The Universe

My view of the world around me has changed over the last few years.  I let others influence how I felt just by not daring to use my own voice.  It’s really easy to let that happen. You hear someone speak or read an article and on the surface, you may agree with it. You may like what that article or blog says and repost it, share it in some way or even reblog it.

The problem with sharing on other people’s viewpoints is that soon you give up your own personal identity.  We often find that it is easier to let someone else speak for us because then we can say “Well I never really said that,” but if we are honest with ourselves on some level we allowed that article or blog to speak for us.

I am delving pretty deep here so stick with me.

Not long ago in a country not so far way a man began to speak for some of the people, and when those that didn’t believe in what that man was teaching they just lowered their heads and tried to keep from being noticed. This led to the man gaining more influence and more power and the more he had the more monstrous he became. This man was an artist and a writer and had a strong view that things in his country needed to change, he felt that his way was the best way to regain stability in his country.

People kept their heads down and minded, what they thought, was their own business. Soon their neighbors and shopkeepers and friends began to disappear. Not wanting to disappear themselves they kept quiet and were kept in a fearful state.

Soon people had to carry documents with them at all times that told those in charge just who they were. If you had no documents you disappeared, sometimes never to be seen or heard from again.

Now there were people that stood up and did not let this man or his followers dictate what they did. They risked their lives to help many others. Wishing every day they could do more.

At the end of this madness, over 11 million people were slaughtered. Brillant men and women whose lives were snuffed out never to be able to share that brilliance with the world. Musicians, doctors, lawyers, politicians, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters were torn from their families and lost their lives.

The people in this country said after “If I had only known, I would have done something.” If those that watched boxcars filled with the 11 million people had looked up and paid attention and had stood up as their neighbors were dragged from their homes than and only then, the world might be a different place today.

That was in Germany if you didn’t already figure it out, during World War II.

Sadly, in the United States today people just over a year ago were so wrapped up in wanting change that they only listened to the slogan “Make America Great Again” that they didn’t care who was behind it, or what that actually meant. The candidate was a smooth talker and was like Teflon nothing negative stuck to him. It all just seemed to slide right off and somehow he came out on top of it all.

We now have families creating back up plans and escape routes and carrying their papers with them in case INS shows up and raids their place of work or the bus they are riding on or the school they are attending.  See it doesn’t matter if you are from a family that has been here for generations and is natural citizens because you look a certain way or from a certain heritage or coloring, you are a suspicious person and subject to search and seizure or arrest till you can prove you are here legally.

The fear-mongering that is going on is no different than in Hitlers Germany no so long ago.  Families should not have to have back up plans or contingencies or be renting lockers in bus stations with “go bags” in case they have to flee.

How is this “Making America Great Again” how is this even close to being great? How did we come full circle and let this happen? Yes, we let it happen we stood by and decided that our voice wasn’t going to be loud enough to change anything so we stayed home and didn’t vote because there was no one good enough to vote for. We have let the two party system tear our nation to shreds. We have handed criminals the keys to the country and have let them run amuck. All the while saying well there is nothing that I can do, my voice, my vote, my opinion doesn’t matter.

See that is what the problem with America is. Those that oppose the criminals feel oppressed and held down with no voice and no power. But I say that is not true.  We have seen hundreds of thousands of women from different backgrounds, liberal, moderate, conservative step up and step out and create a movement to be heard. We have also had those women criticized for marching and protesting and asking for the freedoms they already have. Just because you do not feel oppressed does not make these women any less than you.

This is the time where your voices are needed the most, this is the time to use your social media to blow the algorithms to shreds by changing the conversation by letting your voice be heard. It matters, so much so that we cannot let those voices be smothered and shamed.

How do you do this? How do you find your voice? You read not just one article, one tweet, you take the time and you dig and you dig and you figure out where you stand and when you find it you stake claim to it and you shout it from the top of the mountains for all to hear.

Once voice becomes many and many voices can become a movement and a movement can make our future and the future of our nation and our global community a better place.

TL;DR Find your voice, stand up for those that are being silenced and help where you can, doing what you can with what you have. Don’t let those without a voice disappear because you were too busy following the Kardashians instead of the great world around you.

So where have I been?

Wow it’s been over a year since I last posted. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of life and the things we love to do.

My last post was July 2015. In the months well year plus since then my father passed away while I was on vacation with my family in Orlando at Disney.  We sorted and doled out my father’s things.  We watched the banks, yes plural fight over the house. We bought a car and well lived life.

School continued and I started working Lyft and Jamberry full-time doing well at both. Then I got a job offer out of the blue after doing some deliveries. I stepped back into the business world and realized that I really missed it and I am really good at it.  Oh and yeah I changed my major.

See part of my life goal is to follow my arrow, find my bliss and do good things.  I was finding that my arrow was no longer pointing to teaching and there was no bliss when I thought about standing in the classroom teaching.  My arrow was pointing elsewhere and I was too stubborn to follow it. But isn’t that how we find ourselves in jobs we only do for the paycheck, in relationships that we stay in because we are afraid to walk away and find better? So I took my own advice and decided to change my degree to Business Management.

I am a problem solver, a fixer a let’s make it better. In the business world I can do that at my own pace, in my own space and heck I can even create my own rules. I thrive working out the next problem, helping someone get what they are looking for and being a catalyst. Working with others that feel the same way.

Don’t get me wrong I still love to teach but I want to do it in a different setting. I want to teach others how to be better. It’s not about ABC’s and 123’s it’s about thriving and helping a business thrive and seeing the people who you work with thrive.

I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I can do that with Jamberry and to an extent with Lyft. BUT and it’s a big one. I want to create, build from the ground up my own business, not sure what that is yet but I know that I will have more open doors and more opportunities to hone my craft with a business degree, and well I’ve learned I love kids but not enough to spend 8+ hours a day with them.

I may be taking a small step back, but I know that I am following my arrow, that will lead to my bliss that will help me do good things.

Find your bliss, follow your arrow, do good things everyday.

Sunday my husband and I said goodbye to a very dear friend of ours. We have known here since she was 12 years old. I was her Girls Camp Director her very first year at church sleep away camp.

She has always been her own person, from the people she includes in her life to the music she writes to the youtube videos she creates. In summation, she is awesome!

J’s life hasn’t been all cookies and jam. She has had some bumps and bruises and wounds caused by people that were supposed to love and protect her.  Along the way she has gotten older and wiser, she has stayed open and loving of others and herself.  She is becoming an awesome woman. I look up to her and she knows it.

The reason I share a micro bit of her tale is because she has opened me up. She has encouraged me to be a better person and to find my bliss, follow my arrow and do good things every day.

So how do you find your bliss?

Believe me it’s not easy. You have to quiet all the voices around you that tell you what you should be and what you should do. Then you have to quiet your own voice and listen because in that silence you will be able to figure out what you love to do and what makes you happy doing it. See life is too short to do something you hate, dislike or really don’t care about.

It may take years for you to find the thing or things that make you happy when you do them. You should totally and completely be in love with what you do to pay your bills.  I know it is an odd concept isn’t it?

I have found that it’s a good mental health strategy. If you love what you do then you don’t mind doing it every day, all day long, 5-7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  It can feel like an eternity when your job is not something you care about or love doing. Sometimes we have to take those jobs so that we can find our bliss so that we can pay the bills. But along the way, once you find your bliss you have to do it, EVEN if you have to do the thing you hate to get to the point where you can do the thing you love to do full time.

How do you follow your arrow? 

This is not going to be easy either because again you have to step away from where society says you should go. You have to step out of the mainstream and look around at what is available. Finding your bliss and following your arrow go hand in hand. If you figure out what you love to do then it is easy to follow the path to doing that in your life.

I spent much of my life headed in the direction that I thought other people wanted me to go. I joined several churches because I saw those around me doing so. I tried so many jobs that I can’t count on two hands and all my toes the different things I have done.  I even dropped out of society and intentionally homeless for a period of time. This was my first encounter with stepping away from what I thought everyone else wanted me to be.

When you grow up in an abusive home, you are constantly trying to do good things to avoid being abused, you become a people pleaser, it comes with the territory. Like I said I spent the majority of my life trying to please others.
The first thing I did to please myself was allow myself to fall in love with my husband. That was the first step. In the ensuing 11 years, I tried many jobs and have done many things. I’ve worked with non-profits attempted to be a stay at home wife, and now I have a job I really like, and I’m in college to get a degree in my chosen field of study so that I can follow my arrow.

Many people spend their entire lives doing what they think they should do instead of doing and going where they want to go, in the end they look back on their lives with regret, I for one do not want to do that.

Do good things every day

This comes from Kid President If you haven’t seen his videos go now, yes you have my permission to leave this page and go visit his page. This kid is so freaking positive he can turn any bad day instantly good.

He often talks about doing good things every day.  J and I have taken on the motto and both try to do good things every day.  It’s a simple mantra and ideal to follow, it’s so easy that well a kid can do it.

We see so much bad in the world around us that we can forget there are good things as well. We can be part of that good. We can do simple things every day that are easy and need no elaborate planning.  It is as simple as letting someone merge into traffic during rush hour, hold the elevator even when you are in a hurry, saying hello to everyone you meet as you go about your day. Life can be hard and really suck sometimes and when you work hard to do good things every day, it sucks a little bit less until you have formed a habit. Until doing good things. becomes like a 5th appendage. You will find yourself less stressed and letting the little stuff stay little and the big stuff getting smaller.

So simple yet so profound.

Find your bliss, follow your arrow and do good things every day. So simple, so easy, just try it

Existentialism in a Nail Shop.

So we are just two days from Surgery.  I keep running things over in my mind. Like who do I need to talk to, what amends to I need to make in case the surgery goes sideways and things don’t end up the way we hope.

I know they do thousands of these surgeries everyday across the world. This is my first open major surgery. While the fear has abated a bit it still lingers.

I had an amazing experience yesterday. I had to get my acrylic nails taken off for surgery because they need the O2 sensor to read accurately. So after a yummy bowl of Pho from Love, Peace & Pho here in South Nashville….so good! Then I went next door to the nail place and had my nails taken off.

The woman that was working on me seemed to notice that I was gloomy and kept asking what was wrong. I assume thinking I was not enjoying my manicure after the removal of the acrylic. I told her the short version of what was going one and she took her mask off and stopped what she was doing and told me about her sister who is also a manicurist and about how one of her clients had brain cancer and had a 1% chance of survival after surgery. She said the client told her sister goodbye but if she survived she would be back. Her sister received a phone call two days later, she had to have someone translate but it was the client calling to tell her she was okay.

She then told me a story of a woman in her country with no insurance that ended up with cancer as well and was okay, she told me I was lucky to be in the US with the excellent medical care and the amazing doctors and that she could see that I was a strong woman and a good woman and that strong good women are rewarded and taken care of. She said your grandmother and mother were strong too. (Never told her anything about them) She said I will see you when you get better for surgery and then…

She stopped talking and looked at me directly in my eyes as if reading my soul and said to me “I don’t know what you believe, God, Buddha, what ever, I say to Buddha every night thank you for my life and my child and my job and all that you have blessed me with. Even if you don’t believe in anything just talk. Just say what you are grateful for and you will be fine.”

It was such a powerful experience there was nothing in the room but the two of us for that moment two strangers. One comforting the other. I began to tear up, it was as if a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was as if this stranger had been tasked that day to remove the fear from my mind. Sure I’m still worried but as for being terrified of dying and leaving this world, this life that is so undone, I’m lighter, I can breath.

I may be in state of flux regarding religion but I do believe that there is something that binds this world together that brings things to and away from us for some reason. I believe that things happen right when they are suppose to happen. I don’t have a name for what it is. You may and that is fine but for right now I’m not sure and that’s okay I’m allowed to have this existential exploration of what I do and do not believe. I believe we all have the right to believe as we choose or right to not believe or whatever. We do however need to support each other in those choices and beliefs even if they are not shared.

Who would have thought and I would find peace and comfort from a Vietnamese Manicurist?

Twenty Years later.

I graduated high school in June of 1992. I had big dreams I wanted to be the first college graduate in my family. I was the first to go to college I was also the first to leave college.

See I started school and immediately got in over my head. Twenty years ago the the only time I ever talked to anyone about my college path was to talk to a financial aid counselor about being declared an independent student because I had no parent or guardian living, that I knew about at the time.

See back then I choose a  degree field that I thought I wanted, there was no advisement. I ran to the arms of the local community college with not a single clue. I wasn’t ready for the commitment, the homework or anything remotely college related. I had no one to lean on, no support system that understood what I was jumping into. I was 19 and I was clueless.

I spent several semesters at the local community college in two different degree fields. I was so sure that I wanted to become a lawyer that I started the paralegal studies program. Mock Trial never prepared me for the classes I was taking. After a few semesters I met some people from a private college that told me all about campus life and how wonderful it was. I was hooked. So I applied got accepted and dove head first into a four year program. This time I only had 3 different majors. One of those majors was teaching. Something I had thought about doing other than being a lawyer.

Boy was I in over my head yet again. See in all of this I didn’t take into consideration my personal history.

See the February of 1993 I lost my mother to cancer. I felt all alone surrounded by well meaning family. I was also a people pleaser so I did what I thought I was suppose to do. Not once in the entire two years of my college experience did I have a clue as to what I really wanted to do with my life.

Truth be told it has taken me twenty years to know what I want to be when I grow up.

I think often of my 7th grade history teacher. He was inspiring. We got to choose to write a research paper or do a project.  I always picked the project.

It was in his class that I learned to program in Basic. It was in his class that I learned that I had more potential then I ever dreamed. It was in that history class that I learned to love history.

In the last twenty years I have learned many things. Of all the things I learned it was a silly Facebook game that ignited a fire in my.  I’m sure you probably saw the game or even played it. If you commented on someone’s status they would give you a number and you were suppose to share that number of things that your friends probably didn’t know about you. I got the number seven.

As I was creating my list of all the things one of those seven was the regret that I never got my degree. My sister in law commented that it wasn’t too late that I could go back to school and get a degree.  Pondering exactly that I pulled out our tax forms from last year and filled out a FAFSA to see if I qualified for any financial aid at all. While I was waiting to see if I would get any aid another friend posted about getting a scholarship to the only NCATE ( National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) accredited online university. It peaked my interest and I took a look at the school and the programs they offered. I asked for more information and then paid the application fee and started the process not ever really expecting to get in.

So what did I decide to be when I grow up? I want to teach. I want to teach history. I want to teach history to 7th and 8th grade students.

Just a week or so later my application has been accepted, my financial aid is in place and poof I am a college student again.  My husband and I had talked about me going back to school after he graduated.  The day he graduated I got my acceptance letter to Western Governors University .

I never expected to get any financial aid.

I never expected any prior credits to transfer, but I am so happy that 19 of them did.

I never expected to be 40 years old and back in school and ready and focused and determined to succeed and graduate on time if not early.

It just goes to show you that when you decide to do something and it is the right path you are suppose to be one all the doors will open for you.

So what is one regret that you can fix? I shared mine how about sharing yours?

40 Years and 40 Random Acts

I am turning 40 on December 14th. Yup can’t hardly believe it but that’s the truth.

Besides hosting my first birthday party since I turned 8 years old I have decided to do 40 random acts of kindness. One act for each year that I have been so blessed to be a part of this amazing world.

Sure there have been not so great times and really amazing times but in the end all the good stuff is what matters.

I have been so blessed to have some amazing people in my life. My husband and family to just name a few but there have been others that were only there for a brief moment.

Someone who bought me a plane ticket to get back to California. The couple at the airport that found me a place to hang out while I waiting for 48 hours for a flight. The tow truck driver that accidently left his phone in my car then bought a full tank of gas for me when giving his phone back to him. The numerous people that have paid for my meal in a drive thru and didn’t even know me. The lady on the plane that held my hand as I cried all the way back to Nashville after my grandmother died. The countless people that make me smile and make my day.

There is so much good in this world, so much positive and bright and shiny. I need to share that, I need to make someone elses day.

So if you’re up for the challenge join me in 40 Acts of Random Kindness between December 1-14, 2013. Lets do something nice just because.

How life interrupts when you have plans.

If you follow me on social media you know that I have been tossed and turned in a sea of personal turmoil.  I got a job worked for almost 3 months then got let go because I was joking with a personal friend of mine and someone misunderstood the comments and situation. I’m okay with that. It’s been for the better I think.

I  have never been fired before……..I have always left on my own terms.  Not the path or plan I had, but as we all know life is what happens when you make plans.

I think many times when things change rapidly it is because we have prayed for an answer and something happens and we take that as the answer and forget to pray and ask if that is the answer or if it is a distraction.  I know that sounds confusing but it’s like this, when you are troubled and you pray for a way to solve your problem and you do all that you are suppose to do not always is the first solution the answer Heavenly Father has for you. It’s like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

We want everything so fast and so easy these days sometimes I think we forget that it takes work. We lose site of the goal like and get distracted by the things right in our face.

When I was young I played soccer. I played on a pretty good team. We won more than we lost and this was in the days when keeping score and being a good sport about losing was a virtue you learned on the field.  I played the position of defender closest to the goalie.  I loved playing. Many times all the other players were down at the other end of the field and the other defender and the goalie and I would get distracted by playing with the flowers in the grass or the caulk that marked the lines. We were not watching the game we were occupied with what was in front of us.  Had we paid more attention we would have probably learned so much more that game.  We would have seen the break away and seen the ball and the striker headed for our side of the field.  We would have been standing up and ready to defend our goal.  But we were not paying attention and were too slow standing up, we were confused as to why the coach was yelling at us and pointing.  Needless to say the other team scored.

I was upset and it was disappointing. I wanted to blame the other defender and the goalie, I wanted to say it wasn’t my fault but looking back almost 30 years now I know it was just as much my fault as it was my teammates.

See I had a plan that day. My plan was to stop the ball and be the “hero” of the team.  As often it happens in youth soccer there is a great amount of offense and very little defense. I wanted to be the first one to stop the ball to keep from the other team scoring, but I was too busy with the distractions in front of me.  I let a moment of boredom keep me from being a team player.

I let the “prestige” of the place I was working get in the way of what my actual goal was.  I also began to let my self slip and be tested.  I am sure Heavenly Father often shakes his head in frustration with me.  I am walking the path but get distracted and stop or just nudge the line sometimes. I am by no means Molly Mormon but I know who I am and where I come from and where I’m going. Sometimes I need a test or a lesson to remind me just how far I have come and how far I have to go.

Getting fired isn’t the end of the world just the end of a page in the current chapter you are writing.

 

LB.