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Thursday, November 22, 2012

10 Things I Am Thankful For

So much in the world today gives me reasons to worry, doubt, and lament. To counter act this I continually remind myself that I am still better off than a majority of the people in the world. Acknowledging that there are many people dealing with far worse financial troubles, fighting to stay alive because of disease or neglect, and more isolated and lonely than I helps me to stay humble and calm in the face of my troubles. Today, however, is a perfect day to get much more specific about the good things happening in my life right now. This is my personal inventory (presented in no particular order) of what makes getting up in the morning worth it.

1. A New Smile
The top picture on the right was taken May 5, 2011 just after having the brackets and wires put on my teeth at the start of my orthodontic treatment.  The picture on the bottom right was taken this morning.

My dental work is not complete yet as I need to have my missing front tooth (I have a partial right now) replaced with an implant.  However, I am extremely happy with the results of the ortho.  I still do a double-take sometimes when I look in the mirror because the difference is so great.

I have also become aware of just how self conscious I was of my teeth before.  I told myself that I did not care what people thought to the point that I tried to convince myself that I went through the treatment because of the health implications.  I now realize that there was also a legitimate and significant self-image reason to have this done.  I am grateful to Mom for paying for the treatment.  

2. My Colleagues
I work with some of the best people in the world.  Supportive, caring, and genuine in every way.  The way they rallied around me during the losses I have had the last few years has certainly proven their goodness and kindness. 

3. My Improving Body
A few weeks ago  I weighed myself.  This is the first time I stepped on a scale and actually looked at the number in a decade.  240.  Still higher than my ideal weight but I estimate (since I never looked at the number in the doctor's office) that I have lost somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds. 

The far left image was taken this morning while the image nearer left was taken on a fall 2010 visit to Tommy Bartlett Exploratory.

Both those colleagues mentioned above and the friends and family discussed below have been very supportive and encouraging.  I am thankful for their support and I am thankful I have the chance to continue improving myself. 

4. A Place Of My Own - My Home
About two years ago I was faced with a decision between finding a home I could afford (unlikely) or moving in with Mom and commuting to work since I could no longer afford rent.

Bobby Perkins (realtor), Mary Preuss (Bank of Mauston), Mom, Randy Esser, Kelly Esser, Cory Lentz, and Kent Lentz helped me find, finance, move in, fix up, and furnish my home.

There are certainly a number of improvements to be made to the home but I still find myself having a little bit of joy and a sense of unreality when I realize, "This is mine." 

5. Music

Music is a strong mood elevator and memory trigger for me.  There is so much good music available to be enjoyed today that it is often difficult to decide between listening to an audio book or the latest album I am obsessively playing over and over.

And I am learning to play the ukulele.  It is something like meditation to play music.  You have to become so focused on the notes, fingerings, etc. that the worries and troubles go away for that time you are able to put into it.


6. "For Those Who've Gone Clear"

I miss Colleen, Dad, Grandma, and too many other family members and friends to list here.  Yet, I am thankful that I had them in my life.  I learned something from each of them.  And from some of them I learned how to live.








7. My Girls
Missy, Lucy, and Miley (L to R in the picture at left) are my girls.  I am always happy to come home to them.  What is better than the absolute happiness a dog shows at your presence?

And even though the cats aren't jumping up trying to get my attention as soon as I enter the door I know they like having me around.  As soon as I sit down they want to climb on me.

8. Great Family & Friends
I have too many great friends to name here.  And my family has already been mentioned in this list many times.  I am thankful to have all of you in my life.

I am grateful to have friends like Mike Bartz.  I know we don't get to talk as much as I would like but I know you are always there for me.  I hope you know the same.  I also hope to make the trip out to see you this year too.

I also need to mention those people who help to keep me sane on a daily basis:  Mom, Joe Gast, Laura Taake, Judy Cummings, Leah Luke and Derek Felska.  Thank you for being there to listen, advise, and share a piece of your lives with me.

9. This Amazing Age
How amazing is the age we are living in?  The technological developments and social improvements are stunning.  You don't even need to go back in time that far to be awed by the comparison.  Twenty or thirty years in the past the world looks very different.

I often lament about how things don't change.  But, actually, they have changed a lot even just in my lifetime.  Progress seems slow looking forward but looking back it seems to be a blur.

10. Puppies & Kittens

My nephew just got a puppy, Phiten.  He is a black lab and will likely grow into quite a sizable dog.  It has been fun to see this puppy grow even just for a few months.

He has went from barely being able to walk across the room without stumbling to bounding around the house.









Last weekend at the farm I discovered that the mother cat had a new litter of kittens.  There are three, all white and gray stripped.  Even though they will never be house pets, it is a joy to watch them explore the world and encounter the newness of it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Habitat For Humanity Trivia Night

Saturday, November 10, from 6:30-9:00, I will be hosting the Adams & Juneau County Habitat for Humanity Trivia Night.

Click this link (http://habitatadams.org/trivianight.html) for more information or you can call (608) 847-2000 or email habitatajcoutreach@gmail.com for information
about reserving a spot for yourself or a whole table for your team!

There will also be a silent auction, bucket raffles, and door prizes.

Soda, water, and snacks will be available for a small donation, but you can also bring your own!

Business sponsorships are also available.
 
The Facebook event page is here (https://www.facebook.com/events/115224218631637/) with updates and items that will be in the silent auction (an autographed Green Bay Packer ball was just added).