Happy 2017! Hey, its been awhile. Let’s catch up a bit…
Home is still my favorite place in all the world, but I find I cannot stay there long these days…the urge to travel has gotten the best of me during this particular phase of my life. When I left Germany last June, however, I felt strongly that I needed to be at home for awhile. I ended up staying in Tennessee for 6 months.
Work: I had to get a job, and found one back where my counseling career first began, at a community mental health center. I did mental health crisis there and reconnected with a side of life rarely seen by those on the outside. There is a world out there where its normal to be on a first name basis with all the cops in the area because you’ve been arrested once or twice, to be tight on money constantly and to know half the homeless population in the city at least by face because you are or have been one of them, to struggle with distracting voices in your head, memories of past trauma, confusion, paranoia, and fear. In this world, mental health issues are the norm, as are drug problems and all the chaos and struggle this particular clash of issues brings. This is the world of mental health crisis work.
My coworkers, people who loved working and helping, were outstanding. They were jovial, lovable, and savvy. They welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like one of them. They were excellent with the consumers and dealt with critical and sometimes life-threatening problems on a daily basis.
Quality Time: I got to spend lots of time with my family, and my parents joined me on a vacation to Hawaii where I attended the Kauai Writer’s Festival. I met best-selling authors, successful agents, and even took a selfie with the youngest participant, who happened to be all of 14 years old. He told us he started writing because his parents didn’t allow them to watch much television.
The Marriott Courtyard was right on the ocean and was lit with tiki torches and live music every night and filled with interesting and vibrant travellers. We drove up the coast one day, stopping at a waterfall, took a river cruise to a Fern Grotto, went to a luau/cookout, and visited a gorgeous botanical garden. A lovely trip!
Christmas Miracles: I spent most of the holiday season at home, attending church concerts, shopping, and having a few festive dinners with friends.
This was a sweet time, something I had not been able to do the past two years while away. One of my newest friends was miraculously healed during a Christmas concert after suffering a bone fracture! My strained relationship with a family member was suddenly repaired as well. I felt blessed for many reasons. Then two days before Christmas, I flew south to start my new contractual assignment. Stay tuned…