Random Ramblings

Finding Identity and Purpose

My world was just rocked by Selena Gomez.

The humansofny instagram page shared a photo of her at the Met Gala and she was quoted,

“I feel like I’m just starting, but I think I’d be fine if it all went away. I get that from my mother. From the moment I started singing, she always reminded me that all of this was a privilege, and could be taken at any moment. So singing is not how I define myself. I try to keep my identity rooted in my friendships and my faith.”

This spoke volumes to me as I’ve struggled with my identity and sense of purpose so much over the last couple months. It’s gotten even more difficult the last couple weeks. I have built so much of my identity into my career and defining my success and myself off of how much I work, how much money I make, and how I am titled.

identity and purpose graphic.png

I need to change this dialogue. I am not my job title. I am not defined by how much money I make. I have a purpose and identity outside of that.

I took some time to read and reflect old blog posts, (well not that old since I have only been blogging for a few months)… I had so much passion and hope and truly connected with what writing was giving me. I need to explore that more. Because I am more.

So what defines me and my identity?

  1. Advocacy and helping others
    • At a recent interview, one of the questions they asked me was what motivates me. And honestly I thrive when I feel like the work I am doing has a purpose. I want to help others, I want to empower others. I want to leave my community, my world better than I found it.
    • It was easy to align this with my job with the Delaware Readiness Teams, and I was feeling like I needed a job that fulfilled this in the same way. I believe I will someday. But I believe I also do this through my writing. Not only here on my personal website, but also through the volunteer blogging I do for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network.
  2. Family
    • Family is not only defined by blood. I am incredibly lucky to be close with my brother, sister, my in-laws, my best friends, and my best friend’s immediate family as well. Oh and my husband. Him too.img_4122img_7189
  3. Values
    • I’ve spent the last few months really getting to know myself and confirming where I stand on issues, and my beliefs. I believe in being a good person. I believe in all people. And I hope I can be an advocate for those beliefs.
  4. Independence
    • I am a strong woman who don’t need no man.
    • Seriously though, even though I know I have people I can depend on, I take a lot of pride in knowing I can and do take care of problems myself. Everything from hanging pictures in my home, to cutting the grass, to fixing the vacuum, to absolutely anything. I firmly believe I can do just about anything.
  5. I don’t have a number 5.

How do you define yourself? If you lost one of those identifiers, would you feel lost? Without a clear and defined career, that’s exactly how I was feeling. But I’m glad I have had the opportunity to delve deeper and redefine myself. Thanks Selena Gomez. 

Health · Random Ramblings · Travel

Melting Off the Weight in the Texas Heat.

Texas is hot. Balls fricking hot. I attempted to write this while sitting outside. Not only did I start to melt, but my laptop was slowing down and stroking out. We both had to come inside to recover.

Melting Off the Weightin the Texas Heat

Besides adjusting to the Texas weather (global warming is real), this week has been flipping amazing! And since I haven’t done a list in awhile (how out of character of me), let’s review in list form:

  1. My home is fully unpacked and decorated! It feels so, sooooo good to have a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I never fully unpacked or decorated in Florida since we were only going to be there for a short period of time, so I’m so stinking excited to make my home in Texas feel like my home.
  2. I’m back to writing! It was a long 24 days of not writing on the blog, and it’s one of those things where you’re like…. I don’t feel like it, but then once you do it, you feel so much better. Like working out, or getting a shower. That’s my relationship with writing.
  3. I made the best schedule and I stuck to it all week! For months now I’ve been saying to myself that I’ll be so much more productive if I make myself a schedule. I’ll do so much better with my weightloss if I make a schedule like I did over the summer. And yet, I wouldn’t buckle down and make a schedule. Well Monday I finally forced myself to not only plan out my meals for the week, but also create a daily schedule for my week and it has made all the difference! Not only have I been super productive, but I’ve been eating so healthy, and I’m right on track to hitting my 3% weightloss goal for this month! I’ve talked about my schedules and meal plans on my blog post Eat food. Lose weight. A Recipe for Weight loss. 6D9039B6-C183-4AAA-98B7-F83F33147614This was the meals from one day. minus the Halo Top I had for dessert. Red Velvet Halo Top is now in my top 2 Halo Tops. #1 is Mocha Chip. Halo Top is going to take over the world. I’m also obsessed with those nut bars. There’s some sort of glaze on them, and they’re crunchy and so yummy. They’re made by Nature Valley. Get you some. 
  4. Future travel plans have been confirmed! In my last post I mentioned hoping to be able to go to Seattle to visit my brother-in-law. Well I found dirt cheap airline tickets to Seattle and we jumped on the opportunity. We’re flying on the airline Spirit, which is a budget airline where you only pay for what you use. This means you only get one personal item that flies for free with you. Any other carry on items, checked bags, snacks, choosing your seat is all an additional charge. At first I was hesitant, but I compared what the cost would be flying the next cheapest (Delta) and even after paying for a checked bag, and choosing our seats, it was still $400(!!!) cheaper to fly Spirit. So we will be taking over Seattle at the beginning of June! I can’t wait to plan some great excursions!
  5. Speaking of traveling, being in a new place means I get to explore a whole new city! I haven’t gotten out too much yet. But I did check out my local farmer’s market where I got some new soap, and locally grown green beans. Shop local!! I look forward to going back this Saturday, when there’s supposed to be more vendors. I’ve also been to the beach and had lunch at a unique little place right on the water on the island. It was called Mikal May’s and had really delicious seafood nachos.

     

    I’m pretty excited about how great this week has been! It’s hard to top feeling at home in your home, eating healthy, losing weight, exploring a new city, and buying new soap. Am I right?

In other news, the job hunt continues. I had an interview last week, but haven’t heard anything since. I’ve applied to about a bazillion other places. Fingers crossed something comes along soon!

Any recommendations on Seattle or Washington State excursions?

Health · Military · Random Ramblings · Travel

Moving. Job hunting. & Weightloss. Oh MY!

It’s been a couple weeks since I have written on the dear ole blog. 24 days to be exact. So what has happened the last 3 weeks and three days?

Moving

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Well first of all, we moved to Texas. We knew there was a chance of moving to Texas. We requested it, as a matter of fact. So we were hoping the Navy would give Yanis orders for Corpus Christi to continue his training, but there was a chance he would be sent to Milton, FL instead. Well, on March 30, we got official, hard-copy orders for Corpus Christi, TX, and we had 15 days to pack up and get there.

Pensacola, FL was a ball of a time. The Naval Air Station there is top notch. The museum and lighthouse are divine, and the downtown area has great shops, bars, and restaurants. We loved going to the ice hockey games, the off roading trails at the Eglin AFB and Blackwater State Park. Let’s not forget the gorgeous, white, sandy beaches, and our quick getaway to New Orleans! Most of all I’m going to miss the friends we made, but I am optimistic we will see them all again in the future! We were only in PCola a short 4.5 months, but we were able to make so much of our time there!

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The upside of moving so much, it forces you to truly prioritize what you need materialistically. Before moving from Delaware, I held 6 yard sales purging stuff. We also had two charity pick ups of tons of stuff we donated. After moving to Pensacola, I identified at least 10 more boxes worth of stuff to get rid of and a couple pieces of furniture. I would easily say we have less stuff than your typical American family and yet that 26 ft moving truck is still full for our drive to Texas. Since arriving and unloading, we’ve picked out even more stuff to get rid of. I’m optimistic we’ll be down to two suitcases and a knapsack by the end of flight school.

Job Hunting

My time in Pensacola was well spent with lots of writing and getting to know myself better- the good and the bad. Now that we are in Texas, I have decided to pursue working for a non profit and in the community again. I miss the sense of purpose I felt when working with The Delaware Readiness Teams. I need that again. So I dusted off the résumé, updated it with my new address and other pertinent details and have been applying pretty aggressively for a new job. You know what’s really annoying about job hunting? It’s so redundant. What is the point of having a résumé, if every job posting is going to require you to fill out their job application, asking for the exact information that can be found on your résumé, and then ask you to attach.. you guessed it.. your résumé. I think job hunting is just as exhausting as working, if not more. Just hire me already. I promise, I’m fabulous.

Weightloss

Moving can not only wreak havoc on my ability to write consistently, but also eat well consistently. The last week of the move we ate pizza three times. I had to pack up all the kitchen stuff at that point, and I also couldn’t find the energy to cook anything, even if I had the supplies to do it. Despite these dietary setbacks, I think a combination of the big losses I had the first couple weeks of my diet bet and the stress burned extra calories and fat. I was able to hit my 4% weightless goal by the hair on my chinny chin chin. So Trump will not be getting a donation from me this month.

Unfortunately the losses haven’t continued on their own organically, and I have gained back 4 of the 8 lbs lost. So my brother and I are revitalizing our diet bet this month. We started as of Friday, April 21 with a couple adjustments. My goal is to lose 3% (6.4lbs) and his goal is to lose 4 lbs. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on the progress along the way. Now I want pizza…

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Oh My!

What a helluva 3 weeks. I have a new city to explore now! We’ve been in Corpus Christi for just over a week now and my first impressions are pretty good! There is literally every single store and restaurant I’ve ever heard of in my whole life here. It’s a bigger population than I’ve ever lived in. There are definitely some sketchy parts, but that is to be expected with any large city. I look forward to exploring and experiencing everything I can before we’re told to pack up and move again!

In the meantime, there’s a lot coming up. The mother-in-law is coming for a visit at the beginning of May, the best friend is coming for a visit at the end of May, culminating in a long weekend in San Antonio. Then we’re going to visit the brother-in-law in Seattle at the beginning of June. It’s going to be a busy, busy couple of months! I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated.

Any recommendations on things to do or see in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, or Seattle?

 

Random Ramblings

Five Must Read Books by Strong Female Writers

5must read books.pngBelieve it or not, I’m much more culturally exposed than just watching Netflix.

Part of being a writer stems from also being a reader. I’ve loved reading since I was a kid. I started reading adult novels at a much younger age than was probably appropriate. I read a sex scene long before I saw one in a movie or on tv. But, that is neither here nor there. I’ve read some great material lately and wanted to share a few recommendations. I’m pretty sure, none involve sex scenes.

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri51M2lwSGI1L._AC_US436_QL65_

This book spoke directly to my soul. A quick backstory: I took 4 years of Spanish between high school and college and always loved the language. For the last couple years I’ve wanted to start learning again with the goal of becoming bilingual. This is an autobiographical book by Jhumpa Lahiri and her experiences/love of the Italian language. It will make you want to pursue your linguistic dreams.

Bossy Pants by Tina FeyUnknown

Tina Fey is one of my favorite comedians. In this book she shares her life experience from being a comic leading her to SNL, the sexism she faced and had to overcome, getting her own TV Show, 30 Rock, and trying to have a life while dominating her career. She’ll make you laugh, she’ll make you face palm, she’ll make you wish you were as funny as she is.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling41w9cuGRkWL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Mindy Kaling is part my spirit animal, part my hero, part my girl crush. If you’re a fan of The Office, then you’ve been witness to her amazing work. She was a writer on the show and now she has her own show, The Mindy Project. She is hilarious and tells very personal stories from her time as a writer on The Office and now her experience on The Mindy Project. I read this on my recent travels to Pennsylvania and Delaware and could not stop myself from literally laughing out loud on the airplane. I’m sure I looked insane.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham51JqQOlLTjL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

I was a late fan to Gilmore Girls. I never watched it when it was on TV, but I streamed it non stop on Netflix. I also binged on Parenthood. So I’m familiar with Lauren Graham. I feel like she is the same character in both sitcoms, and after reading her book, I think she put a lot of herself in both characters. It was extremely interesting to read about her path from plays to TV. I also think she writes a lot like I do, so if you like my writing, you’ll like hers.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty51hiyZAxDAL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

It’s actually been a couple years since I read this book. I really liked it when I read it though. It’s funny and it keeps you wanting to read more because you don’t really know how everything connects until the end. I was very excited to see HBO was making it into a miniseries. I’ve been watching the new episodes every Sunday and have been hooked by the story line yet again. I intend on re-reading the book once I get a chance. I highly recommend the book and the show.

Wow, I didn’t realize how much reading I’ve done lately. I’m trying to have a routine where I read a bit before bed, rather than getting sucked into the vast emptiness of social media. I’ve noticed my eyes and head will hurt if I stare at the screen on my phone too much in a day. I’m susceptible to migraines-so no bueno. Hey look! I’ll be bilingual in Spanish in no time!

Any book recommendations you have for me?

 

 

Random Ramblings

Netflix and ch… More Netflix: Part Deux

part-deuxI wrote my first post about my love for Netflix over two months ago, you can read it here if you miss it. I feel like this gap in time will make readers undermine my supreme love for the streaming world. Do NOT underestimate my love of netflixing. I have also decided that netflixing will be the verb used for all forms of streaming. Sorry Hulu, sorry HBO Now, you are inferior to Netflix, consider yourselves like all the facial tissue brands labeled as Kleenex.

Now I have netflixed a number of shows and movies over the last few months, but the best ones that are worth mentioning I just watched recently. But have you SEEN all the new shows and movies that have just been added to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO? There is not enough time in the day to watch everything I need to see! Especially since my peaked interest into politics has been pretty time consuming. Nevertheless, I have managed to squeeze in some great viewings.

The Great British Baking Showenhanced-16579-1419414089-8

This show is amazing for so many reasons. I don’t normally watch food shows because they make me want to eat, which I have enough of a problem with, so I typically avoid them. However, you NEED to watch this show. It is so refreshing to have a show where the contestants aren’t complete asshats who are only concerned about themselves. Like obviously, it’s a competition so they want to win, but they don’t trash talk each other or blame everyone when they don’t do well, they’re just like, “Guess I gotta try a nip harder next time..”. I didn’t realize the Brits were so Canadian. I approve. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

The White Helmetswhite-helmets-film-art

 

This documentary is about an organization in Syria. These rescue workers work in extremely dangerous situations after air strikes and are all volunteers! What an eye opening experience about the horrible situation in Syria. It’s only 40 minutes long, I highly recommend you watch it.

Border Security: Canada’s Front Linehqdefault

 

New Episodes are now available for this gem! I love watching this show because it’s crazy what some people try to bring into countries off airplanes. Guys, don’t try to bring raw meat from other countries. I’ve learned so much about what is a do and don’t when traveling across borders and through airports. And it’s like people watching from the comfort of your bed or couch or toilet. However you choose to netflix. What is especially marvelous is when you’re done with Canada, there’s also an American version, and an Australian version.

A Series of Unfortunate Eventsmaxresdefault

 

Have you read these books? I read them ions ago. I did not see the movie they made with Jim Carey, but I have eagerly been awaiting the Netflix series with Neil Patrick Harris. It’s been quite some time since I read the books, but after watching this series, from what I do remember, they are very true to the books. I am impressed. Correct me if you’ve read them, watched the show, and I’m wrong.

Lock Up: Women Behind Barslockup-women-behind-bars_80158110

 

Anyone else love a prison show? I don’t know what it is about prison documentaries, shows, and movies, but I am obsessed with prison shows. I just finished Lock Up: Women Behind Bars, and I give it two thumbs up. It’s a bit dated, it was broadcast in 2013 but some of the stories appear older than that. I don’t know if they were filmed years or decades earlier, or if it’s just because some of the prisons are from the bible belt and they still rock their mullets and racism hardcore.

 

Well there you have it: a few highlights from my Netflixing over the last two months. Now I must leave this writing thing to get some more shows in. There has seriously been so much new stuff released recently. How about you? Watch anything good lately?

Random Ramblings

An Open Letter to Politicians. Specifically Open Gaetz Day

open-letter-to-politicians_open-gaetz-dayMoving to the deep south has been quite the interesting experience. One of the first things I noticed is that racism is very much real and an issue in our country. For anyone who does not think so, you need to get out more.

Something else I’ve noticed is that Floridians are really terrible drivers. I don’t know if it’s because there are so many transplants from other parts of the country and the bad drivers all move here. Maybe they have a really bad driver’s education program. Whatever it is, I fear for my life on a daily basis when I drive. When-people-insult-my-driving.png

But on a more serious note, people are seriously racist. Enough so that it was worth mentioning again.

Alas, this is not a post on racism, this is a post on the town hall I attended, hosted by the congressman Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz is the representative for District 1 in Florida for the US House of Representatives. He has been more noticeably recognized due to his significant loyalty to President Trump and his sponsorship of a bill to eliminate the EPA. Gaetz also believes the Dept of Ed is unconstitutional and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now for some, this is your dream representative and will follow him into the smog that is surely on it’s way if he is successful in dismantling the EPA. However, for others, you are concerned that this fellow is the one in Washington casting votes and proposing bills on your behalf.

 

I just recently moved to Florida, so I did not have the honor of either voting with 69.1% of the voters who voted Gaetz into office, or with the 30.9% who voted against. But I am now a registered voter in Florida and do not have any intentions of changing that, so I look forward to having a choice in future elections. Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 4.41.34 PM.png

Back to the town hall. What an eye opening experience. Some highlights from the day include the signs people created to share either their support or opposition to different topics. The fact that it was held in a bowling alley/restaurant/bar. I also enjoyed the politeness (for the most part) that opposing sides gave to one another. With the exception of one gentleman standing rather nearby to me who continually attempted to bait others into arguments and also shouted for one immigrant woman to “go back to where you came from” while she gave an impassioned speech on why she did not support abolishing the Affordable Care Act, there were no physical or verbal altercations that I saw. b4f04508-9224-4f0d-be11-59d7c7f2f429

Now since this post is titled an open letter to politicians, I should probably get to the part where I address these politicians:

  1. Town Halls: For those of you who hold and attend your town halls. Good. I don’t think you deserve a participation trophy, this is your job. Your job is to be a voice for your constituents. Not just the ones who voted for you. Not just the ones that align with your own personal convictions. ALL your constituents.
  2. Listen: Matt Gaetz was on the record repeatedly saying that part of his job it to “give people the opportunity, who disagree with you, to step forward, yell at ya, wag their finger in your face, and the job of the public servant is to take it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” But the piece he’s missing here is where he actually takes into consideration what people are saying to him. img_7868
  3. Admit when you’re wrong: Since paying attention to politics, I’ve changed my mind about certain issues that I was once fairly adamant about. After taking some time to listen, really listen, to another viewpoint, facts and points on an issue, my stance changed. Everyone is so afraid of looking weak if they admit they were wrong about something. Stop it. Grow a pair, admit you were wrong, and do what is right.
  4. Paid protestors: Seriously? This is really a ridiculous stance that politicians are making right now. There are not paid protestors at the town halls that you are seeing. When I first heard this, I knew it was so absurd I didn’t even consider people would believe it. But it turns out people are really stupid and actually think this. To these people I recommend going back to school to get your GED. Politicians are spouting this ridiculousness because they need some sort of defense for why so many of their constituents are showing up and voicing their opinions and concerns. Rather than the truth, that people aren’t happy with how things are going in Washington, they instead say it’s fake. Fake news, alternative facts, fake protestors? Really? I doubt it.
  5. Country over Party and Sponsors: Personally I am not 100% democrat or 100% republican, few people are. I try to side on an issue based on what I believe to be right, regardless of party affiliation, and after thorough research into both sides. Wouldn’t it be nice if political parties didn’t exist? So despite your party affiliation, or the corporations offering the biggest check, stop being sheep and do your damn job.

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Politics can be overwhelming. But pretending like they don’t exist or they don’t matter is unavoidable for me anymore. These issues directly impact people’s lives. That’s why people are ranting, protesting and caring more than ever. I recommend at least educating yourself on a couple of issues that could be important to you.

Random Ramblings

Give me a break… give me a break… break me off a piece of that.. (fill in the blank)

give-me-a-breakI didn’t write anything last week. If you follow my page on Facebook then you may have caught a quick post about what I did do last week. It consisted of:

  1. Writing/Editing for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network
    • I write two blog posts and two social media shares a month for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network. I write about topics and issues new military spouses may be curious about. You can look forward to reading about my first trip to the commissary and if military spouses are allowed to be involved or vocal in politics. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to do this and have learned so much in such a short amount of time. I hope to continue doing this for as long as possible. logomsan-01-2-clear-background
  2. Researching immigration procedures
    • My husband is an immigrant. No he isn’t my mail order bride. He arrived as a teenager with his mom and brother, became a permanent resident for 5 years and then applied for citizenship. Despite watching my husband go through the legal process to citizenship, I still didn’t know much about the procedure and all it entails. This week my eyes were widened when just taking a few moments to peruse the USICS website. I have a masters degree and consider myself a pretty intelligent person. I still struggled with understanding some of the logistics and proper procedures one would take to be granted a visa into the country. So when people say that illegal immigrants just need to do things the “right and legal way”. They need to get off their high fucking horse. It’s not as simple as they try to make it seem. And the wait times are crazy. Oh and they also just raised their fees. On average fees went up 21%, but they can only claim fame to that low-ish sounding increase because while some fees only went up $20, others damn near doubled.
    • I wasn’t only interested in learning more about immigration because of my husband being an immigrant, but also because a number of my friends are as well. And with the political climate around immigration right now, a few of them came to me and shared their own personal experiences and fears they are having right now. I have two friends with spouses in the military. Their husbands are American-born and now they(my friends) are seeking citizenship. I also have another friend who applied for the DACA program but whether or not she will be allowed to continue to stay remains to be up in the air with the new administration.
      • Quick little fun fact about the DACA program: to qualify you cannot have been “convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety”. A significant misdemeanor includes a DUI. My US representative, Matt Gaetz, was arrested for a DUI in 2008 and avoided conviction thanks to his daddy being a US Senator and now gets to represent the 1st district of Florida. Moral of the story: when you’re a white male and know the right people, you can drive under the influence and not only avoid criminal convictions, you can also hold a position of power. If you’re an immigrant seeking permission to stay in the only country you’ve known as your home, toe the line and even then- good fucking luck. 6a0133f5d4f71b970b01a3fcc0175c970b-600wi
  3. Researching contraception and abortion
    • It is not a secret that I am a huge supporter of choices and education in contraception. I also always considered myself as pro-choice under the radar. I never voiced my opinion on the issue because it is so controversial and even though I would say I was pro-choice if asked, I didn’t really take the time to consider the details of what the meant for me. Do I support abortion at any time during pregnancy? When does life truly begin? Do I only support in times of rape, incest or the woman’s health?
    • I decided it wasn’t enough to simply have an opinion, I wanted to truly understand what I was having an opinion about, how and why others felt the way they did and to be able to justify my own stance if ever called on my shit.
    • The end result was: you can literally find anything on the internet to support what you already believe so I won’t even bother linking you to any of the sources I found, because if you you believe differently, you will also find sources to support your beliefs. Regardless, what I ended up with- and in no way am I trying to convince you of changing what you may already believe, just sharing my current position- I am still pro-choice. I think women should be able to have access to safe abortions up to 20 weeks. It is only after 20 weeks that a fetus has developed enough to sustain life outside of the womb and even then the chances of survivability are extremely low. A majority of abortions occur during this timeframe and I do not think it is my place to judge the reasoning for a woman to feel like she is not prepared to be a mother. boycott36
    • I understand that many disagree with this stance. But I also understand that fewer unwanted pregnancies occur due to carelessness of not using contraception and instead occur due to failed contraception. Women should not be forced into continuing a pregnancy that is unwanted, it’s not best for the woman and it would not be best for that child if they were carried full term.
      • CDC Stats: Women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions in 2013 and throughout the period of analysis. The majority of abortions in 2013 took place early in gestation:  91.6% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.1%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.3%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation.3592bd5644e2f8f3bb7aae64cc5737ab.png
    • We’ve spent decades pushing condoms (failure rate of 18%), birth control pills (failure rate of 9%), or abstinence(puh-lease) as the best or only forms of preventing pregnancy and there are now better options. Long-term contraception such as implants and IUDs are more effective; the failure rate of an IUD is .8%, but they’re also more expensive so insurance companies do not want to pay for them. It was only under the Affordable Care Act that insurance is required to cover these options for women’s health. I hope it stays this way, because due to the increase in education and access to free contraception, abortion rates have fallen considerably. Source.birth-control-methods
  4. Eating a lot of food
    • I seriously fell off the wagon when it came to diet and exercise. I was blowing a lot of smoke apparently with all that talk about sticking to my plans, and tracking, and “something clicking”. I’m human. It happens. We’ll try again tomorrow.weightloss-the-struggle-is-real
  5. Updating my résumé and looking into more things that make money because… bills
    • I’ve been in Florida since December. I’ve tentatively been looking for paying jobs while here, but we always knew we would only be here short term before moving on with my husband’s flight school. Well we should be moving on in the next couple months, so I thought it would be wise to start looking more aggressively for a gig that pays at our next destination.

So I took a break from my personal writing and completed the above items. But oh how I’ve missed the clicking of my keyboard and also reading updates from fellow bloggers. So I’m back! Did you notice I was gone? It’s ok if not. I have some pretty exciting ideas for future posts, so be sure to not let me fall off the grid again!

Random Ramblings

Getting to know Myself

getting-to-know-myself

I have experienced so many changes in a short amount of time.

I moved over 1000 miles away from family and friends.screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-2-54-55-pm

I left a career that was incredibly fulfilling and felt like I was contributing greatly to my community. readiness_logodesign_delaware_final

I grew in my convictions and values. 

I chose to change direction with my career and pursue a dream I never thought I’d have the chance to make a reality.

I have been demeaned, insulted, and “unfriended” due to my choices and beliefs.

I am more informed than I have ever been in the past from a lot of research. I have more headaches from said research.

I am more politically involved than I ever have been before. jimhightower1

I am exhausted. 

I work for myself, for no pay. The price I am paying in the now, for what I want in the future.

I am now a writer for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network. logomsan-01-2-clear-background

I still need to work on spending too much time on social media.

I’ve lost ten pounds, but I feel my motivation dwindling.

I feel like I am more myself than I ever have been. 

I think everyone should spend more time reflecting on themselves and what they have done for their community in the last year. If the answer is nothing, you should feel guilty. We have become a very selfish society.

I spend too much time worried about saying the right things in the right way, which sometimes leads to saying nothing at all. 191

I can usually see both sides of an argument and have a hard time choosing sides, this leads to headaches as well. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t as understanding so I could be more firm in my convictions.

I don’t think I’ve truly grieved the loss of both my parents.

I am angry and defensive that my success is judged by the amount of my paycheck or lack thereof. I feel like I have achieved a lot, but will be discredited regardless.

I wish I could fix so many things I see wrong, but feel overwhelmed. I still do what I can, but worry it isn’t enough.

I wish people were more openminded. I wish people knew what it was like to live in poverty. To feel hopeless and unsupported. I wish there wasn’t a stigma around mental health and better resources. I wish people weren’t assholes.

I made new friends, grew closer with old friends, and distanced myself from others.

I traveled. I tried new things.

I laughed until I cried. I made others laugh too.

I changed. I grew. the-great-thing-in-this-world-is-not-so-much-where-you-stand-as-in-what-direction-you-are-moving

 

I found an old quote I first read 10 years ago. It’s truer today, than it was 10 years ago.

“I want to be free to act, and I also want my actions to mean something”

 

Do your actions mean something? Spend some time reflecting on your life today. Will you like what you see?

 

 

 

Random Ramblings

A Beam of Light Through the Despair of the Last Two Weeks- 5 Stories to Put a Smile on Your Face

a-beam-of-light-through-the-despairWhat an intense couple weeks we have experienced as a nation and as a world. I recall it was the day of the inauguration and my brother called me and said he thought the world had gone insane. Not because of President Trump being elected, but because of the reaction of society. Many people who do not support the President are protesting, they are reacting on social media, they are contacting legislators and becoming greatly involved in political debates- not always in the most productive of ways, and there are even cases of violence or destructive behavior. Many President Trump supporters are reacting to this behavior and saying it’s a gross overreaction and then continuing to demean and insult non-supporters, also at times becoming violent. If our nation was not divided before, it is definitely feeling like it is now.

I find myself in the middle. Yes, I supported the Women’s March. In fact, I support all of the protests and marches that have happened since. The March for Life, the Immigration ban protests, and the upcoming March for Science. Whether or not I agree wholeheartedly with the issue, I still support the protests because that is one of our rights as Americans to be able to disagree with our government, gather peacefully, and make it known. I cannot stand behind the violence, destruction, or looting that has occurred, but fortunately none of that happened at any of the marches or protests listed above. I also cannot stand behind burning of our nation’s flag. I can see how some feel they have a right to disrespect the flag because it represents a nation they feel that has oppressed or not supported them. However, the flag also represents our military and those who defend us daily, and while I can find empathy and understanding for the anger and betrayal some of these people feel, I do not think destruction of our flag is a productive way to effect change.

My suggestion is to not just march or protest. Contact your legislators about the issues you connect with. Volunteer in your community to make improvements. Donate to organizations and causes that will effect the change you wish to see. Don’t stop at making a sign and chanting in a crowd. Your reach can extend past this singular action.

Well that went on longer than intended. I did not mean for this to be a political post. Quite the opposite, in fact. But I felt the need to explain why a non-political post was needed, and then it turned political. My apologies.

So below you will find 5 stories that will hopefully lift your spirits, bring a smile to your face and light to your eyes that has been missing. I know they helped me out tremendously, especially the dancing farmer.

So how was that? Feel any better? Even a little bit? Watch the farmer again. Dance with him. You’ll feel better, even if for 3 minutes.

Random Ramblings

Women’s March Brings Unity, Passion, Inspiration, and…. Confusion? Part 2

 

womens-march-brings-unity-passion-inspiration-and-confusion-part-2Now I remember why I never post about politics. It is exhausting. I was very nervous writing about the Women’s March. I was nervous because I know a lot of conservative and/or republican people, and I thought my views on the march might not be well received. I was pleasantly surprised. While I’m not sure how many of my right-leaning friends actually took the time to read what I wrote, no one belittled or wrote anything negative either. I also participated in a pretty extensive conversation on another friend’s Facebook status with a stranger as to why I walked in the march. Despite having different opinions on certain topics and disagreeing about certain issues, the long conversation remained respectful. Even though I was not attacked or experienced any backlash for participating in the march, my brain is still tired from explaining and justifying my stance on particular issues.

But I will carry on and continue to share my perspective because I am proud of being part of such a large and incredible movement and have been inspired to be more involved advocating for the issues I believe in for myself and for those who cannot, and to educate myself on the issues I do not understand or have never taken the time to research in the past so I can form an opinion of my own.

One point that has come across from various people on why they do not believe in the march or do not feel it was impactful was the broad number of topics being advocated for. I’ve heard that it made people feel like all those women out there couldn’t unify under one front and instead are just, “all over the place”. Well, the fact that there are so many different issues which need to be marched for should speak volumes itself, but the purpose of the march was to bring a collective voice to all of the different topics to serve as a platform over the upcoming months. Now that America and legislators have hopefully opened their eyes to the concerns of millions of Americans, more emphasis and targeted tactics can be taken to continue the work and progress.

In my first post about the march, which you can read here, I wrote about reproductive rights. This round I will be highlighting worker’s rights. You’ve heard it before, the wage gap. It is undeniable that women make less than men and advocates and women around the world are asking for equal pay for equal work. Below is a chart from the Bureau of Labor statistics for 2015. screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-20-30-pm

In case you can’t tell, the women’s earnings are lower than the men’s earnings. An even more disturbing chart is when we start looking at gender and race. Take a look:screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-21-08-pm

You would think this information would speak for itself and not require further explanation on why this data is alarming, but there are many people who are still in disbelief or deny that this is a problem. I have personally experienced being in the same position as a man with the same qualifications, skills, and arguably a better work ethic and still made a lower wage. I have also been witness to a male getting preferential treatment in the workplace with a promotion over a female despite having just returned from a suspension for behavior issues. Have you ever been exposed to the “humor” of a woman “getting her knees dirty” to earn a position of leadership? This direct undermining of women is a systemic problem across our nation and it is not remedied by sucking it up and working harder. These are all very real circumstances women face today and the concern with the current government is there is no address to this topic as a top issue. The current administration plans to “bring back jobs and growth” without a single mention of equality. In fact, equality is not listed anywhere on the current White House dot gov website and the presidential cabinet is currently only slated to have four women.

Maybe you still do not think women in America are experiencing oppression or inequality. “Try being a woman in the Middle East and have to wear a burka or not even be able to drive” is one argument I have heard. And yes, there are women in much more horrendous situations than the average American woman. But just because there are others in worse situations, does not mean we cannot fight and insist on a better situation for ourselves.

So perhaps equality in the workplace is not a top priority for you so you’ll roll your eyes and say there are bigger problems at hand. And that is certainly your right to believe so. But to dismiss others making this their priority is unfair.

I came across this article that put into words what I have not been able to. This is an excerpt, but you can read the full article here.

The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

Over 500,000 people were in attendance in Washington, D.C, 750,000 in L.A., 250,000 in NYC, 250,000 in Chicago, 150,000 in Denver, 130,000 in Seattle, 150,000 in Boston, 2,000 in Pensacola, 3,000 in Charleston, 40,000 in Austin, 10,000 in St. Louis, 100,000 in Portland, 7,000 in Palm Beach, 100,000 in London, 60,000 in Toronto, 10,000 in Sydney. Over 670 marches took place world wide. This wasn’t about women whining or making much ado about nothing. If you don’t understand why women are marching, maybe you haven’t been listening. if-you-dont-understand-why-women-are-marching-maybe-you-havent-been-listening