20 August 2018

10 Ways Being a Military Spouse is Just Like High School

10. Ramen noodles just sound right for dinner

9. Your significant other plays video games... no no no... as in the same amount of time as a 16 year old

8. Bonfires, beer and BBQ are a great weekend

7. Cliques

6. There are times you eat pizza 3 days in a row

5. South Park (ugh)

4. You get excited about babysitting money

3. Neeeeeeeeeew Driver's License & ohhh goody you even get to take the test... again and again and again

2. You have team colors & Rivalries (GO ARMY!!!)

1. You still get all fired up for homecoming

If your butt hurts over this list please go look in the mirror and write OSMW over your face.

XO XO & Stuff,


24 March 2018

Swamp Bubbles

Image result for Saga of the Swamp Beast
Scooby Doo - Saga of the Swamp Beast
See that picture to the right? I'm Shaggy! Well, at least now I am.

Ok, so let's talk about my jump into the swamp and SWAMP BUBBLES. The swamp to me is any level of corporation or government when the ambition of the entity or individuals over-shadows integrity. I believe that a "swamp" is comprised of people working angles to get ahead. Go to a meeting, work around (not with) the opposition, get what their group wants done instead of finding common ground. Get ahead for their group or party. Get ahead for their organization, and at the end of the day get ahead for their own selfish reasons. In some areas, there are so many opportunities for personal advancement via contracts, federal positions, lobbying, that everywhere you look "opportunity" is knocking. While that may seem like a bastion of hope and  motivation, unfortunately we have the swamp.

In an environment pooling with avenues for MORE influence MORE access MORE power, a dirty little seed can get planted inside some people and the SWAMP BUBBLE begins to grow. Instead of seeing people as coworkers they are viewed as competition. Instead of taking someone at their word they take them down so they can climb higher or protect their perch. Instead of recognizing an asset they identify an adversary to their current position or future advancement.

This is the swamp, and SOME of the people in it are DEEP in the SWAMP BUBBLE. Their perception of others has been perverted for so long by selfish ambition (their own, or because they've been the victim of someone else), that they no longer treat people with dignity or even the benefit of the doubt. These people for whatever reason will manipulate a situation to their own advantage, they will fabricate small truths into large lies to damage professional reputations, and they will do so while convinced they are "doing what is right". (((doing what is right for who? and by what standards?)))

I have spent a very long time living in a simple bubble of "I am who I am"......I assumed that I had a similar work bubble and my bubble got BURST.

I Yam What I Yam taken from the movie Popeye made in 1980 starring: Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall - Songs written by Harry Nilsson

My bubble isn't unicorns and puppy kisses, its actually a pretty rigid place. This bubble? Integrity. Awareness of Strengths and Limitations (see Integrity), Communicate Clearly without Ulterior Motives (doggone it Integrity again), oh and believe in people before you don't believe in people aka TRUST. Inside my bubble lives a big personality, my personality is BIG because I know that I can stand behind my actions because.... Integrity and Trust.

Here is what ISN'T in my bubble. Ambition or Envy for anything anyone else has. I don't want your job. I don't want your influence. I don't want your money, house, kids (no seriously, I'm good), I don't even want your dog. Do I want to HELP YOU? Heck yes, and I don't even want any credit!! I just want you to feel awesome that some of the work got done.

A friend of mine's late husband had a simple saying "Do your *** Job". That is my work bubble. I do my *** Job. I don't care what that job is, I do it. You can work me into the ground, I will work. I thought that was the norm. I thought that was what professionals did. I was unaware that would be threatening behavior. I went to the swamp, and my bubble got burst. My eyes are open. BUT - don't worry. I have learned some valuable lessons.

1. Old sayings are true: No good deed goes unpunished
2. Its a good thing DOD taught me my email skills
3. MOST of my co-workers are the most amazing, virtue driven, compassionate people I have ever met. I am blessed to be in their company, and I know exactly who I can and cannot trust. 

Back to my Bubble!

XO XO and Stuff,


30 January 2018

Dear Kid in the Marines Sweatshirt, Victor Quinonez

Everyone is talking about that video you shot, actually videos. I'm sure you know which ones I'm referring to, but in-case someone in the general public skipped the "trending now" here's the short version...

This kid shows up to class wearing a shirt the teacher doesn't like (it says, Marines). The teacher then chooses to jump up on a soap box about how horrible the military is, how service members lack general intelligence - or are the product of bad parenting. How they lack discipline or ability to complete their mission. The videos, shot in a classroom - are dripping with profanity and general disdain for those who protect and serve - as well as anyone who would support them. Here's a link CLICK HERE

Ok so here is where I can go into a rant about how awesome the military is, and what a belligerent jerk the individual speaking on the video is; I could explain that MOST TEACHERS ARE AMAZING - but I'm not this guy...

Dear Victor

I'm sorry you are so uncomfortable in your SCHOOL that you feel you have to make a secret video in order to bring to light abuse in the classroom... but when a teacher who has been suspended before  just keeps coming back, I can understand why you did.

I'm angry and disappointed that so many of us who stand in the way of tyranny, have spent the better part of two decades fighting oppression in other hemispheres only to have it take root like a malignant tumor to the point students in our high schools are bullied by those who should be encouraging you to follow YOUR dreams - whatever those might be.

I'm sorry I knew this guy's name before yours. You are walking the hard road and are appreciated by countless Veterans and Service Members who BY THIS ACTION ON YOUR PART - have been defended against this individual's slander and lies.

I'm sorry no other adult in that building stood in the way. I'm sure this isn't his first tirade - and I'm sure it isn't a secret. You're a kid. The biggest thing you should have to worry about is getting your homework done, and a prom date, and annoying siblings.

I'm livid, disgusted, and heartbroken that your family's sacrifice and father's service have been disrespected in such a brutal way. The bearing you displayed - to receive that abuse - and NOT take the bait? You're stronger than I am.

I'm encouraged by your actions.  You stepped up. You sought help. You didn't keep silent. I'm going to tell my kids about you. You're a role model.

I'm hopeful there are more kids like you.

To the kid in the Marines Sweatshirt, 

Thank You. 

Jinger A. Brinkley
US Army Veteran

26 January 2018

Won't You Be My Neighbor - Uhhhh No.

So... just about 9 months ago we moved into a beautiful neighborhood. I would describe it to you, but going into a dissertation of suburbia is about as exciting as a root canal/pap smear combo and I really don't see why anyone would want to experience that  so we'll skip it. I trust you can imagine a bunch of pretty houses all lined up on a curvy street? Slap in some doggone palm trees because... Florida... and.... you got it. Good Moving on.

Well, somewhere along the last 12 years of military spouse marriage I forgot that I am an adult and under NO obligation to be friends with EVERYONE I meet. I mean... let me clarify as a military spouse there can be this weird thing when your husband is running around in foreign lands with their husband, you kind of feel this strange sense of loyalty even if you can't STAND the person - but here in this NEW world of civilian suburbia... those uhhhh "rules" didn't apply - BUT THAT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME. I made my merry way through the neighborhood attempting to foster relationships at every turn.

Let me tell you what I learned from that little escapade.

Never - ever - ever - compromise who you are. You WILL find your tribe, but if you manipulate your persona to try to fit in, than you will never really find the people you belong with. Why? Because people won't get to see/know the real you. Having the integrity to show your true colors can be painful and it can be lonely, but please know that the relationships you will eventually foster will be so much more fruitful than the shallow acquaintances you will brush upon if you never let people get to know the real you.

photo credit: pbs.org

Here's the flip side if you show people the REAL you and they "don't like you" then you save yourself the time and energy of investing in someone who DOES NOT WANT a relationship with you. We are grown y'all! If they don't think you are fun to hang out with - don't waste your time. There are way too many awesome people in this world who WILL want to be weird with you.. or laugh loud with you... or watch football with you... or sing in the car with you... or read nerd stuff with you... do NOT try to fit some snot rockets mold - let them find some other snot rocket to hang out with.

In the past few months I've found football friends, antiquing friends, wine a little/ laugh a lot friends, and I've figured out that there are some people in this neighborhood that I don't care if I NEVER speak to EVER in my life. I don't wish them harm or ill will ---- we just do not mix --- and that is OK. I don't have to hang out with them and they don't have to hang out with me. This isn't kindergarten, and I'm not Mr. Rogers.

23 August 2016

I am Extraordinary

Yes... you read the title correctly. I am extraordinary; however before you chalk this up to another egotistical keyboard warrior blogger gone mad - give me a few minutes of your time, please.

I love the word extraordinary. I find it funny actually, because (as those of you who read my babbling already know) I love to dig into words.

I am not a special snowflake with super powers. I am no stronger than any other person walking this earth. I am no different than you. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have gifts - talents - passions - skills. We are uniquely made and yet remarkably similar.

Let me give you one simple example. I work out. Most of you know this. What you may not realize is that over the last two years I've lost over 60 lbs. I can't tell you an exact number because once the scale crept over 220 lbs - I stopped weighing myself. I was ready to give up. I'd destroyed my ankle, had reconstructive surgery and lost mobility in my right foot/ankle. I wasn't sure where to go from there.

So. I tapped back into those good ole Army resilience skills and sat down to do some goal setting. I knew I wanted to ruck march with Ruck to Remember the following year. So I started with something simple. I walked. I kept walking until I was back into a routine. Then I headed back to the gym. Once I wasn't so ashamed of my body. I kept walking. The weather had changed and the Y had an indoor track. Until I was cleared to do more - I would keep walking.

Slowly my ankle regained strength. I was able to add some different mobility exercises into my routine, and eventually got back under weights. I love being under the bar. There is no hiding from gravity and iron. Either you can pick it up or you can't. If you can't you just keep working until you can. Yes. It is really that simple.

After months and months in the gym I was still frustrated with my progress. I couldn't seem to find a balance between maintaining strength and fighting the body fat I'd collected over a year of injury/recover. So what did I do? I waived a magic wand and BOOM my ass was perfect. No. I asked for HELP. I looked to someone who could give me that something extra to help me reach my goals. For ME - that was Cize. I HATE running. I HATE HIIT. I HATE HATE HATE CARDIO. Anyway, but without cardio, that body fat isn't going anywhere.

With Cize I found how to eat to feed my body as well as how to move enough each day to drop 20# in 4 weeks. All I did was move. Nothing special. Nothing crazy. Nothing magical. I asked for help. I listened. I moved. Yep.

I didn't have some magic pill, or super celebrity trainer. I had regular people helping me see that I was ENOUGH. I had Lindsey reminding me to get my workout in and eat (yes I never ate enough). I had Allison reminding me that strength is beautiful and that I was making progress. I had Amy pushing me to be kind to myself and recognize the small victories AS VICTORIES. 

So so so often I hear people say "I don't know how you do it all". Well here is a confession. Neither do I, and sometimes it doesn't ALL get done. Why? Because I am extraordinary.


That's right. I am just like you. Yes you - reading this - right now. We are so very very much alike. I have failed. I have cried. I've hidden from the world. I have felt shame. I have made terrible mistakes. I have fought the demons in my head over and over and over again. I am so very very ordinary.

Here is why that is important. Don't let that voice in your head tell you that you can't do something. Don't let those whispers in your heart hold you back from living your life. It is ok to be ordinary - because it releases us from having to be perfect.

YOU CAN DO THIS. Whatever "this" is for you. Get up. Go out there and take the steps to make it happen. Try, Fail, Try Again. Ask for help. Talk about your failure. Share your experience and learn from mistakes.

At the end of the day even the most amazing stories are about ORDINARY people who took the EXTRA step of BELIEVING they could do/give/make/BE MORE.

Take care of yourselves. Love this life we are given.

XO XO & Stuff,