Posts Tagged With: family

Ohana means family

If you had told me two years ago that I would be happily working at a fire department in Midwest Missouri, I would have scoffed at you. And probably denounced our friendship. Why would I want to work for a Fire Department? I don’t want to put out fires.

Two years ago I was in Burbank, California. Living in a very cozy (read: tiny) apartment with a stranger that I found on Craigslist, and her two cats; working (though I’m not sure it could really be classified as anything more than slave labor) on the iconic Sunset Blvd in a small office building belonging to a small music publishing company who paid me sporadically (if I was lucky enough to get paid at all); eating ramen noodles and pb&j daily; and sleeping on a twin-sized air mattress— you could say I was living the dream!

California taught me a lot of things. It taught me how to do laundry, it taught me the basics of freeway driving (also known as a traffic jam), but most importantly, it revealed to me my basic desire for camaraderie. In California, I was lonely. That’s not to say I didn’t have friends, because I did. I had friends who were very good to me. But I just didn’t have that warm fuzzy feeling of camaraderie.

In October of 2012 I abandoned the life in California I was so sure I wanted in favor of moving back to the midwest. Beginning in January of 2013, I started working for my local, municipal government. To pay the bills (and to feed my giant puppy-love). As soon as I started in city hall, I was instantly drawn to the Fire Department.

Because everyone is drawn to good people. And everyone wants to belong. (And newsflash: Fire Departments basically run on camaraderie.)

I’ve met a lot of good people while working for our small, combination department, and my selfish heart is astonished to see the kind of people that walk through these doors. These are good, honest people with servant hearts. I hear a lot of people talking about how a each certain profession is the most self-sacrificing, but unless these people are firefighters, they are lying to you.

Whether they are reserve or career, firefighters are hands down the most self-sacrificing profession out there. And you would have no idea unless you are one, love one, or know one. And if you fall into one of the before mentioned categories, you’ve probably felt the ramifications of their sacrificing nature. Missed birthdays and holidays. Missed dinners and nights at home. Missed vacations. All in the name of public service. But, in my experience, I’ve found it’s hard to stay mad at someone over doing something so selfless.

Over my past year of working at the fire department I’ve learned a lot. I learned that the whole field is just a bunch of alphabet soup. And at this point, I know more acronyms than I care to admit (and I pretend to know more acronyms than I will ever admit).  I learned this importance of accuracy in all things. And, among the other, numberless, things that I learned, I learned that being a firefighter is less of a job, and more of a lifestyle. You don’t just chose to be a firefighter, you are called. You don’t just have “co-workers,” you have family members.

Firefighters truly care about one another, and about other people. They care an outrageous amount about people they don’t even know. I struggle to care about the people I do know, and these firefighters love people that they’ve never met before.

Yes, there is drama is the fire house, but there is drama in every family, right? But do you know what’s not always present in every family that is present in the fire house? Selflessness. No matter what drama may be going on, or how much “me, me, me” each person might be shouting behind closed doors, their basic nature is selfless, and they always come back to that.

Fire fighters are fiercely loyal, unfailingly kind, and incredibly hard-working (along with being quite the jovial, joking bunch). I’m not sure I’ve ever met a group quite like them. Each day I see my shortcomings more and more. I see my skewed priorities when I hear them talk about theirs. And just being around them makes me want to be a better person.

I’m sort of a work in progress, but at least I have a family to help me along the way.

I'm the one in the middle, in case you couldn't tell.

I’m the one in the middle, in case you couldn’t tell.

 

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Day 24: We are family. (describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. now)

Are we talking immediate family, or does this include extended family? Because those are four, possibly six different dynamics.

This question maker lady needs to start getting more specific on things.

I think this question is a little hard because there is no clear change of dynamic. It’s not like there’s a dramatic change between my family dynamic from when I was a child to what it is now. It’s not like I have my own family or anything. Things are different now because I’m older, but I think the general dynamic is the same.

When I was a younger, my family dynamic was good I guess. When I was little my dad and I got along (for the most part, we’re a lot alike, so we sometimes butted heads on things). So did my mom and I. My parents disciplined me (well, sort of, I never really needed my disciplining), and they loved me. My brother and I got along. And so did my sister and I. My siblings always lived with my Granny and Papa, so I grew up in the house as an only child. It wasn’t like I thought I was an only child though, I knew my brother and sister. I spent lots time with them. I just never lived with them, and because I didn’t know any different, that wasn’t weird to me (I honestly think because we didn’t live together is probably the reason that we get a long so well now). My dad was always pretty reserved, and because my siblings are technically only half siblings, he wasn’t really a part of the whole big family things. It’s just hard to explain. We weren’t the typical atomic family, but I was happy.

Now days not only is my family my family, but they are also my friends. Yes, my parents are still my parents, but they understand that I’m an adult, and they treat me that way. They talk to me like I’m a person and not like I’m a kid. My mom is my best friend (as I’m sure I stated in an earlier post), and my dad and I get along really well. My brother and sister are also two of my best friends (along with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law). I know that I can always count on them for anything. There isn’t one person I would hesitate to go to for anything. But it’s always been like that. Now I have my nieces and nephew (who I adore) so I got to add the title of aunt to my resume, and my mom gets to be a grandma, so I guess in that aspect the dynamics have changed. And now my dad is a bit more opened up, so he’s more a part of everything these days (which is a little ironic because now I’m not because I’m all the way out here in SoCal). The children add playful and fun and exciting dynamic to the family. They are all so different and it’s cool to have different types of relationships with each kid based on that child’s personality. But I have no favorite, they are all my favorites. I just enjoy being Aunt Mimi to them all.

I truly have a great family. I always see people quarreling with their families, or people who aren’t close with them, and that’s just weird to me. My family has always been tight knit, so I have a hard time understanding families that aren’t. I wouldn’t trade a member of my family for anything.

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Day 10: Because I knew you, I have been changed for good (list 10 people who have influenced you and how.

So, I switched days 9 and 10, but no harm done.

This list in not in any order at all. In fact I switched it up intentionally so that it wouldn’t be in any kind of order. All of these people have had an influence on my life. They’ve all somehow managed to leave a lasting impression on my life, and changed me for good.

1. My Mom. I feel like this is an obvious answer. My mom taught me how to be me. Pieces of her are identifiable in every part of me. My humor, my disposition and strength all comes from her (among other things).

2. My Dad. Again, an obvious answer. My dad gave me the other half of my personality. Most of my likes come from him. He’s the reason I love music and history. My stubborn and introverted spirit also come from my dad.

3. Chad Mayne. Outside of my family, he has been the biggest influence on my life up to this point. I can guarantee you that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Chad.

4. My Friends. (I don’t dare try to name them all in fear of accidentally leaving someone off the list). Birds of a feather flock together. The old saying is true, you have you surround yourself with good people. Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with some wonderful people. Peer pressure is real, so it’s nice to have good peers.

5. Harry Potter. Seriously. Stop looking at me like that. HP (how I affectionately refer to him) was growing up as I was growing up. The story of Harry Potter (totally ignoring the magic part aspect) is about a boy who has to grow up and be brave, he has to be bigger than himself. The story is about courage and friendship, and love and right and wrong. And Harry Potter always makes the right choice. There is a strong possibility that I’ll never be more influenced by a fictional character in my life.

6. and 7. Jason and Kendra Mauck. Two of my favorite people in the world. They were also there during my high school years, teaching me about my worth and identity in Christ. They are still some of my dearest friends. One day (assuming I find someone brave enough to marry me) Jason will preside over my wedding.

8. Taylor Swift. Don’t look at me like that. We are all influenced by celebrities, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. She’s true to herself, she’s kind, and she’s classy. She started out as nobody and followed her dreams to make a name for herself. She’s who I want to be.

9. Julia Bartgis. My other mother! The best person to go to for advice, and one of the best people to model your life after. She’s always there for me when I need her and she’s always full of wisdom. She’s lovely and so giving. I’d be lucky to tun out like her.

10. My family. I know I already singled out my parents, but my whole family has had a huge influence on me. My siblings (all 4 of them!), my grandparents, my aunts and uncles and cousins, they’ve all helped build me. Whether it was them giving me advice, my learning from their mistakes, or just watching them deal with life in general, they’ve all been my examples and guiding influence.

*Honorable mentions: My community. The Bolivar class of 2008.

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Day 8: “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” – Benjamin Franklin (what are 5 passions that you have)

I feel like this is a little bit confusing. I have a lot of passions. I’m passionate about a lot of things, but the question makes me want to list hobbies type things that I’m passionate about, so I’m not real sure how to handle this. I guess I’ll randomly pick some stuff.

1. My beliefs. I’m pretty passionate about everything I believe in. Whether that be God, freedom, dreams, or what I believe to be right and wrong (and my opinions). If I believe in something, I am passionate about it. I don’t do any of this halfway crap. Unless you’re very close to me, I might not share with you all the things that I’m passionate about, but rest assured, those passionate beliefs are there.

2. Photos. I just love pictures. I can’t even do everyday things without at some point imagining how to frame the picture. It’s pretty crazy. That’s apparently how I’ve trained my brain to work. I would spend every day taking pictures if I could.

3. Relationships. My family is the most important thing to me. It makes me sad everyday that I’m not with them. I hate missing things in the lives of my nieces and nephews, nothing makes me more sad in the world than the thought that they might forget me. My friends are usually as close to me that they might as well be family. I am fiercely loyal, so once you’re in, you’re in forever (assuming you don’t do anything really, really REALLY stupid). I am a firm believer in quality over quantity, and I have some of the highest quality friends.

4. Sleep. I’m pretty passionate about napping.

5. Sports and music. These two tie. They are both things that I love and am passionate about, but am not good at. I guess that’s not totally true, I am sort of athletic. But I’m not sure I’m motivated or competitive enough to be really good at sports. I like to play, and I tend to do okay, but I’m by no means anywhere close to being fantastic at them. But, I do absolutely love to watch sports. Football, soccer, hockey, basketball, you name it, and I probably watch it (and needless to say I love the Olympics). And music; I love music. I love the radio (okay, not really, I like itunes, radio stations kill songs and play too many commercials), I love live music, and I love musicians. But, if there was ever a job or hobby in the world that I should avoid, it would (sadly) be music. I have zero rhythm, and nobody would ever pay to hear me sing.

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Day 1: A Silhouette of Me (20 Random Facts)

1. I am undeserving of grace, but have a God who is merciful enough to extend it to me anyway.

2. I want to pack up and move to Iceland one day.

3. Boybands are my favorite genre of music.

4. I love my family more than anything. If you don’t have a close-knit family, you missed out.

5. As a general rule, I hate people. They are rude, self-centered and have a false sense of entitlement (not everyone, but as far as stereotyping a species goes…).

6. I’m a concert junkie. I will go see basically any band live just because I love the feel of live shows. I love feeling the baseline and drum beat in my ribcage. (There was a trending topic on twitter the other day, #PeopleIHaveSeenLive, and I tallied up mine, and I came to 50 different acts, and those were just the ones I could remember, and not counting artists I’ve seen multiple times).

7. I made it 22 years never having done a load of laundry. Up until I moved to California 6 months ago I had never touched a washer. I had to google how to do laundry.

8. I love television. Well, sort of. I love TV on DVD. I love movies, but I think I like TV better because I get to know the characters more and I get to become attached to them.

9. I love superheroes. Not the comic books (I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever even a comic book in real life), I’m not cool enough for that, but I do love superhero movies (and TV shows…or at least Smallville).

10. I like to consider myself a pretty decent photographer, but I hate to edit pictures. I’m a firm believer in just taking a good picture that needs little to no editing.

11. I would wear dresses everyday if I could.

12. Football is my favorite sport. No contest. In high school I wanted to play, but I wasn’t allowed, so I settled for taking pictures from the sidelines every Friday night. Every Sunday I will sit in front of my television for hours watching any game. I’m a hardcore Chiefs fan (and if you know anything at all about football, you know how rough that is). I hate the Broncos, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and his Cowboys, and the Steelers, but I’m pretty easy going about everyone else. Some part of me wants to coach high school football at some point in my life, but I’m thinking that’s probably a long shot.

13. I love to bake.

14. I’m an introvert who sometimes masquerades as an extrovert (but only when I have to).

15. I can’t wait to get married. Not that I have any prospects at the moment (please, no one misinterpret that one), but I’m really looking forward to it. But I have a stipulation. Call me vain, but if I can’t get married while I’m young and pretty (and my bridal party is hott) then I don’t want to at all. Let’s get a move on, clocks ticking, boys.

16. Harry Potter will always be one of my best friends.

17. The Lion King is my comfort movie. I watch it when I’m sad, or when I’m scared. I watch it when I’m content with life, or when I can’t fall asleep at night. It basically has permanent residency in my Blu-Ray player.

18. My favorite number is three.

19. I am always hot. I’m pretty sure my body temperature runs at least 2 degrees hotter than what’s natural (ask anyone who has ever been in close quarters with me). I am basically a space heater. It’s miserable.

20. Polar bears are the best animal ever. And if science ever figures out a way to genetically alter them so that they only grow as big as a dog, I will have one. I may get one anyway.

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