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THE ADVENTURES OF SCUBA STEVE

I am many things to many people, but I am and will always be … ME.

Thoughts on Life and Relationships

I hope this finds you well and that you have a moment to endure what I am about to write here.  This may seem a bit long, but I have been doing a great deal of thinking, soul-searching, prioritizing lately and have come to the conclusion that I don’t let you know often enough how much I appreciate you.  If nothing else, I hope this gives you a little insight into that …

This may seem a bit odd (because you might not know me at all) and a bit long (as those who do know me, know I can be a bit “wordy”), but I have been doing a great deal of thinking, soul-searching, prioritizing lately and have come to the conclusion that I don’t let my friends and friends-who-are-like-family know often enough how much I appreciate them.  If nothing else, I hope this gives a little insight into that …

f2CAUTION! Random thoughts ahead.  Here it goes …

There are many that I am lucky enough to have called and many that I still have the privilege of calling friends.  Relationships with people in life come in all shapes, sizes, lengths and the quality of each friendship is unique and special.  A relationship that is forged in commonality and most often shared experience and I have been extremely lucky that I have had more than one friend that has supported me and my thinking outside the box, my unpredictable wanderlust soul, always needing to be changing things up and “on the move” and yes, even enduring my need to be the center of attention.

While I am extremely grateful for the abundance of friendly-acquaintances and other friendships that have evolved around my professional and educational life, it is my true Blessing to have a handful of friends of the life-long caliber, that no matter the distance or time that passes in between our speaking, still feels like we just spoke yesterday, “picking up right where we left off”, as they say.  While those relationships are not great in number, they are definitely and most certainly, truly the highlight of my life!  Those people have been present for a variety of events and happenings in my life and have always seen beyond the “black and white” of every situation encountered, always risen above it and accepting me with my many, many, many, many, many faults.f3

So to all of them, I say … Thank you … for tolerating all of my many idiosyncrasies and crazy, inherent, random shenanigans.  Thank you … for enduring my unintentional, horrific, inconsistent communication style and seemingly fair-weathered-friendship.  I have always set out with the best of intentions to stay connected and let all of them (you) know how much they truly mean to me and somehow, I always seem to lose focus somewhere along the way, using the excuse that everyone is busy with their own lives and is not missing out not seeing me.  For this, I must sincerely apologize.  I think about them often and wish we spoke and saw each other much more frequently.  I do also realize that relationships in life are a two-way street and can’t say I haven’t also thought that if they truly wanted to speak to me or see me, that they too would contact me.

As many of you already know, long-lasting friendships are extremely rare and hard to come by in this life and as we age (I’ll be 40 in January) it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain these close-knit relationships as people grow and evolve.

 

I wanted to take this moment to tell them all that they’ve helped me find great happiness in being the person that I am, always willing to give advice when I need it most and constantly listening to my unsettled soul rattle on about life’s many stressors.  I am so very grateful for each and every one, and I cannot say that enough, if fact … I have not said it often enough … but, I am truly thankful for each and every one!

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I recently read that the secret to life-long friendship is to treat it not just as a Blessed Gift, but also as a truly important responsibility of which I am constantly trying to actively improve upon.  So thank you for your never-waning patience and your willingness to stand-by as life happens for each of us.

In this life, which I do have the realistic understanding that we are all living the best we know how, choosing to allocate our time and resources to the things that are front and center to our minds.  Unfortunately, sometimes, the things that push their way into the frontline, taking up the majority of our time on the Earth, are NOT the things that looking back in the end, should have taken priority.  I am quickly learning to balance and reprioritize life, to make the most of each and every day, with each and every person possible.

So there … that is what I had been thinking about … life and relationships.

Thank you for being part of my life.  I am horrific at fostering the friendships that mean and have meant most to me and I am determined to change that … if you are still reading this, present, willing and able!

I hope you are doing wonderful and that we will get an opportunity to catch up very soon!  Feel free send me a message if you get the chance.

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Grief, Loss and the Human Spirit

I am blessed enough to have many wonderful, caring people in my life, and have had the unfortunate opportunity to share situations of grief and loss with several of those special angels.  I came across one of those memories again today and thought I would share the thoughts, feelings and aftermath with all of you.

Image result for grief and lossDeath presents two of the greatest quandaries facing humanity: how to cope with losing those closest to our hearts and how to contend with our own inevitable demise. As anyone who has been confronted with either of these challenges first-hand can tell you, it sometimes seems miraculous that the rest of humankind just marches on – dissecting tv show plots, complaining about the weather – when these issues are at the forefront of your mind.  Even when they’re not front and center, they always lurk in the background, haunting us with their possibilities, cultivating worry and unease as life marches on day-after-day.

I am not usually the pondering, reflective, insightful-type, but from time-to-time, I like to reflect on events past, and project hopes and dreams of the future, and one thing remains constant:  A great “Elephant in the room” that all humans know is looming in the room from the day we are born to this great Earth, but for reasons not fully known, we seldom speak about it, being TABOO and all. Humans do not like to think of their own inevitable mortality.  I speak of Death.  Something that each reading this is destined for.  Something out Maker had woven into our Eternal Plan from day one, and something that is often met with fear and trepidation.malinconia

Yes, I speak of death.  Something that each of you reading here is destined to.  Something our Maker had woven into our Eternal Plan from the day he conceptualized our existence, and something that is often met with great fear and trepidation, as humans fear things unknown.  “The Great Contemplation”.  The literal “To Be or Not To Be”.

Hopefully, the following words of pseudo-wisdom that flowed from my brain after a friends mother passed away will be of some comfort to you in a time, where death is that unwanted visitor, that foreign creature violation our lives and robbing us of a loved soul.

Grief and loss are really funny things when you actually stop to think about them.  It is plain and simple, pure selfishness and a great deal of love that motivates us to grieve. They are natural parts of how humans are made.  We haven’t fully, consciously grasped the realization that “We are merely a vessel in this world”, what we are at our very core, the “essence of our being”, our SOUL doesn’t always quench the need/want for the individual that has died, so God gave us incomprehensible coping abilities, along with love, friends, and family to aid with our existence after a loss.  If you are experiencing a loss or have had to do so in this adventure we call ‘Life’, know that there is always someone here, willing to do whatever is needed to be done, and in the absence of duty, is always willing to just listen.

To help with that, God gave us incomprehensible, unfathomable coping abilities, along with the gift of love, friends, and family to aid with our existence after a loss.  If you are experiencing a loss or have had to do so in this adventure we call ‘Life’,  know that there is always someone here, someone willing to do whatever is needed to be done, whenever it is needed and in the absence of duty, is always willing to just listen, comfort, hold and support.

“True joy is a profound remembering, and true grief the same.” – Clive Barker

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A Plea to Those Who Have Come Before

Dear Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and President Jimmy Carter,

Time for an Intervention. Can you please go to The White House and teach that severely morally and ethically challenged, megalomaniacal racist man how to do this job please, before anyone else gets murdered.

For all of your collective time as President, the events unfolding today are unlike anything modern America has experienced in their lifetimes, reminiscent of the pre-cursors to World War II and the horrors of pre-civil rights interventions.

Are people still ignoring the fact that we are in SERIOUS trouble, here?

As Arthur Miller wrote:

He’s a man way out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple spots on your hat and you’re finished.

Who isn’t seeing a few spots on Trump’s neckties?

Five_Presidents_Oval_OfficeIt is time for those who’ve done the job to descend on the current “Leader of the Free World” and offer counsel to get America back on track.

Pleading for your assistance,
Steve, and many, many, many, many other Americans.

P.S. Hillary Clinton, you should go to … perhaps he can learn a thing or two from you as well.

International Left-Handers Day

For the left-handed people of the world, life isn’t easy. Throughout much of history, massive stigmas attached to left-handedness meant they were singled out as everything from unclean to witches. In Medieval times, writing with your left-hand was a surefire way to be accused of being possessed by the devil; after all, the devil himself was thought to be a lefty. The world has gotten progressively more accepting of left-handed folk, but there are still some undeniable bummers associated with a left-handed proclivity: desks and spiral notebooks pose a constant battle, scissors are all but impossible to use and–according to some studies–life-expectancy might be lower than for right-handed people.

 

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The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama is left-handed, as well as at least six former presidents.

 

What makes humanity’s bias against lefties all the more unfair is that left-handed people are born that way. In fact, scientists have speculated for years that a single gene could control a left-right preference in humans. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t pinpoint exactly where the gene might lie.

A group of researchers has identified a network of genes that relate to handedness in humans. What’s more, they’ve linked this preference to the development of asymmetry in the body and the brain.

HYPOTHESIS: If handedness is genetic and if right-handedness is such a dominant trait, why hasn’t left-handedness been forced out of the genetic pool? In reality, the research suggests that handedness could be more subtle than simple “dominant” or “recessive” traits–a whole host of genes might play significant roles.brain.png

What’s especially exciting is that these genes all relate to the development of left-right asymmetry in the body and brain, creating a strong case for the correlation between the development of this symmetry and the development of handedness. Disrupting any of these genes could lead to serious physical asymmetry, like situs inversus, a condition where the body’s organs are reversed (heart on the right side of the body, for example). In mice, the disruption of the gene PCSK6, which resulted in serious abnormal positioning of organs in their bodies.

CONCLUSION: There is a genetic component to handedness, hundreds of different genetic variants, and each one might push you one way or the other, and it’s the type of variance, along with the environment you’re in and the pressures acting on you, which affect your handedness.
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This Is A Good One!

While this is a lengthy tale (hey, it’s hard to sum-up 55 years in a couple of paragraphs) and the writing is most-likely mediocre, I can promise you that the life story told is exceptional (in my eyes) and the wish I am writing about: one of my LARGEST and most important dreams in life.  While the two main characters in this story are still alive and in fairly good health, this tale is about life, loss, family, and LOVE.

After all, we are talking about two-thousand eight hundred weeks of 2 lives.  Yes, that is over half of a century.  Two-thousand eight hundred sixty weeks
to be precise and I won’t even tell you how many seconds that is.  I can tell you for certain that MANY things have changed in the past 50+ years.

For example: In 1965, the average household income was $6,900.  In 2017, it is just about $70,000.  I think we can all agree that politics today have changed drastically compared to that of 1965.

… and Life Expectancy:  The average human life expectancy in 1965 was approximately 70 years of age: 74 years for females and 67 for males. In 2017, the average human life expectancy is approximately 79 years: 82 years for females and 76 for males.

That is one certain thing in this awe-inspiring thing we humans call “LIFE” … times change, the world changes and so do the people along with it.

What hasn’t changed?  Unconditional Love.  From many people, in many forms.

And that is where this story begins …

This tale begins in 1944 when a couple near Minneapolis, Minnesota welcomed a baby boy into the world, as the 3rd child, to what would become a family of 5 children.  My father (Nick) grew up in a very rural area after his family moved back to the VERY small town in Northern Minnesota where his parents had come from and being such, earning possibilities for his parents became increasingly difficult.  My dad and all of his siblings had to work hard from a very young age to help their family make ends meet (I think that is where his future children would come to have the same work-ethic).  Times being as they were, the family was never able to travel far from home or experience (what we today would consider) family vacations.  It wasn’t until 1963 when with my grandfather’s approval, my dad joined the U.S. Army and was able to leave Minnesota for larger parts of the world … which would eventually lead him to his tour of duty in Vietnam.  Dad graduated from High School and, due to cost, did not attend college.

I’ll leave my dad’s story here for now, and introduce you to my mom.

Fast-forward to 1947, when a baby girl was born near St. Paul, Minnesota, as the 3rd child to a single mother, who decided she could not care for the new arrival, and thankfully the tale turns to the Blessing of adoption.  In October of 1948, a wonderfully loving couple who had endured great strife, loss, and hardship of their own earlier in their lives (both parents had each lost both legs in several incidents (my grandfather in a farming accident and my grandmother, after being struck by a drunk driver) and who had already rescued one little girl from the system (my Aunt and Godmother), decided that God urged them that they needed another little girl to fill out their family, and thus the adoption of my mother, MaryJo occurred.  Dissimilar to my father’s childhood, my mother’s family had a humble, meager upbringing, but were able to travel within Minnesota, Wisconsin and occasionally to Canada to visit family there.  On September 27th, 1963 (When my mom was 14 years old) my grandma suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia during a family dinner at their Crystal, MN home and died as a result.

This is where the stories begin to intertwine …

In 1963, while attending high school, my mom met and befriended a classmate.  That classmate would eventually come to stay with my mom’s family when her family moves back to northern Minnesota, but not before meeting her handsome older brother, Nick. (Yes, the same man that would become my father.) Mom graduated from High School and also due to cost, never attend college.

In 1965, in Phoenix City, Alabama, while my dad was stationed at Fort Benning Georgia, my mom and dad made the best decision of their lives (other than having children, of course) and were married on the 14th of July.

I wish I could tell you that my parents have lived the textbook American Dream and have never wanted for anything … but, that would be far from the truth.

They struggled financially for many, many years after my dad got out of the Army.  They moved to several states, each working odd jobs, never making enough to settle down.

The Plot Thickens …

1972 – Long Beach, California: MaryJo and Nick give birth to a 3 lb. 12oz. baby girl which they named Michele (My BIG sister).

(Mother’s Day 1973, my mom’s father died of an aneurysm in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.)

1978 – Mesa, Arizona: MaryJo and Nick give birth to a 6 lb. 6oz. baby boy which they named Stephen (That’s ME!)

(In 1980, my dad’s father died of a massive heart attack.)

1981 – Phoenix, Arizona: MaryJo and Nick give birth to a 6 lb. 3 oz. baby boy which they name Robert (My little brother).

(In 1984, my dad’s mother died from a very large brain bleed.)

**Since 1993, my parents have been blessed with 6 grandchildren (Matheau (24), Alexis (17), KaitLynn (13), Huntur (11), Chloe (4) and Levi (3) and 1 grand-kitty, Bella (5).)
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Now, looking back on my childhood … all the way through my 9th or 10th-grade year … I would not have told you that my family was by any means poor.  My siblings and I never wanted for anything.  We always had food to eat, a place to live, needed school clothes and supplies, bikes, and everything that makes a childhood, a childhood and MOST important, we have always had parents that loved us exceptionally and unconditionally.  Granted we didn’t travel the country or the world, but we were happy.  What I did not realize in those years was my mom was caring for 3 children, my father was working 2,3 sometimes 4 jobs, just to maintain life as we knew it.

Okay, on to the Meat-and-Potatoes of while I am really writing:

Christmas Eve morning of 1995 (I was 17 and remember every vivid detail of the day’s events) 0450am, my father awakes to have a massive cardiac event, which requires he be airlifted to a Minneapolis Heart Hospital, where suffering 2 cardiac arrests, he undergoes quadruple bypass surgery and spent the next  2 weeks in the hospital.

I remember my siblings and I (all working at this time to help the family) trying to work as much as we could to assist with bills and day-to-day expenses.  It was the first time in my life I really felt the stresses of finance.

Fast-forward to 1999, after undergoing routine hernia repair surgery at the local hospital, dad contracted a horrible hospital-bourne antibiotic resistant infection, which landed him in the ICU for a week.   Having an impossible time controlling the infection, the surgeons make the decision to go in and remove the hernia repair mesh (this would turn out to be a horrific decision, which my father still contends with to this very moment).

It would lead to December of 2005, when my father was transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he would undergo 11 consecutive surgical procedures, to remove the infected tissue, and try to heal the open abdominal would he had been dealing with since the original surgery.  My father was at the Mayo Clinic for 53 excruciating days.

This was the second time in my life that I remember my siblings and I try to work as much as we could to assist with bills and day-to-day expenses, as well as keep my mom close by, as we lived 150 miles north of where Dad was.  I remember family friends helping us pay for overdue bills and driving mom and family back-and-forth.

When this event occurred, the company dad had been with for 8 years, let him go due to his extended absence.  This devastated my parents and my family financially.


It is 2017, and as I write this we have just passed 55 years of my parent’s meeting and starting to date. My father is preparing to turn 73-years-old in November and my mother just turned 70-years-old in April.

My plan as we celebrated their 25th anniversary, was to plan an extravagant and jet-setting tour of their most desired locations on the planet.  What could go wrong?  I had 20+ years to save up, right? Then, life happened.

My plan as we celebrated their 30th anniversary, was to plan an extravagant and jet-setting tour of their most desired locations on the planet. What could go wrong? I had 15+ years to save up, right?  Then, thankfully … life continued to happen.

My plan as we celebrated their 45th anniversary, was to plan an extravagant and jet-setting tour of their most desired locations on the planet. What could go wrong? I had 10 years to save up, right?  Again, thankfully … life continued to happen.

My plan as we celebrated their 50th anniversary, was to plan an extravagant and jet-setting tour of their most desired locations on the planet. What could go wrong? I now only had several years to save up and again, thankfully … life continued to happen … but it needed to SLOW DOWN!

Unfortunately, I, nor anyone else in my immediate family is in any financial position to assist in making the “Dream Trip” become a reality for the two most important, deserving, loving people in the life of my family and while I am extremely grateful to still have them both to kiss and hug and get advice from and laugh with and cry with … time is NOT slowing down, and human mortality is a topic of conversation.

My parents have never been financially able to travel together on any vacation throughout their entire lives, to any “vacation destination” within or outside of these United States.  Throughout my life, I have heard their travel dreams, their “when we win the lottery” moments … and as they continue to age, I fear they will die not having seen any of our beautiful planet that they spent 70+ years a part of.

Where have they expressed delight in visiting, you might ask?

Domestically: San Francisco, Niagra Falls, New York City, Washington D.C., Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands

Internationally: Ireland, Scotland, England, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Carribean, Tahiti, Fiji, the Galapogos Islands

I have been lucky enough to travel to many, many places inside of the U.S. and internationally, either as part of a job I had at the time, an educational experience I was able to take part in, or travel I took as a guest of friends.

I have seen the beauty in the world.  I have seen the magnificence of the planet, and it saddens me to think the two most beautiful and magnificent people in my life may never live to see any of it.

That is my wish for them, and I think it safe to say, my siblings as well.

… and so I say to all whom may grace these words with the gift of THEIR time … I hope, if nothing else, I was able to share the story of my two most important, favorite, loving people.  Whether you know my parents or not, I thank you for reading this far and for the pleasure of your time.

If you are interested in learning more about the story or if you are interested in possibly contributing to this endeavor, please click here: https://www.gofundme.com/maryjoandnick

Mom & Dad: Thank you so much for showing Michele, Robert and I, and the rest of world that love can endure all of the struggles, great hardships and sometimes, immense pain and the great emptiness of loss and the grief that follows it.  Great love like that is NOT a faded thing of the past and no matter what, if you stick together, anything is possible! (Keep working on winning the lottery!)

I love you both more than words can properly describe.

You mean the world to all of us, and I am truly grateful to God that I have had the honor of loving you both for as long as I have been Blessed.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/maryjoandnick

Two-Thousand Seven Hundred Eleven Weeks

Yes, that is over half of a century.  Two-thousand seven hundred eleven weeks to be precise and I won’t even tell you how many seconds that is.  What does it take to stay married to the same person for over 50 years?  I can tell you for certain, just researching a little to write this, that MANY things have changed in the past 50+ years.

For example:

In 1965, the average household income was $6,900.  In 2017, it is just about $70,000.  I think we can all agree that politics today have changed drastically compared to that of 1965.

What about Technology:  LED screen smart TVs, smartphones, virtual reality video games and self-driving cars; these are a few of so many new personal technological advances in the last few years. So many things have changed technologically in the past half-century that it’s almost impossible to list them all.

Life Expectancy:  The average human life expectancy in 1965 was approximately 70 years of age: 74 years for females and 67 for males. In 2017, the average human life expectancy is approximately 79 years: 82 years for females and 76 for males.

Total U.S. Population:  In 1965, the United States Census Bureau recorded a total U.S. population of 194.3 million citizens. By the end of 2017, this number is estimated to reach approximately 372 million. That’s a lot of people.

That is one certain thing in this awe-inspiring thing we humans call “LIFE” … times change, the world changes and so do the people along with it.

What hasn’t changed? Unconditional Love.

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Today marks another year in the history book of my parents 50+ years of marriage.  I honestly do not know how they are able to survive it.  Marriage back in their day was a true promise and commitment, whereas, in today’s world, it appears to be less respected as a permanent bond.  Today, marriages are often counted in months, days, even hours, sometimes … but, I think that whatever marriage formula it is, it works for my parents.

Like all relationships, a marriage takes great effort to ensure each day is great … NOT at all made in heaven, or a “Fairytale” one – rather I would aptly call the marriage of my parents as a “Marriage beyond all Differences”.

One of great love, respect, and admiration and surely God has intervened to keep them together, in spite of, and despite everything they’ve endured as a couple, and we all have, as a family. Not only have they been able to love each other, unconditionally, but they extended that love to their children, and now grandchildren.

Not only have they been able to love each other, unconditionally, but they extended that love to their children, and now to the next generation, their grandchildren, whom they love and adore.
Mom & Dad: Thank you so much for showing us, your kids, and the rest of world that love can endure all of

Thank you so much for showing Michele, Robert and I, and the rest of world that love can endure all of life’s struggles, great hardships and sometimes, immense pain, and great fear of loss and the grief that would follow it.  Great love like that is NOT a faded thing of the past and no matter what, if you stick together, anything is possible!
I love ♥ you both more than words can properly describe.  You mean the world to all of us, and I am truly grateful to God that I have had the honor of loving you both for 39 years (so far) and I look forward to much more. (That’s an order!)
I wish you the Happiest of Anniversaries and I am thanking the Lord for aligning the stars for me to be home with you.
On a side note: these 50+ years of marriage have resulted in 3 loving children and 7 equally loving grandchildren … who ALL love you more than we’ll ever be able to show you.  We hope you know that.

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Do You Use the 5-Second Rule?

The five-second rule, sometimes also the three-second rule, is a western cultural food hygiene concept, that states that there is a defined window where it is permissible to pick up food (or sometimes cutlery) after it has been dropped and thus exposed to contamination.

Some may believe this assertion, whereas most people employ the rule as an amusing social fiction that allows them to eat a dropped piece of food, despite the potential reservations of their peers. How many and what type of bacteria would stick to a piece of dropped food depends on many factors, the food or the floor being wet or dry among them.

There is also a social dimension as dropped food in a restaurant or when guests are around is simply unacceptable, but in a family or private situation it may be still tolerated.

A survey of 2,000 Americans found 79% admitted to eating food that had fallen on the floor.

There appears to be no scientific consensus on the general applicability of the rule, and its origin story is unclear.

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What Is Freedom?

What does the word “freedom” mean to you? What image is representative of this word in your mind?

Some say that being an American means having the utmost pride in your country. Others argue that it means to follow the ideals put forth in our Declaration of Independence — the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All of these definitions are valid. But here are a few other things that I think describe what it really means to be an American.

To say simply that an American is whoever is born here or who have taken an oath of citizenship is like saying that the Bible or a contract is just ink markings on paper. It is true that a Bible is ink markings on paper, but it is not just that…it is, and we are much, much more. Some people focus on the idea that we are a nation of immigrants, that America is not based on a particular ethnicity. When you say you have to be Japanese to be Japanese, you are not making a false statement. But you can be Japanese and still be an American.

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We are truly a “melting pot” of cultures. It doesn’t matter (to most) if you are Latin, Asian, Arabic or Russian…if you are here, you are an American. The same goes for matters of social class, sexual orientation, religion … and the list goes on, and on. We are all American’s. Every day, my fellow citizens amaze me with their ideas, opinions, and random acts of kindness, enforcing the common connection we all share as Americans.

19668116_10155077250733183_648856053_nIt is not as though we do not have our imperfections, flaws and domestic atrocities. We are an ever-evolving work-in-progress. That is the wonderful thing about life, we have the opportunity to shape and mold our existence. As an American, who has traveled the world a bit, I can say that we, as a country, are not liked and accepted as a “Good People” in all parts of the world. Many see evil, selfishness and an excessive need to impose our way of life in the need to be the “World Police”. Unfortunately, this too makes us uniquely American.

And what about the collective respect and admiration for those who choose to risk their lives defending our very way of life … our freedom. Regardless of how they feel about war, they protect our freedom – so we can have the right to voice our opinions, attend a public education, vote for our leaders, and travel freely from one place to another. Not having to worry about roadside bombs or being shot walking to the store. This is definitely what makes us uniquely American.

DocumentWe have ideals, morals, traditions and a way of life that are different from any other place on this little blue planet in the middle of the existence. That is what makes us unique, that is what makes us united, and that is what keeps us free.

So, today and every day, enjoy our way of life. Our ‘right’ to life, as we know it, Our liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For these ideals are what make us GREAT.

Happy Independence Day, America!

 

Military Vets, PTSD and the 4th of July

The number of U.S. Military Veterans with PTSD varies by service era (According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs):

Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.

I know how much I honor and respect our Veteran’s, but something I DO realize is how much I take our Veterans for granted when it comes to daily-life-circumstances, like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

A simple sign I saw today renewed my attention to this matter, and I wanted to share it, in case you too hadn’t thought of this.

The simply sign reads:

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__________________________________

Combat Veteran Lives Here

Please Be Courteous With Fireworks.

www.MilitaryWithPTSD.org
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Some think the signs are offensive because they put a damper on the fun of the holiday, trample rights and are unpatriotic. Nothing could be further from reality.

“Negative. It’s counter to everything we stand and fight for to hamper patriotic celebration or impose views upon anyone taking part,” one person commented on Twitter.

I think most people will find that we can all celebrate without causing these real-life Heroes any more pain or anguish than they already suffer daily.

What these Veterans are asking for is just a little consideration on a very special day.  July 4th marks Independence Day for ALL Americans, but for hundreds of thousands of Vets from many eras, the fireworks can be a trigger bringing very difficult and traumatic memories back to life. For the many veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, the sound of the fireworks exploding are all too similar to the sound of gunfire, IED’s and other explosions they encountered during wartime.

PTSD is a serious condition … many soldiers find it unmanageable; others only find solace with the help of daily medication, therapy, and support from service dogs.  PTSD greatly contributes to the overall suicide rate, that is skyrocketing, for returning Veterans.

On a holiday meant to Honor those who fought for our Independence in 1776 and everyone who’s defended that Freedom since, please do them a small kindness and keep them in the forefront of your thought as we progress through the holiday.

I’m not one to usually ask you to share anything, but please be sure to SHARE this story to spread awareness about this very important issue facing our Veterans.

After all, one of your unknown neighbors could be a Veteran with PTSD!

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