Differing Opinions~Agree to Disagree?


Politics, religion and toilet paper. What do these things have in common? If you immediately thought, people full of…close, but no. They are all connected on differences, the varying differences of opinions that people can have about them that is.

There are donkeys and elephants that seemingly argue about every topic considered, and probably even when considering the topics to consider…or so it seems to this apolitical girl. Then comes religion. This is when you think peace, love and joy would unite people through the disparities. No, it seems to do the opposite. It causes people to divide, fight, and in some cases, even kill. Then a much simple issue, toilet paper, has been known to cause great debate in some homes. Some prefer two-ply and for the roll to spin out from the bottom while others prefer quilted and the roll to dispense from the top.

I admit, life would be a heck of a lot easier if we would all agree and get along. Apparently, this has been impossible since the creation of humans though.

As a child, I quickly learned to avoid confrontation. As an adult, I became skilled at choosing my battles. There were just so many things not worth arguing over. Then, on the other side, there really are.

Critical issues surround life and there are a variety of viewpoints to nearly all of them I am sure. Some people are so set in their views that they cannot even consider another though. And THAT is where the problem lies. Well, at least according to Aristotle.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

I take that statement to mean that to respectfully disagree, you need to be listen to both sides. You need to consider all the angles. You need to weigh the options. Once you have all the facts, and only then, should you consider what viewpoint you prefer. And that’s just the thing, it’s a preference.

I may prefer one candidate over another. I may personally choose to practice one religion over another. However, I still listen to other sides and opinions. Learning about other options helps me widen my knowledge not only about the subject in general but my own viewpoint as well.

For example, in learning about the Jewish faith (from my boyfriend), I researched my own Christian beliefs. I compared some of the differences and read more to see how and why there were different views. In trying to figure out who to vote for, I listened to candidates speak and read on topics. I’ve never chosen a candidate because of a political party. Some years I have selected one party while the next, the other. Frankly, some years that I have voted, I didn’t even pay attention to who was in what party. I just knew that I liked their arguments, stances on issues and appeared the least corrupt option. Never in any of these choices though, do I feel that I am always in the right. I will listen to other arguments and respect them. Why not? I mean, isn’t there always more to learn in the areas of religion and politics? I think so.

Now, as for that toilet paper issue. I can respectfully listen to your debate on quilted versus two-ply. However, if you try to explain the benefits of dispensing your toilet paper from the top of the roll, I will close my ears. I’ve done my research on that topic already and there is nothing really more to discuss. Case closed. Toilet paper that dispenses from the bottom is clearly the superior option. Conversation closed.

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Go Ahead, Astound Yourself


“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”
~ Thomas Edison ~

Most people have something they struggle with. For many of us, it is weight, and I am no different. Being in the Army, weight is not just something this girl fusses about. Yes, of course I want to look all cute in a bikini or a pair of jeans just like every other girl. However, my weight stress goes past that, way past that.

Being overweight in the Army can have severe consequences. If you are over the weight limit for your height, you are “taped” to determine your body fat. Every age and height and sex has predetermined range that is allowed.

For 15 years, I have struggled with this line and been dangerously close, and once was even two percent over the limit. This fact led to me being “flagged” and having a bad mark put on my permanent evaluation. Of note, it was right after I re-deployed and was dealing with a divorce and adjusting to a new job and place to live. It resulted in stress/depression eating that I thought was a better coping mechanism than other options like violence, drugs or alcohol. In hindsight, maybe I should have differently…

Anyway, It is a constant stress that I would love to get rid of. Yet, every year is the same story-too close for comfort, but I tend to pass, but barely.

Most people think I am just whining when I talk about weight though since I am pretty fit, appear to eat healthy and am not grossly obese. I run occasional half marathons and mud races. I swim laps periodically with my boyfriend. I play paintball with my son in the fall and go to paddle board yoga classes in the summer. I regularly eat salads with flax seeds and drink coffee with coconut oil. I even own several pairs of yoga pants! Come on! What else does a girl need to do here?

Nonetheless, I am always worrying about this. I am not talking like tons and tons of weight. It is usually 5-15 pounds or 1-2% body fat. Most people roll their eyes and say, “So what, what’s the big deal?” The big deal is I could lose my job. I could loose a retirement that I have 15 years of blood, sweat and tears invested in. The could lose my ability to be a Soldier. More important than all that though, is that I would fail a challenge against myself, one that is seemingly easier than others I have accomplished.

You would think all of the reasons above would make me do it, make me find a way to get far away from that max weight/body fat line. Yet, I still struggle. Yes, I do have a few obstacles that don’t help me that I can’t control. I am short. I have a medically diagnosed slow thyroid. My family has a history of diabetes and extra weight. Oh, and I freaking love eating food, cooking food, and baking food. Fortunately for me though, I do like working out too.

But enough is a enough. I am tired of the stress. So, I have to do something to break the walking-the-danger-zone line game. So I have joined my friend on a 6-days-week/2-month Piyo challenge where she will hold me accountable, daily. I signed up for a half marathon in March and an obstacle mud race in April that I need to train for as well. I am filling my calendar with fun ‘bonus’ work outs: TRX last week, paddle board yoga (in warm pool) this week, and an Insanity class the week after. I wear a pedometer with the goal of getting 10,000 steps a day in just daily movements. Then, the hardest part….eating. I eat tons of healthy stuff, I really do. But I also eat occasional bad things too or just too much in general. Can you really be a glutton with zucchini or endamame though?

I am tempted to just not eat, but I know that I can’t do that and it will not help me in the long run. My metabolism is slow enough already. So, all I can do is plan and work harder and smarter. And there comes a point, where I have to believe I can accomplish this one personal goal. I have accomplished a lot more difficult tasks in my life, so why not this one? How can I let 5-15 pounds beat me? I can’t. I have come too far and done too much.

As I struggle with this new plan (that has the goal of altering my daily habits), I came across a quote from Thomas Edison. “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”

Good point Mr. Edison. Good point. I got this. I can do this. Watch out self and get prepared to be astounded.

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To see this week’s posts from both challenges above, just click below.

Be Wow

Writer’s Quote Wednesday

Change Comes Each Day


 

January is about hope and change for many people. I am no different. Who doesn’t look forward to a fresh start from time to time?

However, I had no time to start new things in January. Instead, I had to finish up some old tasks. I am no longer a commander in the Army Reserve, but once again a public affairs officer. But before that could happen I had to complete a majority of my pending issues. My huge 824-page project at my civilian editor job had to be completed, and I am now ready for a new assignment. My crazy hectic travel schedule between the two jobs is now over as well. (At least for a while anyway as my new Reserve position will require some occasional travel.) Though eating out was fun during that here-and-there living, I am looking forward to some time at home. I am excited about getting into a new routine and eating healthy again. I look forward to organizing my office/exercise room that still remains in boxes since moving to my new house. I am looking forward to some order in my days, some calm.

It is like February is my January. It is my time to start fresh, reorganize, unpack and create a new routine. So as I wrap up this January day, I think – Happy New Year. Anything is possible as long as I take it one step at a time.

 

Do you have any new routines you are starting to make?

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Quote Graphic Credit: http://radiantorganizing.com/

For Writers’s Quote Wednesday

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Be Writing on Wednesday

Be WOW

The Tools to Success


“A good leader should focus on making sure everyone is being given the tools to do their job, not just expecting – poof! – that they’re going to produce great work.”

~Anne Sweeney~

This last week, I finished my job as commander for a unit in the Army Reserve. (Hence my lack of posts.) When I started I wasn’t sure how I would do. I am a creative type. I like to read, write and photograph. I tend to be fun and silly. I dislike paperwork and confrontations. These are not really the typical qualities of a commander.

However, I commanded for 29 months. Now that it is over, I look back and think, I did OK. Sometimes, I even think I did very well considering all the challenges. Of course, I am sure not everyone would agree though. But you can’t make everyone happy after all, and frankly, making everyone happy was not really the goal. The goal was to make the unit function, to make the Soldiers ready for possible deployments, to learn to work as a team.

I know that with all my heart, I worked diligently on those goals. It was hard. It was challenging. It even down right sucked at times to be honest. That is to be expected though I guess. If it were easy, they would not need commanders, right? When I left the unit yesterday, I paused and thought, what did I really accomplish?

When I looked at all the tasks I left my replacement with, I feared I failed. Then I took a step back and looked at all that was done. Sure, there was still a lot to do. There would always be a lot to do when you consider military budgets, aging equipment, personnel turnover and the complexity of humans in general. But I know I genuinely cared for the unit and my Soldiers. I was passionate about our mission. And one of my main goals was to get my unit the proper tools and training. I didn’t get everything I wanted for them, but I got a lot. I even had certain events and supplies set in motion to come later this year. So when I saw the quote above by Anee Sweeney, I smiled. I may not have crossed every task off my list, made everyone happy, or done everything perfectly. But in the end, I left my Soldiers with more tools to succeed than they had when I arrived. What they chose to do with them now though, is up to them…

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Living Christmas


For some, the day after Thanksgiving means Black Friday shopping. For me, it means the beginning of the Christmas season.

Since I was a child, I have adored Christmas. I love everything about it. From the Biblical story of Jesus being born to the glow of lights on a tree, it is all magical to me.

Christmas is not about presents to me. (Though I do enjoy giving them and getting them. Who doesn’t really?) It is more about a spirit of peace, love and caring. It just seems to be a time when the world seems happier and more respectful of each other. People smile more, give more. It is though there is a mask of kindness, one that I wish would remain throughout the year.

In my house, Christmas means time together cooking/baking favorite meals/treats, watching seasonal family movies, and decorating the house. It is about talking and laughing and slowing our pace to focus on family. It is a spirit we feel and try to share. And like Roy L. Smith said, it has to come from our hearts, because it can’t be wrapped up and found under the tree.

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For Writer’s Quote Wednesday

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Ronovan Writes’

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