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Where to begin?

Over the past 30 some-odd years since high school, we find ourselves finding each other on Facebook, amazingly—and, I say amazingly because Facebook was once just designed for college kids.  My daughter knew that I loved to connect with friends and such (such a computer hound in creating blogs and getting involved with online communities, etc) and she asked me one year, “Have you checked out Facebook?“, and I told her “I’ve checked it out before and it seemed just the college crowd.”  She then suggested that I check it out.

Reluctantly, I tried it again and kept getting more and more amazed how many folks around my age were on there.  The more and more that I surfed around on FB, the more old high school folks I found—some that I personally was really good friends with, some that I had classes with, some that I hung around with after school, some that were siblings of those that I knew (but those that I knew weren’t versed in FB just yet).  In that sense, success is being able to reconnect the dots after all these years.  To some (of the younger generations) that may not mean a lot to them, but to us it was truly amazing.  We didn’t have computers as we know them today back when we graduated from college.  Heck, cell phones, were not owned by everyone yet, nor were they outside of locked into the floorboard of the car and antennaes on the roofs of the car and/or they were way too large to be completely mobile.  Star Trek’s communication devices were way ahead of their time. :)  Now that we are having this new found means of socializing and communicating with one another, it has been an amazing feat to re-establish old acquaintences and, in many case, effectively re-establish new ones, if that makes any sense at all.

Through communication on FB, we have discovered that some long lost friends are still long lost, some have committed suicide throughout the years, or died of natural deaths, illnesses, or accidents.  Of course, Dorie will be always remembered from her murder as well.  With renewed vigor, it has become more and more important for us to reconnect those dots so that we can all try to revive the community, ties, bonds, spirit, etc. that we had in high school and be able to support one another.  It is success in that we‘re slowly but surely beginning to connect the dots once again.

With that in mind, we are slowly working to revive that and bring together many people to reach some awesome 5 year goals (as our high school reaches 50 years in existence) such as creating an Alumni Association for our school, building an alumni page for our school, creating a “Dream Scholarship Fund” for continuing to support students in their dreams, archiving student stories to connect with the alumni page so that the alumni page becomes alive, etc.  I have started archiving the stories from 3 (thus far) students and you can listen to their archives on BEYOND WCHS LIVE (http://blogtalkradio.com/wchssanow).  It is success, then, that decisions to make this happen have began and set into  motion, together with the many talents that have graduated and/or went to Churchill High School throughout the years.  

Then I take a look at some of my own personal achievements this year.

One of the main ones was to establish a radio show, with the help of Laurie Zieber and others from the Real Life Radio network.  With Laurie’s leadership, we began last fall studying the GIVING MENTOR by Tim Elmore, which has radically changed many of us because we knew what we wanted to do (make changes in other people’s lives) but it also served to redefine how we were going about it and putting a label to it.  I stayed with Real Life Radio Network through February, after the launching, and then went on my own in March.  I had some amazing guests on the show—male survivors, immigrant survivors, domestic violence survivors, sexual assault survivors and guests with related appeal talking about various laws related to helping survivors, etc.  I am forever changed by each and every guest speaker that I had on the show.  If you haven’t heard my show, BEYOND WORDS LIVE, I encourage you to take a look and listen to some of the archives of the shows.  (http://blogtalkradio.com/oralhistory)  You can’t help be impacted in some way by listening to these amazing survivors and guests.

Of course, there were bumps in the road—learning to SKYPE, learning to work the BlogTalkRadio switchboard, learning to interview without having direct eye contact with the person, learning to stay on top of Time Warner to get steady streaming of the internet so that I don’t lose my SKYPE connection and the switchboard stays stead as it goes, etc.  Success then is also defined as accomplishing a year of amazing guest, mastering BlogTalkRadio controls, and gaining over 1,000 listeners throughout the year.  Amazing!

I have also taken a look at the games that I have played.  I tend to be of a competitive nature so I got consumed by the massive amount of games on the FB arena.   Eventually, I narrowed them to 2—Lexulous and Cafe World.  It is great outlets to release frustrations at times.  Success isn’t necessarily defined by all the wins though (because I have actually lost slightly more than I have won in Lexulous, for example), but through the friendly competitions and teamwork in Cafe World and Lexulous... even if the competitions are drawn out for a week at a time. lol...

Success isn't defined this year by my car, by any means.  I have had a 1998 Chevy Blazer since 2004 and it went kaput in March/April of this year.   Turns out they aren't making engines for them like they used to.  So that Blazer has ended up being down in Devine since that time, with little hope of revival, as I am to understand.  I ended up getting a 1996 Grand Cherokee Jeep, after driving a friends Odyssey around for a bit and renting another car for a while; unfortunately, that was wrecked in July.  Because of the economy, I had chosen to only have liability on it, which made the option of paying for the repairs to the front left fender impossible and it eventually had to be sold before the apartment complex towed it off of the property.  That was certainly a sad day for me because I do so love driving SUV type vehicles.  For now, I am driving a 1995 Taurus, which is knocking on wood healthy and strong, aside from a deer in Westlake kicking it's hooves into the front right panel.   I'm thankful though that we survived the wreck in July and that I still am driving a vehicle that is working at the end of it all; so I guess it is success that I still have a car to drive throughout the trials and tribulations of this year! lol...

I look at my daughter who is 23 this year and raising her 3 year old daughter and working at Seton Hospital as a CA, and studying nursing and am totally amazed by the young lady that she has become, with fervor and zest for reaching the goals she has set for herself.  Perhaps, success, is then being able to say that the outcome of my beautiful child has blossomed into someone that I admire and am so proud of.

I have lymphedema in my legs (not by way of cancer, but by way of a 2004 auto accident).   This year I had the opportunity to participate in a lymphedema study at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston where they injected dye into my lymphatic system and took pictures of the paths.  It was fascinating to get a new perspective of the causes of lymphedema and I was reaffirmed of the bad areas of my lymphedema and got to see in comparison what my good lymphatic vessels are doing.  So, success, was also defined by way of gaining a better insight and understanding into lymphedema, albeit no cure for it yet.  Drats!  Hopefully, the will soon.

One of my friends in San Antonio that I worked at with at the University Methodist Church and followed me to Houston got married this year to a wonderful man that treats her and her boys wonderfully.  Success can be defined in seeing that happiness does come to good people, even after a long wait.  I got to see them wed and it was so good to see those boys all grown up.

I’m certain that I am leaving something out.  Success is also been defined by family - both mine and my boyfriend’s families.  They are all amazing as well and I admire everyone in each of those families for all the accomplishments and talents that they have.

Too, success is also defined by all the other friends I’ve been meeting along the way—through conferences, networking, soap making classes, Church, coworkers, Bee-in/Write-in groups, and so very much more.  I am never ceasing to be amazed by all the talented folks out there and loving seeing everyone connecting continually with one another in some form or fashion and helping each other out, such as the amazing friends that came to my aid when I was stressed out from moving out of an apartment that I had been in for 5 years to the present apartment I have now since July.

I am also thankful to Dr. Ryan and Dr. Rock who have helped me to recover my back/shoulder injuries that occurred in an auto accident off of 360 in 2008.  With their help, they have helped me to get my back/shoulder nearly 100%, which is a far cry better than it was.  Yet another sense of success.

All in all, the term “success” has been defined and redefined for me in many, many ways and I am so grateful for all the folks that I have encountered along the way to help make that happen.

What will success be defined like in 2011?  Oh, no telling, indeed.  However, I am looking forward to seeing what that might look like because, if anyone would have told me that 2010 would have been like this in 2009, I clearly would not have believed them one little bit.

I continue to love the quotes—

“It is better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length and be right too late.” by Marilyn Moats Kennedy.

“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”  Dorothy Thompson.

Those quotes have both been in my cubicle since 2008 (although I have worked here at the hotline since 2006) and serve as a reminder to myself to keep moving forward; therefore, onward I move to see what lays ahead for me and the next year’s adventure.

:D




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