Monthly Archives: August 2011


Inga and I have known one another since childhood.  Tonight we got to spend some quality time together, I’m so happy to have her near me again – I was tired of sharing her with Alaska (although I’m bummed I never made it up to visit her there)!  The conclusion to our date was a ride in her new wheels.  Okay so I have to say I am not a huge car person at all, but I LOVE this car.  And then I found out it was a Hyundai Sonata (we have 2 in my household – although they are much older than this)!!!  She can call me from her freaking dashboard.  Just to prove it to you, Brad gave her a buzz tonight (and a special shout out to Brad who helped her pick out this beautiful rig).  I had to snap a shot.  

Hair West ~with Hillary

Once upon a time, I met Hillary at a local department store salon- Jeremy and I had only been dating a year – she had not quite met her husband to be – and at some point along the way I said, “This hair, it’s yours!”  Through the years we’ve seen the birth of her two precious girls, we’ve started and struggled through school (she just graduated this summer) – we’ve started and ended jobs, we’ve married and gotten engaged and talked weddings, we’ve talked about international travels, our friends and family.  It’s interesting to think about this unintended friendship – but I have to say is very special to me.

Yesterday I got to see the start of Hillary’s new business at Hair West.  I’m so proud of her, and it is so exciting to see her life journey!  One of the lessons I’ve learned, is that friendship can be formed at unexpected turns, over time.  Thank you Hillary and I look forward to many more hours in these chairs!!


I still can’t believe the last time I saw Angie was July 1999, it was a warm and sunny day as we met for lunch.  We drove in her blue/purplish car, I can remember  the light in her eyes and that infectious laugh. Although she told me she was in her end stage with cystic fibrosis, we still made plans for my visit to see her in California the following summer (we hoped) when she would get a lung transplant.

Tomorrow she’d have been 32.  I’ve worn her bracelet this month, which used to have a heart charm.  The link broke and today I decided it was time to actually put some charms on it.  For Angie. 

Keep shining bright above!

New Office for MSW Intern

I’ve now been an intern at the Laurel Hill Center for 25 days.  As I mentioned in a previous post, part of the center is being remodeled.  Last week I got a new home that will be shared (although I won’t see who I share it with as they will use it on days I am not there).

Entry from hallway. Note the collage in the bottom right corner, was a great arts & crafts group this week!

It’s still a work in progress here, but slowly feeling like a home away from home.  I’ll be there about 16 hours a week through the end of my school year before I’m off to my 2nd field placement.

The picture of the wolf & dream catcher, was done by a previous client of mine at ShelterCare's Brethren Housing. Note to self: get some more wall hangings.

And last but not least!


Who's Teaching Who?

Sensei is by far the most affectionate cat I have ever had.  From the Florence Humane Society – she and her sister Katara (their former names were Tipper & Sweet Pea) have been foster sisters since they were about 3 or 4 weeks old.  Katara is much more independent and wary of humans while Sensei would crawl inside her favorite people if she could.

She has the most beautiful blue eyes.  Today I tried to catch a picture of them by focusing on the mirror next to my desk – however her eyes still shut.

Sensei wishing, "Study ME Mom!!" (...or maybe "Quit taking my photo already?!!")


Toni and I met one another at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.  We were in the Black Student Union, volunteered at a local church with inner city youth, stayed up long hours talking, and growing up with a close group of Chatham sisters.  Toni lives in Philadelphia now, more than 3,000 miles from me in Oregon.  I know we think of one another, and if I ran into her today I know she would come running exclaiming “JAZZZZYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!”

Toni was one of my “little sisters” (I might add she was MUCH taller than me!) whom I guided.  We danced together, she loved to pester me, tease me, and we loved to laugh.  When I had an emergency appendectomy in 2000, frightened being 3,000 miles away from my family- she was among those who sat in the waiting room – and when I returned to my Chatham dorm she was one of those who brought me food, looked in on me, and made sure I felt loved.

Years later we both have found ourselves taking photos.  We hope to post photos every other week – last week’s theme was Friendship.

For Jasmine...My light in the distance

Check out other photos by Toni here.

And here’s my photo.

Jasmine with her snuggle bug.


Re-Defining Loyalty

This summer has been one of the most difficult summers I’ve journeyed through.  A sudden departure from a job I loved deeply, the pressures of trying to find some part-time work while I continue to focus on my graduate studies, caring for an injured dog, looking at my evolving circles of support, supporting Jeremy as we maneuver through sudden health changes, starting a field placement working with a community of adults with mental illness and drug & alcohol challenges, finding and meeting new doctors, new counselors, health insurance changes, struggling to support my birth family while caring for the little girl in me, AND still finding time for ME in all of this.

I am the eldest daughter of 2, of a multi-ethnic family.  Culturally I struggle with the battle of being “the good daughter,” the responsible daughter who will make good money and care for her birth family at ANY expense.  In 2005 I came to the awareness that I had needed to choose my own sanity over my father’s.  This was deeply painful as my dad was so passionately part of me, my love for him is boundless and his struggles have really molded my experiences and passions in life.

Struggling to haphazardly create a boundary of no contact, this cut me off from my mom for about six months.  As I witnessed the separation and divorce of my parents, I saw the impacts of this take hold of my younger sister.  Not to mention her own inner battles, struggles to find herself, and also be “the good daughter.”

This month I’ve had to create another boundary, I realized that again, I must choose my own sanity.  Re-defining loyalty has been essential in this process.  It does me no good to hold fast to those who cannot at this time love and support me while we all struggle through the trials of our life journeys.  Being loyal to ME, a creation that evolved from this birth family, IS BEING LOYAL TO THEM.

May we all embrace our deep and passionate selves –  knowing that family is important – however loving them is FIRST LOVING YOU.

Photo Taken By Brooke Lusk, edited by Jasmine