Tuesday, February 27, 2007

TBI - To Be Inspired

My heart is a little broken tonight. I just finished watching this program on Bob Woodruff's horrific experience and the experiences of soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). I couldn't help but feel my heart cry. These men and women - with spouses and children - so perfect in their military photos - who are unbelievably changed forever.

I cannot imagine the strength it must require of their families to support them. I cannot imagine the fear of the unknown that their spouses, children, parents and friends face every day. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for the patient to have to work so hard to do things they used to do without thinking.

Bob Woodruff is doing very well. It has also been more than a year since his injury, but he has made amazing strides. It is stunning to see his children teaching him words like "belt buckle" and "diamond." I know he must have worked incredibly hard to get to the point he is at now.

It is a well-known fact that I feel deeply and things affect me profoundly. I am not weepy, but there are issues that really just hit me hard. I find it hard to keep myself removed from suffering like that. I place myself in their shoes and just wonder - if that happened in my life - how would I manage - how would I maintain hope? I know that you do what you have to do - I have been through issues in my life and maintained hope when there was little reason to, but I just wish these things didn't have to happen. Right now, my job does not afford me as much opportunity to help those who are suffering as I would like.

I am by no means an activist in a lot of ways; not because I don't care, but because I am sometimes paralyzed by my upset. Does this make sense?

What is the best way to help? How can I best effect change? Who needs to hear my upset over these issues? I struggle with these thoughts and more. Whatever your feelings are about war, no one feels good about the men and women who are injured, maimed, and killed serving and protecting our country.

This will bother me. They highlighted a family whose father/husband had a TBI. They followed him for awhile and in the beginning he was in tough shape. As time progresesed with his rehab, he made amazing progress!!! Unfortunately, he went back to TX (if I remember correctly) and was not set up for his rehabilitation to continue. Due to these "mistakes," he had serious setbacks. When Bob visited him again, you could see the (bad) changes that occurred while he was not in rehab.

So, Bob's family started a fund to help military families with Traumatic Brain Injuries and they link to this site as well for a way to help. I like giving money, but I also like to be able to help in tangible ways. These families are inspiring.

**Before this story, I was going to write about my upcoming girls' weekend to help a good friend celebrate a big birthday (one I have not yet reached - thank goodness! ;)) with a HUGE surprise. She has NO idea we are going away to Hilton Head, NC for the weekend. Her husband will be home taking care of their 19 month old twins while we do girly things and maybe check out the Food & Wine Festival in Charleston. Cross your fingers that a storm which is supposed to bring snow Thursday night (heavier towards dawn? Our flight leaves at 7am!?!?!) heads north so that our plane can take off! :) (If not, I'll make sure to have some knitting.... ;)) Anyway, my weekend took a backseat after Bob's story. I am on a mission (CAOK?) to figure out how I can best help.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

No longer a wallflower...

I'm not a wallflower anymore! Since I started my blog, I've been lurking around lots of blogs, learning, reading, laughing, and making friends. I've been gaining confidence, so now I'm actually participating in CAOK II!!! Ok, it's not a knitting, sewing, or crafting participation - it's something better. I love making people smile, showing kindness to someone, and helping out (the Girl Scout in me ;) so this was a perfect fit for my first blog activity.

Unfortunately, I don't know as much as I would like to, so although I got Kelli's button, I only got the picture, not the link. I'm not that smart yet.

Anyway, I can link to Kelli in my blog, so I hope you'll check out Calculated Acts of Kindess and maybe participate?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Uh-oh -- It's Girl Scout Cookie time again!

I have a few weaknesses (ok maybe more than a few) but my love of Girl Scout Cookies? Seriously disturbing. At this age, I have no shame in admitting that I was a Girl Scout until I graduated from high school. It wasn't the cool thing to do, for sure, but I made many good and constant friends during Girl Scout activities and meetings. I learned lots of cool stuff - including how to change my tire - from Girl Scouts. I traveled to Mexico and around our country with Girl Scouts. Intangibly, I gained self-confidence, leadership skills, commitment to community service, and a strong sense of self-worth - oh and a love of cookies! ;)

I know people have different experiences in Girl Scouts and other organizations, but mine just happened to be pretty fantabulous. The women who led were role models, kind souls, and teachers with high expectations that we would always do our best. Girl Scouts was fun for me - I think I'm a bit of a dork though - I do like to learn! ;)

So, I sold cookies every year. My mom stocked our freezer with Thin Mints, Trefoils, etc and we had cookies all year long. For many years, my mom was the "Cookie Mom" and all the cases and cases of cookies for every girl in our town were delivered to our house. (Hmm...perhaps this is where my unhealthy attachment came from... .;)).

I want other girls to get as much out of Girl Scouts as I did and I love the cookies so I buy them. Probably not great for my figure.....but it's like a trip down memory lane for me too.....

*Currently eating the "newish" chocolate covered cookie ("Thanks-a-Lot") with a cup of tea (oh yeah and sometimes I dip them)......but I love frozen Thin Mints crumbled over a dish of vanilla ice cream too.

"I was a Girl Scout and I loved being a Girl Scout. I learned so much as a Girl Scout and I used to sell cookies and it was really fun. " - Maria Bartiromo - journalist

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Red rover, red rover....Send Chocolate right over!

Historically, Valentine's Day has not been a great time of year for me. It's not the relationship issue so much as death. I know. Crazy right?

My (paternal) Grandma died on Valentine's Day about 20 years ago. It was a weekend and we were talking to her on the phone when she had a stroke. She was a petite, white-haired woman with a deep love for the Boston Red Sox and her grandchildren in the U.S. and Ireland. Grandma F. was the kindest, most soft-spoken woman you have ever met. This exterior hid a tough woman, who worked as a nurse and supported her two children after husband died at 39. I loved her deeply.

My (maternal) Grandmama (how snotty does that sound? That's what we called her though.....) died on February 15th about 10 years ago. She was a tall, tough woman with salt and pepper hair - a farmer's wife - who loved her family unconditionally. Grandmama T. had a love of cooking and baking and high expectations for all of her grandchildren. It's a shame she didn't live to see those expectations come to fruition. She was a nurse as well; a psychiatric nurse who had great understanding and empathy for her patients.

After my freshman year in college (6 hours away from home), I became an RA for freshman. I knew I would enjoy helping people and I was right. That job was my calling. In my first year as a freshman RA, I lost a student from my dorm on Valentine's Day. G died in a car accident due to icy roads. It was a traumatic event. She was barely a year younger than I. That experience really shaped my decision to work with grieving children and pursue a degree in social work. I spent many sleepless nights talking to confused and devastated students and sharing in their grief. She was a sweet, generous girl with a ready smile and infectious laugh - in the prime of her life.

So you see.....Valentine's Day? Not so much my day. :)

Nonetheless, I like to make people smile on this day. I feel really close to the above people on this day and I try to channel their loving personalities to help others. The romance of the day - ehh. The love of people - that's what I'm about!

I stayed up late last night to prepare a few little treats.

Some bags of chocolate for the girls in my office - and some red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my office as well. These last few weeks have been stressful for all of us and they deserved a "pick-me-up" I thought! :)

**Typically I'm not big on made from scratch cupcakes. I think most mixes work great for cupcakes, but I really wanted red velvet and this recipe was easy to do at the last minute last night! :)
I also mailed little "First Valentine's Day" bibs to all my new babies! :) Hopefully, it made the Mamas smile! I can't believe how fast they are growing!!

Happy Valentine's Day to all.....I hope you were able to spread the love today.