Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Now that I'm a young, vibrant, flourishing 30-something ( let's see if I can come up with more adjectives to make the 30's sound cool!) ..... a real go-getter, probably not a jet-setter... but that girl, that normal, every-day kinda girl, trying to live a purposeful life, making educated choices, minding my tongue, seeking wisdom and thriving on those little things in life that bring me joy . . . I have also acquired an appreciation for so many things which I used to take for granted. The one on my mind today.......


It's that little thing all Americans feel entitled to as soon as they're 18. Some anticipate casting their first ballot incessantly, while others glide into their middle ages never even bothering to register. As for me, I registered when I turned 18, and although I mostly turn a blind eye to local politics, I always vote for the presidency.

I know my measly little vote out of all the millions will have little impact.... however, if everyone decided their 1 little vote didn't matter, then the masses would cease to vote, and each little vote would have a much larger impact....... which in the end, it turns out, is quite scary.

So, I do my part, and cast my ballot. Even though I try to diligently follow the campaigns, I generally cast my vote, go on about my day and then relish in the fact that I won't have to watch any more political commercials. Great. It's over, end of story... at least for 4 more years.

...... but something was different this year. Since it's my first year in the Chi, and I already leave the house for work at 6:45am, I opted to do an absentee ballot. I didn't foresee a joyful morning at the polls with the rest of Chicago.

So, I received my ballot in the mail a few weeks past, calculated my decisions and put the pen to the paper. It wasn't so much choosing my candidate on the ballot, but delivering that ballot to the post box was the powerful moment.

I did so on my lunch break, so it's a short walk down the block, upon which time, without any forethought whatsoever.... I began to think of the power I wielded in that very moment. Not in an egotistical sorta way, but in a way that validated all of the work women did to fight for our rights during the last century. I began reminiscing stories I'd learned in history class of activists taking a stand, demanding women be considered equal and given the opportunity to vote. . . I began to clench my ballot tighter & thought of the women in this world who still don't have that luxury. Women in the Middle East are fighting for the right to drive, let alone vote! Others, over the past few years have been showcased in news clips with pride across their face as the struggle and strife they endured to garner the right to vote has finally been granted. .......... My mind was racing, my heart starting to pound and emotion coming over me, as I realized how very Blessed I am that I live in a country, where it's not even a question. It's such a simple right that we do take it for granted and we do feel entitled....... As I was swarming with feelings of pride, anger, joy, frustration, responsibility and duty I looked up to discover I was approaching the flag pole that stands about 20 feet prior to the post box ...... my eyes slowly followed the pole higher and higher.....& higher.. .. only to find .... it was empty.

Nevertheless, in my mind, the bountiful flag's red, white and blue was billowing in the wind and flapping proudly at the justices and opportunities that it stands for. I dropped my ballot in the post box, a ballot that would have merely equated to a large envelope any other day, but today it was a ticket. A ticket to freedom, to all those things we should be thankful for and to the hope that the same justices are spread throughout the world.

In that moment of clarity, I found a new appreciation for my rights and my claim as a U.S. citizen. Whatever your political beliefs, if you've been granted the privilege, get off your bum & go vote on November 6th!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Divine Intervention.

Open Bottle of Champagne with Fluted Glasses and Roses - Vendor: iClipart 

How is it that two people,
from two totally different worlds

end up........ together.

(Literally, 22, 052 miles apart according to google maps. Although, I wouldn't have taken the much longer route through China & Russia myself, but apparently google doesn't fly the Atlantic) 

I shall never know.
Nor do I care.

All I am sure of is that God could not have cultivated a more perfect human being for me. 

Someone who challenges me at every curve,
Forces me to dig deep when I'm getting weary,
Greets me with a beaming smile every morning,
Cherishes me,
Supports me in all that I do,
Can Cook & does so,
Is full of faith and inspiration,
Loves to love me,
and speaks to my heart in a way that not even I can comprehend.

This weekend marked our 1 year wedding anniversary! The year flew by, and I pray it is God's will that we have many happy years ahead of us. Although, I won't be disappointed if they slow down a little.

So now, we celebrate ....... In the words of my baby, 1 down, infinity to go!

Off to New Orleans, be back soon. . .

Three Piece Jazz Band - Vendor: iClipart

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A bachelor's degree in . . . nonsense.

So, maybe that's a little blunt and sure, judgmental. However, it seems our bright, young adults in this country are following their possibly, slightly immature hearts a little too much, when they're opting to finance their education, only to attain a degree in Exploring, Archaeology or dare I say it.... Art.

Don't get me wrong, I'd hate to see the arts and creative minds stifled, and everyone forced to work in cubicles. However, the reality is, where will you find a job? Art majors have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

The opportunity to access higher education in this country is one of our greatest legacy's. However, any number of studies can validate that tuition rates have practically doubled just in the last 10 years. (Sure, it's tied to politics, state & federal budget cuts & a number of other influences). . . but even if costs weren't soo inflated, the goal of education is and always has been to open the doors of opportunity for job security.......... right??

All of these generic, liberal arts degrees can get someone's foot in the door, if having a post-secondary education is one of the main job requirements.... but essentially, have you learned a trade? Do you have a skill that gives you the upper hand over the next guy? Not really .........

What is the solution? Well, definitely a more profound focus on career planning in high school, with a continuation overflowing into freshmen, college orientation courses. Pshht, I had no idea as to the purpose of my high school counselor! I told him what courses I wanted to take each semester, and he input them in the computer. I thought that was the extent of his job. Little did I know, students at other schools were receiving real-world advice and guidance on college preparation and career choices. Perhaps, I should have reached out to him, but I didn't even know those things fell under his job duties or knowledge-base. Being the first in my immediate family to go to college, how crucial that information could have been. Instead, I stumbled along, making plenty of unnecessary mistakes due to this omitted information.

Also, when it comes to college planning, families need to take a step back & consider the benefits of attending a community college first. Has anyone been looked over for a job, because they began their degree at community college?? ............. I don't know, but I'd imagine it's very rare! Nobody has ever questioned it on my resume. People are really looking at the college you graduate from, if that's even relevant in your chosen profession. Why not start out taking 60 credit hours of gen. ed. requirements and spending the equivalent of $5,000. Then, transfer those on to your chosen university, and you've avoided two years of extensive student loan debt, while maximizing your educational opportunity. At least at that rate, if you do major in Arts, you're only indebted by two years of the four year degree!

Higher education is such a complex matter, but it is definitely a decision worth mulling over and doing some strategic planning. A 16-18 year-old with little real-world experience may not make the wisest overall decision, so parents need to step up and provide some guidance. Just because a parent didn't go to college, doesn't make them a hypocrite for doing their research and trying to guide their children to make wise college choices.

In the end, it could be the difference between them figuring out how to repay $60,000 in student loans, while working at Subway during the day & playing their guitar in the subway by night! .......... OR making a comfortable living, not strapped by debt, but able to start a family, purchase a home and truly live the American Dream by the time they're out of their 20's.

Nobody wants to be a starving artist. . .
Homeless Woman Holding a "Will Work for Food" Sign