Who Are You?

 

Are you a child? A parent? A sibling or spouse?

Are you a student? A professional? A butcher, or baker, or candlestick maker?

Are you an artist, or author, or musician, or athlete?

When you get up in the morning, what’s on your mind? Do you think:

I have a term paper due today.

I have to pack the kids’ lunches.

Coffee!!

Mmmmm…an omelet sounds delish!

Where are my running shoes? I have to put in five miles today.

What a beautiful sunrise! Where’s my camera or my paintbrush?

Ugh…I’ve got that conference call at work today.

 

I’m guessing not too many people wake up and think:

I’m black today.

I’m gay today.

I’m a woman today.

 

(Well, if you’re pregnant, menopausal, or on your period, you might think, “Damnit, why do I have to be a woman today?”)

 

Lately, our society wants everyone to focus on “diversity.” Everyone has got to BE something more than just “being.” But what society forgets is that there’s more to being diverse than the color of your skin, your religion, your gender, or your sexual preference. If you look up “diversity” in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the first thing you see is this: diversity

Note that the first definition is “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.” Race and culture come after “differing elements.”

 

Who got to decide that, in our nation, diversity must only refer to your race, gender, religion, or sexual preference? Each and every one of us is a diverse individual. We all have different forms, ideas, interests, skills. We are all made up of more than the color of our skin, or our gender.

 

Now, I understand that some individuals have suffered more discrimination and oppression more than others based on some aspect of their character, and I agree that MOST of that discrimination and oppression is absolutely wrong. What I disagree with is the notion that ONLY certain races or cultures or genders have ever suffered from discrimination or oppression. Obviously, the severity of it differs, but so, too, has society over the generations.

 

I am a white female. There are things that, as a female, I am subjected to that men are not; sexual harassment and rape come to mind. There are also things that, as a female, I shouldn’t expect to be able to do, or included in unless I possess some pretty stringent qualifications. Very few women, for instance, can pass the physical agility portion of testing to become firefighters and, therefore, should be excluded from that job. Yes, I said it. There are places in the work-force (and in the military) where women just don’t belong. I don’t want to be trapped in a fire on the second (or higher) floor of a building and see some 120-pound woman come in thinking she’s going to carry my happy ass down a ladder – or my husband or my 170-pound dog. Forgive me for thinking that she’s just not capable of such feats. Chances are, she is not.

 

I am the child of a German immigrant. I was in elementary school still before the Berlin Wall came down. There were a few of us kids with German immigrant parents. When the other kids figured it out, I recall having to defend my mother as being from West Germany, or “the good side” so as not to be confused with the Nazis.

 

The news today abounds with stories of black oppression and it truly is a problem in some areas. But it’s also NOT a problem everywhere. The one thing that I really do not understand is the continued idea that slavery is something that blacks need to be compensated for in some way. Unless you are caught up in a human trafficking situation (and your race or gender does not grant you any exceptional status here), slavery has not been around for several generations. No one alive today has been a slave nor a slave owner. So many people in our nation today are first- and second-generation immigrants, so have no dog or pony in this show. Yes, slavery was a terrible thing, and it continues to be a terrible thing, mostly in other countries (discounting the aforementioned trafficking trade). There is no way to make up for it at this point in time. It was abolished and, legally, all men (and women) are equal now. Opportunities to achieve on all levels are available to all, whether or not some can and do take advantage of them. It’s hard work, but obviously it pays off seeing as we have spent the last (nearly) eight years with a black President of the United States.

 

This topic will obviously ruffle a lot of feathers, and that was not my intent with this post. First and foremost, I want people to recognize that each individual is unique and diverse all by his/herself. You probably don’t get up in the morning with your first thought being “I’m black/white, gay/straight, whatever today.” You’ve got too much else on your plate, too many other personal and professional responsibilities to let that one aspect of your being be the primary focus of your day-to-day existence.

 

So when will you stop allowing society, as depicted by the mainstream media, dictate who and what you are based only on one aspect?

You are more than that.

You are a person. A person of great worth. Don’t live your life fighting to be that “gay person” or that “black person”. Be YOU. Be your own person who just happens to be gay or black or female or whatever.

 

It is you who are responsible for your happiness. Our forefathers only guaranteed you the right to pursue it. Quit living a life expecting others to fix what you see is wrong. Stand up, dust yourself off, and fix your problems yourself.

Besides, chances are, you are the primary cause of your problems, not “others.”

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Story Time

Story Time – Who Was Your Hero?

Today I’m seeing headlines about some “challenge” posed by a “TV Star” and the dangers young girls are putting themselves in trying to emulate the girl. This famous girl is no one particularly special. She just happens to have been born into a wealthy family who has made their fortunes mostly by parading their “glamorous” life on “reality” television. The father wishes he were a woman, the mother was previously married to a lawyer who defended a former sports-hero who was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her lover. The girl’s sisters have made themselves famous – or infamous – through “reality” TV and other endeavors by which they actually have shown some business acumen.

But why do our kids today want to emulate these types of “stars?” What is so impressive about today’s celebrities that we, as a society, indulge them any credibility as people of interest, let alone role models?

When I was a kid, the only “reality” TV was the local news or perhaps a game show where some “regular” person might win a wash machine. Our “heroes” came from comic books and TV shows that where fiction. Little boys might want to be Superman or Captain America. We little girls wanted to be like Wonder Woman or even the Bionic Woman. We wanted our pretend boyfriends to be one of the Monkees or maybe one of the men from “S.W.A.T.”

I am not a fan of any form of today’s “reality” TV (even “Survivor” has jumped the shark for me), and I have a hard time understanding what attracts others to watch the seemingly endless parade of train wrecks that have replaced entertainment as we used to know it. I am thankful that my husband and I canceled our satellite service years ago every time I pass by the TV in our break room at work and someone is watching a program about “My 600 Pound Life” or “Neighbors with Benefits.” Whoever consents to being on a program about how sex landed them in the emergency room is NOT a celebrity in the making. These people, in my opinion, are either very sad attention whores, or they think they have found an easy way to make some money.

But at what cost?

Well, if you ask me, the cost is their integrity. People of good character aren’t going to put every aspect of their lives under a microscope for the rest of society to judge. Those that do risk extensive ridicule and humiliation. And, those that allow their worlds to be scrutinized by the masses have no right to complain later about their mistreatment.

In the mean time, if you are a parent, are you monitoring what your children are watching on television? What are they reading in magazines or viewing on the internet? Do you think it’s okay for your daughters to want to inject foreign substances into their lips so they are nice and plump like some spoiled brat on TV whose parents clearly do not have their own children’s best interests in mind?

Introduce your kids to some of your local firemen, policemen, or veterans. Let them see what a real hero looks like and encourage them to emulate people of high moral character and integrity. Turn off the TV. Disable the internet. Teach your kids that their self-worth should be based on what they can accomplish without trying to mimic the UN-reality of what they are exposed to in the media.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Story Time 11/29/2014

Wow, it’s been a very long time since I posted to this blog.  I had so many projects going on this year that I featured on my other blog, preppinwolf.wordpress.com, that I neglected adding any thoughts here.

I wanted to take a moment to sing the praises of my younger son, Sean.

Sean was quite a busy boy all his life. He was never the type to wake up and come into his mom and dad’s bedroom for some snuggle time.  He was the boy that peeked in our door, hoped we were still asleep, then snuck off downstairs to explore, also known as getting into everything!  Oh, the stories I could tell about his little adventures!

But today, I want to talk about the content of his character.

You see, Sean lost his grandmother recently.  She was not what I’d call a nice person.  Oh, she was cordial enough to “others” so few people knew the not-so-nice side of her.  But Sean did.  Grandma was the type of woman to play favorites, though she would never admit it to herself or others.  Between her own children, it was clear she favored her son (my kids’ father) over her daughter.  She claims she “raised them both the same” and couldn’t understand how they turned out so differently. My ex-sister-in-law has made some questionable choices in her life that would leave many people scratching or shaking their head in judgment of her.  Ironically, she’s actually got a terrific personality, but I didn’t get so spend much time with her to know her very well.

Still, Grandma’s favoritism extends to her grandchildren, too.  She had six grandkids from her daughter before my boys came along and the first-born of that bunch was always her favorite. When my two came along, the first-born, too, became her favorite. She doted on him more, spent more time with him, and spent more money on him. When it came to Sean, she seemed to merely tolerate him if she wasn’t scolding him.  Now, I know he’s always been a handful, and I, too, spent way more time scolding him than scolding his brother.

Yet, Sean’s gift was that he, unlike many in his family, isn’t one to hold a grudge. He seems to love unconditionally. When he heard his grandmother was in the hospital and not likely to recover, he insisted on spending what little money he had for a train ticket home to see her. His father suggested he not spend the money or make the trip, but Sean’s response was that he loved his grandmother and wanted to see her again before she passed.

How incredible is that!

Sean warms my heart with his kindness. He spent so many years crying over the way she treated him, yet, in the end, he chose to honor her instead of ignoring her.

This Christmas I hope everyone choses to remember others with love and forgiveness. I shall strive to emulate my son’s example.

God bless, and Merry Christmas, everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Story Time

Too busy to think!

I’ve been busy with a lot of projects lately, and all of those stories are posted over on my other blog page www.preppinwolf.wordpress.com.  Feel free to check it out.  Because of all those projects, or the time I’ve spent in the research and planning phases of those projects, I’ve not done any more scrapping, and my photography has been limited to documenting the progress of activity around the house.  I can’t even muster up enough thought for a good “Story Time” post!

There’s all the same drama going on in the world that has me concerned and disgusted for the road our government is travelling, but rather than whine about it, I figured getting some of these self-sustaining projects up and running is the best recourse for me and my family at this time.  The people who understand what is really happening in the world already agree with my thoughts and feelings on various subjects from gun control to GMO-laced products, and the people that don’t get it aren’t likely reading my words anyway.  Those types aren’t going to wake up in time to become useful so I no longer feel the need to try and help them along.

On a more personal note, Lyle’s mom recently underwent open heart surgery. She spent a week in the hospital and another week in a care facility that offers therapy or “rehab.”  She’s been home now for almost a week and seems to be doing well.  All the folks who sent a prayer her way, we thank you!

Everything else has been “status quo” as far as I know.  I’m the negligent child in that I haven’t talked to my mom in a while (guess I’ll call her today! I think it’s her nap time, though so I’d better wait a little longer).  Usually, if something’s up, she or my brother will call me. My older son is taking after me and not calling his mother very often.  Guess that falls under the “no news is good news” banner.  My younger son calls more often and seems to be doing well.  He’s planning a garden up there in Wisconsin when the weather is more cooperative.  I plan to visit with him for a few days this summer, maybe around his birthday.

Work is work, for both Lyle and me.  Lyle’s not as thrilled with his job anymore – I think he misses the airplanes more than he thought he would.  Still, he doesn’t give up.  He works hard and doesn’t complain – much. 🙂

So, there you have it.  A moment in the life of me.   And, no, you can’t get these 2 minutes of your life back.

Have a great day!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Scrapping for the New Year

Well, I’ve slacked off again, and not scrapped much in the last couple months. Today, I got six layouts done, all with sketches designed by the Ladies at “Let’s Scrap.” The sketches are from December 2013 to February 2014 (but in no particular order here):

1814

IMG_9054

21214

IMG_9055

11514

IMG_9056

2514

IMG_9057

122613

IMG_9058

121113

IMG_9059

Some of the layouts are, of course Ripley last summer on Norris Lake. One is more selfies from Sean, along with some attempt to lighten his hair with peroxide last August. The last layout is just from things around my house (plus Scott’s car, a photo he took and posted on Facebook).

Hope you enjoy looking at my scrapbook pages.

Leave a comment

Filed under Scrapping

Story Time

I’m having a few confused days here lately. Scott has been at his Coast Guard boot camp since January 14th. Last Wednesday night, I got a call from his dad that he’s coming home by the weekend because the physical demands are too high for him. By Sunday I’d heard nothing, so sent the ex a text requesting an update only to get no response. Scott’s phone is presumably still turned off as a call to it went straight to voice mail and he also did not return my texts. I left a voice mail and an email for his recruiter today, hoping for some information. Then, God bless my Mom! She called the ex-MIL who said they were giving Scott another week to see how he does. Now I have to wait some more!

In the mean time, I continue to review all sorts of news articles that cross my facebook and yahoo pages. Much of it is disheartening, but when it comes to our President and Congress, there’s never much of anything uplifting to read about.

I find that there are some folks who, while completely justified in their disappointment, probably hope to open the eyes, hearts, and minds of a few more liberals by continually bringing up certain aspects of the President’s life of which we should all be appalled. If he truly is not an appropriately-documented citizen, of course it’s criminal that he remains in the Oval Office. If his wife lists the children as “senior staff” in order to justify our tax dollars paying hundreds of thousands for them to vacation in far-off places, we should be outraged. There are countless other sins the President, his wife, and the rest of this administration are guilty of, and we should all regret what our leadership has come to.

But the sad reality is that our concern and disillusionment over these types of offenses has netted us nothing in terms of any corrective action. The very people who could – SHOULD – be doing something about it simply don’t care. If they do care, then they are somehow being cowed into doing nothing, to look away, by their inaction to allow these crimes to continue.

Obama has three more years to propagate more indignities upon our country, and I fear there is really no value in trying to see him over-run. While I would do my utmost to stand behind and support any patriots who would step up to defend our constitution and correct the wrongs done to us over the last five years, I would much rather see an enormous effort being waged to prevent Hillary Clinton from gaining the Presidency next. If she were to run and win, I fear there would never be another conservative, constitutional president in the White House ever again. Our Republic would become a true democracy where the majority will always win. That is NOT how this country is supposed to be run. Anyone who’s sat through high school government and history class knows this, but somehow, too many Americans have forgotten the rules. Too many Americans have become too lazy to work for a living and prefer to allow our ever-expanding government to provide for them. Soon, it will be too late to turn back that tide and the country will be irreversibly broken. Government will win and freedom will be lost.

So, while my son does his damnedest to persevere through the second most difficult boot camp training course our military has to offer, the very country that he’s fighting for is crumbling around him. Even should he fail to complete this training, he’ll still have done more than the majority of his peers in terms of working hard and trying to support not just himself but this country. I am saddened that he has chosen to enter service at a time when our nation barely deserves his commitment, his pain and suffering, but I remain proud that he made the commitment anyway.

I sit and I wait. I wait for news of my son. I wait for news of a revolution. And I pray. God watch over and bless my son and this country. Give us all the strength to persevere.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Scott’s Story Time – Swearing In

CGR
This is the story of my son joining the military. I am so proud! It began with his buddy, JD, starting the process of enlisting last April (2013). JD was joining the Coast Guard Reserves and Scott decided to join him. He started seeing the recruiter in September. He was required to take a computerized test (ASFAB) to ensure he scored high enough in various knowledge and skill sets for the job he was hoping to get. Then he had a physical. The boy weighs less than me and I’m at least four inches shorter than him (sigh).

Eventually he was accepted into the same Coast Guard Reserve unit as JD, up in Sandusky, Ohio, ultimately to be trained in law enforcement. Scott seems pretty excited about patrolling on a boat with guns! You go defend us from those Canadians trying to sneak into the U.S. by way of Put-In-Bay!

1147784_10152369170393636_1754031293_o
(Thanks to Josh for this wonderful photo!)

They decided to wait until after the holidays to enter basic training, which is in Cape May, New Jersey. Basic Training for eight weeks, in New Jersey, in winter.

GetMap4

Coast%2520Guard%2520Trainees%2520at%2520Winter%2520Station

Not sure what these guys were thinking!

They were supposed to leave on January 7th, but we had some bitterly cold, record low temperatures, and flights out of Port Columbus were grounded. Their departure was rescheduled to January 14th.

So, Monday afternoon, Scott and JD came to my house and from here I drove them up to the Embassy Suites by the airport. Let me tell you, it’s a damned good thing that Uncle Sam got discount rates and covered their rooms. All the little recruits were put up in style for the night!

hotel 1.14.14

hotel 1.14.14.2

IMG_8692

IMG_8691

IMG_8690

IMG_8689

IMG_8688

The only difference between my room and Scott’s was that they had two queen beds to my one king. With my military discount, and adding tax, it still was over $200 for maybe twelve hours’ stay! The recruits all got a free dinner and breakfast to round out the nice accommodations. Now, I will admit that, having been prior Air Force, myself, and on flying status, I got to stay in some pretty nice hotels during my career. The Coast Guard may treat their members just as nice. I feel sorry for all the kids who leave for Army or Navy basic training this day! I don’t think they will have it so nice again in their enlistments!

Speaking of enlistments, Scott and JD joined up for eight years! Because of that commitment, they will get to come out of basic training at the E-3 pay grade.

Coast_Guard_Ranks_Enlisted

So, the boys were given an 0430 wake-up call with an 0435 repeat call to be sure they were up. They had to check out, report for breakfast and be done eating by 0530 when the busses left for the MEPS station. Sounded like very few kids in the crowd got much sleep. I know I didn’t. I had worked night shift on Sunday, got about a three-hour nap Monday morning, and tried to go to bed Monday night at around eight o’clock. I was awake again by eleven and tossed and turned all night hoping for a few more z’s. They never came back.

I followed the bus to the MEPS building.

untitled

MEPS 1.14.14

From there, it was more waiting (for me) while the recruits went through various stages of in-processing and out-processing. Most had another quick check by the physician and Scott was, again, scolded for his lack of weight! I told him he had better plan on eating everything he can shove in his mouth each and every meal while he’s gone! I want to see a few more pounds on him by the time he graduates!

Finally it was time for the recruits to swear in. Scott and JD were in the first group. They gave us family members a lot of freedom to take pictures and video if we wanted. Scott was so very serious this whole time!

IMG_8696

IMG_8695

I opted to video the actual swearing in instead of taking still shots, as I thought that would make a better memory than just a few photos in a scrapbook (you know I’ll be making him a scrapbook!).

We got to spend a few more minutes with them before we were ushered out.

IMG_8702

IMG_8701

IMG_8700

(Wow, I really did need some sleep!)

Scott signed his life away and his enlistment was final. (He got a copy of this certificate a few weeks back, but it’s all I have to include in his scrapbook later)

BF 2

I could have driven myself over to the airport to spend a few more moments with him, but they wouldn’t be outside of the secured area for long, not to mention I’d still have to deal with airport parking! I was running on vapors (I did not get breakfast), and the pups were waiting for me to get home and let them out. I gave Scott some last hugs and best wishes then headed home.

Not sure what time he got to the airport or left from there, but the itinerary has them only flying as far as Philadelphia, then getting on another bus for a couple more hours’ drive. Apparently there are no airports any closer to Cape May than Philly. I figure I will just drive out there for Scott’s graduation. He’s allowed to drive back home with me then, as his technical school training got pushed back to September. If he flew, we’d still have to pick him up from whatever airport they let him fly into.

I can’t wait to see him in eight weeks! I want him to do well, but, I gotta say, as the second-hardest basic training of all the branches, I feel for him! He’s got a pounding ahead of him! (This is why I joined the Air Force!!)

But when it’s all said and done, he will proudly wear the uniform of a Coast Guard seaman!

uniforms

God bless you, Scott and JD! Stay strong. Stay safe. See you in eight weeks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Story Time