Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful: Day One

November.  This time of year is my most favorite.  I love the colors, the weather, and the food.  Thanksgiving is in a few weeks, my daughter will turn three the day after and then Christmas will come a few weeks after that... I love spending time with friends and family.  Even though there is a lot going on, I try to slow down and reflect on the things that are most important to me.

So on that note, everyday for the next two weeks, I am going to post about what I am thankful for and what I am going to do that day to make it my focus.  It is my hope that this will help me to take it all in, remember what is most important to me in life, and keep it at the forefront of my focus for the day.

Today being Veteran's Day, I think it is most fitting to honor them.  So today I am thankful for...

I have very strong feelings about our military and their sacrifices.  My dad was in the military, so I grew up in that lifestyle, and I have to say it was amazing.  I learned to adapt to new situations and people quickly, and learned a new type of camaraderie from other military families, something I have not seen outside of that world.  I traveled the world and met many different kinds of people.  I learned that family is the most important thing. 
When people ask me where I am from, it takes me a moment to answer because I don't think I am from one certain place...sure I was born in Florida, but I didn't stay there long.  I lived in Germany, California, Alaska and finally ended up in Colorado.  I think I am from the military lifestyle, not any single place.  I am a "military brat," and proud of it.

My sister was in the military and went to Iraq a several years ago.  I was still in college at the time and was so fortunate to be able to visit her before she left. 
(Side story:  I went to tell one of my professors that I would not be in class for a couple days because I was going to see my sister off to Iraq.  This professor had a rule that if you attended all classes for the semester, you would get extra credit.  She mentioned I would not be excused from class for the time I missed and therefore, would not be eligible for the extra credit.  I was in shock.  I told her, you have got to be kidding me, you will excuse a football player because of a game, but you will not excuse me, even though I am going to see my sister that is leaving to go to a WAR zone and fight.  I was livid.  Needless to say, I didn't need the extra credit because I got an A and my sister came home, but still, it bothers me to this day.)
I cannot tell you what it is like to have a family member overseas and in danger.  It is constantly on your mind and heart.  On top of that, she had a daughter and husband at home.  She is amazingly strong and I am so proud of her.  I was so glad that I was able to see her off and to see her come home. 

My brother-in-law is also in the military.  Currently, he is serving our country in Afghanistan.  I am so proud of him and honored to call him family.  He left his family at home too - my sister, my niece, and my nephew.  I can't imagine how hard it is to be away from your family for months at a time, especially during the holidays.  I can't wait for him to come home in the new year. 

I am indebted to all military personnel - past, present and future.  You have made a huge sacrifice, and you have done it for millions of people you don't know.  You enable me to live a life of freedom and choice.  You make our country safe and fight against people that want to harm us.  Thank you for being so brave and putting your life on the line, so I can live in comfort. I am so grateful for you.

I am so blessed to live in a country where I can choose what I want to wear today, choose what I want to do, and choose how I want to live my life.  I am blessed to live where I am free to make my own decisions and choices.  I owe it to these brave men and women - the ones that came before us and gave us this great gift, the ones today that put their life on the line, and the ones in the future that will continue to fight for our way of life. 

Today, I am thankful to be free.
My goal: Thank each person I see in uniform today.