Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Season of Hope

Christmas at the Farm - 2010
I love Christmas--it's my favorite time of year! But I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by! This time last year I had just finished a contract in California, drove to Arizona, then flew to Washington for Christmas. After the new year, I spent 2011 primarily in school, and in uniform. I learned a lot this year--from both good and bad examples. And I made some great friends and great memories. The downside of 2011 was that I spent most of the year far away from the people I love.

2011 had its challenges--having pneumonia at the end of 2010 affected me physically most of the year, and it was tough being away from the people I love the most. But I grew--as a person, as a woman, and as an officer. I reconnected with old friends, I experienced new foods and climates (104 degrees in 100% humidity!), and I Skyped--alot! I'm so thankful for Skype, Facebook, email, cell phones . . . the list goes on. It isn't the same as being in the same room and certainly can't replace a hug, but it makes the world a much smaller place. I travel so much, yet I never feel alone--I am thankful for that.

I'm looking forward to 2012--I know it's going to be a wonderful year, full of happy surprises!


Merry Christmas everyone--have a safe and happy new year!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons Learned

Somewhere at the bottom, under the water and 
the mud, lies a significant piece of my past. 
Moving forward is a good thing!
It's been a few years since I've spent time in Tampa--I spent a few months here back in 2007, but I haven't been back since. Things have changed since then . . .

Some of the restaurants I used to frequent are closed now, and construction projects have changed the landscape a bit. Of course, in 2007 it was all about the relationship I was in--I was deeply in love. This time, it's all about me and continuing my adventures in this crazy, wonderful life. It's good to be back.

I'm a different person now, and I'm viewing Tampa through new eyes. One thing I've discovered upon my return is that I'm learning lessons from people and circumstances that . . . surprise me. I must say that I'm happily surprised!

I'm thankful for all of my experiences, and I'm happy to be back in Tampa! Life is good!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Because freedom isn't free . . .

This is the flag flying by the San Pedro River
 in Arizona (near Ft. Huachuca)

Happy Veterans Day--and THANK YOU to all who have served and all who still serve! Remember, freedom isn't free.

Today was sunny, but chilly (and windy!). I went for my run by the water this morning, and most runners (including me) wore long sleeves, ear covering, etc. One brave woman was running in a sports bra and short running shorts--brrrrrrr! It was 47 degrees this morning (42 with wind chill factor).

These are the views I see when I run:

This view of the Tampa skyline makes me miss Seattle.
There is no better place than Seattle in the Summer . . .

This is a nice run--made me think of my runs along the
Columbia River on the Washington side. 
Life is good--cheers!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

NWM 2011: Reflections

Soaking our tired feet in the Pacific Ocean

1. There is nothing quite like good friends coming together for a common cause.

2. Overcoming a challenge is exhilarating.

3. Cancer sucks. 


4. Bag Balm works better than Vaseline to prevent blisters.

"Julie" for a day! (My race shirt is in Arizona)
5. Cold saltwater feels wonderful on blistered feet.

6. It is unwise to run in new shoes (even if they are Mizunos).

7. Check the hotel room one more time before leaving (or don't forget a bottle of good wine in the hotel room).


Cheers!
8. Good friends + Irish pub (The Chieftain in San Francisco) = Win!

9. Don't park in a bad neighborhood (especially in a large city).

10. Remember to train before the next race. Really.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Facebook: is this a place for children?

Bottom line up front: I don't think children belong on Facebook.

Yes, Facebook is a fun place to connect, but even adults have been victimized via Facebook. Older kids, even college kids, have been bullied on Facebook. Some people think that kids can be on Facebook if properly monitored, but I disagree. Facebook has privacy issues, and kids just don't have the maturity and experience to deal with some of the issues that may be "faced" on Facebook. Facebook isn't just about playing games and posting pictures for your friends and family . . .  There are people who look for potential victims on Facebook--they look for children, women, etc. 

I am very careful with my own Facebook account--I wouldn't dream of allowing an elementary aged child to be on Facebook. Parents, grandparents, guardians . . . please think twice before allowing an elementary or middle school aged child to have an account on Facebook. Be a responsible adult and draw the line. I did.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lost and found: a note from Tyler

Some things are just too sweet . . .  Tyler wrote this note to me in the Spring of 2007, and it remained on my refrigerator door for . . . years. I've since packed it safely away with other mementos, but my blog is my new "refrigerator door."

~ Tyler, 2007
Life is good, and I am very blessed. I'd rather be me than anyone else! Thank you, Tyler, for continuing to brighten my days--I love you!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook: it's not me, it's you . . .

Dear Facebook,

It's not me, it's you. I've loved you--it's true. You have helped me connect to friends and family who are far, far away . . . You have helped me to share pictures, stories, good times and bad times; you have been there for me. You also have allowed me to learn things that have hurt--a lot. Yet through that I have grown . . .

But this time you have gone too far . . .  You are infringing on my privacy more than I imagined. My trust in you before was fragile, but now I have no trust in you at all.

I realize that you perceive your changes to be an enhancement for users, but every change you make appears to disrupt privacy settings. Every change you make requires me to check to see if my information is shared more than I feel comfortable sharing . . . And yes, your changes do change the settings previously set by users. I'm not happy about this, Facebook.

I want to be able to choose what I share on Facebook--I don't want to need to opt out by changing my privacy settings. Rather, if I want to share, let me take the time to share by posting on my own. You may think you are making things easier for me, but I'd like to close the door and have a little privacy. If I want to share, let me open the door--I don't need a butler.

Sincerely,

TK

Related:

Facebook is Scaring Me



Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Not to decide is to decide"

Last week, we had a chaplain brief us on ethical decision making. He began with an exercise in which he divided the class into three groups. For the exercise, each group was on a raft that would sink unless one person were eliminated from the raft. One person on the raft was gravely injured, and no one could volunteer to leave the raft. The raft was floating in cold waters with no land in sight. Our task was to decide who would leave the raft.

Everyone felt uncomfortable with the task--no one wanted to throw a buddy overboard. There was a lot of discussion regarding this. Some people said they couldn't throw a person overboard. The chaplain told us that some classes have groups who say they will all go down together.

But, as Harvy Cox said, "not to decide is to decide." The decision not to throw one person overboard, thereby saving everyone else in the raft, is really the decision to throw everyone in the raft overboard. Everyone will die. There isn't a winning solution, but there is a best decision.

Sometimes leadership is difficult--often leadership is difficult. Our exercise was extreme, but the intent was to get us to think. In the corporate world, deciding whom to lay off during hard economic times isn't easy either, but most managers won't say "let's all go down together." Deciding whom to lay off isn't an easy decision. But the more there is to lose, the harder it is to make the decision.

Are you up to the task? If you are in a situation where no solution is a clear "win," can you make the best decision?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shoot, move, and communicate . . .

Life continues to be busy here at Ft. Jackson--today I qualified on the M4 . . . during pre-qualification. I was happy because it was already "Heat CAT V," REALLY hot. I left the range to work on disbursing operations (lots of forms, figures, and calculations). I'm looking forward to this weekend so I can study, work on distance learning modules in resource management, and rest. I wish I had more time to write, but my writing wouldn't be very exciting right now . . . unless you like forms! ;)


Technically, we are finished with our "core" learning, but we aren't really finished--we still have our FTX toward the end of August. We will be spending a few days in a FOB working with students in other schools here at Ft. Jackson on finance operations in the field. Plus, we will go on our live convoy then (already trained on a simulator)--I get to drive a Humvee . . . (I don't think they saw me drive before my selection) . . .  ;)

Oh, you know life is good . . .  Cheers!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

It's all fun and games . . . till it's time to take a test!

Actually, last week wasn't fun and games. I just wrote a paragraph about the things we learned last week, then I remembered OPSEC and deleted everything I wrote. Anyhow, it was an interesting week, a little break from finance

However, we have distance learning modules to work on during our "free" time. Tonight I finished a module on mission funding. Tomorrow, I'll complete three budgeting modules complete with exams. Everything we are getting on resource management is via distance learning. The online courses aren't bad, but as an instructional systems designer, I can't help but evaluate them as I'm completing them . . .  There's always room for improvement, right?

Cheers!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Decisions, decisions . . .

Chesepeake Bay
I'm planning to move to Tampa in September . . . but I visited Washington, DC for Independence weekend, and now I'm wondering if moving to Tampa is the best decision for me. I still think it is, but I keep getting calls from recruiters. Today, I had a recruiter call about a job in Bellevue, WA  . . . tempting! However, I told the recruiter that I'm not interested (this time--I definitely left the door open!); I want to make the best decision . . .  for my family and for me.

Longworth House Office Building
I interned in DC many years ago (wonderful experience! I worked in Longworth House Office Building), and I love the city . . . but there's something about Tampa (good memories?) . . . and the job is a very good fit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

South Carolina

I'm still loving Ft. Jackson. I wouldn't choose to live long term in Columbia, but I'm enjoying my time here. Our class has really bonded, and our instructors are wonderful. I can't think of anything negative to say, although I'm not excited about sharing space with the snakes next week (land nav)!

Last (but not least!)

Happy birthday to my best friend, Lance! Be safe, and be blessed!

Life is good--I am so blessed!

Cheers!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Living the dream!

I went to Charleston last weekend
with a friend--fun!
Life is crazy busy right now, and crazy good. Last week, we took the APFT, and this week we celebrated both the Army's birthday and the Finance Corps' birthday . . . OK, we were busy with more than birthday celebrations . . .

Our first assignment was due today, and we have distance learning modules to complete as well. I'll be studying this weekend.

There's so much more that I could write about . . . My class is going to take the new APRT while we're here (pilot testing . . . kind of). I'll try to make time to write more this weekend.

Hooah!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Soldier's Creed

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

Matt Larsen, 2003

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hello, South Carolina!

Yes, finally!
I arrived in South Carolina yesterday afternoon--it was 100 degrees . . . and I was happy to stop driving!

It's hot here, but nice. I wasn't excited to have a snake slither in front of my car (about three feet long) before I even reached Ft. Jackson, but I digress . . .

Crazy weather - My camera focused
on the rain drops on the window,
but it was pouring outside!
The weather here is strange. Today, I went to the PX to pick up a few things. It was 91 degrees when I parked. When I left (about 20 minutes later), it was 71 degrees and POURING. I was soaked when I got to my car.

Once back to my room, the lightning became constant. There were thunderstorm warnings stating that there could be golf ball sized hail. Not good. Then the power went out. Some areas in Columbia are still without power. My lights are on, but I was operating on candlelight for awhile.

The weather here is crazy, but life is good.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hello Arizona!

After two long days of driving (ten hours the first day, nine the second), I arrived in Mohave Valley, Arizona yesterday around 4:30 in the afternoon. So far, the drive has been good, and thankfully my guardian angels haven't been busy. However, my GPS wasn't working, so I'm glad I know the way--I've driven this route so frequently that I felt like I was on auto-pilot!



Here are some of the sights from yesterday's drive:

Driving on CA-99 near Fresno

The desert near Needles, CA
Gas prices in Needles--EEEEK!



This one is from an earlier visit with my parents. 

Two days into my road trip:  Mohave Valley, AZ 

This is what lies ahead!









Friday, May 20, 2011

The long drive (day one)

Mt. Shasta
Ten hours. But with some great scenery! I've seen this scenery . . . many, many times. I've taken photos a few times, but I've never shared them. As you can see, driving from anywhere in Washington State down to Northern California isn't so bad . . .

Ten hours from Washougal, WA brings me to Folsom, CA (just outside of Sacramento). There was a time when I thought of Sacramento as the "armpit of California," and I swore I would never live there. I stand corrected. I enjoyed living there, and I made some wonderful friendships!

If given a good opportunity, yes, I would move back!

Hello California--I've missed you!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The side of the road

The Gospodor Monuments
Earlier, I said that I was going to take pictures and blog about the things I see and people I meet as I drive to South Carolina and beyond, but I see things every day as I travel near home. Yesterday, I drove to Gig Harbor to spend time with my kids (and my hair stylist).

For years, my kids and I have pondered the existence of the strange statues on the east side of I-5 near Chehalis. Yesterday, I took a picture of them on my way home. Seattle millionaire Dominic Gospodor erected them commemorating the Holocaust, Christianity, and Native Americans.
"Dominic Gospodor, the eccentric bachelor who spent over $1 million building the Gospodor Monuments, has died at age 86. He never told anyone why he built them, or exactly what he meant to say with their peculiar combination of Mother Teresa, Native Americans, Jesus, Holocaust victims, an eagle, and an enormous weather vane.
Mr. Gospodor reportedly wrote in his will that upon his death a nonprofit organization had to be found to take over ownership of the monuments. But he also reportedly left no money to maintain them, or even to pay for the electricity that lights them at night. The monuments are made of rustproofed steel, however, and should be around for a while (2010)." [credit]
The statues are just there, on the side of the road in a field . . . very strange.



Gig Harbor is beautiful--it was my home for several years.

But of course, the best part of this mini road trip was spending time with my Rachel and Tyler!


Rachel, me, Tyler
Eating mango sticky rice at Thai Hut in Gig Harbor

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Bucket List

My dad's Beechcraft Musketeer
I realized today that I need to revisit my bucket list. I created my current bucket list a few years ago--just before writing my strategic plan. Why do I need to revisit it? Well, I've been able to check off several items on the list!

I need to add more to the list, but one of the more important items--learning to fly--is still there. And it's achievable now . . .

Why do I want to learn to fly? When I was a child, my dad wanted to learn to fly. He and my mom bought a Beechcraft Musketeer, went to ground school, and learned to fly together. My dad earned his pilot's license, and my mom soloed. I remember them taking trips with their friends, flying themselves to their destination. I always admired them for that . . . and when I was ten (yes, this has been on my bucket list since I was ten!), I decided that someday I would learn to fly too.

So what am I waiting for? Bring it on!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Email

Years ago, I received this email from a good friend. I remember when her son was born, and I was at his funeral. Her email touched me deeply, and I saved it as a reminder on my refrigerator door. Now I want to share it with you:

"It was 5 years ago today that my first-born son made his entrance into this world.  He was a beautiful baby with a deep soul who only lived for 5 days but gave me an enormous gift.  I would like to share that gift with you on the anniversary of his birth.  Please do not let the grinding details of life weigh you down.  Each day will pass by too fast so it is incredibly important to always reach out to those who mean the most and tell them how wonderful they are to you. Love to all"

Amen.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Life is all about how you handle plan B . . .

"Plan A is always my first choice . . . you know, the one where everything works out to be happily ever-after. But more often than not, I find myself dealing with the upside-down, inside-out version where nothing goes as it should. Do I sink or do I swim? . . . The choice is all mine. It's at this point that the true test of my character comes in. Life really is all about how you handle plan B." [From a fun T-shirt that I own.]

Plan B

People make too big of a deal over plan B. Seriously! Plans should be flexible . . . what is most important is the mission! A change in plans isn't a change in mission--plan B is merely a different avenue of approach.

One thing that I always try to keep in mind is that my plan A may not be what is best for me. It may accomplish the mission, but at what cost?

I have a strategic plan for my life and my career--yes, it's true (I am THAT anal). And yes, I weigh every decision according to this plan. Yet at the same time, I realize that I may not have all of the information, and my original plan may not be the best plan to accomplish the mission . . .

Do I sink or do I swim?

That is a silly question--of course I swim! I look at life this way: if we create a plan or a map for our lives and everything goes precisely according to the plan, how boring would that be? Where are the challenges in that?

I love the twists and turns in life--they usually bring heightened success!


Dialing it in

What am I talking about here? One example could be my own change from the Army's MI branch to Finance. Attending Finance BOLC and becoming a Finance Officer was my plan B. I won't share all of the details of my personal strategic plan, but the goal in that segment of my plan had already been met, so the change wasn't truly significant. However, initially choosing MI was important to my end-state. My background is actually in finance, so this change made sense . . . but MI still holds my interest!

My point is that it's important to not only have a plan, but to fully understand the steps in the plan and the desired end-state . . . otherwise you may get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of the end-state which is the ultimate goal!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"You’re IN, baby!"

NWM 2010
Last year, I ran it with Team-in-Training and raised $2400 to help find a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma. This year, I'm running with a group, Team-in-Training Friends. We entered the lottery together, and we're IN!

IN what? The Nike Women's Marathon (and half marathon) in San Francisco. Like last year, the theme is "I run to be . . ."

Last year, I devoted an entire post to answering this question; this year, I told Nike that I run to be strong and healthy--an example for my children! 

Yes, it is!
Life is good!


Related posts:
I run to be . . .
Just DID it!
Race week
Snapshot of a Saturday
Hill repeats and work (wait, hill repeats are work!)
The trail run 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Relaxing at home

Sunshine in Washington!

I'm enjoying my last month at home . . . Today was wonderful, sunny, and . . . ok, it wasn't warm, but it was nice! The great thing about the weather being cool is . . . I can still have a fire!

Today was productive for me--lots of phone calls, emails, etc . . . but things are falling nicely into place. I'll feel better when the package is wrapped with a nice little bow on top though!

I'm looking forward to this weekend--Easter with my kids! I'm hoping for a sunny weekend so I can take them hiking on Saturday. Even if it rains, it will be a great weekend!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ready . . . Set . . .

I am sooooo ready . . . I really am! Once I have a plan, I'm ready to go! In my mind, that is . . .

Truthfully, I have so much to do to get ready to leave for South Carolina . . . Yet in my mind, I'm already there. But half of the things I'll need are here with me in Washington, and the other half is in Arizona. Somehow, I need to get it all in my little car and get it to Ft. Jackson! But hey, I've done it before . . .

I'm excited--I've already started mapping my route and contacting friends to visit along the way. I love learning new things, visiting new places, and meeting new people. The only part I won't love is being away from my family . . .

I'm so glad my family is supportive of my adventures--I have the best family and friends. They understand what drives these adventures--that there is purpose and meaning to them. They understand that much of what I do . . . is ultimately for them.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

"May you live in interesting times"

My car - ready for the road trip home.
Not as loaded down this time!
I'm definitely living in interesting times! This phrase is intended to be a curse meaning "may you experience upheaval and trouble in your life." [credit] 


While I wouldn't say there is trouble or upheaval in my life, changes occur every moment. It isn't always easy, but it always works out for the best. I was expecting to head to San Diego to turn in my government computer and say goodbye to the 315th, but the my last battle assembly with them was cancelled due to the expected government shutdown. Instead, I packed and headed back to Washington. It was nice--I gain a lot of perspective during these long road trips, and I stopped in the Sacramento area and visited some friends on my way home.

Now, I'm packing and preparing for another road trip--to South Carolina. At first, although I'm definitely excited to visit friends along the way, I was wishing I had more time to rest before another road trip. Remember, I've been ill and am still recovering. But rest, for me, brings boredom.

So I'm getting excited about this new adventure. Rachel suggested awhile ago that I blog about my "adventures." I haven't written much about these road trips. This time, I'm going to take pictures along the way, and spend some time each day writing about the things I see and people I meet. It really is an adventure!

My life is good--I wouldn't trade places with anyone!


So don't be deceived . . . the true curse is "may you lead a boring and purposeless life."


I can always find the rainbow!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life is good!

What a great weekend! 

After leaving Ft. Huachuca, I was able to stop and have a brief visit with my parents before heading north to Washington. In Washington, I went shopping with Rachel, then watched Tyler's first regatta at Lake Stevens. What fun! I'm so proud of him! He's on a four man team and loving it--I think wrestling may become the off-season sport!

It was great to spend some time at home--I've really missed my kids. I'm so glad they are doing well! Watching Tyler row brought back some of my own memories of crew!

I'm heading back to San Diego now--via Las Vegas. Life is busy--life is good! I can't wait for the next adventure!

Cheers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Attack of the allergens!

This plant is trying to kill me. OK, it may not be THIS plant . . . but some plant out here is trying to kill me--I'm sure of it! If you are planning to spend time at Ft. Huachuca, come prepared with allergy medication!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Family Visit

Tyler and my parents came for a visit recently during Tyler's winter break. It was great to take a few days away from the Army and focus on family. It was windy while they were here, but I took them to see the San Pedro River, then we wandered around Tombstone and watched a gun fight.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leaving Ft. Huachuca


Remember when I had pneumonia? And pushed myself a little farther than necessary while I was ill (Warrior Dash)? Well, I need some time to recover from my previous illness . . . But I've learned my lesson. I will listen to my body moving forward--I realize now that I am not superwoman (shhhhh, don't tell my kids!). Don't worry--I'm OK. But my immune system was compromised, and the elevation and allergens here are taking advantage of the situation!

Darn, I really wanted to be superwoman. At least I'm still Mary Poppins . . .  ; )


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Travel


What am I doing now that I'm leaving Ft. Huachuca? In December, I finished the contract I was working on in California, so I'm looking for another contract. I'm planning a trip to Washington, D.C. in May--I'd love to live there again! I'm also planning trips to Hawaii and London in the near future . . .  Life is good!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tyler took this picture of the desert sunset--beautiful!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Embrace 'the suck'"

"Embrace 'the suck'" is the most often heard phrase so far. I don't want to imply that it has been horrible, but the mornings are very cold before the sun rises. Going to the range last week was fun, except for those cold, early mornings . . .

About those desert sunrises . . . they are absolutely incredible. And I was telling my mom this morning that I will take the cold weather over the rattle snakes any day. Seriously.
"To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage." Lao Tzu
Today was great--I had email, skype, and phone conversations with the people I love! They may be far away physically, but they are with me in my heart always. Later, I saw the movie Black Swan with a friend in my class (very creepy movie).

When we return from the field, a few of us are going to go horseback riding in the desert (a two hour trail ride). We've tried to go twice unsuccessfully--this time we have reservations. I can't wait!


Life is good--Cheers!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

One down . . .

I made it through the first week of BOLC--mostly uneventful. Thankfully, I don't have to retake the DLAB (I scored a 136 when I originally I took it). I am the class S6, so I'm busy already. I like being busy, but I'm definitely tired.

As expected, I'm the oldest person in my class, but it isn't awkward. The main difference between myself and the others is evident during PT. Although we are all adjusting to the elevation, I'm struggling more than the others with the run because of my recent bout with pneumonia. I was warned that it takes at least six months to fully recover from pneumonia, and I'm now realizing that this is true. Breathing here is painful for me . . . very painful. This is disappointing because I worked so hard on running, and was feeling strong and good about my run before I became ill.

On Friday, we were issued a stack of reading materials that measures about 15 inches high. Next week, we will begin to work on basic Soldier skills--the things we learned at the Direct Commission Course. We have to pass this phase of the course before moving on to the academic portion.

Right now, I'm focusing on today . . . tomorrow will take care of itself.

Thank you!
Update (7:26 PM): Last Sunday, I went to church alone . . . Today, I friend from class asked to join me, and we ran into another classmate at church . . . Life is good . . . God is good! I'm looking forward to the next four months!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome 2011--a new chapter!

Most people begin a new year with a list of resolutions. I set goals that align with my personal strategic plan, and I reflect on the previous year. Looking back over 2010, I'm pleased with my accomplishments. It wasn't an easy year though--I can't count the number of times I said "you did WHAT?!" or something similar However, I can positively say that the number of times I said "I love you" was exponentially higher. Life has its ups and downs and requires forgiveness and understanding. And for the forgiveness, understanding, and love I've received--thank you.

So far, 2011 is looking good. I'm beginning the year at MI BOLC at Ft. Huachuca. It's hard to believe that I began this journey three years ago . . . I'm amazed at how quickly time flies.

With this new chapter in my life, I'm struggling with blog topics. So far, this blog has been . . . boring. I'm working on it, but there are many topics about which I cannot write. That's just the way it is. For the next four months, I plan to write about what it is like to be a woman and a Soldier . . . It's a little different for me because I'm beginning this journey at a later stage in life than most. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and I'll do my best to share them.

So, from Ft. Huachuca, AZ . . . Happy New Year! Let's make it a great year!

Cheers!