After 8 days away from blogging to enjoy, observe & absorb my trip, I decided to make a unique post series to personally thank some of those who took the time to get to know me.
Genuine respect, interest and thoughtfulness mean the world to me, so this is my way to show my appreciation.
This post is a thank you to Justine, aka, @llfarms, our "Steem Mom."
It's also to show how we can creatively support people who bust their asses to improve our Steem community.
This picture from the trip resonates with me for a few reasons. I'll explain why later.
Now I hate being so predictable, as I know everyone saw this coming, but here's the pic we wanted to take to tease @blewitt with. Inside jokes, reason #1,109 why Steem conferences are great.
Mission: Let Chris know we were thinking about him and missing his face.
This would be where the highlight of my night (and potentially the entire trip) happened. Justine accomplished a feat I've never seen, that I felt so lucky to both witness and be a part of. I never thought it was even possible, yet it happened, although tragically not captured on video. I'm trying* to contact the bar to see if they have the surveillance footage, so there's hope.
After a few throws that came up just short, Justine took a calm breath, rocked her arm back carefully, took one determined step forward, and then IT happened.
I don't think I'll ever forget how beautiful this moment was as I fight back a solitary happy tear right now.
...In flannel and moccasins, with hope written all over her face, Justine gracefully threw the bean bag up into the night. The moment she let go, I knew it was going to be magical. It soared and soared (and soared) on its path. Her hopes, and the bean bag, were high... and wide left. It just kept on going, ultimately nailing an unsuspecting Mary square in the chest. As an experienced baseball player, I'd estimate that she hit 80 MPH on the radar gun. That's no joke. I'll admit that I got a little weak at the knees... once all of us busted out laughing.
This small moment was just a blip, but it's things like this that make my trip full of good memories. Thanks for this one, Justine!
In true Justine form, here's a song to play while reading the rest. I really like this one. Please listen to the lyrics.
The pic below again just feels happy and like a good memory. Justine is smiling and Aggy is smirking at whatever I said. We're all connected in that moment. I love making people laugh, and this is one of the only pics I can think of where there's visual proof of me being at least remotely funny in person.
Also, when Justine isn't bogged down carrying the Steem community, focusing her 35mm lens on small elements of nature, building a house, healing, raising a child, or shopping for llamas, her eyes and smile can turn any troll to stone -- and better yet, light up any room. That's a nice run-on sentence, folks. There's a radiance to her when she's happy and laughing that's magnetic and goes unmatched. Just stating the obvious. If you haven't seen this yet, you're missing out.
In the spirit of helping her smile more during tough times, I've tried to show her support with a few personalized gifts/notes, thank you messages, advice, and jokes. It's completely understandable that she's not always able to smile with all of her VOLUNTEER work for Steem that's anything but a walk in the park, so it's the least I can do. It can all take a toll, but that's what we as Steemians are here for... helping each other!
Many others have shown their support as well, but I wish that more can see why we need to boost up one of the most valuable people we have beyond votes or a pat on the back.
An example of a gift: she said in a few posts that she dreamed of having a hobbit hole to run off to, so I sent her one for tough days. Lay-up...
She said in a post that her heart needed snow, so I sent her a handmade snow globe filled with personalized details she'd appreciate, the little things that are important to her, literally fitting in a globe. In case that flopped, I also included the soft flannel shirt she's wearing above. Simple, but a little escape and comfort when needed, as well as retribution for any times she thought I was making fun of her flannel. That was all @blewitt. I was only making fun of the moccasins.
There's no catch here... Kindness and appreciation help, or can help when least expected. I'd rather go the extra mile for good people who don't want recognition. As my logic has it, if they aren't motivated by that, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't still shower them with it anyway (for rainy days).
Imagine how much better this place would be if everyone remembered that we're all people, and that votes, posts, and comments aren't our limitations...
Justine is growing into a top-brass leader by trial and fire around here. She just had the hardest year of her life, yet she's selflessly dedicated tons of her time, energy, and passion into a blockchain community to help it grow. Think about that. I doubt many could do half of what she's done in double the amount of time, and come out passionate about the community. If you think you can, for God's sake, please do and take some stuff off her plate. The bottom line is that she cares, and, after seeing her and Ned side-by-side in Austin, can assure the conspiracy theorists that she's not him. Sorry, not sorry.
Justine fending off drama in Steem Alliance discord chats and those who try to attack her character:
In a nutshell, there are two types of people: someone you want to be in a foxhole with, and someone you don't...
Throughout our trip, I tried my best to carry her luggage, be a sounding board back at the Steem house, make breakfast, offer comedic relief, grab drinks, and take the recyclables out the first time she asked (ha) to do my part. After all, I was enjoying the conference and social events with no strings attached, while she was juggling the conference, presenting, meetings, photography, and Steem Alliance work with the daily drama and fan mail that tags along, etc.. She was pretty busy and not always able to have fun.
As for other stuff I can thank her for from Austin (since I've covered a lot of the bigger things over the last couple of months), it meant a lot when she brought up and complimented one of my drumming videos to @aggroed, and told him to watch it. Anyone who follows my videos know that having people listen to those is one of the most meaningful things I could ask for, so that was a nice gesture. I caught it. Aggy listened to it, was impressed, and asked me questions about my drums to give me a boost that people enjoy what I do. This is what I'm talking about.
Justine also wore the shirt I got for her, which was a nice subtle thank you. She had every right to use it as a dish towel at home, but she brought it to Austin and rocked it. When she showed up to the group wearing it, there may have been small smirks exchanged.
Also, while sitting for a few hours at a coffee shop before our flights, she made it a point to chat a few times while the others were working away on their laptops. She showed me a little bit of her world via photo editing and opened up about her high school softball days. Little gestures like these add up and stand out as small tokens of kindness I simply want to express my gratitude for.
Lastly, and most importantly, we got to talk a few times across a few hours to get to know each other better. As with everyone else I could do this with on the trip, this was the best part.
Anyway, that's about all I got. I'll be going outside now to look for things to resell while singing the song I promised @maryjaney I'd record for her to support her in my first big thank you post you should check out.
Stay tuned for more.
Again, thank you very much, Justine.