I am truly thankful

These haven’t been the easiest or happiest past few months of my life. In fact, they’ve been very challenging. For starters, while in the midst of planning for a Miami vacation and a bloggers’ conference, we finally discovered the source of my mom’s persistent back pain– which culminated in a terrifying visit to the E.R. and in the removal of Mami’s ailing gallbladder.

Things started to get better when we all returned home from the hospital. I began following up on some contacts, and as you might recall, I was even invited to speak to a class of UCF Doctorate in Physical Therapy students.

On November 14th, just two days shy of my 24th birthday, I was elected to the board of directors of the Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida! In truth, it is an ambition I’ve had since high school. That triumphant night, I came home to find my parakeet Soleil’s cage empty, and it’s door unhitched. We had put her inside the closed garage, but had left the side door open for ventilation. She was nowhere to be found. So, I had to say goodbye to my pet and friend of over six years.

During all this, I had been struggling to put this Web site back together, piece by piece, after losing a good portion of it to a WordPress re-install (at least, I think that was it. I may never know.) I was in a very somber, depressed mood, until two friends, first Kelly Mullaney, then Greg Shultz, gave me some great advice– and words of wisdom.

Kelly had been looking at my databases– and found nothing. I had managed to export all my old blog entries from the old version of WordPress that I had. But after that, nothing. I was beyond overwhelmed with grief. That’s when Kelly suggested I see this as an opportunity to start over– to redesign Holdin’ Out for a Hero.

That’s great, but I didn’t really feel like doing that. Thank you, but I’d much rather wallow in self-pity over the loss of my brainchild.


That’s when Greg stepped in with a piece of information I had never even considered– or heard of. He told me I might be able to find some of my blog posts in Google’s cache. (For those of who are like me, and are about as tech savvy as a mosquito, it means Google occasionally takes images or snapshots of Web pages that you can then find in its “cache.”)

That vital tidbit of information virtually saved my Web site– and my morale.

For that, and for the advice of my ever-encouraging friends, I am so grateful. But that’s not all that I have to appreciate.

Although I still feel the emotional pain of my aviary betrayal (Et tu, Soleil?), I am so thankful for the years that she spent with my family and for the joy and happiness she brought us.

I’m thankful to now have two healthy parents again, and to be able to finally put a very difficult chapter of our lives behind us.

I’m thankful that I’ll get to visit my family in Puerto Rico for Christmas, and then spend New Year’s in Orlando– the perfect compromise.

There’s someone I care about very much who is going through a particularly difficult time right now. Although I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s lost, something he has said to me over and over these past few days has amazed me.

He’s thanked me for being there for him. And I tell him he has nothing to thank me for, that I would do this for him anyway. I love him.

So, even during all these moments where I feel tempted to turn bitter, his simple gesture of gratitude reminds me that Thanksgiving is not about thanking people– or God– only when things go right. It’s about appreciating the things and people you’ve had in your life, even when you’ve lost them, and about thanking God even for the things that are no longer yours to enjoy.

After all, it’s not the abundance of things that make us appreciative– it’s knowing that we can lose them in a fraction of a second. Why? Because we’ve lost things before.

So this Thanksgiving, and this Christmas season, I want to be thankful for all of the people and things I’ve enjoyed in my life at some point or another, my health, my wealth, my happiness. Sure, there have been plenty of times when I’ve missed these, but then again, I always have someone I can count on when these things are gone– my friends and family.

I want to take a moment to be thankful for each and every “hero” that’s come into my life, and that has embraced our cause.

I dedicate this entry to the person I mentioned earlier who’s facing a challenging time. You are my best example of personal strength– and my hero. Thanks for always being there for me.






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