Balance

I have talked before about how I lived a life of “Ignorance Is Bliss” and generally felt safe in my day to day life until I encountered an occasion that put my safety in question.  After that time, I lived in fear and had a very hard time relaxing regardless of where I was, who was with me, or the number of weapons that I had access to.

I remember at my Conceal Carry class, sitting inside this tiny shack in a fairly remote location and thinking, “What on earth would I do, if a gang of wild banshees came and attacked us right now??”  We all had guns and lots of ammo, but none of the weapons were loaded and from time to time, I would let my wonder to the wild banchee invasion.  My mind had us attacked and killed half a dozen times.

Fear is no way to live and neither is ignorance.  I have done a variety of things in an attempt to be more safe , but I also needed to feel more safe.  I already wrote about how feelings can lie and just because one feels safe, doesn’t make them safe, but how I feel, real or otherwise, has a direct connection to my state of mind, peace, and happiness.

Up until our vacation at the beach, I had been reacting instead of acting.  I would read something, assume it was true and then do it, only to find it it wasn’t quite right, at least not for me.  That modus operandi was exhausting and deflating and was no way to live either. 

At the beach I had time to reflect. I had calmed down a bit and I was able to put my grocery store parking lot experience into perspective.  I was able to slow down and take the time to think about what I was reading and being taught. I was able to find balance.

I tend to be very black and white and very right is right and wrong is wrong kind of gal.  So, if I believe something is right I do it, 100% of the time and if something is wrong, I don’t do it. 

I always like to share this story because I think it is a good illustration of how my mind works.  When I was a brand new professor I had to attend an orientation for the college I was going to be teaching at.  During the orientation we went on a tour of the campus to include the staff lounge.  In the lounge was a fancy coffee machine.  This was quite a few years ago and before the individual coffee pod thing had caught on.  So, the head chicky poopoo that was giving the tour, showed us how it worked. 

Put your cup under the spout, select coffee flavor, put in machine, hit button, throw away empty pod, enjoy. 

Simple enough. 

A few days later on my first day, I went into the lounge to get a cup of coffee. I put my large travel mug under the spout, selected my coffee(dark roast, no foofoo flavor), pushed the button and enjoyed.  The coffee was yummy, but the pods were small and only filled my cup up about half way.  I was slightly annoyed because the campus was large and I would have to keep heading back there to get my coffee fix.  Then one day, there was another professor ahead of me getting his coffee and I saw him get a pod, push the button and wait, then he pulled the pod out and put another one in and pushed the button again!! 

TWO PODS!! 

It never occurred to me to use another pod.  It wasn’t that I thought 2 pods was wrong or that we were not allowed to have 2 pods, it was that it never, ever occurred to me to get another pod.  I was told the procedures. 

Get “A” pod and put “IT” in the machine.

I am like that.  I follow rules.  I believe in rules.  I think they are necessary and when I make a rule, I want it to be followed, so I am very respectful when other people make rules.  Also, I do not like to be in trouble.  I do not like getting yelled at.  I did not like sitting in time out.  I do not want to lose my job or go to jail or even pay a speeding ticket, so for me it is much easier to just follow the rules.

Carrying a gun often puts the things I value and believe in conflict.
One of those being, I believe I should be able to to carry my gun where ever I go and I believe that I am safer and my family is safer if I do so, but of course, there are laws that prevent me from doing so.

I hate having to make the choice between protection and the law, but for me the choice is not to break the law.

Knowing that I can not carry in certain places left me feeling vulnerable and a bit paranoid about going to those places and since I do not like living in fear, I had to come to terms with this reality.

For me, it became a matter of balance.   

I am patently aware that crime happens everywhere and to all  kind of people.  It happens to children and woman and people of faith.  It happens to the elder and the infirm.  It happens in nice neighborhoods, at fancy restaurants and parks and in places where it is least expected.  It happens very often for some random unexplainable reason, which sometimes makes it hard to predict.

Knowing all this is true and how easy it is to be afraid, I have still decided I will not live in fear.

There are a lot of things one can do to prepare themselves not to be a victim, even if they can not have their weapon with them, but as with all things the first is the mind.

I had to find a balance between being in control and having no control.  In preparing to defend myself and trusting in the benevolence of the world.  In knowing that something catastrophic could happen to me and trusting that it won’t. 

I do not know why bad things happen to good people.  Sometimes it seems fate is random, but I don’t believe it is.

I can’t explain why little Susie down the street had a loving childhood and I had a childhood full of violence or why hundreds of good, decent men and woman have died in Iraq and my husband didn’t. 

I have spent many nights trying to figure it out though and what I have discovered is the why is not as important as the how.  The how being: How am I going to deal with all of the dangers and uncertainty of this world without succumbing to it?

Balance.

I have always valued life and I have hoped that if I can show the man upstairs that I do truly value life, mine and everyone elses, that, that will count for something. I always wear my seat belt.  I eat healthy, I work out, I don’t smoke, etc  While I can not guarantee that any of this will help me live to  98, it is what I can do, to show that I am doing all I can to ensure a long healthy life and I would very much appreciate a little divine help from above.

That is how I am balancing my life as a person who wishes to carry her gun everyone, but is not allowed to.  I carry my gun everywhere I can legally and I train to know how to use it.  I do this to show that I take my part of the deal seriously.  I am doing everything I can to be realistic and responsible to defend and protect my life and those I love, but in the cases where I can not, I am trusting that someone else, someone bigger, is watching out and protecting me.

THANKS!

Wow, I can not believe other people besides my family and my very few FaceBook friends read this blog.  I have been blow away at the number of folks that read my ramblings.  

I do not know why that tickles me, but it does.  I didn’t intend to be a world wide blog, but I have folks from Germany, Canada, Russia, India, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom and it’s lots of them!

I am not sure why, but by far the most read post is “The Outlaw Josie Wells”  Everyday, I get lots of new hits on that one.

Kind of wish you all would comment instead of just sending me emails, but hey, since I didn’t even know anyone was reading, I will just be thankful, so again, THANKS!!

Eating Only What We Hunt

I love, love, love to cook. I think I am pretty good at it and my family and friends seem to agree. For a long time I have been conscious about the food I buy in term of how healthy it is for our bodies, but also how healthy it is for the land. I am a firm believer in buying local and in sustainable farming and eating. I buy fruits and vegtables from local farms and eat fish that is not endangered. I try to buy organic chicken and meat. I have grown my own fruits, vegetables and herbs for years, but I have never thought about hunting. Well, I have thought about and what I thought was “EEWWWWWWWWWW, who would do that?”

When I bought my gun, I started thinking about killing something and preparing my mind, so I started watching hunting shows. Lots and lots of hunting shows. I am kind of addicted now and I might have a “Crush” on both Lee and Tiffany from the Outdoor Channel, but that is another post.

Anyway, when I started watching the shows, I was looking to get more comfortable with blood and death, but the more I watched the more I learned. I learned how passionate these people are about the animals and about taking care of the animals long term well being. I learned that they use every part of the animal and that they only kill what they can consume.

Then I started reading more and more about chefs who only cook what they can grow or kill. A few weeks ago I came across this article and was intrigued and inspired.

Georgia Pellegrini: Author, Food Artisan, Huntress

Then today I read this…

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/mark-zuckerberg-says-hes-only-eating-meat-he-kills/

Now, I can’t really start doing this tomorrow as I have never hunted, do not know anyone who hunts, do not own land and of course, I have absolutely no clue what I am doing, but it is something I will continue to educate myself on and hopeful it will be a goal I can someday accomplish.

Woman, Guns and The News


http://www.wusa9.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=956533204001

This is a news story on a Shooting Club I belong to.  Channel 9 news interviewed the founder of the club, Tina Wilson Cohen, and a few woman who belong to the group. They also interviewed a gentleman who is against gun ownership and self protection.  He quotes a stat, that for everyone one time a gun is used in self defense it is used 22 times in a crime, suicide, or accidental death.

Criminals and people intent on killing themselves DO NOT care about gun laws, so that number has no barring on the issue of self defense.  I own a gun to prevent myself from becoming a statistic.  Now ,lets talk a little about the accidental deaths.  Accidental death by guns has the lowest number of deaths per year.  Less than any other form of accident to include car, drowning and even poisoning.

The accidental gun death rate has been falling since 1930 and US accidental gun deaths per year were down to 613 by 2007, out of the 301,579,895 people in the USA, according to the CDC. For comparison, there were 29,846 accidental deaths by poisoning in 2007, again according to the CDC. Note that it is extremely easy to prevent accidental gun deaths by following Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules Of Gun Safety. Click here for a free downloadable brochure that illustrates the four rules.

(The above statistics were found at http://www.tincher.to/guntips.htm)

Memorial Day

patriotism

a devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty. — patriot, n. — patriotic, adj.
Regardless of how I have felt about war, violence and guns, I have always been deeply patriotic.  I have always loved my country and I have always supported those who have defended it. I have never, ever been able to listen to or sing the National Anthem without getting chills and tearing up.  Doesn’t matter if it is on TV or if I am at a little league baseball game.

I grew up in rural Iowa in a tiny little town.  I don’t remember anyone ever directly speaking about love of country or devotion to it’s people, but what I do remember is a profound love and loyalty to the town, the people and America.  

I remember every 4th of July our town had a huge celebration.  People from all over would come for the festivities.  A sleepy little town with rarely more than 5 cars on the road at a time, would become alive with carnival games, food, and tons of fireworks.  It was packed with folks from all around  and the streets were jammed with cars.  

I remember that every one who could vote, voted.  The town didn’t close down and the schools didn’t take the day off, but everyone took their responsibility to vote seriously.  When I turned 18 and could vote, I remember standing in line beaming.  Again, while no one out right told me  I was to vote, I knew it was expected of me.  I never thought about not voting.  I don’t think I even knew it was an option.  
People, even in tiny little towns like mine, are diverse.  People think differently and not everyone shares the same values, but everyone I knew loved being an American and was grateful for those who gave their lives to protect it, that was never divided.
Love of country was ingrained into my everyday life in all kinds of implicit ways, and it has been a part of my everyday life ever since.
I married a boy from a town just up the road from mine and being anti war and all, it was quite a shock when he came home one day and announced he wanted to join the Marines. We were not 18 year old kids and this was nothing we had ever talked about before. The next few weeks were filled with not so easy conversations, but I loved him and he was committed to doing something bigger than himself, so objections aside, I supported his choice.  At first I blamed it on one too many episodes of Major Dad, but it really was thanks to his childhood friend coming back from boot camp all motivated.  Truth be told, I think it was the thing my husband had been looking for all his life. 

Our life as a military family was fairly ordinary.  The Gulf War had just begun when my husband started boot camp and was over before he finished.  Being cocky Americans we didn’t worry that we would have another war.   Until Somalia.  I realize that the US didn’t declare war on Somalia, but it was the first time my husband headed off to combat and I was not a fan.  He was with a helicopter unit flying rescue missions out of Rwanda and well, you probably know how that ended up.  

As the world became increasingly more dangerous and the realities of war began hitting closer and closer to home, the feelings of patriotism became less idealistic and trivial.  Instead of being something I felt, it was something I lived.  While my words of thanks were never in vain, knowing the names of those who are wounded and those who have died, makes an abstract ideal like patriotism into a intimate reality of pain and pride.  


When you are witness to the price of freedom, it is impossible to not feel overwhelming humility and gratitude.  

It is impossible to pay back the debt that is owed to people who are asked to do things no one should be asked to do, but that should not stop us from trying.


I do lots of things in an attempt to show my gratitude and appreciation.  We have hosted Marines or Sailors for the holidays.  My husband has spent many hours at Bethesda with the wounded Marines.  We send cards and care packages to those over seas. I am the chair for our annual Veteran’s Day lunch at our daughter’s school.  For the past few months, I have been buying gift cards to local restaurants and tucking them in cards.  I write a note of thanks and I always sign it “With Humility and Gratitude”.  I never sign my name.  Then when no one is looking I put them on the cars of military stickers.  

It’s not much, but it is what I can do.  

When we lived in California, I remember driving to the base one day and seeing a bus full of Marines driving by.  It was during the war and I knew these were Marines coming home. I knew because lots of them were coming home home and I had wished my husband was one of them, but he was still in Iraq.  

Anyway, I made eye contact with one of the young guys and I mouthed “Thank You.”  He smiled and nodded.  

All that he gave. All that he sacrifice and all I  had to offer was a thank you. A simple thank you, but  I could tell it meant something to him.  I could see it in his eyes, to him, it mattered.


I hope everyone who reads this blog is doing something to show their gratitude to those we serve our country, even if it is only a simple THANK YOU!!





An Unintential Burden

On Mother’s Day my husband took me to the range.  He took me because it is what I wanted to do.  He is nice like that.  But I noticed he was having as much fun as I was!  He was laughing and joking and all day he kept saying how much he enjoyed being there.  I was kind of surprised because he never really showed a big interest in guns before.

He had mentioned several times that he wanted a gun in the house and that I should learn to shoot, but  it always seemed to me to be an idea born out of necessity rather than pleasure.

As I mentioned before I follow a woman who goes by the name LimaLife.  She has a FaceBook page and on that page she posts all kind of helpful hints, ideas suggestion and what not.  She also tosses out questions for everyone to discuss.  Well, not everyone.  I don’t do that much discussing.  I usually, read, ponder and then ask questions, lots of questions.  Asking questions is kind of my thing.  Anyway, one day she asked a question about where would people go if they had to leave their house and what would they take with them?  I  read that and thought, Where are we going?  Why would we need to leave? Take things, for what purpose?  So, I asked.

Turns out that the bad guy in the dark alley isn’t the only thing people prepare for.  These people have seriously thought about what to do if a natural disaster happens or we are attacked by a foreign country or if it is the end of the world.  They have put together a plan of where they would go and what they would do and what they would take.  They have these little bags or maybe they are big bags, not sure…might have to ask that.  Anyway, they have these bags and I have learned they call them “Bug Out Bags”  I don’t know why, but they do.

Big surprise I had never heard of this and had no clue, so I Googled it.  You may have noticed if I can’t get an answer to my question from a person, I Google.  I like to know things.  So, I found out it is much like a tornado prep kit that one might keep in their house, but it is ready to take on the move.  Things like water, freeze dried food, first aid kit etc.  The contents can get pretty involved like a small tent, an ax, even a chainsaw, which can both serve to cut wood and kill a zombie should one come across your path while you are having to Bug Out.

I thought this actually sounded like a good idea because I live in the tornado capital of the world, so I approached my husband and said what do you think about putting together a Bug Out Bag?

I was kind of nervous to bring it up because I thought he might think I was getting a little extreme, but to my surprise he knew exactly what one was and was all for it.  In fact, it was almost like he was waiting for me to ask.  I get the feeling he has been patiently waiting for me to catch up and get my head out of my proverbial, you know where.

While watching The Outlaw Josie Wales, he practically glowed.  I said to him, “Babe, you are totally loving that I am watching these kinds of movies with you, aren’t ya?”  He looked at me with a big ol’ smile and said “Yep”

I said, “You are loving all this gun stuff and shooting?”

Again, a big ‘ol smile, “Yep”

“Why on earth didn’t you tell me you were interested in this stuff?”

He looks at me, no smile, eyebrow raised, “You weren’t ready.”

Not only had I let fear control my life, I had placed an enormous burden on my husband.  A burden to bare the complete responsibility to protect our family.  We were a team in every other aspect, but I relied on him to be the sole protector.

While I relied on him to protect us, I severely limited his ability to do so.  I expected him to do it all with little more than a fire extinguisher.  He did not have a gun, or a knife, or even pepper spray, but I suspect he had a plan.  One he could not share with me.

The good news is that I am on ready and I love that we have found a new adventure to be on together.  Not only are we serious about protecting ourselves and our family, we are having a blast doing it.

So, we went shopping the other day to start to put together the contents of our Bug Out Bag, but it turned out to be more of a Bug In kind of box.  Bug Out means you leave, so I started calling our room in the basement that we use when tornadoes come our Bug In Room cuz we stay, you know, in.

My son informed me that stuff we bought, is way to heavy and bulky for something we would have to carry.  I asked my husband if he knew this and he said yes, but that I was having so much fun, he didn’t have the heart to tell me. Like everything else on this journey, I am learning by my mistakes.

Ok, so I bought some canned food, water, granola bars, peanut butter…a life time size jar, and a first aid kit.  We actually have several first aid kits as we do a lot of hiking and camping, but I wanted one specifically to stay with our bag.  I also bought a knife, but it is woefully inadequate, so I will need to do some research on a better quality knife and probably one that isn’t sold at Wal-Mart.

Here are some pics of the complete wrong things to buy if you are planning on Bugging Out, but not to bad if you are planning on Bugging In.