Thursday, March 17, 2016

I’ll be perfectly honest: St. Patrick’s Day never really had much meaning to me. As a kid, I remember wearing green to school on March 17, only to avoid being pinched by my peers. I also remember hearing about corned beef and hash and other Irish fare, but knowing that I didn’t like it. That was the extent of my Irish upbringing.

As a mother, I have taken my little boy to the St. Patrick’s Day parades each year. We dress in our green shirts, him equipped with a bag for candy and me with my camera, and we head to the festivities. Each year, it’s the same. He asks me what it’s all about, and I really don’t have much of an answer for him, other than it has to do with the death of Saint Patrick.

Last year, I had to work on March 17. I sat in a Board of Aldermen meeting while my head was swimming with something else. You see, on March 17, 2015, I finally got up the nerve to ask a guy out. Having been divorced for a little while and fairly new to the dating scene, I figured being bold was my best bet. Lo and behold, it worked.

John and I went on our first date that same week, though we talked nonstop via text before that. Since then, we’ve spent pretty much every free moment we have together. When you meet someone, and you think they’re nice or attractive, you never think you’ll fall in love. But when you do, it is one of the best feelings to experience.

He makes me happy and feel appreciated in ways that are indescribable. The past year has been one of the best of my life, and I look forward to what the future brings. So, this St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be toasting to being bold and going after what I want, yet being surprised by what transpires. I’ll toast to new beginnings, new friends, new people to share life experiences with. And, I’ll toast to John, the man who in one year made me the happiest girl in the world.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

It’s not often that we get an extra day, unless you consider every four years often. But this week, we were awarded just that. Unfortunately for most of us, that extra day was morphed into a typical Monday at work. It sure didn’t seem like a bonus.

Though February 29, 2016, fell on a Monday, I think I will continue to celebrate the extra day well into the year. A childhood friend of mine spent her day giving birth to her second child, a baby boy, who will only be able to recognize his real first birthday in 2020. Luckily, that one falls on a Saturday.

With the extra day, I have decided to focus on ways I can give a little extra throughout the year. There are so many ways we can give our time or talents here in our own community. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.

This month, Community Assistance Council is filling their storage spaces with toiletries for their annual Tee Pee CAC drive. While I’m out shopping for toilet paper, I’ll grab two and drop the other by Grandview Assistance Program, as I’m sure the need there is just as great.

This week, I begin my volunteer Grandview Reader Leader program and will head to High Grove to read to some little ones. To sign up to be a Reader Leader, contact the district at 816-316-5000.

When Michael and I take walks or visit the parks, we’ll bring a sack along with us and pick up trash and other debris we find along our way. This can easily be done in our neighborhoods and around our businesses.

As our neighbors age, I’m sure there is always something around their house where they could use a lending hand. Or, even paying a visit to an old friend at a nursing facility would surely make someone’s day a little brighter.

I can stock shelves, I can organize clothes, I can alphabetize and I can help spread messages. This year, with my extra 24 hours, I can do all of these things, and maybe a little extra, to benefit our community.

Whatever you decide to do with your extra day, make it meaningful. Spread some cheer and kindness and make a positive impact on someone’s life. It doesn’t have to be grand, and it doesn’t have to be monetary. Sometimes, the most important thing you can do for people is to spend a little extra time with them.