Tag Archives: A Year of Gratitude

Rick and Darlene…

Yesterday before we started our bike ride Rachael pointed out a car across the lot. Its doors were open and we could see at least one person in the driver’s seat. She told me the same car was in the same place a few days ago.
When we returned from the ride the car was still there.

As I pulled away I decided to stop at the car and offer the few dollars I had available.
I introduced myself and handed the couple dollars to the man in the driver’s seat. He introduced himself as Rick and the lady in the passenger seat told me her name was Darlene. As I stepped toward the car I noticed a small chihuahua in the backseat. Her name was Babee.

We talked for a few minutes. I told them my friend noticed they had been parked in the same place for several days. They acknowledged they were having a rough time and currently were living in their car.

I explained that myself and a group of friends would be out serving the homeless on Sunday and asked if we could stop by and visit, deliver food and drinks. I also mentioned that we carry dog food with us and would make sure Babee was cared for.

This afternoon as we pulled up in three different vehicles it was obvious Darlene was overwhelmed. She immediately gave me a big hug and told me how happy they were that I came back. She looked around, with tears in her eyes, as 9 of us surrounded them. She thanked each one of us. Rick, not as emotional, but respectful and soft spoken introduced himself and talked about Babee. Both Darlene and Rick were extremely proud of their Babee and told us stories of her many abilities.


Robyn gave Darlene a Women’s Study Bible

We shared food with the couple, Kim, Janie and Melissa checked out Babee’s health and Melissa trimmed Babee’s nails. We gave them water, a Bible and a pillow for each of them. Darlene cried tears of joy throughout our visit and both of them thanked us multiple times.


Robyn enjoyed holding Babee

The couple had an impact on each of us. We left them to serve others, but I think we will remember them for a long time to come.


Rick and Darlene agreed to pose for a picture with the group


Sometimes in life we are lucky to meet people that bring nothing but sunshine into our lives. Tina and I have been blessed to know a person that fits this description perfectly. DJ was full of life. Her smile lit up every room she entered and her energy bounced off every wall.
When Tina was finishing up her degree as an RN, DJ (also an RN) encouraged her and cheered her on right through her nursing boards. And when Tina graduated DJ sent her an RN pendent.

DJ and her partner Monica are those people you want to spend more time with and every time Tina and I visited San Antonio we would make sure to meet up with them for dinner. Sadly the distance between us made it hard to spend more time together…but we still considered both of them some of our dearest friends.

Unfortunately that light that shined so brightly has now faded. We learned a few days ago that DJ was very ill and this afternoon we learned DJ lost a short but fierce battle with cancer. We are in shock. A person with so much life, so much love, so much energy…gone. It’s hard to understand how this is possible.

Our hearts are broken because we lost a dear friend and our hearts are so terribly broken for her partner Monica and the devastating loss she has experienced. Although we are saddened by this shocking loss, we are grateful that we will always be able to call DJ our friend and certainly grateful that we were given the opportunity to know such a good and loving person.
We will also choose to remember her smile and share with others the love she so freely gave to us.

DJ and Monica

Monica and DJ


Our friends, Corey and Billy, invited us to spend the weekend at a lake house in East Texas. Unfortunately Tina and Billie were not able to make the trip but Sonya, Robyn and I did.
As we travelled toward our destination we talked about Corey and Billy inviting us and Robyn said, “We have great friends…”
She went on to list about 12 (possibly more) people. It was a sweet conversation. I realized how loved the girls must feel, surrounded by a large group of people, at home, at work, at church and socially, that love them for simply being themselves.


Sonya and Robyn

I am grateful that Tina and I get to share our lives with 3 ladies that appreciate and enjoy the friendship of many different people. I am also grateful that we are blessed with kind and open hearted individuals for friends.


Sonya and Robyn

For each of you that think you might be on Robyn’s long list of people she calls friend…you probably are!

Sonya, Billie and Robyn

I wrote the following post during my original 365 days of gratitude on Facebook. It was posted on June 11, 2013. It appeared under my “memories” this morning. I feel the exact same way today and assume I always will. Sonya, Billie and Robyn bring such joy to our lives.
I have also included the same picture I included with the original post.
I hope you all don’t mind that I cut and pasted an old post.

Day 203…..I spent this evening hanging out with “the girls.” (Billie, Sonya and Robyn) They went with me to workout with my trainer, then we ate dinner at Chipotle. We had a fun time!!
I am so lucky to have them in my life! They make me smile, they make me laugh and when Sonya is around….I feel a need to sing really loud and even dance my way through the day!!
Are there bad days? Sure….but there are bad days in every life and every situation. I think it is important that we accept each other’s flaws as we celebrate each other’s goodness!

I am thankful for Billie, Sonya and Robyn and I am thankful they let me hang out with them!!the girls

Now I Know How Others Live

I just spent four days in Provincetown Massachusetts. If you haven’t visited Ptown, let me give you a quick explanation of the area. It is inclusive, nonjudgmental, diverse and so very different from anywhere else I’ve ever been.

I’ve written several times about my struggles as a masculine female being mistaken for a man. I stress when I even think about going to a public bathroom. Because I am regularly questioned, as though I don’t know which bathroom I belong in. I am called sir so often that when I am called m’am I want to hug the person.

I frequently ignore the people that don’t take a minute to recognize my true gender, or the people that insist I have mistakenly entered the wrong bathroom. But there are times it is hurtful. There are times it is embarrassing and there are times I just want to scream.

But the past four days have not been like that. Over the last four days I actually started going to the bathroom by myself. I have not required a friend to run interference in public restrooms. Every person I interacted with in Provincetown seemed to know instinctively that I was a female.

It is true that in Provincetown the number of LGBTQ individuals is much higher in percentage than other places in the country. So people living, working and visiting the area are more apt to avoid stereotypes. But the reality is, no one even looked twice at me. I was not an outcast. People did not look over their shoulders to make sure it wasn’t a guy in line behind them.

Maybe it wasn’t so much that the people living in Provincetown recognized that I was a female…maybe they just had more important things to do than judge other people. Maybe they figured I knew what I was and really didn’t need them to police me or monitor me.

Maybe they aren’t worried about the way the person next to them identifies their gender….maybe they are just busy being themselves!

I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to live like everyone else…even if only for a couple days.

First 100 Completed

I rode 100 miles today on my bicycle. It was a a beautiful ride, the weather was perfect and I felt strong today. The hills were conquered and the the miles passed by with more ease than expected.

I felt strong throughout the ride and feel exhausted now. Needless to say I have little brain ability left to write this blog tonight.

However, I would like to say how thankful I am that I was able to complete the 100 miles and how much I am looking forward to the next ride!


Me and my friend Rachael crossing the finish line

Reaching My Goals…

Typically I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) when I’m working out. Wednesday I went to the gym, tapped on my NPR app. and opened up the TED Radio Hour. The first show listed was “Champions” I selected it with no preconceived ideas. However, this show was exactly what I needed.

The first person they interviewed was Diana Nyad, the extreme distance swimmer. She is one of my heroes. They also interviewed Pam Reed, ultra marathoner and Amy Purdy, world class snowboarder that happens to have two prosthetic legs from the knees down.

Listening to the program I realized it wasn’t one comment, or a deep profound statement that I heard, it was the overall idea that we all have the ability to reach down deep in our souls and meet the goals we set for ourselves. Maybe it is from fear of failure, maybe its from shear determination. But whatever the reason, success is possible.

Tomorrow morning I will ride my first century ride…100 miles from Boston MA to Hyannis Port MA. I am excited, I am nervous and I am determined. This radio program played through my earbuds at the right time. It helped give me that little piece of encouragement to push myself a little farther and not to stop.

One of my coaches in Junior High use to say, “when you don’t think you can go any farther, go a little more!” Obviously that has stuck with me (that was 40 years ago!)Tomorrow this is a mantra I may need.

My friend Joanne from the blog My Life Lived Full, shared advice with me that she shared with her son before his massively long bicycle ride….”it’s not a question of whether or not you will finish. You will finish.
The only question is how long will it take? … and how much will it hurt?

She is so right!

I am thankful for those that have encouraged me and supported me…even if they did not realize their words were helpful.
I am also thankful that I have an opportunity to expand my boundaries and reach just beyond any self imposed limits and become successful at reaching another goal.


This past Saturday I rode 67 miles on my bike. This was in preparation for my first 100 mile ride (AKA Century ride) that will happen this coming Saturday.

Prior to becoming a cyclist, I thought cyclist were rude and unfriendly. Frequently on the trails they would fly by without warning and act as if it was the walker/joggers fault if there was a close call.

Since I joined this “club” of cyclist I’ve changed my opinion of those crazy bike riding people. For one, I understand the frustration of trying to share a trail with people that think nothing of spreading out across the path and not pay attention to the bikers trying to “pass on the left.” I’m not saying I think its right, I just get it.
The other reason I’ve changed my mind is, most of the cyclists I’ve met are really nice, helpful and passionate about their sport.

During the ride Saturday a gentleman rode up beside me and I complimented his bike. It was a really cool bike. Come to find out he built it himself. Over the next five miles I learned his occupation, his wife’s occupation and the occupation of both his daughters. I shared my line of work then I learned we both ride for health because we have both lost too many family members to heart disease.

Every group, hobby, or activity has its own code words, acronyms and maybe even handshakes. And overtime I have learned that despite being intimidated when first joining a new activity or group it always works out okay.

This biking thing has certainly worked out quite well. I’ve met good people, learned about a new sport and hopefully I’ve gotten a little healthier. I will never understand the guys that can ride a 25 MPH pace…but I’m thankful for biking all the same.

My Friend Commadore

Those of you that have followed my Facebook page, 365 Days and Counting, for a number of years will remember Commadore.
I met Commadore during the summer of 2014. Him and his dog had travelled to Fort Worth from Florida, by bicycle, to take care of some personal business. When I first met Commadore and Missy (his dog) they were sleeping on the street. Over the next couple weeks we visited and got to know each other. Commadore never asked me for anything, he seemed content to have a friend.
Once Commadore’s personal business was complete he packed up the bike with Missy’s wagon attached, and headed back to Florida. Missy

We stayed in contact during his journey to Florida and fortunately we have stayed in touch off and on over the past two years. I say off and on because there have been times Commadore fell off the grid and I had no idea if he was ok. Eventually he would surface and call me to catch me up on what had been happening in his life.

His life has never been easy. It seemed each time we talked he was either excited about an opportunity or had hit yet another brick wall and was picking himself up and trying to move forward again.
Today Commadore called me. We talked for a few minutes before he told me he was in the hospital. Apparently he is quarantined with Tuberculosis and they also found a few spots on his lungs and are talking about doing biopsies. He has hit another brick wall. Needless to say he is scared.
As always Commadore put the needs of Missy before his own. When I asked him where his dog was staying he said she is with a friend and that he made sure she would be taken care of before agreeing to go into the hospital.Commadore

I am worried about Commadore and wish there was something I could do for him. The only thing I know to do is ask for your positive thoughts, prayers and good energy all directed at Commadore for strength and healing.

I told Commadore that he has a lot to do with the work I now do with the homeless and I am grateful for his friendship. I appreciate his willingness to allow me into his life.

A Child’s Future

I first met “Sue” when she was 3 years old when her mom became one of my clients. They lived in an apartment building that was slotted to be demolished. Two different women babysat the little girl when her mom went to work. One had Alzheimers and the other one was a drug dealer.
We immediately moved them into a homeless shelter for families in hopes of getting them into a housing program.

Approximately six months later “Sue” and her mom moved into an apartment. A nice apartment with nice neighbors and a safe environment for a little girl to grow up.
We began surrounding “Sue” and her mom with a variety of supports in hopes of helping the child have as normal of a life as possible.

By the age of 6 years old we realized this child was quite smart and was already surpassing her mom intellectually. The child was becoming the parent, the parent was struggling, trying to figure out how to parent.

As the child worked her way through elementary school she was being recognized by teachers for her intelligence. Her grades were A’s and every once in awhile a B.
We continued to surround them with supports in hopes of helping “Sue” find her way through childhood, through teenage life, through school and hopefully onto a future.

Today I was honored to watch this young woman walk across the stage to receive multiple honors, including A – B honor roll. She is a pre-teen, heading into middle school. She has a long way to go but she has overcome such odds that I can’t imagine she won’t make it.

When I first met this young lady I said, “The fact that she survived the first 3 years of her life tells me she is meant for great things.” I believe this is true and i believe with the right supports she will make it.

I am thankful for those that have made an effort to support this family. The social workers, teachers, volunteers, and the people that see a young lady with great potential.