When a Soldier Comes Home….

I receive this as an email, but figured I could spread it faster & to more people this way.  It's a message we all need to read and absorb.

This email is being circulated around the world – please keep it going
When a soldier comes home, he finds it hard…. 
..to listen to his son whine about being bored. 
…..to keep a straight face when people complain about potholes
to be tolerant of people who complain about the hassle of getting ready for work. 
…to be understanding when a co-worker complains about a bad night's sleep.
..to be silent when people pray to God for a new car. 
…to control his panic when his wife tells him he needs to drive slower. 
..to be compassionate when a businessman expresses a fear of flying. 

….to keep from laughing when anxious parents say they're afraid to send their kids off to summer camp.    

….to keep from ridiculing someone who complains about hot weather.  

….to control his frustration when a colleague gripes about his coffee being cold.   

….to remain calm when his daughter complains about having to walk the dog. 

…..to be civil to people who complain about their jobs.   

….to just walk away when someone says they only get two weeks of vacation a year.   

….to be forgiving when someone says how hard it is to have a new baby in the house. 

The only thing harder than being a Soldier..  

Is loving one. 

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Now is the time, are you ready for it?

We all experience moments of deep awareness of life and our place in it.  What separates those with a fervor for life from those who are just willing to settle is their willingness to expand those moments from single experiences to a lifetime of movement. The ones who are ready to acknowledge that those moments of awareness are our inner selves telling us that this is the time to act.

Remember that nagging feeling that you should be doing something or that sudden insight into a person, place or situation?  How often do you listen to them?  How often do you stop and realize that these moments are your little push to do something.  That somewhere inside you there is a little voice or feeling telling you that this is the time.  The time to think, the time to feel, the time to act.

All too often we get wrapped up in the busyness of our day to day lives that we let those times slip through our fingers.   We fail to realize that by letting those moments slip away we are loosing our chance at the wonder life can bring.   Then along comes those vivid reminders of just how short life really can be.  That phone call that we have unexpectedly lost a loved one, the mother of a friend has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and only has days to live (that was the one I was faced with this morning), a job has been lost, friends are getting divorced…. the list of those life shortening, life altering notices can be endless.

So faced with the reality that life is unexpected and short, the importance of recognizing those moments becomes paramount.  Experiencing those moments of awareness, listening to those little murmers in our ears to take action, allowing ourselves to be fully immersed in life – these are the things that tell us it is time.  Time to make sure we never leave this life with regrets.  Time to make sure that those we care about know every moment that they are important to us.  Time to build foundations under the castles of dreams that we have built in the sky.  TIME TO LIVE, LOVE AND LAUGH!  Are you ready?

Important things I’ve heard/read/been reminded of lately

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason.. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.  If it changes your life, let it.  Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you can't get them back.

What you do today is important because you are paying a day of your life for it.  What you accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Do Not make people a priority who only make you an option.

I hold to the rather old-fashioned belief that each of us is blessed with particular gifts given to us by God, and that it is our sacred obligation to identify, to cherish and to exercise those gifts for the betterment of ourselves and of those in our lives. (Dr. Phil)

The only time is now and the choice is yours.

Remember: If it is important to you, then it's important, period.

To have someone say to you – "No matter what life brings your love is always there" – is one of the greatest compliment yous can ever receive.

Life should be like the planet, ever slowly moving, ever slowly evolving, always, always with the promise of a bright new day ahead.

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, dance like no one is watching, sing as if no one is listening and live every day as if it were your last.

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Feelings of betrayal

We all experience feelings of betrayal at some point.  Most often these feelings are prompted by the action or inaction of someone in whom we have placed faith or expectations.  There are those times, like what I am feeling right now, when the betrayal comes not only from what the person has done, but also from their timing, delivery & attitude.   There are those people in our lives who can cut us to the quick with an insensitive word, a careless gesture or a forgotten promise.  

One of those people in my life has made a conscience choice to betray me.  I am sure he has reasons that to him seem logical and rational.  But that does not change the fact that he has chosen to take actions and behave in ways that he has to know will hurt me and leave me feeling rejected, angry and betrayed.  While I know I can not change what he is doing or his unknown reasons for doing this, I can not help but hope that he does know the affect he is having on me and that he feels some sense of responsibility and remorse. 

So what do we do when these people stomp on our minds and our hearts?  Do we lash back, withdrawn with whimpers, stand our ground?  It is so hard to know because the betrayal comes with pain, uncertainty, insecurity.  So who can tell me how to deal with the feelings I have right now?  With my desire to yell and scream, to cry foul at the actions of my betrayer while knowing full well that none of these actions will change anything.  How do I release these emotions in a constructive manner?    How do I deal with this person from this point on, knowing that they have become untrustworthy in my eyes and heart?   How do I accept that this person in whom I had placed such trust and caring can respect and care about me so little?

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Getting in touch with our inner children

I was fortunate enough to recently spend 3 days on a cruise to the Bahamas with about 50 of the people I went to high school with. First you need to know something about my high school.  Zama High School was located on Camp Zama army base in Japan.  We had a mix of army & navy brats and the children of civilians who worked for the military.  We were a diverse group, born in all corners of the world.  As is typical for schools on military bases it was very small, I think there was about 300 people in the entire school (9th through 12th grade) the year I graduated.  Since Zama's graduating classes are small and we are spread all over the world, how do you have a high school reunion?  Simple, our alumni association holds a "whole school" reunion every 2 years.  This reunion is for anyone who every attended the school, graduate or not.  The reunions are held as 3 day weekends in different places all over the US.   From those reunions grew our annual 1980's decade mini-reunions. Think about it, when you were in high school, did you only have friends in your class?  No, we all had friends younger & older.  We have the perfect way to stay in touch with all of them.  Which is what brought us all to Jan 25-28, 2008 and the cruise ship Carnival Fascination. Alumni, some spouses and significant others, some families,  we gathered together to share a few days of reliving our childhoods.

So what happens when you take a bunch of teenagers who have all grown up with similar backgrounds and put them in a small environment in a foreign country.  You end with some very unique relationships.  Intense & deep run the emotions that form the base for these interactions.   Then take these relationships and tear them up and down on a regular basis – such is the life of a military family.   You have taken people at vulnerable steps in their formation as adults and entrenched in them the ability to love deeper than most and the ability to hold onto those emotions despite separations and disappointments.  These are the amazing people who result from that kind of background.

Now fast forward a few years.  There are ones who have stayed in close contact and others who are just finding the alumni association and their old friends.  The one thing that is consistent is the affection we feel for one another.  Any of the old high school acrimony seems to melt away as soon as those old familiar faces are in view. 
The memories become happy.  The teenage heartaches that we thought would kill us then are now fodder for sweet laughter. Old friendships are strengthened, high school acquaintances become new friendships and occasionally high school crushes are resurrected.  For 3 days (or more when we can manage it), we are our young selves again, older & a little wiser, but in so many ways still the wonder filled teenagers we were in the 1980's.  In those 3 days, which are generally filled with great food, much alcohol and inevitably a karaoke machine, we apply another layer of emotional cement to the relationships that started so many years ago.   We rediscover all of the things that were so good and right about us and the people we care about.   Most often being with these people brings out the best in us once more.   Now I can never say for sure if it is nostalgia, selective memories or just an alcoholic haze, but it is as if all of the promise those days held is one again laid out before us, we are invincible and as long as we are together, all will always be right with the world.      So, world be prepared, we will all be back together in New Orleans in July…..

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Hot Chocolate as life

"Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. I n most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor chan ge the quality of life have.  Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have th e best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.    Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.

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QotD: Guest vs. Host

For a full sit-down dinner with several guests, would you rather be the one cooking or do you prefer to just show up and eat?

I prefer to be the one cooking.  I love to cook, but there is something about fixing a big dinner for friends and family that is such an expression of love.  Good friends, loving family, good wine, good food makes for a perfect day.

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