Tag Archives: military

A Journey…

journey-jpeg

This idea has been percolating in my head for a bit now and I’ve even been outlining.  Can you imagine? A pantser like myself actually outlining and mind-mapping?  It was fun, in fact.  It’s always been about the process.  Surveys done in social science classes, experiments and research…now you’re talkin’!

So, here goes.  We, dear reader, you and I, are embarking on our very own journey starting right here, right now (insert earworm here, never mind…I did it for you).

It is my wish that together we will help one another find hope in daily moments.  There are so many opportunities to not be humble or optimistic or purposeful or energetic.  Then again, there are so many little, everyday moments to find in the most obscure, random, downright surprising spots that I have been inspired to share them with you and ask you to share, too.

Do you have an unusual experience or nugget or story that seems to defy all reason, but still inspires you (and others) to not lose faith? Please share it here.

One of the places that seems to have sparked this journey for me is hospice.

My dad was put on hospice following a surgery gone wrong.  It allowed him to go home and be with family when he passed.  Fast forward several years and my mother was also put on hospice, but in a facility as her dementia had progressed to a point where she needed more care than she could get at home.  However, she was put on not because of some horrendous diagnosis, but because of a factor called “negative caloric intake”.  In other words what she was able to eat wasn’t doing her any good nutritionally.  Therefore, the powers that be thought she was “not long for this world” at that rate of speed.  She fooled them.  She ramped up her eating again and did something I didn’t even know was possible. She “graduated” from hospice.  And, in fact, when she did finally pass away, she was not on hospice.

So, both of those instances involved examples of hope.  Dad’s allowed him to be at home with loved ones in an environment he’d helped to create taking some of the powerlessness out of it for him and preparing him for the next step in his journey.

Mother’s was educating me (at least) that this was something that could also be overcome and was not a done deal or a “given”.  God still had the reins here, not us.  Humbling, to say the least and hopeful that she would get stronger and healthier (which she did for a bit).

Since then, I have begun volunteering with hospice myself and it is amazingly rewarding and hope-filled.  The wonderful folks I have had the privilege to meet are veterans who have, in some capacity, served our nation in the armed forces and we are now getting a chance to thank them for their service and sacrifice.  There have been veterans who served in World War II and some much younger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some are at home and just look frail, not truly “sick”.  Some who are fully aware and others I have heard of who seem to not hear a thing.  The one thing throughout that resonates is that the word HOPE is within the word HOsPicE.  It came to me one day by Divine Intervention no doubt, but just stood out in vast relief and has stuck ever since.  And I feel so lucky to be able to volunteer with such a terrific organization. It has the element of the military which I have such a place in my heart for (being a military spouse will do that to you) and being the beneficiary of hospice (by way of both parents) that it seemed like a perfect fit.  Couple that with a terrific angel of a volunteer coordinator and you’ve got yourself a winner!

What sorts of experiences have you had that were wrapped in Hope when it seemed like that would be the last emotion to be present?

I hope you have enjoyed this session of our journey and I look forward to our next leg.

 

Advertisements

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means…”

Princess Bride

Dear Mainstream Media (and the general public of Planet Earth):

To quote the wise Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”  The word to which I am referring is bravery.  You keep using it in reference to Bruce Jenner.  I admit, it must be confounding and confusing to feel uncomfortable in your own skin (we’ve all been a teenager, so on some minute level we can be empathic).  It must be terrifying to not understand your purpose here on Earth (heck, just browse the aisles of Barnes and Noble and you’ll see the word purpose all over the stacks — it’s a universal issue).

But, to say that this Olympian has exhibited bravery or courage is false.  Some state it better than I.  But, with over 2,500 American casualties from Operation Enduring Freedom (not to mention other countries and other battles), Calabasas,  CA is not the place to be cheering on the brave and courageous.

Bravery is giving up the comforts of a job and home and life to go to a foreign land to protect the rights of people you have never even met.  Being willing to give up your life for others, for the greater good…THAT is bravery.  That is courage.

Bravery

Sincerely,

Sarah

***

* Princess Bride photo courtesy of http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/you-keep-using-that-word-i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means .

* Bravery photo courtesy of http://bookandbiscuit.com/2014/05/16/quote-me-on-that-divergent-and-bravery/.

There’s something in the air

Beauty

 

I’m not sure what is behind it, but things seem a bit heavy lately or maybe it’s fragility I’m feeling.  Don’t get me wrong. Our nuclear family is doing well. We are all healthy and happy and strong. Truly nothing to complain about here, folks.

I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that there is so much access to information and others around the world at any given moment or if there really is an uptick in these sorts of things.

Recently I’d been following the journey of military spouse Jenna Hinman and her journey along with her active duty husband and their preemie twins in dealing with cancer. Jenna has been “rescued from cancer” to quote Jill Kelly, Jim Kelly’s courageous wife.

Then there’s Ben Sauer’s story. Ben was 5-years-old and a twin when he passed away three months to the day from the doctors telling them he had 2-3 weeks left. That was good news. So is the fact that Ben, too, has been “rescued from cancer”.

It just seems that more people are going through horrific amounts of strife and suffering. These are young people having to deal with monumental issues. Where are the happy endings? Why are so many people having marital difficulties? Why?

Our priest said recently that a young man was asked what he wanted out of life and he replied, “To be holy.” That was in 1930. The same question posed by the aforementioned priest yielded this answer, “I want an iPad Air.” Now we could chalk that up to immaturity, but an adult posed with the same question responded, “A Ferarri. I mean have you heard the engine on one of those things?”

We are broken in more ways than one, people. We need to embrace the goodness in life and draw strength from these challenges like my classmate (a year ahead) from Providence and his family are doing in their battle with cancer. They are leaning into God and squeezing every drop of joy they can from the multitudes being delivered by visits, email, phone calls and mail. I admire these folks who exhibit such extraordinary grace under pressure. I guess the point is, when life seems to be “too much” I, too, need to learn from others’ example and seek out the joy, harvest the laughter and make new memories. Thanks for letting me share.

Skewed

A death is sad no matter whose name is on the obituary. It shatters families and even affects people on the periphery of the individual’s life.

That being said, I’m not sure what God’s lesson is in the fact that much of the world is distraught over the death of someone who made bad decision after bad decision. I appreciate the disease aspect of addiction, but the utter heartbreak over this Individual’s passing is leaving me speechless and a bit frustrated and even embarrassed.

The amount of time and sorrow being spent makes me wonder how many folks are aware of the Lance Corporal, Brigadier General and Sergeant First Class who have also died in the month of February.

For those who want to become more aware of the heroes making sacrifices for us I challenge you to view those incredible folks here.

Super Couponing

I was searching for a writing prompt while watching the TLC show “Extreme Couponing“. I know, I know. Not terribly productive for writing, but I’m going to use it as a writing prompt.

I understand wanting to get as much as possible for as little as possible. I even stumbled onto a website that has lots of great information (some pertinent to the military and commissary shoppers). Two other sites are here and here.

What I don’t understand are a few things. 1) Why, if you do this on a regular basis, would you NOT take recyclable bags with you?
2) Does any ONE family need 32 bottles of BBQ sauce? I mean, seriously?!
3) How much time is reasonable for a sane person to spend preparing for the shopping trip to the grocery store?

I keep surfing the aforementioned sites and trying to pick people’s brains about how and how often they use coupons. But, I have yet to get enough/the right ones/be patient enough to hold onto coupons until just-the-right-deal comes along. I feel as though any coupon I find is useful and better than not using one. What I’m neglecting to remember are the doubling bits and all that sort of thing that the local stores love to do.

Another question…do I really need a binder for my coupons?! That scares me. But, maybe if I get one I can console myself with an iPad2 purchased with the money saved on iceberg lettuce?! Or drown my sorrows in some Atlantic Salmon and pomegranites??

Do you coupon? How do you go about your prep work? How much do you typically save? How often do you shop? Can you save on perishable items like veggies and fruits?

I look forward to your comments and will keep you posted on what I learn/try/experience further on this subject. Thanks for visiting!

Nine Eleven

I have the luxury of being able to contemplate this day without having to try to remember the face of a loved one which is fading with each passing day. I haven’t lost a loved one in the aftermath of that day on a desert battlefield. I have the luxury of wondering what the best way to commemorate is.

I, like so many of us, have the memory of that day, and where I was on that clear September morning.

Watching those news reports, reading the stories of those lost.  Many of us have done this year after year in the decade since.

This was the first year that I was able to find some comfort in the stories of those people who exemplified heroism and were the picture of an American.  The stores of those who outshine the ugliness and hatred that was trying to win out extinguishes just a bit of the negativity and that is a victory.  The loyalty and love that people feel for our military members is heartwarming.

I most admire those people who can look at a horrendous experience and glean some nugget from it that is hope filled or at least not the ugliest possible view.  As my initial disclaimer announced…I have that luxury.  I’m not saying everyone can do that.  I’m just sharing what I have found in the years since the  day that changed our nation.

Grace under pressure is the phrase that comes to my mind in the time following the events on September 11th and the search for stories of winners since is what I seek out.

What are your thoughts on the media coverage and the ways people have chosen to remember and honor any and all affected by the events of that day?

Opportunities abound to Support Our Troops (and their spouses)

Just came across this site which allows folks to write holiday letters to the troops (guidelines included on the web page)…this could be a terrific project for Cub/Boy/Girl Scouts or Brownies…or any other group.  Yes, it’s only May, but it takes a while to put together items for nearly 23,000 (which is this year’s projected total). 

http://projectrudolph.homestead.com/2007_news.html

More sites are featured on http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/americasupportsyou/help.html by topic. 

Thank you to all the troops and military spouses as today  (May 9, 2008) is Military Spouse Day as proclaimed by President Bush.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/05/20080505-8.html