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Sharing our Stories This is Friday, a forum for the Human Connection.

Welcome to "Holiday Season 2020," pandemic/quarantine and all. It seems this year, we have more to tell each other, more personal stories to share. Perhaps we have more in common now than we ever have. Maybe our human connections are being fine-tuned. So I'd like to focus on that today.

I'll start and then you go.

What's bringing you joy these days?

I have one - my husband Demo insisted we put up a tree with all the trimmings this year, something we've been too busy to do for the longest time. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it, but seeing our apartment so pretty and bright, and sharing a tree in our window for neighbors to see, makes us smile and brings us closer this season.

How's your family?

Mine is doing well with one exception - we have no idea if we'll be able to see our 85yr old mom on Christmas. And if we are allowed a short visit to her assisted living residence, how can 30 minutes possibly be enough to say all the Christmassy things we want to say to her?

Is your job/career changing? How are you coping? What have you learned?

How much time do you have for my story on this one?! Suffice it to say, growing something new over the past 8 months has had its challenges. I'm usually a "jump in and then learn how to swim gal" but the water's been pretty deep this year and many times I've needed a life jacket. I've tried to give a hand up to someone else each time I've been pulled to safety. And I have to say, what I've learned is compassion runs deep when you share a look of gratitude with someone through each other's eyes while the rest of your faces are covered.

How can I help you, support your goals, be your cheerleader?

It's my turn to give back so tell me how I can help you. I'm grateful for thousands of people I've never met who have inspired me over the past 20+ years of Pajama Program. Never could I have imagined how one frightened little girl in a shelter could have touched so many hearts, but she did. Thank you for listening to my story and taking action. I am so thankful for my cheerleaders - how can I be yours?

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