and creating better bonds that are less likely to break under minor pressure.  It means communicating even when emotions run high to avoid one of us snapping. It means understanding when a family member is venting, not taking it personally, and trying not to turn our own venting into an attack.  It even means not being afraid to slow the machine down for a moment, let an overworked gear cool, and ask for some assistance if there’s a large enough problem.


I have a lot of faith in our Amazing Machine.  She’s done a lot of unbelievable things in the past couple years, and there’s a lot of spark and life left in her still. We’re still learning how to maintain her, as much like any self-made contraption she didn’t come with a troubleshooting manual.  Sometimes that means surprises.  Sometimes that means moving things around a little.  What it always means is that we are finding our rhythm together as the nuts and bolts settle and everything falls into place.


We are an Amazing Machine!


Go now, build something!




English: ambidextrous


Six weeks ago I broke my right arm.  I am not left-handed.  I am not ambidextrous. For the first couple weeks I spilled on myself a lot, and most of that had nothing to do with pain killers.  I am simply dysfunctional with my left hand.

As my arm began to heal and the pain fog subsided, I became more and more stir crazy.  Not being able to use my hands to even write or type was killing me.  Even a simple text message took a day and a half to articulate.  I was losing my mind.

This week, with six more or so to go before I’m considered healed and released back into  the working wild, I not only took a shower on my own for the first time since Thanksgiving but managed to get the brace on and off by myself with my left hand.

Necessity is an excellent motivator.  When there are no other options but to figure out a way the strong among us will do so or go down trying.  With Hubby working a new job out of town several days a week, it was that or smell like rotting cabbage.  I won’t say it was particularly comfortable, but it felt better than sitting around whining about needing a shower.

Honestly I had no idea until this how much I just didn’t use my left hand to its full potential.  I do a lot of things two-handed, but never with as much precision as I’m learning now.  It’s amazing how much easier things seem now able to use both hands.

Little Man is showing signs of being ambidextrous, and his teachers want his mother to make him choose a side, citing the fate of his handwriting hanging in the balance.  It took me 29 years to learn to properly use my left hand, and this kid has it perfected.  I would rather see him have a little trouble making pretty letters than stunt his potential as a craftsman, musician, or surgeon.  I refuse to make a 6-year old choose what hand he holds his crayons in.

Let the ambidextrous revolution begin!

Go now, use two hands!


I found myself speaking with an old friend very early this morning whom I haven’t seen on a regular basis since I was 21.  At the time, in my mind, I was a struggling college dropout.  I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, I was working a frantic entry level job at the mall and trying to sell my art on the side, and I constantly wondered where my next meal was coming from.  Basically, it was a less adult version of what I’m doing now.  I was wildly taken aback when  this friend told me that he still talks about me and who I was then, but in his version I’m a girl with a passion doing what I love and making it happen.  His words to me?

Experience is what it is, and its powerful.  Don’t let anyone put it down. You’ve done the hard work before.  Now this stuff is just how you present most of it

I begin to wonder now if that’s the key.  With the matured focus and extra information and resources I have now, is that the missing piece, and I’ve had it all along?  It seems so simple, yet I’ve overlooked it because somewhere since then I lost sight of the dream to focus on the “methods” and “plans”.  Sure there’s merit to all that, but none of it means anything if the passion for that work doesn’t show when I give myself to the world.

Somewhere towards the end of that line of conversation he gave me this:  

Don’t throw yourself into what needs to be.  Throw yourself into what can be

Suddenly it all made sense.  I finished my NaNoWriMo project because it was something I was capable of doing every single day.  If I approach these other goals with that same concept and add in the passion I once had for life and creativity I could be unstoppable.

I remember why I kept myself around this friend so much at a time in my life when I was depressed, suicidal, mostly friendless, and ready to give up my dreams for a bucket of bad decisions.  Not only was he always there to make me smile and feel like I had some fight left in me, but he reminded me why I fought to begin with.  That power makes me who I am.  The good, the bad, the frustrating, it’s all a part of who I am, and it makes me one hell of a fighter.

I apologize that it’s taken me a week to write this.  I’m still typing everything with my left hand only.

I am addicted to Shutterfly, and every year I make a family yearbook.  A scrapbooker at heart, I just don’t have the time, space, or money to devote to as many scrapbooks as it would take to use all the pictures I take.  As someone who majored in Photography I can also admit to being a shutterbug.  When there are pictures of me I usually have a camera in my face or hands.  I have had to ask people to take pictures of me to have some evidence of my existence beyond being the one who took all the pictures.  My father has admitted to having this same issue, so I assume it’s hereditary.

In any case, 2012 was pretty rough on this family.  In fact, it seems to have been that way for many of our nearest and dearest.  The party line of New Year’s Eve seemed to be, “Here’s to 2013, because 2012 was terrible!”.  It’s true, this year our family took a pretty hard onslaught of blows.  We experienced loss of friends and lovers, sickness, financial problems, and for the first time in five years our marriage reached a point of uncertainty.  Our household took a huge hit that left us rebuilding from the ground up, and that rebuilding caused a lot of growing pains for everyone.

As tough as that all was to swallow at the time, the key word there is “growing”. Personally and as a unit we all grew this year.   We grew closer, we grew stronger, and we grew in faith and maturity.  I met someone in July who challenged the way I loved and opened up to new partners and showed me what this poly life really has to offer me.  While the end of that short relationship rocked my core it taught me a lot about myself and forced me to re-evaluate my expectations and standards for future relationships.  The last half of the year tossed me and Hubby around like a hurricane, but it uncovered a lot of hidden issues we had been avoiding or had gone unnoticed.  Through that we have been able to fortify our weak points and strengthen our bond.  We have fine tuned how we work as a team and proven that we can survive anything.

Sorting  images for this book I began to realize that in between all the tears and screaming there were also a lot of smiles.  It’s true that a negative moment will stick to your memory before a positive one.  Woven between the struggling were great moments of love and happiness.  This last year was amazing for new adventures and opportunities.  I took trips I never thought I’d take.  I got to see my family more than I have in years.  We have made huge strides with Little Guy and his mother, and we are well on our way to pulling out of this slump.

What I love most about these books is the optimism on every page and the reminder that we are alive.  There are no pictures of arguments or suffering.  There are no shots of sorrow or frustration.  While the lessons are important the details are not.  There are no grudges or residual anger here, just love and laughter.  2012 was a year of transition and transformation.  Its story is written across the smiles and faces in these pictures, and while the lessons are always with me I choose to remember the Shutterfly version of my life, and it’s been a beautiful year!


     It’s Thanksgiving, and the internet is abuzz with post of blessings and thanks for everything we have.  It’s heartwarming to see, especially in a time when things are not well for everyone.  In fact, things are not well for a lot of people.  Many continue to struggle, and many have lost quite a bit to that struggle, our family included, but we continue to be thankful and to try to keep our perspective in the right direction. 
     Today I saw a man yell at a McDonald’s worker for giving him the wrong kind of cookies, telling her “You screwed up, so my meal should be free!”   Perspective.  You’re a man who can afford a meal at McDonald’s.  Not only that, you can afford air fare and time off work.  You’re alive today, dressed warm, and at least healthy enough to be yelling at some poor girl, who is not with her family on Thanksgiving, in front of your two well dressed, warm, fed children who are both carrying tablets of some kind.  Hubby has said to me more than once, “It’s not about getting what makes us happy, it’s about being happy with what we have,” and I have agreed with him.  As long as our basic needs are met we continue to thrive.  Would I like a new computer?  Of course I would.  Would it make my life easier?  Of course it would.  Do I need it to be happy?  No, not really.
     This Thanksgiving I reflect on the last year.  I think about the people who have come into it, and the people who have left it.  I think about the changes we’ve made and the opportunities we’ve had.  I think about things I’ve accomplished and lessons I’ve learned.  My life is full of love, even when I am struggling.  My life is full of laughter, even if there are times of anger and sadness.  My life is full of chances.  Chances to move forward.  Chances to grown.  Chances to take chances.  I took some big chances this year, and some of them landed me flat on my face, but others have flourished.
     We may continue to fight and crawl, but we have the chance to survive and stand up again.  This is more than many can say, and I am thankful for each and every one of the chances I am given.

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