Tuesday, May 14, 2013

40 Days of Gratefulness - Day 47

And they say dreams don't come true. I beg to differ. For as long as I can remember, I've loved music and singing. And I'm no ordinary lil' black girl from Baltimore, my mother indulged me as I've had both piano and guitar lessons. Hmm, guess that make me a well-rounded lil' black girl from Baltimore ;-)  I also grew up in the Episcopal church which means I appreciated classical, orchestral pieces as well as the usual R&B and soft-rock. Hey!! No judgement, Hall & Oates was my very first concert.

Sorry, I digress. Now, I didn't stick with any of those instruments and I have exactly zero musical talents but I secretly harbored a pipe dream to sing. Let's be clear, I can not sing, I'm pretty much tone deaf and 'couldn't carry a tune with a bucket' as my Roomdog (Day 2) likes to joke me. SMH Let's just say, that I was in no danger of pursuing a musical career but that didn't change anything for me; I still dreamed of singing.

I grew up with the likes of Whitney and I still love me some Anita Baker. Regina Belle, whom I've actually met, was my favorite but if I could pick just one person who I'd like to sound like; hands down that would be Phylis Hyman. I mean it was something about her that simply gave me goosebumps. With my zero musical talents, I clearly recognized that I would never be out front leading a song but I didn't need to -- because I really wanted to be a background singer.

Chalk that up to the 3rd grader (Day 9) in me. For whatever reason, I didn't need to be out in front. See to me, background singers are the ones who fill the song. For example, everyone knows Aretha Franklin's Ain't No Way. Yup, a classic but what makes that song memorable is the soprano in the background. The soprano is the one who makes you feel 'longing' in that song. That actually was Cissy Houston, Whitney's momma. Anyway, I do my share of singing in the shower and in the car but generally I'm simply listening and enjoying the music. I was happy, content even with just enjoying the music until an opportunity presented itself.

The Psalmist, me!
At church (Day 35), there was going to be a Women's Day Choir to celebrate Mother's Day and guess what? There were going to let anyone sing, which made me laugh. I joked about joining but I thought 'Nah, it'll never happen, you can't sing.' Duh, I must have forgot what we learned back on Day 6 about missing out on blessings and killing dreams. I even sent an email explaining that I was unable to attend the first practice, asking if I could still participate but I didn't receive a response. 'No big deal, it wasn't in your cards,' I told myself. Riiight! But my roomie (Day 23) forwarded me an email she had received and it said they were really going to let anybody sing in the choir, even me.

WHAT!! Let me tell you, after the first practice I was hooked. The choir director, Janel was astounding. It it exhilarating and inspiring when you see folks walking in their purpose. And I don't know this chick personally, but she was born to choir direct or is that direct choir? You get the gist. She had fabulous energy; explaining that we weren't just singing in the choir, we were using our voices to praise and possibly bless someone through music. Whew. After that one practice, I started calling myself, the Psalmist. LOL I know but the 3rd grader in me never stops.

Well, just last Sunday, I performed in the Metropolitan Baptist Church Women's Day Choir and it was phenomenal. I can't tell you - it was one of the most rewarding experiences ever and I gave it 110%. There was no way I wasn't going to get it in! I mean I was literally 'living my dream' performing. Me, singing, praising the Lord with my voice, rocking from side to side, clapping and I think I even threw up 'holy hands.' Could it be that I'm finally starting to shake that Episcopal 'quiet-in-church-upbringing?' Maybe.

So on this Day 47 of 40 Days of Gratefulness, I'm grateful for dreams that come true. #beblessed #40daysofgratefulness

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

40 Days of Gratefulness - Day 46

Hmm, I set out with every intention of capturing yet another adventure as me and the roomie (Day 23) went hiking (Day 29). That post was hilarious and I'd love to do another one because it really made me laugh. We took some great pictures so I'd imagine that hiking Part III is coming soon. But despite my plans, when I sat down to capture my thoughts, there was another plan at work.

Anyway, fooling around with that roomie, I had got to church super early - yup, 6:30AM and needed coffee badly lest I'd end up fighting an usher in the aisles because I was super tired. So off I go to get coffee on Sunday morning. I was surprised at the number of general contractor-types that were out. First, when have you known any contractor to work on Sunday? And despite them getting coffee at 6:30 AM, I've never seen them anywhere near my house that time of the morning, I digress.

So, here I am waiting in line just behind a gentleman who still reeked of alcohol. Haha, I remember those days, trying to absorb the previous evenings' liquid escapades with sugar or grease. Lo' and behold, a lady whose seen better days, says good morning to no one in particular. But, she sidles up right next to me. LOL While we wait, she starts taking off her shoes, rubbing her feet, stretches and begins to tell me about her evening that was filed with misfortune. I nod politely and smile. She tells me she just got released from the hospital. The Olivia Benson in me wonders what might she have done with her name bracelet. LOL

She goes on to say that I smell really good and that a long time ago, she had perfume like that too. That make me sad, sucker! That 3rd grader (Day 9) in me, falls for it every time like I've been waiting my entire life for possible homeless people looking for free coffee and donuts at 6:30AM in the morning to compliment me on my perfume.

I bite and ask her if she would like a cup of coffee. 'Yes, ma'am and how about 2 donuts as well, I didn't get much to eat.' Well, I can accommodate that request. Good thing,  she didn't want a dozen. ;-) She actually has a sense of humor and I wonder how she may have been under different circumstances. She tells me I'm funny when I tell the server 'I'd like my coffee with 4 creams;  just about your complexion.'

Then, she asks which way am I heading. I invite her to church. [ASIDE: I have definitely turned into my mother when I'm actually considering picking up strangers off the street. But I'm certain nothing bad will ever happen if you pick up a stranger and bring them to church. I really believe this!] Nope, she's not headed that way - she needs to go to Southeast. Well, I'm not taking her there. But, I could put her in a cab and look there's one right there filling up his gas tank. The cabbie is giving me the 'You know, she's a racket, right?' I do know and I give him a $20 bill. I notice that he's attractive, he asked what school I went to and did I live nearby -- I laugh, sorry, babe it's too early for game ;-)

I bid her farewell and hope she enjoys her $20 worth of time in that cab. By the way, she's so busy talking, she drops her coffee on the ground. I crack up laughing that she would come over to me in that line. For as long as I can remember, strangers have always picked me out in a crowd. I don't care if it's 100 people and my hair ain't been combed and I'm wearing a dirty, torn t-shirt and I'm a little musty, they are going to head straight to me and ask for something.

Why do strangers always seem to come to me? I used to think it was because I was the smallest one in the bunch or it could have been my little glasses. My roomdog (Day 2) says I remind folks of Puss in Boots, a little character that makes people laugh. It could be that I inherited it. My mom has a true servant's heart and got approached all the time when we were kids. And, she was notorious for picking up strangers and giving them rides. Well, I'd like to think a little of that may have fell my way but what I do have is good energy, the ability to talk to anyone and enough 3rd grader in me to leave Dunkin' Donuts $30 light when all I wanted was a cup of coffee.

So on this Day 46 of 40 days of gratefulness, I'm grateful for good energy. #beblessed #40daysofgratefulness

Friday, May 3, 2013

40 Days of Gratefulness - Day 45

Yesterday was quite the day. Sequestration had finally hit my team. My entire team was cut ... except for me. I'm feeling exceptionally blessed that I get to stay but I'm saddened by the fact that this team will never be the same. I've been here for 5 years and while I've seen a number of folks come and go -- this time it feels especially different, unfamiliar and fragile.

It could be a combination of things - perhaps it's that folks were given just a day's notice. It could be our SA team is moving to another building. It could be I've been 'feeling some kinda way' about life in general. Or it simply could be that we were here for a specific time for a specific purpose and that time has now come to an end.

Post from Our Last Team Outing
What have I learned you might ask? It's that at the end of the day, we're all just people. People with families, lives, hopes, dreams, regrets, shortcomings and flaws. And what I've learned from this team is that we did some good things together; both professionally and personally. We respected each other, egos were checked at the door and we really care about each other just a little more than co-workers do because we're friends. The kind of friends who encourage and pray for each other. The kind of friends who'll drop you off at the airport or the mechanic. The kind of friends who would use an entire day of leave to make the best pulled pork I've ever had. The kind of friends who would tour the Naval Academy one November afternoon and toast the night away responsibly ;-) at Ruth Chris. The kind of friends who would attend a co-worker's wake together. The kind of friends who would agree to pray corporately at the exact time, I was to speak on our team's behalf at our deceased co-worker's funeral. The kind of friends who never made it to the stadium but still had a fabulous time watching the Ravens Victory party on TV at a local dive. And the kind of team that would shed tears when they learned some would not return on Monday.

I'm not sure what Monday morning will look like. But whatever it will be,  I'll fill it with fond memories. Fond memories of us going to the gym, getting smoothies, laughing at how small the gym towels were, exchanging good recipes, talks of soccer matches, husbands that know just what to do, ailing parents, nuances of Peruvian chicken and just having a good time with each other at work.

I have no doubt that we will keep in touch but ... to my team, uh, my friends, we did some good things together! As they say, all good things must come to an end.

So on this Day 45 of 40 days of gratefulness, I'm grateful for good things! #beblessed #40daysofgratefulness