“Aren’t you sad about losing the house you grew up in”?

“I thought you would be a little sad about the house finally being gone”, My husband said. “Nope. That house wasn’t a home for a long time now. It was gone long before I moved out”, I said.

you're not the same individual you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago. you're always growing. experiences don't stop. that's life:

 

When my dad and mom filed for divorce and he moved out, the home we grew up in where we knew so much love & joy, slowly started to lose it’s effect. The story started to slowly unfold and the reasoning for me not speaking to my dad (who I thought was this terrible person) became stupid, irrelevant and childish. I was starting to understand his reasoning for leaving, I was starting to see the unhappy home he stayed in for years because of us girls and I started to applaud him for getting out when he did because it was only getting worse.

 

After moving away from home, I moved in with a best friend and her family. They were some of the best people I knew. Throughout high school and a lot of good and bad times, that family always opened their home to me if I was ever in need. So when the time came, I moved out of my “home” and moved in with my best friend and her family. It was really wonderful, we always had a blast together and spending too much time together never affected our friendship, it was still as strong as ever. I moved out of there to go to college out-of-state only to come back a semester later and move in with my grandparents. I grew up with my grandparents being like a second set of parents to me. I was attached to them something fierce. They always took care of me, granddad always cooked breakfast and dinner. I cooked with grandma from time to time and would find new recipes to cook for them. We had a blast. My friends loved them. They loved my friends so whenever people were over, they loved it. Whenever I would be going out for the night, my grandma would always tell me to wait up for her, she was coming with us. She wanted to dance and do shots, she swore she would be a lot of fun! She cracked me up, not because she was bluffing because we all knew what a blast she would be if she came. Haha.

Dining room decal,  Bible verse decal, Bedroom wall decal, Home quote decal:

 

I learned very quickly that it isn’t about where you were that made it a home. It was about who you were with, the way you felt, the laughter and jokes you created, the love, the memories, the friends and family, blood-related or not at all. A lot of who are apart of my family aren’t blood-related but it doesn’t matter, I don’t treat them any different. If anything – they’ve treated me more like family than some of my family members. My friends have become permanent parts of my life and part of my family & I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

So no, I’m not sad about losing a place where I grew up because honestly, there were a lot of homes that I grew up in, that was just the home I resided in the longest. I will always cherish the memories that I had there. I will cherish the good times and the bad but I’ve found that my home resides wherever my family is. Whether it be in a mansion or a double-wide. That is where my home is.  We have love wherever we go, we create memories wherever we are, our laughter and jokes are carried with us throughout our journey together and apart.

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Them Damn Ricans!

I have a pretty close knit family.  Or at least I thought we were tight.  Okay let’s face it, we not be as tight as we all want to be because we all are sooooo damn busy, have kids, work, practices, grandkids, blah blah blah.  We all end up falling into that comfort after you leave the nest where you think you can survive on your own and still communicate with family members during the holidays, birthdays, or funerals.  I honestly thought my family was tight because we did things that way.  The holiday dinners and maybe the occasional Sunday football game with White House Chicken (our local chicken shack). We do a lot together as a family, so I thought we were a close knit family because we are a lot closer than most families we know.  Until we met Them Damn Ricans.

A personal favorite from my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/226754270/every-family-has-a-story-welcome-to-ours:

Now there is a little bit of a back story I should mention first. Nancy’s ex was a complete asshole, maybe not the largest, but definitely in the top 7 asshole list of all time.  He was very controlling and would not allow her to visit family unless his goofy ass was around for whatever all- about-him reason he had.  After Nancy left his dumbass, and he was convinced his best chance for survival was to leave the country and move back in with his parents, Nancy was free to visit her family as much as she liked.  I couldn’t wait to meet them either.  So was I accepted?  Immediately!  I was the one who brought Nancy home and put a smile back on her face because that is exactly what she had done for me.  I had a feeling I would be accepted just for that reason and that was enough for me.  But them Damn Ricans went so far above and beyond appreciation in welcoming all of us it was almost embarrassing.

In the beginning of our relationship, I met Nancy’s mother and two of her brothers.  All absolutely amazing people.  When my family actually discovered how families should act around one another was on our first trip to Puerto Rico.  My mom and dad came along with Nancy and I so they too could meet some of Nancy’s family and enjoy a nice vacation.  We were met at the airport by aunts, uncles, and cousins as far as the eye could see.  Some of the aunts brought their famous coquito which is a Puerto Rican holiday drink most close to egg nog but 100 times better.  We caravanned to a small group of roadside bars and eateries in Rio Piedras where another group of aunts, uncles, and cousins were waiting on us.  We ate!  Oh my God did we eat, had some soda pops (Medallia) of the local variety, kissed, hugged and got to know one another.  We then went back to my Mother In Law’s (Maria) house where still even more family awaited.  More food, more Medallias, more hugs and kisses, music blaring, and dancing and singing like crazy.  I do not remember sleeping that day, but Them Damn Ricans put on one hell of a party and we felt instantly welcome.  We spent our almost entire two weeks that year with all of them.  Amazing!  It really sucked to say good bye, but we had to.  We immediately planned the same trip for the same time the next year.

As our plane touched down in San Juan the next year, it is customary to clap loudly and sing a little song.  We remebered it, and joined in this time.  Once again, a massive family get together at the airport, time together in Rio Piedras then off to Mom’s house.  We rented a beach house this time because more of our “White” friends wanted to come with us on this trip.  Nancy and I were going to renew our vows in Camuy at a gorgeous place owned by Tio (Uncle) Sonny’s friend Ramone and his wife.  Of course it was a pub/eatery we visited on the last trip, but their is a gorgeous cliff over looking the Carribean that was something out of a fairy tale.  The entire family and our friends rented rooms at a small, quaint resort in Camuy which was about a mile from the wedding spot.  It wasn’t gorgeous but it was magical, inexpensive and right on the Carribean.  I mentioned magical because this is where I saw magic happen between two different cultures and people occur that made me feel so good about the world.  I said we were all immediately accepted, but this was ridiculous.  My brother in laws, Alex and Anthony would scale the coconut trees and bring coconuts down, shave them, pour rum in them and serve them to whomever wanted one. This was about 9am.  My sister, Shannon fell in love with those two and they treated her like a princess.  So my dad wanted to join them.  He tried to climb the tree, but the years of him doing that passed, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t pick up that machete and learn how to shave one down even though my mom’s heart fell with every swipe.  It was amazing watching him.  So the day fell into night on that New Years’ Eve.  We went to the pub/eatery for final plans and ate, drank, and sang.  We all sang karaoke.  My dad and I even did a song even though we were so out classed by our new families singing voices (they all can sing beautifully) we sang New York, New York.

Messing with us, the owner, Ramone changed the lyrics over to Spanish half way through.  Big laughs ensued, but we ad libbed as best we could.  When we got back to the resort around 1am, my dad and a friend of ours Hillbilly were not tired, so they found the Manager’s room and had him open the bar.  Surprisingly they did not get shot and he opened the bar and we made it worth his while.  Apparently on New Years’ Eve it is customary to knock on the doors of people, sing a song, and they have to offer you something to eat and drink then join you in moving onto the next home.  By 3am the entire resort was up with us and we went to a grassy area outside of our room.  We were laughing and drinking, and my primo (cousin) Manolo picked up a trash can, Damian some sticks, Tio Coca some rocks, Tia Martita an empty jug and then they made music.  Good music.  Our prima Yarixa (Jar-itza) began to sing and if it was if the Heavens opened up.  Then all the aunts joined in, brothers, cousins, oh my God it was an amazing event I will never forget.  We did that til dawn, got a nap, then got ready for the wedding.

Puerto Rico ~ Yep! :o):

We still try to make a trip every year over New Years’ Eve and stay thru Three Kings Day, but now all Them Damn Ricans come up to our places on Lake Erie to camp with us for an extended weekend over the summer.  So now every year when we go up to open our campers, the first thing we get asked is when Them Damn Ricans are coming.  When they do show up, we have about five grills going at once, as many coolers as we can find, corn hole and hillbilly golf wars, and lots of music.  We still go fishing in the mornings with whoever wants to go, then we party the night away.  They are truly amazing people, and they never waivered about opening their arms and lives to my family.  So thank you to THEM DAMN RICANS!  I LOVE YOU ALL!

RIP Tia Martita!

 

-Denney

Is it that time yet?

Everyone always imagines a time where they leave where they are and just disappear somewhere else. We hit the hard moments and want to start over somewhere new and experience greater things in life.

I was born in Akron, Ohio (not a very big & bumpin’ place) but it’s cute and it certainly has grown over the years as I have traveled back home. We moved right after I turned one to Ft. Eustis, Virginia, my dad was stationed there while he was in the Army. I was around the age of 6 when we left Virginia and moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, if you haven’t been there, do yourself a favor and go visit. It is the most beautiful place and I happened to spend every summer there with my grandparents after we moved to Florida. Right after school was out, my parents drove up to Hilton Head and dropped me off. Might sound a little odd to you but I adored my grandparents, they were like my parents and I was so attached to them and they were to me, it only made sense for me to spend my summers with them. Plus, I was always a very independent person and unlike my sisters, I didn’t get homesick while I was away going all around Hilton Head. I spent the entire summer meeting new people who were there on vacation, getting tan, going to work with my grandparents sometimes, I knew everyone at the Marriott, they knew me and they were like family. I spent all my days involved in the activities that the hotel offered, playing putt-putt, catching sand dollars and painting them, relaxing in the pool, at the beach, the list goes on. Hilton Head was my favorite place in the entire world, honestly, it still is. I can’t wait to go back. We moved from there to Kissimmee, Florida when I was 7 years old and back to Ohio when my dad was offered good money with Speedway. Then he was transferred back to Port St. Lucie, Florida (when I was around 10 years old) and back to Kissimmee from there on out. Honestly, I don’t remember Akron when I was younger, I remember bits and pieces from Virginia and Hilton Head (mainly because of all my vacations). I actually don’t remember moving from Kissimmee back to Ohio, but I do remember Port St. Lucie, how could I forget after the tornado that swept through Kissimmee and did A LOT of damage before we moved back for good.

I made it out alive and haven't been sucked back in.... but i miss it... sick and twisted :/:

6 reasons to leave your hometown

I found this link which sparked this entire thought process about moving away from your hometown. Even though I wasn’t born in Florida, 15+ years living here with this being really the only place that I know – yeah, I’d consider it my hometown in a way. My husband however, was born and raised in Florida. He’s traveled a lot, so he has definitely seen a lot more than I have but he’s always loved the colder weather. The humidity and heat are the absolute worst….All of you touristy people who are only here for the week, you don’t even understand the beginning of what it’s truly like. I LOVE the seasons. I don’t know how you couldn’t love watching the color of the leaves change, watch the trees go from full of leaves to naked and to watch all of the green grass disappear and be replaced with the whitest layer of snow.

You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination // Travel Quote Phone Cases @seattlestravels:

I’ve thought about leaving the state of Florida for years. I’ve always wanted to. Not necessarily back to Ohio.. or anywhere in particular but I wanted to get away, start fresh and be somewhere different, outside of my comfort zone, because that’s also where I excel the most. I’ve wanted to go the flight attendant route because honestly, it would be the most perfect thing. You are stationed somewhere with other flight attendants, get an apartment together or by yourself, and just t r a v e l while finishing up school. When I was applying and looking at places, one of the places I wished I would be stationed at was Chicago. I’ve visited there a total of three times and have fallen more in love with that place each time. Another place that I’ve never been is New York and that was an option too, which I was open to as well. Lastly, Seattle and Texas. Yes please. Bring it on. Becoming a flight attendant was so appealing to me because you could travel all over the world and be paid for it. The amount of freedom within that is amazing and I was completely open to becoming a flight attendant. But let me tell you – those interviews were one of a kind and SO MUCH FUN.

The thing about a comfort zone is that it sounds, well, too comfortable. I call it a COMFORT PIT because a pit is somewhere you want to get out of as fast as possible. Bear Grylls:

Back to the link I provided above. If you haven’t taken the time to click on it and read it, you should. It’s super insightful and it makes a ton of valid points, it’s something everyone should consider at least once in there lives. But then again, going out of your comfort zone isn’t for everyone. Plus – in most cases, more often than not – you go where the job is. This article talks about meeting new people, experiencing new places, leaving your comfort zone and leaving your parents – all the things that I think are so wonderful and are something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. I’ve left home before, went to Gainesville for school (still in FL though, not much of a drive from home) but then I moved to Kansas for school and it was one of the most thrilling experiences ever. I was with my best friend of all the time because we were cheering together but she had started a year prior to me so it’s not like we were together all the time. I made great friendships with people that I still keep in contact with today. Leaving home and going to Kansas was really great because I was able to get out of my comfort zone and fend for myself. I adored my roommate, I consider myself very lucky because I’ve heard horror stories from people with ridiculous roommates. I got a taste of my seasons once again. I traveled quite a few places with my friends & roommate. I even went home for Thanksgiving with my roommate, she lived in Texas and that was a blast. Her family was really great. All of the experiences and time that I had there, I wouldn’t take back at all. I only wish that I was able to stay longer.

“Let yourself move to the next chapter in life when the time comes. Don’t remain stuck on the same page”.

I think that’s where I am at. I’m ready to move forward into that next chapter and I’m afraid that Florida just isn’t where that can happen. It’s not that I’m unhappy here and I don’t have the means to just up and leave right now so it’ll take time unless a job comes with the move. It’s definitely good to keep your options open and explore other ideas, you never know what you are going to find. It’s never going to be easy but then again – it’s not really easy here either, so what’s the point? I’m excited for the things to come for me and my family, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure they are the happiest.

Here’s to the places we’ve never been, ideas we have yet to think of, jobs we haven’t found and adventures that haven’t begun quite yet. Cheers!

I've started, and I can't say there aren't times when I wish I hadn't, nor can I say there won't be more, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other.:

Im in love with cities Ive never been to and people Ive never met | The most beautiful parts of life are still unfolding.:

A little travel inspiration from Lonely Planet co-founder and legend, Tony Wheeler, suggested by Josh Button.:

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” — Alan Watts:

 

 

-Samantha

A Chance Meeting? I Don’t Think So!

Several years ago I was fortunate enough to become a Field Consultant for 7 Eleven which, despite the stereotypes is a phenomenal job and a great company to work for.  In the training process you basically start as a third shift cashier and work your way up to the position you were hired for.  It was a fantastic training program and I will be the first to tell you those third shifters are worth their weight in gold.  The program took nearly a year to complete, but I had several years of C-Store experience so I fast tracked a little bit.  I LOVED IT!  ALL OF IT!  At that point I was making good money and I actually got the chance to go home every night and see my girls.  Plus it allowed me a chance to be myself, and to get away from the horrible marriage I had at home.  Through this job I was able to disguise my personal life for a good 8-12 hours a day then go home to my princesses.  I truly felt blessed!

challenge accepted barney stinson:

My trainer, we will call her Natalie, had all of her Store Managers in her area come over to the store I was training in to meet me because she is just an awesome leader like that.  One by one they filed in, shook my hand, introduced themselves, offered their help with anything I needed, then they went back to their stores.  It was a really great gesture and greatly appreciated.  The very last Manager that day immediately caught my eye, and I mean WOW!  I had never laid eyes on her or spoken a word to her before but I was suddenly a 16 year old boy, nervous, dry mouthed, hands sweating, and I got butterflies in my stomach. She had a radiant smile, shining, gorgeous, chocolate brown eyes, and a rack only God Himself could have created.  I felt weak in the knees and I mumbled so badly through the intro she probably thought I was “special”!  After she left, I told Natalie she would be the next Mrs. Swain.  Natalie quickly told me I didn’t have a chance in Hell.  It was a tight group of people so my words traveled quickly to Nancy.  It didn’t take long for me to find out the woman of my dreams found me to be quite an “ASSHOLE!”  Wow right? So I thought…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!  GAME ON!

Yes, I was still married at the time, but it was over way before then.  We had a marriage of convenience at that time, and three beautiful little girls to consider, but I was still married so I could not go all out after Nancy like I normally would have.  I had to strategize.  I could not stop thinking about her, but she seemed very happy in her life, and I may be a lot of things, but I am no home wrecker nor could I afford to be accused of flirting with a store manager I could possibly some day supervise.  It was very complicated to say the least, but I just could not shake it.  The more I had the chance to talk to her or ask her questions about how to do something, the deeper I was falling.  She knew how I felt about her from the beginning, but the whole “asshole” and being married thing deterred her from even giving me the time of day outside of work.

Love At First Sight Quotes-This is going to sound crazy, but... from the moment I first set eyes on you I haven't been able to stop thinking about you #love:

I went through almost two years of this with her.  I would call her while I was driving from one store to another to ask her questions I already knew the answer to just so I could hear her voice.  She figured that out quickly, but man I had it bad.  To make things worse, I began to find out she was just as unhappy at home as I was, she had three daughters also around the same ages as mine, and had the same birthday as my soon to be ex-wife, just one year older.  Strange coincidences like these just started happening, strange, but really great too.

Somehow, I kept getting sent to her store for projects…wink wink! If you know Nancy at all, she runs a pretty damn perfect store, so I knew I had Natalie’s blessing.  We talked a lot.  Mostly about our kids, but there was finally mutual flirtation going on.  We listened to each other, and realized how unhappy we both were.  Both of our main concerns were our kids.  We kept that focus.

One day, okay hell  with that shit, it was December 2nd, and I will never ever forget it! Nancy was sent to court to represent our company.  Once again, I was sent to her store that day to do a reset while she was gone.  When she returned she was pretty shaken up, our eyes locked, and right then I knew.  I knew the last two years of patience and doing the right thing had finally paid off.  She pulled me into the office of her store and laid the still greatest kiss of my life on me.  I melted! DONE,  Silly putty!  We agreed to go to dinner that night and talk.  I have never been so nervous in my life.  I felt 18 again.  I knew at that point God had sent me this way out of my league Puerto Rican Angel in my time of need, and I was not going to let her go.  We went out for wings and beers.  Yes beers. Double plural but remember I am a red neck! We soon lost track,of time talking about our kids, what we like to do, families, and everything else imagineable.  We knew things were going to be very complicated from this point forward, but we both wanted to see what might come out of this.  We kept it hush hush at this point since there was no need to ruffle feathers or get the kids involved if we didn’t think things would work.  Their lives were hard enough and birthdays of our oldest daughters and the holidays were quickly approaching.

inspirational divorce quote:

The next few weeks flew by.  I talked to my Grandma Hale who was my confidant.  She was dieing of cancer and dementia but was sharp as a tack that moment I talked to her.  She knew something was wrong, but told me to always follow my heart, believe in God, and LIVE every day. She passed on my oldest daughter Samantha’s 16th birthday.  We did not tell her that day of course, but it was very difficult for me to hide all the bottled up emotions I had going on.  It was tough but we couldn’t ruin Samii’s day!

I finally made the decision to move out on my own because I just couldn’t take it any longer.  That same day, Nancy asked her guy to move out also.  I swear it was not planned that way, it just happened we both thought we wanted to get through the holidays for the kids.  It was actually New Years’ Day!  How fitting huh?  I was scheduled to have a meeting the next day so I called Nancy for advice.  She let me know her situation that day as well.  We met and she secretly, for some reason, helped me find an efficient apartment which just happened to be right across the street from her store, and the courting began.

9 Poignant Divorce Quotes That Will Mend Your Broken Heart (PHOTOS):

We knew things were going to be complicated, but we had no idea the things we were about to endure.  My oldest (Samii) wanted nothing to do with me.  Nancy’s kids rebelled some too.  We had to plan little meetings around our girls, work, and divorce proceedings. It was a tough go. I still don’t know how we did it, but we did.  We prayed together a lot. Still do, and it was by the grace of God things would somehow work out each time.  We slowly introduced each other to our children.  She would come with me to football games or cheer competitions so we could at least watch Samii cheer and get a peek at Shayna and Lexi when they weren’t with us.  We blasted through each challenge that presented itself, and I still would not change a thing.

 

The one challenge I never took into consideration was the looks we would sure receive. I’m white! Very white! Redneck white! Nancy is Puerto Rican.  I guess I gave my fellow human beings more credit than they deserved, but we got over that too.  It just really became a funny shock to our kids’ friends especially Nancy’s, when they found out I was white. Quite comical even.  Even more funny was the group of friends we hung out with were all made up of mixed race couples, a male gay couple, and a female gay couple. It was an amazing bunch!

As life continued on for the Swain clan, we meshed.  We lost alot of battles, but won the wars.  Feelings got hurt, things were said, tears we shed, but I still wouldn’t trade the chance of meeting her for anything in the world.  Things worked out, our kids found out the truth, and fences were mended.  We don’t use the step word very often, we are a family accepted from both sides of our wonderful families and we are all back together and thriving!

God is so good, and so is life!!!!

Gracias mi Dios por un nuevo despertar lleno d paz d amoor y nuevos pensamientos que me llenan de alegria y se regocija mi alma de harmonia:):

 

 

-Denney

What had to be done.

Even the most picture-perfect families have unseen cracks. Get Iyanla Vanzant's thoughts on how to cope if your family is facing a breakdown.:

As a little girl you are wrapped around fairy tales, your Barbie’s and your parent’s fingers because you are their little princess. As you look back on those moments, at the age of 25, you couldn’t ever imagine your life without your family as your number one and those very people being the ones that protect you from all the evil the world has to offer. Little do you know, the one you trusted with your heart and soul will rip it into a thousand pieces, not once, not twice, but a million different times and in a million different ways. You keep giving in but there comes a time where you finally stand up to that very evil and even though it takes everything out of you, you shove it out of your life. You had to. You’ve given countless chances. Forgiven. But never forgotten. But the end result is always the same..no matter how much time has passed, no matter what the consequences. You are left in pieces, and the only choice you have is to pick yourself back up, put yourself back together and learn from your mistakes. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Well, I was fooled more than twice. So no one can ever say that I didn’t give a damn.

“You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue in their actions”.

It is sad. But it is the truth. I’ve seen it, you have probably seen it, we have all in some way, shape or form witnessed this to be 100% true. People these days are some of the selfish that they have ever been. It’s a problem. It creates a lot of problems. It creates a huge distance between them and the ones that they love, or used to love anyway. Ultimately, this is where it all fell apart for me. Someone who was so consumed in everything just being about them, not just wanting but needing the material things, the thrill, the competition, the adventure while their children were to fend for themselves. That last part really irks me, does it do the same to you? Maybe not, but because I dealt with it first hand for years, it kills me to even think about it. Or to even allow myself to go there.

Don’t get it twisted, I have some fabulous family members and friends, some blood-related and others not even close but they might as well be. And I am truly, very blessed to have them in my life. Without them, things would be completely different and I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through. Well, I would have made it through, I consider myself a fairly strong person but with them, the pain started to slowly disappear (not completely, it still lingers from time to time), life begun to fall together into something truly beautiful and I had people that I could count on no matter what the task, obligation or obstacle that lie ahead.

Blood means you're related. It doesn't mean you're family.:

 

Selfish people tend to only be good to themselves… then are surprised when they are alone. - Steve Maraboli For more quotes and inspirations: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/selfish-people-tend-only-good-themselves-then.html?ref=ppt10: Sometimes you have to give up on people. Not because you don't care, because they don't.: Blog post about coping with a loved one who struggles with addiction. "My First Best Friend" talks about watching a loved one fall into addiction and finding forgiveness and the ability to love.:

There comes a point and time when you just cannot handle anymore destruction, heartbreak and suffering and you just have to let go… because if you don’t, it will be the end of you. That’s what it came down to, for me. I believe in second chances, even if you may not, I understand and I won’t judge you for it. But each and every time I allowed this person to come and wreak havoc on my life, I died a little inside. It killed me to know that this human being, this person who was supposed to love & protect me at all costs, would so gladly hurt me in ways unimaginable and wouldn’t find the need to make amends or want to for that matter. Honestly – this entire blog has been about the hurt that I’ve dealt with and what I’ve felt but what I care about most is that fact that others around me have been hurt, destroyed and confused on what they ever did to deserve such treatment.

Kind Of Dramatic But So True! 10 Taylor Swift Quotes Every Girl Understands http://www.gossipness.com/lifestyle/kind-of-dramatic-but-so-true-10-taylor-swift-quotes-every-girl-understands-677.html:

What I care about is that even on their worst day, they would still give you the world but it’s never good enough. You always want, want, want. You pry on their weaknesses and when they are most vulnerable. You humiliate everyone by the name you’ve given yourself and we have to live with it too. You’ve been given countless chances and opportunities but have chosen yourself every time. Somehow, some way you have manipulated people to continue to be around you, but sadly, your time with them is limited. It’s only a matter of time before your true self has been revealed and you have yourself to blame. You’ve destroyed any hope of having a family that we’ve once dreamt of. What I will say though, thank you for giving me a wonderful sibling, without her I would go insane. Thank you for three sets of the best grandparents I could’ve ever imagined. Thank you for an amazing father, a wonderful step-mommy dearest and siblings that if it weren’t for you, they would’ve never been apart of my life. And thank you for documenting our lives in pictures and photo albums because at least there, I am able to reminisce on the happy memories when we were once given a shit about by you. So thank you.

And to you: Stop pointing fingers at others when you are the one at fault, you only make yourself look more pathetic than you already are. Please do not act like I am the cold-hearted one that never wanted you apart of my life and that I only pushed you away when you kept “trying”. Your version of “trying” ended the same way every time, it never changed. The only consistent was the amount of pain and tears you caused each and every one of us, that was enough for a lifetime two times over. Don’t say I never forgave you, I forgave you more than you ever deserved. More than I should have. Oh well, maybe you could say that I had hope for you? Or that I wanted you apart of my life and I thought that maybe, just maybe, you would change for your kids? But we were all wrong, jokes on us. It’s bad enough that my kids (when I have them, not pregnant) will have to grow up without their great-grandmother — who would’ve been the light in their lives just like she was in mine. But don’t worry – they will grow up with multiple grandmothers who I don’t have to worry about leaving them with; in fear that something awful will happen because you cannot get your act together. Among all the awful things you’ve said to me over the years, you hit home when you brought Mel (my biological father) into this screwed-up mess. Don’t you dare think that he doesn’t see the person I’ve become, the complete opposite of what you describe me as, because he watches over me every day. Lastly, I’ve let go.. for good.  I will not allow anyone else to be hurt by you, as long as I live. I hope that you find happiness, peace and the life you so desperately long for.. even though that’s certainly more than you even deserve. Ciao.

 

-Samantha

Race Didn’t Matter! We Were All Green!

For most – race, creed, color, origin, age, and sexual orientation are taboo.  I want to throw out my opinion on the race phenomenon we are witnessing in this day and age, and compare and/or contrast to a time in my life where it just did not seem to matter.

Racial Equality:

I was in the Army for almost five years stationed for the most part at Ft Eustis, Va.  As you can imagine you meet many different types of people with such diverse backgrounds and it is amazing the cohesiveness you can feel with any one soldier.  All races, genders, ages, origins, and several different religious preferences didn’t seem to matter.  We all had each other’s backs and did what we could to help one another.  Don’t get me wrong there wasn’t always peace and harmony amongst our ranks but for the most part race rarely entered into the equation.  If you were smart, you tried your best to learn about as many different cultures as were represented and respected each and every one. The food alone was worth it in my book!

USMC || Boot Camp | "There is no racial bigotry here. Here, you are all equally worthless." ~ Gunnery Sergeant Hartman:

I met some of the best individuals while I was enlisted.  Two of my mentors were black, three or four were Puerto Rican and a couple were white rednecks like me.  These men were the best and they cared about you and your families.  I had two daughters only at this time and both Samantha and Shayna loved all of them to death and they all loved my girls. Samii was old enough to be the little princess in their eyes and started preschool with some of their children.  She was always talking about Sarvant (she couldn’t say Sergeant properly yet) Davis and Sarvant Powell.  She would run and jump into their arms whenever they came over and hug them like she was theirs.  Great men! Black! Who gives a damn!

Every race has their assholes for sure, but every race also has their good people too.  My experience crossed many lines with these men and women and we lived together in not so fun places, we spent a lot of time together, had families involved, and learned from one another, but we were all Green! Nobody was better than anybody else.  We all crawled thru the sand, burnt shit from cut out latrines, and way too often bled red!

BUT WE WERE ALL GREEN!

We need to stop this ignorance of racial bullshit and realize we are all Americans and most importantly realize WE ARE ALL GREEN!

ALL LIVES MATTER!

 

-Denney

What Does It Mean, To Sacrifice Something?

Do you know what “sacrifice” and “the best” have in common? They’re both wildly overused and abused words that are used to describe something or someone. “The best burger ever!” Really? You’ve had every type of burger in the world and known to man? Recently, if you watched the Super Bowl, you heard about Cam Newton not “sacrificing his body” on a fumble that he had a chance to recover, but is sacrifice the right word to describe his inaction, when going for his own fumble isn’t technically something that’s out of the norm for his very profession and, more specifically, that specific scenario on the biggest of all sports stages?

In Life and Love:

The very word, sacrifice, became a surprisingly simplistic, mundane internal argument I’ve been having with myself since my wife, one of the two regulars on this blog, wrote “…thank you for all that you sacrifice” in a very moving and appreciative Valentine’s Day card last month. When I read it and asked her what it was she thought I was sacrificing, she said it was because of my current job giving me tennis elbow in both arms, causing a great deal of discomfort and, sometimes, a searing, stabbing pain in both forearm areas at any given time, even on the weekends when I’m supposed to be recovering.

As if on cue, my mind, ever the hyper-analytical and argumentative one, was flooded with various different arguments that I had neither the right person nor the time to vent or argue with about how people, with seemingly blatant ignorance and disregard, throw out a word like sacrifice. Cam Newton is supposed to dive for his own fumble, especially if it’s in the Super Bowl. An outfielder is supposed to dive full-speed for a blooper/pop up, whether it’s the first out of the inning or the final out in Game 7 of the World Series. A Secret Service agent is supposed to take a bullet for whomever he or she has been charged with protecting…but am I supposed to have pain in both of my arms when my job is to edit highly sensitive reports?

The answer is a very resounding NO.

My wife and I met while we both worked at dead-end carnie jobs at Universal Studios; I was working part-time to simply put gas in my car driving to and from UCF to finish my Bachelor’s, and she was being given lip service about how they were going to fast track her to a supervisor position. The ride I worked at, as a menial pawn a.k.a. attractions attendant, had very stiff and unserviced harnesses. After one year of working there, an elbow injury from years of abuse from sports began to flare up, and it got to the point where my doctor thought Tommy John surgery was a viable way to rectify the issue. My wife, on the other hand, hand to sacrifice her overall sanity while she was in charge of people who, quite frankly, were either below or slightly above Forrest Gump-level intellect. Nowhere in that job description did either of us see “risk your future health and mental well-being” in the “primary responsibilities” role.

And now we reach the crux of the issue: when someone legitimately sacrifices something or themselves, not the Cam Newton-lack-thereof version, should that sacrifice go unnoticed? Should someone throwing away their dignity to brown nose and get a promotion and someone risking potential surgery on both arms be constituted as the same type of sacrifice?

et bah y'en intérêt parce que là, j'ai ma dose de chaos!:

 

This is a tough question for many of you, I’m sure, especially when I ask that you leave politics out of it. You responses are appreciated, but not necessary; I’m simply trying to bring to light an issue that seems to have been forgotten in this chaotic world we live in today.

 

 

-Case

Why I’m thankful for each and every one of my coaches.

I came across this photo today while scrolling through my Facebook & strangely, it couldn’t be more accurate. At least in my opinion. This photo was made and posted by a dear friend whom is a teacher and a head coach at a high school for sideline and competitive cheerleading. For those of who you may think that cheerleading is a rah-rah let’s throw my pom poms around and let’s see how short I can hike up my skirt, I can assure you, you are very, very wrong. Take a brief moment, open a new tab, type in YouTube and you know what better yet — click here.

Are you finished? Great, let’s move on.

And why yes, they may have on a crop top and a short skirt/shorts… it is no different than what your average college cheerleader looks like.. but, that’s another argument for another day. Now while I did do the rah-rah go-team-go type of cheerleading AKA: pop-warner, middle school and high-school cheerleading.. I also competed like in the video you watched above. If you didn’t watch it, or at least A PART of it, you won’t completely understand unless you are fluent in the all-star cheerleading world. And yes, it IS a whole different type of world filled with blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, huge bows, glitter, lots and lots of makeup and hairspray, late nights, 5AM practices and wakeups, lots and lots of traveling, 4 hour practices (even on weekends) and much, much more. In this very moment, I couldn’t even imagine not being apart of the countless hours of practicing, competing and traveling all those years. While I may not have realized it at the time, those coaches, the ones we may have been so angry at while they screamed and screamed because of each fuck-up we made during practice, are the very ones who taught us perseverance and strength and who taught us never to give up, and the meaning of teamwork. The very people who showed us unconditional love and dedication, and those very people helped shape us into the human beings we are now. Without them, we would’ve become a whole different kind of person.

I didn’t just come across such amazing coaches in cheerleading, but I also came across some wonderful coaches while playing volleyball, running track, and playing flag football. However, out of all the sports, cheerleading, without a doubt, took up the most of my time. Between going to practice right after school for school practice, then leaving there and eating something while heading to all-star cheer until 8-9pm at night, then heading home to do homework, get a shower and go to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. Practices even occurred on the weekends, 4 hours long. Now you would say that we didn’t have much of a life but in fact, our life was our gym, our teammates, the competitions, the hotels we stayed in when we traveled out of town to compete during the weekends, just wherever we were as long as our teammates, team moms and coaches were by our side – we were complete. Our friends WERE AT practice with us, their parents became our second parents/families, so we were as happy as could be until we didn’t stick a perfect routine and had to run it 50 times before we were allowed to go home….. No joke.

I am beyond thankful for how hard they made us practice, for how they made each obstacle seem like it may have been impossible but kept motivating and pushing us until we completed it to then give us another obstacle to tackle. Together, the coaches, our team, our parents, our siblings, other teams — we were a unit. A community. Together we were apart of something much bigger than ourselves and it really made us appreciate the little things in life. We thrive under pressure, we encourage the competition, we know what dedication looks like, we know what teamwork consists of, we won’t back down and we know that in order to achieve greatness, you must be willing to sacrifice things and we are 100% okay with that. My coaches were some of the most influential people in my life, people who tore us down to build us back up into an even better individual and an even better asset to our fellow teammates. They never gave up on us, they always had our backs, we always had each other’s back and because of that, we came out on top — stronger than ever. Every time. Win or lose.

So coaches, thank you so much for everything you’ve ever done for each one of us.

Thank you for putting up with our crap, pushing us harder each time, standing by us, supporting and cheering us on in the front of the mat while the bright lights revealed in a minute and thirty seconds — just how hard we’ve worked to complete a magnificent routine. And we owned it.

 

&& as for Adrian, one of the best tumblers, dancers & jumpers that I know. A coach and friend that we lost way too soon, thank you for constantly pushing us to be better. Thank you for screaming loudly, jumping up and down and cheering us on at the front of the mat each and every competition. Thank you for always being someone we could count on.  We loved to make you proud. Thank you for being such an amazing human being and thank you for being the best coach possible. Rest in peace. We will never forget you.

-Samantha