Reach Out Your Hand – April 18, 2021

When we adopted Pax, we had to take two trips to Korea.  The first trip was to be the longest.  We would be staying in Seoul for nearly three weeks.  During that time, we would meet Pax for the first time.  We would be allowed two one-hour visits, and during those visits the social worker for the adoption agency would observe our interactions to report to the Korean court.  Also during this visit, we would have our hearing before the court for the preliminary adoption order. [Read more…]

The Tree of Life – April 4, 2021

For our first anniversary, I wanted to do something special for Kathy, something memorable.  I pride myself on giving meaningful gifts, so I felt a significant challenge for this milestone.  I wanted to give her something as a testament to our unending love.  And because she loves weeping willow trees, I decided to purchase one of these trees to plant in our front yard. [Read more…]

The Gift of Misfits – March 28, 2021

Throughout my school days, into high school and college, I had a group of four friends who formed my core group.  Some would come and go, but these three other people were the ones with whom I felt most comfortable, the ones I always wanted around me.  There was something about the dynamic between us that brought out the best in me.  One was the comedic relief.  He was able to make us laugh even when the strains of school life were weighing us down.  One was the strong person in the group, the one who was willing to stand up to others who antagonized us.  And one was the life of the party, always willing to do something no one else would dare to do.  I considered myself something of a caretaker, the confidant that people would come to when they had a problem.

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The Gift of Being Thunderstruck – 3/21/21

Storms were my greatest fear when I was a child.  The loud sounds of the thunder, the flashes of lightning, torrential rain, and blowing winds sent me into a panic.  Every time a storm warning came on the television I forced my parents to retreat to our basement, believing a tornado could be coming at any time.  I saw tornadoes as the culmination of my fears, this powerful vortex of wind which would destroy our home and take our lives. [Read more…]

The Gift of Disappearing – March 14, 2021

When I was a teenager, something strange started happening to me.  At random times with no apparent connection, I would become very dizzy.  Things would start to look fuzzy, I would become really clammy.  And then I would pass out.  The first time this happened, thankfully I was at home.  My mother of course panicked.  But I came to quickly.  And I was able to convince my parents that I didn’t need to go to the hospital or the doctor.  I probably just hadn’t had enough to drink or maybe I was coming down with something. [Read more…]

The Gift of Temptation – March 7, 2021

While any talent has since faded, I was a bit of a musician when I was younger.  Having no real desire to play sports in school, I still craved being part of a group which gave me a sense of belonging.  So I decided to join the band.  I was never one who liked to conform, to do what everyone else was doing.  While everyone was choosing an instrument like the flute or the trumpet to play, I began searching for something a little more unique. [Read more…]

The Gift of Uncertainty – February 28, 2021

Before I met Kathy, I had a pretty sketchy dating history.  Nothing against my former girlfriends, but they were not exactly marriage material.  My first girlfriend in college was a little unusual.  For example, I remember sitting outside my dorm building with her one night.  And when I looked over, I saw her eating something.  I wasn’t sure what that would be since, as far as I knew, she had brought no food with her.  But upon closer examination, I saw that she was eating some of the flowers planted in the landscaping where we were sitting.  When I asked her why she was eating them, she told me it was because they were beautiful. [Read more…]

The Gift of Emptiness – February 21, 2021

For the majority of my young life, the only thing that I felt gave me a sense of worth was my academic success.  Being recognized with awards, with scholarships, receiving the praise of my parents reinforced this.  It was not my looks, not my athletic skills, not my popularity.  And it was the need to continue to reinforce this sense of worth, along with some strong urging from my parents, which drove me to attend law school.  Finding my worth in my academic success transformed in adulthood to finding my worth in my career.  It was this desire to feed a sense of worth within which led me to a job at a law firm in Chicago.

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Entering the Dark Wood – February 14, 2021

It was customary in law school to take a big trip after graduation and after completing the bar exam.  It was our last chance to take an extended time off before starting our jobs.  Once we began working, we knew it would be months, if not years, before we got any vacation time.  My friend, we will call her Karen, graduated from her master’s program at the same time as me.  We had been friends since our freshman year of college, and both of us had always wanted to go to Europe.  So we decided we would take a two week trip, spending a week in London and a week in Paris.

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The One – February 7, 2021

For a period of time I served as the supervisor of the elder abuse program for McLean and Livingston counties.  And during that time, I encountered people in circumstances which I never knew existed where we live.  People who were enduring unimaginable hardships, living in isolation and heartbreaking conditions.  During one of my most memorable cases, I was contacted by a home health worker who was concerned about one of her patients.  We will call her Mae.  The worker had advised Mae’s family to complete an application for Medicaid so she could receive some needed services.   But Mae’s daughter had never followed through.  The worker didn’t think there was anything serious going on, but asked me to check in on her and possibly help her complete the application.  It sounded like an easy situation to handle, one that wouldn’t take up too much of my time as supervisor, so I decided to take the case myself.

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