I am a light sleeper. Many nights I wake up and have trouble going back to sleep because my mind starts taking over and I find my worries about work, family and the state of the world keep me tossing. People have advised me on how to resolve my sleeplessness, but ultimately what has worked for me is something from and an old Christmas movie, White Christmas:
If you’re worried,
And you can’t sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep,
And you’ll fall asleep,
Counting your blessings.
As I lie in my warm bed, my husband next to me and my dog on the floor beside me, I start first with how grateful I am for the warm bed I am in, and then move to the comfort of my bedroom, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Next, I think about my good health and that of my family’s, the smiling faces of my grandsons, and how proud I am of my two daughters. If I am still awake, I think about my community and how hard it works to help those who need a lift.
In the light of day, as I write this at the start of the Thanksgiving and Holiday Season, I want to speak to the goodness of our Alexandria Community by highlighting some organizations that I am so grateful to support.
Continuing with the thought of that warm bed: In real estate, we don’t always see beautiful houses. Sometimes we see mattresses on the floor where a whole family sleeps. I know from working with the Fund for Alexandria’s Child, which serves foster children in our city, that when a child is taken from a home on an emergency basis, often a physical bed has to be found. And, from recent work we have done with migrants, we know that a safe place to find refuge and rest is not readily available for long stretches of time.
Then there is Carpenter’s Shelter, which works to be not just a shelter providing warm beds, but a place that helps people transition from homelessness to permanent housing — incredible work. Carpenter’s Shelter now has a campaign to fund a brand-new building with a shelter providing 10 permanent supportive housing apartments and 97 affordable apartment units. What an incredible undertaking.
I am grateful we have been able to send two girls to college, that they now have their own careers, and that my grandsons will be able to afford opportunities for education. Speaking of education, two great Alexandria organizations are The Campagna Center, which supports after-school daycare, Head Start, and English language classes, and the Scholarship Fund, which works to ensure that students at our high school, T.C. Williams, can pay for college.
I am grateful for my home and that I have a career I love. I know that increasingly in our country home ownership is becoming harder. I am grateful I can help people find their own piece of the American Dream. Yes, I count my blessings every day – when I can’t sleep and when I am fully awake. And, to steal sayings from two other favorite movies – I have a Wonderful Life and I live in a wonderful community: There is no place like home. I am proud to call Alexandria my home.