Thankful Thursday 30 August 2018

Wow! The last Thursday in August – this year is really flying by! I’m looking forward to autumn, however. This blog entry is going to be a bit different today and you will see why in a bit.

Last Friday, the director of my part-time library job e-mailed us all that the son of one of our co-workers had died. I was at my full-time job and saw the e-mail at lunch; shock was an understatement because he was only 34 years old. I sent my co-worker a fruit basket and a sympathy card.

I’m not Catholic; I was raised Catholic but began my faith journey finding the right faith when I was 12. I settled on Islam and for a few years, I was uncomfortable about participating in family events in fear of people on Facebook accusing me of not being serious in my faith. Well, I deleted Facebook and I thought to myself, “who cares? When I was a child, I participated in events with friends of a different religion and it didn’t matter.” I went to the funeral today; I paid my respects, I prayed in my own way, and no one really cared that I didn’t participate in the sacraments, as they shouldn’t because the funeral was for everyone that was grieving.

At the end of the day, it does not matter because we each have our own paths to God and it does not matter. I believe in being there for my loved one; yes, I consider friends and co-workers “loved ones” because they are like my family too. I was there for my co-worker and I wanted to offer my empathy. I didn’t know her son, although I let him borrow my textbooks, but I wanted to be there for my co-worker. I gave her, and her husband a big hug. I gave my co-worker an even bigger hug and said, “please do not hesitate in reaching out to me. If you need anything, please call me.” Her elderly mother was there; most didn’t give her a hug (she was in a wheelchair), I offered my condolences, she grabbed my hands, but I gave her a hug instead. I think hugs are more powerful than words.

After the service, I went back to my full-time job. I took two hours off from that job and I am grateful my manager let me. When I got to the library later in the day, my other co-worker was chatting with the one that lost her son; she told me that co-worker was surprised that I showed up, but she was extremely grateful that I was there. My presence helped and I was glad I could be there for her.

I believe, as I was raised, that while our exteriors are different, our interiors are all the same. We all bleed, have the same bodily functions, and we all feel; we should treat others with kindness. As I’m seeing this year, as this was my goal for the year, as I’m spending time with different groups of people, I am learning a lot and growing in the process. I don’t really care what others have to say about it because I feel that exposing ourselves to different people, makes us empathize with others and we see that while we are different, we are similar too. By being more open, you can overcome many prejudices and fears. I refuse to close myself off because I changed faiths; I never closed myself off as a child and I refuse to close myself off as an adult.

I’m thankful for the people I work with. When I got back to my full-time job, we threw a party for the one girl that is switching departments. From sadness to happiness, but that is life and I am glad I could be there for people at both of my jobs.

What are you thankful for?

Walking the Schuylkill River Trail

I started my full-time job at the end of November in 2015 and in the fall of 2016 I realized that my company was located on the Schuylkill River Trail – I could walk to Philadelphia if I wanted to. I thought about doing that either in the spring or autumn, but between getting invited to apply for residency in Canada, saving money, and then getting refuse from Canada, I forgot about it. I walk the trail at lunch, but with the hot and humid summer, I only stayed out for 15 minutes.

Yesterday, I decided that I would walk to at least Manayunk and then catch the train from there to Philadelphia. I was done work early, I didn’t feel like waiting for the train from my job, the weather was beautiful and I thought it would be the perfect time to explore.

I set out on the trail in Miquon at 3 PM. When I was exiting the building, I saw two people I knew from IT. They exclaimed, “there’s the shutter bug!” We chatted for a bit about photography before they had to go back to work and before I started on my journey. It was a five minute conversation, but it was lovely chatting.

I made my way up the trail, I saw the cafe owner run past me, he stopped and I told him about my plan. He smiled, said it’s about 4 miles (which the markers indicated), and ran off. I had my skating gear, which one of my co-workers thought would be too much for me to handle, but I alternated the bag. I also took photos of my walk.

Here are photos from familiar parts of the trail, near work. It’s nice to see that they are fixing up the Schuylkill Nature Center.


After I made it past where my usual stopping point is before I have to go to work, I kept going. I always wondered what it was like past this point and let me tell you, it was gorgeous! The Schuylkill River is beautiful and the scenery surrounding it is just as breathtaking. At Ivy Ridge, I saw the train tracks and heard the train approaching. When I saw the train zip by, I knew I wasn’t going to make a train. That was at about 3:35.


I continued on, and as I continued on I saw a young man fishing. It was cool to see; I have never seen anyone fish before and took some photos. He saw me, we chatted for a bit, and walked together for about 10 minutes. Before he found a decent spot on the river bank, I asked him for a selfie. I introduced myself, and Ben introduced himself. Ben has been fishing for 10 years and he travels a lot too.

I continued on and arrived in Manayunk at 4:30. It took an hour and a half, but I think between my heaving skating gear I was carrying and stopping for photographs, it added on the time. I’m not skating next Friday, I am going to do this again. It was a nice walk, it felt great getting out and moving, I want to do this until winter.


I ordered Lyft into Philadelphia and went roller skating.


Let me tell you about that adventure too. I saw a mother standing on the side taking a photo of her daughter and friends. I had my Polaroid mini for Happiness Box purposes and asked the mother if I could get a photo of the girls for her to have. She loved the idea, but by that time the girls skated off. I skated to them and they loved the idea too. I took one of them skating and as I was holding the photo between my palms to develop it, her friends thought it was the coolest thing ever. They had never seen a Polaroid before and they wanted to try. I took a photo of the two Muslim girls, then handed them the Polaroid. They took turns developing the photo and were ecstatic about the end result. Such a simple picture made them happy.

I saw the other little girl skate over to her mother, handed her the photo, and I saw her mother crying tears of joy. I skated back over and the Muslim girls asked for another photo. The mother said, “it was nice that she took one photo for you. Don’t pester her.” I responded, “I only have two left and I need them for a project.” They understood, thanked me, and skated off. The mother said to me, “thank you for doing this. I am visiting for a few months, I haven’t seen my daughter in a few years, she didn’t want me to go back home. I missed seeing her grow and have been taking tons of pictures. I am glad to have this. Where did you get the camera from?” I told her and she had to get going. I am glad I could bring happiness to others, I like sharing happiness.


Yesterday was such an adventure and I am thankful that I could experience it. It’s hard to believe the rink will close next week and in three months it’ll be an ice skating rink. I also look forward to walking the trail again.

Thankful Thursday 23 August 2018

My heart is overflowing with gratitude again! I really should call it “Verklempt Thursday”, just as I should rename my “Happiness Box” the “Verklempt Box.”

Today at my full-time job, I joined the photography group. A few months ago, in May, I saw one of the guys in IT talking about photographic techniques, I stood and listened, then I inquired about his group. He smiled and said he would remember me for next time and sure enough, he did! On Monday, he e-mailed the group and included me in the e-mail, detailing the photography group meetup for today at lunch.

I was the only one who could make it and let me tell you, I learned a lot about my camera! I have had my DSLR for five years and it had features I didn’t even know it had! Bob was a wonderful teacher, I thanked him for including me and keep me posted about next time. He sent me an e-mail about different internal flashes I could get for my camera. I am grateful.

Today was also gorgeous, the temperature was 76 without humidity and I took a few walks today. It felt nice that I could enjoy the weather.

The children’s librarian also gave me a t-shirt tonight. She had extras and thought of me. I’m grateful for all of my library coworkers too.

What are you thankful for?


Teaching the Happiness Box Initiative

Since making my Happiness Box Project Initiative public in May 2018, I’ve received a few e-mails asking me questions about how I came up with the project, and some ask me if I could teach them. Some have been teachers in foreign, war-torn countries inquiring, about ways to help their trouble students overcome PTSD.  My project began in response to PTSD, and I was happy that after a few years working on this project privately it was reaching others who had a need; the stories tore at my heartstrings, of course, I would work with them via e-mail or Skype.

Happiness Box 2018 (So Far) and Scrapbook of Happiness Box 2017 (So Far)

I’m making good progress so far with Happiness Box 2018! My goal was to make it not as overwhelming as 2017’s box and so far I’m keeping that goal. Where the box is now is where the box was at in April 2017. I’m thinking if I keep to a note and/or photo each day, I will be able to hold out until December without using the boxtop like last year!


19 August 2018



12 June 2017. I sadly didn’t take photos of the Happiness Box each month last year, but you can see June last year was bursting. I didn’t fill the bottom half until 9 August 2017.

Tonight I am going to scrapbook for the first time in a month. I’ll be honest with you, I’m over scrapbooking 2017’s because it’s overwhelming. I’m hoping I can expand the scrapbook and I joined the forum to get advice. If worse comes to worse, I’ll create volume 1 and 2. Volume 1 will be the scrapbook, then volume 2 will be whatever couldn’t fit into the album, held together with metal rings. The goal is to get it done by 31 December 2018. I might just throw the notes in.

Thankful Thursday 16 August 2018

We are half way through another month – it’ll be 2019 before we know It!  However, I’m savouring each day as they come.

This thankful Thursday I’m thankful for both jobs I have. While they aren’t my absolute favourite, they not only provide income, but I have many amazing coworkers at both. I am thankful for their friendships and honestly ,I feel blessed to have earned it.

What are you thankful for?

Academy of Natural Science’s Bug Fest 2018

All I can say is that I’m thankful that this year they had gluten-free options for the bug treats. I could still eat most insects – they had nacho chips made with ground cricket flour and it was amazing with the mealworm salsa. Instead of Chef Zach from Louisiana, the Academy had local candy makers make us bug desserts, that were naturally gluten-free as well.

Bug Fest was super fun and I am glad I am a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences.