I Love Being With My Family

I come from a very large family.  My dad has a brother and a sister that each have a few kids that also have kids of their own.  My mom is the fourth of seven kids who also have kids and grandkids of their own.  I am the fifth of seven kids who also have a bunch of kids of their own.

For those of you keeping score at home, that is a bunch of kids.  All told I have 30+ cousins who almost all have kids of their own, and it is freaking awesome.

As kids we saw each other a lot but as we have gotten older we don’t see each other quite as often but it is still always awesome when we do.  My sister was told that while we were together today all we would do is eat and chat and eat and chat and that is exactly what we did.

It really doesn’t matter how long we have been apart, I could spend hours with my siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles just chatting and enjoying a nice meal.  I am so glad that we are now back closer to family so that my kids can make memories with their cousins like I was able to.

Family is just so darn great.  I know I am exceptionally blessed in this area, but family can really come from anywhere, not just blood.  When I deployed or have been on long trips it has been my crew that was my family.  We have taken on our neighbors as family when we moved far away from our blood relatives and loved them just as much.

This world is full of amazing people worthy of our love and attention so find someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you.


Simple Joy

I was flipping through pictures on my phone today and just had to share this image with you.

This is of my little princess enjoying one of those bouncy slides at an awesome little festival we went to.  To me the look on her face is just priceless, and even more awesome because it was something so simple.

She was just going down a slide for less than two seconds and it brought her so much joy.  She actually kept talking about it for another ten minutes.  

As kids we find so much joy in simple things and then somewhere along the way we are taught that it has to be bigger and more extravagant to make us happy.  I am sure there is some scientific reason why dopamine is not as easily created or something but I also think it is a choice.

There is no reason we can’t find happiness in the simplest things in life.  In fact many of the happiest grandparents I know find their joy again in the simple joys of life.  Maybe we just go full circle and start to remember that it is the simple things that can bring us the most joy.

Civil Conversation is So Productive

In this world of sides that is being created it seems like it is harder and harder people to have a civil conversation about anything.  Even sports has become a venue for extreme discord, or at least the NFL has.

Today I had to reminders of what real conversation should be amongst educated adults.  

The first was reading a post about logical fallacies.  It reminded me of a class I took in college about logic and how to properly form an argument.  While that knowledge could be used to criticize people it can also be utilized to form better arguments yourself and make sure you are being logical before you go spouting off on a topic.  A pause that all of us should take more often.

The other event was a discussion I had with a friend on Facebook.  He had posted something about healthcare and I responded asking where he thought improvements could be made to which he responded with simple concise facts and opinions.  

This conversation went back and forth ultimately ending in complete agreement on many things despite our differing views on many other things.  There are really two important lessons I take from this.

The first is that most of us want the very same things with maybe minor variations.  We even agree on many of the paths if we will simply stop and listen to what other people are saying.  

The second thing is that this country is not as divided as the media would like us to think to continue to support their ratings.  We just need to spend more time listening and less time spewing anger and hate.  True or not, that will never improve any of our problems.

Did my friend and I fix the healthcare industry, no.  But we did do a small amount to improve the divide in this country.  We listened to opposing views like adults.  We asked questions to understand rather than to prove the other person wrong.  In the end we both just wanted to find a solution to the problem more than we wanted to be right.

I’m sorry to make this post political, but we all need more examples of understanding and comprise and less hate.

Getting Back to Work

It was so great going back to work today.  I didn’t know who I needed to see or where I needed to go or where anything was but man was it great to just be at work.

It is awesome to be in an active flying squadron again where I know I have a future.  It is no one’s fault that my last squadron didn’t feel that way, simply the nature of the transition, but it is refreshing to be somewhere new.

It likely will still be a couple of weeks before I actually get to fly courtesy of paperwork and such, but I am getting closer and it is amazing.

Life is just good right now and I’m happy.  I know some people don’t like to vocalize that because they think they will jinx it, but I am learning more and more that it is actually much better to acknowledge it.

I truly am excited to be here and excited to start a new long term adventure.  I know I have plenty to learn and that excites me too.  It is so great to feel gainfully employed after a nice break.

I’m Glad I’m Able to Help My Wife

I am going back to work tomorrow after a few weeks off courtesy of my transition from active duty to the Guard, and I am thrilled about it.  As much as I enjoy time off when I am getting paid, I start to get antsy to get back to work and actually do things.

The biggest upside of these last two weeks is all of the time I have gotten to spend with my family.  Just today I was able to go and have lunch with my kids at school and it was great.

It has also been nice to be able to help my Queenie so much after all of the amazing work she did by herself for the two and a half months that we were apart.  I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to her for how amazing she does every time we are apart.

I can’t even imagine being a military spouse, so I am grateful that I have been able to make up for the time apart these last few weeks.  We have had more time to talk and be together too, which has been great as well.

I will miss all of that time now that I am going back to work, but it will just make our time together after the kids are in bed that much more special.

Continuing on the C-130

Today is one of those truly bittersweet days in life.

For the last five years I have had the distinct pleasure of flying on the C-130H.  It is an historic aircraft that has played an important role in not only the wars of the past 60 years, but the humanitarian disasters that have occurred all over the world.

To be honest, when I first started nav school I wanted nothing to do with the C-130, but that was out of complete ignorance.  It did not take me long to fall in love with her, which is why I am so sad to see her leave the active duty Air Force forever.

It truly is the end of an era and a shift in the Air Force that means things will never be the same.  While I have my own biased views, there is no denying the advances in technology that have made this shift possible.

Swearing In

Fortunately, my own selfish desires will continue to be satisfied as I am now a member of the 192nd Airlift Squadron in the Nevada Air National Guard.  Just going in today and seeing those beautiful birds out on the ramp brought joy to my heart.  I haven’t flown in over a month so I am dying to get back up in the air.

I try not to write about it too often here, but the depths of my passion for this plane and her mission can be found on my other blog, aviationguy.com.