I have vivid memories of being a child and feeling displaced, of understanding that the bed I was sleeping in was not my own. Realizing that it was commonplace for my mother to pack us up in the dark of night and move us away while leaving the majority of our belongings behind. I recall staying in homes with unfamiliar children and wearing pajamas that were far too soft and cuddly to be mine, playing with toys that I would have never had access to and eating food that was plentiful and delicious. Again as a teenager, I would come to realize that the new living arrangements after moving to another state with my older sister, who was also my legal guardian, were amiss. It would take me many years to admit that we had been homeless in all of those instances. I was a neglected and abused child, moving from home to home, and occasionally in random foster care and often although with my mother, living in places with people that were strangers. As a result, I can easily empathize with single mothers who are facing homelessness and easily recognize the frightened faces or the defiant or conversely, the people-pleasing behavior of their children.

In an attempt to practice gratitude which is also the easiest way for me to practice self-care, I volunteer for an organization that comes to the aid of families facing homelessness or near homelessness.  This opportunity not only allows me to share love, compassion, and my time and talent with those that so desperately need and deserve it, but it also allows me an opportunity to stand in my truth, walk my journey of healing and to be reminded that I have so much to be thankful for. As a result, I feel more purposeful, more aligned with what I feel passionate about and more connected to those around me.

My opinion is that this life we live is about sharing love, it is about walking with others in all of the valleys and peaks, sharing experiences and gleaning wisdom from all those that we encounter, and to allow gratitude to bring us peace and joy.