It’s that time of year again where we all remember the reasons we have to be thankful. One of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving is being with my family and being a part of my AmeriCorps family. I have good times with both groups. I enjoy reflecting on the positive events going on in my life and counting my blessings.
November has been an interesting month, and there is plenty to be thankful for. On Veteran’s Day, Congressman Price visited the Tillery office and pinned the AmeriCorps members for our assistance in aiding veterans in their job hunting endeavors. Then he took a tour the Tillery office. Our November group project was helping prepare for a coat drive. People of all ages were able to get coats for the cold months ahead! I was thankful to be a part of that as well. We arranged coats by size and a few of us got to paint the banner they used for the coat drive. Thankfully, I didn’t get any paint on me. Remember the reason for the season.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward
In this season of Thanksgiving, connection, and gratitude, I find myself reflecting on what it means to be of service. Our AmeriCorps team is of service every day, making contributions to others so that those lives may be enhanced with a job, learning how to apply for a job, perhaps even housing, or some other need that has surfaced. This brings a sense of joy and fulfillment to our AmeriCorps Members. Some days are better than others, sometimes they get positive feedback from those that they help; sometimes they do not. We do not know the impact we may have on others’ lives; it isn’t always present in the moment. It could surface at some time in the future, the next day, or never. Those of us in service can be mindful of gratitude, and grateful for the opportunities to serve and help others — what a joy that is! Our team brings so much to others. I am truly grateful to each and every member of our AmeriCorps Access Workforce Development team. They are a source of joy to me, and for that, I am thankful.
Adjective Name: Delightful Dorothy
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Placement Site: NCWorks, Clayton
What led me here: I received employment assistance through a senior’s job search program, NCBA, and this is my way of giving back.
My favorite memory so far: Team service at The Marbles Kids Museum; seeing the smiles on the children and parents faces as they entered the museum for a Spooktacular night of fun.
If I had $1,000,000: I would actually start a foundation of my own, which would help seniors get back into the workforce.
What motivates me: Biblical Scriptures
Who I would choose to have dinner with: My son and daughter, because I miss and love the conversations and laughs we share
Favorite movie: War Room
Adjective Name: Ambitious Ally
Hometown: Oconomowoc, WI
Placement Site: Fuquay Varina (South Regional Center)
What led you to doing a year of service with Access Workforce Development?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to volunteer after I graduated college. However, I wasn’t sure exactly how or through what organization. I explored my options for years and was set on the PeaceCorps until my social work TA mentioned AmeriCorps and thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I began to look into AmeriCorps and the programs offered. After living 22 years in the bitter, subzero cold, I wanted to move to the sunshine as soon as I possibly could. I searched programs high and low across the southern states, but my heart was set on the Carolinas. My previous work experience and education has revolved around working with people with disabilities and I set all goals toward achieving a fully inclusive world. I came across Access Workforce Development, focused on assisting people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations obtain gainful employment in North Carolina. This program seemed like an ideal fit for me, so I accepted the position and set out south to continue my mission.
Do you have a favorite memory so far?
(No I don’t think so, so let’s just skip this one)
If you had $1,000,000 and had to donate it to one charity, which would you choose and why?
Gosh. $1,000,000… A nonprofit organization most near and dear to my heart is Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I have been a part of Best Buddies for 8 years, believe in the success of their movement, and have made some of the most lasting, genuine and meaningful friendships.
Who or what motivates you when you’re having a rough day or going through hard times?
Mostly coffee, but also my mom and dad. And the sun when it’s shining. And also little critters and happy things like flowers and trees and stuff, they always cheer me up.
If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would you choose and why?
Ben Harper. He’s the coolest, most talented musician ever, and also my dream man. It’d be the perfect opportunity to charm him, make him to fall in love with me, become his 4th and last wife and then live happily ever after.
What is your favorite movie?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I relate with Holly Golightly significantly. Not in Audrey Hepburn’s looks of course, but in Holly Golightly’s spirit.
Motivational Monica: Happy Thanksgiving
About the Author
Author – Julie Herbert
Julie Hébert is an award-winning writer and director of television, film and theater. Julie has written and directed for hit shows ER, The West Wing, Third Watch and Numb3rs, and written the screenplay for “Ruby’s Bucket of Blood,” based on her play, and “Female Perversions,” starring Tilda Swinton, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Seeing The Cuteness
Cuteness comes in many forms,
And seen on every day.
If you want to see something cute,
Open your eyes and filter out the gray.
Too many of us are cuteness blind,
And see only shades of gray.
We allow ourselves to become too busy,
And leave no room for play.
When you allow happier shades to come through,
And you start to look for the cute.
You’ll realize all you have been missing,
As cute should never be put on mute.
To see a life with so much cuteness
Is to see a life through the eyes of your heart.
And our heart is full of love and kindness;
It would be like seeing only the good parts.
When We Share
When we share with someone else,
Something valuable to us.
You may find out later on;
To them they feel like they were blessed.
Some of us have lots to give,
And some of us do not.
If someone could benefit,
Why not give them a shot.
Sharing is a wonderful thing,
Especially to those you’ve shared with.
There are a lot of kind people out there,
And that is not a myth.
So next time you see someone,
Who could benefit from something you can share.
Don’t hold back and look away,
Be kind and answer their prayer.
Moment of Motivation – These two poems are appropriate for this season.
It is the Fall season. The grass is turning brown, but the leaves on the trees are in its vibrant colors. Nature is exhaling. The poem “Seeing the Cuteness” reminds us to appreciate each other and all our vivid attributes.
This is also the season giving. The poem “When We Share” should prompt us to get in the spirit of giving, whether it is our time, talent, or money. Give a little this season.
Mike’s Muse: Moose
This brief article marks the beginnings of what is certain to be your favorite part of the newsletter from here on out: Michael’s Musings. While I may not have any actual, what’s the term? Oh right, “practical skills”, I do possess an abundance of completely useless knowledge. I figure there’s very little people enjoy more than amateur writing about some pointless piece of trivia that they have absolutely no interest in so, without further ado, here we go.
The subject for this week will be how Thomas Jefferson killed a man (albeit inadvertently) with a moose. Now I know what you’re thinking and no, moose is not some 18th century slang for a gun or type of sword. We’re talking about an actual giant antlers, A Møøse once bit my sister, type moose.
Back in the 1780’s a French nobleman by the name of Count Georges-Louis Leclerc Buffon formed a theory regarding the fledgling American nation. Despite never having actually been to North America himself, Buffon concluded (after reading various accounts written by people who had visited America) that our continent, and therefore its people, suffered from a fundamentally environmental flaw. The continent was simply too new, and having just lifted itself out of the sea it was still primarily swamp. As such, American animals, plants, and people were smaller and more fragile and could not compete with their hardier European counterparts. Today we would just dismiss the Count’s ravings as the silly uninformed opinions that they were, but in that time they were not only taken seriously but were acted upon. People began to rethink immigrating to America as Buffon also posited that any animals, plants, or people that were taken to America would “catch whatever was in the air” and regress to a more pitiable size.
This was simply unacceptable to the primary American diplomat living in Paris, one Mr. Thomas Jefferson. He wanted to prove Buffon wrong, but being the man that he was, he had to do it scientifically. One evening Jefferson arrived at the home of the Count for dinner, armed with a mountain of data, and prepared to show him the error of his ways. However, before Jefferson could get too deeply into his argument, someone at the dinner table mentioned moose. Buffon scoffed and declared that an animal that size couldn’t survive in America, and that someone must have just seen a reindeer and let their imagination run away with them. Thomas Jefferson begged to differ. He loudly told the Count that not only did moose exist across the sea, but that a European reindeer could easily walk under the belly of an American moose. Buffon simply laughed at him, and Jefferson left the meal determined to find and deliver a moose straight to Buffon’s doorstep.
Over the course of the next year, Jefferson sent a stream of letters to anyone and everyone he knew in America, begging them to kill and send him the biggest moose they possibly could. Bear in mind that this was while also keeping correspondence with the other founding fathers over vital matters of state. The moose became a bit of an obsession for Jefferson. It was the Governor of New Hampshire that finally answered his plea. Unfortunately, the moose in question was shot 20 miles from the nearest road and had to be dragged through the snow for 14 days before it could finally be gotten indoors. When it was mounted and ready for shipment, as one may imagine, it was in a pretty sorry state and had all but fallen apart. It then took another year for the moose to actually arrive in Paris, and by that time, well, let’s just say that the department of health would have been less than pleased. But, he’d waited this long and he wasn’t going to just back out now, so Jefferson had the moose delivered to the Count anyway. We know that the moose was delivered, and while we don’t know what Buffon’s exact reaction to it was, we know that several days later the Count was dead, presumably by one of any number of the diseases being carried by the decrepit moose.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the story of how Thomas Jefferson accidentally killed a man with a moose.
Clint’s Corner: Déjà Vu
Each day is a new day. Each day has its own unique occurrences throughout its duration. Each day we either reflect on those events or cast them to the side never to be thought of again. However, it may not be the next day or even the next decade later, but at some point we all will experience the phrase the French gifted the world call déjà vu, which translates to “already seen”. I like to compare the sensation of déjà vu to listening to an mp3 player on shuffle, and every few songs that one not so spectacular song keeps finding itself being chosen at random to be played out of the other 2,000 songs there are to choose from. I have experienced that quite often working with my various customers. You would think there would be no end to the scenarios that play out here and there. It seems as though the new ones are becoming more out of the ordinary as these service days progress further.
- “I’m looking for any kind of work.”
- “I’ve never made a resume before.”
- “I don’t know nothing about no computer!”
- “I have to find something today.”
- “My company is closing down.”
- “There was a huge layoff where I work.”
Those lines above are not what triggers déjà vu around here. It’s almost as if I have become numb to phrases along those lines. I don’t experience that familiar sensation when working with people I have worked with before. In the office, it just randomly happens when I’m working with a new or returning customer. I feel like I’ve had the same conversation. I feel like the client is saying the same thing as one has said previously. I feel like they’ve worked for the same company as someone else. In some cases it’s true, because there are situations like companies closing down or laying off a lot of their employees, but that’s getting away from the point. There are still time I just get that repetitive feeling, and I know it can’t be just the interactions with my customers alone. If that was the case, déjà vu would be a more rampart occurrence in the office.
To me, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint what truly starts that sensation. When I experience déjà vu, time seems to slow way down, and I analyze everything that’s going on around me. The events that happen around me, the things that other people are doing, it all seems to have already happened. I did some research on the eerie subject and I found a lot of interesting theories out there. One theory states the part of our brain responsible for remembering events, details and places and another part responsible for familiarity are temporarily not working together properly. This means even though you are familiar with what’s going on around you, you can’t remember the finer details of a previous event and you’re left with that “I feel like I’ve been here” feeling. There’s also this theory I found to be incredibly cool and it involves multiverse theory. This theory explains how déjà vu occurs when a person is in sync with all of the different versions of him or herself in all possible universes and that person is in a situation where one of his or her counterparts has experienced. So there’s something for those who believe in the multiverse theory. If you’re interested in finding out more, I left a couple of videos on the topic I found to be interesting below.
I have no problem with déjà vu. It’s just a weird thing that happens at weird times. I don’t quite understand it, but I enjoy trying to understand that which I don’t understand.
Raleigh Rendezvous – Ants Living in my Car
One ant in your car is not a problem. Even two ants. But when I started to see a trail of ants from the hood of my car inside my dashboard, down my console and under the driver seat, I started to get more than concerned.
Why are there ants in my car? I attempted to solve the problem by vacuuming up the small creatures and cleaning my car’s interior. I thought that had fixed the issue, but I got back into my car the next day and there was yet another trail of ants.
I asked around work and it turns out that ants living in your engine is a southern thing. Because it’s cold outside, the ants find comfort in a warm vehicle. It started to warm up and the rain quickly ended and the ants left the inside of my car.
On the warm Veteran’s Day we had, I decided to double check my car’s engine thinking one or two ants might still be there. I popped my hood and found not one, but an army of ants living inside my engine. Inside my engine. They were back. Living in my car.
I called the local dealership and asked what I should do. They recommended that I get a full car wash to drown out the ants from the bottom of my car. This helped but I still found them inside my engine and migrating to my hood. I used Lysol wipes to clean off my hood and they were gone.
I have since decided to add Raid to my car survival kit. Who knew the south could be so ant infested?