Life

Hello Sunday!

Reminiscing

Have you ever felt as if part of your life was missing? Not a person, but your actual life. Yesterday this feeling of loss and sadness overcame me. I couldn’t pinpoint it at first. Then it came to me. I missed being in the military.

I retired almost a decade ago, and yesterday was the first time the feeling hit me so hard. You see, I grew up around soldiers. My first exposure to military life was through my Uncle June. He was in the Army and he made it seem like fun. Probably because he goofed off most of the time. Lol. At the time, he was stationed in Fort Riley, KS and we were living in Topeka. When he visited, he never came alone. He would always bring a few of his Army buddies and the women in our Deer Creek apartment complex would go crazy! Uncle June, Tillery, and another friend would come up on the weekends, drink, play cards, and tell all kinds of wild Army stories. Little did I know, a few years later our family would move to Ft. Riley with my stepdad.

From sixth grade until I joined the Air Force in 1992, I saw soldiers daily. Hence the reason I chose the Air Force (smile). Honestly, I never considered joining the military or being associated with the military. I did not want to go to war. This was around the end of the Gulf War. I did not want to go to the field (military training for war). I did not want a cheating husband (cause they all seemed to cheat). And I definitely didn’t want to take orders from anyone (Ha! Nothing’s changed).

Anyway, about a year before I joined the Air Force, my boyfriend asked me to help him study for the ASVAB (military placement test). He had decided to join the Navy and needed a certain score. I helped him study. He passed the ASVAB, but due to a previous knee injury he couldn’t join. About a year later, I took the ASVAB and joined the Air Force. I had no idea that while I was helping him study, I was actually studying for myself. Crazy, huh?!

I’m smiling as I write because God will give you exactly what you ask for but it is not always what you imagined. When I was in high school, I wrote how I wanted to work for a major corporation, travel the world and speak different languages. Well… I joined the Air Force (major corporation), my first duty station was in Germany (traveled the world), but I never got to speak different languages, something I have always regretted. You see, over the course of middle and high school I had taken four years of Spanish and three years of French. While in basic training I was given the opportunity to take a language test. Taking the test meant another skill set would be added to my profile. Y’all, I was so afraid of failing that I did not take the test. I backed out at the last minute. Funny thing is, I knew both languages almost as well as I knew English, probably better. You know, it amazes me how fear.. little old fear.. can change the entire trajectory of your life. Throughout my career I had other opportunities to take the test, but decided not to. Mostly because I felt as if I was not worthy of the additional opportunities. Like, if I didn’t do it the first time, why would I be given other chances. It was like I was punishing myself for my failure to act. I am so grateful for growth. I have now realized God will give us opportunity after opportunity to fulfill our dreams and purpose. However, it is up to us to recognize them as such and grasp them. They are gifts. Yes, I’m learning.

Anyhoo.. back to missing my military life. Y’all know I get sidetracked. From the moment I arrived at Lackland Air Force Base for basic training, until the time I retired, I wanted to get out. Every day I asked myself why I joined. The ONLY answer I could think of was it was better than joining the Army. Really?!

I cannot lie, I LOVED every moment. I enjoyed the camaraderie. Having a steady paycheck and all of the extra perks. Opportunities to visit different countries (some I took, some I didn’t). Interacting with so many people. Pilots in flight suits (yesss). Fighter jets. Cargo planes. Beefing with ATC (they thought they were God’s gift to the Air Force). My Weather buddies. House parties. Squadron parties. Riding on the airfield when I needed to get away. Yes, that was the life!

Of course there were things I did not enjoy, but looking back, they were minute. Y’all, I am just grateful for the experience. If I had to do it all over, I would. BUT.. I would do it bigger and better. Thinking back, God always placed people around me who encouraged me to aim high (the AF motto). To tap into my full potential. Little did they know, I was too afraid to aim high because I hated the recognition. I hated receiving awards, and I received quite a few. I only wanted to do my job and go home. But they wanted to recognize me. Why? To me, I was doing what everyone should have been doing. It was nothing special. But.. it was!

Short story-

I received my first commendation medal for my actions after a Boeing-747 cargo plane slid off the runway at Ramstein. It had been snowing heavily all night. The plane was scheduled to land as soon as quiet hours was over at 6:00 a.m. Before they even entered our airspace I had the pilots contacted so they could divert to another base because the snow wouldn’t be removed before they arrived. I even spoke with the crew. They said that they had enough fuel to divert to Frankfurt. Plus, I had already contacted Frankfurt and they had the ramp space. I asked the crew about their crew rest hours. They were good. So nothing was stopping them from diverting. They informed that they had landed in those conditions before. So I informed them that they were landing at their own risk. Tower cleared the snow removal crew from the runway. The plane landed and slid off the end of the runway. This led to the runway being closed for several hours. Which caused other aircraft to have to divert to other bases. At that time, I had only been on the job (in the Air Force) for a year, and the only one on duty. Looking back, that was pretty awesome. I stayed calm the entire time and did my job. To me it was no big deal, just another day at work. I will tell you I am thankful it was recorded because they tried to blame it on me. Bae-bé, I knew what I was doing! I had already made 100% on my 3-level course exam. Lol!

Listen, from now on I am going to seize opportunities. When God opens doors, I will walk through them. Also, I am going to humbly accept all accolades. I’m not going to shy away from them anymore because I am a display for God’s work.

Thank you for reading. I guess you could say this blog was about me coming to terms with a part of my life that I took for granted. A part of my life that I cannot get back, but I can learn from and do better.

Be Blessed,

Shaun

Life

I Have a 17 Year Old!

Today is my son’s 17th birthday. Seventeen! Where did the time go? Sooo many memories in what seems like such a short time.

Y’all, cherish the time you spend with your little ones. Listen, one minute they are babies, and the next they are adults. Make sure you get to know them as individuals. Get to know what excites them, what makes them smile and laugh; but also, get to know what disappoints them or makes them sad or mad. Sometimes as parents we become so caught up in parenting that we forget that 1) we were once children with feelings and 2) they are little human beings trying to find their place in this crazy world. Here are my two cents of advice– as with most humans, love, guidance, acceptance, understanding, and compassion goes much further than correction. The next time you have the urge to correct your child, please take time to find out the root of the problem. Sometimes all they want is your attention.

Okay.. enough parenting advice.

Again, I cannot believe I have a 17 year old! It has been such an honor watching him become this vibrantly, brilliant young man. I still can’t believe God gave him to me. I am definitely blessed. Y’all, I love him so much! Praying God protects him from hurt, harm and danger. Speaking nothing but blessings and favor over his life. He’s God’s child and deserves the absolute best!

Shaun

Life

Feeling Some Kind of Way

I have had a headache since yesterday. Finally took something for it. What was supposed to be a fun extended weekend has turned into a weekend of reflections and questions. Nothing new, just the same questions I tend to ask myself when someone close passes. Basically, am I living or am I wasting time. On one hand I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be because when I rush things I tend to make bad decisions. However, I feel like if I don’t move, I might not live to see my dreams come to pass.

Today is one of my sisters’ birthday. I am so grateful she is still here. Today should be a joyous occasion for her, instead she is trying to cope with our sister-friend’s loss. God please give her peace. Give her family peace.

Life is precious and so short. I have a lot of decisions to make. I do not want to find myself in the same place and predicament this time next year.

Next month would have been my brother’s 47th birthday. Yesterday my dad finished his tombstone. My stepmom had to push him to get it done. We know this was the hardest one to make, but he had to do it. None of us want his death to be real, but it is. Yesterday my stepmom said that her girls are her angels. That she could not have made it without us. Life.

Just felt like writing. Going to go back to sleep, now. My headache seems to be subsiding. I cannot wait to get on the road to head home. I miss my babies. Can’t wait to hug them, if I hug them. I cannot ignore the fact COVID-19 is still here. Everyone I have interacted with have taken proper precautions, but I will not take any chances with my babies. So I will skip the hugs for now.

Good night, y’all. Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Shaun

Life

Life & Love

Up thinking and just had to write. 2020 is something else. It is the year for the unexpected. I’m not sure if I’m prepared for what may come next. Praying I am.

Well.. that’s not what I wanted to write about. Last night I watched the most amazing Verzuz battle ever! It was between Brandy and Monica. Y’all, it was like I had stepped back into the 90s. As if their story had picked up from where it left off 20 years ago. I know they said that it had been eight years since they last saw each other, but to me it felt like the 90s versions of themselves meeting up for the first time. The tension was so thick at times that I caught myself holding my breath. I mean, one wrong word and they could have set it off! Y’all, it was really that tense.

Anyway.. for me.. this is where things really became awkward. Brandy decided to read a poem before her song “Missing You.” I believe the first name she read was Kobe Bryant’s. Y’all, for a moment I stopped breathing. She went on to mention GiGi, Chadwick Boseman and a few others. But to mention Kobe knowing his widow is still deep in mourning, and with 1.2M people streaming, was not the time. Believe me, I understood and still understand her pain. If I was in her shoes, I would have wanted to do the same. Well, Monica’s next song was dedicated to Vanessa Bryant. Y’all, it was crazy!

Okay, that was Brandy’s story. Monica had a few awkward moments of her own. The whole Corey “C-Murder” Miller thing was entertaining, yet weird. She was going hard for this man. Said she wanted to wear the t-shirt she had made for him. I believe she kept saying something like she wanted people to say his name until they were saying it backwards. Whatever that meant. Lol. Bae-bé.. she that ride or die for real!! Okay!! Y’all, Free C-Murder now! Ya heard me!

Whew!! Anyway, the entire thing was entertaining and so worth watching. If they do decide to go on tour, it will probably end up like the Bobby Brown and New Edition tours, a hot mess! Lol! Somebody is definitely going to be Bobby.

Anyway, the reason I chose the title, Life & Love, is because I believe both women are living wishing they “would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve” done things differently. Boy have I been there, and trying so hard not to go there again. I’m pretty sure many of you have wished you would have made different decisions about a person you were in love with. Now you are living with the reality of the consequences of your decisions. Last night was really difficult to watch because I could feel what they felt. Like I said, I’ve been there and it still stings!

Okay.. One short story.

There was this guy I was in love with all throughout high school. He rarely paid me any attention until our senior year. That’s when we actually started having conversations. I used to love it when he would stop to say Hi or spend his lunch period in the library talking to me. Made me feel all special. To this day I believe the only thing that kept us from moving forward, besides his girlfriend (hehehe), was my race. I remember him asking if I was mixed with another race. Which was odd.

Umm… Since I never mention names, I’ll just call him “Blue Eyes.” Only a few know who that is, including my kids. They tease me all the time for putting Blue Eyes in the “friend” zone. Life…

Okay.. got sidetracked. Well, during our senior year, I went to several of his football games and all of his home baseball games. Y’all, I loved watching him play sports. Most of the time I was the only Black person at the baseball games. So I kind of stood out. Believe me, he couldn’t miss me. Lol! It was there that I met his mom. One day he approached me and told me that his mom thought I was nice. It’s crazy just remembering these things.

Well, the relationship I had dreamt of never happened. However, I did meet up with him in college. I sat out fall semester, but attended the next spring. During my extended summer break, I met my first boyfriend. That’s when my life became a little complicated. It was a mess. So by the time I attended college, I was so ready to get away from him and his baggage.

I remember walking into my first class, a lecture hall that held 300 students, and seeing two familiar faces and one was Blue Eyes. Y’all! How did that happen?? Hands down it was definitely God! Just thinking about it has me smiling and tearing up. I was so happy to see him. Talk about butterflies! During that semester, after class he would walk me halfway across campus to my next class. Y’all, I was in heaven. But that was only at school. Our relationship never made it off campus. Once I left campus I returned to my dysfunctional relationship with my boyfriend, and Blue Eyes returned to his girlfriend. We were both playing games. He had told me that he had broken up with his girlfriend, and I told him I had done the same with my boyfriend. Which was actually true at the time. You see, we broke up and got back together every other week. Anyway, one evening I happened to pass his girlfriend’s house.. NO, I was not stalking her. Her house was on one of the main roads to Walmart.. As I passed her house I noticed his red Honda CRX in her driveway. Maybe this is too much info. LOL! So he had not broken up with her. It was all a lie. Days following that I decided I had had enough and of everyone and needed to get away, so I scheduled an appointment with an Air Force recruiter. In April 1992, I signed up to join the Air Force after the semester was over.

Afterward making my decision, I remember avoiding Blue Eyes at all cost. I didn’t want to talk to him. I was so hurt. I felt betrayed. But why? It wasn’t like I was actually available. Before the semester ended we had our last conversation. I don’t know how we ended up in that stairwell. I remember us sitting there talking and I told him that I was joining the Air Force. Y’all, he said something that pierced me to my heart. He said, “All you’re going to do is end up pregnant and alone.” Guess what, I did.

For years I tried to find him. As far as I know, he’s not on social media. He was always a very private person, so this is not surprising. I did find an address and phone number. I never called. Was too afraid he would be like “Umm… I don’t remember you.” Y’all, up until last year, he was my “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve,” guy. I had to let him go. Praying he’s okay.

Unfortunately, Brandy’s opportunity ended many, many moons ago. Kobe met the love of his life and moved on. Ouch!! Monica.. well, her and Corey both made decisions they probably wish they wouldn’t have. But he’s still here, and now she has the opportunity to try again. I pray this turns out better than she’s ever imagined. Although Brandy insists that she’s good being alone, something I find myself saying often, I hope she finds someone who will love her like the queen she is. Y’all, we all deserve that kind of love.

No time to edit. Hope you enjoy my ramblings. Love y’all!

Shaun

Life

Expect the Unexpected

Last week I wrote, Trusting God’s Plan. Two days ago, Pastor Steven Furtick posted, “This is the year of things we didn’t expect. Don’t underestimate God’s ability to bring something beautiful out of our unmet expectations.” Both are confirmation that letting go and allowing God have total control will yield the best outcome.

Letting go means not thinking about what is to come, or how a certain story will play out. If you are anything like me, you sit and think, “If I do this, this will happen.” And “this will happen” usually leads to 100 different scenarios. Lol.

Story time! I promise to keep it short. Lol

Sunday I wrote about a situation with my neighbor and his dog. Monday morning I decided that I was going to knock on his door and ask him not to tie his dog to my tree. Had the entire scene played out in my mind. Actually, I had several scenes played out. You know, “If I say this, he’ll probably say blah blah blah.” Well, let me tell you how it actually went down. As I was heading to work, he and his wife were walking the dog. The wife had stopped to talk to one of our neighbors and he was talking on the phone. Y’all, everything happened so fast. I flagged him down and got his attention. Afterwards, I explained that my son was taking classes virtually and that I worked from home most days, and how the dog’s barking was interfering with our work. He quickly apologized and returned to his phone conversation, and I went on to work. None of that happened as I thought it would. I wish I could say that it ended there, but it didn’t. All morning I kept replaying the scene over and over in my head. Kept wondering what he thought of me. What his wife thought of me. Did they think I was rude? Was I rude? Couldn’t I have waited to address the issue? I mean, this really bothered me. I kept hearing God say, “Let it go,” but I could not let it go. Thankfully I became engrossed in something I was working on and forgot about the situation. When I got home, I went over and introduced myself (something I should have done before the incident), and I apologized for being so abrupt that morning. They also apologized and said they didn’t know anyone lived in my house. Umm… how could they not know, but… okay. As I walked back home, I noticed that they had removed the leash from my tree. Smiling

I said all of that to say, when I finally gave it to God, He worked it out. Is anyone else hearing, “Turn it over to Jesus, he will work it out. He can. He can. Work it out”? Y’all, I hear songs all day long. Lol.

Anyhoo.. I did not expect that outcome. I expected some kind of pushback that never happened. None of the scenarios that preoccupied my mind that morning, or even the day before, were close to what actually happened. But isn’t that how it usually happens. Nothing ever happens the way we imagine. Which means we really need to concentrate more on being present and less on what will happen next. Y’all, it is sooo freeing to just let go and let God do His thing.

Along with Pastor Furtick’s post was this image that said, “Are you missing what God wants to give you because of what you thought He was going to do?”

Expect the unexpected.

Be Blessed,

Shaun

Life

Six Years

I really do love Facebook memories. I am always surprised by the treasures I find. Here is this morning’s treasure. It is a simple profile picture from 2014, six years ago.

Optimistic

Six years ago I was preparing to take the leap of my life. I had no idea of the challenges I would face, but I knew I could not stay where I was. God had made it clear, I needed to GET OUT. Y’all, I was so scared. I did not know how I would make ends meet without two incomes. Shoot.. I was barely making ends meet then. Boy.. the stories I could tell! But, I won’t. That was six years ago, and it is over now.

TODAY!! Today I am alive, well, and THRIVING!! Never could I have imagined I would be where I am today. EVERY day I give thanks to God. I constantly remind my children about His love, mercy, and grace. I remind them so much that whenever I become discouraged, they remind me. Lol. It is so important that they know just how good God truly is.

Y’all, I dare you to trust Him! I am sooo glad I took that leap.

Shaun- YOU MADE IT, GIRL!!