#Beyourself, #freedom, #opportunity, American, coming of age, march for our lives, PTSD, Veterans, vulnerability

Semper Fidelis

I have been feeling very uninspired lately. I have not felt like writing or speaking my truth because it seems like there is no point. Feeling disheartened, discouraged, disappointed, and unpatriotic is a terrible mindset to be stuck in.

Thankfully this changed on Thursday, August 11th, 2022, when I accompanied my sister to her friend’s book signing.

It was a privilege and honor meeting a true HERO, Major Tom Schueman.
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And Added bonus, he is from the Southside of Chicago!

Major Tom Schueman & my baby sista Allison
See pic 👆🏻Tom is writing on his hand 😉 …just a quick quote by William Faulkner 🤯😂- you can take a guy out the south side but ya can’t take the south-side outta the guy;)

Major Tom Schueman, A Marist High School, Loyola and Georgetown graduate raised by a single “hippie, cop mom” has authored his first book with Zak, an Interpreter from Afghanistan.

This one- hour interview, had me choked up-then-laughing numerous times about Tom’s experience growing up and what he went through serving our country.

Laughing when Major Tom describes his Grandma having a crush on Tom Cruise and A Few Good Men was on all the time at his house growing up.


Major Tom describes the values his mother instilled in him, the childhood friends he made, and how both combined helped build the foundation of the amazing man he has become today.


Tom’s core values of resilience, adversity, integrity, persistence, and always being faithful led Major Tom, to not giving up in any aspect of his life.

These core values provided him with the stamina to persevere in his deployment in Afghanistan, watching his military brothers become wounded or even killed and in helping his friend Zak and his family escape from the Taliban to the United States.


Zak wanted to improve the quality of life in Afghanistan and chose to take a life-threatening job as an interpreter to the United States military.

Zak’s expertise and cultural knowledge saved lives of countless lives of US soldiers.

Zak is not a trained UNITED STATES soldier, yet he faced the same challenges as US troops and over time, he became one of them and served our country without even being a United States Citizen.

Tom so eloquently describes how some individuals can have American values and “BE American” even if they are not born here.

This story of adversity, loyalty, friendship and always being faithful provides readers with the empowering journey of how Major Tom assisted in getting Zak and his family to the United States after after two previously failed attempts.

If you have been feeling uninspired, discouraged, disheartened, disappointed and unpatriotic, read this book. 🇺🇸 ❤️ 💙 🤍

Always Faithful: A Story of the War in Afghanistan, the Fall of Kabul, and the Unshakable Bond Between a Marine and an Interpreter https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B09NW2TFVV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_BNBM2Q1EFWQE1V4H1C94

https://www.instagram.com/p/ChGRhlVrT4P/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

#Beyourself, #freedom, #greatpretender, #millenials, #opportunity, #simonsinek, Badassery, Find A Way, gun control, Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda, march for our lives, unlockingus, Women's Fight

BLUE is the new BLACK

During my time as an ER crisis worker, I was written up at least once a year for accumulated tardies.

I have also been put on levels for mistakes I made.

I am one of two individuals in the history of my department that was on a “level”. (Level three is termination.) How unfair right!?

Back story: When I first started, I got so mad about a PTO policy that changed; I impulsively went straight to the CEO. 🙈😬 Soon after, I began to receive levels for “minor” mistakes.

Upon receiving this level, I went into full-on JED mode (justify, explain, defend) a.k.a JJM (JOLIET JAKE MODE) to my boss.

I was FURIOUS at her audacity because I had stayed late the night before!

HOW DARE SHE!?

How dare THEY!!!”

I then exclaimed, “It was 7:01! Can’t you let this slide?” (What about the other six late clock-ins? 🤔)

I pissed and moaned about it to my coworkers.

One day, a nurse in another department candidly told me “I’ve been on a level before. You know what? It’s just to help you learn. It’s not like a jail sentence.”

When I stopped blaming, I was able to see clearly what I did wrong and how I need to change. I DESERVED the LEVEL.

This level was about a choice I made.

This level was about a mistake I made.

My justification that it’s “no big deal” or my valid reasons for committing this violation does not matter.

It is a rule, policy, procedure etc. and I broke it. PERIOD.

I needed to THINK.

I needed to THINK, With MY BRAIN, Not the internet.

OWN IT. Learn from it. Accept. Admit. I.was.wrong.

I needed to feel the pain and shame of the consequences in order to change.

I preferred to “get in trouble” individually than have my whole team suffer for my mistake, my ignorance, and my stupidity.

Just as I HATED it when I was a kid and we lost recess because of the one asshole who wouldn’t stop talking. I never wanted to be that kid.

I didn’t want to be that coworker.

Takin one for the team.

This “dumb” rule and it’s “unfair” consequences is to prevent much bigger mistakes from occurring in the future.

I attended a mandatory re-training, with clear concise examples and the consequences if not followed-ahead of time. Also annual trainings to keep this fresh in our mind.

Oh and remember how I went straight to the CEO when I wanted to have a tantrum about what I didn’t like? I learned to follow the chain of command. It is there for a reason. I get it…now. If I didn’t make those mistakes, perhaps I wouldn’t have.

Do I deserve to lose my pension because I made some bad choices?

Should my entire department lose their pension because of my mistake?

Speaking of losing pensions, here is another authoritative tale where I believed I was right…This is in regards to the countless tickets I have received for speeding, failure to come to a complete stop at a red light prior to turning right, and blowing red lights.

After my violation, I would respectfully hand over my insurance card and license to the police officer with a sweet, innocent smile. Sometimes, in a vain attempt to get out of the ticket, I may have flirted a little.

This manipulative behavior on my part would be dismissed with a “nice try” nod or a wink as if to acknowledge the effort. Then the police officer did their job by handing me the ticket.

Later, while attending court to fight this outlandish claim: I smiled, apologized and respectfully presented my case.

After all, I had VALID reasons why!!!

However, deep down I knew the truth.

I wasn’t truly sorry….I was sorry because I got caught. Perhaps this ONE time I may have been right; but what about was 27 other times I made the same mistake and didn’t get caught.

I was only sorry for my behavior because it hit me where it hurt. 💰 💴 ⏰ I could not afford the consequences.

Therefore, I was not GENUINELY sorry, but feeling sorry for myself.

After my presentation at court, you know what the police officer or judge would reply 97% of the time? Something like:

“You weren’t even close.”😂😎

I didn’t get out of it.

I didn’t have a tantrum. I didn’t persuade anyone in powerful positions that “I know” to get me out of it.

I was stuck with the consequences as I should be.

I paid the $200 fine. I went to traffic school. I drove more cautiously to avoid future infractions. I learned to stop the behavior.

Should I have gotten a lower fine because I’m a woman?

Should I have gotten a lower fine because women earn less than men?

Would a man have gotten out of this?

Was I just pulled over because I am a female?

Was I written up because I am a female?

I don’t know all the answers but I’m leaning toward a hard NO. My point is, we are all humans and make mistakes. I can at least own my part. Shouldn’t we all?

Some make worse mistakes than others and those individuals need to receive their appropriate consequences.

We still ALL EQUALLY need consequences to continue to learn and function in society. Yes, of course there are racist and sexist people in this world; but there are many more who are not.

What happened to accountability?

I knew the rules and I still chose to break them.

I am aware if I commit a serious crime, I go to jail. No getting out of it. I respect my freedom so I obey the law. (See below for Chris Rock- obey the law skit)

I DO NOT deserve special treatment because I am a woman.

I SHOULD NOT be let off easy because I’m really, really good looking 😜(Zoolander). (See halo effect)

That is the BOTTOM LINE.

There are NO excuses.

There are no valid reasons.

I should receive consequences and re-training.

It never even OCCURRED to me to argue with police or judges.

Perhaps some would call this an example of “white privilege.”

I call it RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY.

I call it RESPECT for our COUNTRY.

I call it RESPECT for the RULES.

I call it respect for those HUMAN BEINGS who are doing their extremely difficult job to enforce the rules.

I don’t know about you, but I NEED rules.

I need authority.

I’m not sure when all this ENABLING started, but it has to stop.

In a time, not too long ago, we used be like this:

A time when people laughed instead of being offended about everything.

How can we get back to this? Where we laughed and celebrated our differences?

How can we move forward from today and stop being so divided? In the end, we are all equal human beings, aren’t we?

Perhaps making everyone read this book below as a mandatory part of being a United States Citizen would help us remember.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316478520/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_3j2aGb1RGFC5V

Regardless of what any of us think of our previous president, he is human too. One person cannot be held responsible for everything. There is a LONG chain of command that is also accountable. We NEED Many LEADERS! Like thousands!

Addendum: https://markmanson.net/newsletters/mindfck-monday-66?vgo_ee=uZEOWBYMFd2rLfzi%2BJIpDmQOP8ZXmRzMvz3Yw%2BcA7gI%3D

#greatpretender, #landmarkforum, Badassery, empath, Grief, gun control, Health & Wellness, march for our lives, vulnerability

Finding Time For Grace

I decided in the last year that I’m not cooking dinner anymore. I decided this but I still felt guilty like I “should” cook dinner.

I definitely had this unrealistic vision of sitting down together every night, saying grace, eating a balanced meal and connecting about the highs and lows of our day. Reality: we end up fighting•everyone sighs in disgust when I put the food down• kids are never hungry because I have to feed them a “pre-dinner” because they are ravenous after school. Then a “post” dinner -again conveniently before bedtime. I make them breakfast, lunch, & snacks.

Kids have games, practices, homework, and us parents may have unfinished work from both our full time jobs and side jobs, traffic to fight and no energy left to use 15 dishes and load dishwasher for the 2nd or 3rd time that day.

Last year, one of my friends with five kids, 11 and under, said to me “I don’t cook”. I was in awe. She said that sometimes she goes to Mariano’s to get chicken and they grill it for her for free. Sometimes they have sandwiches. She doesn’t cook…ever.

She is my hero.

However, she does have time and energy to do fun things with her kids, coach them and spend time with them. Kids will remember her presence; not the amazing dinner she cooked. I decided to do this too, however I always had this nagging “should” guilt. This is also exacerbated when my daughter exclaims “you don’t feed me.”

I wrote myself a permission slip this week to myself, for myself, that I no longer have to cook dinner and permission to not feel guilt. (Concept by Brene Brown). A permission slip, means “it’s okay”& “I’m off the hook.” Like how you write a permission slip to excuse your kids for stuff; do it for yourself.

I stopped comparing myself to other families and feeling like a loser because other people eat dinner together. It might work for other families and their schedule. For my family, it doesn’t work… ever. It never has and I doubt it ever will.

My kids are old enough now to read directions and make their own dinner. You want chicken nuggets, go for it. Frozen pizza- I don’t care- go ahead. I surrender this battle. If my husband wants dinner, he can cook it, we both work. He also is a way better cook with less mess. I’m done with this standoff every night on who will suck it up and cook. 😂

Since giving myself permission and by letting go of this guilt; I have felt very liberated and free. One day last week we were all home together so I actually cooked dinner because “I felt like it.” There was no fighting, kids were starving because it was like 7:30pm.😂

I discovered that I now have more time for other things than making dinner and saying grace. I now have time to notice grace.

Despite my kids going to Catholic school, I struggle with my faith at times. With all the tragedies and evil that is done, it is difficult to not become jaded.

Which in turn may cause a person to question their faith and remembering how to stay on their own path.

How can you experience joy while people are getting killed by some senseless massacre? How are you supposed to feel content and at peace when there is terrible illnesses in this world? I feel like a real asshole experiencing frustration about my kids game conflicts or having fun with my friends when there is so much pain in the world.

I put this audiobook on hold at the library a long time ago (like 15 weeks). I forgot about it. The book became available at exactly when I needed it.

All chapters are summaries of different super soul Sunday’s that Oprah has done. (Now you may have a pre-judgement about Oprah as I once did and immediately say, “I don’t like Oprah. She bugs me. She’s full of herself.” Oprah will tell you and admit “I am full of myself, I have to be full in order to give.”) I now understand her more and realize I was judging her instead of paying attention to what her true intention is…to serve others.

Every chapter of this book gives you something truly thought provoking.

I obviously cannot write everything out for you to read and highlight it all. That’s why it’s a book, not authored by me. But, I can share how this book impacted me:

I see patients at my job who are disabled. Many have dementia and Alzheimer’s. I have to keep my boundaries up at work to stay unbiased, objective and remain detached. This is healthy and necessary to prevent burn out. These boundaries are to prevent myself from becoming too emotionally attached. The brain is truly fascinating how it can be trained to do certain things. My “fortress“ goes up in work mode as if I push a button in my brain. It just…happens.

I am sure police officers, firemen, nurses, doctors and anyone in service industry all possess a similar capability. It’s essential for survival.

Anyways, I am at home where my boundaries are not up and going through the motions of doing this online training for work…it was on Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s makes me cry.

Alzheimer’s makes my heart hurt.

Alzheimer’s makes me question my faith.

I don’t want to feel this.

I don’t want to think about it.

I don’t want to think of this harsh reality. I don’t want to think of my friends who have had parents go through this. I don’t want to think about my mother-in-law.

This CBT work training was 10 chapters, I was on chapter 6 when I felt this overpowering need to stop.

I was becoming crabby, frustrated and sad.

I wanted to keep bulldozing through it and “get it done”. Then things continued to happen; my kids needed me, I got a phone call, I had to go to the bathroom…etc.

Finally I surrendered and gave up attempting to finish the work training.

I woke up yesterday morning on my own… very early. I took this opportunity to “get this dumb training done.”

I was listening to the book-Chapter 8 on GRACE; Oprah interviews Dr. Caroline Myss.

(All the chapters are extremely well done and the audio is excellent because she has the actual recordings from the show.)

Oprah asks Dr. Caroline Myss, “What is Grace?”

Caroline: “Grace is something that will prevent you from doing something that you cannot take back. Grace comes in and says “you will be OK”. Grace is a power that comes in and transforms a moment into something better.”

Oprah asks Caroline “How does Grace work?” .

@caroline.myss: “When you are in a huge argument and you are so angry and you want to say something so intentionally hurtful and mean…and that inner voice says, “You sure you want to do that?” …That’s Grace. 🤯

Finally, something I can use!😂

She also answers questions raw & real like:

“What is prayer?”

“What is your definition of God?”

“How do you know when to surrender and let go?”

“How do I know I am making the right decision?”

You have to listen to this for yourself to discover your own enlightenment.

I will share though, Dr. Caroline Myss’s concept of “The Sacred Contract”

“The shared contract is the reason you were born. It’s not a literal document. It’s a spiritual document that our soul recognizes. It’s the feeling of “there’s something I know I was meant to do.” It’s a fundamental agreement that you simply feel because it reveals itself to you through ideas, coincidences, synchronicity’s, obligations that you can’t get out of, mad love you can’t stop, serendipity’s. People are in the dark about their reason for being here. People define it by what they want instead of what they have. People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn’t belong to them.”

So I listened and cried…I was vulnerable and my heart was wide open. (I try to avoid feeling this way🙈 Hello white claw, amazon, donuts, gossip, Netflix binges.) This time I sat with it. I felt it. I resisted the urge to run away and “do” something else. I resisted the urge to stop “feeling”.

I got it together eventually and turned on my computer to finish my training for work on Alzheimer’s.

There it was…

Chapter 7 SPIRITUAL & PALLIATIVE CARE FOR ALZHEIMER’S

Right there…was GRACE.

If I read this last night while crabby, frustrated and jaded- I would’ve missed what I really needed to learn. Thankfully grace intervened telling me to take a break, it’s ok. Grace was giving me permission.

I was now able to read this chapter on spirituality and what individuals with Alzheimer’s need with an open heart and open mind; despite my struggling with my faith the day before. Instead of being annoyed and complaining about this training I had to do; I was exceptionally grateful that I was given this opportunity from my employer to learn this. I realized by “hurrying up” and “just trying to get it done”; I would have missed the joy and pain of learning this.

I oddly found clarity by feeling both sadness and gratitude/joy and pain simultaneously. I was able to see the answer to my earlier question about “how am I supposed to feel joy without guilt?” to fully grasp and recognize what I read last week in Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness below:

“The more we diminish our own pain or rank it compared to what others have survived…the less empathetic we become. When we surrender our own pain to make others feel less alone… or to make ourselves feel less guilty… we deplete ourselves of what it feels like to be fully alive and fueled by purpose.” -Brene Brown

Below is Caroline Myss Ted talk.

https://youtu.be/-KysuBl2m_w

Caroline Myss

http://www.supersoul.tv/tag/caroline-myss

Brene Brown On Practicing civility

https://brenebrown.com/articles/2017/11/08/gun-reform-speaking-truth-bullshit-practicing-civility-effecting-change-2/

Permission slips

https://youtu.be/NY6hZf6kI4g

gun control, march for our lives, Uncategorized

No Guns for you

Whenever I have to go to the Department of motor vehicles; I have a vision of the Soup Nazi.

In the DMV, everyone is obedient, quiet, respectful and stands in line patiently. Security is standing by the door, in the back of the room and near the check in desk.

There is usually a bad ass woman at the front desk (probably two years from retirement); with absolutely zero patience and zero tolerance for excuses. She doesn’t have time for bullshit.

She is the soup nazi.

She will check what you brought with for identification. If it is not the required paperwork, she will unapologetically tell you what you need to do, hand you back your pitiful paperwork and you’re excused. Got to come back another day. “No soup for you!”.

While you’re standing there flabbergasted like George Costanza; she’s already looking at the next person in line yelling out “next!”.

Everyone has the same rules and there are no “deals”. Like everyone else, I took a drivers license exam and I was scared to death and terrified. I was extremely cautious, wanting to pass and this drivers license examiner was strict as hell. He was also scary like the soup nazi, only he resembled Danny Devito. But you know what? He should be scary.

He has the power to give you a drivers license. This is a PRIVILEGE! He is a government employee. He is not a salesman.

He was testing me to make sure that I am capable of driving a vehicle. Why? For the safety of myself and other people. It is their responsibility to make sure we are able and willing to follow the rules of the road. If your vision is bad or you can’t pass the driver’s test; you don’t get a license. Period.

End. Of. Story.

It’s just the way it is. We all accept it.

Driving and the freedom we have is a privilege.

Even the most obnoxious of people (The Newman’s😂) who want the soup, know when to shut the fuck up, stand in line, be respectful, follow the rules and get out of there.

The vehicle I.D., license plate number and the drivers license number identify you on your insurance policy and can be found in the U.S. government database. If you do not follow these rules, you get tickets, fines and those brutal red light violations. I mean, you can be fined $100 if you do not come to a complete stop before turning right.(I’ve had like 10 of these 😖.)

You cannot obtain your drivers license or take a driver’s license test at a little shop next to the dollar store. You are unable to take care of any kind of governmental state issued identification responsibilities at Cabela’s or at Dick’s Sporting goods.

So what I’m wondering is, if having a drivers license is taken so seriously; how come obtaining guns are not managed the same way?

This picture was taken Thursday May 17th, 2018 on 74th and Harlem at a sporting goods store. You could stop here to pick up some ice, get a slurpie, or a gun, maybe some ammo…because that’s normal. Whut? Something has to be done about this. This is insanity.

First of all, Guns should be regulated like the DMV with the Soup Nazi at the front desk and someone testing you to ensure you are capable of handling this responsibility. There should be restrictions and requirements as there are with owning a car.

In owning a car and having a driver’s license, you know that if you screw up; you lose that privilege. Only I hope “screwing up” means something menial like turning right on a red light, not resulting in people being killed.

Guns are supposed to be owned only by people who understand and respect their power, follow the rules and take owning one seriously. Guns should be used for self- defense and hunting. That is it.

“No guns for you.”

Watch bullet control below by Chris Rock.

Read this article:

https://brenebrown.com/articles/2017/11/08/gun-reform-speaking-truth-bullshit-practicing-civility-effecting-change-2/