One down, one to go : Halfway there!

Well, I have been home from San Antonio a few days now and I still haven’t managed to adjust from vacation-mode. Texas was absolutely amazing.

There was obviously something wrong with the plane we had taken from Florida to North Carolina. The flight crew was extremely grouchy and the plane sounded like it hadn’t had received proper maintenance in twenty years. As we left from North Carolina to San Antonio we had gotten word that there was a bomb threat at SAT, lovely. Don’t get me started on the turbulence we experienced on both flights! Our trip had quite a bumpy start, literally.

Once we arrived in San Antonio we found that the locals were more than pleasant. Apparently in order to live in Texas you must maintain a smile and proper manners at all times. We got barely any sleep on Wednesday night, which actually made it easy to wake up at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning. Our hotel was only a mile away from Lackland, which made it virtually effortless to make it on base. As we entered the gates our stomachs quickly tightened, it was the first time we were near C. in months. Finally it was time for the Airman’s Run. All of the graduating Airman ran past us in unison, singing their jodies. The Airman’s Run was followed by the Coin Ceremony and Base Liberty.

During Base Liberty we stayed at the Skylark Bowling Alley in order to beat the heat and get a bite to eat. Although it took a few minutes for C. to shake off his professional persona, he managed recover his sense of humor and talk for eight hours straight. It was great to finally hear his voice and hear about everything he had experienced during his time at Basic Training.

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Friday had consisted of the Graduation Parade and C’s first town pass. It was the first time he had been off base since the beginning of June! San Antonio is a beautiful city. River Walk is without a doubt the most gorgeous place I have ever been. I adore the eclectic Western/Mexican style sprawled throughout Texas. I love Texas so much, it didn’t even bother me that it was 106 degrees outside, I just bought a cowboy hat (or four) and covered my expanding afro. That speaks volume.

We spent the next two days enjoying our time together as tourists. We managed to accomplish quite a bit in the short amount of time that we had. We toured the Alamo, Ripleys Believe it or Not, The Wax Museum, The 4D Theater, The Tower of the Americas and the entire perimeter of both River Walk and Lackland. I would say we managed to walk at least fifteen miles during the few days we were in Texas.

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Since C. hadn’t had any sweets, listened to music, or went out on the town in months, he wanted to spend the entire trip eating ice cream, listening to music and walking all over town. I will never forget the first time he heard “Whistle” by Flo Rida, he started smiling his boyish grin and began whistling right along. He continued whistling for the reminder of the weekend…

Thankfully C. was an Honor Grad, so we were lucky enough to have an additional town pass on Sunday rather than Base Liberty. C. actually allowed us to take Sunday off from our Energizer Bunny-like schedule. We ordered in for lunch and spent the day relaxing and enjoying the last few hours we had together.

The courteous hotel staff allowed us to check out at 2pm instead of 10 am, which was wonderful. At 2 we left for the BX to get  all of the supplies he would need for Tech School. As we began to check out my eyes began filling with tears. I knew our time together was limited. We made our way to the car and headed back to the bowling alley where we had to drop him off. As we got out of the car and said our goodbyes, his mom and I were both overwhelmed with with sadness. C.looked back at us as he was walking away and turned around for another hug, which naturally turned my little sobs into a full on a sniffly, sobbing, nose running tear fest. Attractive, right? Our overbearing emotions also caused us to get lost on the way to the airport (multiple times) and nearly miss our flight. Not to mention , his moms diamond straps on her shirt and her belly button ring set off the lovely new full body scanners at the airport so she was quickly whisked away for a private full body pat-down. That was interesting.

Spending the weekend with C. was magical. This experience has been by far the longest we have gone without seeing/talking to each other in the five years that we have been together. Seeing him in his uniform is a surefire way to melt my heart. Viewing his newfound manners and confidence causes a goofy smile to stretch wildly across the width of my face. Upon my arrival, I was weary of the “No PDA/No hugs longer than 3 seconds” rules while in uniform, but having C’s arms around me assured me that I was right where I needed to be. You know the old saying, “the longer the wait, the sweeter the kiss?” Oddly enough the same applies for hugs. I never knew how much a simple hug could mean to me until the first time C. hugged me after the Coin Ceremony. As we walked down the streets of San Antonio, many people’s heads turned to him and smiled as he passed them. Others stopped him to thank him for his service and shook his hand, no matter what their actions were, everyone looked at C. with a sense of pride. I do not think there is anything more rewarding than walking beside the man you love while he’s in uniform.

Thankfully BMT is now just a mere memory.

The days I spent in San Antonio were without a doubt some of the most memorable days in my life. Watching the one you love accomplish great things is the most thrilling feeling in the world. There are no words to describe the amount of excitement, honor and love I was able to experience this past week. Texas will forever hold a special place in my heart. I am truly blessed.

Now to begin counting down until the days he gets home from Tech School!

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Practice What You Preach

Other than Wordless Wednesdays and Throwback Thursdays, I have not posted much lately. I decided that I am going to be a little rebellious this Wednesday and post a not-so-wordless blog. Today, I am going to climb aboard my soap box and rant about something I feel passionate about.

Practice what you preach.

Social media makes it so easy for people to illustrate their lives in ways in which are completely untrue. I am a firm believer that life is what you make it. If you make your life out to be glorious on Facebook or Twitter, obviously you are aware of the finer things in life – why not actually live the life you are portraying online?

I stumbled upon a SomeEcard last week that said something about actually living out the bible verses you admire, not just getting them tattooed on you. It works the same for a status update, anyone can quote the bible and act as if they are truly happy, but it is your actions that count – not your status updates.

My life is not perfect, I am not perfect. Actually, I am far from perfect. I may not choose to share every single low point I have had ever endured throughout my life online, but I also don’t pretend I am a princess from another world that inherited millions of dollars and I have never had a bad day in my life. There is a difference between discretion and full on exaggeration.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the way people treat others. I see so many people treat others badly, but then post about how much they love the person and ramble on for hours about how great they are. Instead of putting it in your next status update, why don’t you actually tell the person you are referring to and maybe treat them with a little more love and respect?!

Instead of putting ample amounts of thought into your next status update or photo-op, why don’t you devote that time to focusing on your real life- not your online persona? If everyone would spend as much time in reality as they do on the web, maybe our relationships with one another would be much greater. If you really love someone as much as you say you do online, show them. If you really want to live your life for the Lord and His Word, do it! Start practicing what you preach and one day you will no longer have to pretend. YOU are in control of your life. Words serve little purpose, it is your actions that mean the most.

I personally spend far too much time on the computer – I am aware of that, but I refuse to be anyone but myself. I will not put on a show for others; I am not here for your entertainment. I am here to be me, that is all. Every day is a step in the right direction and I am continually working on becoming a better person, and this will remain true until the day that I die. Until then, I will continue to practice what I preach and I believe you should do the same.

 

Xo -S.

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Baby Steps to a Lasting, Loving Relationship.

Via Yahoo. Click here for the original article.

By Ted Kewin and Denise Jaden, author of Never Enough

In the beginning, relationships are really quite simple, aren’t they? You like someone, you go on a date, you date some more, and eventually you decide to commit. At this point you and your mate have a common goal: to make it work. You’re both excited about your future together.

Skip ahead 50 years and look at the couples who finish each other’s sentences and help each other through little everyday tasks like getting up from a chair or making dinner. Anyone on the outside can see that they add to one another’s lives. They’re living a simple and happy life together. So what happens in the middle? Why do relationships have to get so complicated?

Here are some keys we’ve found to help make things simple again.

Tune in. When you’re dating, you think you’re listening, but are you really? Or are you just stuck in your way of thinking while your mate is stuck in his or hers? Make it a habit to repeat back what you think the other person has just said to you. You’ll be surprised the amount of times that you’re wrong! Eventually you can learn to understand each other better, and, yes, even finish each other’s sentences!

Win-win. A lot of people use the word “compromise,” but should you always feel like you’re sacrificing? In a relationship, rather than looking for reasons why you should get your own way, try to look for ways that you can also make it a winning situation for your mate. If your focus is wrong, your relationship can easily become a self-serving factory, rather than a safe place where you can both grow as people. Here’s a tool you can try using to find the win-win in your situation: Have your mate rate from 1-10 the importance of the thing that they want, and then you do the same. Rather than telling your mate why he or she doesn’t need what they want, talk through why what you want is important to you, and how you might make it less important.

Mine for gold. Give your mate the benefit of the doubt. Remember that there was once something that attracted you to this person. They can’t be all bad! Think of a time when you were in the simple stage, when you saw the good in this person’s heart. Focus on this instead of the faults you might see before you.

We’re different. Remember that men and women often don’t think the same. A woman wants to be everything to her man. She wants to be the person that fulfills him and makes him feel alive. The thing is, a man will feel alive often only by his own ambitions and conquering. It’s nothing personal toward his mate if he’s unfulfilled, but perhaps she can help him find what he’s lacking.

Keep a united front. Never argue publicly, or even in front of close friends. Keep your fights to yourselves. Remember that others will only remember the fight and the faults that they see. They likely won’t be around when you work things out, and may have trouble forgiving either you or your mate. Also included in this point: Curb the urge to correct your mate in public. The people you’re with may not notice, but your mate will. One simple correction could negate all the work you’ve been putting in to making your mate feel safe with you.

Do the right thing. Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong. Do you have a problem admitting when you’re wrong? When was the last time you admitted it? Realize that if it’s been a while, this may beyour problem and not your mate’s. Everyone is at fault sometime, and humility, from both parties, is essential to keep a relationship strong.

Let go. Isolate the problem you’re dealing with and don’t bring up past arguments or faults. Let go of past offenses. Having more ammo is not the point of a relationship. Getting along and supporting one another is.

Right or happy? Do you think people who have been married 50 years just naturally agree on everything? They don’t. Many of them have just learned to stop sweating the small stuff. They can allow their mate to be right in areas they may not agree with, because they’ve realized it’s not worth worrying about.

Invest. Book a weekly date night. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but try to make it a time that encourages having fun together and getting to know one another better. Yearly retreats to learn relational skills are also a great idea. Relationships don’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take you 50 years to make yours better. Wouldn’t you like to be the only couple at the table who is still on their first marriage? Or the couple people look at and wonder, “Why is their relationship so easy?”

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Throwback Thursday

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C. cooking breakfast, April 2012.
Two weeks from today I will finally be able to see that heartwarming smile for the first time in months!

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Throwback Thursday : 1997

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Me, in Maryland fifteen years ago! By the way, how adorable is that cell phone!?

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Life

Well, today was somewhat eventful. I woke up and booked all reservations for our trip to San Antonio in August. Only 27 more days until we finally get to see C. graduate! This trip will be the farthest West I have ever traveled. My excitement level is through the roof. I have been truly blessed to have such an amazing support system throughout this entire process. Some days feel much longer than others, but luckily we are finally over half way through!
Today I finally got to meet up with my best friend in Orlando to watch Magic Mike. Apparently gawking at Channing Tatums butt displayed across a 40 foot screen for two hours is one of my favorite pastimes.
Usually C. calls on Saturdays, but I haven’t spoke with him since June, June 28th to be exact. I have not been more than two feet away from my phone in the past 24 hours. I am patiently crossing my fingers and hoping that he will be able to call tomorrow.

27 days, 27 days, 27 days!
(That’s less than one month!)

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
-Oscar Wilde

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Throwback Thursday : 2009

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C. & I at an Orlando Magic game three years ago at the old Amway Center. I never would have guessed that after walking out of the Amway Center that day that I would never return. Obviously the new arena is much nicer, but it is upsetting to know that the building that once housed so many childhood memories is now nothing more than dust and rubble.

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Updates!

Oh boy, oh boy. So much has happened over the past week! I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of this post, however the purpose of this blog is to document this phase of my life and I really do not want to miss a thing.

Let’s rewind back to last week – shall we?

Thursday In order to remain working at my current job, I asked to be moved to an office that was closer to my house (my bank account could no longer handle filling up my gas tank twice a week) and I requested every other Friday off. With that being said, last Thursday was my Friday. I decided to celebrate by taking the kids to see Brave. We are extremely proud of our Irish/Scottish heritage, so I believe it is needless to say – we really enjoyed the movie(and spoke with fake Scottish accents for the next three days.) But wait, it gets better! On the way into the theatre I heard the couple in front of my tell one another to silence their phones. Thankful for their reminder I fished into my purse to dig out my phone. Two missed calls and a voicemail. Airman Smith? Of course. Any other time I keep my phone within arms reach at all times in order to ensure that I never miss another one of his calls. Who would have thought he would be calling on a Thursday? In a panic, I hurried to call him back. Once he answered he told me all about his week. He is excited to receive his Blues and his name tape this week. He also informed me that he passed his second inspection. As always, the pride in his voice was evident. Its funny how the sound of someones voice can cause such an uproar of emotions from within. Luckily, I got to speak with him for about fifteen minutes before he had to go (and I didn’t even have to watch any previews before the movie) It was great!

Friday I decided it was time to begin working on my bucket-list. Since I already had a hair appointment scheduled I decided to take full advantage of it and complete one of the most drastic tasks on my list. “Try something new with my hair. Yikes! In just a few hours I managed to go from years upon years of bleach blonde hair to the absolute darkest shade of brown. This is the first time I have been brunette since high school! Wow, that makes me sound old.

Anyway, here’s a before & after picture of my first completed assignment on my bucket-list!

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Saturday I spent the day at the beach with my little brother and we watched fireworks on the river that night. The water was without a doubt the clearest it has ever been since I have lived in Florida. The temperature was near perfection and you could even see your feet! Unfortunately, I did not hear from C. on Saturday. It was the first Saturday since he has been gone that I hadn’t spoke with him.

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Fireworks over the water, bucketlist completion #2

Sunday My mom & step father decided to take the kids and I boating on the river. I managed to find a waterproof case to cover my phone and held it close all day. Boat or no boat, I refuse to miss another call. Again, the water and the weather could not have cooperated any better. The dolphins were out in full swing and I thoroughly enjoyed the quality time that I was able to spend with my family. Just as I was cooking dinner, thinking about calling it a night – my phone rang! Again, it was the name I love to see the most. Airman Smith. I hurried to answer the phone, desperate not to miss another call. He filled me in on the rest of the things he did throughout the week and told me about what he would be learning this week. Apparently he is going in a gas chamber this week. I’m not exactly sure how to express my thoughts on this… Either way, I was able to speak to him for another fifteen minutes before he had to go. I was on cloud nine, two calls in one week! I could get used to this.

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It’s funny really, I hadn’t realized how blessed I have been the past five years to be able to pick up the phone and communicate with C. any time I pleased. As I have expressed numerous times to C. in the letters I have written him, after this experience I vow to have a greater understanding of the simple pleasures in life and not to take anything for granted.

If you are still with me, you rock (and you get to read the happy ending!)

Today I went shopping with my mom and decided to buy C’s wedding band. I never thought I would be in a predicament where I would have to plan a wedding without my groom. C’s ring was my first “big girl” purchase. It seems that we are officially one step closer to the beginning of the rest of our lives together. I am beyond excited!

I know first hand that life can be rough, but it helps to take a step back every now and then and cherish just how blessed you truly are. After all, it’s not about having everything you want – it is about wanting everything you have, right? Be thankful for everything in life, especially the little things.

Why not start with being thankful for your freedom!? Happy Independence Day, y’all! I am off to listen to Alanis Morissette until I cannot keep my eyes open any longer.

S.

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