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

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

I Will Rise Again by Fay Ann Swearing

The following is a poem written by Fay Ann Swearing, “I Will Rise Again.” I felt every word. I remember the suffering, pain, and depression. Yet, I am still here. You are still here. Y’all, we were not meant to stay down.

Through the suffering and the pain,I will rise again,There is no pain that can extinguish my light,No trials or problems that will stop my fight,Like…

I Will Rise Again
Life

Trusting God’s Plan

The song, I Understand, by Smokie Norful has been playing over and over in my head since yesterday morning; and this particular verse seems to be stuck on repeat:

One more day, one more step
I’m preparing you for myself
And when you can’t hear my voice
Please trust my plan
I’m the Lord, I see and yes, I understand

The part that mostly stands out– well, for me that is– is “I’m preparing you for myself.” To me, this says it all. Too often we forget that God created us to fulfill His purpose. Y’all, it is not about us. It is all about Him.

Honestly, who knew 2020 was going to be this WILD! I know I didn’t. HA! God definitely has a sense of humor. I was just reminded that I entered 2020 without expectations (Happy New Year! Let Go and Let God). All I can do is smile. Y’all, God has receipts! Lol

Yep… I am trusting His plan.

#BeBlessed

Shaun

Life

My Facebook Memory: August 11, 2019

Hello! Here is a Facebook memory that I thought I would share. It was written on August 11, 2019, after a year of being in the doctoral program. This past March I decided to take a leave of absence, again (details included in the memory). This time it was the uncertainty of COVID-19 that had me stressed. I just could not focus on school. So I decided to take a year off. As I did last time, I have questioned myself about my reasons for pursuing this degree. Is it something I truly want? Glad I have a few more months to decide. Then we shall see what happens.

Here’s the memory (unedited):

Good Morning! No social media find this morning. I just feel like sharing.

Today’s the last official day of class. It’s been a year that I’ve been in the DrPH program. I’m not sure why I thought it would be easy. I’m still puzzled about that initial phone interview with my advisor. I was just so chipper. Why???🙄 I work at a university. I’ve seem so many students struggle through their doctoral program. Yet, somehow I thought things would be different for me. What was wrong with me?😩

A few days ago I finally really looked at my degree plan. Yeah, I never really reviewed it. I just started taking classes and going with the flow. When I saw how many hours I had left, my heart sank. The thought crossed my mind, “Will I ever have a life?” Y’all, this program is about to consume ALL of my time. I’m not going to lie, so far I haven’t been disciplined at all. I started off really disciplined. Had everything scheduled down to my “Tyler Perry Tuesdays” tweet time. Yeah, one hour to watch and tweet during the show and 1/2 hour afterwards to reply to tweets. I was serious. Then, life happened. It’s amazing how one little thing can shake you and your whole system crumbles.

I began to realize I used social media as a way of coping with the things happening around me. Whenever I wanted to get away, I would log on and mindlessly scroll down my timeline. Social media is a great distractor when you don’t want to deal with reality. At the time, I was going through the divorce. Somehow, in my little mind, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake and it wasn’t. Also, things at work were becoming stressful. It was just a lot. Then, on top of that, I had school. I had to post and respond to discussions every week. Honestly, it was all taking a toll on me. I finally realized I couldn’t take anymore and sat out the spring term.

During my break, I did a lot of soul searching. Was this program for me? Could I fulfill my purpose without the degree? Was my purpose even worth the struggle? Why couldn’t I just let everything go and just enjoy life like everyone else? I mean, I’ve already retired from the military. I’m sort helping my community through my research projects. Why not sit back and enjoy life? Why do I always have to make things harder for myself? Well, because that’s exactly what I do. I love a challenge. Something inside of me, no matter how hard I try to fight it, wants the adventure. So, when my advisor called me before the summer term began, and asked me if I was returning to school, I confidently told him I was going to finish the program.🤦🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️

So, here I am. This time I’m really serious about being more disciplined. I’m trying to narrow down my use of social media to things that will help me along this journey. I’ve discovered that the Twitter accounts I follow on my ResearchDiva site reflect were I’m going (UN in Geneva☺️). I’ve been able to use some of the information I’ve come across for my discussions and assignments. My Mississippi Thriving IG makes me feel like I’m still supporting my community. My blog, It’s Shaun’s World, gives me an outlet for sharing my random thoughts. And this page… y’all make everything worth it. I love logging on and seeing your smiling faces. Y’all keep me grounded.

I know this was long. I needed to get it out. So, if I miss posting a few social media finds, or showing you love, it’s not because I don’t care, I’m just trying to stay focused.

I love y’all!

GodIsWorking

BeBlessed 🙏🏽♥️

Thanks for reading!

Shaun

Life

It Is That Simple

It really is that simple.

I do not have much time to write. I need to get ready for work. So I am going to make this short.

Been following this guy Gary Vee on social media. I started listening to him because I liked his no-nonsense way of motivating people to pursue their dreams. According to him, no dream or idea is unobtainable. All we have to do is go after it. Honestly, he says what people already know, but need someone to actually voice it. For example, on his Instagram Live, he invites people to chat with him. Some have already started businesses while others are just getting started. Most of them come with questions about how to move forward. Like, they are in a place where they feel vulnerable, unsure of themselves, and unsure of their next moves. Gary steps in, says a few cuss words (which makes his advice even more interesting) and gives it to them straight. Most of the time the thing that holds people back is FEAR. After carefully listening to their stories, he tells them what they are afraid of. Some are afraid of failure. Others are afraid of others’ opinions. Of course there are so many more fears out there. Think about why you have not pursued your goals or dreams and I am pretty sure fear is in there somewhere. As I said, he just voices what people already know but are afraid to admit.

Anyway, one of his big takeaways is– do it! Want to start a business? Do it! Basically, nothing is stopping you, but you. Another takeaway, that has really motivated me to move forward, is to stop overthinking your moves. This one was a big for me. I tend to overthink things. Especially things that I believe I will be judged on. Most of it is associated with my professional life. HA! I tend to let go and have fun in my personal life. Lol! My professional life is where the whole perfection thing comes in. Here is what Gary Vee has to say about perfection, “Perfect is based in insecurity.” How true is that! It is exactly what I have been writing about over the past year or so– facing my insecurities.

Okay.. I really need to go. Just felt like writing. Yes, I could finish writing later, but I am pretty sure you would get a totally different blog. So I am going to post this one.

Check out Gary Vee on social media. His style of delivery is not for everyone. Lol! However, I love it! It has me moving forward.

Word of advice– do whatever makes you happy. Whatever that may be (as long as it is not causing someone harm- thought I needed to add this tiny disclaimer- Lol). Forget perfection. Forget others’ opinions. Just do it. Do you! It really is that simple.

Y’all know I am talking to myself, right. Lol

Enjoy your day!

Shaun