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A Part of America Died

15 Aug

A Part of America Died

I bought this piece when I was a cop…yeah me. And that was quite a few years ago. Since that time, I have been a mom, wife, veteran, student, federal employee, church volunteer, and now retiree. Many years and social norms have passed since that time. We now live in a time of #BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter

I prefer the simpler times – and let me tell you, the times really weren’t all that much simpler, just less public. With the social media having so much power over the public’s thoughts and opinions, the world we live in is so much different.

I wanted to be a police officer since I was 6 years old. My father told me that we live in a country where hard work and perseverance can get you anything. I know that my dream of being a cop may sound silly but I was a female and Mexican, where I was pretty much expected to get married or work in a more feminine type of job. I remember thinking that being a cop was an honorable and respectable career choice. I’ve always known that there are dishonest people in EVERY career choice so I wasn’t blind to “crooked cops” – heck I was around during the Rodney King incident and if you’ve watched the movie “Straight Outta Compton” I remember some of those incidents as well, especially since I lived in California during that time. However, I also knew that for the most part, being a police officer meant upholding the law and justice and that THAT was the kind of police officer I wanted to be. I also think for the most part, that is what many cops think of when they decide they want to become police officers.

I have known cops to work in the field many years without ever having to draw their weapon. I was in a mere 3 years before I had to draw it twice. I was also young – 22 years old. I now have 21 and 23 year old sons and when I think of them being in the same situation I was in, it scares the heck out of me. (I’m not sure I would be any more at ease if it were my 28 year old, but that’s just the mom in me.) But there I was a young 22 year old. The very first time I drew my weapon on someone, he was told to put his hands up and [it was cold outside] instead he went to put his hands in his coat. Being 1/4 mile from a federal prison, not knowing what he was reaching for, in a split second, I drew my weapon so fast. My partner never saw him put his arms down. Luckily, there was NO gun but we didn’t know that. It’s crazy what goes through your mind – so much, so fast! In a short – for me it was: “I have a 2 year old son at home and if you draw before I do, it’s you or me, and I will not orphan my child because you were faster….” I didn’t shoot, I was trained and believe it or not, training does kick in. But the point to my sharing this very personal experience is that not everyone, trained or not, has that level head when they fear for their lives. That does not make them a bad person. Yes, there are bad people out there but some people truly are just human and react – not in accord with their training. Whether or not those people should or should not be police officers is not for me or public opinion to decide.

Coming from a background in Law Enforcement, it breaks my heart to see the country so divided when it comes to cops and the masses. Coming from a multiracial family, it breaks my heart to see the country so divided racially. I can’t – No, I WON’T TAKE SIDES when it comes to black or white, or blue. I believe in two sides -RIGHT OR WRONG! Because for me it’s not #XXLivesMatter but rather #IChooseLife #IChooseRight.

As cop, I had a cop friend killed by off-duty cops while on a ‘routine’ money escort. (Routine=the dumbest word in the cop dictionary) So you see, it’s not color we should be looking at or focusing on, it’s right or wrong and only that!! And on that day….A part of America died.

*And for the record – this is very gender biased assuming the police officer is a man…that’s the only part I didn’t like but hey it can’t be perfect, after all I didn’t write it, haha – that was a joke.

 

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End of a chapter

20 Jun

End of a chapter.

End of a chapter

20 Jun

What does one do when they end  a chapter of their life? Or rather…..how do you know that you are closing a chapter in your life…I mean without moving away, quitting a job, retirement, death, etc. Without one of those major changes, how does one even know that it is the end of that chapter?? AND what do you do when you finish the chapter?? NOW WHAT???

For personal and private reasons, I am stepping down from being a youth minister. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE working with teens.  I call them the “misunderstood breed.”  As a mother of 3 sons with the youngest being 17, I know that ALL TEENS ARE DIFFERENT, regardless of their gender, social status, financial status, religion, or race.  Most people judge them, I look at them as if they are trying to find their pre-adult status.  Well…..the teenager talk is for anothe blog. 

Life comes with so many chapters, some shorter than others, some more intense than others, some more full of drama and some happier.  Right now I haven’t decided how to rate this chapter. I do believe that every chapter in our lives leads to the end. Every chapter somehow directly affects future chapters.  People in our lives come and go but each had a purpose.

So come this Friday, I am closing this chapter in my life.  I began getting involved with the youth group about 4 years ago.  I love interacting with them. Belonging to a military chapel community, I have seen my share of youth come and go. While this is often a sad experience, we are also fortunate enough to meet a greater number of teens.  Assuming that my health was good, my Sundays were busy because that is when we meet. 

Maybe now without all the planning meetings, the looking forward to what needs to be done, looking for and reviewing future lifenights, etc etc etc I will have time to spend with my own family, listen to them, sit with them, who knows — enjoy Sunday dinners together. Now my Sundays will be spent with my own family…..I REALLY REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO THAT!!!!

It’s bittersweet…..leaving something I love but moving forward to something I love even more.  It’s not like I didn’t spend time with my own family before, but now I won’t have to postpone time with them.

Bye-bye LifeTeen….Hello McNeil Family – again!!

Bumps in the road called blessings

3 Apr

March 15th changed my life…..

Have you ever had those bumps in the road that just happen?  You have no idea where they came from or more importantly, why???  

For about a week, I had been having back pain. Though not unusual by any means,  it wad really starting to affect my daily living.  I made a Dr appointment for the next day hoping I could get some injection for the pain without any long-term medicine esp the narcotic type. I hate taking those —yeah go ahead and think or say it—but I just don’t like them. So anyway,  I wake up day of appt with this side abdominal pain, quite severe I might add! I worried that the doc wouldn’t pay attention to my back pain because of it. Anyways,  I tell the doc that this right side abdominal pain, though extremely painful,  had been going on for a while.  I must’ve looked pretty bad because the doc even asked me if I am usually this stoic??  Hahaha if you know me, you know I am the outgoing fun type of person.  I told him that but I don’t think he believed me. Anyways this awesome doc decided he would take care of both my issues…he took care if my back pain….I love you for it Dr. L. 

He orders a CT scan, which comes up abnormal.  The next morning as I am waking up getting ready for my shower, I get the news that I’m being admitted for further testing.  What exactly does that mean???   So in I go…..

Next day after that I undergo major unexpected surgery of my digestive system.  Now, I apologize for the long detailed intro…..but here goes my bumps in the road….

Bare with me and keep reading please.

One of my sons had left for USAF BMT late Jan. This kid wad made for the military.  He had his mind made up and was certain of his decision.  Halfway through they tell him that there were things going on medically that disqualified him from continuing with military service.  He was devastated to say the least. I sent him prayers and Christian song lyrics fir encouragement.  We prayed and I told him to trust in the Lord for HIS plan was greater than ours and sometimes beyond our understanding.  I reminded him to look into his heart and find faith. Two weeks later, the AF sends him home.  He came ready to move forward.

Less than one week upon arrival home, I get admitted to the hospital for major unexpected surgery. (Are you getting caught up with the timeline yet?)

This unexpected surgery will require weeks of recovery for which I will need assistance.  Enter….you guessed it my recently returned son to handle that.

Had he remained in the military I would NOT have been able to attend his graduation,  he would not have been home for my surgery (which was life-threatening) and now wouldn’t be home to take care of his mama.

When I sent him prayers while still in service I sent a letter that said “Trust in the Lord, always because He knows why He does what He does even when we don’t”  How soon Jesus would show Himself to us by all that has happened. 

My surgery went well and I now depend on my family for a positive recovery.  I have prayed so much more than usual this Lenten season. I know in my heart that God was listening but it is clear through everything just how much!

Furthermore,  my friends’ and family’s blessings have been pouring through phone calls, texts, cards, flowers, balloons, but most importantly through prayer!!!

Today I received a beautiful afghan from my church’s MCCW (ladies group) which was hand made and blessed.  As my son delivered it, tears filled my eyes. Right afterwards my youngest son was gonna help me up and I covered up accordingly to which he says “don’t worry mom about being embarrassed,  I will be the one to take care of you later on anyway”  I began crying,  to which he responded with a hug and a kiss. If course,  that made me cry even more. Every chance he gets, he is trying to make sure I am comfy.

My oldest son has also spent many hours with me during my hospital stay, skipping the gym as well as normal sleep time all while continuing  to go to work at his job. Once at home, he has made me several delicious and mostly healthy meals too. 

I am truly blessed and those blessing have been shown to me time and time again over these life trials. God has a way of showing us the light through the darkness and I believe it is up to us to trust in HIM and SEE the light not the darkness…

I have always felt blessed but never have I seen with my own eyes all the blessings our good Lord is putting in my life as u have the last couple weeks!! I have literally witnessed the goodness of my God!

OK, if you actually finished the read all the way through, thank you!

Friends With Benefits

28 Feb

I have friends with benefits annd I’d like to think that I’m also a friend with benefits to others….and I don’t mean free sex with no attachments…I mean real benefits.

I have all kinds of friends, with their own uniqueness and I love that. They are like all the options in Willy Wonka candy store. We help each other when necessary and sometimes just because….no necessary needed.

So anyway, I have been under some stress lately. After a migraine trip to the hospital on Saturday, I decided I need to find a way to handle my stress. So on Sunday evening, I decided to start a project that I could finish AND wouldn’t take a super long time…just long enough to keep my mind and hands occupied.

My friend has an 11 month old son whose 1st bday party is soon approaching. I already know the theme will be The Gladiator. I decided to make this almost 1 year old a Maximus costume.  My mind went to work first, then I began cutting and sewing. By the end of Monday I was/am 90% finished. I just need to add elastic to the “boots” so they will stay on his little legs.

So then his 3, almost 4 year old older sister gets a little jealous and sad because she wants her very own costume made for her. Sooo I decided to go ahead and make her a little princess dress of her own–in her 2 favorite colors: hot pink and bubble gum pink. Oh yes, I actually said that…just like she does! Of course it sounds really cute I her little 3 year old voice, well at least the first 10 times…..

So I made these 2 very cute costumes. I WILL post pictures as soon as they are both completely finished.

So where does the “Friends With Benefits” come from?? The thing is that my friend had no idea that the main reason I took these 2 projects head on was my way of dealing with/handling my stress level. She just thinks I am this awesome friend (and why wouldn’t she?  Just kidding) anyways, lucky for her, she has this awesome friend that made her 2 very cool costumes that will be a hit at the party, therefore I am her friend with benefits.

I too have my fair share of friends with benefits….friends that come thru for me and make things that are just perfect for me too. And that is the best kind of friends to have. Of course, their cheerful smiles, great personality and knowing they’ve got my back is the best of all benefits,,,

Valentine’s Day Dinner–Part 2

16 Feb

So if you saw my rant on my last post, then you will understand why I am still going on about this.

I wanna know what people think about this. WHAT is YOUR opinion?  Please participate in the poll.

Valentine’s Day dinner

15 Feb

So my family all had plans yesterday for Valentine’s Day.  I had none, so I asked my husband if he wanted to go out to dinner.  Knowing the restaurants would be packed, I decided it wasn’t late, people were still getting off work, so we went kinda early.  It was just after 6 p.m. 

We go to the first place, it was the Great American Land and Cattle. Not far from home and not usually super packed.  The entire lobby and front sidewalk were packed.  I figured it had to be a party of some sort.  There were “group-like” people…NOT Valentine’s Day type people.  As we were pulling in there were two families walking towards the front door.  A man, woman, 3 children and possibly a grandparent.  And the other was a man, a woman 3 kids ages about 3-8.  Hmm, I thought….

I sent hubby in to see how long the wait was. More than 1 hour.  Oh Wow! So we left. Afterwards, we decided to head to the standard Chili’s & Applebee’s in the neighborhood.  Applebee’s had more than an hour wait.  I saw another family walking up with Grandpa, a woman 4 kids and possibly grandma. Then a man later joined them in the wait.  Then there was a group of about 6 friends hanging out, there were 2 of those groups….all walking towards the door (Yeah, I waited in the car again while hubby went in to inquire).  At Chili’s there was an actual traffic jam in the parking lot so we didn’t even get out.  Even Denny’s had a full parking lot.  Wow!!

So ok, here is what made me grumpy….not so much the waiting period as much as the groups of people that were all going out to eat. Yeah, I know that Valentine’s Day is an overrated over spent (non) Holiday…but if you are lucky enough to have someone to share in this “Love” Day then those are the people that should be sharing it. The restaurants were packed with groups and groups, whether a bunch of friends or families. I saw very few (about 3) couples all night long.  So while I was trying to go out and have a nice romanitc dinner…and before you judge, the romance CAN be found at Chili’s or Applebee’s damn it.  As long as we can go out and enjoy each other’s company alone on a “love-holiday” then I will.  But it seems like this entire city decided that it was a holiday and they weren’t cooking and as a result I couldn’t have my romantic dinner. 

We ended up at Village Inn…the top of “Family” Restaurant central. There were children all over the place wearing hearts on the shirts, carrying heart shaped balloons, heart shaped ears, I could go on…but you get the picture.  While it was cute, I can’t deny that, it is most definitely NOT what I had in mind. 

I know that anyone is entitled to go out to eat any day of the yeat that they please, but really??? Did everyone have to go out on Valentine’s Day.  It wasn’t V-Day…It was family day with a red heart theme!!!! That’s what it was–seriously!!!

Oh well, I vented again….One of these days, I will just share a story instead of complain all about something.  But really???? family dinners on Valentine’s Day??? Maybe it was just me….