Thank you letters: Thank you, Grandma

Image from pixabay.com

With thoughts of my dad dying in my head, I keep returning to think of my maternal grandmother.  She was the only grandmother i was able to ever get to really know.  Her husband, my grandpa, died when my mom was 17.

My paternal grandparents died back in the early and late 1980s.  I wish I had known my paternal grandpa better – he seemed like a really cool guy, but unfortunately they also lived in Portland, Oregon, so we didn’t get to see them much.  My paternal grandmother was definitely not the touchy-feely type of grandma, even when she moved closer to my dad after Grandpa died.  I always felt like I was visiting a distant great aunt when I would see her.  So when I tell someone about my grandma, it’s my mom’s mom I’m talking about.

If you have someone in your life that you love even 1/16th of how much I loved my grandma, I hope you can write a letter to them today and make sure that they read it., or that you read it to them.  Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  So, here goes …

*************************************************************************************

Dear Grandma,

I want to thank you for loving me.  For making me feel so special, even from the very beginning.  I remember you telling me one time, “It was always you and me.  Your mom had your sister by the hand and was holding Jamie, so I would pick you up and carry me. You never wanted to walk when you could be held. So I would hold you.”

Thank you for always tucking me in, even when I was a teenager, when I would sleep over at your house.  I remember you would tell me to move toward the center of the bed  so that I wouldn’t fall out of it.  You would tuck the blankets in so tightly, I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon. That was always the way you were – wanting to keep me and my brother and sister from getting hurt.

Thank you for having taught me to appreciate the beauty of a sunset.  I remember all those times that you would yell out, “Children, hurry come!! Hurry before you miss it!”  And we would run to where you stood, looking out your kitchen window at the beautiful colors in the sky.  Your eyes used to light up so bright.  It’s because of you that I love seeing and smelling bright, colorful flowers and to enjoy the sound of birds chirping.

Thank you for always having that grape Hubba Bubba gum we always liked in your “snack dishwasher” that never worked as long as I could remember.   Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful idea for a snack of icing on crackers.  Saltine or Ritz, either one was awesome.

Thank you for teaching me to always be prepared and have some food staples on hand.  I remember your Reserve Food Cabinet being next to the actively used food cabinet.  It taught me to never take food for granted.  I know now why you sometimes ate ramen noodles in tomato soup.   It wasn’t that you loved it.  You just scrimped and saved to ensure we never needed for anything that you could provide.

Thank you for always being such a good sport and putting up with my trash talking your Yankees when I was in Boston and became a Red Sox fan.  I remember you used to just laugh and laugh on the phone.  God, you put up with a lot! 🙂

Thank you for always being there for my mom and for all of us, especially when times were tough, financially and personally.  You left your family behind in Pennsylvania to move to upstate New York to be with us when you could have easily decided not to.   Thank you for taking care of my mom when you died, leaving her your house and the security it would provide.

Thank you for having helped shape me into the strong woman I am or try to be, anyway, today.  Thank you for always having had that Serenity Prayer on the wall in the kitchen, right next to where we would eat.   Those are words I try to remind myself of today when something upsets me – to know the times when something is truly out of my control so that I stop letting it upset me.

I want to thank you for opening your eyes at the end and looking right at me.  I remember the tear that fell down your cheek, and I knew you were truly there with me in that moment. I knew you didn’t want to leave me or any of us, but I know you needed to.  That’s why I told you “If you have to go, you just go.”  I knew you understood what I was saying, and not saying.  Thank you for that last gift of special understanding between us.  I always felt like we had this amazingly strong bond.  We did, didn’t we?

Grandma, I know that some people don’t believe in guardian angels, and if they do exist, that they’re not family members who have gone before you.  But I feel like you’re mine.  I know you watch out for me.  How else can anyone explain the feeling of a hand on my back when I was out for a run once and said aloud, “I think I need a little help.”

I know you visited me in a dream not too long after you died, to give me the message that you were okay.  You were in good health. I know it was an actual visit and not just a dream.  Otherwise, how could I have felt the way I did when I woke up, and how I feel remembering that, even now?

Thank you for loving me.  You made me feel so special.  I truly feel that you were my soulmate, and so I know we’ll be together again at one point.  Until then, you are always in my heart.  I love you.

Terri

 

 

Thank you letters, Take Two!

thank u card butterflyI was running on Thursday morning and listening to another favorite podcast of mine, Martinis and Your Money.  The host’s name is Shannon McLay and she was talking about how her choices in life led her to creating the Financial Gym.  She used to work for Merrill Lynch where the financial advisors wouldn’t take you on as a client unless you had something like $250,000 in savings. Um, I’m 44, and I STILL don’t have that in savings, and I know I’m ahead of a lot of other folks my age! (Sad, isn’t it? But that’s a story or a post for another day.)

Anyway, she said that after she spent an hour with a young couple who had over $1,000,000 saved and who each made six figures, and they were complaining about their portfolio being down by 3%, she just felt like she had sold her soul, and she knew she couldn’t get that hour of her life back.  And a few weeks later, she was working with one of her pro bono clients, and at the end of their session together, the lady said to her, “You know you’re saving my life, right?”

This made me think of the person who took me and my former husband on as clients when we didn’t have much in savings (he had a little, and I had pretty much nothing), but we had a lot of debt (mainly, my student loans).  So today, my thank you letter is written for Jessica C., or “Jess” as I sometimes called her.

Dear Jess,

I think what I’m most grateful for is that you never laughed at me and my dreams, no matter how silly or ludicrous they must have sounded to you.  So many people tried to instill fear in me (or was it their projection of their own fears?) but you never did. Instead, you said, “Let’s make a plan.”  And you’d put all of my figures in your spreadsheets so I could see how things might be possible, at least financially-speaking. 

You’d meet with me as often as I asked just so I could have someone to be accountable to, and you were like a cheerleader of sorts, encouraging me, and reminding me of how I had turned my life around in a few years since my divorce.  How I’d gone from having to take a loan out on my 403(b) to pay off my credit cards, and having zero in savings to having a good nest egg to buffer my fall when I made a life-changing move. 

There are two other things for which I need to thank you.  After my divorce, you didn’t just drop me as a client.  I’d already been “dropped” suddenly by so many people, I just kind of assumed that might be the case with you too, as you moved on to bigger and better clients who had way more in assets than me.  One of the scariest things when considering a divorce is how much your life will change after.  How people may just drop you from their lives (and they do, as they did.) 

The final thing for which I say thanks is for your helping me when you knew eventually I wouldn’t be able to afford your services. You were basically working your way out of a job with me as a client.  You knew I’d be taking such a huge pay cut I wouldn’t be able to keep working with you.  But you kept cheering me on. 

Yet, you still answer my emails, even when it’s to mention I need to change my address (again), and I know you still monitor the funds I transferred over to you. I know you will say you’re just doing your job and you have a duty to do so, and maybe you do.  But it doesn’t mean I can’t thank you for helping me to ensure I have a nest egg and won’t have to work until the day I die.  

Thank you for giving me that small peace of mind. And thank you for being a decent human being.  

Terri

So that’s my thank you letter for today.  If you’d like to thank someone and write up a guest post, please let me know. I’d be extremely happy to spread that positive feeling around. You never know what life will bring you, so don’t wait to thank someone who’s made a positive influence on you or your life.

Thanks for reading. And if you want Jess’ contact info, just drop me a comment below and I’ll gladly send it to you.

 

Thank you letters

 

thank-you-515514_640
image from pixabay.com

Remember when you were a kid and your parents had you write out thank you letters after you received a gift for your birthday or a holiday like Hanukkah or Christmas?  Have you ever gotten a thank you note from someone out of the blue for something you did at your job, and you’re like, “I was just doing my job, wow!”

 

When I was at Harvard, I kept all of the thank you notes I received, even via email, and posted them on my wall near my desk.  I liked to think of it as my wall of positivity. When I was having a very bad day, I’d look at the wall and remind myself, “THIS is why I do what I do.” Sometimes students would see the notes and remark on them, and tell me that it made them feel even more comfortable meeting and talking with me.

I had a great Zoom meeting with my faculty advisor this morning and felt really inspired afterward.  We talked about how I can use my writing skills in humane education and she gave me lots of ideas and suggestions.  I remember a comment she made on one of my assignments – had I ever thanked the Creative Writing teacher I had in college?  And I thought of my work study job I had in college, where a true gentleman by the name of Carl G. Martin was my supervisor and ran the Office of Student Services.  I’ve thought of writing to him and thanking him for the influence he had on me in my college years.  But I’ve not done it. So, that ends today.

There are many people I want to thank for how they have positively changed my life.  But today, I’m going to start with just one, and I would like to encourage any of you to send me your thank you letters and I will gladly post them here.   Maybe you want to thank someone who is no longer with us, or someone you have no idea how to find or reach.  You will receive all the credit, of course.  I won’t edit them, I promise.

So here it goes, my first thank you letter, to my friend David B.   

Dear David,  

Thank you for having been my friend for the past 12 years.  Thank you for always being such a calming, positive influence (even when you didn’t think you were.)  Thank you for always be willing to sit and listen and then answer probing, thought-provoking questions in a non-judgmental way.  Thank you for being “that poor bastard who had to deal with you for more than eight hours a day for two years, sharing an office with you!” (That’s what my now ex-hb said at one point, and I remember telling you, and laughing about it.)   

Thank you for being that friend who was willing to sit across a table from me the night before I left my marriage.  You held my hand as I sobbed, hysterically at times, not being able to catch my breath.  I remember you giving me a key to your apartment in case I needed a place to stay.  You didn’t say much that night, and I suspect you knew you didn’t need to.  I just needed to know I wasn’t alone.  I needed to know I wasn’t a horrible person, and that I was loved, even though what I was contemplating doing was ripping me up inside. And you let me know that I would be okay.  It might take time, but I would be okay.

Thank you for watching me grow these past several years and for supporting my newest quest to start a master’s program at the young old age of 44, and not calling me insane for doing so.  Thank you for understanding that like you, I need to constantly be learning to be happy with my life.  Thank you for writing one of my recommendation letters for that program and for talking with me for quite a while beforehand, again, asking those great questions you always do.  

Thank you for being that type of friend, who, when we talk, it’s like we just saw each other yesterday.  Thank you for loving me as only a friend like that would. 

Love, Terri

***********************************************************************************

If you would like to email me a letter or write one as a guest post, you can email me at chasingsimpledreams AT gmail.com.  Or, please feel free to drop a comment on the blog with your email (the email is not shared or shown publicly), and I will gladly post it for you. 

It’s my hope to get an atmosphere of gratitude flowing around those of us interacting here or reading the blog.  When you’re grateful, it colors your whole world in a very positive light.

Thank you for reading.

 

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness and Some Cool Links

imag1265
Taken at Buffalo Creek Park in Flagstaff – I loved how low the clouds were sitting over the San Francisco Peaks.

School began last week but I still took a day off to get out of town and go visit Flagstaff with a friend.   I’m so grateful to have a good friend here, one who I can talk with about just about anything. It’s made such a huge difference.  I hope you will enjoy the photos!

It’s funny – when I was on the east coast, Cape Cod was my escape place. I could be there for just one night but feel like I had been away for a weekend. A weekend there felt like a week away from life. Flagstaff has the same effect on me now. To be there for a day feels  like a weekend’s escape. It’s just beautiful (of course, I’ve not gone there in winter, I’m sure with the snow, I might feel differently. 🙂 )

IMAG1262.jpg
I found this spot to be incredibly calming as I sat and talked with my friend. I really didn’t want to leave it – the sound of the breeze rustling through the leaves, the squirrels scurrying about, the birds singing. I just loved all of it. 

Call me a geek, but I am actually happy to be taking classes again. I like being a sponge and learning new stuff. I just hope some of this is relevant to actually working as a vet tech! I’ve already missed some deadlines, but I plan on having those be my last. From now on, the student cap is firmly placed upon my head. And thankfully, I have today and tomorrow off so I can get right into the thick of things.

So, for links – if you are trying to come up with ways to earn extra money while never leaving the comfort of your home, you might want to check out Survey Police.  (I’ve given the link to the page for the US.) They rank the various survey sites out there on the web, and have lots of reviews from others just like you. I may try some of the ranked sites out, and if they seem decent, I will let you know. One thing I always do is weigh the amount of time a survey is estimated to take and if it seems too long, then I don’t do it. (It’s why I don’t usually do stuff through swagbucks anymore. It took too much time to add up to anything of value.)  The way I look at it is a dollar here, a dollar there, it all adds up in the long run.

Granted, surveys don’t pay as well as other “side hustles” but they do allow the flexibility of your being able to do them in your pajamas, or at 2 a.m. in the morning, etc. And by the way, I didn’t see Survey Savvy on their list, but I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a good site, they pay in cash, and they pay pretty fast. And they have some survey software that you can install on your pc or ipad and have the opportunity to earn more. I’ve had it on my laptop in the past and didn’t have problems with viruses, etc.   If you do decide to give it a try and sign up, please use my referral link.

I’m sorry for not having more links to include this week but some nights when I’ve come home lately, I’ve just crashed. I try to not turn the TV on as it just becomes background noise, and I remember the days when I didn’t have a TV. I liked those times.

What are you thankful for this week? And have you ever done a lot of surveys? What were your thoughts?

 

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness

Sorry for posting this so late in the day. I went to work by 615 a.m. this morning and worked my third 11-12 hour day in a row (inventory.) But better late than never, right?

About two weeks ago, I introduced myself to the girl who was answering the PBX phones at the hotel – basically acting as back up to the front desk folks. I saw she was studying and asked what it was. She was studying law, and in her second year. Now, there’s no law school anywhere near where I live, so it turns out she would travel back and forth to Colorado every week. She looked to be in her twenties, had kids and a family and seemed like a very pleasant person to be around. She was really excited to be learning law.

Last week, I came in at night  to make the night deposit and saw a sheet printed with color photos on it, and the words “In Memory of a Dear Friend” and what appeared to be photos of that same girl. I have to admit, I didn’t believe it. I was like WTH happened?! But no one was around for me to ask. So, I found out  a few days ago – she was killed in a head-on collision, with the other driver being drunk. Whoa.

Over the past month, a family I grew up with has lost two siblings. One died from a car accident, and the other just passed away this past weekend from ovarian cancer, with which she had been diagnosed for the past year. I guess it was already advanced pretty far when they discovered it. I can’t even imagine what their older sister and younger brother are going through right now. Thinking about that really puts things in perspective, though, doesn’t it? I know my problems now seem trivial in comparison.

Life is too short. It really is. And you never know when your time is up. It’s a cliche, yes, but it’s also very true. So, if nothing else, after reading this story, please tell your family how much you love and appreciate them, or if you live alone and have pets like I do, hug them extra hard.  I’m writing this post on a Sunday because my next few days at work will be filled with inventory, but as I write, I’m looking out my window at Lone Rock at what appears to be a beautiful, if somewhat muted, color-tone sunrise. I will never take sunrises or sunsets for granted. If it’s a beautiful one that I am missing and someone yells at me to come see it (as my grandma used to do), I will run right out there. I don’t ever want to be that person who says “eh, there’s going to be another one, I can see it tomorrow.” Because you know what? Not to be morbid, but you might not.

So, instead of adding links today like I normally do, I want to share a video with you that a good friend, Helen, shared with me a few days ago. (No copyright infringement intended, I would give credit to the creator if I knew who it was.) Anyway,  I’ve not seen Helen in a few years due to the fact that she lives in the Caribbean, and I do not. But she’s an amazing woman. Someone who just exudes gentleness, and a calm, loving nature. You know how with some people, you just get a good vibe when you meet them? Yep, that was Helen for me. So, Helen, if you are reading this, please know how much you are appreciated, and how much I loved this gift of this video. I hope you will all enjoy it.

As always, thank you for reading. Please drop me a line below and let me know if there’s anything you are particularly thankful for and appreciate.

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness, Totally Awesome Links

IMAG1250.jpg
I was so grateful to see this way-too-cute-for-words pairing yesterday. Usually HoneyBun moves when she sees Osito heading toward her bed, but right before this photo was taken, they were snuggled up and sleeping together. ❤ HoneyBun and Osito

Good Tuesday to all of you! This week, I’m thankful for the Patriots having won against the Cardinals on Sunday night’s football game. I admit, without Tom Brady, I was a bit worried about how we would do, but I have a lot of faith in Bill Belichek. To watch the game with some Arizona Cardinals fans, and have the right to talk some smack was just awesome! LOL.  They knew it was all in good fun.

As I announced last week, in my post called What the Heart Wants, I’ve decided to go back to school to become a vet tech, with an eye to possibly working with wildlife in the future, or hospice care for animals. (We’ll see what happens!) Being older and wiser than the first (or second or third) time I achieved a degree, I’m determined to find as many options for scholarships and free money to go to school.  Last week, I mentioned FastWeb. Today, I came across an app called Scholly. They charge $2.99 to join and that’s the only charge, and the app itself is free to download for iPhone and Android.  I don’t watch the show Shark Tank, but I understand his app was featured on that show! Another website I’ve just come across is Scholarships.com – it’s a free database that you can use to look for scholarships, and supposedly is updated every day. I’ll be testing it out this week.

Now, I know not everyone reading this is thinking of going back to school, so I’d like to share another website that I’ve come across recently, and it’s about intentional living (and in part, minimalism, which usually goes hand in hand with intentional living.) It’s called Break the Twitch.  In case you prefer to watch videos over reading text, he makes a lot of videos that you can see on YouTube at this channel

And with this, I need to get off the computer and get ready to go down to the local animal shelter so I can walk some doggies!! Then it’s off to the gym again to try to push myself and sweat a lot! I hope you will all have a wonderful Tuesday! Please feel free to drop me a line below and let me know if there are any amazing links you want to share or think I should highlight in a later post, or what you are feeling thankful for this week!

Also, let me know if you think these posts should come later in the week – would Thursday or Friday be better?

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?

IMAG0370_1
Lake Powell from near my RV about an hour before sunset. Yes, I’ve edited the pic for color but it gives you an idea of just how beautiful it is. 

So it’s been a busy few weeks since I last posted. I finished up the job at the animal sanctuary and then moved a few days ago to the small (but still bigger than where I just left) town of Page, AZ. You might not have heard of the town’s name, but it’s home to a huge lake (2nd largest reservoir) called Lake Powell. Simply put, it’s gorgeous. I don’t care what the naysayers say about “oh the lake’s level is down so far right now, it’s just a pond compared to what it once was… blah, blah, blah.” You know what? I’m not gonna let them rain on my parade because the view I see every morning and every evening makes it all worthwhile.

The move here was a bit rough at first – some downed trees, and the campsite I wanted didn’t have water running to it. So I ended up taking the site next to it, and am now just hoping the downed trees get cleaned up sooner rather than later. There are also some problems with the water at the new site, but they are workable. I also can’t wait to make my space more inviting – it will have to wait until I get a paycheck as I’ve used the credit card too much lately. But more inviting, it will definitely be! Luckily, the animals seem to have adjusted to the move rather quickly. For the first day, Callie and HoneyBun hid a lot and were clearly freaked out, but they seem to have recovered just fine by now, as you can tell from the photo below.

IMAG0406.jpg
HoneyBun appears to have settled in comfortably.

So I also just started my new job this week.  I will be supervising and yes, it’s been a while since i did that in any official capacity, so I’m a bit nervous, but think I’ve learned  a lot over the years from my supervisors, both bad and good. Going to try to discard all the bad habits and things I saw, and do my best to keep the good, plus tweak those things with my own personal style. And you all know me, I like to research the hell out of anything so I’ve been reading some self-help/teach-yourself books on management, and will be trying to hone my people skills as well. I know it won’t all be easy but I hope to not disappoint the ones who believed in me enough to offer me the job.

When it comes to managing, in the past, I’ve tried to always lead by example and make it very clear to folks that I will never ask them to do something I’ve not done or won’t do myself. I hope that will come through loud and clear. And God knows, for 6 months, I took care of a lot of animal poop so I think it’s safe to say there isn’t much I won’t do, if it needs to be done. From what I hear, we get extremely busy in the summer and there will probably be some overtime in my future. If that’s the case, I’ve already decided I will be trying to save as much $ as I possibly can. If it works out for me here, I could see myself trying to buy a small house or condo.

I finally got to take a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam. It’s the second largest, and also Lake Powell is the second largest reservoir in the country, trailing just behind Lake Mead in terms of capacity. I will also be attending a fundraiser for the local animal shelter/adoption agency, known as PAAA (Page Animal Adoption Agency). Hoping to meet other like minded people there – something tells me I will!

IMAG0376
One of the most gentle dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. After his initial shyness, he and I are buddies now. I’ve been licked on the face several times to prove it. 🙂

I just started pet sitting for a good friend, and will be for the next week or so in the evenings. He has the most awesome, old-souled (yes, “souled” is a word, I’ve just created it!) dog that I swear is part Australian Shepard and Lab by the looks of him, shy but super-loving dog. (In the pic, he has a dog treat on his head. I was trying to bond with him at the time by lying next to him on the floor in the closet where he went and hid when I tried to take his pic. I think the treat convinced him enough to sit still for this one pic.)  He also has a very handsome and talkative Siamese who has epilepsy and thus requires medication twice a day. I’ve never seen a cat take a pill so easily in my entire life. You just pop his mouth open and shove it in, and you’re done. Awesome! If I go to Lone Rock tomorrow (as  you all know, one of my favorite places to be out here), I may be taking his dog along for the ride and an involved game of Fetch. (In case you are all wondering, yes, Baby O is doing just fine and she’s snoring next to me as I type this, in fact.)

IMAG0357.jpg
Balloon coming in for a soft landing on the third and final day of the Kanab Balloons and Tunes festival. That was a perfect weather morning and as the balloon landed, I could hear the birds singing. 

Before I left UT last week, I was able to take in a balloon festival with a new, but very good friend of mine. For three days, the balloons were able to get into the air, which is just awesome. They also had a Balloon Glow portion to the weekend where they had all the balloons set up on the street and at certain times, all would light up their balloons with the propane-powered hot air. It was a pretty amazing sight to see, and it just felt good to be leaving Kanab on an up, rather than down note.

IMAG0313.jpg
It was so difficult to snap a photo at just the right time as the balloons were lit up! 

In case any of you are wondering, yes it’s been two weeks since I’m completely Prozac free as I mentioned in my last post. I’m feeling great. I’ve been getting up and running in the mornings, and went to the local gym for the first time today. Had a great workout that left me feeling tired and famished, and a bit sore, which is just the way I like to feel at the end of a great workout. It’s a feeling I’ve not had in a long while, so I think things are looking up in that department and in so many others as well.

And on that note, I think I will end this post. Thanks as always for reading.