Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Later

It's hard to believe the attacks of 9-11 took place 11 years ago. At times it seems so far in the past and other times it feels like just last week. Somewhere, I have a journal that I began to write my feelings those first few weeks. In the move, it has gotten set aside to who knows where. It's not complete though. I got to a point where I felt it was too sad to continue writing. I realized today that I have not yet recorded my thoughts. For now, I will share my "Where I was" story from memory.

At the time, I worked at the Seymour Johnson AFB Base Chapel (in North Carolina) as the Religious Education Coordinator. Hubby was working mid shift on the flightline. He got home around 7 and I went to work after taking our son to school. I was in my office when my coworker Beth told me to come to the break room to see what was on the news. I thought she was joking when she said a plane hit the World Trade Center. I remember thinking, "They are huge towers, how can you miss them." As we are watching, the second plane hit the second tower. We know for sure, this was no accident. We both get on the phones to call our husbands. I know mine will have to wake up after not much sleep and head into work. If those F-15s are to get in the air, he'll need to be there. No answer. He must be sleeping very soundly. I call the neighbor to ask her to bang on the door and wake him up. She had no clue what was happening either. They called from the main Chapel to tell us we were to secure the building and head home until further notice. My office was right by the flightline. Every single time those Fighters took off I felt proud. That feeling intensified that day. I knew that they were up there patrolling the skies to keep our country from further harm.

My neighbor woke up my husband and just told him to call me. She didn't tell him what was going on. As I was telling him what had happened, the Pentagon was hit. I have never felt so scared in my life. We lived on a very active military base. Was there a chance we would be hit? Would the entire base soon we on lock down and we wouldn't be able to go anywhere? Our son's school was 20 minutes away. I called to tell them I was on the way to pick him up. The receptionist said, "Yes ma'am you can come pick up your child but we are not closing school today." I said, "You didn't get what I was saying. I am coming to get him no matter what. Please have him ready. I live on base and am not risking him not being able to get home after school." No way was I having my 10 year old be at school, possibly scared and not able to get to him. When we arrived at the school, some of the teachers were in the lounge watching the news. A friend of ours said they only told the kids that something happened that they needed to find out more information. They wanted to allow the parents to inform their children. When our son asked, "Daddy, what happened?" I remember looking up at the sky and seeing what a beautiful, clear blue sky it was. Such a beautiful day marked by such tragedy. My husband said, "Some very bad people did some horrible things today to a lot of people." Today, eleven years later, the sky was just as blue and beautiful.

My mom finally got in touch with me later that afternoon. She wanted to know what the Air Force was doing about this. Don't laugh. OK, go ahead, I did and I still do. She often asks me what the Air Force is doing in certain situations. My standard reply is, "Ya know mom, they just keep forgetting to call and clear everything with me. I have no idea what their plans are." However, on that day I told her that they were making sure we were safe. She asked if she should drive from Texas to North Carolina to stay with us in case anything else happened. I remember saying, "Mom, you are safer where you are than here with us. This base has F-15s and C-130s. We might just be a target. We are "Fourth but First" meaning if anything bad happens, these jets go take care of business. They are already in the air."

When we got home, we had the kids go play in their rooms so we could watch the news. So much devastation. So much pain. So much sadness. So much anger caused this tragedy. How could anyone do this? Why would anyone do this? What sick twisted mind could things of something so horrific as to target innocent citizens? All I could do was cry.

Those next few days, we as a country pulled together. We all agreed this was not right. We would not let them get us down. We would not let terrorists win. We came together as a unified country. Living on base, you are used to neighbors having flags displayed. What was new now was all the homes off base proudly displaying flags. The local newspaper even printed a full page, full color flag. Many businesses and homes put those paper flags in their windows as well as actual flags. If only people were still that patriotic. If only they still supported our military who are only doing the jobs they are told to do. If only our troops did not have to go to foreign lands and give their lives. If only terrorists never came to our country with the sole intent to do us harm. If only....

Eventually, everyone went back to working normal hours. There were still big changes on base. Security coming into the base was stronger. There were now cement barricades we had to swerve around every time we drove in and out of the gates. Parking was moved away from the buildings. More cement barricades were installed. The Chapel was open 24/7 for anyone of any faith to come in to talk, pray or just contemplate. Our Chaplains and Assistants that went to provide aid at the Pentagon came home. We got to hear their stories and how this event moved and changed them. More active duty were sent on deployments. This was nothing new to us. The reason why they were going was new. My husband was one who went. At one of our weekly meetings, I told the Chaplains, "Do not come to my door." They looked confused and asked what I meant. I said, "If something happens and you have to inform me, do not come to my home. Wait until I come to work. Home is our safe happy place and I don't want my kids seeing that happen." They assured me where my husband was going that chances were slim anything would happen. I'm sure those families of everyone in the Towers that day thought they worked in a safe place too. I am thankful they never had to come to my door. I am proud of the job my husband did. I am proud of the job we all did. I am proud to have worked on base during that time. I am proud to be an Air Force wife. I am proud to be an American.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I did it!!

Today was a big milestone for me. I ran my first 5k! A year ago, I would have never been able to accomplish this. I would have had to walk a good part of it and on flat ground. This race was through hills. It was awesome! I didn't finish anywhere near the top. That's not important though. What is important, is that I finished! I DID finish ahead of the walkers so that's good. ;) I might have done better if I was more accustomed to the 38 degree temperature. That was a tad rough on the lungs.
This is me in 2008, about 60 pounds heavier than I am now. Walking, running and eating healthier have helped me drop the pounds. No magical formula. No magical pills. Just determination and sticking to it.
This is me today, after running my 5k. I had a jacket on when I started. After about a mile I took it off and tossed it to my hubby as I ran by. He was taking pics from the side of the path. So happy he was there. ;) If it weren't for my inner ear issues, I wouldn't have had the beanie cap on. It was just enough to keep the wind off my ear. Cold wind makes for a very painful ear for me. BTW, the hat was handmade by a very nice lady in Japan.

I recently met another big goal. See, my friend Vanessa posted on Facebook that she was doing this challenge. The goal was to complete 100 miles in March. It wasn't about being fast or even finishing the miles quickly. The challenge was to get up and move. I decided to give it a go. Ya know what? I did it! I had to take a week off for medical issues and I still finished! That final day was my longest run ever. I completed 10 miles that day! I felt amazing after I finished. Not just because it was a good run but because I was proud of myself. I set a goal and I met it! Now to meet my goal of losing this weight and getting healthier. I'm not focusing on the pounds so much. I am focusing on feeling healthier and being in better shape. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend wherever you are. Stay safe if you are in those tornado areas. Remember to take some time for yourself. If the weather is nice, take a walk, work in the yard, go for a run. Just get active! ;)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

I love playing with paper. (and inks and glitter and stamps and and and lol) I started this canvas several months ago. I put letter stickers down for my phrase. I used inks and paints to cover the entire canvas. After the paint dried, I peeled off the letter stickers so my phrase would show in white. Pretty cool looking, right? Well, I wasn't happy with that. I added the silver Glitter Glass for my "pixie dust". Next, I added green glitter glue for more pixie dust. I still wasn't happy. I decided to set it aside and wait for inspiration. Well, inspiration finally hit last week when I was sick. Yes, while I was sick. lol This happens to me, a lot. I decided what this canvas needed was flowers.
The Brights Collection Pattern Designer Series Paper Stack was perfect for what I envisioned. I used the Blossom Party die to cut out several flowers using my Big Shot. Then I started wrinkling the paper. Yes, wrinkle it all up! The more you work with it, the softer the paper becomes. It will eventually feel like fabric. I did not want it quite that flexible and soft though. I wanted it to stand up off the canvas. I thought of distressing the paper before cutting the flowers but I worried the Big Shot would flatten out some of those marvelous wrinkles when it cut out the flowers. Next, I added tons of pixie dust aka glitter glue aka Dazzling Details. :) Remember, you can always add ink to your Dazzling Details to come up with any color you would like. After a long wait, the pixie dust was dry and the flowers were ready to assemble. As you can see, I mixed the colors on some and just mixed the patterns on others. I love that the Designer Series Pattern Paper is double sided like that. I used gold brads to hold the flowers together. I punched the brad through the canvas to hold the flower in place.
The tiny flowers are made using the Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack and Boho Blossoms punch. This is one of my favorite projects so far. I love how it brightens things up on a dreary winter day. :) I hope you are having a wonderful week. Be sure and get your crafting on this week! You deserve that "me" time!

Friday, January 13, 2012

So much going on.....

OK, so I told myself that I would blog more in the new year. Thats not working out so well so far. lol Life has just been crazy to say the least. We were notified that hubby's JROTC unit would be closed as of June 30th due to low enrollment. Students pick their courses in the Spring, he started this position in August and numbers are turned in to the Air Force in October. He did not have much influence over their low numbers. He has been working on recruiting for the 2012-2013 school year. Anyway, after the school officials speaking with the powers that be back at headquarters, the Air Force decided to put our unit on probabtion through the 2012 - 2013 school year. So, we went from thinking we were jobless as of June 30, 2012 to knowing we have a job until at least 2013. Now everyone in the program is working hard to meet the minimum enrollment. That being said, this is still a nervous time for me. I keep telling myself to not worry about "What if they STILL have low numbers this October and are closed next June?" There is nothing I can do about that. If we are meant to stay here in Virginia, it will work out. If we are meant to go elsewhere, that will work out too. It felt so odd to be back in the position we were last year at this time, not knowing where we would live and work come July. Now we have a clue. :) I've been dealing with many other issues and things but I won't bore you with that. I am trying my best to stay positive. Winter will not get me down! I won't let all this stress bring me down.
Now, onto my business and my art. I have started selling my art in a local store called The Charmed Butterfly. It is amazing! Artists can rent out space to sell their wares as well as rent out the space next to the retail store to work on their crafts, teach class, have a party, etc. I've sold canvases, cards and the paper tree I made. Remember, I showed it during the last Llama Blog Hop. ~Hello my Llama sisters! I promise I haven't forgotten you. I'll come bcak soon. Miss y'all!!!!!! ;)~ I have my Technique Tuesday class there every week. Well, now that I'm over bronchitis and the winter icky sickness I seem to get yearly. lol Saturday, January 28th I will hostess a fundraiser for The Lennon Project: Celebrate Hope there. I can't wait! I will be donating my commission from Stampin' Up! Sales. Attendees will make either a card or a 3D project. I haven't yet narrowed down what those projects will be. I'll work on that as soon as I finish organizing my art studio today.
Organizing is another thing that has kept me busy. I have accumulated so much "stuff". I have to decide what to keep and what to donate. The items I decide don't need to take up space in my studio anymore are being donated to the Art Center at the Charmed Butterfly. I've already sent over ink pads, wrapping paper and magazines. Many of their fabulous kids classes are crafts most of us grew up on. You know, those cool things you make using whatever is around the house. What a great way to upcycle!
I will be posting some creative goodies in the coming days. (I hope!) I have not yet been able to order new Stampin' Up! goodies from the current mini catalog. Oh the joys of living on a teacher salary. ;) I hope to get those at the end of the month. For now, I'll focus on what I have from the big catalog.
I hope your year is off to a good start and the weather is treating you well. Here, its been crazy. Its 15 one day and 65 the next. Stay safe & get crafty!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Boy does time fly! The holidays, from Halloween to New Year's Day, have just flown by at our hours. Again we have been dealing with illnesses. Guess this is just an unhealthy time of year for our family. (mainly daughter and me) didn't come here for that now did you? ;) I hope your year is starting off well. I am catching up on my art. I am trying to finish the 12 Tags of Christmas that Tim Holtz has done. I'll add the pictures to this blog post until I have all 12 up. When I do these tags, I always use what I have around my studio. No sense in going out and buying something new. Its a good way to use up this stash of random things I have around just taking up space.