Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What's this...Excitement?

 It has been so long since I have really been excited about life. When I think back, I can remember being excited about moving to Washington. Man, that was a great feeling...driving across country with just the cat and all the snow. It was beautiful and it was thrilling to be starting something new and so completely unknown. It was the beginning of something wonderful and something crazy. I was starting out on my own and beginning my adventure. At the time, I felt like it could only get better.

When we got the news that Rob got the job here in VA, it wasn't the same. It was exciting that he had a new job that was going to pay such good money and great benefits; however, the excitement and exhilaration that I felt packing up my Escape and heading west was not there.

I've never thought of living in Virginia. One thing that I had been taught about this state is that it was humid and I hate humid. I came from Oklahoma for goodness sake. When the humidity hits 30%, I'm a place where the humidity is at least 90% all the time was not appealing.

With the truck changes and so forth, it took us a week to move from one coast to the other. We arrived here and spent out first night on Ocean Naval Base. Rob went to work the next morning and left me to pack up the room including the cat back in the car and then go entertain myself until he got off. Upon getting to my vehicle, I notice that some jackass had bent my antenna. That was the beginning of loathing this place I know call home.

In the two years that we've lived here, I can't say that I've learned to love it...matter of fact, I've barely learned to tolerate it. 95% of the people are rude, self-centered, and terrible drivers. The traffic is atrocious every day and I find getting to work more stressful then work itself...and I'M A POLICE OFFICER. I deal with the stress of the lazy and crazy all the time...not to mention the possibility of death. That's saying something! Not to mention the terrible weather. It's hot and humid most of the time and it rains...they have hurricanes, Nor'easters, and!

Anyway, with the move here I've lost or let go of the excitement of life's possibilities. I wanted experience, so that I could finally move on to the career that I had pictured myself in since I was like 7.  With that, I applied to the police academy. No, I've never wanted to be a cop, but it was the experience that I needed. I went through the academy less than half-heartedly. It was an accomplishment to graduate and it did feel good, but I can honestly say that I was not excited....and pretty much everyday since has been just another day at work. Just working toward something better. However, that something better was not sparking the excitement that I was lacking either.

In October, Rob and I talked about our future and where we wanted to go. It was at that time that we decided it was time to get the show on the road. Secret Service here I come! But wait, there was one thing in my eyesight. I needed to be 20/60 uncorrected and I can tell you that I am nowhere near that. enforcement discount and done deal. Scheduled the surgery for the 28th of this month. Saved the $2900. We were ready to go...but why wasn't I happy?

During that time, Rob was traveling a lot for work and that's really when I started this blog. I wanted to find my happiness again and I've been working on it ever since. So why was the life long dream of becoming a federal agent no longer exciting to me? What was exciting to me? How had I lost all of my excitement?!

I started thinking about hobbies that I had and things I loved to do. I always came back to one thing...books. I love to read and I love libraries. Oh all the books and all the possibilities. You can be a pirate, princess, wizard, or time traveler all in one day, one place! But to be a librarian, you need a masters...crazy right. I started looking into it and I found so many disciplines within that one area of study. I went to the local library and spoke to one of librarians there. She told me about the Virginia Librarian Conference in was in October. Rob was home that weekend and I was off, so we headed up there to check it out. I spoke to Florida State and University of Texas about their programs and gathered up as much info as I could.

Then I felt it...but what was it...? The more I learned and researched, the more the feeling grew. It was my friend, EXCITEMENT! It had returned and with everyday it was growing.

Finally, I had to tell Rob. So last week, I asked Rob to check into a school for me and from there we just took off. I told him how law enforcement, even federal, wasn't doing it for me anymore and how for once in forever I was looking forward to something and truly excited about it. I informed him that I wanted to get my Masters in Library and Information Systems with a concentration in Archives. He was in totally agreement.

While I would love to get my eyes done...I'm over contacts and hate glasses...I agreed to cancel my LASIK. Man, it was at such a great cost...$2400 after rebate. But to move toward my new dreams, we still needed to pay off the debt and pay for the classes. I've decided to apply to University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, which has a deadline of February 1, 2010 for the fall semester. Online, of course. I'm busy working on my applications, letters of recommendations, and taking the MAT...I'll worry about the GRE later. I only need one for the application and the MAT is so much easier. :o)

(Best part yet...with a new direction comes a possibility of a new location!)

Everything is moving fast, but it's filled with my old friend EXCITEMENT and I couldn't be happier. It looks like 2010 is shaping up to be all that I been looking for and that is something to exclaim! And I found it a library.

"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." Gloria Steinem

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If you just listen...

Amazing. That's all I can say. This morning I woke up and did my usual. After breakfast, I took my shower and decided that that would be the perfect time to spent talking with God. I've been trying to put a little God and I time into my days and I thought that the shower would be the perfect place. You're alone and you really don't have any distractions. At least, I don't...I could take a shower in my sleep.

So I spent my shower time conversing with the Big Guy and I told Him that I was listening and that I was waiting to hear from Him and I waited.... Then a thought popped into my head: I should go to the church. I've been needing to take my tithing in for some time and I've been telling myself to do it...but like normal, I've put it off. So  I thought it was something that just crept in and was interrupting my listening time. I pushed it out of my mind and continued with my shower. I finished up and got dress, but the urge to go by the church kept coming up. That's when I figured it was probably God talking to me and I was definitely going to listen. I said out loud...okay, I'm going to the church. I asked Him to make sure that someone was there and to make me brave.

Now that's a weird request when you're on your way to church, right? Well, the thing is I haven't been attending regularly. I would imagine that it's been over 3 months since I last went. I have been active or a regular in a church, since I left Oklahoma. I attended one on and off in Tacoma and I just started going to this church at the beginning of this year. I feel very self-conscious, so I get a lot of anxiety. Why? Mostly because I feel like I'm way behind everyone there. I'm only a born-again Christian of 5 years...which to some would seem like a very long time...but I've been away from "my" church since 2007. So it really isn't that much experience and then not knowing anyone there is also stressful. Since I'm not the type of person to strike up a conversation with a stranger in an unfamiliar place, it takes me awhile to meet people. However, I have been setting aside money every month for tithing and have been meaning to go to a service to give it.

Anyway, I keep telling myself that I need to get back into church and start meeting people and it's one of the things that is one my list of things to do in 2010. It's a stop on my road to rediscovery!

So back to my day...I grabbed the money and walked out with the same feeling that I needed to go to the church. I decided that since the gas station was on the way, I'd fill up my car for tomorrow too. I stopped at the station, filled up, said a silent prayer, and headed the half of block to the church. There were several cars in the parking lot, so I knew that someone had to be there. I made it to the door and there was a sign that said "This door is locked. Please knock." I knocked my police two people opened it. They were very welcoming and pointed me in the direction of the office.

I was given a tithing envelope and I filled it out, stuffed the cash in, and licked it close. I went to turn it in to the Pastor in the office and she was so friendly. She introduced herself as Katie. She is the pastor of women's ministry. We talked briefly about Rob's job and my attendance, then she said she wanted to give me she went out into the hallway and pulled three services on CDs that she thought were just wonderful and she didn't want me to miss out. She gave them to me. Normally, you have to purchase them. Then she told me to give her a call every know and then, so that I can stay caught up. (With my work schedule, I can't make it to services when I'm on day shift.) She was so open and nice and it really made my day. I actually gave her a hug to show my gratitude. <= Not normal for me!

I am so grateful to have been there today and that I listened to what the Lord wanted me to was good. :o)God is great! He does know what is best for us and what we really need and I really needed that encouragement. I told her that I would be in service on Sunday, so I must be there!

Oh a different note....Rob and I had a very productive conversation about the ex and there was no yelling or fighting or hurt feelings. Let me tell you, that doesn't happen. It was as if we were actually on the same page! I thanked the Lord a million times for that last night. Had He not been at work, I'm sure it would have been a huge failure. So Rob had heard what my friend was saying the other night and while some things had transpired yesterday morning that prompted the conversation, we were able to be open and honest with our thoughts and come up with a good solid plan to make everyone feel better. One win.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Validation! was so good to hear those words leave her lips..."as a single parent you have to do what you have to do." (Ahhhh and the clouds open with a bright light)

Last night, Rob and I went to dinner with a friend of mine who is currently starting the divorce process. She has a little 3 yr old and I think she is the most adorable kid ever. It was a great time with yummy food and some tasty drinks. We spent the time talking about how things were going with her and the new apartment and so on. Through that conversation she said two statements that were music to my ears. The first one is that at 3 years old, Rachel, helps with the chores around the house. She helps pick up, do the dishes, and so on. Now of course she is only 3 so her helping is limited...but it was the mere thought that my friend believes that even at that young age she should learn to do the chores with picking up the house and taking the dishes to the kitchen. I have always believed that at the age of 2 a child should start to learn the importance of cleaning up after themselves by simply having them help pick up their toys with you. As they grow they can eventually do it by themselves. I'm of the mind that children need to be taught to take responsibility for themselves as they grow and develop, so that at the age of 18 they are capabily of caring for themselves when going off to college. I thought I was crazy for thinking that at such a young age it was okay to encourage the children to help around the house and as they get around 5 to give them actual chores that are their sole responsibility like feeding the cat. Age appropriate things, of course. It will build a strong work ethic, which so many people...especially young people...lack. It was wonderfully to hear an actual parent say that they do it.

The second statement was the one quoted in the a single parent you have to do what you have to do. She's been taking part time work a couple times a week to make sure that the bills are covered and when she has Rachel, she spends quality time with her. While she would love to be able to stay at home and spend more time with her little girl, she knows that she has a bigger responsibility to that child to provide for her. With that said, she made the decision that with the time they spend together to make it quality. It's what I've always had in my mind with all the people that I know who are single parents. You have to do something. You cannot just wait around for someone else to do it for you.

Rob's ex-wife is not a doer. They have been divorced for 3 years and she is still living at home with her parents. She has been working on her degree since 2007 and yet she is nowhere close to finishing. At first she was just taking one class at a time and until the beginning of 2009 it stayed that way. She finally started taking two classes. The woman does nothing else. She lives at home with no job. She lives off of her dad and Rob's child support. You would think that given the situation...the children are sharing a room, she's 31...that she would be working her butt off and doing whatever she could to make changes; however, that is clearly not the case. Personally, I would go mad living at home with my parents at the age and I would like to believe that I would be doing what I could and taking every advantage available to me to do it with. Rob and I are even providing her with the perfect opportunity to get ahead. When they divorced, we ended up with all of their debt. Rob wanted to give her a chance and didn't want them to have to struggle. So she was debt free and living at home free of charge...what else could a new single mom ask for? It was the perfect setup to move forward. Her parents changed their schedules to help with the kids and help financially and yet here we sit 3 years later and no closer to anything.

It's so frustrating to see someone with no determination and no ambition. Especially someone with two small children.

I was hoping that Rob heard what my friend was saying. That he was listening to a fellow parent in a situation much worse than that of his ex and how she was determined to do what she needed to do; as well as, the fact that children as young as 3 can help out. I have always felt like I was being ridiculed at saying such things and he would often say that I didn't understand because I didn't have children of my own. Well, vindication is mine!

While I know that neither I nor Rob have any real say in the way that his ex lives her life and the everyday activities of the children, I hope that it will give Rob courage to push his children to take more responsibility for themselves and that when the opportunity presents encourage the ex to put some effort forward. If not for herself, but for those children that she claims she makes every decision for.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Whew! Time is passing far to quickly. Only 13 days until Christmas and I still need to send out Christmas cards, finish decorating the tree, and actually go shopping! I'm not sure what it is, but this Christmas season has been missing some of the magic that I normally feel. Often times I have the tree up and done the weekend after Thanksgiving and a good idea of presents and so on; however, this year I just haven't felt very "Christmasy". It could be for a hundred different reasons; however, I am hopefully that once Rob and I finish the tree and gifts are starting to be purchased and wrapped the normal excitement will return.

So the other day, I went and purchased what I thought would be the entire Christmas Story and Sanctuary. I was so surprised the the whole setup was only $79.99. So I walked up to the clerk and said, "do you still have that?'" and pointed to the display. The clerk walked to the back and brings out this large box. She checks everything, I verify the price, pay, and off I go. I was so excited to get it home and set it up. Because of our budget, we have very few Christmas decorations. I have to use my imagination most of the time. I was sooooo happy to find it at such a bargain that I used my own money that I've been saving up. When I get home and finally get the thing out of the box, I notice that there are no people. I checked the box again, read the sides and the flier that was included...apparently, it really was just the sanctuary! I was upset because the lady forget to give me the people! What was I going to do with only a stable and no people!! So I get back into the car and drive back to Hallmark. I reread the sign and there it's $79.99 each! Ugh! How did I miss that and why would the clerk think I would just what the sanctuary?! Since I never clarified what exactly I wanted and she never asked, I left with an $80 stable. *sigh*

Because I was so sure that she had made a mistake, I hadn't brought the sanctuary with me to exchange or return. Therefore, I had to drove back to the house and repack it. Granted most of the styrofoam was destroyed during the fight to get it out of the box. I used tape and reconnected each part and finally put it back in the box. It was late by this time, so I put it next to the couch so I could return in the next day. Well, it's still sitting behind the couch 6 days later. I read the receipt and am a little worried about being about to return it. It reads no returns on sale items and all seasonal items are final. While it is a seasonal item, they have had it in their story since as far back as July that I can remember and it's been marked down to $79.99 for several months as well. I'm really hoping for some luck here or maybe if I just get story credit I'll be able to exchange it for the smaller Willow Tree nativity scene. I'm hoping to get an answer sometime today.

Last night was Rob's company Christmas party. It was the second annual party that is given by his boss' wife at their house. I love going over there and Bob & Christine are amazing. Both Rob and I had a great time. Since it's a smaller company branch, you get to know everyone very quickly. We all talked and played some Rock Band. Christine made the best Sangria I have ever had! I'm going to need to get that recipe! I only had a little time to take pictures, but I've included them anyway.

One of my crafty and cheap Christmas Decorations

The mantel

Me before leaving for the party

Trying to get a good picture of the two of us

Everyone hanging out and the yummy Sangria

Charity and Austin

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday Nothings

With the year end right around the corner, I've been giving a lot of thought to the new year. This year has been such a weight on me and I'm finally feeling like I can breathe again. I have this determination that I've never had before and I love it!

I'm determined to make 2010 a year of purpose, achievement, and most of all...discovery. Slowly a bucket list for the year has been developing. Right now it's short, but I'm trying to add something to it everyday. By December 31st, I should have a pretty decent list going. This will be a first for me and I'm looking forward to it.

I'll be setting up everything for Christmas tomorrow. It is so unlike me to have waiting this long; however, with the family in town over the Thanksgiving holiday I had so much more to do. While Rob and I on our budget, we don't have much to decorate with yet but I manage. I can't wait until we can put more money toward the holidays. I'm going to go nuts...and it's going to be fabulous!

Yet again, I will be working both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It's good money; but I love the idea of getting to be with family instead. Melodie is having a big Christmas dinner with the whole family and we're going to miss it. That is one of the things about living here that I dislike the most. I'm so far from family. I never would have thought that I would miss the family get together's so much. I'm looking forward to the time when I'm in a job where  working holidays isn't even thought of and we're in a position to attend no matter where we are living. The Lord has definitely shown me through this move how important my family and friends truly are.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This year seems to have passed quickly. I've never been one to wait for a year to pass...months maybe...but never for the whole year. With it coming to an end though, I've been thinking about all that has happened or didn't.

This year Rob and I made the decision that we were going to do whatever (legal) possible to get out of debt. We were both tired of the paycheck to paycheck thing and I, personally, have always hated debt. The younger me was determined to have money and be able to travel and buy all the best gifts on birthdays and never have to worried about bill collectors. None of this is because I imagined being rich...or famous for that matter. It was just because the last thing I ever wanted was to be like my parents. Yet, here I am with a crap load of debt. Mind you, over a third of it was not mine to begin with. It has slowly been puffing out my dreams, so when Jennifer (MIL) gave us the book Total Money Makeover I was willing to try anything. I started that book and had it finished in two days! It was just what I needed and I pushed Rob it read it and by the end of February we were both committed. We haven't looked back!! We managed to pay for our entire wedding with cash and will have another credit card paid off by the end of January.

This year we were also married. After 3.5 years of living together and playing house, we said "I do." It was a beautiful wedding. The scenery was amazing, the photographers extraordinary, and guests...loved. I had my old girl scout leader/second mom marry me and my father give me away. He cried most of the time!! I think the absolute best part of the whole thing was getting to have my most cherished people there with me. I enjoyed getting to hangout with my friends from Oklahoma, as well as make new friends with you  Erin! It was a picture perfect memory.

This year was also my first year on the streets of Norfolk as a police officer. I spent the entire year battling evil. Ha ha...and have learned some things about myself that I never would have. 

This year hasn't been easy, but it has been educational. There was something missing and it's taken until recently to figure out what it was. It was me. It was the me that laughed at all things and didn't get stressed out. It taught me that I had lost myself during these last three and a half years. Similarly, I can recall so many times throughout the year that I had no direction and couldn't figure out what I wanted. I had no passion. I have no passion. I learned that I don't have a real passion for anything. I've never been so fascinated with something that I studied it, well, besides psychology. The only real hobby I have is reading...which I do love! I learned that I don't laugh as much. I learned that I'm angry and hurt. Mostly, I've learned that I'm unhappy with whom I've been/become. And it's amazing! It's such an empowering feelings to realize something of that magnitude and know that it doesn't have to be that way and it can change.

So for the last few months I have started taking steps to find the me that I've lost and not only reconnect with that person, but make her better! I'm impatient and selfish, but I want to change that. I don't express kindness to the people I care for outwardly like I want I should. BUT I can change that. I can change all of that and that's what I am going to make 2010. My year of change and growth. I'm going to shed this fur coat and be all shiny and new...but like everyone knows, it will take brushing and brushing and more brushing. It's going to be uncomfortable, scary, and hard...but it's going to happen. "For the Lord did not give [me] a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 <= Life verse...thanks Kellie for the idea. ;o) 

 One of the blogs that I started following had the following questions posted as a question: Can 2010 be better than 2009? The author, Tess, was using the questions to help us change how we experience 2010. (Her words...not mine.) It made me think and thus this blog. I've included the questions and my answers.

What was the most important thing you've learned in 2009?
- The most important thing that I've learned this year is that I'm unhappy. 

What did you absolutely love about 2009?
- I love that this year Rob and I started our road to freedom by developing a solid budget and doing a total money makeover.

What do I want to do more of that I didn't do enough of in 2009?
- Laugh

What did I do in 2009 that I'll never do again?
- Apologize for being me

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Tribute to Those Who Wear the Shield

Dear Family, Friends and Fellow Colleagues,

Prior to November 29, the number of officers lost in the line of duty across this country stood at 107. One hundred and seven officers had given their lives in sacrifice so that others may sleep safely and securely in their beds each night. Today that number stands at 111. Some departments have been hit particularly hard, losing multiple officers. Any single officer lost is a tragedy that spreads grief throughout the ranks. Losing additional officers multiplies that grief many more times than the number lost. On November 29th, it happened again. We lost four heroes from one department in the span of mere seconds. Four brave officers who donned their shields every day to serve and protect their citizens. They rose each day and put on their uniforms. They put on their belts, their guns, their equipment, and their shields. They looked in the mirror before they left for duty to straighten this or shine that. They were four representatives of every law enforcement officer across the nation and they had to look their best. They were cops and that means something...something important.

Every officer knows the risks. They know each day when they pick up that shield that it could be the day they won't come home. Their families know the risks. The sorrow, grief, and enormity of their loss cannot be tempered by that knowledge. There are four more families in Washington tonight who know that sorrow, that grief, and what the enormity of that loss feels like; four families whose loved one did not come home that night because they were taken away. There are four friends who cannot be called on the phone to share a laugh. There are four co-workers who won't be there to back up their fellow officers, give them a pat on the back when they do good, or a nudge in the right direction when they do not so good. There are four guardian angels who gave their all for a city that depended on them. They were four of Lakewood Police Department's finest who were out on the streets every day, always putting their lives on the line, putting themselves between danger and those they protected. And now they're gone; senselessly slaughtered.

They gave their lives to the service of others and that service will never be forgotten. They will never be forgotten. There are no explanations. No amount of words can explain why this happened. We can only take solace in the fact that we know they were welcomed to Heaven by friendly smiles and warm handshakes of the brothers and sisters who have gone before them. We can take comfort in knowing that now they will patrol those golden streets on angel wings and nothing like this can happen to them there. They are safe now.

All four officers had been with the department for five years since its inception, and each one of them was a parent. Sergeant Mark Renninger was 39 years old and had 13 years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by his wife and three children. Officer Ronald Owen was 37 years old. He had a total of 12 years of law enforcement experience and he left behind his daughter. Officer Tina Griswold was 40 years old. She is survied by her husband and two children after a total of 14 years in law enforcement. Officer Greg Richards was 42 years old and had a total of 8 years of law enforcement experience. Among those mourning his loss are his wife and three children.

The staff of "The Shield" would like to express our most heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with these brave officers' families, their friends, their fellow officers, and their brothers and sisters in uniform across the State of Washington and the nation. We grieve with you and pray that God will hold you now in the palm of His hand and comfort you in your grief as only He can do.

May God Bless you and your families and our fallen brothers and sister of Washington.

Warm regards,

John A. Pasko
Founder/Chief Executive Officer


When I start my tour of duty God,
Wherever crime may be,
as I walk the darkened streets alone,
Let me be close to thee.

Please give me understanding with both the young and old.
Let me listen with attention until their story's told.
Let me never make a judgment in a rash or callous way,
but let me hold my patience let each man have his say.

Lord if some dark and dreary night,
I must give my life,
Lord, with your everlasting love
protect my children and my wife.

A Police Officer's Prayer
Oh Lord, while I'm on my beat
May I know that you're with me,
And protect me as I go to guard
Other's lives and property.
Help me ignore those who scorn
And show me no respect,
But be mindful of all citizens
I've sworn to protect.
Be with my fellow officers
And guard their safety too.
May I always put duty first
In the work that I must do.
May I not disgrace the uniform
But bring pride to the badge I wear.
That I'd be a good policeman, Lord
Would be my only prayer.