Resource Update: A NOTE OF THANKS

WHAT A SUMMER!  Really, what a year 2016 has been.  Does it feel unusually long or is it just me?

We have been crazy busy and that generally doesn’t mesh well with appointments but we managed to pull off a few fun things this year.  I think we all actually were grateful when school started this year so that things would just settle down!
One of reg awesome things we got to do was to take Little Monkey to a concert thanks to an organization called A Note Of Thanks.  This group gets concert tickets for Veterans so they can enjoy a show without having to incur the cost.  Initially we tried to take her to see Kelly Clarkson/Pentatonix but it didn’t work out.  The tickets we ended up getting were for Nick Jonas/Demi Lovato which I would have to say may be ::slightly:: better.  We had so much fun!
demi-lovoto
We had pretty great seats.  No I know you must be thinking “how does a Vet do a concert that big?”  I get it.  The way we approach this as with all things is very carefully.  Fortunately, my husband remembered that he had these awesome earplugs he had been fitted with at the VA.  He took those along:
ear plugs.png
The earplugs are noise canceling after a certain decibel and when the crowd or the band were too loud, they just shut off periodically.  This was a HUGE help for the anxiety and stress that crowds can provide in these situations for my Veteran.   We also paid to upgrade to the VIP parking.  BEST DECISION EVER.  Not only was the lot right next to a private entrance to the venue but when pulling out of the lot, the attendants stop traffic on the main road to let everyone out.  This reduced a great deal of the anxiety my Veteran would normally have with the piling out-of-doors or traffic.
Both Nick and Demi were amazing.  While I wouldn’t have gone on my own, it was a great experience to share that with my daughter.  She had a permanent smile for days and having mom and dad enjoy it as well was icing on the cake.  We were blessed to be in Orlando and the special guest was the amazing Andra Day to sing for a memorial to the people who were killed in the nightclub shooting there.  It was moving and haunting and I was so glad we were there to witness this profound moment.
aundra-day
I can’t say enough about the amazing day or the kindness of A Note Of Thanks.  If there is a show coming near you, check them out.  You could end up with the experience of a lifetime!  You can do it, you just have to make a plan.
I hope your day is fantastic!
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Summer Round Up and Holiday Goings On

WOW.

I knew I would be busy this summer but I didn’t expect it to disappear in the blink of an eye!  There was a great deal of awesome sprinkle with a bit of not so great.  Isn’t that how life really is most days?

Our retreat to Boulder Crest was AH-MAZING!  We went for the Songwriting with Soldiers retreat mostly because this appealed to our youngest daughter and came away HUGE believers in music therapy.  Everyone was so kind and interested in helping in any way they could and I highly recommend retreats with either group that you may be able to do in the future.  What’s great about Boulder Crest is that you can also rent a cabin with them for a week!  YES, REALLY.  It’s beautiful, quiet and peaceful there.  To get up to date on all things Boulder Crest, you can check them out HERE.  For more information on Songwriting with Soldiers and their events, you can check them out HERE.  If you are interested in the songs we wrote that weekend, you can check them out HERE.  (YES, I am the lassie from Tallahassee who is all about the fun!)

Our girl on fire competed in the Outdoor Nationals which was held in tiny Decatur, Alabama.  The weather was quite disagreeable but it gave us the opportunity to take her to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.  She very much is still on the “I am going to be a scientist and go to work for NASA” career path so she was blown away.  Sometimes life can really get you down but those are the kinds of moments that are my favorite, when we can watch our kid light up like a Christmas tree.  I don’t think she stopped smiling for days.  At that point, we made the resolution to no matter why we are traveling, fun or not so fun, that we take a break to have a little side trip.  So many amazing places in the country and sometimes we just drive right by them!  WELL STOP IT!

My father was moved to hospice home care shortly afterwards so I have made three unscheduled (read = EXPENSIVE) trips out of state to visit.  While I love my family, it is not fun to watch the drama that unfolds surrounding this.  My dad, a Vietnam Veteran, has had decades of substance abuse without seeking therapy or treatment, so while it is sad, it is certainly not expected.  It has been very hard living out of state and juggling the animosity that brings up for some people but the fact is, I am also primary caregiver to a Veteran that lives in my house.  I also have minor children to raise.  I also can’t do everything.  UGH.

Back to school started and it is always weird to see my youngest just a little bit older and closer to going to college.  She has set high standards for herself and we are mostly just trying to get out of the way!  We are hoping once she is there that there are more scholarship opportunities for children of disabled Veterans.  Currently there is a surprising lack of those I have found.

I finally got to head out on a caregivers retreat and I will write more about that in another post but that is something else that is critically important, yet not enough of them!  Right after that, I had my first experience with surgery at a VA facility, also another blog post, and that was interesting to say the least!

The holidays are coming up, are you guys doing anything fantastic?  We are going to attempt a family reunion of sorts in Orlando.  Since the way we handled things last Christmas went well and my Warrior loved it, we thought why not invite everyone?  In a way it also helps avoid more of that drama that keeps popping up and I am all about less drama.  Why waste time being miserable on any holiday?  It is okay to do something different and just order pizza.  No one will die and what if you end up having the time of your lives?  It’s possible, ya’ll know that right?

 

PEACE!

New Year Intentions

On my personal blog, I have been writing about New Year “resolutions” for years.  Actually, it’s more my lack of resolutions.  I don’t really think I have ever met someone who made a resolution that they kept.  I am sure that someone does or maybe its one of the biggest urban myths in existence.  Either way, I began to do list of “intentions” at the beginning of each year.  Doesn’t intending to do something sound radically different from resolving to try to do something?  As Yoda says:

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

While I haven’t completed my list of intentions for 2015, one of them is to live more in the present.  I think it is easy to get bogged down in appointments, drama, sleep deprivation and obligation and there is a general lack of any spontaneity or FUN.  As I mentioned in my last theme park post, sometimes doing something out of the ordinary works out far better than expected.  Want an example?  We had a couple of mandatory road trips this week that would take us through Louisiana on I-10 this month.  We take the I-12 portion through Baton Rouge because it is supposed to be faster but for us it ends up being congested, angry and short on facilities.  It is by far the most stressful and miserable part of the trip, every time!  Because all of us have wanted to visit New Orleans for many years but some how never found the way to do so, I asked everyone, why not pit stop in New Orleans?  I mean we are going to get food and coffee some where, why not do it there?

There was really no reason not to.

Cafe Du Monde has been on everyone’s bucket list for several years, mostly because of its frequent appearance in movies/TV shows, but also because the incredible history it has with the city.  Out of the four times we went through this past week, we went to the Cafe three times.  (The fourth one was completely derailed buy the Rock & Roll Marathon street blockages but we DID try.)

 

sunrise on the lakeBeignetsJackson Square

 

It was delicious food and a completely charming city.  Each time, we walked a little bit further, found a few more things we wanted to do next time and ended up deciding we MUST plan a family trip to NOLA.  Had we stayed on a rigid idea of what can and cannot be done, we would have never known how much we would love it.  Each time we were at the Cafe, we were eating and back out of the city within 45 minutes…not much longer than a regular pit stop but this was one with so much more character!

It was pretty eye-opening…

We set the intention for this year that we will try to plan a city pit stop in each area we go through.  There is so much out there that we are missing when we don’t slow down.  Instead of existing in a blur, we now have a new memory and a desire to explore a city not too far from us.  What’s better than that?

If you are interested in the kind of lists I do for the beginning of year intentions, you can check some of them out HERE.

What are your intentions this year?

What are you looking forward to most?