Yes, dad and husband Roberto are both redheads. A bit of a different shade of red, but red nonetheless. Did you know redheads are only 2% of the worlds' population? Yes, it's true.
Also, we are wearing matching pajamas. (Mom was matching too.) This is a tradition for the Neal girls, but the guys got in on it too this year. Dad always wanted in on it, but this didn't happen until we got another boy was brought into the Neal clan. Dad's wishes finally came true. And Robert's secret wish of wearing matching outfits with my entire family came true too.
Secondly, I'd like to address what I will call "unexpected iPad discomfort" that just happened to me.
Everyone hates awkward moments at work, yet they can't be avoided. I experienced one today, when one of my co-workers asked what I got for Christmas. I hesitated and I thought I'd just b.s. and accidentally skip the iPad, but I felt dishonest, so I went "full on double rainbow" honesty and said, "Santa got me an iPad, I'm still in shock!" To this the co-worker replied, "Well, big ticket item. Whoa there!" He then proceeded to walk away while I was asking how his Christmas was and what he got. He didn't want to talk to me after he learned that I got an iPad. It's not like I got a fully loaded range rover or an island. An iPad isn't that over the top that I should be intimidating co-workers. pppppffffffttttttttt.
This could fall under the grey area of "what is okay to share at work". Being here for 4 years has taught me a lot of lessons in this field. I've probably shared way too much. This year in an attempt to change and grow, I think I'll be praying for an "eternal perspective" on this subject. I will attempt to be transparent and honest with my co-workers, and try to remember to simply love as God calls us to love. Saying that, I don't plan to tell them all my private matters or tell them my life story everyday, but I guess I plan to be more tolerant, to listen more, to engage more. 1 Peter 4:8 says, "above all keep loving each other earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." I notice that this verse says "love each other". Not only love your friends, not only love believers, not only love those that are good to you, but love each other...everyone around you. This is completely impossible for me, but I know with God's help, I can get better- starting with people I'm in close quarters with for 40 hours a week. At the end of the verse when it says, "love covers a multitude of sins", I don't interpret that as a judgmental kick as in "you are sinning, but i'm going to rise above and love you anyway". Rather, I see it as, "you're broken and you are human, but because I am attempting to just love you, my heart is softened." OR in my work environment, "i'm about to poke my eye out because i'm so annoyed with you, so please God help me be washed over with any inkling of love". It's a start. I'm also reminded that we never know what someone is going through and how badly they are longing to be shown love. People struggle with heartbreak, disappointments, conflicts everyday that they don't make people around them aware of. I know some of my co-workers are dealing with divorce, loss, being terrible..just to name a few. Shoot, that third one was NOT loving. I'll get there, it's only January 4th.
note: this post really went off on a tangent that I wasn't expecting.
"Love COVERS a multitude of sins." - how I love that. How true it is. Especially in relationships. Marriage, family, friend...all of them. Robert saw me turn into the "Black Swan" a couple days before Christmas. Literally, I became a horrific version of myself. Yet, he didn't even get angry at me, his love completely engulfed me and brought me back to earth. The same with my family and friends, they've seen me at my lowest and darkest points and still love me. These are examples for me of God's unending love for us in human tangible form on this earth.
Update: Above mentioned co-worker just came back to my desk and we discussed the Grateful Dead. It seems he is over the fact that I got an iPad for Christmas. Crisis averted.
AND lastly, I just wanted to say bon voyage to the December Home Alone Moments of the day that actually didn't happen every day.