All things happen for a reason

Originally posted on May 2, 2014
I was with my nieces the other day, and one of them looks up, points to the sky and excitedly says “Airplane!!” (They’re not quite 2 1/2). She was so remarkably excited, and let me tell ya, she can hear and spot airplanes that are totally stealth to the adult eye and ear! I was thinking about that, wondering why her excitement struck me so much….and I think it’s amazing how jaded we become as adults, and how much harder we are to impress. When was the last time a grownup heard an airplane, looked up and was excited?? We lose the innocent wonder, amazement and excitement as we get older, and I am sure that will happen with these little sweeties as well, sad to say.

But I think the most remarkable thing to me was that I was there with her to witness her excitement. After all, it was a day I normally would have been working, with my former job’s work schedule. But there I was, on a crazy windy spring day, with those beautiful little girls whom I love so much, and my mom whom I love so much, at the playground, pushing the swings and seeking planes in the sky. I’ve been given a remarkable number of gifts recently; freedom, new beginnings, revitalized and renewed friendships, new friendships, self-examination, and one of the most remarkable things, TIME. Time to examine myself and find what is remarkable about me, what is adequate about me, and what about me I am not happy with and want to change. Time to examine my life, and discover what is working and wonderful in it, what I need to work at further, and what to let go of. Time to examine my relationships, and discover who is powerful and positive to me, and who is someone that, for them and myself, it is best we part ways. Time to renew my commitment to my education and career. And time to witness the astounding, daily growth of these two remarkable little human beings whom I adore and am so blessed to be a part of their lives! Additionally, I have had time to spend with my family, to complete making my home renewed and comfortable, and to invest in myself and my future.

There have been periods of indecision, and periods of worry and concern over “what if?” But, to worry of the uncertainties is simply a waste of this precious time! When an uncertainty becomes a certainty, it will certainly present plenty of concern and worry to you at that time; why borrow potential stress from the future that may or may not ever even exist? What is the saying? That right now is a gift, and that is why it’s called the present? Open that present, enjoy it to the max, indulge and luxuriate in it!! For who knows when it will be gone?

I will of course at a point be back to working 45-50 hours a week routinely, and probably be adding school back into that mix, because that is MY breed of insanity! However, I take all that has happened in recent months as lessons learned; lessons of how to make the most of the precious gift of time and the present, and how to be thankful, joyful, and appreciative of all of the amazement and wonder that comes with it! Sometimes, the silver lining is so incredibly wide and thick, that the negative event is completely overshadowed….and really, that ain’t a bad thing!

Life lessons from basic training

Originally posted on April 14, 2014
As my birthday is coming up later this month, I get onto these kicks of nostalgia; of who I am, of where I’ve been, of where I’m heading….ya know, the whole “what I have done with my life so far, and what else will I be doing with it” idea. While unpacking some books from my recent remodeling efforts, I ran across my Air Force basic training “yearbook” (go fighting B090!) and realized that, while my time in the military had it’s ups and downs (as everything in life does), my time in basic training was absolutely an important and incredible experience for me. There is a lot of learning and growing up that can occur in a 6-8 week period of time when you are away from home, being in one of the most disciplined environments that you will ever be a part of. I’ve often thought that all high school graduates could benefit from at least going through basic training (if not going into the actual military).

So what did I learn in basic training? Here we go:

1). How to iron. Ok, so that may be a bit inaccurate….I’m sure I knew how to iron before that (although I’m sure as a teenager, I ascribed to purchasing clothing that required no ironing at all, or wearing clothing that maybe required ironing but just didn’t do it!) But this was hard-core ironing…kind of like the cross fit of ironing. You can fold your T-shirt in a 3″ square, and by golly, you’d better do it! (and then press an iron on it, flatten it out, and then wear 3 T-shirts at a time to avoid having to iron more than 2 at a time; you iron the 2, keep them in the drawer, and wear the rest or keep them in your laundry bag!) Ditto for folding your socks in exact thirds, and your underwear into militaristic origami.

2) How to be aware that the rules given in #1 mean nothing, but still follow them. So much these days, people don’t want to follow rules that they don’t agree with. Ya know what? You don’t agree with it, fine. You’re ONE person. You either disagree with it and follow it anyway, or you disagree with it, don’t follow it, and suffer the consequences. It’s pretty black and white in basic training; pull a 341 enough times (discipline form) and you learn what consequences are. Boundaries and rules that WILL be enforced is great training for the “real world”!

3) How to show respect for authority even if you don’t respect the person who IS that authority. Oh wow, is this a big one?! Yeah, authority and rule by degradation is not my idea of a good way of leadership (which is why I have left some jobs in the past….) However, that’s the way it is in basic training. And you just learn to deal with it, or else you’re pulling a bunch more 341′s! So yes, you do have no choice but to show respect for authority; you may or may not truly feel it, but you can be a good little soldier and show respect and even deference. Only you and your hairdresser will know the truth! 🙂

4) How to make a nice, tight bed. It’s really and truly that whole quarter-bouncing thing….you make your bed nice and tight, then slide in from the top while the bed is tightly made at night-time. In the morning, you reverse the process of sliding out the top (you already have your body trained to not move at night while sleeping!), then get on the floor under your cot and pull the sheet and blanket tight through the metal of the box spring (and make sure you have someone else sweep the dust bunnies off your back, just as you do for them).

5) How to walk. EVERYWHERE! And which leg really is your left leg.

6) How to share. Phone conversations were limited to 10 minutes a person; sure you could go overtime, but by doing that, you’d be screwing someone else out of their phone call. And that’s something you don’t want karmically coming back to you!

7) The importance of “snail mail”. There is NOTHING like mail call, either when you’re in basic training or active duty. Sure, today we have emails, texts, cell phone calls that can even be made from foreign countries (I remember paying close to $100 for an 18 minute phone call home from Korea in 1989). But there is something really special about getting a letter or card from someone, and knowing that to that person, for a period of time, YOU were in their heart and mind. I try still to send snail mail on a pretty regular basis, just because of the feeling it gave and gives me.

8) The importance of family. As a teenager, I was rather typical, and ready to be out and on my own. Once I was, and it was in basic training, it really reinforced to me exactly how much I adore and love and need my family; and how much I value them and how special and wonderful they are to me. All of these years later, I feel the same way, and I know in that respect, I am lucky.

9) Discipline. There were no “Oh, I don’t want to work so I’m calling in sick today” sick days in basic training! (or in the military in general, actually). You feel sick, you go to the infirmary, and THEY say whether you can work or not! You want to get the grades? Do the work, because there are no “make up assignments” or “extra credit”. And if you want that promotion, you do the leg work, you study, you improve yourself, and you EARN it!

10) And finally, being a decent person and doing your job well is it’s own reward. Reading through my basic training yearbook, I made friends with the majority of my squadron, despite being rather shy and introverted at the time. And I was a good friend, a good listener, a good helper. I volunteered for extra duty so that other people could get their needs met, and it came back to me over and over again. Today, the worker and the ethic I have with my job and my life was formed by my parents, and basic training. And for that, I’m forever grateful!

Cliches of survival, aka suck it up, buttercup!

Originally posted on March 28, 2014
Into every life, some rain must fall. God never gives us more than we can handle. The hard times help us better appreciate the good times. It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up. Yadda yadda. All of these cant sayings, these old cliches, are meant to inspire us during hard times, to keep us going during the rough seas. But let’s face it; they’re all really just nice ways of saying “Suck it up, Princess!”

They are, of course, generally true. I say generally because honestly, I do believe that sometimes God gives people more than they can handle (psychotic breaks and suicides may bear out that reasoning). But yes, into every life (as in to every climate) some rain must fall. Some people have drought for years, others have a constant deluge that makes them feel they are the breathing equivalent of Portland. And yes, I do believe in the comparison theory that, if you have no bad in your life, how do you really adequately understand and appreciate the good? While sitting here watching my kittens play, my ferret sleep, and knowing that I will be visiting with my nieces this afternoon…..while sitting on a comfortable bed, with a roof over my head, having just eaten breakfast, in my beautiful remodeled home….I know indeed that I can appreciate the good.

However, yes, into my life, some rain has fallen. I am a typical human in that way, right? (and unlike people like high level politicians, overpaid Bieber-esque tools, or Pistorius-ish creepazoids, I have the luxury of totally effing up in relative privacy!) The year of 2014 so far has been a bit of a deluge, in the psychic/emotional way, and I’m mighty grateful for the umbrella, water shoes, and having a dad who could, in an emergency, build an ark. There are occasionally things that happen that do shake you, in the essence of knowing who you are, what you are, and where you stand in the crazy world around you. There are times when up is down, black is white, and all the gray in the world doesn’t make sense. There are at times personal attacks that deserve no attention, that deserve no consideration, and are not worthy of lowering yourself to that level of disgusting behavior; but boy oh boy, don’t you just WANT to lower yourself, just for a short period of time?? Don’t you just want to give back the same level of obnoxiousness from time to time? True, who we are in the true character of ourselves is how we choose to deal with such situations, and if we do lower ourselves to the playing field of a lesser person, then we are indeed allowing ourselves to indeed be a lesser person; but WOW, ain’t it tempting sometimes??!!

Anyway. Some people…actually, probably most people, just aren’t worth that. There is so little that is certain in this world, and there is so little that we have control over in our lives; who we indeed are, and how we indeed act are two things that are ultimately in our own control. To allow another person to pull our strings like a puppet, and to make us act in a manner that is beneath us, is allowing that other person to have control. It is allowing that other person to dictate the standards of our character and behavior. And I’m sorry, but NO ONE is worth that. If what I have, if what I truly possess and always will, is my character and integrity, then I’ll be damned if anyone else will ever have control over that.

So, letting go and moving on is the best option (so many times). Seeing the rainbow come out after the rain. Watering the flowers in our worlds, instead of the weeds. I am SO incredibly blessed, with my life and who and what is in it. I am so incredibly blessed with the family I have (the best family anywhere, bar none; of course, I’m sure many people feel that way of their own family, and feel they are right, and to them, they are, just like I know I am right as well!) I am so incredibly blessed with the beautiful TRUE friends I have, who are kind, loving, supportive, understanding, and oh so fun and bright. I am so incredibly blessed with my job and my ability to do it, the most rewarding and amazing work in the world, even with it’s frustrations and stresses at times. I am incredibly blessed with all that is around me, all of the flowers in my life (and like rain, into each life some manure must fall! How else do those flowers grow so beautifully?), and the relative lack of weeds. A little Round-Up, a little pulling, and there are no weeds at all. Let them go and move on.

Much love and thanks to all of the positives in my life. Sucking it up here!