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Saturday, November 12, 2011

undying love

A few nights ago Justin and I were lying in bed holding hands, facing each other in the dark, when he asked me: "If something happens to me while our kids are young, will you make sure they know how great I was?" It caught me off guard. We don't often talk about what if the worst happens, but it is ever on my mind. I told him yes, of course I would. Then after a moment of silence he said, "Tell them my job never meant more to me than they did. Tell them how much I really loved them, because they wouldn't know." At this point, I had a lump in my throat that wouldn't let me speak and tears were streaming down my cheeks, so I stayed silent. I didn't want him to know I was crying. After another minute he asked, "Did I make you upset?" "Yes" I said, "Why'd you do that?" "Sorry. I just had to get that out of the way." It took me a while to fall asleep after that, my mind kept going to dark places wondering what I really would do.

That's what being a military wife is. It's hard, it's painful, it's a life of sacrifices. It's having conversations that you don't want to have. It's wondering if you will have the chance to grow old with your beloved husband. It's hoping against hope that everything will turn out alright after all. It's soaking him up every minute that you can, because you're afraid those minutes are numbered.

I try not to think about deployments. The word makes me sick to my stomach. It fills me with dread and sadness. The thought of anything ever happening to my husband just brings tears to my eyes. I don't know how I could survive without him. I don't think I would want to. What would I tell our children? How could I sleep in our empty bed night after night? To lose your best friend, soulmate, other half, it must be an unbearable pain and emptiness. All I can do is love him now. And pray that he will be protected and come home safely to me in the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

richie rich!

Sometimes I wonder how I came to be so blessed. What could I have ever done to deserve all this? The answer, of course, is nothing. I didn't do anything to deserve the blessings that fill my life. I certainly have a past riddled with bad mistakes and many wrong decisions. I'm thankful I didn't get what I deserved.

Yet here I am, enjoying a rich and fulfilling life. We are by no means monetarily wealthy, but we have enough to get by and for that I am thankful. I found a good man to marry, which is a rare find these days. I know that I can count on him to provide for his family. I enjoy a marriage filled with mutual respect, lots of love, and unending trust. I have a gorgeous, smart, and healthy daughter who has brought so much joy and love into my life. I am pregnant with our second little one, a miracle in itself. To have been blessed with one child is amazing, but two? Now that's rich!! We have a roof over our heads, and I can truly say that we have everything we need. I never worry where my next meal will come from or how we will pay the bills. My family and I enjoy the benefits of good health. I live in a place that is almost like a dream with its majestic views and wonderful quality of life. And I live in America, a land that is free!

When I think about these and all the other many blessings in my life, I know there is never anything I could have done to deserve such things. I'm just thankful.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

5k for the 9k

In honor of those killed on 9-11-01 and those who have died since fighting this war on terror, my husband, daughter, and I ran a 5k this past Sunday. I have never run a race before but couldn't think of a better reason to do so. So we woke up extra early, had breakfast, and headed out on our new adventure.

The run was on a part dirt part rock trail and over 1,000 people had signed up! Before the race started we sang the National Anthem and had a moment of silence in honor of those incredible men and women. Then off we went! As I ran and listened to nothing but feet pounding the dirt, I almost started crying. I thought about all of the men and women who are overseas defending our great nation. I thought about how my husband will soon be one of them.

The trail was a difficult one and the sun was beating down on my face. I was hot and thirsty, and ready for some lunch. Part of me wanted to stop and walk, especially towards the end. But I repeated these words over and over in my head: "You will not walk. Those precious men and women didn't get to walk away on 9-11, so you're not walking either. You will run this race until the very end." And so I did. And when I crossed that finish line, I felt so proud of myself! For pushing my body further than it wanted to go. For utilizing discipline and drive.

My husband stayed back to walk with our daughter because his knee and foot were sore from some training he's been doing. So I waited for them at the finish line. Lots of people came in after I did, but I only had eyes for a handsome man and a beautiful little girl. Then I saw them: my husband, running through his pain with our laughing daughter on his shoulders. At this moment, my eyes filled with tears again. This is what it's all about. This is why our men and women are fighting terror with such vigor: so we can have the freedoms to do things like run a 5k with our family. So we can be surrounded with friends and strangers, all with one common thread: freedom. So we can enjoy life. So we can be patriotic and proud!

This will not be my last race. The feeling you get during and after is indescribable, an almost spiritual experience. A high, an addiction. Well, at least that's how it happened for me. Some of you may think I'm crazy. I can't wait to sign up for my next one!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

military marriage

I've been thinking about the differences between military marriages and civilian ones, and there are many. One is no better than the other--they're just so different! In most civilian marriages the husband works five days a week from 9-5, and is home every single weekend and holiday. You're blessed enough to see your spouse every single day. You have help with the kids, you have time with your husband. He never has to miss an anniversary or birthday.

In a military marriage, or at least in the profession we are entering into, none of this is true. The husband is gone for weeks or months at a time training--always training. Then, when he is ready, he gets deployed for months and months at a time. Military husbands miss out on so many of life's precious moments: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, sometimes even the birth of his child. His job comes first, always. And that's ok, that's something we wives must just accept. The wife is left to be a single parent while her husband is away. We get no breaks until our husband comes home. Our patience and energy are depleted. Kids miss their fathers and ask for them, sometimes in tears.

Because of these vastly different marriage types, military wives have issues that civilians can never understand. Due to the nature of our husband's career choice, most of them are gone often. This leaves us military wives feeling crazy possessive of our husbands and super protective of the time we get with them. When my husband is home, I find myself dropping everything to be with him. Just to be near him makes me so happy! It's not uncommon at all for a military wife to disappear when her husband is home. Many civilian friends would think it silly to forget friends and commitments for a man, some will even get offended. But I know that my military sisters all understand how I feel. It's just assumed that when a friend's husband is home, weekends and evenings are usually reserved for family time. Because for us family time is a luxury.

Now, being so possessive of my husband is something I cannot help, although I have gotten better about it over the last year. He is just gone so much, when he's home I want his undivided attention--no phone calls, no visitors, no distractions. I want him all to myself. Sometimes when his phone rings I cringe inside. I want to shut the whole world out and just sit with my husband, while I have the chance to.

Monday, August 8, 2011

American heroes

Thirty-one American lives lost in Afghanistan. I try not to question the why of it all, because to do so would take away from their purposes and their legacies. They were killed because they were fighting to protect our great nation. They died with honor, they are remembered as heroes. Them, and every other single American who has ever made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms.

Upon hearing this news, I was just so sad. Particularly considering my husband's dangerous career choice. I thought about the poor wives, receiving that dreaded phone call or seeing those mournful men park their vehicle and slowly walk to the door to deliver heart breaking news. I thought about how I would ever survive a loss like that. I'm not sure that I could, or that I would even want to. That man is everything to me: he is my best friend, confidant, partner in life. He is the one I laugh with, live with, cry with, share my heart with. He is the one that makes my life brighter, bearable, worthwhile. How could I possibly live without him?

We haven't tackled a deployment yet, my husband is still in training. But I know that we will have to, sooner rather than later. Even thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach and brings tears to my eyes and a knot to my throat. I'm not sure how I will make it. But I know that somehow I will. I have to. Because going through these hard times with him is so much better than not having him at all.

So as we go on with our lives, let's remember these heroes who have sacrificed so much for us. Embrace the freedoms and lifestyles that they have enabled us to enjoy. Reach out to their families. Do not let their memories die. Honor them always, for they are the reasons we are all here, safe and free. Live a life with meaning, in honor of these brave men and women who have died for us.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

For my dear husband

You are everything to me
With you I feel so free
To be just as I feel
The love we share is so real

You are my soul mate
I knew on our very first date
That you were mine to keep
You still make my heart leap

You're so handsome, so strong
You're the only man for whom I long
I love you so, my dear
Whether far or near

Though the miles will separate
I choose this hard, sad fate
If it means I can have you
If only for a few

You work so hard every single day
To earn less that you deserve in pay
Still you persevere without complaint
I can't be sure if you're man or saint

I am so proud to be your wife
To hold you close all of my life
If with my arms I can't hold you
A heart-sent hug will have to do

I love you Justin McAfee! Thanks for all you do! <3

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sea shore mornings

I have recently tried to become a morning person. It is so super difficult for me to get out of bed in the mornings, but once I'm up I'm glad I made myself get going! It is just so magical here in the mornings, something about it pulls me in. Maybe the way the sun shines through the palm trees, softer and fresher than any other time of day. Or maybe it is the silence. Few are walking around so early. It is so peaceful and sweet!

I have started to go for early morning jogs a few times a week. I set my alarm for 6 a.m., climb out of bed to pull on my running gear, then head out the door. Splashing through puddles and getting sprayed by sprinklers, I make my way through town to the quiet sea shore. Half way through my morning romp, I stop and just stand still. I take a moment to soak it all in, looking around me at the sand and shells, at the sun glistening off the water. Then I'll close my eyes and feel, and listen. I feel the cool morning breeze brush across my skin and the warm sun on my face. I smell the salty sea air. I hear the waves crashing, gulls calling. And I have never been more at peace. I am so blessed. God is so great!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Navy wife talk

I had a conversation with a Navy wife friend last night about our husbands' careers and how long we thought they might stay in the military. I have no idea what we will do, we're still sort of new to this whole journey. Who knows what my husband will decide in six years. Maybe he'll get out, maybe he'll stay in a while, maybe he'll make a career out of it. I used to be the one who wanted her husband out as soon as possible. I wished he hadn't joined with everything in me. I was at times desperate for him to find a way out. I now am much stronger than that. I know for the first time that if he chooses to make this a career, I will be ok with that. I can handle it. While I'm not saying I hope that's what he does, I know I'll be ok.

My friend and I also discussed how we will feel if/when our husbands are no longer in the military. I have to say, it will be really strange! For over a year I've been so immersed in this military way of life. I shop at the NEX and the Commissary, I bank with a military bank, my friends are military wives, my whole life is military! I find my identity in being a military wife, it's a role and title that makes me so proud. If/when my husband gets out, I'll be thrust back into the civilian way of life (which is verrrry different). I'll lose my identity and be just a regular ol' stay-at-home mom again.

Then I realized something; I'm totally wrong in finding my identity in being a Navy wife. I should be finding my identity in God. Right now I'm a Navy wife, it's good to be proud of that and to embrace it. I'm using this as my mission field, starting a Bible study and reaching out to other wives. But I won't always be a Navy wife. It's up to me to be content in every phase of my life and search out opportunities to serve God no matter what my circumstances are.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

rebuilding my temple!

Ok, so I am just about finished reading "Skinny B*&!#h" and must say the book is a real eye opener (if you haven't read it yet, go do so now)! I don't know why I have never wondered about what I am putting into my body, rather than just mindlessly eating what tastes good! So here is what I got from it: after reading what they say about slaughter houses and animal farms I no longer have the desire to eat meat at all. I am seeing meat in a new light, and it is not a good one. I feel like I can get healthier, less fatty protein from other sources such as beans, lentils, and tofu. I'm not sure how my husband will feel about no longer eating his beloved steaks and chicken (eww!), but I have convinced him to try some other things; he even agreed to eat a bratwurst made from vegetable protein (which, may I add, tastes really wonderful)!!! So I'm thinking I'll feed him meat 2 or 3 times a week. As for my daughter, I'm trying to win her over with vegetable protein 'chicken tenders' and 'hotdogs': totally meatless versions of her favorites. Now if only I can find some meat free bacon....

As for veganism, I feel like that is a little unrealistic for us. It's so hard to cut out all dairy, seeing as it is in virtually everything! Breakfast foods, cookies, breads, yogurts, coffee creamers, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and cheeses, just to name a few. And I feel like we will still do eggs every now and then. However, I will be buying all organic. And I no longer drink milk, I've been switching back and forth between soy milk and almond milk. My taste buds need a little getting used to the idea, but I think after a few more weeks I'll be hooked. I hope to eventually win my husband over and stop buying milk from a cow altogether. Now if only I can find him some dairy free ice cream! Then I'll really have him on my team! That man does love his milkshakes...

For me, this diet change is all about health. I just want myself and my family to be as healthy as possible, so that we can enjoy long lives together. I want to impart healthy living to my children so that they can pass it on to theirs. I know God wants us to take care of our bodies, in the Bible He consistently tells us to care for our temples. The book has made me more aware of what I'm putting into my mouth, and that's a good thing :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

America the Beautiful!

This Memorial Day weekend held so much meaning for me, more than ever. Sunday at church they did the presentation of colors with the drums and the flags, it moved me to tears. Anything patriotic, anything about the military, touches me so deeply. I have always had a heart for the military, even as a young girl. It would seem that even then, God was preparing my heart for what lay ahead. Is He great or what?

I just have such pride in my heart. Pride for my amazing husband, who has given up so much to pursue his dream of protecting this nation at the highest level. Pride for fellow military members, who risk their lives and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Pride for our awesome nation, so great and free. Pride for myself, all the sacrifices I have made and will continue to with (hopefully) a good attitude. Pride for military spouses all over the world, giving up their other half for the sake of freedom. I am so proud! This pride touches me so deeply that it makes me misty eyed every time I hear the national anthem, watch the American flag waving in the wind, listen to my daughter say the Pledge of Allegiance, or see a military member in uniform. These things touch my very soul. I have always been proud to be an American, but now more than ever.

I hope that people can see and remember that freedom comes with a price: a lonely birthday, anniversary, or Christmas; a weary wife sleeping in an empty bed; a child wondering when her daddy will ever come home; an American flag-laden casket returning to U.S. soil with a true hero laying inside; a grief-stricken wife who wonders how she can keep on living without her soul mate. All of these sacrifices and so many more. Please never forget. Don't forget those who have lost their lives protecting you; don't forget their loved ones who mourn their loss every single day. Remember our military, support our men and women in uniform, reach out to their families with love and support. And pray for them. Thank them. Because they are the reasons we can live as we do.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I love my husband!

God builds strength out of hard times. That's what I have to believe. I have to believe that through all of the difficulties, hard times, and adversity I have faced and will face in the years to come, that God is molding me into an amazing woman of character, integrity, and grit. That he is making me strong, independent, and faithful. That I am becoming unselfish, unyielding, unshakeable, unwavering. It is my prayer for him to make me reliable, dependable, wise, supportive. I have learned more than ever that I can't rely on my own strength and willpower. I can't keep myself strong enough to survive this lifestyle. Only God can. When I can't stand up on my own, how am I supposed to support my husband? But when I lean on God and depend on Him for all, then my husband can turn to me and lean on me for support and wise council and love.

My husband has to be selfish right now, I understand that. He has to depend on me for a lot. He is always gone or busy, always striving to reach his goals. He doesn't know how hard life is for me, because I can't tell him. Probably, he never will know. How could he really when he hasn't lived it? He hasn't walked this journey in my shoes. And I can't tell him. I can't share my heart with him a lot of the time. That's just the way it is for now. A lot of the time he is emotionally unavailable to me. When he is away and calls to talk to me, I have to choke back tears or cry silently so that he knows I am ok. He has to know that I'm ok. He has to know that he can count on me to be strong for him. He has to rely on me to take care of the home front. Because when I am happy and brave and independent, it makes it easier for him to focus and do his job. Deep down I may be sad, my heart may be breaking in two...but on the surface I plaster on a smile and keep moving forward. I take care of things, because I have to.

I am learning how important I am in my husband's life. I could make or break his career. I could throw a tantrum and insist he quit with all of this so that we can have an easy, normal life. And he would, because he is a good man and he wants me to be happy. But he would be miserable and his self esteem would be deflated. I could run around while he is away doing whatever I wanted: spending money, cheating emotionally or physically. It does get lonely. I could run off and leave him. Sometimes I think that would be the easy way out. Or I can be as supportive as possible. I can be uplifting and encouraging, and loving. I can treat him with respect and adoration. I can tell him how proud I am and remind him of how far he's come. No one knows my husband the way that I do. No one can pray for him the way that I can. No one can help him and be there for him the way that I can. I am the most important person in his life, as he is in mine.

Someone recently said to me that the woman sets the tone of the home. Wow! What an awesome responsibility, what an honor! That is amazing and scary at the same time. Sure I have bad days, I am not perfect and never claim to be; rather, I will tell anyone who asks just how imperfect I really am. But I try hard to be a good wife, a friend and help mate to my husband. I want him to want to come home. I want our home to be his sanctuary, his special place of comfort. I want him to look forward to seeing me. I want him to be thankful for such a great, understanding wife. So I try. I try to set a good tone in our home :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

you're worth it

As hot tears roll down my face
I long to feel your strong embrace
To hear you say I'll be alright
On this long and lonely night

Your things are scattered all around
Yet you're nowhere to be found
Everything so quiet, so still
Sadness tests my strength of will

How can I live without my best friend?
The lonely days seem to never end
I miss you so when you're away
But in my heart you always stay

When you're gone I feel alone
And our house is not a home
Because my home is where you are
Sometimes near, sometimes far

You truly are my other half
You are the one who makes me laugh
From you I draw strength and love
You are my gift from above

I adore you more every day
My love for you is here to stay
You are the only man I need
I will follow where you lead

I love you most my dear, sweet man
And I know God has a plan
As long as I'm with you
Let Him do what He must do

While you're gone I will yearn
For the day of your return
To hear you laugh, see your smile
To have you with me for a while

I know our time will surely fly
Until we say our next goodbye
I remind myself it's not forever
Just another storm to weather

Through the heres and theres I'll wait
Through the ups and downs I'll wait
I'll cry, I'll hurt, I'll do it again
I'll do it all for my sweet man

Because you're worth it

Friday, May 6, 2011

life of love

Usually when my husband leaves me I am overcome with all sorts of emotions; dread, anxiety, depression. But this time feels different. I don't feel any of those things, only sadness and exhaustion. I'm not sure why this change has occurred, maybe I am getting used to the goodbyes? Or maybe my heart is just too tired to feel so much pain so frequently. Maybe my heart is trying to protect itself by masking all of those horrible emotions with exhaustion.

I do miss my husband, though. My eyes are tired from crying for his absence. My heart feels sad and lonely, and I would give anything to give him a hug. When he is here, the best part of my day is when he walks through the door; I look forward to it all day long! When he is away, I feel like I don't have anything to look forward to. My sweet man is nowhere to be found. My heart says, this life is too hard. The goodbyes, the separations, the absence of my soul mate time and time again.

But my head is telling me that I don't really have it that bad. My husband will be back. In four short weeks, he will be back in my arms. I know that he is safe, I know that he is looked after. He has a great job that he loves, and he provides for our family. When my heart feels too overwhelmed, too empty, too alone, my head rushes to its aid. My head picks my heart off the floor and dusts it off. My head reminds my heart how very blessed I am. I have a love that very few people get to experience in their lives. I have a husband who is worth waiting for. I have a stable, good man who is my best friend ever. I have a gift, a love that is so special. And if I have to go for months at a time alone, at least it is worth it. At least I have a life full of love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

such great loss..

Recently a family member of mine lost her husband, who was in the military. To protect her privacy I won't go into details right now, but for some reason this loss has effected me greatly. Every single day I think of her and cry, weep even. I have said so many prayers for her and cried so many tears. It is just devastating and so, so sad. I'm not sure why this loss has touched me so personally, seeing as though I never actually met her or her husband. Maybe because it has made me think about my life and about the possibility of that happening to me. How would I ever recover from a loss like that? What would I do? Would I stay here in California where I love it so much or go back home to my family? Would I stay in bed for weeks at a time not able to face life without my husband or would I be strong, move on, recover, and thrive? Could I really raise kids on my own? Continue a pregnancy on my own? Give birth on my own? And if I were to ever lose Justin, would I remarry? I cannot imagine ever falling in love again after loving and suffering so. Would all of my military friends still remember me or would I be forced back into the civilian world? Would I seek counseling or bury all of my pain deep inside? How would a loss like this effect my children?? If I lost my husband, how would I generate income? Would I have to leave my sacred and beloved position as stay-at-home mom and go to work full time in my husband's place? If I did date, what would my children think? My precious children. How would they cope without their father, such an important figure in a child's life?

Should I have a plan for "just in case" or am I supposed to wait and see what happens? Am I supposed to just hope for the best? Let's face it, once my husband completes this training he will be a warrior through and through. He will be placed in dangerous and sometimes near impossible situations. Am I prepared for that? Can anyone be prepared for that?

What has happened to my relative has impacted me greatly. It has forced me to think about things that I always try to push out of my head. About things that are not pretty and easy, but hard and messy. About things that I'm not sure I am ready to confront. I can only pray for my husband's safety, and trust that God will look after him. And that He'll take care of me, too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

hope

Government shutdowns, paychecks cut in half and perhaps put on hold, livelihoods are at stake, futures are uncertain. I feel like in these shaky, scary, crazy times it's important to take a quiet moment in the midst of chaos and remember something: God is still in control. So, our government shuts down: God is still in control. So we don't get paid next month or the month after or even the month after that: God is still in control. Maybe we have to cut back on our spending, adjust our lifestyles: God is still in control. Although our futures may seem shaky and uncertain to us, God has a plan. God has always had a plan, God always will have a plan. We have to rest in that. When everything else seems a loss, we have to remember that. We have to draw from the knowledge that He is our Father, and fathers love their kids. Fathers take care of their kids. We have to trust in Him. When things get crazy, we have to rest in Him. He will give us strength when things get difficult, He will provide when the system fails us, He will take better care of us than anyone ever could! If we serve Him and put all of our faith in Him, then He will make sure our needs are met. Psalm 9:10 says: 'Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you'.

When things get hard, it is important to never forget that He has brought us through hard times before; and He will again. He will shelter and feed and clothe those who love Him and call on His name. When our world gets shaken, it's important not to get too caught up in the hard times. It's important to stay strong. It's important to pray, to ask God for help, and to move on. Because troubles will come and go, for as long as we're alive. It's a matter of what you will do when those troubles arise...

Friday, April 1, 2011

frienemy?

In my experience so far, there are two groups of Navy wife friends: those who lift you up and those who drag you down. The first type are the ones I prefer to be around, for obvious reasons. They are strong, self-assured women who are supportive and loyal friends. They are the ones who offer to babysit for you so you and your spouse can finally go on a date; they're the ones who keep you company while your husband is away; they're the ones who feel your pain and share in your joy. This last point is the one that greatly sets them apart from the other group; they share your joy. When your husband comes home from a month or two or three of training, they are nearly as excited as you are! Because they know the joy and excitement that you are feeling, and they don't begrudge you for it.

The other, less enjoyable group tend to hold grudges; they also are more jealous. These women always have this thought in the back of their minds: "Well, my life is harder than yours." "So what your husband will be gone for 5 months, I've had to be apart from mine much longer than that! Try a year!" It feels as though they are constantly competing with you for who has it hardest. They often play the pity card. They live out the statement "misery loves company." They can make you feel discouraged and much worse about a situation than the previous group of friends, who offer words of encouragement and prayers.

So far in my walk as a Navy wife, I have encountered both types of women. It is easy to be both types of women. I make a conscious decision every day to be a good friend, to be happy for my fellow wives when they are with their husbands...even if I am not with mine. I have had to weed out the nay-sayers and choose carefully who I spend my time with. Because let's face it, this life is hard enough. I don't need people whispering words of discouragement into my ear; I do that enough to myself. I need a group of strong, Godly, encouraging friends; and I think that's what I've found :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

home, sweet home

Basically, going back "home" is just really painful now. Every time I'm there, I'm painfully aware of how different things are...different yet the same. My parent's divorce was recently finalized. It makes me sad to know that our family will (probably) never be whole again. To go back and see that our hometown looks exactly the same, makes me so glad that I am no longer there.

It is also hard for me to make the transition from being in a house full of my beloved family and friends to coming back here to Cali where it's just me and my daughter all the time. It is sad and lonely! A house full of people feels so right to me, so homey and comfortable. I thrive in the chaos, I drink it in. Here it is just my daughter and myself a lot of the time, every now and then my husband, and sometimes a friend or two. Not what I'm used to. I need more kids!

Visits with my family are always wonderful, I adore spending time with them. Apart from my daughter and husband, they mean more to me than anything on this earth. They're my support system, my cheerleaders, my well wishers and best friends. But the sinking, lonely, homesick feeling that I get when I leave them almost makes me wonder if it is all worth it. To rip myself from them again and again, it's so hard!

Virginia is not my home anymore, I am smacked in the face with that realization every time I go back to visit my family. None of my things are there. Our apartment is not there, our car isn't there. I have moved on. I have broadened my horizons. California is my home now. I have friends here. A residence. I have a church here. We have a new life and it is here. Most importantly, my husband is here. And my home is wherever he goes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

end times? i think not..

Ok, I am tired of hearing people talk about the end of the world. Hearing people speak about the apocalypse and the worlds demise really gets me frustrated. Sure we have seen earth quakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes; but none of this is new. For centuries we have experienced these kinds of things, for centuries people have been spouting out things about the end of the world. I'm tired of hearing it! No one knows when it will happen except God Himself! So quit worrying about it people! It will happen when it happens, whether we are ready for it or not. And when it does, there's not a daggone thing we can do about it!

Now say the world really is ending. I don't think it is something that people should speculate on or waste our time worrying about. What good can come of it? All it does is get people all worked up, worried, and stressed out. We should always be a light, we should always be reaching out to people sharing Jesus with them; whether we think the world is ending or not.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the pain of loving you

I have been thinking a lot about my marriage recently. My relationship with my husband has changed so drastically over the last year. We have been through so much! He joined the military which has been hard, but also a huge blessing. I believe the Navy saved our marriage in a sense. Our entire first year of marriage was a big struggle for me. We had a lot of fights that resulted in me packing my bags and heading to my mother's. We were completely reliant on other people. We lived with his mother and grandmother. Neither of us had very much direction and we both felt like we had no purpose in life. I was not happy, and I know he wasn't either.

Now, my husband has a great job that he truly enjoys. He is providing for his family which makes him feel fulfilled and important. We live on our own, pay our own bills, raise our daughter on our own. We make our own decisions. We are now functioning parts of society! We are grown ups! We are independent. Being so far away from the rest of our family has also strengthened our marriage because we are all each other has. We have to rely only on each other now. We are finally our own little family.

The journey we have embarked on for the last year, and are still on now, has bonded us together like nothing else could have. I have watched my husband grow and change in such positive ways. I have supported him. I have given up things for him. I moved across the country for him. We are a team, we work together and we need each other. I have been separated from him, and realized how very in love I am with him.

The absence from my husband is very difficult, naturally. I believe that marriage is, or should be, a very important and strong relationship. I believe that when a man and woman get married, God joins you together and creates a bond that can never completely be broken. The separations of course are difficult, but I am grateful for them. Grateful because when I am apart from him, I'm painfully aware of how much I love this man and need him in my life. Even though my heart feels like it is broken while my husband is away, I know that the pain is there because I love him. Therefore, I am grateful for the pain. I try to embrace it. If I did not hurt when we are not together, then I would be worried.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

sadness

Every time that my husband leaves me, whether for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, I go through some kind of mourning. Usually this phase lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. During this time I experience a deep depression, almost as if he had died. I have a great sense of loss and loneliness. Being around his things is very difficult and I can barely walk into our bedroom. During this time, I have a knot in my stomach and am always at the brink of tears. A few nights were even spent on the couch covered in itchy red hives just from the stress of it all.

After the mourning is over, I start to feel a bit better. Instead of being sad and depressed for days and days, it comes to me more in waves. Like when I have been gone all day then walk into the empty, dark apartment at night and sit in silence. Or on the weekends when I just don't have anything to do. While he is away, I am always missing him. I am always sad, there are just different levels of sadness that I experience.

The main thing that helps me while my husband away is just staying in the Word. Reading encouraging Bible verses or listening to uplifting music. Exercising helps me a lot too, it makes my mind clear and gets those endorphins going to boost my mood. Friends also help, soo much! I am very thankful to have a great group of friends. It helps to fill the evenings with activities so that I am not just sitting here alone after my daughter goes to bed. Because that gets really lonely..

Monday, February 21, 2011

goodbye my love

In the days leading up to my husband's departure, no matter if he will be gone days, weeks, or months, I always feel a deep sadness. That's the only word I have for it, sadness. I know the lonely days and nights that lie ahead and I don't want to endure it! I spend the couple of days before he leaves holding back tears with all my might. I hate to cry in front of my husband. I don't want him to see me as weak or needy. I try to wait until I have a moment by myself. While I'm taking a shower; or standing at the sink washing dishes staring out the window, thinking about the hard times ahead as tears splash into the soapy dish water. I struggle to hold in the sadness and just smother him with love. The days before he leaves usually hold extra kisses, hugs, and "I loves you's", as though I'm trying to make up for the time we will be apart. In the days before he leaves I usually feel closer to him than ever, I want to just glue myself to him. I don't want him out of my sight for a second! Those days always feel to me sweet and sad.

The closeness that I feel to my husband before he leaves me make it much more difficult to say goodbye. If only I could detach from him, physically and emotionally, it would be much easier to part ways and move forward without him (temporarily)! I try to do this, to give myself pep talks about how it won't really be that bad, I don't really need him around to be fulfilled and happy. But they're lies, all lies. The more I tell myself that everything will be just fine, the more I know it's not true.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friends!

When you're a military wife, there are two types of friends: military, and civilian. Both types can be very beneficial in helping you maintain your sanity.

The military friends are great to have, because they are the women who understand you and your lifestyle completely. They are strong, brave women who will always have your back; who will listen to you cry and not think less of you for it; who will babysit when you need a break; who will celebrate wedding anniversaries, birthdays, valentine's days with you in your spouse's place. Your military friends are like a stand-in family; they play the role of therapists and prayer partners; they are kindred spirits. They lift you up when you are feeling down.

The civilian friends have a different dynamic. Because they simply cannot comprehend what you've been through, your relationship with them is a bit lighter. They're the ones you joke with; they're the ones you call to catch up with on a night when you're home alone. Your relationship with your civilian friends will not be on the level of your military friendships. It's just not possible. There are just huge parts of your life/marriage that they can never understand or know. Sometimes it is so nice to get away from the military life, though, if even for a few moments.. that's what your civilian friends are for. They help you to not take life so seriously. They are like a breath of fresh air.

Either way, friends--military or civilian--are a necessity. They keep you sane and grounded. I have wonderful friends, and do not know what I'd do without them! Wonderful, strong, talented, amazing women!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Until the End of Time

You never leave me
Every day I feel You
Everywhere I see You:
In the trees, ocean, sky

In my darkest moments
You reached me
You saved me from myself
You turned my sadness to joy

In the hard times
I know You are there
I feel You more than ever
As You take my hand
And lead me to the light

God, You are so faithful
You always come through
Over and over again
Until the end of time
I know I can lean on You

When I feel invisible
You remind me who I am
You show me how much I'm loved
I know You have a plan
Just for me

I feel Your voice whisper
Straight to my heart:
"You matter. You're Mine.
I love you, daughter.
Until the end of time."

I just wrote this poem, it's about how I have felt God the last few years.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shift of control

The stress factor of this lifestyle is very, very high. Throughout my husband's training every single day is just a big question mark. Will he continue on, be rolled back to another class, or even dropped from the program altogether? It is a lot of pressure on him, and on us as a family. It seems as though the test he has to pass this week will determine our future. But is our future really dependent on the passing of one single test? Is our future really that unknown and insecure? I think not.

I have to remind myself (daily) that God is in control of it all. If He wants my husband to succeed and make it through this training, then he'll make it. If He has another plan for us, then that too will be revealed in due time. Although our future seems to hang in the balance, it really is all planned out for us. This whole situation has gotten me thinking and made me realize that we have a choice here: we can worry ourselves to death (literally) and wonder what will become of us; or we can relax and trust in the plan that God has for us. We can plan the future that our flesh wants, which will surely lead to disappointment anyways; after all, does anyone's life ever go according to plan? But He doesn't need our help. He just wants us to loosen our grip on our big plans and tighten our grip on His big hands! And then I had another thought: the decision to trust Him, really trust Him and His plans, is not one that you make just once; it is a daily, if not hourly, choice that must be consciously made and lived out. This year, I want to hand over the reigns and just let my Father deal with it all :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Running with love

I love running, like love. Running is very therapeutic and, in a strange way, relaxing to me. When I go for a long run it gives me a chance to daydream and make plans for the future; sometimes I think about things and sort them out; a lot of times I talk to God, and still other times I don't think at all. When I am angry, I like to run. It gives me a chance to clear my head and calm down; put things into perspective. When I am sad, I like to run. Who doesn't feel better after a good sweat and when those endorphins kick in? Running feels natural to me, when I go for a jog I feel like I'm doing something I was made to do. Humans have been running for our entire existence. Sure we run now more for recreation and exercise rather than for protection as our ancestors did, but it's the same concept. My legs were made for running.

Recently I have begun running with my two-year-old daughter. I strap her into her jogging stroller and off we go. Sure I can't run as far and the stroller makes it a lot more difficult. But I have come to cherish this time with her. Every day during the week we jog to the park to play, then jog back home. She enjoys this time as much as I do. I know that I will always remember my daily runs with her, and when she is grown I will wish to have just one more jog with my sweet little girl.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New Year!

A new year has begun...hard to believe! 2010 was a tough year for my little family. My husband and I were apart for 5 months this year. That's a lot of absence. He missed our second wedding anniversary as well as our daughter's second birthday. However, this has been a big year for him! He's accomplished a lot! He went to and graduated boot camp. He completed pre-BUD/s as well as half of BUD/s (the rest remains to be seen). He survived hell week! That is a big accomplishment in itself!

2010 was a big year for me also. I broke through my two year struggle with depression. I started this blog, and became an avid runner. Avery and I went through a lot of changes together. We moved in with my mom when Justin left. We lived in Great Lakes for two months. We got to see the city of Chicago and play on the beaches of Lake Michigan! We also went for our first plane ride together (and second, and third)! We flew cross-country three times this year! I packed up all of our belongings, directed the movers, struggled through airports with heavy bags and a toddler, found my way around a huge new city, set up home in a new apartment. All on my own :) I moved away from my family for the first time in 2010 :( I am learning to live without them in a sense. I'm more independent than ever. My husband and I got our first place together in 2010. We "visited" our family for Christmas, that was a first. It was hard to leave them :(

2010 has been full of so many changes for my family! I will say, it has been a hard year. But also a rich one! I feel happy to close out 2010 and welcome 2011 with open arms. This too will be a year full of many firsts and changes. But how can it not be; as long as you're alive, things will change.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bye, family

I had a great visit with my family over the holidays! Two wonderful weeks to spend with them. I am grateful for that time, and am so glad to have them to go "home" to. The older I get, the more I appreciate and love my big family. I used to wish I was an only child all the time. Now I can't imagine what that would be like, and don't want to! How lonely and dull! I feel sorry for people who don't have any siblings because they have missed out on a special bond. I love my younger sisters & brother so much. I'm glad we are so close. It's awesome to have someone's back and to know they will always have yours. I truly have a great support system.

My parents are wonderful, I have the best mom ever! She has taught me so much, more than anyone else in my life really. She's a woman of patient acceptance and understanding. And I always thought my dad was the smartest man alive, still do. He has taught me numerous things about plants and the outdoors! Whenever I want to know something nature-related I always think "I wish my dad was here!"

There's something about a big family that is so special. Maybe because it's a rarity in our day and time. Let's face it, kids are expensive! But I hope to have a big family of my own one day, full of natural and adoptive children. Yes, I want to adopt when I am older. To me, it doesn't make sense not to. Family is the most important thing to me in the world. They're the people who know me best, forgive me most, love me unconditionally! They don't expect anything from me, other than to be loved and accepted in return. Family. What a marvelous word.

My visit with my family was wonderful, but it was so hard to say goodbye. As glad as I am to be back in warm California, I can't help but to wish I was back with them. The ones who love me no matter what. In this moment I find myself wondering how I will ever be content with living so far from them.