Thank You

And I will always do my duty
No matter what the price
I’ve counted up the cost
I know the sacrifice
Oh, and I don’t want to die for you
But if dyin’s asked of me
I’ll bear that cross with honor
‘Cause freedom don’t come free

Songwriters: Chuck Cannon / Toby Keith  “American Soldier”

Many of us are celebrating this Memorial Day weekend by camping, having a picnic with friends and family or like me, enjoying the extra day off at home or doing a little shopping.  As the long weekend gives us a respite from our everyday work lives, let us remember why we have that extra day.

flag of u s a standing near tomb

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When I was young, all I cared about was having a long weekend.  I was a bit selfish.  I knew WHY we recognized Memorial Day but didn’t think much about it.  As I got older, I come to realize how much this day means to me.

From every war beginning with the Civil War up until today, many didn’t make the choice to fight.  It was chosen for them.  They fought as they were told.  Many didn’t make it back home and paid the ultimate price.

However one feels about a particular war, branch of the military or our military leaders, Memorial Day should awaken us to the sacrifices of those soldiers who gave all.  I may not have the liberty to sit here and type these words had it not been for their sacrifice.  And you many not have the right to sit and read them.

Those American Soldiers died for us.  They gave everything so that we would be able to live the American Dream.  They gave everything so that we would have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  They gave everything so we could live freely.  As it was their duty to defend our great nation, it is our duty to honor them on this day.

Thank you for your sacrifice.  I hope that I can be the American you so valiantly fought and died for.

 

I can’t stop at “I don’t know”

“You should be a lawyer”.  I can’t begin to count how many times my Mom said that to me growing up.  I asked questions about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G because I have always had an insatiable need to find out why, when, who, where or how.  The unanswered and the unknown light a fire in me and my curiosity is piqued quite often.  When posed a question some might say, I don’t know and leave it at that.  I wouldn’t and I couldn’t stop there.

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

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What did we do before we could do a quick search on the internet to find answers?  Encyclopedias were very cumbersome and sifting through the card catalog at the library to find the book you need for reference was time consuming. But that’s what we had, and it worked for us at that time.  Information was not at our fingertips like it is now.  The internet helps to feed us curious types and I am glad it’s around.  Had it been accessible years ago, I’m sure Mom would have told me to use it, because there were times she just didn’t have the answers.

Curiosity fuels creativity.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

There is much in life that remains unexplored.  When we open our eyes and our minds and begin to live mindfully, we start wondering about the how and the why. We grow and evolve and become more aware of life. We limit ourselves when we accept only what is.

Looking back, many inventions and ideas were all started with a curious mind.

As a young child, Henry Ford took apart a pocket watch because he wanted to know how it worked.  We all know where this inquisitiveness led Henry in his life and how our lives were affected because of it.

Steve Jobs’, who designed the first Macintosh Computer, quit college but enrolled in a calligraphy class.  We can thank Mr. Jobs’ for expanding his horizons.  His fascination with typography in that class led to the wide choice of fonts we use today in our word processing software.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve known several people who went back to college as an adult. Some might ask, Why?  I say Why not?  The reasons for returning vary.  Maybe it was due to a job loss and a need to re-educate oneself for a different career path.  Or it may be that person wants to open their mind to new possibilities.  For those with a curious nature, they are always left with wanting more and to learn new things to quench that thirst.  It doesn’t have to be college.  It can be anything from reading books to doing crossword puzzles or taking an art class.  If it teaches you something, it’s keeping your mind from aging.

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

When we stop pondering things, I believe life just gets boring.  As children, we asked a lot of questions.  Why is the sky blue?  Why do we have to go to school?  Where do babies come from?  A constant barrage of why, why, why?  We usually refer to a child as a sponge.  They pick up and absorb everything and adapt to situations so easily.  That’s curiosity.

Why do we stop when we reach adulthood?  Is it because we think we know all there is to know?  Is it because we just don’t care to know anything further? Or is it because the fear of uncertainty and failure hold us back.  As we get older, we tend to want to stay in our comfort zone and not explore new ideas and experiences.  We tend to second guess things and not want to take risks.  We end up stuck, and soon curiosity is nowhere to be found.

So, how do we redevelop that curious nature we had as a child?  It’s simple.  Every day ask questions about things in your life, however mundane they may be.  What is that? Why is it made that way?  When was it made? Who invented it and why?  What purpose does it have?  How could it be improved?  If you don’t ask, you don’t know.

I didn’t become a lawyer like my Mom thought I should be, but I didn’t stop asking questions either.  I’m always fascinated, always curious and never bored.  I challenge you to ask questions, learn new things and be fascinated with life because it has so much to offer.

 

Roads we travel

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
  • Life is a Highway, Tom Cochrane

It was a rainy day, but we decided to take a little Sunday drive off the beaten path after a good meal.  As we drove, I looked at all the side roads and started wondering where some lead.  Then I thought about life and how it is so much like those roads.

Every road has a beginning and an end, and they all lead somewhere. Maybe to a better place and to somewhere you feel more at home, or quite possibly in a direction you are not happy with.  And sometimes, it leads you in a circle and you end up back where you started.

Some come to a crossroads and some to a “T”. Some are well maintained, others are shoddy.  Some are long and some are short.  Some are twisty and some poker straight.  There are town streets with stop lights, 4-lane highways with a fast pace, 2-lane country roads that twist and turn and dirt roads, which gives you a chance to slow down.

If you think about it, one or more of these roads can represent different parts of your life.

After high school, while still living in the country, I would drive my friends around the back roads getting them lost.  They were not from “my neck of the woods” and they never knew where we would end up.  I chuckled inside every time they would say Where ARE we?  I was always so confident knowing I knew what was at the end of the road we were traveling on.

In my early twenties, I moved into an apartment in “town”.  Being a person who deals with change easily, I adapted to living on the main street.  I dealt with such things as parking issues and noise at all hours.  Knowing it was a temporary arrangement made it easier to bear for a couple years and I knew the streets well from attending high school there.

After 4 years, I moved a couple miles North and made my home in a village, aptly named “Hometown”.  My tolerance of change helped a great deal in adjusting to a new place again.  I thought of it as my home for the 16 years I lived there, and I learned quickly to navigate the streets and side roads.  It was a nice area, better than town living, but I still wasn’t content.

I came full circle and returned to my childhood neighborhood 20 years after leaving.  The two-lane roads, open fields and fresh air made my homecoming sweet.  I feel the most at home here.  I feel comfortable.Road 2

You can’t travel two roads at one time and each one of those roads, or paths I took, was my choice.  I don’t feel that living those other places was wrong for me.  It was just where I was supposed to be at that time in my life.

But do you ever wonder what would your life be like if you took a different path?  I have, at times.  Not for wanting to change anything, but because I am a curious person by nature. I tend to think What If?  What if I chose to finish college after high school?  What would I be doing?  Where would I be living?  I still could go to college, but instead of a 4-lane highway through school, it would be more like a dirt road filled with potholes.  Achievable, just a little tougher at my age.

If you don’t like the road you’re on, start paving another one”. – Dolly Parton

At first, your choice may have seemed the most attractive option compared to the other roads that stretched out in front of you.   Then as you traveled along, you came to realize you could have made a better decision.  Although you can’t turn back time, it is never too late to change the road you are traveling.   You are never stuck with going in one direction all your life.  If you are not happy with where you are in life, make a change.

There are many roads on a map and they lead in different directions.  Next time you are on a Sunday drive, take a left instead of a right and see where it leads.

Sharon