Humbled by Silence

To be “humbled” … A simple phrase with a meaning so significant it’s difficult to describe, and even more difficult to give justice. If asked however, the definition I would have recited was not so far off from the one as written in the dictionary: “low or inferior in station or quality; or marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful”.

Searching for a deeper meaning was not a task I sought out to do, but when I stumbled upon it unexpectedly, the impact was nothing but powerful. In my small but inspiring journey, what I learned, was in order to be humbled, you had to truly feel it.

It wasn’t until I was in the presence of true greatness, honor and ultimate sacrifice, did I understand that that simple phrase had such profound meaning.

As I stood at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery, I was humbled. The force of what the sacred ground represents was hard not to feel the instant you looked out toward the white stones, perfectly aligned no matter the direction you faced. It was a beautiful summer day, the sky was clear blue and even though the heat was almost unbearable, I was awestruck so it didn’t faze me. As I walked the black tar paths to the many memorials, each marked by large concrete structures, an eternal flame or elaborate markers, inscribed with the names of those fallen before us, in the name of us, words escaped me, and I was humbled.

Arlington2Surrounded by people, but never feeling crowded, I slowly strolled along the paths only speaking when necessary. It was breathtaking, every bit, however two moments stay with me still. One, was when I passed a grieving widow, mother or friend who at that moment and the rest of her life, shared in the sacrifice that her loved one chose to embark, and one was witnessing the incredible strength and honor of the Changing of the Guard.

At The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier the backdrop was an immaculately kept garden so tranquil it seemed put the crowd that gathered at ease, yet you could still feel the raw emotions fill the air. We all watched in silence as a soldier, a mother’s son, dressed in full military uniform, in the blistering heat, strategically passed the honor of his position to another with pride, dignity and respect. The earth was still as my heart raced, and it became difficult to hold back the tears as this young person pronounced his dedication faithfully to the unknown – unknown by name, but famous by strength, honor and the fight for our freedom. As I watched this incredible sight, a sight that so simply yet so meaningfully defined the men and women of our country, who stand and march with their heads held high, never to waiver, never to complain and always with pride, I was humbled.

Time passed slowly and quietly as I finished my journey through the sacred ground but the clocked raced by, and I left Arlington National Cemetery that day changed. I was never more appreciative to be an American, never more in awe of the young men and woman who sacrifice their time, families and lives, and never more proud to be the daughter of a veteran.

Every day when we wake to our alarm clocks to start our day we should be thankful. Thankful that we can kiss our kids good morning, thankful that the job we may or may not like is waiting for us at the end of a long commute, thankful that the people we love are right beside us, or a phone call away, thankful that the quiet exists. Our freedoms can only be attributed to those who sacrifice their own, those who fight without question, and those who stand guard with nothing but faith; faith that their courage will not be remembered in vain.

We are gifted with the blessing of our voice because they lie silent…

Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.

Artlington3

When I Grow Up I Wanna….Ummm

What to do when I grow up – that is a question I still ask myself at 36 years old. It was and sometimes still is something I could never truly put my finger on, however, I believe I’m slowly getting closer to the answer.  My problem is that I am what you would call a Jack of All Trades, Master of None, I love everything but can’t quite master any of it. I call it my own personal ADD. For as long as I can remember I have been struggling to find that one thing I love to do  more than anything, and when I say “thing” I mean career/hobby, but unfortunately in my search, most of these “things” turn into whims.

Outside of my full-time job (the job I have to pay the bills but would much rather poke my eyes out) I am constantly trying to find my reason, my definition, what it is that I want to dedicate myself to and share, hoping that “thing” would turn out to be something that could support my family or at least something that would stick. I’ve tried everything, I painted, I wanted to go back to school, even got the application and sent away for information (I just didn’t know what I wanted to study), I took classes on dog training, I trained dogs, I worked in and wrote about dog rescue, I wrote a “book” about myself, I tried self-publishing stories about my kids, I blogged, I even took up running and working out (which to my utter surprise turns out I love) and most recently I’m apparently going to sell houses and the list just goes on.

ImageThis journey is like one of those books we had as kids where you would get to a certain point and be given a chance to choose your ending. How cool is that, except I would pick Ending B, get to the end and be discouraged by my choice so I would then go back and choose Ending A, finish the story and wish there was an Ending C. I was never satisfied. I was and still am always looking for that WoW factor, that holy-crap-this-is-what-I-want-to-do-for-the-rest-of-my-life factor. Every time I thought I found it I would be hit with the reality of all the work that had to go into doing something for the rest of your life, wonder if I really loved it that much and then be on to the next thing.

Not until I discovered my love of writing did I almost settle in, but as I said in my recent post “Time”, I didn’t put the work in and I gave up. I did learn though that writing for me is one of those “things” that as soon as I take the time to sit and let the words come out, the WOW never goes away. When I’m in my writing mind and I get a thought in my head, it becomes an addiction. My car begins to fill up with notebooks, napkins, pads of paper and receipts all scribbled with jibberish and although I know what it all means in the moment, I’m truly lucky to make it out when I sit down to decipher it. The process takes over and if I can’t put on paper what is in my head I feel as if I’m in a tailspin. It’s crazy but calming and for once I felt content.

I never thought I could find anything else I would enjoy as much as I did when I would take my chaotic thoughts and make them coherent. I never thought anything else could compare, that is, until I was introduced to the fine art of coaching volleyball. ADD…I told you. This one is different though and if I could write and coach full-time, that is what I would do for the rest of my life, absolutely no question. Even though my first year was a little bumpy and a somewhat intimidating, unlike the rest of my adventures I never wanted to quit once and the thought of The-Rest-Of-My-Life is not exhausting but exciting. Wouldn’t you know it, just like writing my love for the sport of volleyball never went away.

I finally found the WOW factor again and maybe I’m not totally done looking for what I want to do when I grow up, but I do hope I have the opportunity to coach for as long as I am able. My advice for all those out there with a little ADD and feel as if they will never find their WOW, keep looking, try everything – I recently read a quote from Jim Carrey that kinda stuck with me “you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love”. Don’t be afraid to try it all, and when you do find the WOW don’t ever give up on it.

volleyball-net_500_copyright

 **On a side note, stay tuned because I have a whole other set of opinions on the subject of kids’ sports, parents, why I love coaching and why I continue to do it… I thought politics was bad — Take teenage drama, parent drama, cost and competition, stir ‘em all together and the explosive fun that ensues is incredibly memorable and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

TIME

Time is a funny thing. It’s powerful, so powerful it’s almost impossible to explain, you can’t see it, feel it, smell it, taste it or hear it, but it is capable of so many profound things – it can heal, age, pass, reveal and stand still. It can affect you and your life like you never thought possible. To describe it, words are lost, but the power behind Time is immeasurable and the effects are countless. To choose what effect is most noteworthy I believe depends on the situation, and in this situation one effect of Time is maturity. Well, maybe maturity is not the perfect word as I associate “mature” with growing up, and that, I will never completely accomplish, but in so many other ways I have grown. I’ve grown a little wiser, a little older, a little more experienced and a lot more confident, and all of it took Time.

I remember my first blog post. I was so scared to push the publish button I think I read and edited over a five-day period for a two paragraph post. I couldn’t believe I’d actually consider putting my thoughts, feelings and words out there for everyone to read. I couldn’t believe I would actually think anyone would even care what I had to say. I couldn’t believe me, Lisa, would actually take a chance to do something that in my mind could make or break me. (I was pretty dramatic). As crazy as that may sound, at points in my life, there were times I was afraid to tell myself how I felt, let alone the world-wide web. I was the girl who was afraid to call the pizza delivery guy, or go back to the store for a refund if something didn’t fit, or make a decision that I didn’t get approved by seven different people. Yeah that was definitely me. Thankfully, I eventually did get over the fear at hand and pushed the button, however this only added to my already insane anxiety.

What now? What if people don’t like what I had to say, what if people were offended or didn’t agree with me, what if, what if, what if. That very question plagued my dreams. I was so afraid of not being validated that I would refresh my dashboard every few minutes and stare at the hour-glass waiting for a comment or a “like”. To my selfish, inexperienced surprise, that validation did not come like I believed it should, and I fell into a sense of inability and failure. Don’t get me wrong, people would comment and feedback was positive, but it seemed like it was never enough for me and after a while, and not much effort, I quit writing. Such a shame because I read some of my posts and they are not bad if I might say so, but more importantly, I gave up on a dream, even if it would only be that, a dream, I gave up. I was a coward and pretty selfish too, which now brings me to my point.

Time has passed, as it does, and just recently after reading a book by John Greene did I realize how much I missed writing, which realization brought me back here. Back to the place that I feared, but also the place I thought I was going to awe people and change their thoughts and touch their lives. I told you I was pretty dramatic (and a little dorky). And now, although I can still be the dramatic dork, Time has made me a matured one and more significantly a more confident one.

So here I am again. How I’ve missed seeing my words on paper or my chaotic thoughts strewn out in a way that they begin to make sense. I’ve forgotten how addictive and therapeutic it is all wrapped up in one. This time though, as much as I would love to awe people, I write for me, because when I write for me I don’t need that validation I believed I had to have, I don’t need hundreds of likes or comments, I just need my thoughts, my feelings and my words. If along the way someone connects with the words they read here that would be amazing, but if not, that’s okay too, because the lesson I learned in Time is that quitting is never the answer.

In conclusion, I’ve learned to appreciate what Time has given me and as happy as I am to be back, the best part is that Me is a little more logical, a little less selfish, a little more realistic, a little less dramatic and a lot more full of faith, which ironically is just like Time – untouchable yet profound.

clock

Be Inspired!

After having a bad week, yesterday the negative emotions and “the feel sorry for me” path I was on came to an abrupt  halt and completely changed direction.  It’s pretty incredible how just one picture can alter your perspective about what it really means to be challenged and to overcome.  After seeing the below my problems now seem so utterly small.  What an inspiration and what a smile!! 

 

There is a fine line between being grateful and fighting for what you believe.  This struggle can be an internal battle that can take you to places you never thought possible or bring out the strength you never thought existed and to achieve the balance may seem improbable, but as you can see anything is possible.   

 The following was shared a few weeks ago and it seems pretty appropriate…

 “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it .”

Tyler-ism

My 5 year old son comes up with some of the funniest, sweetest and out of this world comments, statements and arguments so I thought I’d share.

After my mom mopped the floor with Pinesol one day, my son came running in the room, stopped mid-tracks and exclaimed..

“Oh, what is that wonderful smell?”

A couple weeks later, he walked into a meeting room and spotted an oil painting and in surprise asked…

“Awww wats dat, Carri, a beautiful paintin’?”

I love the use of adjectives!!

One of Those Do Over Days

Ever have one of those days? You know the kind of day when the alarm doesn’t wake you, your pants don’t fit right, your hair seems to have some kinda of flippy thing happening, you hit every single stop light on your 45 minute ride in, and when you finally get to work, two people are out sick and someone hit the side of the building with their car.  No joke, I couldn’t make this stuff up.  This was my day, and sadly, that was only the beginning.

I usually believe that positive thinking will bring positive things, but apparently my brain positively did not get that memo this morning, because my belief today was that it is an unwritten rule, when you’re having a bad day, everyone and everything around you is out to make you lose your mind.  I also believe my universe was tilted upside down and backwards from dawn to dusk.  To start things off even after it began, not only were we short-handed and have some idiot hit the building but nothing went right.  NOTHING.  The phone rang off the hook, (my) stupid mistakes were flowing like water and I found out in the middle of the day, the home computer had an ugly virus and, of course, lo and behold the warranty for the new system didn’t cover software problems.

So needless to say, after forgetting to include something in a work project this afternoon, and driving to meet my boss for a game of cat and mouse, only to be upstairs when she was downstairs and downstairs when she was up, about 2:00 I was ready to call it a day (even a week).  As if it weren’t enough, once my work day was finally over, the insane upside down, turned around, craziness followed me home.  The kids were hyper on 12 and CRABBY, and the dogs just fed off the energy ultimately joining in on the “fun” game of lets see how far mommy could be pushed til her head popped off.  I truly got to the point where yelling or getting mad was pointless and that calm insanity set in.

It was like baseballs were being thrown from all sides and hitting me in all my vital organs.  Mondays are usually difficult every week but this Monday was exceptionally STUPID. My solution: We should get to rewind a day a month.  As soon as we recognize the signs of a truly crappy day, have the chance to go back in time, crawl back into bed and start all over again.  I realize I live in a dream world, especially after the not one, but 2, huge 5-year-old fits and a 10-year-old attitude.  So for now, I will enjoy the long awaited  peace of ALL the children sleeping an hour after bedtime (dogs included), with a cold beer and a few pieces of pizza daydreaming of a better tomorrow.

Faith Restored

About a month ago I inadvertently conducted a test of human compassion and good Samaritan tendencies.  I say inadvertently because it was not my intention or wish to be in this particular situation.  In fact, it was a frustrating scenario, but since I found myself in place where I was stuck anyway I thought I  mine as well observe the behavior of our fellow neighbors, and damn was I intrigued by the outcome.

My car had overheated, and when I say overheated I mean it was spewing liquid from the engine, and the dashboard was beeping incessantly at me trying to alarm me that something was wrong.  In an attempt to figure out where the annoying sound was coming from and why in the world the car was slowing down without my letting off the accelerator, I immediately pulled into the nearest gas station and called home for help (who was about 30 minutes away).  While I was waiting with my hood up, bored and finished with the Snickers bar I bought from inside, out of curiosity, I thought I see how long it would take for someone to offer assistance or even ask if I needed help.   The answer…35 minutes!  Now you may not think that was a long time, but let me give you a little insight–I was approximately half way home and had stalled at a very busy intersection in a very busy gas station.  I really tried to count the number of people who pulled up, pumped gas, looked at me with “feel sorry for me” eyes and drove away, but I lost count.  Finally, as soon as my home help pulled up to my rescue, a young man, who, I have to admit, at first sight I wasn’t quite sure of, but who was the ONLY person that stopped and asked if I was ok or if I needed help.  What a wonderful young man and shame on me for judging at first sight.  THANK YOU, you reassured me, even if you were the only one, that there are still good people in this world.

35 minutes??  I may not be a supermodel, but come on people!  After this incident, I lost faith in the notion that kindness still exists and I was going to rant through my entire post , until I had yet another encounter the other day.

I, again, was in a quandary and somehow got the same car stuck in soft sand put down by the diligent town that buried the pipes in front of my son’s father’s house.  It was so bad that the “quicksand” had swallowed up the front tires and almost the front end of the car.  In a small panic, we (myself and my ex’s new girlfriend) attempted to shovel out and place 2x4s behind the tires.  In an amazing change of events as compared to my last car adventure, about 1 minute after I became unable to secure solid ground, a good Samaritan stopped his truck to help.  Without hesitation, he attempted to figure a way out of my mess of a situation, while in the meantime, another car pulled up and didn’t even ask if he could help, he just did.   After a little planning and little conferencing, they were successful in pulling me out, and if that wasn’t enough, they both waited to see that I made it to the road, which I did NOT.  Getting myself stuck for the second time they immediately jumped from the vehicles and repeated the entire process, this time making sure they pulled me to SOLID ground. 

My faith was restored and the chip on my shoulder lifted after I realized that people can really give a crap and there are still good Samaritans out there.  Thank you to the thoughtful and PATIENT guys who stopped to help the helpless probably on your way home from a long day of work! 

Lets start paying it forward just like they did and begin to restore the faith in our fellow neighbors that has somewhere gotten lost along the way!!