YOU ARE an incredible MIRACLE

Someone is wandering around our neighborhood, writing inspirational messages on the sidewalk.
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I can see this from our kitchen window. It helps me even before I walk out the door.

There has been a lot going on in the past month, some good, some bad.
First, the bad.

I’ve been scrambling to find a job after my previous employer cut my position and told me just a few weeks before the end of the school year. I won’t go into details, but I was lied to multiple times and basically swindled to take a position they desperately needed to fill.
I was burned by the experience. I felt a wave of anger and defeat wash over me as I tried to rationalize why they would do this to me. I was not the only one “let go”. Some of my colleagues had to find new jobs too.

Eventually, I realized I was better off without this organization. They treated me poorly from the get go, and I didn’t need that. But I did need income. Jimmy and I were now settling into our new apartment and the rent and bills were higher than our previous place.

I happened to find a potential job through a photo shoot I had a few weeks back. My friend got me a boudoir photo session as a wedding gift, and I couldn’t wait to go. I had a blast and started up conversation with the photographer about his equipment and software. Before I knew it, he and the owner of the company offered me a job as a photographer’s assistant and editor.
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I was the happiest goat in the pasture.

I arrived on my first day of work, ready to go and thrilled to be doing something I was passionate about.  Photography as a job?! I never thought I could do that! I was so jaded from my terrible moments in education that I was ready to give it all up.
Within half an hour of my first day, I was told that the photographer wasn’t always able to pay people on time. I was offered no official job (no papers to sign, no promise this was a sure thing), and I was asked to help him scrub the studio clean. The photographer also told me, with a knowing smile, that he wanted to take me out for dinner because my husband was working that night.
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What the actual hell.
I left within two hours.

In the meantime, Jimmy was also looking for a job. It wasn’t going well for either of us.
HOWEVER, (here comes the start of the good news)
In the last week, we’ve both secured potentially great jobs.
Jimmy is working at a local liquor/craft beer store with the potential to become assistant manager soon. It’s really hard on him, because there is way more physically strenuous stuff than either of us thought, but it’s better than him working in the porno mines.
My husband works at a video store that mostly sells gay porn. I’ve mentioned that, right?
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It’s actually been a great job for him, but it just doesn’t pay well enough.

I was offered a job yesterday as a site educator at a school on the northwest side. Essentially, I help run the recess program and after school program at this school. It’s nearly full time, and it pays pretty well.
The fact that we’re now both making far more money than we were is insanely helpful.

The new apartment and new neighborhood are beautiful. I love Roscoe Village. Instead of loud upstairs neighbors, there’s high ceilings and relative silence. Instead of drunk Wrigleyville patrons, there are families and dogs.
It’s like the city took a deep breath and relaxed a little.

It’s everything I could ever want.
There’s beautiful street art,
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great local businesses,
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the hustle and bustle of the city,
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and moments of stillness.
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And I know it sounds silly, but I’ve never seen Trouble so happy.
He has so much more room to run around. He’s never been this social. He jumps up on the couch everyday and lays with us.
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GOD DAMMIT, THE CUTENESS.

I’ve also been taking steps to better myself. I really want to be healthier and more conscious of what my body needs.
While I will probably always eat animal products (certainly dairy), I’ve been slowly eliminating all products I use that test on animals. It’s tougher than it sounds. Almost all major brands of makeup, shampoo, and even cleaning products have items that they test on animals. It’s also more expensive to buy vegan products/products that don’t test on animals.
This week, I’m happy to say I’ve officially thrown out and replaced all of my cosmetics with cruelty-free products! I’m still working on researching shower products, but I’m getting there.
Every little bit helps.

The most important change I’ve made lately is I’m taking yoga regularly. I’m taking more intense classes, including bikram (hot) yoga. If you’ve never taken it, it kind of feels like you’re dying at first. However, it is the single most satisfying physical activity I have ever done.
There’s a goal for us yogis at the studio I go to: 30 classes in 40 days. I probably won’t reach that goal, and that’s okay. I want to see how far I can go. So far, I have taken six and practiced on my own once. So, that’s seven.
And I’ve got 29 days to go.
I’ve never dedicated myself to an activity like this. It’s hard, and it’s very easy for me to find reasons not to do it.
I just keep reminding myself how wonderful I feel when I’m there.

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I have the strength, mentally and physically, to be better.

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I have the love of the world to hold me up.

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My body and my mind are allies, not enemies.

And if I stumble,
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it’s okay.

I will find my balance once again. It’s always there.

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Things are truly looking up.

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