Day is Done, Gone the Sun

I remember when we used to sing Taps at the end of camping trips and other Girl Scout functions.  I never really understood why my dad, a Vietnam veteran, seemed to cringe when we'd sing the tune, or why he'd mute the TV when it played on shows the news.  I remember loving Memorial Day, being awesome as a day off school and a kick start to summer, and while I knew the reason behind it, I wasn't quite sure as to why some people seemed so solemn.  Now, it's a race between dad and I to the remote for the mute button at the first note of Taps, and I'm a huge advocate for "reason for the season" type information on Memorial Day.  Ignorance is bliss.  When something hits close to home, you really understand things.  You grasp what you've been missing for years.  And you wish it weren't quite so personal.

I've gotta say, I am so, so proud of my facebook friends this weekend and yesterday. So many of you were sharing the true meaning of Memorial Day and enlightening those who may not have a personal relation to the "holiday."  I saw post upon post about how Memorial Day and Veteran's Day are different, about how it's not just the beginning of summer or just a day for BBQing (although it is an ideal day to BBQ and I believe our guys in Heaven would appreciate a good BBQ!), and about the true meaning of Memorial Day and how "Happy Memorial Day" might not be exactly appropriate, (the post about would you say 'Happy Funeral Day' to someone really resonated with me, that was a good one).  I don't know if knowing us personally drove some people to share their thoughts on the importance of the day or if they're just educated folks, but I just want to thank everyone for remembering and honoring.  You guys were amazing and I was really pleased with my newsfeed yesterday.   The only way to cure ignorance (and I do not mean that in a derogatory way but only a definition - lack of education - way) is to educate.  I commend you, friends of mine on facebook, for educating, for honoring, and for remembering.

My Memorial Day was pretty low-key this year.  I spent the early parts of the day working on the chicken coop here at LPF.  We recently acquired 6 chickens and 2 ducks and I am beyond ready to move them out of my garage and into their own home.  So we worked all day, I burned my skin, and we got a majority of the coop built (huge thanks to my amazing family for helping me in all my crazy farm endeavors, I love you and you are the best!)  In the evening, I had a small "viewing party" with Ariana, my parents, and some of my closest friends to watch the Memorial Day special on HLN that Jonny, Ariana and I were featured in.  It was nice having some of my closest homies with me to watch.  A group of people who have been there, some "before" and some "after," and known me at various points in my journey.  I can't thank them, and all of you, enough for your support during this crazy roller coaster of life.  I am so grateful to have such an amazing support network and to be assured that Jonny's memory will live on.  I am a lucky girl to be surrounded by such amazing people. I am also so grateful with the job HLN did on my story, as well as the two following stories.  I was super moved by the story that followed mine, a fellow Gold Star wife who is also an active duty soldier, as well as the last story of the show, that of the journey of a West Point jacket making it back to it's owner's widow.  I want to thank the folks over at HLN (Andres you rock and it was a pleasure working with all of you!!) for following along and reading, supporting us Gold Star families, and doing an amazing Memorial Day special.   I am also really impressed with the written portion of my story, I think they did our story justice, highlighted some very important parts of our life together, and I believe Jonny would be proud.  If you missed it and want to check it out, here's my portion, and the rest can be found on the HLN site, as well.

Also, how do you guys like the new set up? I want to thank the lovely Nicole at Broken Road Creative  for providing me with the most beautiful blog designs since I started this thang.  Nicole, you are the bees knees and I love you!  If you are interested in getting your blog revamped at Broken Road, please feel free to use the code ALITTLEPINK until June 27, 2014, to get 25% off your pre-made or custom blog design with Nicole.

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend, had a great time with friends and family, ate delicious foods, and had a drink or two for those who are watching from Heaven and guarding the pearly gates!

Semper Fi,
Mrs P

Rodeo Clown

One thing I've always prided myself on is having the ability to laugh at myself.  It's very rare that I take myself seriously.  I'd rather be goofing off and making fun out of life, because I really want to enjoy my time here.

When I was a kid, I really disliked going to Sunday school.  I was raised Catholic and thus we attended a Catholic church and Sunday school.  It always seemed as if the kids there all knew each other and I was an outsider.  I never really felt I fit in there.   I was kind of a shy kid - believe it or not. I told my dad that I really didn't like going, that it wasn't fun and I didn't have friends there.  I will never forget the lesson he taught me, as I've lived by it ever since (and it might help explain why I am usually ridiculous).  He told me you can make fun out of anything, you just have to find a way how.  He never said don't take your studies seriously, or don't learn, he just said find a way to enjoy even the things you don't really like to do.  Because let's face it, as adults, hell as children even, we all have to do tons of things we don't like to do (I type this as I wait on laundry to finish so I can switch the wet load over before bed and not have a stinky load of clothes... which happens... a lot).

So I went forth with his advice.  I became a bit of a goofball.  I still take things seriously, I've always done well in school and I always try to do a good job at work, whatever work that may be at the time, but I find ways to enjoy it.  I chat and make friends, I tell really, really corny jokes. I dress in silly outfits.  Just things to make me, and sometimes even the people around me, smile and enjoy even the yucky tasks.

I really hate running. Like super hate it. But I've always been pretty intrigued by fun runs. (Yea, I know, makes no sense to me either). Maybe the obstacles and the getting dirty are the silly part of running that make me actually want to do the task I hate - run.  So when I saw the ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge) Race was coming to Baltimore - I had to try it. I mean, who hasn't watched Wipe Out! and totally wanted to try those crazy stunts. So today a group of friends and I set out to conquer the blow up appartuses (apparati?) that were erected throughout Baltimore.  Ok, so it definitely didn't help me enjoy running... in fact to be honest, I didn't even run much (nothing like something physically demanding to show you how wickedly out of shape you really are), but I had so much fun!  Some people were there in silly outfits.  Some were there looking relatively cute with makeup and stuff (hey no judgement here, I just don't get the point myself but I'm not pro!) not I! I got totally into the ridiculous theme.  In fact, I looked like this:

The Hillbilly Hustlaz (another stroke of creative genius stolen from my dad), Thanks Guys!

Go ahead, laugh. I was. All the way to the finish line (even it took me a bajillion hours!) It was such a hilarious and fun filled day. I'm so thankful to have friends who get goofy with me, especially when I really need a pick me up.

People have asked me how I could still laugh in the times shortly after Jonny's death, or how I can laugh and say some of the inappropriate widow humor things I say (we're dark, dark people) and the truth is that I would much rather be laughing than crying. Life is hard. There is no doubt about that.  And often, life isn't funny at all. But if we take a moment to find something even remotely amusing even in the hardest of times, if we can find our sense of humor even when everything looks bleak, than maybe we might have a little hope to keep smiling and laughing all the way to the finish line.


Do you ever feel that you have so many thoughts happening in your brain that if you add just one more the whole thing might just explode? Or so many things to write about you try and your fingers get cramped up before you're even a millimeter through what you need to get out?  That's about where I'm at these days.  The funny thing is, it looks to you as if I haven't been writing, but I have been, just not posting.  I just can't make sense of so much that's going on upstairs.

A week ago was my five year wedding anniversary. FIVE years. Can you believe it? And he's been heaven bound over four... What is five years anyway? Wood?

I'm starting graduate school in the fall. I know I've mentioned it but I can't believe it at all. I'm excited and terrified at the same time. I may or may not have the nerves poops on my first day.

We lost my uncle to his battle with cancer last month.  Cancer sucks. Death sucks. Many people try to comfort those experiencing a loss by reminding us they're in a better place. Which I don't doubt. But the selfish human parts of us just want them here with us. It's hard to believe nearly a month later that he's really gone.  Someone who was so full of life and laughter and love and fun isn't on this earth anymore. It's harder to believe it was near a year after his diagnosis that God took him home. But then again, it's still hard to believe that someone as full of life as Jonny was is gone sometimes even four years later. People always say there's some kind of reason behind these things but until I know the reason I don't want to be reminded there is one because at this current time, it sucks.

I filmed a Memorial Day special with HLN that will be airing, of course, on Memorial Day. Sharing Jonny's story has been so important to me over these years, and I'm pretty excited for the piece.  I'll be sharing more about that as it gets closer, but I wanted to thank the folks at HLN for reading and working with us and for most importantly honoring Jonny.

Sometimes I'm so selfish.  I get wrapped up in my own crap that I forgot about others'.  I don't like realizing this about myself. Every person is going through some sort of trouble and relationships are such two way streets. I hate thinking of myself as self absorbed but heck here I am writing about myself. I wish I knew the way to be a better person. Sometimes I look at all the ways I've changed over the years and I'm proud of what I've endured, then I see some changes that just make me want to hang my head in shame. I need to work on that.

We bought chickens.  To add to our little mini farm that's not really a farm. Can't argue with having farm fresh eggs. It's really neat to watch Ariana watch these little chicks grow. I'm excited for her to see another place where food comes from. I think it's important to teach our kids about hard work and rewards, life in general, and the processes that take place to support life.

My kiddo knows more about death than most adults. Well maybe not knows, but it's not as taboo for her, she talks about it openly. I wonder if this will be a good thing or a bad thing down the road. I'm sad that she has experienced loss in such a way that it's stuck with her at such a young age, but I'm glad that she seems to be grasping these hard topics and not afraid to discuss them. It is, in fact, an inevitable part of life. Maybe she will be a grief counselor or a motivational speaker one day. Maybe she will be an artist or an architect, too though. Sometimes she'll songs about her uncle and her daddy who died. The other day she handed me a pretend phone. I thought she was going to chat with me but instead she said, "Hi it's daddy from Heaven." After a heart stopping second I replied, "Oh hello it's good to hear from you, how are you?" "I'm good, it's very nice up here."  Thanks for the reassurance kiddo. Then she said Oh it's time to talk to Uncle Chris, and it went on like that for a little bit.

Sometimes I feel lost, like I don't know which direction is up and which way I want to head anymore. Sometimes I feel like I'm steady treading water but I can't quite reach the shore to have a rest. I should quit smoking so I don't get so winded while treading...

I want to be a better person. I really, really do. I've been in a funky mood lately. I still feel the happiness and stuff but I've just been in a really weird place.  Maybe it's just all that seems to be going on at once.

I need to put Ariana's bike together.  I am really hoping to be able to enjoy bike rides throughout the summer. Did you know kids bikes come in a frickin box that you have to assemble?! Adult bikes you push to the register, kids' bikes, you hunt for a wrench...

This was an incredibly disjointed entry... to post or not the post... that is the question.
Here goes nothin'.

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