Sunday, December 28, 2008

Out of the blue is not just a Debbie Gibson song....

Good evening everyone,

The last precious few days of 2008 are coming to an end, but I wanted to use today's entry to talk about the feeling when you are surprised. Now I know there are some people out there who absolutely hate surprises, and probably with good reason-whether it's a birthday party, or even if it's good news, just the word surprise is enough to strike panic into the most battle-hardened of people. Of course, on the opposite end, you have people who are absolutely joyful and thrilled to get surprised. It comes out of the blue, and that is why I stated that "Out of the Blue" is not just a song from a glorious decade.

This past weekend, I received two emails from my teammates at the NSA. Those who read my blog know that when I speak of the NSA, I never say I have "friends" there, but rather "teammates." One of them is like myself, she's a "young veteran" who has already attended several conferences. The other is a graduate student in speech pathology down in Florida who I know from two conferences. Unfortunately, he did not make it to North Jersey for the 2008 go-round, and I don't know if he'll make it to Arizona. I hadn't spoken to him in almost a year, and one day, he left a message on my cell phone. I sent him an email reply, because the message was missing a phone number. But to get that message was unexpected and it brought a smile to my face.

I've mentioned the word "camaraderie" so many times on this blog that it may sound trite, but we, as members of such an amazing community, can affect one another's lives. We all run on different schedules, with deadlines and projects to do, bills to pay. Sometimes we travel on business, others for pleasure. If you ever find yourself in an area where you know an NSA member, by all means contact them! Ask them to get together for dinner, or a drink. I've had the pleasure of meeting up with teammates in Boston, New York County (Manhattan), Washington, DC, even the opposite side of New York...Erie County (Buffalo), and yes it was a long drive but so worth it. When you have the chance to interact and spend time with fellow teammates, the rewards really do go both ways. And if you're a first-timer with us for conferences, get out there and meet people! Take the bull by the horns, go up and introduce yourself. You too can build your own network-so when someone comes up to you and says "Do you know ________, you can say "Of course!"

My name is Steven Kaufman, and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.

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