November 23, 2014

Anything You Can Do, I Can (Still) Do Better.

If you missed the previous post where my friend Melissa schools us on all things Ebola and American entitlement, then please read that here before you move on.  I love having Sierra Leone in my mind when I am making decisions about my stuff. Not just my physical stuff (outgrown toys and clothes, absurd amounts of holiday-themed pencils with no tips, and the like), but also my emotional stuff. I tend to be a wanderer. I have struggled with wanderlust for as long as I can remember. I have always had a deep sense that there is something out there that I must pursue in order to find true happiness. I have spent many embarrassing years moving toward this force, this unknown, unnamed, unidentified thing... this mysterious solution.

I have wasted many good years gravitating toward one "solution" after another. Chasing the high of change was something that I was guilty of for so long it's pathetic. A new relationship, moving to a new apartment, setting some goal to work toward, acquiring some item that guaranteed a life of fulfillment and comfort, achieving some sort of success, gaining someone's approval, concealing my flaws, being fit, trim and never gaining weight, gaining so much weight that I would finally have the curves of an actual adult woman... all of these pointless and vain pursuits are actual examples of "fixes" I am guilty of chasing. (Most, if not all, proved to be an exercise in futility, except for acquiring those bodacious curves which, obviously, was a wildly successful endeavor  when I was nine months pregnant and not a moment after. )

So, yes, I have a long history of vanity and self-obsession. Surprise! I have struggled with comparing myself to others for about.... hmmmm a lifetime or so. Minimizing this month has made me aware of how far I have come in some ways (I no longer believe that there is some "fix" but I know there to be an actual solution to my discontentment, something  - or rather someone worth pursuing. I have learned that knowing Jesus and being covered by His perfect work on the cross, and knowing that His grace is enough for me has allowed me to be just a tiny bit less absurd as a person. Now, when I do catch myself wandering in my mind to the illusion of greener grass, or lusting after some thing that promises to solve all my problems, I can at least stop myself and know that I am believing a lie.

In other ways, I know that I have made very little progress. Below is a post I wrote more than THREE YEARS AGO. I get into the nitty gritty of how sick of a woman I really was and sadly, still am. Re-reading it has revealed that while I am purging all this "stuff" I no longer need, I have not made much progress in uprooting the the deeply embedded cause of my desire to have more: jealousy and comparison.

Here is an (unfortunately still-relevant) assessment of the damage that this comparison trap has had in my life, called Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, which I wrote back in the summer of 2011. Beware, this was written when I didn't have the energy to capitalize sentences. 


i might have a seriously major problem.  comparing myself to others has been a lifelong infection of mine.  i intentionally choose the word infection because that is what it is.  infection is defined as being tainted or contaminated with something that affects quality, character, or condition unfavorably. 

comparing myself to others is something that affects life's quality, my personal character and the condition of my heart unfavorably.  i am a sick, sick woman.

i think that this infection (for me) started at childbirth.  i was born 18 short months after my organized and athletically gifted sister, who could do almost anything better than me.  she was a more disciplined student, a much better athlete, and she always had her uniforms washed by game day.  comparatively, i was a bright, but distracted student who rarely "applied herself."  i was mediocre at sports, and had to sneak out of school during my lunch hour to go home and wash my uniform on game day.  and i usually washed the home jersey for away games, and vice versa.  my antics irritated my sister, and almost anyone in a position of authority.

don't get me wrong, i wasn't a complete idiot.  i'm just a little more free-spirited than your average apply-oneself-er.  it's not that i got bad grades, they just didn't reflect my potential.  one semester in college, i decided that i would actually try to get a 4.0.  i had 18 credit hours that semester, so it was the perfect time to see if i really had what it takes to ace a challenging course load.  i got a 4.0.  i didn't tell anyone at the time, and i never tried to apply myself so thoroughly ever again.

while i may not have told anyone, i kept track of that achievement in my mind.  if someone out-performed me in school... i could always say "well, if i had applied myself, i would have done just as well."  (comparison: victory for me.)  it is really out of self-preservation that i needed a secret comparison victory like this, because i spent the other 99% of my life feeling bad about the losses in most comparisons:  "wow, that girls has incredibly thick hair, but not frizzy-thick, her hair is smooth, shiny, pantene-commerical-thick. my hair isn't so much thick, as it is big.  not pantene-big, but 80's-big."  (comparison: loss for me.)  "her kids know all their state capitols??  and they recite the old testament in its entirety out loud before dinner?  and they eat the egg whites?  unsalted!?  she is super mom.  i'm the worst."  (comparison: loss for me.)  "but, her kids don't understand dry humor."  (comparison: victory.)

do you see what i mean?  i'm totally sick and infected.  it's like the circular argument i am constantly having in my head:  i am the worst-----> at least i'm not as bad as that guy-------> i am a total fool-------> she acted dumber than i did--------> i wish i could be her-----------> i could probably beat her up in a survival situation-----------> i would never act like that!----------> i can't believe i acted like that----------> i'm the worst----------> i can't believe that i am seriously the best.

sick. twisted. infected.

i hate comparing myself to others.  i usually lose out to some busty broad who fills out her dress like a proper adult... and to make myself feel better, i try to find a comparison victory to make myself feel better.  so, i search and i come up with something like, at least i know not to wear the sock/sandal combination that lady is rockin'.  it's horrible, and it doesn't make me feel better.  it makes me feel like a huge jerk.  which leads to "well, at least i'm not as big of a jerk as...."

if all of you egg my house tonight, i will understand why.  i just egged it for saying this stuff out loud.

so, i have been contemplating the comparison trap.  i have realized that it leads (in my mind) to some perceived loss or victory.  the losses, obviously, make me feel horrible.  and the victories make me feel a little better for a hot second, but ultimately make me feel horrible.  the trap is this: "victories" lead to pride (sickening), or "losses" lead to self-loathing (sickening.)  either way, comparing myself to others makes me more and more self-focused and sickening by the second.  so, i quit.

i am giving up comparisons.  i am choosing to believe that i am fearfully and wonderfully made, and so is everyone else.  no better, no worse.  we are all made in the image of a good and perfect God who is neither impressed by my "victories", nor disgusted at my "losses."  so, i am choosing to agree with God on who i am, and who others are.  i am going to stop measuring myself against other women, and start measuring myself against who i know God created me to be.

this is going to be really hard because it all happens in my head where there is zero accountability.  so, if you see me deep in thought, just slap me right across the face as hard as you can because i am, undoubtedly, comparing myself to someone else.  i will gladly do the same for all my sisters out there who are stuck in this same sick trap of comparing ourselves, and our families, and our gifts, and our faults, and so on...

i'll even bet i can slap harder than you can slap.


So, I have decided that since I have clearly not grown up at all in the past three years, I am going to use the comparison trap to my advantage. I WILL compare myself to others, but I will strive to compare my current state of affairs not to that of the average American woman, but to the women of Sierra Leone. This comparison can not possibly lead to one of those ugly "victories or losses" but I am finding that this comparison leads to the acknowledgement that I am sitting on a life that overflows with an embarrassment of riches. Knowing this leads to an overwhelming need to be more generous and more grateful, and I believe that generosity and gratitude are the antidote to a life of discontentment, excess or wanderlust. And if I cannot solve the myriad of crises in Sierra Leone, I can, at the very least, be aware, and my hope is that I could honor their struggle by living a life in response to, and in light of, that awareness.

November 8, 2014

Minimize with Meaning - Week One

Hi again... Did you enjoy my week of silence as much as I did? Well, don't get used to it because I am back with loads of thoughts and opinions and shenanigans to share. For example, I have committed myself to a little project for the month of November that I am calling #theminimalistproject. I have been doing a lot of  mindless websurfing  research about becoming a minimalist and since I love swinging from one extreme idea to another, I thought "Yes, let's!" To be clear, I am not getting too technical with the term "minimalism," I am more interested in purging whatever is unnecessarily in my life and home, as well as raging against excess, and an entitled American mindset. So, for the month of November I am attempting to become (my version of) a "minimalist." The challenge is quite simple, on Day 1, you get rid of 1 item. On day 2, 2 items. Day 3, 3 items. (If you need me to keep walking you through the rest of the month, I invite you to never read my blog again, because, no.)

Days 1-8 have been, quite honestly, very simple for me because I am - by nature - a purger. I do not like to hold on to things, for the most part. I will share embarrassing proof of my de-cluttering... but, for now you will have to take my word for it, because I wanted to kick off this project with a little perspective, which my friend Melissa  was manhandled into giving  happily agreed to offer. I will let her tell you her story, but here is what you need to know about Melissa:
  1. She's the best.
  2. She's smarter than you.
  3. Don't worry, you aren't alone, she's smarter than all of us. Maybe combined.
  4. She is humble and generous and amazing.
  5. She might look like she hated posing for this engagement-style photo of the two of us, but she actually has it in an 8x10 above her mantle. 

Without further ado... I give you, Sweet Melissa.


Greetings from Freetown, Sierra Leone.  It is perfectly fair to say that baby Jaylen’s arrival was the catalyst to my friendship with Lara, but as a childhood friend of Tom I knew of Lara’s blog and was an admirer of her writings for years - so it’s cool to be able to say a few things on here as a little contributor and not simply be known as the girl who hates kindness.

**warning  - this post is gonna get a little intense. But I know you can handle it.**

I send you well wishes from this vibrant country where the only things more beautiful than the landscape are the people. I was shocked at how gorgeous this place is with its rainbow of scenery --  a dance for the eyes.  Red clay roads along white beaches hugging sapphire pacific waves with green palm-covered hills jetting out the sandy coastline. There isn’t a single window with a bad view.  Also Sierra Leoneans are ridiculously attractive. I told my friends I’m surprised there aren’t modeling scouts here on a regular basis because wow. And almost every night I stand on my hotel balcony, and pray, and watch the sun go down because this happens

and this happens    

Although this place could be paradise – it is not paradise.  Sierra Leone has suffered through years of war, exploitation, corruption, and disease. Only 35% of the people can read. There is limited access to healthcare. Education is meager. Jobs are scarce. And the people are poor – very poor.

…and now…Ebola. 

Although good work is being done here the infection numbers are still on the rise because these people were already so vulnerable and the region so challenged. I told Lara a couple weeks ago that she should use her powers for good and tell America to stop freaking out over Ebola. It was infuriating to see what I see here, to hear what I hear here, and then turn on BBC and watch another story about the Ebola panic machine taking over the United States. That unjustified terror was affecting aid relief here in West Africa and even now is rippling with unfortunate consequences. So let me simply and lovingly say that I’ve been here for a month and I don’t have Ebola - and you won’t get it either. 

Ok scolding moment over.

I’m here in Freetown working with the U.S. Embassy in their public affairs/communications office.  Yesterday we conducted a program for the sowie population about Ebola and how to prevent transmission. Sowies are women tribal leaders who are influential in their communities and are often sought after during times of illness or death. Seventy percent of Ebola transmission cases here are due to unsafe burial practices so we had to educate the sowies on how to care for their community without performing traditional burial duties. 

Sowies are lively and colorful and are generally older members of society. But I noticed a lot of younger women and made a remark to my colleague about one in particular, “Marilyn, did you see that one? She was so young. She looked like she was 12.”
“Did you see she wasn’t wearing shoes?”
“No.” I said.
“She doesn’t have any shoes.”

And that’s all I could think about for the rest of the day. 
I just kept repeating that over and over in my head.  “She doesn’t have any shoes.”

Ok - I live in New York City and sadly am no stranger to poverty or passing a neighbor who lives on my street….literally….on the street.

But I was so consumed by the Ebola prevention training that I didn’t even notice she wasn’t wearing shoes.

People. I’m only here in Sierra Leone for about a month. And I brought 9 pairs of shoes with me.  Three pairs of heels, three flats, one pair of rugged hiking shoes, one pair of sneakers, and one pair of flip flops. 

“She didn’t have any shoes.”

Even writing that now makes my stomach clench and my chest tight and my eyes water and yet I still have 9 pairs of shoes strewn about the floor of my hotel room. 

There was a similar moment a few weeks ago that sent me into that same soul spin which I wrangled Lara into when I sent her this picture

Lara asked if they were playing and I said no, “they’re collecting drinking water from the ground.  Look closely.”

“I was afraid of that,” she said.

I couldn’t get those little ones out of my head. I told Lara that I stood on the balcony of my nice hotel that night and sobbed like an infant because I felt like such an ass. Here I am, up here with my ocean view - and there you are, little ones, with your puddles of drinking water.

That image also had an effect on our faithful blogger because the following day Lara sent me this message, “Our texting was very convicting to me last night. Which is what I needed. I am in that mode where I am exhausted, and drained emotionally, and just feeling done. And it makes me want to go to Jamaica.  And I really mean that. I believe I NEED to go on a vacation. REALITY CHECK: I need clean water. Check.”

I know the next segment of posts from Lara will focus on the “stuff” in our lives. And knowing Lara I’m sure she will touch on all the different layers of stuff that we pile up. There’s the stuff that clutters up our homes and makes us reluctant to let guests in. And there’s the stuff that clutters up the deepest recesses of our hearts that makes us VERY reluctant to let Jesus in.

But maybe if Jesus had access to those deepest darkest mustiest places in our hearts -- maybe we wouldn’t be so unnecessarily fearful (about Ebola in the U.S. or life in general), maybe we wouldn’t be so obsessively, and often times unknowingly, materialistic (about shoes or life in general),
maybe we would have wisdom to know how to be good stewards of what we’ve been given in this world (so babies don’t have to drink rainwater off the street), maybe we could be more like some of the people I met here in Sierra Leone. They would give you the shirt off their back, and for some of them it would be their only shirt. 

Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."
Ok that was a really heavy post so I’m gonna conclude with this picture because a woman with a head full of maxi pads is awesome and needs to be shared with the world.

November 2, 2014

Day 31 - Part 2: Looking Up

My favorite act for Day 31, was to bless my sweet friend Chrissy (or Crispy as London says). In August, Chrissy unexpectedly lost her 28 year old husband, who drowned in the Genesee River.  Her husband, Jake, was such a full of life, compassionate, adventurous, fun loving, jump-off-the-roof kind of guy that it seemed nearly impossible to believe that he was no longer full of life, let alone gone. My friend, Mike West (recipient of Day 1) was with Jake when he went in the water. My father-in-law met with Jake on a weekly basis and was a sort of second dad/mentor to Jake. My mother-in-law continues to do that for Chrissy each week. My in-laws consider Jake and Chrissy their other kids. So, we have come to think of Jake and Chrissy as extended family, and losing Jake was a shocking blow to us and to everyone who knew and loved him.

Jake devoted his life to living and ministering to his urban community. He and Chrissy are missionaries in the city of Rochester, where they live in community with others who share a passion for reaching out and loving this city. Jake and Chrissy have three young children, two little girls and a newborn son, just a few weeks old when Jake passed away. For the funeral, Chrissy allowed me the honor of using Jake's favorite shirt and tie to make boutonnieres, headbands and corsages for Jake's family members. 

Jake - pictured here in his favorite shirt and tie - with wife Chrissy, and children Ruthie, Nadia and Chase. This was taken within days of Jake's passing. Below are the memorial keepsakes I made for Chrissy, their children and family members.

 Miniature necktie for Chase, just like his Daddy.

Although I made these keepsakes for the day of the funeral, I held onto the remaining pieces of the fabric, knowing that the things our loved ones leave behind can feel sacred... and I did not want any of it to go to waste. So... for Day 31 I used the remaining pieces of fabric and I created two mirrors for Ruthie and Nadia, on each one, I wrote "Daddy's princess." I wanted the girls to have a reminder every time they looked in the mirror, to view themselves through the lens of their Father's love. They will not have Jake telling them every morning before school how beautiful they are, so I wanted to give them something that reminded them that they now have two Fathers in heaven who adore them. I like using old fabric for that very reason, because it is a beautiful reminder to me of what God does with us... he takes what the world has rejected - the out of style, the useless, the old, the ugly, the discarded - and He makes it beautiful, useful, worthy. So, my prayer is that Ruthie and Nadia will look in these mirrors and know that it doesn't matter what this world tells them about their appearance, or their bodies, or their worth. The only thing that matters is how their Heavely Daddies see them: as perfect.

For baby Chase, I made him a bowtie that I can cut and resize so that he can wear it for as many years as he likes. And I added a couple of leaves to a pair of baby slippers, to remind him that he is not walking in this life alone, but that he too has a Father guiding his steps.

And finally for Chrissy... I gave her a spa gift card for a one hour massage, foot scrub, and something to do with magical hot stones or something. I don't exactly know what all is involved... but I know that in the past two months, Chrissy has lived a lifetime's worth of pain. From searching for her husband in a boat on the river the night he was swept away, to telling her girls that Daddy is never coming home, and all this after just giving birth. If somebody deserves to have something magical happen to her back for an hour, it's her.

Just two weeks after Jake passed away, my sister-in-law, Shannon, lost her father in a similar way. Shannon's dad, John Tull, was out in Californina visiting Shannon's sister, Kristin, and her family. They spent the day at the ocean, and were all together as John decided to do some bodysurfing... letting one wave carry him, he went under and he just never came up again. Kristin and her husband and their two little girls watched as this beloved man, living in the adventure of the moment, simply vanished before their eyes.

First responders tirelessly searching for Shannon's dad.

I cannot imagine the trauma of watching someone so dear to me literally be swept out of my life. Shannon (and Tom's brother Brandon) flew out immediately to join Kristin and their family as they walked the beach day in and day out, searching for some sign of their dad's life, or sadly, his death. They walked and waited and searched, then ultimately had to say goodbye and create that closure they had hoped to have by finding his physical body. But, with a beautiful rose ceremony and tribute to their dad, they had the unbelievable peace that comes with knowing that this life, and all its pain, is temporary. And while they will miss their dad so terribly, they have assurance of his faith and, with that, the knowledge that the eternity they get to spend with him will be anything but temporary. 

 Waiting, searching, then saying goodbye.
 "The ocean may have my dad, but heaven has his soul." - Kristin Rogers

So, for my last #AdamsActs of 2014, I wanted to honor these two beloved daddies, Jacob Bradley Baxter and John Tull (and their legacy of living a life of both faith, and adventure). I chose to honor them by making a donation to an organization that is near and dear to my heart. The Great Lakes Beach and Pier Safety Task Force is an organization associated with the Beach Survival Challenge, which is an event held every year in my hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan, created by the family of Andrew Burton Fox after his tragic death in 2003. Andy was the adored younger brother of our high school friends, Jaime and Ryan Fox, who drowned after being caught in a rip current when he, like my Adam, was just 17. He did not have the knowledge about these currents to enable him to escape, and his family has courageously devoted themselves to the mission of spreading beach and pier safety awareness to prevent senseless deaths.

I remember at Andy's funeral, his Young Life leader shared a story of Andy's response during an early morning Bible Study he attended, when he was asked who he related to in the story of Peter stepping out of the boat, and walking out to Jesus on the water. To most 17 year old kids, the options are either Peter, or the guys still in the boat. But, Andy wasn't like other 17 year old kids. He and my brother were similar in this way, I think they saw this world differently, and Andy showed that in his answer. He did not say he could identify with any of the obvious characters in that Bible story, instead, he said he would be most like a fish, down in the water, observing. 

As I wrote the check to an organization that was born out of death, I thought about that story. I thought about Andy and Adam, our boys, both forever seventeen. And I thought about how Andy, Jake and John, these three guys that never knew one another, shared a faith in the same God, possessed the same zest for life, and were all taken by the underestimated, yet extremely powerful force of water.  And I can't help but think that in their last heartbreakingly beautiful moments, as their eyes were closing under the water for the last time, that they - like Andy's fish - were looking up, at Jesus.


If you are interested in helping Chrissy during this unimaginable time, a relief/college fund has been set up. Please consider donating here:

If you are interested in supporting the mission of the Beach Survival Challenge, learn more and please consider donating here:

Special thanks to whoever anonymously mailed me money, your #AdamsActs donation helped treat Chrissy to some much needed relaxation, and made it possible to give to toward life-saving education of beach-goers. 


To Adam,

I write about you, but I have never written to you. Tonight, I don't care who else is reading this... I just want to say this to you. You are my hero. No, not were, are. You ARE my hero. I know that while you were still alive, I would say that Norm Green was my hero, but that was just because he was so good at basketball and was seriously the tallest person I had ever seen. But, I change my mind, is that okay?  Because it's you. It was always you, but you were just so much shorter than Norm Green, and plus I was so little, so I didn't know at the time that you were going to be the best person I ever met.

Thank you.  Thank you for everything you taught me. Thank you for letting me sit and talk to you in the bathroom and watch you do your hair, which took forever for how short your hair was. Thank you for telling me the truth. Thank you for letting me follow you around like a puppy, for teaching me to dance, how to be funny enough to get out of trouble, how to forgive.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I went skiing on your last birthday. I am sorry that I went trick-or-treating instead of watching the last soccer game you would ever play. I am sorry that I cannot remember your hands. Or your voice. I am sorry for hiding your sugar-free candies from you. I am sorry that you ate those disgtusting candies to begin with. I am sorry that you don't get to know my children, they are so amazing Adam, I know you would love them.

I wish. I wish we could make fun of mom together, you wouldn't even believe how much material you have missed out on. She can't remember anything, you would love it. I wish I could call you, and we could talk on the phone late at night, and we could be grownups together. I am so much cooler now, I swear, and I think you would like me as a full size person. I wish you were at my wedding, and at my graduations, and not in the room at my births, but at the hospital when I had my babies. I wish you could have gone through these adoptions with us, you would have loved every minute of it. I wish I still had you.

I could write all night all the thank you's and I'm sorry's and I wish's... but, you probably already know them. I cannot wait to see you again, and have it be forever.

Your Baby Sister

In Loving Memory of Adam H.Provencal, my real hero

November 1, 2014

Day 31 of #AdamsActs - Part One

**Alright people...I was up until 2:00am completing the grandest grand finale blog post I could. Then, I deleted it. I am not going to lie, when I realized that I could not recover the FOUR hours it took me to write everything, upload pictures, add in links, etc... I wept like a toddler.

This is how my toddler weeps when there is no more cake.

You won't even believe this, but this picture was not taken last night. It was actually a different low point for me as an adult, and was taken before Jay's picture above. I was not reenacting Jay's tantrum, I was hungry and had no groceries and I gave up and laid down and (without my knowledge or permission, my  horrible  friend Lexi took this picture, because she likes to photo-document me at my most pathetic. I think she is saving up pictures to make a coffee table book of my most embarrassing moments.)

So, I was able to recover an early draft of the blog, and it is below, as Day 31 - Part 1. I will post part 2 tonight or tomorrow at the absolute latest. I guess for those of you who said you didn't want me to be done blogging, your prayers were answered. Thanks  but no thanks  a lot for shot-blocking my prayers for an earlier bed time. 

Day 31.

It is with such a heavy heart that I sit down to write my final #AdamsActs for 2014. Before we get into all that, my first act of kindness will be to bless you with photographic evidence of the following:

  1. How clearly I overcompensate for grief while making Halloween costumes.
  2. How unabashedly foolish I am willing to be in public.
  3. How much superhuman neck strength I have.
You ready for all that?

The family theme this year was Super Mario. Now before you judge me for doing a family theme... let's revisit last year when we had two brides, one groom, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Spiderman and a chili pepper. What a disaster, not cohesive at all.

So we tightened it up this year and went for the family theme.

Actual Mario

Harper as Mario
(After party Mario)

Actual Luigi

London as Luigi 

Believe it or not, that wasn't the after party version. This is...

Actual Princess Peach 

Marlie as Princess Peach

Actual Toadette

Annalee as Toadette

Actual Toad

Jay as Toad

Jay and I as Toad and Toadette

That is a full size bean ban on a bicycle helmet.

Actual Awesome Gamer Costume

Tom as lamer Gamer

(Not pictured because Tom forgot the holster of nerdy gaming remotes he was going to wear with his Nintendo shirt.)

The gang's all here!!

Okay, now let's get down to the business of  weeoping  kindness.

To kick off Day 31, I chased the garbage truck down my road because they whizzed past my house at 100 miles per hour and I wanted to give them a little something. I was hot on their trail when I realized that they were going so fast because they need to go down a different street first to turn around and come back in the other direction to get all the garbage on my side of the road. So, for my first act of the day, I entertained my neighbors by running like a mental patient down the street in my pajamas and socks, with my hair Mustang Sallying behind me in all it's wild glory. Maybe it's a stretch to consider this a kindness, but just like there are a few duds in every fireworks finale, I am throwing anything and everything possible into my fireworks finale-o-kindness.  

Eventually, the garbage truck pulled up to my bin and I went out with a little more dignity, but still the same outfit, and handed them a thank you note and a Starbucks gift card.  They seemed completely  afraid of my appearance  unphased by the gift and threw it in the cab of the truck and continued on their way. I don't know how often they are acknowledged for their services, but I can't imagine it's happening frequently. So, I'd like to believe that it made a small impact at least. Like, they probably both ugly cried and sang some hymns a cappella at the end of their shift. I'm just guessing, but that's probably definitely what happened.

Garbage truck...

That is all for now, sadly. Prepare yourself emotionally though, because Day 31 was a bit on the heavy side. So, until then, enjoy my absurdity.