Team NLC Stories

Each year around Thanksgiving, Team NLC shares the moments and people that we’re grateful for. Here are the things on our minds as 2017 draws to a close.


I am thankful for time. 

Although time seemed to speed by extra quickly this year, I found time to decorate and enjoy my lovely new home, to watch families of cardinals and other wild birds visit my big, red bird feeder in my backyard, to sip wine and relax on my private lanai overlooking a beautiful forest of green vegetation after a good day of my best efforts at work, and to bond with my toddler grandson and watch him learn about his new world with big eyes of wonder and awe.

Time gives many pleasures and happy memories when we let them unfold and reveal themselves.

I’ve been blessed with good times and good memories all this fine year of 2017.

I hope you have been, too. –Lorraine Faithful, Operations Manager


This year, it’s important for me to recognize how grateful I am for my two amazing boys.

Next month, Ellis will be 7 and Emmett will be 4. After a long day of work, my heart always skips a beat when I think of coming home to them.

In the busy moments of the day, I stop and reflect on the stories they shared with me over breakfast, how much I enjoy seeing them smile, and certainly how much this time of year brings them joy.

They teach my husband and me so much about life, and what’s truly important. They think my rendition of “Favorite Things” is far better than Julie Andrews’ (I’m a terrible singer, by the way), and the way I read There’s a Wocket in My Pocket is better than any blockbuster hit.

I cannot remember who I was before them, or if I really felt whole before they came into my life. But, they complete me now. They give me guidance when I’m worried I will have none.

Ellis shows me how to love unconditionally and with reckless abandon, and Emmett reminds me that the impact we will have on the world is not measured in years, but in the moments we are able to give light to those around us.

My heart is full this Thanksgiving.–Tuesdi Dyer, Director of Strategic Solutions


I am thankful for… 

My parents, who pitch in and help everyone in the family. We moved to Florida from my hometown of Atlanta to be close to family, and it has turned out to be the best decision. I just have to say that I have the best parents a needy child could ask for. They are the glue of our extended family, and they spend considerable time just helping everyone out as much as they can. What an amazing blessing!

My partner, who can make anything fun. This man’s mission in life is to have a good time. We work hard and play harder. But even if it’s something completely mundane like going to the grocery store or a long trip to a soccer game or washing the dog—it really doesn’t matter. He will find a way to keep it light and make sure everyone is having fun.

The people who take such good care of my child when I’m not there. I have spent as much time as I possibly could with my little boy since he was born, working as little as I could get away with, really. But now that he spends so much time with teachers and coaches, I am incredibly thankful for the peace of mind that comes with knowing he’s in such good hands. You all know who you are—thank you so much!! –Laurel Westmoreland, Education Associate


I met my husband while I was in high school, and we married while we were still in college. So here I am in my early 40s and celebrating wedding anniversaries in the early 20s. I have been with Brack longer than I was without him, and so he truly is the love of my life.

I’ve always known that my partner was a good man; even when we were kids he displayed kindness and generosity–not only for those he knew but also for those who simply crossed his path, not only for those who could return the favor but also for those who couldn’t (or wouldn’t). And he does so to this day. Brack is the guy who pulls over to help a stranger with a flat tire, the supervisor who rolls up his sleeves and pitches in when there’s set up and tear down to be done, the friend who drives two hours to bring you the laptop you left behind, and the big softie that any dog or cat can charm.

2017 has been an incredibly busy year for us as a couple, with the normal ups and downs in our personal and professional lives. I am proud of what he has accomplished this year, including completing his CPA and making a huge difference in his new job. And Brack’s status as a good man has never been more apparent than this year when he has displayed unswerving principles, grace under fire, hope in the dark days, and joy in the simplest pleasures of life.

He is my best friend in the fun times, my rock in the bad times, and my inspiration for always moving forward.

This year, I am more grateful than ever for my husband, the love of my life. –-Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications


I am grateful for random opportunities for mindfulness that pop up each day.

In vintage movies, it might have been a glass of water thrown into someone’s face or a swift slap followed by, “Snap out of it.” Thankfully, I have tuned into other methods of centering myself and my work that while often startling, are never painful.

Here’s one that gets me every time: my husband set up a special home page for me on my Chrome browser: the webcam at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park – one of our favorite places on this planet.

Each time I open Chrome (which is a lot), there is a new view of the park that I wasn’t expecting.

One morning I opened it, and the screen was black. What happened? I realized the sun hadn’t risen yet. This is a big country in which we live. Deep breath.

Yesterday, I opened it intently searching for some important nugget to inform my work and saw that a snowy blanket had covered those gorgeous peaks. Deep breath. Smile. Wonder. Carry on. It never gets old.

Sometimes the scenery changes from hour to hour, as in the case of these two photos: a gorgeous sunrise morphed into an impending snowstorm.

Sure, you could argue that this feature is breaking my concentration and maybe even impacting my productivity. Humbug. I think of it more as a spontaneous reset button right when I need it, and I hope to bump into more of these moments in unexpected places in the busy months to come – no splash of water to my face needed.–Emily Benham, CEO

We wish you and yours a safe and restorative holiday!