I now introduce you to my youngest son, Joshua Ryan, more affectionately known as Joshie. Like most kids he has tested his limits, we've had our share of fights and yelling matches, and periods of not speaking. But I hope and pray that all of that is behind us now. This kid formed a planned and followed through at the ripe old age of 18. He enlisted in the military before graduation, graduated from high school, and then roughly a week later was leaving for Army BCT in Oklahoma. It was quite a bit of a culture shock for him but he is doing it and there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
*I wrote my intro before reading what Joshua had written to be included in this post. I can not express enough how proud I am of the Man he has become.*
"Its a noble thing joining the military. You feel all proud and strong for volunteering to serve your country, and that's probably one of the best things a person can do nowadays. But it's not about looking cool and marching, or even about wearing a fancy uniform. When you join the military you join to serve those around you, everybody has their own individual reasons for why they joined. Personally I thought I joined for college money. But I found out in myself that I joined for a much more important reason than my own personal reasons. The initial training I had to go through (still going through) is about six months long. About half of a usual deployment nowadays. This is the longest I have ever been away from home. The farthest I've ever been away from home. I've never gone anywhere without a friend or family member traveling with me. So you can imagine how scary it is putting yourself in a situation where you are nowhere near home, around people you don't know and have never seen before in your life. I'll admit I was terrified, I missed (still miss) home like crazy. I miss being stupid with my sisters, messing with my mom and dad, hanging out with my friends, I miss my love... It's a tough thing to deal with, and there are people that have been away from their loved ones even longer, some won't have that opportunity to see their families again. It comes with the job, you risk everything for your country. But in a soldiers mind it's not so much about their country, I've talked to many people in the military and I feel the same way, we're not here for our country, we're here for our family. We're here to serve the very people that made us who we are, the very ones that influenced our decision to even join. We joined so we could protect those people and provide them with a safe land to thrive in. To us, it's about doing our job so we can go home to those we love. I realized one day while I was in the front leaning rest why I came here. I couldn't care less about college right now. I'm here because I want to make my family proud, show them the person I can truly be, I'm here so I can make a future for myself and hopefully a family one day. I wake up everyday before the sun thinking about the one I love back home. The one that is willing to wait for me (and put up with all my crap) back home. I get up so I can one day return to her and show her the person I've become. That's why I left everything I knew, so I could one day come home and say I did this for all of you."
Then last but certainly not least is my Uncle Fred. He has encouraged me while I was in college attempting to do the teaching thing. Is more than willing to help with my latest endeavor of learning how to take a picture and helps my Mom and I as much as he can via email. I seriously doubt I will ever match the standards he has set forth for from his photo journalism while in the Air Force to his ability to capture the perfect landscape shot. Now his generosity is overflowing as I sit here today waiting for yet another box of cameras to arrived. I still can't wrap my head around the fact I will be opening the THIRD boxes of cameras in the very near future.
"Give it away
It's not geocaching. GPS won't help. Google is out also. However, it's there I promise.
Look for inner peace, satisfaction, and degrees of joy in sharing with others. Never under estimate what you have or your ability to share. We don't have to be wealthy to enrich the lives of others. It can be nothing more than kindness, a single simple word, a comforting touch, a smile . . . or even sharing a scrap of bread with a bird.
You are giving something they did not have before. If we all take the time to look around us and think more of others, we will be able to find those with which we can share. Even strangers. Enriching another's life will in turn enrich yours.
Don't expect fanfare, media coverage, or even a posting on Facebook. You may get no reaction or response at all. Do it without expectation. Then quietly observe what you see and how you feel. You may be genuinely surprised.
You have it, and it never runs out. Make it a habit to just "give it away".
"I am stunned. What a wonderful, creative, intuitive, and mature woman you have become. Let no one be a barrier to your journey. They may not where they are going or how to get there. Don't let their emotional breakdowns cause a detour from your path.
Feel my hugs!"