Hypervigilant.org

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Hey, there!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Please visit the new site at http://hypervigilant.org.

See you there!

Free Philly Cheesesteak!

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How about a free cheesesteak?

In Philadelphia, PA. From me.

Just sign up for WordCamp US, then let me know you did in the comments; I’ll choose someone at random and buy you a cheesesteak. In fact, I’ll let one of the kids pick a name out of a hat or something, just to be fair.

If you don’t eat meat, we can go for coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, well ARE YOU EVEN HUMAN? Oh, sorry, I mean…we’ll figure out something. Pigeon tipping, maybe.

Haddon Musings  has already signed up! Don’t miss out.

WordCamp US will be phenomenal, and here’s why.

WordCamp US Logo

https://dribbble.com/shots/2364774-WordCamp-US-Logo

10 Reasons You Won’t Want to Miss WordCamp US

  1. Super-cool sessions. You don’t have to be a developer or coder to benefit from WordCamp US. Sarah Blackstock  wrote an excellent piece about the best options for bloggers and writers here. If you’re still waffling about whether to take your small business to WordPress, check this out. If you are a coder, designer or developer, you can find more information here on the main page.
  2. Amazing people. Have you noticed? Everyone with WordPress connections is just, well, SUPER! I’m not kidding. I haven’t met ONE person I don’t like. Granted, I’m sort of an extrovert and I like people in general. But in a group this large, there’s usually at least one individual with whom I would not enjoy sharing a cheesesteak. Not in this crowd. Come network, learn and make great friends.
  3. Happiness Bar. According to people in the know (Ingrid and Liam), the volunteers sharing their technical expertise are “fabulous” and “stacked deep with loads and loads of WP knowledge.” Having recent experience with Happiness Engineers, I agree. Questions about being the master of your domain? Plugin won’t plug in? App making you unhAPPy? (See what I did there? Genius, I know.) The Happiness Bar is your new happy place.
  4. Philly Cheesesteak. Steak. Cheese. Philly. Need I say more? Well, okay. Here are even more reasons for foodies to flock to WordCamp. Chinese, Italian, coffeehouse, seafood, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, like—seriously—anything your hungry heart desires. Oh, and let’s not forget the pretzels!
  5. After Party. I mean, seriously. Who hates a party? Well, okay, a couple of my friends are not fond of parties. Or people, for that matter…but for the rest of us crazy kids, check out Alx Block’s take on our upcoming fun.
  6. Swag. No, not sweeping fabric drapes or stolen goods. We are neither interior decorators nor pirates. Most of us aren’t, anyway. WordPress swag rocks. Who can resist Wapuu?
  7. CHOCOLATE. Several places wait to amaze you, but Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar is UN-BEE-LIEVE-ABLE. I’m pretty sure those chocolatiers use magic. And maybe Oompa-Loompas.
  8. Be famous. I’ll be one of the volunteers behind a camera. Say “cheese” (or “coffee,” or “whiskey,” or whatever makes you smile)…you never know when one of my photos will go viral! Hey, it could happen.
  9. You could win a cheesesteak.
  10. And BONUS, you can find out what happens when I ask Hubby what he’d like for Christmas this year and he answers, “A redhead.”

People are arriving from across the ocean and down the block. Don’t miss your opportunity to join the networking, learning and celebration.

If you absolutely can’t make it, here’s an option to join the fun from the comfort of your own space. You can even get an official t-shirt.

See you next week!

WCUS-Site-Badge-Volunteer

Hello, Hello, Do You Read Me?

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READ ? Get it?

 

Read me…great title, right…see what I did there?   OW! Quit throwing things at me.

 

I want to make sure you’re with me. Amazing Dean* moved my FABULOUS followers (that’s you) to the new blog site for me, and I want to be sure you can see it. I noticed a couple people re-followed on the caseyalexanderblog.wordpress.com site.

 

Please let me know if you can read this post. You won’t want to miss the next one, especially if you’re on the U.S. East Coast.

 

*Amazing Dean will make an appearance in a later post: “I Made Creating a New Site Way Harder Than Had To Be.”

 

Have a super day,

Casey

2010-07-31 17.00.47 (2015_04_20 02_29_03 UTC)

Our Adoption Story, Part 2 (The Voice)

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Continued from Part 1

I’ve heard the voice twice.

 

My 1994 Thunderbird was a tank. Okay, not this kind. But close.

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Photo Credit: D. Miller

Twice rear-ended, only a scrape on the bumper and slightly bent tip on a tailpipe hinted at past trauma. The other two cars? Totaled.

Invincible in my T-bird, I zoomed north on the highway, drumming a beat on the steering wheel. Keeping an eye out for the law, I pushed the speedometer needle higher. Might even be early to work, at this rate. 

The gauge nudged closer to 80 mph. A weird feeling washed over me. Slow down. 

I slowed. A little.

A few minutes later, head bopping to the music, my speed rose again. Again, the feeling. SLOW DOWN. 

The third time, I could almost hear it. I tried to pay attention to my speed, but…the music drew me in.

As my speed re-approached 80, a loud shout sounded from my back seat.

SLOW DOWN. NOW!

 

Taking my foot from the gas, I turned just a bit, cautious. Did I have a stowaway?

The back seat was empty.

Unnerved, I moved to the slow lane and kept my speed down. Once at work, I called Hubby and told him about the crazy experience. We laughed about my law-abiding “other personality.” My imagination has always been phenomenal, but this…I decided to watch my speed on the way home.

That evening, Hubby took my car to a friends’ shop, a pre-planned appointment to replace a part. Two meters into the driveway, the front left wheel fell off.

FELL OFF.

If I’d continued speeding that morning, the offending joint could have failed on the highway. And if I were rolling at 80 mph, I’d likely be dead.

I heard the same voice only one other time in my life.

We tried several different adoption agencies through our ten years of marriage. Each provided a questionnaire about the kinds of children we would consider. In every case, we had very few rule-outs, but I always noted that I’d probably be a better mom for boys. Not that I didn’t want a girl; I just didn’t feel confident in my ability to connect with a little princess.

I grew up playing baseball and tackle football, almost always the only female. Through childhood, high school and college, my best friends were boys. Most girls my age annoyed me; they droned on about fashion, nail colors and dating. Don’t get me wrong; a cute boy could still turn my head (and when I was thirteen, Hubby caught my attention). Even on a date, I’d rather go hiking; sappy was never really my thing.

No one would call me a “girly girl.” I played several seasons as the only girl on our church softball team. I’m happiest in the middle of a DIY project, like demolishing a wall, ripping out drywall, plastering and painting. My girlfriends (yes, I have those now) discuss the latest Hallmark Channel movies, Thirty-One totes and Jamberry nail wraps while I ponder tearing out my kitchen cabinets and pulling up flooring.

 

So when I heard the voice again, it had special meaning.

 

Kay called across the church parking lot. “Come see what I have in my van!”

Puppies? A couple new chickens? I couldn’t guess. She always had an adventure brewing. They hit a deer in the road, and now they have it in their van, and it’s going to wake up and destroy the vehicle. No, never mind…that’s a movie. 

I jogged across the lot. “Whatcha got?”

She opened the van doors. “They need a place to live.”

 

Inside, two tiny, malnourished children stared back at me. A girl and a boy. The boy ducked his head; at that moment, I didn’t understand his terror. Too many times, they’d been shuffled from van to car, from car to house, from house to van. The girl widened her eyes and sat up straight, defiant and on guard. I gazed at them, frozen.

That’s your daughter.

 

A deep male voice spoke behind me. Familiar. I whirled. No one stood behind me.

 

That’s your daughter.” Not because the boy wasn’t special or would not become my son. I’d always known we’d adopt at least one boy. Confirmation that, in spite of my shortcomings, I could be a good “girl” mom.

 

Kay squinted at me. “What are you doing? Did you hear me?”

 

I shook my head to clear it. “Yes…I heard you. Did you hear that? Did you hear what he said?”
She reached a hand toward my forehead. “You feeling all right?”
With one last glance around, I shrugged. “Yep. So, they need a place to stay.” Just then, the caravan of vehicles arrived, prompting a flurry of activity. Hugs all around, then parents and teens transferred suitcases and sleeping bags from church vans to family cars.  Once things settled, I dragged Hubby to the van. “Look,” I said, opening the door. “Okay if I call social services tomorrow?”

 

Continued…

 

 

 

 

In the Beginning: Our Adoption Story, Part 1

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Photo credit: Emily Higginson

I lay on the floor, sobbing, in the dark.

Industrial grade carpet scraped my cheek. The already small room began to collapse in on me. Cool air drafted under the door with streams of light from the other side, blurred and shimmering through my tears. Dancing dust mesmerized me, hovering just above the ground.

I will die and dissolve to dust.

A strong voice outside faded into strains of music as a hundred voices rose together. I lay alone, exhausted, tears spent, body limp, unable to stand.

Only one thought managed its way through the haze.

How did I get here?


“I found it! Can I get it, do you mind? We saved the money; we should have enough. It’s the one!” his voice rang through my little blue cell phone. I could feel his excitement pulsing. “I was driving to dad’s house and saw the For Sale sign. Do you want to come look?”

Tickled by his enthusiasm, I agreed to pick up the money from the bank.

Arriving home, I found Hubby standing with a tall young man in our driveway. He leaned against a black Fox body Mustang, the new acquisition. Hubby had a list of cars to restore, including this new-to-us old car.

“I’m pastor at the brick church down the road. We’d love to have you visit sometime,” the man said.

The following Sunday, we attended.

“You’re here!” he said, surprised.

“You invited us,” we said. After three years of looking for a church where we fit, the gentleman who said the closing prayer added, “Remember, a visitor is just a friend we haven’t met yet!” Hubby and I looked at each other, smiling. The man had echoed our former pastor, a beloved friend lost to cancer. This was home.

Thanks to that car, we became regular attendees at the brick church. We joined a Bible Study and met Kay, the youngest-looking mom of five I’d ever seen. In addition to her own children, she had two semi-permanent foster children and provided respite (short-term) care for foster children needing temporary placement.

She amazed me.

We became good friends; Hubby and I loved her kids. Finding our niche, we helped the youth director and chaperoned events. Leading a youth group for a missions trip highlighted our life-so-far.

Having found our place in the community, we thought, “it’s high time we start a family.” We’d always planned to adopt first, hoping to make clear to our children that we’d chosen adoption.

A couple of years, a failed attempt to buy a bigger property and several adoption agencies later, we began to accept the possibility that our small home wasn’t meant to hold children.

Every opportunity slammed shut, tighter than a locked vault. My dreams filled with visions of standing in a hallway filled with locked doors and no way out.

Then, a friend called. “Will you look at a house with me? I want your opinion on how much time and money it’s going to cost after I buy it.”

We wanted to see another house on the same road (perusing empty homes was something of a hobby) so asked the realtor to include it on the tour. Stepping into the kitchen, I just knew. This was our house. Hubby had a similar feeling, walking through the large workshop.

Thanks to the property we’d tried to buy (we learned that twelve people owned it, one of whom was a felon–which apparently precludes the individual from selling property), money was already set aside for a down payment.

It needed work. A lot of work.

I called the realtor and made a ridiculous offer. No way would they accept.

They accepted.

Two weeks before closing day, Hubby led another missions trip. This time, I stayed home due to responsibilities at work.

On Saturday, less than a week from closing day, I drove to church to pick him up.

Kay was already at the church when I arrived, waiting for her older children who’d gone with him.

Even more enthusiastic than usual, she called across the parking lot “Come see what I have in my van!”

Puppies? A couple new chickens? I couldn’t guess. She always had an adventure brewing. They hit a deer in the road, and now they have it in their van, and it’s going to wake up and destroy the vehicle. No, never mind…that’s a movie. 

I jogged across the lot. “Whatcha got?”

She opened the van doors. “They need a place to live.”

 


Continued

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