Friday, June 22, 2012

Military Tribute and Retirement

Good afternoon!  This morning, I had the honor of attending the retirement ceremony of a great friend.  MSgt(ret) Bob Delloma worked with me closely over the past 5+ years and I knew him professionally and some personal things.

Today, I learned more about the man and what drove him to be such a great comrade-in-arms, husband, father, and son.  To hear his accomplishments for his 21 years of honorable service was not surprising.  However, when it was his turn to speak, this is where I learned more about a good friend.

He was presented with his father's flag, his father had passed early on in Bob's military career and had been a military man himself.  He had made Bob promise to make a career out of serving his country.  Today, Bob fulfilled that promise and presented the flag ceremonially to his father while Taps played.  Just talking about it and reflecting on what that meant still brings chills to my spine.

Bob also has three young sons as well.  He presented each of them with articles of his uniform from the time period each was born.  This was a special presentation to each young man.  However, the significance of this momento will not be realized by them for some years, I suspect.

MSgt friend...thank you for honoring, protecting, and serving our great country.  It is my distinct honor to welcome you to the ranks of veteran!  Today was your farewell to arms and your introduction to your future.  God Bless you and your family!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Life's Reality Checks

Sometimes it takes the smallest of things to remind us that life is a series of gives and takes.  If things get out of balance, relationships get strained and friendships can crumble.  However, true relationships are the ones where someone says something before it gets too late.

In an era where we are "trained" by society to share our lives with social media, we sometimes forget the art of listening to others.  We have good things to share, we are struggling with our newest challenge, or we simply have an update on our lives.  All of these things are worthy of communication.  Yet, we also need to remember to stop and listen to those who care.  What is going on in their lives?

When friendships date back for years, it is easy to fall into this trap.  I know I have.  My best bud lives in VA and works in the DC area.  For years, he has personified this strong individual with great advice and an understanding ear whenever I've needed him.  Whenever we were younger, we shared in the troubles we got into equally.  With all that's been going on within my own life recently, I forgot to take the time to return the gesture and really listen to what was happening in his life.

Being really great friends, this is easily remedied by returning to the roots of our friendship.  Taking the time to call when I have no news, but a genuine concern for how his life is going is all that is needed.  We've spent hours around bonfires discussing life and its many issues.  It's been too long since that has occurred, but that doesn't mean we can't still have those discussions.

The traps of life are so easy to fall into and our lives can become so consuming we become blinded to the events happening in the lives of those we care about.  Remember to hit pause on your own life from time to time and reach out to those who are there for you.  They may not reach out when they need you, after all, we are all different in how we communicate.  All it may take is a simple phone call to reconnect, but it requires an open ear and a shut mouth.  My friends have always been there for me and I would do anything for any of them.  Listening is perhaps the easiest and most forgotten "thing" we can do.  The effort is so worth it and it really takes nothing but a few minutes and dedication to those we care about.

Whom shall you call today with an open ear?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Snowball Effect Gotten You?

Have you ever started off your day or week on a really positive high and then the world starts falling down around you?  When the first thing happened, did it just seem to continue non-stop?  This has seemed to be my week.

The first half of the week went great and then a single event started the avalanche.  Why were all these things happening when things were lined up and going so well?  They say to only control what you can and let go of the rest, but it's just not that easy at times.  I understand and am living that this week.  Yet, we must and I shall too.

Sometimes a hard day or week can be overcome by perspective and attitude.  Human nature is a tough beast to alter, but the effort lifts not only you, but those around you as well.  If you drag them down, they can't lift you up.  This is my lesson for the week.
When you take the snowballs and break them down, they are only snowflakes and easily melted.  I've started doing that this afternoon.  There are parts of this week outside my control and I let them affect who I am and that is not a good thing.  That drags you down and that is not where we want to be.

So, when the snowballs start to launch in your direction, duck and cover!  Each storm has an ending and a new day comes along for the recovery.  I'm not saying I'm ready to get back into the fight, but when I do, I'll have plenty of snowballs piled up to arm myself with.

Let the games begin!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What Motivates You?

It is a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon and I am loving life.  There are some really major things going right in my life now and a large part of this fact is due to attitude.  I have been down and out before and, to be honest, it stunk!  Life is so much better when you enjoy it, it really is.  So, my friend, what motivates you to get out of bed every morning?

I am listening to the wind chimes sing in the breeze and holding a cup of coffee on our quiet neighborhood street and simply soaking up the tranquility.  This is a word I have come to love over the past several years and hope it never leaves my vocabulary again.  It is who I have become and I will not be ashamed to admit it.  My life motivates me to rise each day.  There simply are too many things to mention, list, or acknowledge here, because they are all part of the positive.  Even the negative isn't so bad these days.  Why?  Because I choose them to be minimal!

The job search has taken so much longer than anticipated, yet that too has been ok.  If I had left the Air Force and jumped right back into the employment pool, my realization of life might not have been as clear.  My ability to recognize the good when bad is around me would not be so honed.  It takes practice to understand the beauty of life.  The more I practice, the more brilliant life seems to be.

So, what motivates you this beautiful June day?  Friends and family?  Memories of years past?  Thoughts of what is to come?  That project you have put off and you can't wait to see the outcome?  Perhaps the look in your child's eyes and the future you know the can have if you teach them the beauties of life?  Tell me, what motivates you?

Without motivation, we are stagnant and complacent.  When the world has us down, motivation seems to have disappeared.  Yet, if we can just find the corner of the motivational blanket and yank it out from under the bed and wrap ourselves in its protective fibers, we can emerge and soar again.  Find your motivation, embrace your life, and get is the day you can see more beauty than yesterday, and tomorrow, you shall see more than today.  Yet, in order to do this, you must step out, open your eyes, fill your lungs, and smile.

Today is beautiful.  Tomorrow is beautiful.  Life is beautiful.  You are beautiful.  I am beautiful.  God's work is an amazing masterpiece.  I don't want it on my wall, I want my life to be the canvas so all can see.  How about you?