You're a Hero, Whether You Know It Or Not

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last week, I was driving back from a business trip to Savannah. As I passed through Milledgeville, I contemplated whether I could make it that last hour home without a pit stop. I decided a trip to the bathroom and some water were in order. I pulled into the next gas station, but, upon closer inspection, felt it was a little sketchy and proceeded through its parking lot to the gas station next door. It was deserted but well lit and seemed an okay place to stop - for someone who's eternally paranoid for no apparent reason about being kidnapped at a gas station.

Once inside, the clerk - as they often do - called out a greeting. I turned my head nodded and smiled a hello and headed to the ladies' room. I came out, selected my bottle of water and walked to the counter to pay. The clerk asked me how my day was. "Oh, I can't complain," I said. "How are you?" He said he was fine and as he took my credit card from me, he said, "You seem very jolly." I didn't feel particularly jolly. I'd been up since 5:45 and in the car since 3 and it was dark and I just wanted to be home with my cats. I said, "Well, I'm headed home, so maybe that's why." I chatted with him briefly about my business trip, that I lived in Athens and listened to him tell me about his friend  who lived in Athens. I wished him a good evening as I left. I wondered how many people had spoken to him during his shift.

Earlier this week, I went to the doctor. I went because they called to remind me of an appointment, and when I checked, I saw that it was on my calendar. I thought it odd given that I'd just had a physical in October, but I'm pitifully reliant on what my iPhone tells me to do, so I left work and headed over to the doctor's office. After 5 or 10 minutes of "Judge Judy" in the waiting room, the P.A. who always works with me appeared at the door. We walked to the intake room, she (sadly) weighed me, and then I sat in the chair facing her. "What are we seeing  you for today?" she asked. I sort of chuckled and said, "Actually, I don't know." Between the two of us, looking at my chart and the appointments in the system, we realized that the appointment was a six-month check up for a long-ago appointment, but that I'd been in for other reasons, rendering this particular appointment moot.

She conferred with the doctor, he agreed and wished me a Merry Christmas. She walked me to the check-out desk and made apologies. I told her it was fine. The receptionist then apologized for me being there for nothing. "That's okay," I said. "I just came by to say Merry Christmas." She looked momentarily surprised and said, "You're so kind." And I realized that she was likely expecting me to be frustrated and take it out on her. She certainly wasn't expected a smile and holiday well-wishes.

I had thought about these two incidents and blogging about them before the events of yesterday. But after the horror of what happened in Connecticut, I thought of them in a different light. Stories are emerging - as they often do amidst disasters - of teachers and staff who protected students; students who held hands and comforted one another; law enforcement and emergency professionals who arrived on the scene and immediately began to assist and provide relief. There is the iconic picture we have seen again and again of the chain of children holding each other's shoulders and shepherded by an alert-looking police officer shielding them with her outstretched arms.

What could these incidents - a conversation in a convenience store, a mistaken trip to the doctor and deeply tragic events in Connecticut - have in common? Here's what.

We commend all those people who were heroic yesterday - everyday people who did extraordinary things in the face of terror. One teacher crammed her students in the classroom bathroom and every time one of them would begin to cry, she would take their face in her hands and say, "We will be okay." And there is heroism in that. And it is to be commended and spotlighted and heralded as the hope we need to believe in humanity when trying to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

But what we need to realize is that we can be that kind of hope and humanity every day. It's likely to go unrecognized. Except by the lonely clerk who needed a smile. Or the harried receptionist who is anticipating being harassed by an angry patient. I saw on Facebook just before I sat down to write this that one of my best friends was in line at the grocery store, and when the woman in front of her saw the water colors in Kim's cart meant for her young daughter, she picked them up and paid for them. And that small deed - that $5 gift - was heroic.

Don't wait for tragedy. Don't wait for the opportunity to be a hero, to be hope and humanity, in a situation that demands it. Be hope in a situation where you have no idea how much it is needed. Find it in yourself to be patient when you don't feel it. See the need - for water colors or a smile or a kind word - where you might normally rush through. Pay for someone else's coffee. Help someone with their bags at the mall. Hold the door for the person behind you. There are broken hearts and tired souls everywhere - and there are also just average human beings whose hearts and souls will be warmed by your kindness.

Admire those who were heroes yesterday. And today, honor them by being a hero to someone else.

Feed Me

Monday, August 27, 2012

I love to eat. I know, I know. You're saying you love to eat, too. But I love to eat in, well, a rather epic fashion. I love the way food looks - I photograph darn near everything I eat for Instagram because I love the colors and the presentation and the delight of gazing upon a plate of food before digging in. I love the anticipation of the first bite, the dreamy way all the tastes mingle in my mouth, and knowing there will be another equally delicious bite to follow. When the waiter asks, "Did anyone leave room for dessert?" I'm the one nodding my head. I love thinking about eating. I love talking about eating. I love eating.

I do not, however, love cooking.

As a Southern woman, I thought for sure that a love for cooking would be bred - or rather breaded and deep-fried - into my DNA. My mother is a legendary cook who bakes bread from scratch and has only ever made one terrible dish and that was the stuffed cabbage when I was about 8 and bless her heart we've never let her forget it. But suffice it to say, I was never forced to chew dry lifeless chicken or unseasoned vegetables or watery soups. I grew up in a Culinary Utopia.

But apparently, my siblings took all the cooking chops before I got there. Anna can bake a cake like a boss, and Justin can grill anything that once stood on four legs, two legs or no legs to mouth-watering perfection. Me? I can boil water and add noodles.

I thought that one day, my culinary sensibilities would mature. That I would walk into the kitchen and feel inspired to chop and dice and sautee. But mostly, I feel inspired to microwave.

At my most recent doctor's visit, I discovered I had high cholesterol. And seeing as how I trained for a 5K and maintained a pretty rigorous walking schedule (until recently), I knew the culprit was my habit of skipping past my kitchen altogether and heading out to lunch and dinner at every restaurant in town. It's clogging my arteries and my waistband. Truth? I look a little like the Stay-Puft version of myself in some of my sister's wedding photos. So instead of letting you turn your proton packs on me and shower the general area with marshmallowy goodness, I'm asking you - yes, you! -  to help me learn to cook.

I know some of you would suggest that I turn this cooking deficiency into a hobby. Take a class! Read a book! Learn something new! But, let's be real. I'm just hungry. Not thrill-seeking. I have no aspirations to be The Next Iron Chef. Think Tin Foil Chef on a good day and Saran Wrap Line Cook  most other days. I would love for you to share your favorite recipes that fall into the following parameters:
  1. It must be simple. I'm not trying to become a flambe artist, so let's keep the cooking instructions basic.
  2. It must be limited. Ingredient wise. Let's say 10 ingredients or less - bonus points for less! If the ingredient list is longer than you'd want to type, it's probably more than I want to put in a bowl.
  3. It must be (relatively) healthy. While I'd love to sample your deep-fried cream cheese butter balls with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, I'm perfectly capable of finding sinful things to put in my mouth, and hence on my hips.
  4. It must respect my time. I can watch Julia & Julia and imagine I'm going to dedicate my life to roasting the perfect cornish game hen, but I work full time and still need time for cleaning the house, paying the bills and raiding the Redbox. Cooking takes time, but I'd like to eat before it's time for the next meal. (Note: crockpot meals get a pass.)
  5. It must be something you've made before and like and can attest that I'll be unlikely to burn my house down or poison myself making. Maybe in the near future, I'll pioneer the perfect searing technique for blowfish, but for now, let's keep it in the realm of possibility.
So that's it. Five rules. I'll do my best to blog about the recipes I make - you know you'll at least get a picture.

Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand. I'm pretty sure that's the kind of miracle it will take to feed me. Order up!

MS & Mrs.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An updated on my sister - she's well and wed.

Since February, when Anna was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), we have continued to learn about the disease, its treatment and how Anna can live the fullest life possible as an MS patient. Shortly after I posted in February, the referral to The Shepherd Spine Center came through and we visited there in March where we met with Dr. Sherrill Loring, former director of the MS Clinic at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. In her opinion, Anna's treatment protocol as recommended by her primary neurologist was a good one. She also said, based on her assessment of the MRI, that Anna could have had MS for five or more years. Though we regret that she was not diagnosed earlier than this, we are grateful that her prognosis is positive. She's responding well to the suite of vitamin supplements, including Vitamin D, folic acid and B12. Bimonthly B12 shots are giving her, well, a shot of energy that keeps the chronic MS fatigue at bay.

Anna also began a regimen of Copaxone, a drug commonly prescribed that both increases the amount of time between relapses and reduces the severity of MS symptoms. But in Anna's case, the medicine was almost worse than the disease. The daily injections were painful, and the injection sites were red, swollen and sore before turning to giant bruises. At her most recent appointment, her neurologist recommended an alternate medication that we hope Anna will be able to take with greater comfort.

Since her diagnosis, she has not had a relapse of her initial symptoms. Which has been good, because she was busy planning a wedding. On July 21, we gathered at Barnwell Chapel on the Berry College campus for a small, sweet ceremony between Anna and Bill. The size of the crowd was no indication for the size of the love, though. It was a privilege to stand beside her as they pledged their love to one another, both radiant with joy. Their happiness outshone a stormy afternoon, and they even gamely dashed into the rain for some creative wedding day photos. From her knighted ring bearer, Sir Dillon the Braveheart, and her flower "thrower" Princess Reese, her whole entourage was honored to be part of the celebration. Not to mention, the red velvet wedding cake was delicious. And as you can see from this candid shot I snapped, she was the coolest bride around.

The Collins now reside happily in Canton where their combined furry family now includes three dogs and two cats. And where I am assured they are getting off to a wonderful start on their happily ever after.

Crazy Cat Lady is the New Old Maid

Monday, July 16, 2012

When I recently remarked to a guy that I had the potential to become a crazy cat lady, he chastised me. "Why do women say that?" That's a good question, actually. Why do women say that?

The myth of the "crazy cat lady" seems universally accepted these days. But where did it come from? It's origins are difficult to pinpoint. Though the Edies of Grey Gardens were pioneers of the cat lady persona, it's taken on a different connotation in the here and now. With some basic Googling, I was able to find mentions as far back as the early 90s, but the phenomenon certainly seems to have gained ground and more widespread adoption in the last 10 years. The Simpsons' Eleanor Abernathy may be one of the first mainstream media manifestations of the crazy cat lady. The stereotype was further addressed as the subject of a 2009 Canadian documentary Cat Ladies.

There's a marked difference between Abernathy's elderly character and the extreme cat-obsessed behavior of the women in Cat Ladies and what people mean when they use the term now. The crazy cat lady has morphed from the AARP age bracket and eccentricity to articulate the fate of women who don't marry. Women who find themselves single, over 30 and in possession of more than one cat. One entry on the ever popular and accurate (user-created) reference source,, defines a "crazy cat lady" as "a woman, usually middle-aged or older, who lives alone with no husband or boyfriend, and fills the empty lonely void in her life with as many cats as she can collect in one place." There's less crazy in the crazy - it's less about behavior and more about status.

In today's interpretation, the cats are merely the trappings of single woman needing to fill the "empty lonely void." In fact, the similarly accurate and user-generated reference behemoth that is Wikipedia suggests "spinster" under the "See Also" section.

See also spinster. And so we arrive at the essence of the crazy cat lady moniker. It's the new old maid. Except it comes as an action figure.

During my research - such as it was - I found a couple of articles in which women were warned not to get cats or hesitated in adopting because of how it would look to be a single woman with cats. I'm certainly no stranger to someone making the quip since I adopted two cats back in January. And obviously as noted at the beginning of this story, I have said it about myself because crazy cat lady is oddly easier to say than I might be single forever and own cats. Not to mention that it's funnier and makes other people less uncomfortable about my singleness.

The truth is, the crazy cat lady isn't really about any of those things anymore. It's not about an actual mental state. Or even owning cats. Women who don't even own cats - don't even like them - fear falling under the curse of the crazy cat lady column. It's beyond single - it's irredeemably single.

So am I a crazy cat lady? I am single, over-30 and in possession of two cats who right now are fighting over one of the bows from one of my birthday presents and systematically destroying it beside me on the couch. There's the fact that I live alone with said cats and that I probably intimidate the neighborhood children for whom I don't turn on the light at Halloween because I don't want strangers knocking on my door and asking for candy. And let's face it: I couldn't be categorized as normal.

But I'm not irredeemably single. Or hopeless. I'm just someone whose awesomeness is undiscovered who happens to love two very mischievous cats. As for crazy...well, that's I label I can't deny.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

"At 17, had a better dream. Now I'm 33, and it isn't me."

--Counting Crows, "All My Friends"

via Disney
When you're 17, you dream all sorts of wild dreams. When I was 17, I was imagining that I could be a singer on Broadway despite the fact that I couldn't carry a tune in a 20-gallon bucket. I was imagining that I might meet Adam Duritz - who wrote the song I quoted -  and inspire him to write a song with my name in it. I did meet him at 19, but to-date, my name has not appeared in a Counting Crows song. I imagined I might be famous for writing the modern great American novel. So far, the best I can say is that I've exchanged tweets with Steven Weber. And DSW.  And have a book in one library in America.

It's difficult to let go of those adolescent visions of oneself. To forgive shortcomings even when the initial expectations are so far beyond the realm of possibility. I can't help it - I'm so disappointed that I'll never perform on the stage at the Fox Theatre in a Broadway medley or a rock band. And I'll likely never hear a Counting Crows song inspired by me.

There are other suppositions in those teenage years - marriage, children, and all the trimmings. And those haven't come to pass either. Despite notions to the contrary and the 29 dimensions of compatability touted by Dr. Neil Clark Warren that make you feel like if you just apply yourself and put yourself out there, the magic will happen, it's not that simple. In some ways, making that happen on a certain timeline is just as outrageous as expecting rockstardom and fame. And yet, they're so much easier to feel discouraged over for having failed to attain them.

I write these things not to illicit pity or advice or assurances that the "right one" will come along at the "right time." I've heard those words enough that they're tattooed on the inside of my brain. I write them because I feel like wanting those things has eclipsed a lot of other things.

I've been waiting to travel, anticipating some great European tour with my husband. And in saving that experience for that mythical future person, I'm denying myself the experience I deserve to have as an individual. I will, with this blog as my witness, get my passport this year. And perhaps 2013 will be the year I finally make it across the pond to London.

And there's writing...whether or not I'm ever famous for it, I should do it. It's my God-given talent, and I ought to figure out something to do with it. For you readers out there, that may mean more frequent posts from me. But it also means that I've told my dad that I want to take him up to Lookout Mountain one day soon and talk about all the old legends and stories he told me growing up. Because I'm enamored with them, and there's something there that I should pursue. Whether it becomes a book or some sketched out stories that live in Microsoft Word in perpetuity, it's something more than I've been doing.

Here's to 33. My wish is for it to be the year of doing and not waiting. Of really making things that I want happen. Perhaps I'm not who I thought I'd be when I was 17. Perhaps those dreams weren't really the right ones. But perhaps at 33, I'll find the ones that are.

Running Against the Wind: Behind the Scenes of 5K Training

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pavement pounders
In another lifetime known as high school, I was an athlete or at least masqueraded as one on occasion. I played varsity basketball, by which I mean I practiced with the team and warmed the bench. A nine-year stretch of softball came to an end with a broken nose during freshman year P.E. And though I took up track for two years, staking a preposterous claim as a 100M hurdler and mid-distance runner, it's rather laughable now to think any track team actually took me.

When my friend Nikki encouraged me to join her in Couch to 5K training for next week's Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Color Run, I figured that I'd take another turn at pretending to be an athlete. We've been running since January. Our first training session, we ran in intervals of 90 seconds at a time; today, we ran 32.5 minutes. Next Saturday, we'll attempt the 3.1-mile course in Piedmont Park.

Our trek from a minute-and-a-half intervals to half-hour runs hasn't been without lessons. So here they are:

Running solo
1) While many runners have assured me I'd get "the bug" and become a runner, so far, the only bugs I've gotten have been the occasional flying insect dive-bombing me while stretching.

2) Without a running partner, I'd be sunk. I'm too paranoid to run with headphones on because I'm certain I will be captured from behind and loaded into a windowless kidnap van.The few times we've had to train separately, I've hated every. single. boring. painful. step.

3) If you're going to run on Milledge, be prepared for the college students to lap you. And give yourself permission to call them "show offs" after they pass by.

Coldest training day of the year
4) Campus is not flat. Not at all. Which makes it particularly vexing on the coldest, windiest training day we had. Also, hills make me curse roundly.

5) Running in the rain to demonstrate dedication to training results in a chest-thumping sense of accomplishment and a chest-congesting case of bronchitis.

6) Passersby may be startled when you yell "walking man" at the crosswalk in hopes of not having to stop.

7) The difference between how fast we run, how far we run, and how much weight I'm losing in my mind is vastly different from reality. So far, I'm quite certain we appear to be nearly geriatric in our pace, haven't hit the 3.1-mile mark, and I've gained two pounds.

Lest you think I'm all cons and no pros, I am proud of what we've accomplished. Three months ago, I wasn't sure I could run 30 seconds much less 30 minutes. We've stuck to it and supported each other through the particularly painful milestones. I'm in better shape - despite those extra pounds - and can tell a difference in how I feel. And next week, I know I'll be covered in paint and smiling as we cross the finish line - whether we're running, walking or crawling.

And then, I might just go back to the couch. At least for a few days.

This is Spinal Tap: My Sister has Multiple Sclerosis

Monday, February 13, 2012

It started around Halloween with dizzy spells that drove my sister Anna to the doctor because she couldn't stomach feeling suddenly light-headed and unsteady. She took two Z-packs to clear up what the doctor guessed was an inner-ear infection lingering after a sinus infection. But the wobbliness continued. Then there were the water pills to draw the fluid out of her ears. Perhaps those helped a little bit, but she still felt slightly off kilter. And while we were feeling optimistic that she was less likely to fall down (or up) the stairs, another symptom snuck in the side door. This time the loss of control was in her right arm, a sense of tingling and decreased muscle control. No inner ear infection symptom.

Sharing a peanut butter chocolate cookie with Dillon
That's when we began the journey in earnest to uncover the problem. Anna had an MRI ordered by her primary care physician. When the results came back, they told us simply that there were "abnormalities on the brain." For a week, we waited until the neurologist could see her. We waited with the possibility of tumors and cancer and unknown but devastating possibilities. When the neurologist finally saw her, we learned that Anna had a lesion on her brain most likely resulting from an autoimmune disorder. While multiple sclerosis (MS) was the primary suspect, additional testing would be needed to rule out other autoimmune disorders, namely lupus.

Back to the MRI she went for a THREE-HOUR stint in the tube for imaging of her brain, neck and spine. She endured quality time with a phlebotomist who drew 28 vials of blood for tests ranging from the possible culprits to the potential of bubonic plague. And then we waited.

It was the week after Christmas when the results came back. In addition to the primary lesion seen in the first MRI, Anna's neck and spine were peppered with smaller lesions. Her blood work showed a deficiency in B12 and folic acid. A subsequent blood test would reveal her Vitamin D levels were significantly below the norm. The lesions are indicative of an autoimmune response wherein the body attacks the myelin lining that protects the nerves. The missing vitamins are those that work together to repair the nervous system. And while most of the signposts in this round of tests pointed again to MS, her blood tested positive for lupus. To be definitive with a diagnosis, she would have to have a spinal tap. In the meantime, she was prescribed B12 shots, prescription strength Vitamin D and folic acid.

The spinal tap is the godfather of diagnostic tests. Also called a lumbar puncture it involves using a sizable, scary needle to poke a hole in your spinal cord and draw out some of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Apparently, CSF is the Rosetta stone of autoimmune disorders. Anna, as you might imagine, was none too thrilled to be voluntarily allowing someone to root around in her nervous system.

This summer, we were chaise aunties.
And as fate would have it, the spinal tap did not go well. Anna experienced a rare side effect called a spinal headache because the hole didn't close properly and therefore, she spent four days leaking spinal fluid and incapacitated by excruciating pain. A secondary procedure was required to set her to rights.While it can be summarized in a paragraph, in reality it was a thoroughly awful and uncertain few days.

After that, guess what we did? We waited. And waited. For almost a month, we waited.

Week before last, the doctor's office called and confirmed a diagnosis of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). It is a relatively controllable form of the disease marked by periods of symptoms followed by a time of inactivity. This past week, with her return visit to the neurologist, she found out her treatment regimen. Anna will be taking Copaxane, a self-injected medication that has been shown to prevent relapses and shorten the period of relapse and the severity of the symptoms. So far, self-injection has been a little challenging to acclimate to, but she knows at this point that the stomach is the easiest place to inject. She will continue with the "vitamin cocktail" - the boost in vitamin helps her body to repair itself.

She requested a referral to The Shepherd Spine Center. While she has been really pleased with her neurologist, Shepherd is actively doing research on MS and may have additional insight in how to manage it.  It could be several months before the referral comes through.

Love this picture of me and my sis
So how is Anna doing? She is handling this with grace and a sense of humor that sometimes trends toward the dark side. She has, after all, been made into human Swiss cheese with all the needle sticks she's endured in the past couple of months. She's still working, still walking her dogs, still doting on our nieces and nephews. Anna is, after all, a survivor. And we have all been buoyed up by the prayers and support of our family and so many dear friends. We are deeply grateful for your love and concern.

Anna is one of the bravest people I know. She always has been. I mean, she's my big sister, and she's always made big footsteps to follow in. This time, though, I get to walk beside her and be someone to lean on, laugh with, complain to, and maybe, if necessary, a hand to squeeze during one of those needle sticks.

the end of my fur-lough

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lulabelle in front, Clementine behind.
More than a year and a half ago, I lost Kudzu. For a time, it seemed that I would never recover, that the hole in my heart would go on forever as a painful void. But gradually, oh so gradually, I started thinking that perhaps some new feline friends could ease the void. Taking steps toward getting new feline friends was another thing entirely.

It wasn't that I didn't know where to go; on the contrary, I know our vet Dr. Geren runs the Magi-Cat Adoption Network. For a long time, I lurked on their site, watching kittens and cats get posted and subsequently adopted. My friend Elizabeth is on the Athens Area Humane Society Board, and I surfed their available cats and kittens, too. But I could never work up the courage to make the call.

And so, lucky for me, the cats called me. Dr. Geren lost my email address in a computer snafu over the summer and contacted me so that she could update her records. When I let her know that I was shopping for cats, she said she had the perfect pair - two tabby sisters named Thelma and Louise. Before I knew what was happening, I was picking the sisters up for a trial adoption period.

About three days into the trial, I knew I had new family members. Yesterday, I made it official, adopting Thelma - now Lullabelle - and Louise who is now Clementine. These two sweet sisters have quickly adapted to their new home, romping down the hall, "helping" me check email, and snuggling with my toes at bedtime. Born April 7, 2011, these kittens are 9 months old and 9-pounders already. I'm going to have to get used to sharing the bed.


I still miss Kudzu. I really do. New love is growing for the girls, but that does not entirely diminish the ache in my heart for my lost love. However, Lulabelle and Clementine have given me a reason to come home at night and anticipation for being enthusiastically greeted by two gray furballs. And they do love to be loved and pur accordingly. They make me smile with their love of empty toilet paper rolls and drive me mad in their obsession with the laptop. And I am convinced that we will, the three of us, be a happy little family for years to come.



MLK to 5K: A SingleServe Love Story

Friday, January 13, 2012

Whenever I tell someone about SingleServe, one of the questions I inevitably get asked is whether or not the volunteering has led to matchmaking. Although it wasn't really my vision for SingleServe to be a do-gooder's, the query always comes up, and I always just smile and say no. But the truth is, maybe I should start saying yes.

See, about four years ago, when SingleServe started, I met Nikki Smith. She came to one of the first meetings when we were trying to figure out exactly what we were doing. Lucky for me, even though we didn't quite figure anything out, she kept showing up - to our first project at the MLK Day of Service and then to Bike Athens and the Classic City Roller Girls and ushering at the Morton Theater.

Photo by Buck Sharp
Before long, we were hanging out in between SingleServe events. Becoming part of each other's lives over dinners and happy hours and fro-yo. So much so that Nikki Smith came to my family's Thanksgiving this year. And she was my date to the company Christmas party. This picture is from my 32nd birthday party this summer. Now, the two of us are training for a 5K because exercise is really only tolerable with the best of friends by your side.

When I think about it, what I really hoped for when I started SingleServe - aside for doing great things for the community - was friendship. Finding people who were around my age, facing similar situations in life, who were just generally great people. Meeting while volunteering and becoming more than people who stood side by side pulling privet. I can honestly say, as I look toward our fourth MLK Day of Service on Monday, that whether or not SingleServe ever leads to a date for our volunteers, it's already led to true love.

Here's to friends who didn't know what each other looked like without work gloves and with makeup for almost a year. Here's to SingleServing.

Join us on Monday by registering here. You just might find a friend for life while you're planting a tree.