friends

Statistics

I never really liked statistics. In fact it was the one class I failed in college. I wound up changing majors, so I didn’t have to take it again thankfully. But one thing I have found about statistics is that they tell me where all of my readers are coming from. And that part of it is fun for me.

In the past week I’ve had visitors from: Everett, Snohomish, Redmond, and Spokane Washington, Honolulu Hawaii, Cumming, Alpharetta, Douglasville, Lithia Springs, and Marietta Georgia, Centre Alabama, Lanse Michigan, Norman and Purcell Oklahoma, Tuepelo Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Grove City, and Hazelton Pennsylvania, Fresno and Los Angeles California, Manchester England, Nordrhein-Westfalen Strae, Germany, Cholla-namdo Naju, Republic of Korea, Montreal Quebec Canada, Paris France, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates – just to name some of the places represented. Some of these places I had to get out the atlas to find, so I’ve actually gotten a geography lesson out of the statistics as well. And please, don’t feel left out if I didn’t list your area. Yesterday was such a busy day, it completely blew my mind and added so many other places that I hadn’t already listed. I’m thankful for everyone of you.

Now I can’t say for certain how some of you may have found me and this blog, but I can say this. I’m glad you’ve stopped by. You’ve introduced me to some new places and brought back memories of other places I’ve been and lived.

So keep coming back, and let me know where you are from. I love learning about new places.

Creative Culture & Community

I read this post this morning from Randy Elrod and it really got me thinking about the community we create around us. While we may not all be the creative type he speaks of, but we all have something to offer and share with those around us. But in this world of social media and technology driven society, we have a tendency to lose the personal interaction that comes with a close knit group that we share life with.

I remember growing up in Highland Park and the sense of comfort that came from being surrounded by people that I knew and shared life with. Every 4th of July our street would have a block party. One side of the street would be responsible for salads, the other side desserts. Main courses were brought by each family, and we would block off the entire street for the day. Games would be played, a bike parade for the kids was held (and we would decorate our bikes like it was the Rose parade if we could), and the evening was capped off with square dancing, sparklers and fireworks. It was a big deal, and we all looked forward to it every year. But it was also the other 364 days in between that established that sense of community and togetherness that we all shared. Whether it was picking mulberry’s & honeysuckle in the neighbors backyard, sledding down the hill in the winter time, or riding our bikes until well after dark in the summer – this was the place to be. We shared in the good times and the not so good times.

And that is what creating community is all about. The sharing and interacting with others. Finding something in common that brings you together and then exploring the differences you all bring as well.

Want ideas on how to create this kind of community where you are? Spence Smith (another member of the “Franklin Campus”) has a great follow up post to Randy’s. Have ideas to share? Comment below. I look forward to the community we have here, but I also look forward to the community I can create around where I am now too.

Thankful

I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but today I am thankful. Okay, so we should be thankful everyday, but for the past couple of days I have been thinking about this more than usual. Maybe because I’ve had more time to actually think, maybe because I’m in a new place and haven’t yet made new friends or gotten involved in new activities, maybe it’s been some of the other blogs I’ve been reading and what others have written has challenged me. Whatever the reason, it’s been on my mind and heart.

Now the typical prayer that you always hear around thanksgiving is one that may go something like… thank you for our family & friends, those that are here with us today and those that are far away. Thank you for our blessings and for this food… blah, blah, blah. But have you really taken the time to think about what and who you are thankful for?

In reflecting on this idea, I’ve thought of a lot of people that I’ve had the opportunity to connect with in my life. Some may have been there for many years, some for just a day.  Some of these people I have yet to meet in person, although I do hope to someday. Others have been generous in their time and have met me, not knowing me from a stranger on a bus prior to our meeting. But they all have one thing in common – they have all affected me and contributed to who I am today and who I am becoming tomorrow.

Most won’t be named, some will. Some might be forgotten in this list, because there are many. But even if you aren’t mentioned by name or if you feel you’ve been left out, know that you haven’t.

First off (and this one seems pretty obvious) but it’s my parents. No matter what I’ve done, they have always been there for me. And I know for this I am lucky. There are many out there who can not say this about their parents, and my heart grieves for them. I don’t think I could ever express though how thankful I am for them.

Teachers – over the years I have had some incredible teachers, incredibly good and incredibly bad. And now that I am a parent, I realize even more the impact that teachers have on our lives and our society. If you are a teacher, thank you. If you know a teacher, thank them too.

Past “loves”. This one is kind of weird, but if it weren’t for past boyfriends I wouldn’t be the wife I am today. Dean may or may not be thankful for that one. 🙂 But regardless, their opinions of me, the way they treated (or mis-treated) me, have also made me who I am.

Friends. There are so many I won’t even begin to try to list. There have been the “true” friends. Those that no matter how much time passes, you just pick right up where you left off the last time. They know your heart and your warts, and yet they still love you for  who you are. There are also the “social” friends. Those that you are thrown into life with due to whatever social circumstance you may find yourself in. And sometimes they become the true friends, others are just in your life for that season. And then there are the “superficial” friends. Those that you think are your friend, but come to find out you were just there for a one time use. Regardless of how they have made me feel, they still have impacted my life, and taught me a lesson I may not have otherwise learned.

The last group is one that I call “acquaintances”. These are the people that don’t realize the impact they’ve had on my life, but have in some way said something or done something to change my direction. Whether it be advice they have given, a contact that has been made, or just a different perspective of things that I might not have seen before. There are many that fall in to this group – and they will never know what they’ve done – they are usually the one time meeting, never to be seen again. Or maybe they are the author of a blog or an article that I read, their words having a lasting impact. Whoever they are, wherever they may be, for them I am thankful too.

So there is my rambling on thankfulness today. And to all of you readers, I’m thankful for you too. For without you, there really wouldn’t be a purpose behind these random drops from my brain.