Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A day in the life of my brain...

   I posted a comment on Facebook yesterday about learning to keep my thoughts to myself. I received quite a few comments, so I thought I would keep track of my thoughts today. I wanted to see if my thoughts were mostly negative, positive, bizarre, sad or happy. I'm happy to report I don't think I'm insane, however I thought about the Bee Gees several times today and didn't hear a single one of their songs. Not everyone is a serial killer and I need to brush up on my Spanish. Wait, I don't speak Spanish.

   1. While stopping at a convenience store to get coffee before work (it was 5:30 a.m.) - "I wonder if that guy getting gas is a serial killer. Who wears a jacket this time of morning when it's not cold? He probably has a gun...better make this quick."
   2. While paying for my coffee - "Did you seriously just grab the 'liquor store discount card' from your wallet instead of your debit card? This guy is going to think you are a boozer."
   3. While a few blocks from work where the police had someone pulled over and were searching their car, "Those lights are bright...I feel like listening to the Bee Gees."
   4. Checking my email, "Spam, spam and more spam. I really don't need a boost of testosterone, but thanks anyway."
   5. Looking outside at Main Street, "Why are there cats everywhere downtown and why do they always hang out around my car. Hummm....I could probably scare them with a rock, but would probably miss and shatter my windows."
   6. Later during the day, "Is all this noise while roofing a building really necessary?"
   7. A few minutes later, "IS all this noise really necessary? You're killin' me people!"
   8. A few minutes later, "I really wish I could speak Spanish because those guys are laughing so hard and I cannot understand a word they are saying. I wonder if they are talking about me? Nope...not me...I understood that word and I'm pretty sure it's a bad one."
   9. Hours later, "Why is the Internet sooooooooo slow? We put a man on the moon (or so they say), they grew a human ear on a mouse (whoever thought of that one is probably related the serial killer coat wearing guy pumping gas this morning), I've seen faster speeds at the nursing home relay races...hurry...hurry...what...dropped connection....are you kidding me?"
10. After leaving work and stopping for coffee (yeah, I have a problem), "Why is that hitchhiker walking towards me? Directions...sure, I can give you directions. That was easy...I wonder what was in his bag? Where is he walking? Where did he come from? I bet he likes the Bee Gees."

   Of course, I had several others that involved wanting to yank my hair out by the roots and some that may or may not have involved a bad word and I'll just leave it at that!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The day America mourned

   Thirteen years ago today, two thousand, nine hundred ninety-six people woke up not knowing their final hours on earth were in front of them. One of the most heinous attacks in American history was unfolding and they would be caught in the cross hairs. Each one walked out of their homes that day, never to return to their loved ones. Their lives were cut tragically and unfairly short. Their deaths would play out in front of millions of Americans who could only look on with shock and disbelief. America would never be the same. The strongest country in the world was being attacked and all we could do was sit and watch.
  Everyone can recall where they were the morning of that horrific day. As I watched the live news feed and the second plane crashed through the World Trade Center, I got sick to my stomach. I had never experienced that kind of fear in my life. Many thoughts ran through my mind, the most prominent being "Is this the beginning of WWIII?" I thought of my two children and wondered if they would have a future or if this would truly be the beginning of the end.
   Like most Americans that day, I sobbed.  I was scared, angry, and unsure what would happen in the next 24 hours. I prayed numerous times throughout the day. I prayed for the families of those who lost loved ones, I prayed for our military and our leaders. The sensible part of me realized life as we knew it would definitely change. The word terrorist would become a daily part of our vocabulary and we would become a nation "on guard" at all times.
   Watching the news footage for the next couple of weeks became the norm. I was glued to the television, watching story after story of the tragedy. The interviews with grieving families, the stories of the last phone calls, the stories of people who died trying to save lives. It was one of the most emotional experiences I've ever been through, yet couldn't stop watching. I felt like I had lost a loved one, just as the rest of the country did.
   I love my country and take great pride in being an American. When I look back at the past 13 years, I'm reminded how great our country is, no matter the circumstance.  The terrorists set out to destroy us, but they failed. They quickly found out we are a nation of people who come together in times of tragedy. They quickly found out we will protect our citizens. They quickly found out we have a military like no other, with men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms we enjoy. The lives lost on 9/11 and the lives lost since in the war on terror will never be forgotten. They will live on in the hearts of their families and of what I truly believe still is the greatest nation in the world. We may have political differences, but at the end of the day, we are Americans.
   The cowardly, evil terrorists  who are filled with hate  cannot weaken our resolve. We will stand toe to toe, fight and win the war on terror. We are the United States of America today, tomorrow and for eternity. God bless those who perished on this day. May you look down and see we are keeping your memory alive in the hearts of all for a lifetime. I will never forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My dateless Homecoming

   During all my years in school, I never once got asked to Homecoming. Ever.
   When I was in sixth grade, I remember Homecoming being a pretty big deal in junior high. There were a few boys I secretly hoped would ask me. My heart would beat fast and I would get excited every time one of them would talk to me the week before thinking they were going to ask me to be their date. I held out hope I would get asked because this was junior high and everyone who was anyone had a date for Homecoming!
    The day of Homecoming, I held out a small bit of hope I was going to be asked to go, even though I knew it wasn't going to happen. Of course, not going to the game wasn't an option. My brother was playing and we went to every single game.
   I really don't recall the game, who I sat with or talked to. However, I do remember the feeling I had as I walked into the stadium and everywhere you looked there were mums and garters and little couples walking happily to the student section.
   The mums..you know, the ones with real flowers! The ones Texans are known for across the country! Girls where proudly showing them off along with two streamers where the name of you and your date were forever immortalized in sticky, glitter letters, or at least until you got mad at him and ripped them off. This was junior high and a teenage girl scored...well...it could be bad!
   In seventh grade, I held out little hope I would be asked to the big game until I received a letter in my locker. You know the letter, the one folded in just the right pattern. Us kids of the 80's had that down to an art form! As I opened the letter and began reading it, I just knew I was going to be asked. It didn't have a name on the outside, so I began envisioning the boy of my dreams, the one who was going to ask me to Homecoming and buy me the biggest, most gaudy mum in the word with our names on it.
   As I began reading the letter, it said, "Ginger, I'm thinking about asking you to Homecoming. I'll let you know." It was signed by a boy in eighth grade who I would NOT let walk me across the street much less take me to the biggest night in a teenage girls life. He said he was thinking about asking me? I hated to break it to him, but the answer was no. Lucky for me, he never asked. Good thing I didn't have to break his heart. Another Homecoming being in the "without a mum and a date crowd."    
As if I didn't stand out enough with the red hair. A redhead and no mum in a sea of people with them? It did wonders for my self-confidence.
   By the time eighth grade rolled around, I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I ugly? Was I not likable? Did I have the dreaded cooties? I was pretty sure I didn't since I had not square danced since elementary and we all know that's where they come from. I thought I might should enter a convent since after all  I was 14 years-old and had never been on a date to Homecoming. In my teenage mind, it was tragic and my feelings were hurt.
   High school was more of the same, yet here I am. I'm a happily married woman who survived never being asked to Homecoming. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world. I wondered why all my friends were asked, but I wasn't. I spent a couple of weeks each year anticipating something that never happened only to be disappointed. Today, I know one thing for sure. There was nothing wrong with me. Maybe there was a boy who wanted to ask me, but he was too shy. Maybe they were afraid of my older brothers! Maybe, just maybe....they liked me as a friend and didn't want anyone to think differently.
   Homecoming is a time of celebration, a time of reflecting and a time to walk down memory lane. I look back on my lack of a date for the big day with a bit of a laugh. It's just one of the many things throughout my life that have made me who I am today. It is part of my story and I wouldn't change it now for anything in the world.
   To all you girls wondering if you will be asked to Homecoming next week, don't put too much time or worry into it. If you do, great. If you don't, go with friends and have the time of your life. Enjoy the game, enjoy the fellowship and walk into the game with your head held high. It's one day in a lifetime of days. You will survive not going with a date. You will survive without a massive mum that will fade over the years. You will survive and remember....you are beautiful and loved!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The gift you cannot see

   One of the things I loved most about Christmas when I was a kid was trying to guess what was in each package under the tree. Like every other kid, I made my list and sent a letter to Santa hoping he would deliver exactly what I wanted.
   The hardest part about waiting until Christmas morning was knowing inside that beautifully wrapped package, was something I yearned for. I had no way of knowing what was inside the package, because I couldn't see it. However, I knew when I opened the gift, it would make me very happy.
   Faith is a lot like a gift under the tree. To have faith is to have complete trust or confidence in someone or something. For rational adults, I can see where faith is hard at times. We are taught to have faith in God, without ever physically seeing Him. How do you express complete faith in someone you've never seen? How do you trust completely they exist? For me, faith can be hard at times; especially when you turn on the news and see such crazy things happening in our world.  I always go back to a scripture in 2nd Corinthians which says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  Absolute, 100%, blind faith…faith as a child.
   Many years ago, I was sitting in my den praying for a loved one who was going through a difficult time. I remember speaking their name out loud and asking God to intervene in their life. After several minutes of praying out loud, I experienced one of the calmest feelings I've ever had in my life. In an instant, I went from being overwhelmed with emotion to one of pure peace. To this day, I know God was standing next to me. Before those of you who don't believe as I do roll your eyes or close the page, hear me out.
   God didn't appear to me and tell me everything was going to be okay, all the problems solved and life was going to be rosy for this person. He didn't speak to me and say He would fix their problems or change their circumstances. He challenged my faith by allowing my mind to be open enough to sense His presence. I didn't have to see Him to know He was there.
   I've had conversations with people and they've asked me if I really believe in God. They've asked if I really believe in a heaven and hell. They've asked why I believe the things I do and "If God really exists" how can you prove He does. People who are agnostic or even atheist feel if they bombard you with questions, it will trip you up somehow. There is one thing I know for sure, I do not have the answers to all the questions concerning the existence of God. What I do have is faith He does. If you've ever looked into a newborn's eyes seconds after they made their way into the world, you know there is a God. If you've ever gazed into a star filled sky and been amazed at how we are just a tiny speck in an enormous galaxy, you know there is a God. It's not something that can be explained, it's something that is felt.
   Having faith doesn't mean we are free from heartache, free from disappointment or free from a world that is sometimes filled with sad situations. Faith means one day, those things won't exist anymore for anyone.
   Ralph Waldo Emerson said it perfect when he said, "All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."