I Get to Spend a Whole Week With My Family

One of the super fun things about moving and starting somewhere new is that you have no vacation time. Unfortunately, that has meant that we haven’t been able to really go anywhere and do much fun together.

Now it’s spring break though, and even though I will miss out on some pay, I am super excited to get a whole week with my Queenie and kiddos. One of the other awesome parts of this trip is I get to see my great little sisters, unless they are too cool for me now.

On top of that we are also going to visit some friends that we met in China last year when we were adopting our son. We haven’t seen her in almost a year, and we actually never met him so it will be great to see them again. They also have a helicopter and snowmobiles so it is going to be an awesome week.

My biggest complaint in life is that I don’t get to spend more time with my family. It is the hardest part of my life trying to manage working and being with my family. I am not independently wealthy, so for now that is just reality, but this is one week where it will all be about family.

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Living Outside Your Comfort Zone

I am not an incredibly social person.  If there were a picture of an introvert in the dictionary, I could easily be there.  It isn’t that I don’t like being around people, I just really struggle to start conversations and make new friends.

As the few friends I do have would tell you, once you get me going on the right subject I may never stop.  Fortunately for me, I have a wife that forces me to be social far more often than I would choose to be on my own.

Tonight she made me go to a theme Christmas party.  She forwarded me the invitation which I subconciously ignored until she started putting our costumes together.  This is totally her type of thing, and totally not mine, but it was good to get to know more people in our new home better.

We had some nice treats, and some good laughs, and just a nice time with a lot of really nice people.  It was super out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad we went because I need to expand myself, and we really do need to make some good friends since we are planning to stay here for a long time.

Friends Waiting on the Other Side

It has been two years since a dear friend of mine finally lost his battle with cancer.  Rare is the day that I don’t think about him and the beautiful mark he left on this world.

It has been nearly 20 years since his older brother took his own life, also leaving this world far too soon.

I think the thing that sucks most about getting older is that this list, which I have shared only a small part of, keeps getting longer.  While it sucks to lose the ones we love, how blessed are we to have known them here, and to know that we will see them again.

I know with all my heart that the people we love and cherish are on the proverbial “other side” awaiting our reunions with equal excitement.  It is not that either of us hope we end this mortal journey early, simply that the love we have for each other extends beyond the bounds of phyisical life, and rests in the deepest parts of our souls.

While it is true that love can be described through Neuro chemical reactions, there is a spiritual dimension that, while we don’t understand it, has a much more lasting affect on our relationships.  The joy that we experience with those special people in our lives is something that cannot be explained with words because it is truly beyond our mortal comprehension.

I guess this is just a really long way of saying I miss my friends and family that have already left this mortal world, and I look forward to the day where we will again be reunited.

It’s Great to See an Old Friend

One of the fun things about being in the military is that you end up with friends all over the world.  Then you are occasionally lucky enough to meet up with some of them.  

That happened to me today when I got to see a friend I have had since I went to C-130 school in Little Rock and then got to serve in Japan with.  We didn’t get to chat much because he was working but it is always fun to see a familiar face that makes you smile.

It’s Hard for Me to Make Friends

Believe it or not, I’m a pretty shy person.  I know some of the people that know me are throwing the bull crap flag right now, but it is true.

I am an introvert in every sense of the word.  While I do enjoy friendships once they have been made, I find it incredibly difficult to start them unless i have something to break the ice.

That I always one of my greatest challenges when I move and something i am experiencing right now.  In the past, flying has been the ice breaker that I use to make new friendships, but I am still waiting on paperwork so I can actually fly.

What this challenging situation does for me is remind me of how grateful I am for the friends that I do have.  It is not always who I would have expected when I first get somewhere new, but I am always happy for those few friends that I do have.

What does excite me about my new adventure is that I am not planning to leave for a long time.  Hopefully that means I will be able to keep the same friends for a much longer period of time and not have to go through this process again.

It is Always Nice to Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

My mom always used to say that she liked moving every so often because it helped her to throw stuff away that she wasn’t using.  That is very effective when you move yourself because inevitably you get tired of packing and start to question how badly you need those glasses that have sat on the shelf untouched for 5 years.

It is less effective when someone else does all the packing because you forget how much crap you have.  Fortunately, we had a terrible moving company in the states that didn’t unpack much of anything so now we are going through all of our stuff.

Today I went through a box that I have had for as long as I can remember.  It had stuff from before I was even in kindergarten.  That is more than 30 years ago for those keeping score at home.

It was so much fun to dig through old letters and pictures and projects from school.  I found thank you letters from teachers for gifts I had given them including my favorite teacher Mrs. Woodson.  

There were awards from scouts and church.  A pinewood derby car, trophies, pictures from high school dances, and even a yearbook of sorts from bootcamp.

As I sorted through three decades of memories it reminded me of all the amazing people I have known.  

I wish I had been a better friend to them.  I wish I had stayed in contact with them.  I am so grateful for the impact they had on my life, and at the very least a few funny memories.  

It is amazing how much you can forget in life that you are certain will always be in the front of your mind.  Fortunately, many of those things have simply become a part of who you are and don’t have to be clearly remembered.

We are all the sum total of our experiences and the people we interact with and that is truly an amazing thing.  It was so fun to take a stroll down memory lane today.

A Patch Hanging is a Chance to Remember

Lots of units in the military have all different types of traditions when it comes to saying goodbye to people.  Because this happens so often in the military, it is an important part of building unity and cohesiveness.

In our squadron, the tradition is to have a patch hanging when people leave.  It is an opportunity for anyone who wants to tell funny or inspiring stories about the person who is leaving, and then they take their name patch off their uniform and hang it on the wall where it will hang forever.

It is a great time to laugh and think about all of the great times you had together as a squadron family.  As someone that does not drink alcohol the stories about me were very take but greatly appreciated.

It really sucks that I am having to leave a year earlier than planned, but now that it is here I am ready for the next chapter.  As I hung my patch today it was really weird to be the one standing up there saying goodbye.  

I had some amazing experiences here, and met even more incredible people that influenced me in so many ways.  My life has changed more in these last two years than in any other two years before now, and I am so grateful for these changes.

It is definitely bitter sweet to be saying goodbye, but I will forever be grateful for the memories.