keep-calm-and-say-goodbye-to-2013At the start of every new year, I publish a post highlighting key events of my 365 days past. I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, but instead prefer to wrap up each year by reflecting on those people and events for which I am grateful.

I usually find my New Year’s posts easy to write. Most Decembers, I open my laptop and list my annual bulleted highlights with thoughts like, “Wow, I did a lot of cool things this year!”

This past December, my highlights prompted thoughts more along the lines of, “Wow, this year really sucked.”

Read More...

Oct

24

2013

New York State of Mind

Brooklyn BridgeWell, it’s that time of life again. Time for another cross-country move.

It’s been two years since I swapped the Windy City for this Crescent City. Though I left Chicago in 2011 with my heels dragging in the dirt, I made a good decision to come to New Orleans. I have loved a lot about this city.

There comes a time, though, in every fast-paced, Northern-born life, when living among constant inefficiencies and people who only occasionally consider future planning leaves you thinking, it’s time to go.

So, in one month, my sister, Julie, and I will load two cars and a Penske truck full of our life essentials – clothes, shoes, a few pieces of furniture, and our pets – and drive North toward our new venture: The Big Apple.

Read More...

Oct

02

2013

Words from Ex-Offenders

HandcuffsFor the past two years, I have worked in an alternative to incarceration program for people on probation and parole. And, for the past two years, I have been contemplating how to even begin sharing the many experiences I’ve learned about as a social worker to ex-offenders.

I finally decided that the best place to start would be with the offenders themselves. So, for the past month, I took one quote from the dozens of conversations I have with clients daily, and I recorded it. The quotes I chose have no pattern and no motive. They are meant to be random.

Read More...

Jul

23

2013

My New Normal

Mardi Gras beads hanging year roundThis August, I will celebrate my two-year anniversary of living in New Orleans, Louisiana. It seems like a lifetime ago when I first stepped foot in this Crescent City, wandering its broken streets with feelings of both confusion and intrigue.

My first impression of New Orleans in 2010 left me describing the city with words like “contradictory,” “interesting” and “unique.” Three years later, my perspective on this description has changed only slightly. But, I have learned more about New Orleans during that time. I have swam through the contradictories and lived among the city’s many unique qualities. I have assimilated into the New Orleans culture in a way that has taught me a new perspective on what the word “normal” could mean.

Read More...

Journey through LouisianaWhen I turned 10, I distinctly remember my mom writing in my birthday card “Congratulations, Sara. Wow! Double digits!”

I looked at the words and considered what they meant. I guessed I was a big girl.

The milestones only continued from there.

Thirteen years old marked the beginning of my teenage years. At 16, I received my drivers license, and at 18 I legally become an adult. I exited my teenage years at 20, could legally drink at 21 and turned a quarter century at 25.

I used to believe my youth would end at 30.

Read More...