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

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!!

Freedom of Speech, Not Freedom to Hate

Being someone with vast opinions and ideas that may not always be well taken, and a passion to write about it, I do not take my freedom of speech lightly.  I also usually do not write about issues of politics, because I do not feel I am educated enough about particular subjects to have an opinion.  I am a firm believer in thinking before speaking and knowing the facts before spouting off at the mouth.  HOWEVER, I am so outraged by headlines of the last couple days that I can no longer bottle it up. 

As you all know, the news has reported a story regarding a certain Reverend in Florida planning to lead in a book burning, and not just any book, the religious book of Islam, the Quran.  I will not validate his actions by using his name or the name of his church.  I refuse to post pictures even in protest because now, even after death threats and requests from our government to not proceed with this convaluted plan, the more media attention he receives, the louder and more steadfast he becomes.  The words to describe exactly how I feel about this incredible lack of judgment escape me, due to my complete disbelief that this type of ignorance still exists.  In an interview at one point, the leader of the above-mentioned center stated that they were praying on their decision to go forward with this act of hatred, and also said:  “Our burning of the Quran is to call attention to the fact that something is wrong,” and his reaction to the comments/requests of the top US Commander in Afghanistan was,  “We feel it’s definitely an indirect attack on our freedom of speech, putting unnecessary pressure upon us”…Really? Are you flippin’ serious? As if what we’ve tried to build toward, live with and get over wasn’t hard enough, on the anniversary of a day that can never be erased from my memory (and I was thousands of miles away) you have to do this?  Unreal.

So, in order to get my thoughts off my chest I thought I’d write a letter to the person who calls himself a Reverend.

Dear Sir-

You wanna pray for something, pray for this…

Pray for the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who now have an added sense of worry for their loved ones overseas;  

Pray for the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who have to live through that awful day, not just on its anniversary, but everyday, after losing someone they love; 

Pray for the steps we have been attempting to make toward understanding, tolerance and peace;

Pray for the men and women who stand guard everyday and every night, away from their home and their families, protecting the freedoms apparently you feel have been attacked, and now for them to know their sacrifices have allowed you to spew such hatred;

Pray for your followers, because hatred is not religion, it is not christian nor is it right.  You want to call attention to the fact that something is wrong, well congrats, because you couldn’t be more wrong;

AS IF IS ISN’T HARD ENOUGH…

and finally,

Pray for yourself, you’re gonna need it. 

From-

Proud mother, daughter, sister and advocate for understanding, peace and tolerance.

Smooth As…

Haha, no I’m not talking about the Petrone!  Although, from what I hear, its pretty smooth 😉   Actually, smooth is how I would describe the soothing tone and lyrical enchantment that is Apt. 7.  After great anticipation and, what some could say took, to quote Squints Palledorous from the Sandlot, “ffffooooor-eeevv-er,” I now hold in my hot little hands their brand new CD titled “Letting you in…” 

First and foremost, I want to assure you that my opinion of this collection of incredible songs is not biased whatsoever.  Just because the lead singer and songwriter happens to be a dear friend (Hey Natina, luv ya girl) and is the originator of the “Smooth As…” quote, which by the way is a whole story in itself, does not demean my honest opinion of the album. 

Music has always been an important part of my life. It has helped me through many bad times and allowed me to immensely enjoy the good times.  I love it all, from 80’s hair bands, to alternative rock, rap and even country to the soulful ballads of Sarah McLachlan or the Latin dance rhythm of Mr. Enrique Iglesias.  I’ve never had a specific “type” of music I liked more than another.  I just had specific requirements.  First, a good beat is a must, it has to be something that I can tap my foot too or sway along with;  second, it has to have a story, whether it be heartfelt, dramatic or just fun; and lastly, and this is the most important requirement, it has to have passion.  Its really hard for me to tune in when I can’t relate to what an artist wants to share.  I have to feel it, not just hear it.

I wanted to do this CD justice, so before I could put in my two cents about Apt 7’s “Letting You In….”, I listened to every song multiple times expecting each one to meet my standards of “good” music.  Well, I was not disappointed.  Consider me addicted!  I hate to compare Apt. 7 to anyone because they are original, with original songs and sound, but if you enjoy the music of Tori Amos or Sarah Bareilles, you’ll love “Letting You In….”. 

Technically speaking, you can describe Apt. 7’s, “Letting You In….” as adult contemporary or modern folk, but a more accurate and personal description would be a soulful retreat through life, love and heartbreak, all the while sucking you in with Natina’s passion for the underlying meaning of the story, haunting voice and deep acoustic guitar.

Each song takes you on a journey of triumph and hardships that one can easily relate to; from the slower, soft pace of “Fix It All” to the more upbeat catchy tracks like “Do It”, “I Am” and the title song “Letting You In”, the CD is relaxing, heartfelt and soulful.  It has been in my work computer now for the last week.  I needed something to calm me down ;).

Don’t just take my word for it though (even though I have yet to be wrong, haha) check out my favorite song of the album, “Fast Train”, along with the rest of the collection here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/Apt7.

If you like what you hear (which I really don’t know how you wouldn’t, but that’s just me) you can also find their album on Itunes.  Keep tabs on my Parent’s Night Out blog too, at www.nwinthezone.org to find out when they will be playing live in the area.  (Check in this week for details about a show this Thursday, August 12th

As always, thanks for visiting, and as always, I would love to hear your feedback and appreciate your support for fabulous local talent and a good friend! 

As for the “Smooth As…” quote, you fill in the blank 😉 !

Educate Me!!

Bring on the knowledge!!

I stare out the window and then back at the ceiling completely spaced out.  Leaning back in my chair I usually spend a good part of my day wondering over and over in my head if this was it.  Entertaining myself by spinning around a few times or making a forbidden phone call probably to my mom.  There are days I believe the monotony is going to slowly kill me.  Was this what I was going to do with my life?  God help me, this can’t be what I was meant to do.  Even though there are things about my job I don’t mind, like the fact that I have one, I have never felt more trapped and I’ve been married twice.  The crazy thing is, I actually enjoy what I do and I can’t imagine someone in my position that truly hates the morning because of what lies ahead for them during the day, but I dream of a job that can support my family while I do something I truly love. 

 To be honest I enjoy my work enough that I don’t contemplate standing on my desk and yelling as I point “$#$^ You, $@*& You, your cool, %#*@ You…I’m out” although I cannot say I haven’t fantasized.  But the fact is, even if I wanted to, it’s really hard to advance in the type of career I was sucked into.  You have to make choices and the choices are not easy ones to make especially with a multitude of roadblocks everywhere you turn. 

 First and foremost anybody who has read my entries hopefully can understand that when something is important to me, I am feverishly passionate about it and have no qualms expressing that side of my personality.  That passion is my adrenaline rush, but there isn’t a whole lot of passion behind typing out form letters, filing papers in date order and sorting mail.  Not to say I haven’t had my interesting days.  Working with the elderly, I have come across the dramatic, the demanding, the loving and the hardheaded and each one has their own story to tell, and they ALL want to tell it.  I even had one gentleman so determine to convince me I was wrong and he was right that his dentures flew right out of his mouth during his rant.  There are definitely times when I have to contain my laughter and times when my patience wears thin, but I love when a client wants to interact, because that’s when I’m in my element and when I am the best at my job.  Unfortunately those days are rare, and my usual daily routine is pretty predictable. 

 In an attempt to escape the grind, I did test the waters to see what was out there.  Come to find out people don’t want to hire anyone based on their passion especially if they have no idea you have any, due to the fact they will never meet you.  If you don’t look good on paper, the doors are there but usually shut in your face.  I particularly have a hard time because I’ve been in the job so long I’m over qualified for a lot of positions because employers want trainable and cheap and I am under qualified if I try to step up a level because I do not have my BA.  And there are the jobs I really want to do but don’t qualify at all.  I did receive my Associates with high marks and paid the hefty bill that came along with the schooling, but I look back and realize that I could be doing what I do right now without having to have assumed that debt. 

 Do not get me wrong, I am all for educating yourself, but this is my predicament.  If I choose to go back to school, I will have to attend either at night or online, because I have to work and raise kids.  I barely make enough money to support us now and I will have to take on the responsibility of repaying loans for my education that will absolutely NOT guarantee me a higher paying position let alone a job when I’m done.  Then to top it all off, after endorsing going back to school and furthering your education, the financial aid/grants/government help is limited because I am not a minority, I am not undocumented and I am not unemployed.  This is not my opinion.  Unfortunately this is a fact.

 Even with that stated knowledge, I was still determined, so I researched and enrolled in online classes at a school that nobody knew because it was non-profit and cheaper, who only could/would transfer 2 of my credits from my previous college and required a specific amount of hours from me a week on top of my full-time work schedule.  I was totally cool with all of it.  I was actually very excited.  Then I sat down and roughly figured out the amount of money I would owe after I graduated, because financial aid will help for a time being, but its not free money, you have to pay it back.  Staring at the paper that in pencil read tens of thousands of dollars, my heart almost stopped mid-beat, and that didn’t even include books.  Taking a deep breath I hoped if I factored in the grants I could get I might feel better.  Not really.  It was a deck chair off the Titanic.  So when it came down to it, after I graduated, I would own a new debt of tens of thousands and 1 dollars PLUS the old debt I already had, because of course, as I stated earlier, I wasn’t guaranteed a job making more money.  So yes, as much I am an advocate for education, it was discouraging enough for me to put it on hold.  

 I am not and never have been comfortable asking for help, so it was heartbreaking to know that I was fortunate enough to be born in this country, I am a proud white female and I work very hard everyday and pay the taxes associated with that work, but I have very limited financial resources to help further my education.  I did however discover that I could qualify for grants because I have children.  That’s great, but now lets not just talk about me.  I know for a fact that I am not the only person riding in this boat.  What if I didn’t have children, what are my options then?  What if I didn’t get married so young or was responsible with my choices and decided that my education came first?  What if I grew up in a medium to low income household making enough to survive but too much to qualify for help, but not enough to send me to school, and then, here’s the kicker, what if I always wanted to be a teacher (you know the extraordinary people who help raise our children everyday, but whose jobs are continuing to get cut).  What then?

I'm so confused!Iiii’m confused!

I guess I’m not really asking for answers because I know there isn’t just one.  I do admit that politics is not something I have great knowledge about (I know enough to get by) but even so, something just isn’t right.  I am all ears if someone can explain to me the nonsense system of cutting our educational funding, implementing No Child Left Behind, forgetting about the people who work hard every day of their lives but somehow get lost under the radar.  Please educate me, and hopefully it will cost me less than $40,000, because as logical as I know I can be I’m having a hard time seeing the logic in a system that is either to one extreme or the other all the while ignoring the middle.

 It is a struggle for me to understand because I am proud to be an American, and I am grateful for my freedoms, but the workings of the government baffle me to no end.  I might decide down the road to bite the bullet, not worry about the money and go back to school, I would really like to, but for now I’ll spin around in my chair, call my mom and exercise one of my many rights no matter my color, race, gender, age or class.  My right to free speech – and I will do it with passion, because even if potential employers can’t see it from a stiff piece of paper outlining my education, at least I know its there.