Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Greg L.,

Like so many that I met at DLP, thank you for sharing your talents and experiences with me. I remember when we met at my first ever DLP weekend. It was at the University of Georgia, which I thought at the time would be comfortable for me because that is where I went to school. But as soon as I showed up I couldn't help but feel like a fish out of water. But you and Leslie made me feel so welcome and got me (and others) prepared for an experience of a lifetime. From then on I will never forget your "basketball" analogies, pep talks, ans what it means to work in a team; seeing you work with the students was amazing! But the one moment I will never forget about you is in Chicago. I think it was still my first year with DLP... but it was the last DLP weekend of the summer, the last day of the DLP weekend, Sunday. The students were doing a networking activity and somehow the facilitators, trainers, all of us got in this circle. And in the circle we were all taking turns sharing, "our story". But I remember your wife Lisa saying the most endearing things that I have ever heard a wife say to her husband. I can't remember the exact words, but I know she said something about how she appreciates how your working with DLP made you a better you. And I knew exactly what she was talking about because the experience I had working with you and everyone else at DLP made me a better me. Thanks again!

P-DUB for life!
Shannon

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Wanda J.,

Gosh... where do I start Wanda?! Well, it was so nice to see a "familiar" face at the "Hump" when I started there, what was it, ten years ago!? Wow, this is the first time I actaully thought about how long we have known each other. You have seen me grow from being a single female, to a married chick, to someone's mama... can you believe it!? What I have enjoyed most about our friendship/ relationship is you being so candid and honest about your experiences. I have really learned a lot from you, you have no idea. I can't thank you enough. Also, thanks so much for always having your door open when I had to vent about ANYTHING. But this is when I knew you were good people and had to stay in my life forever. Remember this....When Ben and I were dating, I talked Ben into taking a trip to Miami to catch a cruise. We had no reservation on this ship, but I had heard (yeah, this is crazy) that you could do a "walk-up" reservation. Not true! Long story short we made the best of the trip and caught another ship to the Bahamas and then back to Fort Lauderdale. However, there was a delay with the ship coming back to Florida which meant we would be stranded and miss our flight back to Atlanta. I can't remember exactly how I got you on the phone, but I did and you in turn called your EX, yes, ex-husband to come and get us and drive us to the airport so we could catch our flight. I still can't believe it! Days and weeks will go by and then you will call to check up on me; I appreciate you thinking of me. Thanks for being like a mom and a sister at times, but most of all a friend all the time, right on time.

Love,
Shannon

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dear Camille M.,

The fact that I have known you since 3rd grade is amazing to me. We first met 3rd grade, Mr. Verner's class, Peachtree Elementary. I had just moved here from Birmingham, AL. You showed me where the restroom was and it seemed as though from there we became friends. I appreciate so much how you were nice to me; you and your family. You invited me over and you introduced me to the Monkeys and pepperoni and mushroom pizza! Thank you so much for making me feel welcome in a new and very different place from where I had come from. I really feel that you made the transition easier to handle at school. Over the years we grew apart, but I am glad we were able to connect once in college to catch up and then again now on Facebook. When I look back on our relationship I can't thank you enough for befriending me at that time. I believe things could have been challenging, but you really made things nice and welcoming. Thanks so much!

Hugs,
Shannon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Lisa T.,

I honestly don't really remember when we first met, I believe it was in high school. Okay, now I think I remember... President Bush (the 1st one) was doing a railroad tour and he came through downtown Norcross. You and Danielle were there with a school group, can't remember which one. From then on I just knew you as "Danielle's friend". Over the years we got to know one another and hang out, of course it was always with Danielle. But I remember one day we hung out and Danielle wasn't there, we had such a good time. It was at a UGA alumni event (not a black alumni event... you know what I am talking about). I am not sure if that was the first time we had ever hung out without Danielle, but it is the one that sticks out in my mind the most. That day you taught me how to meet people, you know "schmooze" and "network". It was something little, but it was priceless to me. It was something I had never done and probably wouldn't have done if it wasn't for you. Thank you! There are times when your presence has been so meaningful. When you came to see Isabel for the first time, I had just received some startling news. At the time you didn't know, but it meant so much to see you that day. Or when we were in New York, we all stayed up talking late. Later on that night I saw you walking to the bathroom and you gave me a big hug and you said you were there if I needed anything. I am glad you are not just, "Danielle's friend" I am so happy to know you are my friend too.

Love,
Shannon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Ex-Boyfriends,

Yeah, even though we are no more, you have all contributed to my life some how...Some of the experiences have been good, some bad, but I believe those experiences I have truly learned from. I definitely know that I loved you all at one point in my life, but also there is no love lost. I remember for the longest time I thought that I needed you all, like I really thought at some point with some of you I thought I would die without you. But there was a time in my life I learned to live without you. I remember exactly when it was... around my early twenties, I had just graduated college and I just come out of a complicated relationship. I looked at myself and decided that I would let no man define me anymore. At that point, I took myself out. I/we went on dates to the mall, movies, and out to dinner. Yes, I would sit in a restaurant on my own, order food, people watch, and pay the check. It felt good! Shortly after "dating" myself, I met my husband, but at that point I really built the confidence I needed to move on as a young woman.
Thanks for the memories fellas! I will use these experiences and share with my cheerios that it's nice to hang out with someone special that they like, but it means more to invest in the person who they sleep, eat and look at everyday in the mirror everyday that they love, themselves.

Best wishes to you all...
Regards,
Shay-Shay, Winterfresh, Shay, Shan, Legend, B-Shake, Michelle...now, just Shannon!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Mama,

Today your baby turns 35! Can you believe it because I can't! (By the way, you know you look fabulous to have a 35 year old daughter! hehehe... I won't mention how old I am anymore) You were so funny calling me one afternoon earlier this month asking me, "How old are you going to be this month?" I answered, "Thirty-five.." For real Shannon?! Yeah, mama.. you got jokes!
I appreciate so many things you have done for me and I really can't thank you enough FOR EVERYTHING! But what I really want to thank you the most is showing me how to be true to myself and just be me. I mean everything about me. Me being a black female, me being a wife, me being a mother... everything that I am. I know sometimes I don't always follow your advice at first, but I promise I have never forgotten anything you have ever taught me. I always knew that when I grew up I wanted to be just like you. I appreciate how you always have an answer or a new perspective when I feel so lost. So many times I want to run to you when I have problems or issues, but I don't want to worry you at the same time. But honestly you gave me the foundation to really take on this world and make my own way. I got my "big girl panties" on and you taught me to wear them well!

I love you Mama so much,
Shanna-Poo

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dear Billy R.,

I know by the time I left KMHS we were not on speaking terms. Literally, there would be no one in the hallway but us and you and I wouldn't speak to each other. At the time I thought, it is what it is, but looking back, before I left, I should have at a minimum said, "Thank you."
You had lots of faith in me when I started at the school and I appreciate the confidence. My first year teaching was hard and stressful, but I was always able to come into your office and speak to you about anything and everything. And I can't thank you enough for helping me out for the "cuss'em out coach incident". Anyway, believe it or not by the time I left I still believed in your philosophy of "serving our customers" which were the students. That is the one thing I always admired, how you had such a passion for what you did. Nevertheless, I think we let school shananigans, egos, and gossip cloud our judgement about one another. There is probably a slim chance that we would ever cross paths again, but I hope that if we do we could smile at each other and say, " Hi."

Best regards,
Shannon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dear Damita,

This is hilarious!!! I swear my apple picks are so, so timely! It was just on a whelm that I picked 2 picks today. I hadn't picked in a while, so I decided to do two today.
I appreciate so much that you are in my life. We don't talk everyday and we catch up with each other when we can, but just like yesterday, I can call you and you show me the "bigger picture". My head space was so cloudy, but you helped me to clear it and move forward. Thank you!
But it was one day when I told you I had a passion for event planning and this idea about Brown Sugah Mama Events. You were like, "I'm in!" Thanks for taking this journey with me while I/we figure it all out. It's been a minute since we have organize and created an event, but I know there are great things to come for Brown Sugah Mama Events.

What was it, "Sugar, Shit, Sharp?" Yeah, I'm going to do that! LOL!

Love you sister!
Shannon

Dear Bobby S.

I remember when I got the job to work with you as an Assistant Project Manager. I had just completed a class at Southern Poly, where I met Marybeth and thus got the connection to work with you. I was excited to get the job because at the time that field of work is what I had a passion for and I was looking forward to learning so much. After a while, I realized this was really not what I was looking for. Reality set in and instead of being honest with myself and you and just move on to something else, I stayed. I stayed because I thought if I quit then maybe it would look like I was a quitter or I couldn't handle the job. I could handle the job, but I just didn't want to do the job anymore. Ultimately, I did something worse, I stayed and did lack luster work.
Over the course of the time I worked with you I know we didn't see eye to eye on many things, however I truly appreciate the experience. What I learned the most is how to work with people, all people and not to take things personally.

Best regards,
Shannon

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Inside Job"

The other night I watched this movie called, "Inside Job". It's a documentary by Charles Ferguson. When I tell you it's mind blowing and it has to be the scariest movie I have ever seen. Scarier than Freddy, Jason, or even whatever freak wants to put on the "Scream" mask. In a nutshell, the movie is about the financial crisis that happened in September 2008 and everything leading up to that point. Remember when we had to bail out the banks, yeah, that.
If anyone didn't know, I earned a B.A. in Economics. Honestly, I didn't really take the major seriously like others in my classes. Many of them were pretty hard core and had big ambitious aspirations. Me, I just thought it was interesting and I did pretty well in courses (after I got accepted back in school, yeah, that's another story).
Even if you don't have an interest in economics or anything financial, I urge you still to watch this movie. The subject of what the movie is about effects all of us in so many ways. Well, this is my perspective about some things about the movie;

1. It was a nice "refresher" of what I learned in my econ classes, but not boring. I loved the visuals, definitions, abbrevation break downs... The film just really broke everything down to where ANYBODY could understand. Like for real, "Financial Crisis for Dummies". But I didn't feel like a dummy watching.

2. Matt Damon narrating was NICE! Such a soothing but serious voice.

3. This stuff did not happen overnight. This mess started when I was about 5 under Reagan. And even back then I am sure people were spitting out that line, "We want to make a better America for our children..." Yeah, thanks 1980's!

4. Whether you are democrat, republican, independent... doesn't matter. Every administration since Reagan has contributed in some way in this mess. My main man Clinton and even my beloved Obama. SMH!

5. One thing the film highlighted that I never thought about... these crooks and criminals are being groomed in the finest institutions in the World! Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern... see the fine professors at these institutions are being paid (compensated in various ways) by the big players of Wall Street, Investment firms, Credit banks, and Insurance companies to regurgitate a whack philosophy of "deregulation".

6. During the movie I actually had a reflection moment of when we (our economy) were in the mist of the bubble before it burst. Ben and I went to look at some new homes being built around the corner from our neighborhood. The houses were starting at $200,000.00. I asked the sales agent what is the average salary of people buying these homes. He stated, $40,000.00. Okay, I don't claim to be a math genius, but the numbers he was giving me did not make since at all. Yeah, bananas! See, but that was what was going on. "They" were selling the American dream, only to have people lose it a couple of years later.

7. I don't praise criminal activity, but seriously, the activity of these CEOs and Wall Street made Tony Montana look like a saint!

Look, I could go on and on about this movie. I mean, I literally watched it 3 times and it was just as scary each time. At this time I am really at a loss of what should be done next. I think our government is at a point of no return. A line was said in the movie that says it best, "We have a Wall Street government".

Dear Vendon,

Haha... The apple picks have been timely! It's like shaking an eight ball! Anyway, before I start my thank you to you I need to thank Lisa for leading me to you. (I will tell that story when I pick Lisa from the apple). But it's the truth. When we meet at the New York DLP (2005 I think), even though I had worked DLP the year before, I still didn't really know anyone. I was trying to hang with Freda, but she was mad busy. Well, I decided I needed to break out my shell and meet people. So I walked up to you and said, "I am trying something new, something I learned from my friend Lisa. She said she likes to meet at least one new person in situations like this. My name is Shannon Shaw." Well, I am glad I did because I gained such a great friend. I believe a friend for life. What I remember most about all the talks we have had it was about kids. Having kids, raising kids. And then you asked me why I didn't have any kids. I remember giving you all of these excuses... because of this, because of that... but you still would ask the question, why don't I have any kids? You told me, Shannon, all what you are worried about doesn't matter, because if you want kids and you have them, it just works out. Even before I was a mother  you thought I would be a great mother. I appreciate the confidence you had in me for this role because it has truly been the best role I have had my whole life. You made me laugh, you made me laugh until I cried with your stories and experiences. Thanks so much for sharing with me. I knew this is what I wanted, but thanks for the push.

DLP Love,

Shannon

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dear Dani (Danielle),

Honestly, I smiled when I pulled your name. I thought what are the chances that you would be my first apple pick, but you were and I love that you are...
We have known each other for so many years (since 5th grade, right?). At times we were close then not so close, but it is something about our friendship that has stood the test of time. I thank you for everything!!!! You are truly one of my bestest, bestest friends in the whole wide world. You really do accept me for who I am and probably the one, if not the only one, who knows my deepest, darkest secrets. I have to tell you that's rare, because I don't trust many people, but I trust you a lot.
Thank you for comforting me, believing in me, supporting me, picking me up and dusting me off... the list is endless... really! Over 20 years ago you invited me to a slumber at your house that would forever change my life. I am looking forward to the next 20 years as friends as we share the good times and the bad, weekly updates about husbands and kids, and laundry ; ) !
I think I see Miraval in the near future...

Love,
Shannon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear Ben,

Where do I start? Well, this weekend we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Still, I can't believe it's been 9 years we have been married. This weekend was great! What I enjoyed the most was that we actually took the time to do something special and spent time together. This past weekend showed me that we are really moving on and moving in the right direction. Some of the down time over the weekend gave me the opportunity to reflect on our relationship. When I thought about how we have been married for 9 years, it made me think of "nine lives". Things have happened to really knock our relationship (and us) off our feet, but we have survived, gotten up and moved on. The symbol or gifts for 9th year of marriage is pottery and/ or leather. Well, even though it seemed at times we would break in so many ways, we are unbreakable keeping our mug full of experiences and life to be had. We are streched and worn to the limit, but still we last. I know we have a journey to take, and at times it won't be easy, but I know with you, we will make it.

Love,
Shannon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thank you, Part Two... "The Process"

So after I made my post yesterday and put out the challenge to myself, I got so excited. Like excited the night before Christmas but also excited like, "Are the kids going to think I am a crazy teacher" on the first day of school? At any rate, excited and anxious. Then I started thinking, how am I going to do this? Who be the first I will thank? The names started racing through my head... family, friends, people I have met once or twice, do I write a gratitude note to people I don't care for? Hmmm..... Should there be an order? Like I said, my mind was and still is racing. This is my solution...turn to the APPLE! (in the spirit of that Microsoft commercial, "turn to the Cloud!") I have this Longaberger apple basket container. Side Note: I love APPLES! The smell, the look, taste, apples are my thing! Anyway, I have decided to start to write names on slips of paper, fold the slip, and toss into the APPLE. I like this method because I have made the decision to write a note to this person, but also I don't have to fret over the order of when I write it. I like the mystery... Who will I write to today? I turn to the APPLE, lift the lid and pick a slip! Who is it?...

We will see soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thank you!

Gratitude has been on my mind for almost 3 years now. Let me explain... I pray, I say, "Thank you" when something is done for me, I thank people for gifts, etc. But what has been on mind for the last couple of years is making sure I give thanks or express gratitude to the people I have relationships with in my life. Around the time Cheerio Isabel was born, I started writing "thank you's" to random people in my life. The old fashion way, take out my stationary, write my note, put it in the mail. The people who received one really appreciated it and the best part, it made me feel great! Especially at a time in my life when everything seemed to be killing my spirit on the inside. At any rate, as much as I love stationary and the whole idea of sending a note to friends, in "Shannon" fashion, I didn't maintain it like I should or rather like I wanted to. So now about 3 years later I find myself reflecting again... Today is March1, start of my birthday month. I'll be 35 years old and now more than ever showing my gratitude (or lack thereof) is really weighing on my heart.
So I am starting the challenge once again, but I thought this time I would go a little more public. Maybe that way I would stick with it because people are "watching". Here is what I want, I am going to write a thank you to someone in my life right here! First names only... If you see in my status on Facebook, "Dear You (your name)", if you get some time, switch over to this blog and read my gratitude to you for making an impact in my life. Doesn't matter how big or small the impact was/ is, I just wanted to say, "Thanks!"