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Not quite an American Sniper but a just as tough American Aircraft Mechanic!

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This past weekend, my husband and I went to see American Sniper. Scenes from the movie, thoughts about veterans, and mostly memories of my dad being in the military have replayed in my mind over and over the past few days. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but I highly recommend it.

I know I often write about my parents, and it’s honestly because I’m blessed to have some pretty amazing ones. My dad was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 36 years. He served in Desert Storm and the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq during my childhood, teenage and young adult years. Honestly as a child, at first I hated him being gone because my mom was a drill sergeant when he was gone (as a mother now, I know why…dad was also the one who helped with homework…). The wives though are some of the truly unsung about heroines. Mom always said everything went wrong when dad left from water heaters breaking to snakes showing up on the front porch. I would have hated to see some of those terrorists up against my mom when my dad was gone. I watched her kill a bat with a broom and chop a snake’s head off with a shovel when he was gone one time. When he got home as a child, I wanted to know what treasure he brought me. He was gone sometimes 6+ months at a time. He also helped fight fires and things out west every year it seems. As a teen, I remember having nightmares about him in war. As a young adult, I remember meeting him at the airport once when he came home from a long trip to Afghanistan and I was so honored and so overwhelmed with pride, that I almost wanted to sign up for the Air National Guard so I could be like him. Who cares if he wasn’t a sniper, he and every service man and woman have very important jobs and do so to protect us and our freedoms!

I hope today’s blog encourages you to pray for our country, our leaders, our military, and anyone who fights for the freedoms we take for granted daily. I hope to inspire you to say “thank you” to service men and women you know, encourage the families of those who are here struggling while those in their families are serving or even write a congressman to support bills that fight for the proper treatment of veterans.

Lastly, support efforts to help veterans and their families adjust as they return home. PTSD is very serious and people suffering need our prayers, support and assistance whatever this means for you. Maybe it means volunteering, donating funds to aid in treatment of these individuals, paying for someone’s meal to say thanks, or simply saying thanks.

According to the http://www.ptsd.ne.gov site, An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year. The traumatic events most often associated with PTSD for men are rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse. About 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 to 25 percent have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD is only one side effect of service, many lose families, and much more fighting to protect us.

I’ll end with the words of Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘what are you doing for others?'”

Proud to be an American,

Natalie 🙂

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Traumatized by Kenny G…

For the younger readers..maybe I have one…:), the name Kenny G may not ring a bell to you. He is a talented musician and was popular in the 90s during my dating years. Of course, he was more popular with the adults than the teens…

Disclaimer: I do not apologize for sharing this story to benefit others even if it embarrasses my parents b/c they embarrassed me.. 🙂 I am not perfect, God is still working on me…I’m sure my kids will pay me back one day too..

It all began with me having a bad date with a guy who will remain nameless. He is probably the only one of my friends or acquaintances who doesn’t know this story..:) and may never know it… I wasn’t really that interested in him at the time which was really the only reason it wasn’t a great date. Anyways, I came into my home around 9pm and the lights were out all over the house. Still to this day, I do not know where my other two sisters were…one was 8 at the time, so she should have been home…maybe she was at a sleepover. At any rate, I walked to the back of the house where all of the bedrooms were and I hear Kenny G music playing from the parental bedroom…I banged on their door, said the music was too loud and hibernated in my room until I was 20…just kidding it was only until the next morning.

As you can imagine, this was traumatizing… the thought of my parents listening to Kenny G “love songs” all alone…Maybe they were just dancing…yeah right!?! This is only one of many stories about how my parents have traumatized me over the years. However, as I get older I realized these are good things to be traumatized by. I never doubted my parents love for one another, even when they argued. Their love for one another taught me so much and still is teaching me.

How can you traumatize those around you for positive things?

-Talk kindly about your spouse, your friends, your family, your kids. Tell a funny story about you and ______ even it is embarrassing. It makes you genuine and relatable!

-Don’t be scared to be affectionate to your kids, even when they are teens and adults. Teens may act like they hate you kissing them on the check in the car rider line at school but they honestly feel loved and appreciated when you do. Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about your dating or other life experiences and how you learned from them. Love them the proper way so they’ll know what to look for and what to avoid. Don’t just fuss at them…show them.

-Don’t be afraid to share your failures with others and talk about how you’ve overcame those failures. Failure is a part of the process, is is not who you are!

-Forgive even when it isn’t merited. Forgiveness doesn’t right a wrong, it just releases you from bitterness.

Proverbs 12: 6 is my words states that the words of good people can save the wicked. God’s words of wisdom spoken thru us can help those around us!

Have a great week,

Natalie

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christian counseling counseling humor inspiration mental health

Expectations of strippers

Disclaimer: Let me start out by saying that these stories are intended for humor not examples to live by, but also remember that whether or not these are true…humans judging humans doesn’t work. Judging behavior sometimes, but not judging the person. Ok, enough said…

Many moons ago, some friends while celebrating an upcoming wedding with a bachelorette party went to a local club that had dancing in one area, male strippers in another and female in the other. It was for everyone..fun right, lol. Anyways, these friends went to laugh and embarrass themselves and one another at the male stripper area. This is why girls go to these places, it isn’t for the dancers.. So the girls are sitting down, laughing as one stripper dressed as a cowboy comes out. Of course he was in good shape, a good dancer, but as he gets closer to the bachelorette party, the bride begins to have a strange feeling that she knows him…She looks over at her friend and says, “Oh my…that’s my neighbor”. This wasn’t exactly what she expected to happen at her bachelorette party. He looks down, says hello to the girl, and dances on…

Also, many moons ago, a different group of friends were taking another bride out for a bachelorette celebration and decided to surprise the bride with a visit to a male dancing place.. When the party arrived, they were welcomed in at no charge. When they walked in, they realized they were the only females there…They weren’t exactly expecting to be the only group of girls watching and laughing together while some dudes danced…They fled the scene after they realized the awkwardness…

Sometimes we struggle with situations, circumstances, experiences, relationships, etc because our expectations are wrong. We think college will be a party and an extension of high school without parental guidance. We think we will live happily ever after once we are married. We think once we __________, fill in the blank, everything will be hunky dory (as we say in the south).

No matter what your belief system is, you can probably agree that people are not perfect, this world is not perfect, and things in the world are not perfect. We need to expect challenges along the way and not just rewards or blessings. As CS Lewis states, “Whatever men expect, they soon come to think they have a right to: the sense of disappointment can, with very little skill on (the devil’s) part, be turned into a sense of injury.”

As you continue through the day, think about your expectations for yourself, your marriage, your children, your job, your family, your friends, etc.. Are they appropriate? Author Donald Miller states, “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” Don’t expect anything except God to be perfect. Since you are not him, expect that you will not be able to fully understand something that is perfect. Don’t even expect a life with God to be without challenges. Just expect that He’ll walk thru them with you. Expect your job to have flaws, expect your marriage to have challenges, expect your children to be different from you. Change your expectations to realistic ones. Maybe that even means to expect good things to happen to you, if you are a pessimist.

Have goals, have expectations, have hopes, but make sure they are realistic and that these things don’t define who you are. Being who are you today is defining. My hope and prayer is that this means you are kind, loving, compassionate, giving, thoughtful,etc. You can be this kind of person with God’s help no matter what your expectations, circumstances, etc..are.

Have a great day!

Natalie