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Friday, July 6, 2018

Got a Little Dirt on My Bo......

It was surprisingly nice out tonight. This afternoon it was hotter than heck, but when I stepped out of the house for a walk, there was a cool breeze. I'm trying to get my mojo back after a few months of being MIA as far as walking is concerned. Since December my stress level has been over the top, but things have settled down and I'm in need of the peaceful easy feeling walking outdoors provides. Since Oklahoma summers are not for the faint of heart and I am definitely faint of heart when it comes to heat, I tried the gym. I just hate the treadmill. I've tried listening to music, watching movies on my phone, and reading, but about 20 minutes into it I'm thinking of excuses to call it quits.  A friend told me about the perfect trail that meanders around a pond. The trail is long enough to keep me from getting bored. Tonight was almost perfect. It was dark, I had the place to myself, there was a cool breeze and I was jamming to "Dirt on My Boots" by Jon Pardi. I noticed dark clouds rolling in on my last lap and lightening in the distance..... "I think I can make it." I told myself. I was walking at a good clip when I, in pure Jackie-esque style, tripped, not on anything other than my own two feet... It's a special talent I have.... If it was a spiritual gift, I'd be loaded. In slow motion, yet very quickly, my face raced toward the pavement.... "This is going to hurt." I told myself. It's amazing how many thoughts can run through your mind at once.... "Dive for the grass... It will hurt less. Try to break the fall with your hands without breaking your wrist..... Rolling at the same time of impact might prevent a major injury." My hands hit the pavement as I half skidded, half rolled toward the grass. As soon as I felt the impact on my hands, I put my shoulder down.... You know trying to spread the whole impact as to effect as many areas of my body possible. Why be sore in one place when I could be sore all over? While doing the stop, drop, and roll routine, I was also juggling my precious phone, because heaven knows the face can't take many more cracks before it denigrates in a cloud of glass. I may have looked like a baseball player sliding into home plate except without the applause and accolades generally lavished upon such go-getters. But more than likely I just looked like a grown woman flailing all over the place in a ridiculous attempt to "Do no harm".  A quick glance around assured me that I was indeed the only one to witness my less than graceful fall which is only slightly better than a fall from grace (although I've had my share of those too). I slowly picked myself up and brushed the dirt off as Jon Parti sang.... "I might have a little dirt on my boots, but I'm taken you uptown tonight." Perfect.  What a perfect song for a face plant. You just can't plan perfect puns like that. As I dig the asphalt out of the palm of my hand all I can think is.... "This is going to hurt in the morning." 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Much Does Freedom Cost

I'll never forget the evening my daughter first asked what I thought about her joining the Navy. She had dropped by the house for a visit. We were talking about everything and nothing at all. The year before, she had made the decision not to go back to OSU even though she had been accepted into the Interior Design school. Her oldest brother had died a tragic death her sophomore year and she was struggling with the uncertainties of life. She got an apartment a few block from our home and had been working at a bank. A co-worker had a son who was in the Navy and after hearing her stories about his experience, Aja felt God leading her in a different direction.... "What would you say if I told you I was thinking of joining the Navy?" she asked... "I think it would be a great opportunity." I responded. "It will do one of two things... It will make you or break you." I think she was surprised by my response and had I known she would actually follow through with it, I might have been more hesitant. There sat my girlie girl with her perfectly coiffed hair and nails. "You know you'll be like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin don't you? I think you put me in the wrong place.... I signed up for the one that had the really nice condos." I laughed. I loved that movie. Little did I know that God would take her on the journey of a lifetime. I saw her pushed to her emotional, physical, and spiritual limits only to bounce back with tenacity. Her body was so broken by the time she graduated boot camp, She actually finished the most difficult 48 hours of boot camp with an untreated broken leg. It was over a year or longer before her feet and legs began to heal and she could walk without being in severe pain. I think even she was surprised by her determination to beat the odds. Upon 
graduating she was given a pre-commission on the USS DDG102 Sampson which was a huge honor for someone of her rank. She attended A school in San Diego and was trained as a Sonar Tech. After A school she went to Bath Maine to work on the Sampson as it was being built. She accompanied the ship back to it's home port once it was sea worthy and prepared for deployment. We had the privilege of being in San Diego to welcome her and the crew back to US soil. It took FORR-EVER for the ship to make it to dock once it was within eyesight. To hug her and touch her and to know she was home safe was the best feeling on earth. While we were visiting a memorial she said to me.... "You know Mom, I never understood how someone could believe in something so much that they were willing to lay down their life for it. But having been to all the different countries during deployment, I totally get it now. We live in the greatest nation on earth." As a Mom, I couldn't be more proud of her. The time she spent in the military wasn't an easy journey, but it is one she does not regret. I thank God every day that he brought her back home safe and sound. Many Mothers cannot say the same. How much does Freedom cost? IT COST EVERYTHING!! Not only does it cost everything, it is not something you can sit back and just take for granted. A sleeping nation can easily have their freedoms ripped right out from under them. Do I have a problem with water boarding terrorist?   Hmm, let me think about that.... No. I have pictures seared in my brain of my daughters mangled body after graduating boot camp. I have pictures of her red face and eyes swollen shut from being sprayed with military grade pepper spray. My heart sank when she described being put in a gas chamber. It's not a stretch to say their training is nothing less than torture. Do I think it's a smart move for our nation to be cognitive of individuals entering out country? I think it's a very smart move. It's not enough to be grateful, we must be actively taking steps to assure that our children and grandchildren have freedom in the future. I am proud to be an American, but I'm not sure all Americans appreciate what they have, understand how they got it, or are aware of how much what they have cost. It would be nice if this Memorial Day we took a collective moment from our political bickering to unite as a nation in a simple act of gratitude and acknowledgement that in the words of my daughter.... We live in the greatest nation on earth. It didn't come easy, just ask someone whose loved one made the ultimate sacrifice.... That's the cost of freedom.







Monday, February 19, 2018

Being a Part


I'm sitting here half asleep. The background music to my dreams is the sound of saws, the pounding of hammers, and the increasing hum of voices. This is how I have spent my evening the last couple of weeks as part of the cast in The Wizard of Oz. Prior to moving into the theatre, we rehearsed in churches and local businesses.... Pretty much any place we could find. When I menationd to my new boss the other day that I had rehearsals every weeknight, she gasped and said.... "Do they pay you?" She couldn't grasp why I would commit to something so intense without compensation. The reasons I started doing community theatre is convoluted at best. The reason I continue doing it is simple. It is an amazing feeling to bring a group of people together, many who have never met, and create something magical. Be it a comedy or a musical, it is an experience that builds a unique bond between others you would not normally meet. It is a process that on the outside may look simple, but behind the scenes, it is nothing short of a miracle considering all of the moving parts... Literally and figuratively. I may be in a bit of a daze from exhaustion as is every other member of the cast, but nonetheless,  i am excited for the curtains to rise Friday night. Yes, the monkeys will absolutely fly. The Witch make you shrink back into your chair, and Dorothy will melt your heart with her gentle spirit and songbird voice. Everyone from Toto, to the Munchkins will magically transport you to the land of Oz. If you blink you might miss my breakout performance as the fence that is caught up in the tornado, or you might not recognize me as an Ozian with Green eyes and wild hair. You will probably never see my name headlining a play, but that isn't the point in local theatre. The point is bringing together a hodgepodge of  hearts and creating something that is captivating and entertaining. "Build it and they will come." I assure you that if you do, you will not be disappointed, and who knows, you may just catch the bug yourself and next year you may be one of those of us on stage. It gives a whole new meaning of "having a part". Whether it's behind the scenes, building props, or helping Munchkins get dressed, everyone is needed and together we create the magic on stage. I'll have to warn your though.....  It's going to be an amazing show and you just might get blown away. Hold onto your seats... We hope to see you there. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reasoning with a Three Year Old

From the moment I dropped my purse by the door, Levi offered one of  his two make believe guns fashioned from limbs of a tree.... "You wanna play wiz me Lolli?" He asked. "Of course I do."  I exclaimed!"  "We got a lot of competition." He told me. "We are going to sneak up on bad guys.".... We began our hunt for the bad guys and around and around the table we went. This was before Mom and Dad had left for the hospital to see Baby Girl. If I ran around the table looking for bad guys once, I ran around it a 100 times. We climbed make believe steps, we went up a make believe elevator, and climbed through make believe holes in the ceiling. We patrolled the house like our lives depended on it. We read books, played with star wars men until he rubbed his tummy and informed me his tummy really needed a snack. We sat for a quick lunch and then he was up and ready to roll again. "Levi, you need to give Pops a kiss cause it's nap time. His face quickly fell into a pout that could crush the hearts of kings....."But I don't need a nap." he said.... "Oh, I beg to differ with you little one, I can tell by the way you're batting your eyes, that they are ready for a nap." "But I don't like naps." He whined... "You don't like naps! I love naps. Look Pops has already started on his... Explain to me exactly what you dislike about naps." I asked..... "He splayed his hand against his chest and said with complete conviction .... "I don't need naps, I'm getting to be a big boy, and look, my eyes are being still."  As he held them as wide open as he possibly could." Okay Levi." I said,  "If that is the truth I need you to explain one thing to me."... "What?"  He asked."  "Okay, you say you are too big for naps, but Pops is way bigger than you, and he still needs naps. And Lolli is way bigger than you, and I still love my naps. If that is true for LolliPops, then how is it possible that you, being much smaller than we are, don't need a nap?" There was a long silent pause, as if he was trying to find a rebuttal to the logic of my question. Then he kind of shrugged his shoulder like he knew this was one battle he wasn't going to win. "Go give Pops a goodnap kiss and all three of us will take our naps, then get up and play some more." Without fuss, or muss, he kissed Pops goodnap and I carried him to his bed. He snuggled right under the covers and said.... "lolli, will you tell me a story?" "I sure will" I said as I sat beside his crib. I spun a tale with dramatic flare that's usually saved for the stage. When I finished the story, I wished him sweet dreams and quietly shut the door. Not another peep was heard from him as he fell fast asleep. As if on cue, Pops and I took our nap as well, wishing it was a daily part of our routine. It's funny that some of the most precious moments in a parent or grandparents life are those sweet moments of tucking them in and whispering "Sweet Dreams". It may be true you can't argue with a three year old, but sometimes logic works wonders, or maybe I just got lucky. But lucky isn't all I got, I also got a nap, so it was a win, win situation.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Facing Your Fears, The Best of Both

Exactly 8 years ago New Year’s Day, I had a freak accident which  resulted in a TBI. Although the accident was terrifying for my family and friends who saw it happen. The most difficult part for me was the recovery. For months, or to some extent years, I felt disconnected not only from myself, but also from those around me. While I tried to pretend everything was normal, things most certainly were not. I had lost myself and the journey to finding myself was a long lonely road. Having been plagued with a fear of trying new things all my life, I was suddenly not afraid of anything. In a way it was a blessing because fear is crippling. During my recovery, the trepidation I usually felt when faced with something different, wasn't there. This wasn’t necessarily healthy. During that time, I'd try anything. I'm surprised I didn't join a traveling circus. I did things I would have never thought of doing before the injury. As I began to recover, the fear slowly return, although not as severe.  The last couple of month of 2017 was a difficult time for my family. My husband and dad both faced health issues, some of which were scary. I had/have work stresses that were and new peppered with anxiety. At the end of December, I decided to try something totally out of my comfort zone. At first, my family thought it wasn't a good time. My thought was maybe a challenge is just what I need to take my mind off things I can’t control. Having made the decision, it is very apparent that I am no longer living in the “Wonderland” of no worries. I have battled the decision with the conversation sounding like this.


"You can't do this!… You need to do this… You don’t belong!… This will be a great experience… You are a fish out of water!… It will be fine."

This is the first time I’ve had this much trepidation since the TBI. I liked it much better when those nagging little doubts were silent and I floated past my insecurities into unknown territory without a care in the world. Apparently, I had come to appreciate certain aspects of my “Alice in Wonderland” mentality. My husband calls me Jac 2.0. The “Alice in Wonderland” side was fearless and fun loving. She was an up for anything kind of gal. Who would have thought there was a “good side” to having a TBI. I start 2018 hoping I can face my fears, conquer them, and come out better on the other side. Maybe it will be the best of both worlds.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I'm Thankful for.....

I was talking with my daughter tonight. A friend of hers is moving to another state. After being in the Navy for 10 years, my daughter is familiar with long distance and sometimes temporary relationships. I think it makes her guarded. I lost a dear friend almost 4 years ago. Knowing I'll never hear her sweet voice again, makes my heart ache. What am I thankful for this month of thanksgiving? I'm thankful God allowed friends like her to grace my life (grace being the key word). I am thankful for those I love, and those who love me back. They are to my heart, as air is to my lungs. To love others is to be completely vulnerable, because they hold your heart in their hands. Your heart in the hands  of others is a fragile thing indeed. Loving others is a dangerous journey, but the risk offers rich rewards. Choose, but choose wisely. I'm thankful for the times I did.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Catching some Z's

Sleep has been an illuisive friend for the years. It's a trait I inherited from my Dad. I can usually tell when it's going to be one of those nights, but instead of getting up and doing something productive, I lay there waiting for the magical moment I fall unconscious.  Occasionally, I get up and go to Planet Fitness which is open 24/7.  As odd as it seems, my system is so used to it, that I almost feel better when I only get a few hours of sleep as opposed to several hours of deep sleep. Its like my adrenaline gland kicks in when my body knows it's been sleep deprived and I usually function great. But still I long to disengage my brain for several hours just to escape the stresses of life. This week my insomnia has been in hyper drive and today I was a walking Zombie in heels..... Maybe it's the time change. The tried and true hypnosis recording I call Sandman, can get me to sleep and keep me relaxed during what would be a sleepless night, bit the dust last week. I got him up and running after work today, so tonight night I'm  looking forward to catching some much needed z's. I'm hoping tomorrow I'm less Zombie-ish, but still wearing really cute heels.