Friday, March 27, 2009


Aaaahhh, my sister's home for the weekend... =]

The above statement should be sufficient enough to explain how happy i am... but this is a blog thingy... so i think i should probably elaborate for the reader's eye...

Truth be told, no matter where my sister and I are located at the time, i always feel like i'm at home with her. so truly, my home is where my heart is. =]

We could talk for hours on end, both beginning a really good story we just HAD to tell each other only to be reminded of something else that we wanted to say, and then that "something else" reminds us of something ELSE we wanted to say... we carry on like this for an extended amount of time, feeding the vicious cycle of randomosity (yes, i just made that word up) and A.D.D. like thinking, filling in each other on the stories, jokes, new found revelations, or really just the day to day frivolous things we want to talk about, until at last... our stories and tid bits of our weeks spent apart have gone in a full view circle until we something pops into our head that reminds of the first thing we were talking about at the VERY beginning of our conversation, and we finally end that story and move onto yet another.

Maybe we're A.D.D, or maybe just I am. But either way... oh look... a cat... (lol, no but seriously).

I love just being with my sister, whether it's a night out on the town, us driving through the country side talking, or having a cup of tea together... My sis said today that I've heard a trillion times before, but for some reason it just struck me deep today. "Those who truly care about somebody keep them close to their heart." And in testament to that, home is where the heart is. As I said before, I know without a doubt, that when I'm with my big sister Kell, I might as well be at home. =]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ithaca... by: Constantine P. Cavafy

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island where you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithaca means.

My World History professor gave this to the students in my class to read, and to see if we could come up with the underlying message that Constantine P. Cavafy was trying to convey in his writing.
And it's just this: To the one who is traveling through life, just waiting to get to the next step... whether it's the goal of going to or graduating school, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, a car, having children, or retiring just to watch your own kids do the same... do NOT live as if you're just getting through to reach your final goal. The beauty and prize of life is not at the end of the road, but in every memory we make, and every second we spend along the way with those we love. If your only goal is to reach the end, once you get there, you won't have anything to show for the life you lived. Make the most out of every second, and realize that there really IS a heaven on earth. It's all in how we decide to make the most out of this blessing we call life...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eyebrows and Relationships...

Soooo... the other day, started off like any other day. I got up, ate some cereal, took my brothers to school, and then hit the gym. After I got home from the gym I took a good look at myself in the mirror and decided it was time for an eyebrow waxing again. So I went to Top Tek Nails here in town to get the job done. As soon as I walked in I was able to go back to the "eyebrow" chair and sit down while the salon owner's wife got the wax stick ready to administer some pain on my eyebrows... do people really pay to get their skin almost ripped off their face so they can beautify themselves??? Oh well, I'm not going to judge... I was there for the very same reason!!
As the woman waxed my eyebrows, I asked her how her daughter and her son were and how everything was going for her... not knowing that this would be the topic of conversation for the next 20 somethin' minutes. She tells me her son is doing well with his job and what not, but her duaghter... now THAT is a different story entirely. Her job, oh that's going well... but the most terrible thing that could've happened (in her mom's opinion) HAS happened. She broke up with her boyfriend, Daniel. I'm sitting there in the chair, wondering why this is such a bad thing for her mom. Come to find out, this is the only boyfriend that her daughter has ever had that the mom actually approves of and grew to like. Daniel was one of those, well, "momma's boys... he was sensitive, funny, kind, caring,"... the list goes on. The only person in this whole equation that DIDN'T like him, was her daughter, the one who was dating him. "He's not mocho enough, he cries too much, he's a sissy..." she would tell her mom. What a trajedy indeed. But why should the mom care about who her daughter dates, or why should she try to control her realtionships?? The answer is beyond me... but i do know that the mom loves her daughter, and she only wants the best for her.
But my thought is, how do you REALLY know if somebody is good for somebody else you love just by looking at them, or talking to them, or even forming a friendship with them?? You can't, and you won't. While her mom might've been seeing all that was good about Daniel, Daniel still had something about him that didn't mesh well with the daughter, and the daughter could see right through Daniel... You can not know the true character of somebody unless you have a relationship with them; and for some reason, i beg to think that it is the same way with our relationship with God. While the majority of the human race sees Him as a very judgemental, harsh, strict god, they only think this way becasue they do not know Him first hand. If one were to know Him they would see through their own eyes that God has always been a loving, merciful, and kind Father who also wants only the very best for His children...

But like I said, one can only know somebody for who they really by having a relationship with them...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life is in Your Hands...

You know, when i was growing up and even until recently, I've always had this attitude about life that was probably not the greatest one to have. I've always viewed life as something that I'm just going to "make through", and something that I'm going to come out on the better side of when I'm completely through with it all.
This attitude hasn't gotten me anywhere in the past 18 years of my life, and I'm starting to realize what my true attitude and view on life should really be. Life is an adventure... indeed it is. And the only one who has control of my life, is, well, ME. It is in my power to live a happy, successful, healthy life. Why should I let my life go by and allow it to be depressing, futile, and feeble??? And beyond that, why shouldn't I take every opportunity that life hands me to become a more rounded, disciplined, adventurous, knowledgeable, and talented human being? The more opportunities we have to learn something new, the more people we are able to connect with, and the more opportunities we have to experience something out of the ordinary, everyday.

For example, by going to college i have met quite a few people who have changed my life, and they really don't even know it. From the admissions workers in the office to my teachers and professors, i have come across several enlightening characters that have actually turned into mentors more than anything. I would not have met these people or connected with their walk of life had I not made up my mind to go to college.

Another life changing decision I made was to join the Marine Corps. My recruiter Staff Sergeant Russo and I have formed a bond that not many people can understand. Yes, he's my recruiter, but him being a Marine and my future superior in the Marine Corps, i look up to him now more as a big brother; from him i can learn priceless leadership qualities, Core values, the knowledge i need to be a "good-to-go Marine", and the true meaning of "Semper Fidelis" (Marine Corps motto, Latin for "Always Faithful"). His fellow recruiters, Staff Sergeant Capps and Sergeant Mendez treat me like family as well, and anybody who's been a Marine or who is going into the Marine Corps could tell you that this is the "brotherhood" spirit of the Corps. Marines are family, no matter their race, color, age, or gender.

But I'm just starting off!! I'll be leaving for the USMC recruit training depot at Paris Island, South Carolina on 26 May of this year. The road of ahead of me is FULL of opportunities, success, free knowledge, and experience. The people I'll meet, the teachers/(Drill Instructors) ill have, the places I'll go, the things I'll learn, the adventures I'll go on, the battles I'll fight, the people I'll help, the experience I'll gain... it's all endless!!

But I've got to make the decision NOW that my life is going to mean something. Or else when I'm old and most of my life has been spent as a Marine who's just trying to get by, I'll regret the things i didn't do, the places i didn't end up going to, and the lack of relationships that I established through out my life. I want to experience life at its fullest, to feel the wind in my sails, and to always view myself as a very fortunate soul indeed.

Life is in our own hands...

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Colonel's Hands...

His hands have been used for war, for love, for making memories none could strip from his mind.

Fighting along side infantry Marines in Vietnam... training his hands for war, his M-14 rifle for caliber. "Every Marine is first and foremost a rifleman." ...the war has been won... he's going home.
He comes home to his wife, embracing his family with open arms, and rugged hands that have been worn by the battles of his time. She is pregnant, almost due... he will learn how to fight new battles once his baby girl is born.
But he is an officer, called away at a moments notice when needed. He's not there to fight every battle for his little girl, but he shows her how to fend for herself when mommy and daddy are not by her side.
With the hands that were once used for war, he uses to build a sand box, a doll house, and a playground for his "princess". "If life were always this easy.", he thinks to himself...
The years role by, and after 28 years in service to his country, and training countless Marines for battle, he retires as a Colonel. The hands that were once trained for expert rifle shooting, for hand to hand combat, and for leading Marines into weary battle zones, are now given a rest.
He doesn't stop his service to his country there... he goes on to serve his community as the commanding officer for a Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MC JROTC) unit at a local high school.
Nowadays, his hands are not used for war... but for instilling wisdom, character, integrity, and commitment in high school students who may one day, become part of the fighting forces of America.
This is my instructor, my mentor from earlier years, the USMC Colonel that has seen war at its worst, seen men die under his command, and still... he never gave up on me.
I owe alot to him...

on the left: Colonel J. R. Siegel
on the right: Sergeant Major R. Trostle

Against All Odds...

Sitting in a class room of 30 plus people, sometimes you can get side tracked... once you
start looking around you you're able to take in the characteristics and
physical qualities of the people you find yourself learning along side of. The
view may be wonderful and pleasant, and in other class rooms, the people
surrounding you may make it not so pleasant. We are a people who judge our
fellow men way too quickly by just the outward appearance, and long before we
have ever even met them, we start to form a judgment about them that most likely isn't legit
in the end. We tend to let our eyes rest upon those who are the more physically
friendly people... the ones who are outwardly beautiful, who look like they
have it all together, and those who are within a good body weight even. By
looking at these outward traits alone, nobody could ever be able to tell
whether or not that person is a legitimately "good" person, whether
they actually know what they're doing or not, or if they have a sincere and passionate
attitude about life. If we walked into a class room and half the room was full
of "beautiful" people and "homely" people, I’m ashamed to
say that we'd all most likely go sit on the "beautiful" side of the
room so as not to feel so awkward or retarded if we had sat on the unpopular
"homely" side. Instead of trying to make friends with everyone
possible, we quickly judge the other side of the room and start to feel sorry
for them... whether they're over weight, they look like they haven't showered
in days, if their clothing is completely out of style, and if they don’t have a
single "attractive" feature about them. Any or all of these reasons
make us feel automatically sorry or embarrassed for them, and we wash our hands
clean of them and don’t even try to introduce ourselves. Our thought here, is
"who wants to associate themselves with a social outcast??”

Our judgments are very shallow indeed... we go on the social belief that
"more thin is better", "faster is better", "smarter is
better", "style is better", and "more money is
better"... so we get caught up in making our quick judgments of the
individuals surrounding us, accordingly, and we don’t give it a second thought
unless we absolutely have to. How is one to tell whether a person is genuine
and kind though? Has a good heart? Would make an excellent
friend/boyfriend/girlfriend? Can make you laugh? Be a good inspiration? Make a
great role model? The thing is... you WOULDN'T know. You won't ever know the
depth of an individual's character unless you talk to them, unless you listen,
and unless you don't make the mistake by forming an awful opinion about them
before you've even gotten the chance to meet them.

Motivation is something I have a tendency to lack from time to time... and it's
only the closest people to me that know this retarded fact about me. If people
were to take me at face value, they would judge me to be a very passionate,
motivated, inspirational chick, or as my recruiter likes to call me, "his
moto dog". Don't get me wrong, I AM a very passionate person, but I don't
always follow through with my crazed passions or "one week notions" when
it comes down to bettering myself. I can get excited about something extremely fast,
but I can also get stressed and annoyed with it even faster and let it slide
under the rug like it was never in my life to begin with. I know now that if
you really ARE passionate or motivated about something, like reaching one of
those amazing goals you've written down on that list, you have GOT to follow
through with it. You can't just let it go, slack off, and give it up when the
going gets rough and it's getting harder to reach what you’re shooting for. Stress...
stress is like the devil to me. If I get too stressed out about the stuff I have
to overcome to get to where I want to go, I’ll let it ruin my plans for a
better future, and I’ll never be a successful individual with high aspirations
for myself. I’ll always let IT beat my ass before I can kick its ass and say,
"to hell with it, I can't do it". But that's just the thing... I CAN
do it. I, we, can do anything we put our minds to... as long as we stick with
it and see it through until the end.

I’ll never forget him... in our society he'd be on the "homely" side
of the room, and nobody would ever know how strong of a character he has, or
that he has an amazing goal for his life just like we all do. Everybody who looks at
him can only see the wheel chair he's in, see the over-sized glasses he wears
on his face, see that his hands don't
look quite like ours, and hear his words as they come out in fumbled,
disarrayed sentences. His name is Michael, and he has cerebral palsy. He's in
one of my classes at college, and I can't believe that he's there, studying
just as hard, if not harder than any other student on the whole campus. The teacher
tells us to introduce ourselves to one another for the last 5 minutes of
class... that last 5 minutes changed my whole outlook and attitude on school,
my goals, and why I’m there in the first place. He's had cerebral palsy since
he was a young kid, stuck in a wheel chair for pretty much his whole life. He
enjoys learning about sociology and can’t wait to learn more. He's right
handed, but because his disease has almost crippled the movement of both of his
hands completely, he's had to teach himself how to write with his left hand. His
family feeds him, dresses him, and is by his side almost 24 hours of the day. Despite
all of these obstacles, he still has a goal... to one day become a child's counselor/therapist.
This is his 2nd year of college, and he's well on his way to succeeding,
against all odds. He won't give up, and that is what separates him from the
"beautiful" side of the room, and what makes him a better individual
than all the rest. We judge success on outward looks and pleasure, but Michael
judges it on how far he's come already, and judges his passion by his attitude
that he'll never give up fighting for his dream to come true. HE is a beautiful
individual... with a good heart, strong motivation, and a happy countenance
that you rarely see in people nowadays.

This is where we have failed as a people... we judge too quickly and so ridiculously
that we aren't able to stop and smell the roses... there's something refreshing
about a human being who isn't a "plastic barbie" or a petty
"G.I. Joe". We never realize that the so called "homely"
side of the room is worth so much more of our time, admiration, and commitment
than the fake "beautiful" side of the room. If I had spent the
last 5 minutes of that class talking to the hottest guy in the room it would
get me nowhere... nowhere at all. Maybe a phone number and some short laughs...
but what would you rather have... a phone number for what's his face? Or the
motivation and new belief that you could do anything and everything you wanted,
without a doubt. The inspiration to keep going even when it gets stressful and
tiresome, and a hope for bigger and better things yet to come...? I’m pretty
darn sure I'd choose the 2nd option, thank you...

I seriously doubt that I would've found this motivation anywhere else... I know
what I have to do, I know how stressful it's going to get out there, and I
know how much work I’ll have to do to succeed... but you don't obtain anything
in life unless you're willing to work for it… and I’m sure as hell bent on
gettin where I’m goin... thanks to Michael... and he probably doesn't even know
how much he’s inspired me to finally follow through with something that has
meaningful value in my life.

Bottom line, don't falsely judge those around you just because their outer
appearance isn't kind to your eyes... you never know who's heart is kinder,
who's ways are stronger, or who's personality is more agreeable unless you talk
to them first hand, and listen to what they've got to say.