Monday, December 28, 2009

my handy man

so we bought the house so we can finally make the changes we want, paint what we want, make the house our home. well, we bought the house nearly 3 months ago. and after moving twice in one year, i'm so ready to get some projects of my to-do list. but here is the problem, my handy man hubby isn't always the handiest nor the most movitated. see, when he's deployed or in the field, lil man and his tools and i tackle all the projects and knock them out. but since aaron came home, i've been trying to let go of my own 'handiness' and let him take on the projects.

well.... it's nearly been 3 months since we moved in and we FINALLY! have storage shelves in our garage so we can ALMOST park both cars in our 2 car garage which we specifically wanted since it snows here and it's rather cold at 5am in the morning when aaron leaves for pt. it did help that my unlce and florida dad have been itching to do some 'man projects.' so, today was a day of 'man projects' and i couldn't be more thrilled! we have storage shelves in the garage AND the light in the fyer works!

now if only i could get him (them) to install those flood lights my hubby insisted we needed (and i want)...

Friday, December 25, 2009

i'm dreaming of a white christmas...

and lots of family and laughs and memories. we got our white christmas and my lil brother made it to town and then my mum and then to top it off, my florida dad showed up! and then my taunte i haven't seen in over 10 years is coming tomorrow! talk about a house full! but it makes for great times! and wonderful memories and lots of warm fuzzies.

this christmas we have truly been blessed. between aaron actually being home, for a christmas in december, and him being home for a little longer, and house full of family for the holidays, when i sit and make a list of all of our blessings, i could fill a notebook. from little moments like cayman sleeping through the night to aaron taking me out the other night for a real date to our beautiful new home we own, we've got so much to be thankful for this year. it's amazing how the little things, like the birth of a child thousands of years ago or a simple text message from my hubby, can change the course of someone's life.

may your year end with many simple little blessings that leave 2009 with a smile.

Friday, December 18, 2009

it took me 5.5 miles to realize it

it took me running 5.5 miles on the treadmill tuesday to realize, 'hello! God doesn't think you're ready to have another child yet!' duh! i'm not down to my weight goal, we're in a good financial place, but could be more comfortable, we still have little stresses in our marriage we need to work on, and hello, we have a few more months as just the three of us.

so, as disappointed as i was about not getting pregnant this month, God has a better plan for us, for me. there are so many things he has put on my pathway and i need to take advantage of all of these blessings and when i get to the bridge with a new addition for our family, because i've walked the path set before me, i will be ready, we will be ready, the journey will be right. so, i pray for strength, for patients, for understanding, for the blessings to continue to be laid before us (and you too). thanks for all the love and support!

Monday, December 14, 2009


so there are tons that can disappoint you, but when it comes to your body, there are just a few things: weight problems, a blemish on your face and then your body just not wanting to cooperate with your plans.

back in september i had my iud taken out. we had decided that it was time to start trying for another addition to the family. i knew that it would be trying, with hormones that don't always cooperate, and knew we were also working with a deployment deadline.

we have a tentative deployment time frame, so we knew that this was the month. well, my hormones played a cruel joke on us. with my aunt flow making a delayed entry, having us hoping that maybe i was baking a bun and aaron had a chance of being home for the birth. well, no such luck. but, not to give up, and deployment time frames are always shifting. but, there is now a greater chance i'll be delivering via webcam so aaron can be part of that special moment. we're not giving up, we're really wanting to grow our family and feel that this is the time, just waiting on God to bless us. it is a crushing blow, but we have faith that when the time is right, God will provide.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

there are no lines on the road!

so this past week we had our first real major snow. it was great! and i'm a little sad now that most of it has turned to dirty slush and begun to melt away. but just like frosty the snowman, the snow shall return.

now never being stationed anywhere north of ft. polk, la, snow has never been a driving factor for us, or our florida honda. yes, our honda is a florida honda, complete with florida license plates and adverse liking to the cold at times. so, i had to take honda in for her oil change and 'first snow' check up. all good now.

but here's what i observed as i cautiously drove through the blowing snow turned frozen over twice ice and now slush, when the white stuff starts falling, there are no lines on the road and this apparently all driving regulations go out the window with the blowing snow! seriously! i've never seen so many blunt drivers just blowing through red lights, ones they clearly could have sold down for. i've never seen so many drivers just driving where ever. sure, the early morning poor souls who had to make the paths were guessing, but by now, when nearly all the snow is cleared from the roads, you no longer can just drive where ever, you actually how to try to drive within the faint lines on the road. it's craziness!

sheer craziness i tell you! but how many times in our lives do we drive down the road of life, making our own rules up, disregarding the faint lines put on our path to guide us?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

i'll be home for christmas

i'll be home for christmas, bring him home santa, when are you coming home, all i want for christmas, a soldier's silent night, and the list goes on.

as we, lil man and i, were baking cookies today, we danced around the kitchen to our favorite christmas songs on the radio. all happy and joyful, and then came on "i'll be home for christmas." i started singing along as i had to all the previous songs. and as i realized what was coming from my mouth, i stopped, i stared out our son and tears started in the inner corners of my eyes. i pulled my lips in and bit down. then cayman said, 'momma?' confused to why i had stopped dropping cookies on the bake sheet, confused to why i had started dancing, confused to why i had stopped singing, confused to why i was starting to cry.

it's amazing how a group of words with a melody could stop you in your tracks. sure, there are other songs that get me at any time of the year, but this time of year is especially hard, even with aaron home. until he gets out of the army, i know there's going to be a good chance that every other or even two christmases, aaron will not be home. i never imagined for a moment that having him home would be as difficult as having him gone.

sure, i get to fall asleep at night next to him and i wake up to him getting ready for pt. and sure he sits across the table from me as we eat dinner. and sure we hold hands as we drive as a family somewhere. but, when i think of how great it is to spend all of this time together, i have it in the back of my mind how next year we'll be doing this long-distance, again. and i know, it's the life we chose. but how do i brace myself to tell our son next summer that daddy won't be home for the year?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

well power and self control

i have 8 bags, yes 8 bags, of chocolate chips sitting on my kitchen counter. usually by this time of year all my cookies would have been baked, packed and en route to the middle east. but this year, they're staying here, well rather going to work just down the road. and it's taking all of my will power not to start snacking on those yummy chocolate chips.

there are times i seriously question if there really is any ounce of self-control in me. i know what the scale says, i know how my jeans fit, i know where i'm suppose to be and how things are suppose to fit, and yet, i give in. i feel so weak. i can do a million different other things that make me 'strong,' but when it comes to what goes in my mouth, oh good heavens, i have a layered-cake-worth of excuses and then some.

so, i know where i'm suppose to be and how things are suppose to fit. and i'm determined to get back there. heck, i lost all of my pregnancy weight while aaron as deployed, so i know i can lose these last few pounds. i've started a monthly challenge, walk, run, or crawl x amount of miles in the month. and i have agreed to run or at least train for a 1/2 marathon for the spring with a fellow army wife. and i vow that come the spring formal, my dress will fit more comfortably, if not need a little taking in.

i've got in me, i know i can do it. a healthy life is a must for this lifestyle we live as army wives.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

breath of fresh air

my blackberry, or crackberry as aaron calls it, vibrated late sunday night. who in their right mind is sending me an email this late? well, it's my super busy frg leader/ shoulder to lean on/ babysitter on the drop of a hat, emailing me about some upcoming events. rubbing my sleepy yet unable to sleep eyes i glare at the screen waiting for my eyes to focus.

man, am i glad i let me eyes focus. apparently somewhere in all my busy-ness everywhere but on post, i missed the posting for a super great conference just for spouses. apparently these two crazy army spouses were coming our way and wanted to drop all these resources on us along with some laughs and stories from their military life. it's free, they're providing child care and they're feeding us. i'm game! so, at o'clock in the middle of the night i'm tapping away on the crackberry registering, only to be waitlisted! boo! but wait, the crackberry vibrated again bright in the morning and my monday started off with sunshine; confirmed to attend!

i'm so glad i actually was able to attend the army wife network's 'field exercise' conference for spouses. besides collecting 8 new ball pens, eating divine bon bons from the cookie brigade, and getting a break from my everyday life, i laughed with other army wives, i shared some of our stories and i even teared up a little. i met me, a few more years down the road, too.

i've been wondering lately what my purpose really is. i have a bachelors in public relations and a masters in elementary education. i have a toddler. i have a husband gearing up to deploy again. i have a home, our home, ours. i have the daily chores of a domesticated engineer (sounds so much fancier then housewife). i have my volunteer posts. but what i've been wondering is where will this all take me? what does God have up his sleeve for me?

so as i sat there listening and sharing and even playing 'Vanna white,' i saw a glimpse of what i want to do. i want to inspire, i want to encourage, i want to share with other military spouses not just our stories, but the stories of my friends, my sisters, strangers who crossed my path, and the resources that are out there, just for us, that many of us didn't even know existed. so, when i grow up, i want to be tara crooks (star was super great too, but us brunettes have to stick together!).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

recipe for a bittersweet casserole

it's a recipe for a bittersweet moment: thanksgiving with your husband on 2.5yrs, your son, first time ever in three calendar years, a deployment next year. in the three years that aaron and i have been together, NEVER once have we celebrated thanksgiving and christmas according to the calendar without duffle bags being packed or being unpacked.

in 2o06 aaron was stuck in afghanstain trying to make it home and missed our first thanksgiving by a week. in 2007 he was home for thanksgiving with his duffle bags packed and heading to iraq 5 days later. in 2008 aaron was in iraq. in 2009, he's home for both thanksgiving and christmas. in 2010, he'll be back in iraq for thanksgiving and christmas.

it's the story of our life and well, when you consider what thanksgiving and christmas are really about, it doesn't matter the date on the calendar, but being together with your loved ones. so, though we'll wake and watch the macy's thanksgiving parade and stuff ourselves with home-made, love-filled yummy dishes and put up the christmas tree, and it's actually thanksgiving across the united states and there are no packed duffle bags in the house, it doesn't matter because everyday is a day for giving thanks and making love-filled yummy casseroles. bittersweet as it may be.
2006: our thanksgiving, in december2007: our turkey was just 5 wks old. 5 days later aaron deployed to iraq for 14 months
2008: we did a florida thanksgiving with oma & opa and then a ft. polk thanksgiving with all of our 'deployed' family

Thursday, November 19, 2009

dear oprah, 2000 characters is not enough

so oprah is looking for real army wives. cool! i'm game for going to chicago, never been before, and tell america what a real army wife's glamorous life is all about, hardly anything i've seen on the lifetime show 'army wives.' so i wrote this great essay, and not saying that because i wrote it, but it was a great 2000 word essay, not a 2000 character essay, including spaces. so, i had to widdle it down, and well, i might be watching that show from my comfy couch.

so, oprah, if you're reading this, this is what a real essay, 2000 words, would look like:

i don't own a 'hump bar' or any other business. i don't recent my husband's job, what i don't nor will ever know about it, or the fact that his career will always come before mine. i have never, nor will i ever cheat on my husband. i'm not the perfect army wife, but i am a real army wife.

as each day passes, i can tell you exactly how many more until my husband deploys for the his fourth time. each night i lay awake because my anxiety keeps my mind racing, worrying what i'll do if i become 'one of them.' i've heard taps played twice, watched the folded flag be laid in the arms of friends and clutched our son tightly as the smoke cleared from the 21-gun salute. nothing can prepare you to comfort a friend and their family when their life has been shattered, not even the care team training.

i started writing a blog,, to clear my head and somewhere along the way i collected stories from my sisters, my pillars of strength that i now pass on to those who walk in our shoes for the first time. each week i type away on my blackberry a check-up for those, many i've never met, who are currently surviving a deployment. all little things i wish someone had done for me. and yet things you can't prepare yourself for until you're there, in their shoes.

in the three short years we've been together, we've spent more times apart then together. this will be the first year that we actually celebrate every holiday between labor day and valentine's day according to the calendar without having to send a single flat rate box. sure, it's a life we knew we'd have. heck, we spent 12 hours on our first date talking about it. but nothing can prepare you for this life. how do you prepare to change your wedding date because 'duty called?' how do you enjoy your pregnancy knowing that 5 weeks later the first-time dad will miss the next 15 months of your son's life? how do you prepare to handle the changes you all will experience?

you can't prepare for this life, but you can get up each day and make the most of it. between balancing a daily schedule that involves play dates for our 2 yr old, household chores, frg meetings, and just living, i struggle, but i'm learning to deal. and even after taking every class offered about ptsd and suicide, nothing can prepare you for it until it's at your doorstep. but you learn to deal, because even though he changed, you changed too and i can't stop loving him.

as the minutes tick away, you try hard not to cry. you smile, you post for what could be your last pictures together. you just become numb. you watch him board the white bus with the rest of his soldiers in the midst of the cool night and watch them drive away, praying it won't be the last time you see him alive. and then you clutch to your phone for the next three days praying for any word from him. if you're fortunate enough, he'll pass through bangor, maine, and maybe they snapped a picture of him as the was greeted by those amazing veterans and americans. until he reaches his destination, i'm a mess, on the inside. you build a routine, you keep busy, and you avoid the news at all cost. between the last 'good-bye' and 'i'll be seeing you in my dreams tonight,' you keep his words echoing in your head, 'it's just a few months out of a lifetime.'

as the weeks pass and you've built the routine, you countdown until r&r, making plans, picking out the perfect outfit, and planning a surprise a the airport for him. the next 18 days fly by way too fast. i don't think i've ever taken that many pictures of them, my husband and our son, in their entire short time together. and then comes one of the hardest days ever, you have to take him back to the airport and watch him leave, again. and what made it harder this time around is our 7-month-old son standing at the terminal window crying as we watch his plane taxi away. i cried for over an hour in the car that day. then begins the countdown again, this time to homecoming.

finally you cling to the phone again, counting down the hours, praying the sandstorms don't delay their flight, again. you wait in the crowded gym with the air stuffy, filled with excitement and sadness, knowing that some of those you send off won't be coming home, not this way. the doors finally fling open, a roar comes over all of you and you finally see his scruffy face with his over-grown fro under his patrol cap. he runs toward you, you throw your arms around him, squishing your now 15-month-old son, and not noticing the horrible smell of 3-day unbathendedness. on the inside i've been praying our son would take to him quickly. at first, it seemed like we would have a long struggle, but by bath time that night, it seems like they picked up right where they left off. and then begins the reintegration.

he reads parents magazine in between suicide briefings and psychological screenings. as he's learning everyday how to be a father, he also struggles with isolating himself from us, knowing that in a short time he will be deploying again, leaving us alone again with only a webcam and care packages to stay in touch. it's tough, giving back all those responsibilities you had to take on during the deployment. while we try to get comfortable with the idea of being a 'family,' it's overwhelming, trying to give him more control again and yet giving him all the time he needs to take on those responsibilities. we moved shortly, twice, after my husband returned after his last deployment, adding a heap of stress that others didn't have to take on.

over time i too isolate, or rather make myself so busy, that i don't have time to feel the pain or the anxiety anymore. i cry in the shower nearly everyday. sometimes i take my valium and precicot, prescribed for my back injury, to help me sleep. i waited for months to see a mental health specialist; partially afraid that my 'weakness' would hinder my husband's progress, mentally and professionally, and partially because i was just 'too busy.' it's ironic, my air force family provider was the one who noticed my anxiety and referred me, 10 months after my husband had come home.

my husband and i aren't the only ones struggling. our 2 yr old son cries each morning, clinging to my husband's leg as he leaves for work, convinced that today might be the day he leaves again to return to the webcam. i would expect him to experience separation anxiety with me, i'm the one constant in his life thus far. when we're on post, he 'searches' every uniform for daddy. we visit my husband at work at least once a week to have lunch with him, each time ending with a few tears in our son's eyes and a face of anxiety and wonderment, will this be the last time. the sound of taps, backfire, and even fireworks scare our son more then the average toddler.

it's not an easy life. it's not a life you can prepare for. it's not a life that most 27 yr olds live, but it's our life. we're the fortunate ones. we have an amazing support unit that we've surrounded ourselves with. between our parents, all with prior service to the military as either soldiers, spouses or civilian contractors, our siblings who are our leaning posts, and our best friends who call me out of the blue every few weeks to make sure we're okay when my husband is deployed. i have also sought out encouragement and strength from my online friends, nearly all who i've never met, but never let me down when i need encouragement. it's the support unit that has helped us through all of the deployment cycles. and without them, you're setting yourself up for a failure, for more struggles then you need.

so i may never make it on the cover military spouses magazine or sit before congress and speak on the behalf of all my sisters-in-arms, but the little things i do make me a real army wife with real struggles and real moments that shine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

amazing grace, how sweet and yet somber

as i watched the memorial today, the words of the president and the chaplain and the sounds of the 21 gun salute rang in my ears and in my heart. and as i watch the families of the 13 killed for selfish reasons, i pray no more families have to collapse in tears and pain from senseless acts of out crying for help.

i watched the wife of one of the soldiers killed collapse in the arms of her causality officer. i watched the father of a daughter and his unborn grandchild kiss her picture. i watched as a soldier on crutches used all his strength to salute and honor those who have gone before him.

as we approach this veterans' day, all i can think is 'history truly does repeat itself.' my mum made the case that similar outcries for help happened after vietnam and desert storm. have two previous wars and countless waves of veterans with memories of things no one should ever have to see or experience not taught us anything? how many more outcries must there be for our society to realize that life is too precious to waste? too precious too wait on others to fix what's broken? too precious not to value and sustain.

may God be with those families and those who in the coming months will receive the dreaded knock on their doors by officers in their dress uniforms. may God be with those who have seen and experienced things at the cost of freedom and protection.

Monday, November 9, 2009

helloooo hot mess!

do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and go, 'whoa sista, you are one hot mess!'? i feel like today was one of those days. between not sleeping well lately, battling this back re-injury, and this past week's craziness at ft. hood, i feel like i should have a flashing sign about my head 'hot mess' and a box of tissues.

and to be perfectly honest, i don't know where all it comes from. sure the loss of life is a tough thing for me to deal with. and yes, anything military reminds me of the impending deployment, and sure, the lack of sleep can't be helping nor can the back pain, but come on. isn't God suppose to be there with me, carrying me? not that i'm complaining, too loudly, but this is some majorly thick sand and i'm trudging on at full speed with my heels on, but not my running shoes, with what seems like a mini-sized world on my back along with our toddler, life in general and three huge suitcases of emotional baggage.

maybe it's all a wake call. hello jackie! this is your life and you do have two choices: would you like to admit you need help after you get your big girl panties on or would you like to continue to try and tackle it all and continue to pick the wedgie out of your rear because you refuse to buy bigger panties?

i'm opting for the help. i'm diving back, okay, crawling back into my time with just God and praising Him and then asking for the help i need. and well, as cute as those tiny like pink brand undies are from victoria secrets, they just aren't made for my lovely humps. so on with the big girl panties, still in with cute print of course, and on to my rock where i know i will find the strength i need. and off to the mental health specialist.

yes, the mental health specialist. it's a woman, she's from mid-west america and seems very level-headed with no poor reviews in the past. i figure she's air force, so she should be a little saver (small joke, sorry, it's how i cope).

weeping may endure for the night, but with the morning comes great joy psalms 30:5

Saturday, October 31, 2009

we're home!

the house has become a home, we've survived two 'blizzards,' we're feeling out our surrounding and settling in. we still have some things to settle on our list: locating a church home, putting away the small things here and there, put up flood lights, manage the yard, but all in good time.
each time i walk from the honda around the corner and past the american flag with it's yellow ribbon and up the two front steps to our door, and then turn the key, this pride, joy, happiness comes over me: we're homeowners and it's our home! yes, we're paying the man for the next 30 years, but we will manage (we did research and made sure we could). but when you walk in, we've been told you can feel the warmth, the love that encompasses our home. and that's what we wanted.

sure, i know in a matter of time we'll be in the garage sorting through gear, hiding little love notes in each duffel, and counting down the hours until we live under two very different roofs, but that's part of 'us' and our life. and well, when that time comes, we'll still have our home, on happy jack drive, and we'll survive, because that's what we do. knowing that no matter how high God piles on the potatoes and lemons, he will bring out the peeler and the squeezer and help us make the most of it and come out with something super delicious that was worth it all.

pictures just don't do the home justice, so you'll just have to come visit!
the office: his side
the office: her side (one day it'll be the nursery)
cayman's room: complete with sleeping cayman
eat-in kitchen
the kitchen:
the master bedroom: small, but just right
the master bathroom: small, but larger then we've had in the past
the living room: gallery wall
mud room/ family tree:
the men's cave: basement
the hallway in basement: full bath for guests on left and laundry room in hide-away on right
cayman's part of the men's cave:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

helloooo 4th id!

so i found aaron's office today. rather depressing, but it could be from all the bare walls and huge stacks of paper (seriously couldn't see over them). i did bring him a picture frame with our picture in it, just so he can remember what we look like and so those who come to bring him more work can see what they are keeping him from. also bumped into the frsa and the frg leader. made sure they knew i was ready and willing to help (i refuse to have a slacker frg or no family functions just because we have 800 single soldiers in the battalion).

it's one of those tough things. you walk into a frg meeting and you know everyone is looking at you thinking, 'who is she?' and well, it doesn't help that my first frg meeting with 4th id will be a halloween costume party. great! i hadn't planned on dressing up this year. and now i'm raking my brain trying to figure out the most appropriate halloween costume: hi! i'm the new s-2's wife. i'm serious, but fun. committed but laid back. i bake for the guys in the office every two weeks. i'm a stay at home mom who's always on the go with our toddler. yes, find me a costume that gives off that vibe but is still fun, light-hearted and i can throw together in a week.

what i have seen of 4th id has left me with mixed feelings. i know, i need to swallow the pill and follow my own advice (be open-minded and make the most of it), but come on. aaron came home last thursday from in-processing/ working (hadn't even finished in-processing and already he was slammed with work), and told me the unit was having some type of organizational day (code for mandatory fun day, USUALLY). so, i told him i'd make a dessert and meet him at the park when he got a break from in-processing. well, we show up. and man, it was organized, and it seemed fun for those involved, but it was not your standard 'family' fun day. it was rather a soldiers' field day. softball, football, volleyball and basketball tournaments. that's it. no chalk, no bubbles, no inflatable, nothing but the playground that just happen to be at the park for the kids. not happy.

and then there's this 'christmas' party. well, it's definitely not a 'family' shindig. at 6pm at the resort. $30 a head (because of aaron's rank). dress code spelled out for you. we're going, aaron doesn't want to , but we need to go. cayman will be spending the evening with my aunt and uncle (so glad we have family here). just waiting to seeing if there will be a family christmas party. waiting, and waiting and hoping i'll be proven wrong. yes jackie, there is a dstb family christmas party.

until then, i'm trying to remain open-minded and not too eager to be involved, but it's me. and to me, family is important. more to come i'm sure.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

now more then ever

so i don't know if i'm pregnant and hormonal or if it's the fact that we just bought a house or the matter that last weekend 9 soldiers from ft. carson were killed in action or just the mess in my head, but now more then ever, i find myself tearing up at the smallest things, dreading the upcoming deployment more and questioning God's reasoning more. it's crazy, this isn't me. this isn't my potential. this isn't how it was suppose to be.

maybe before i was naive or maybe just ignorant, or just too Innocent and faithful. but as time has ticked by and we've been blessed with everything we thought we could really ever want, i find myself dreading it, dreading the blessings, dreading the things to come.

and as i sit here, i can't help but think tim tebow got it right and it was the whole purpose of me watching the game: 1 Thess. 5:18. i want to give thanks. i have so much to be thankful for. i know we could be in much worse circumstances in life. so as i give thanks, why can't i be joyful about it? why must dread linger in the distance shadowing the amazing things God has done for us?

i give thanks for so many things; my loving husband, our beautiful son, a roof over our head and food on our table, for loving family and friends and their support, for a country where we have been given so many opportunities, for the challenges that have made us stronger and much more.

Monday, September 21, 2009

we're 'normal'

so we hit a major 'make it or break it' point this past weekend. never before has moving been so stressful. but this time around, the sooner we get to our new house, the sooner we know aaron will deploy. in the past, when we moved from mac dill to ft. polk, we had NO clue aaron would be deploying a few weeks after we unpacked our boxes. when we moved from ft. polk to ft. huachuca, we knew aaron would be in school for five months. now moving from ft. huachuca to ft. carson, though there is much excitement surrounding this move, we KNOW aaron will be deploying in the near future (sorry, i can't tell you nor do we know for sure). well, this has made this move all but tolerable up until the other day.

with the lingering thought of aaron leaving again, and still struggling to release my tight grasp on EVERYTHING, i had a complete meltdown and we hit heads completely head on. between the tears, the fears and 'pissy' behavior, we apparently have become 'normal' according to all the military garb out there about the 'normal' army couple nowadays.

but here's what sets us apart from the rest of the 'normal' couples in those write-ups: as we sat on the bathroom floor crying and blabbing about how we will make it through this, we figured out what are 'problem' is: i don't want to release my stronghold on EVERYTHING because i know aaron will be leaving again, leaving me to take on EVERYTHING again on my own. and with this inability to let go and being OVERLY critical of everything aaron does, I have created this horrible, heavy, cumbersome burden for myself.

so, as we sat there deciding we were not going to just be 'normal' and strive to be 'us,' i sat there rolling around in my head the idea of letting going though i know it will only be for a short time. but, that's our life, it's us, it's the life we chose together and knew we were getting into. so, as we sit in the middle of our house full of boxes and ready to make the 822 mile drive north knowing that in a few months aaron will be boarding a plane to fly some 8,922 miles across the world to protect and define what's right with 'us,' we're just going to be 'us' and not worry about being 'normal.' because that's what God has blessed us with and we'll take it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

we all have it

we all have it. if you've been through a deployment, you have it. it's a matter of how you deal with it that sets you apart from the rest. heck, any separation from your loved one(s), regardless of the time frame, is tough on the body, mind and soul, but when you add in the news media, the missed holidays and watching your kids grow up via a webcam, one can hardly believe you wouldn't have it. and even if you don't think you have it, you have it, you're just denying yourself. and that makes it even worse. but, once again, what sets you apart from the rest is what you do with it once you accept that you have it.

i'm talking about ptsd. post traumatic stress disorder. it's not a disorder really. and you can have pre traumatic stress too. overall, it's a strain on you, on your overall well-being, on your self, on your emotions, your mind, your spirit and your soul. but, knowing that you're not the only one with it and that plenty go on with their everyday life as 'normal' and 'normal' can be, there is hope.

aaron did his 'clearing' from his course this week and i guess part of his clearing required a post-psych evaluation. apparently they wanted to make sure the course didn't make him go batty (too late). well, he came home and said, 'hmm... turns out i have mild ptsd.' i know this going to sound harsh, but i wasn't surprised. i kinda just brushed it off. for months i've known. i knew even before he came home. i knew i had it before he even got on a plane to redeploy home to us finally. however, there was a difference between then and now. just because i knew didn't make it okay. knowing now because he told me himself makes it okay, for both of us.

i don't love him any less. i'm not scared of him. but hearing him say he has ptsd just makes me feel that he has come to grasp the full affects of this last deployment and everything that happened. as we wrapped our heads around it (not much wrapping to do on my end), he received his new assignment and a tentative deployment timeline. this time only 12 months, but another round of separation and wear and tear on the mind, body and soul.

ps, but with strength, we'll get through this too. for nothing is greater then what He is will to help us through. i love you

Friday, September 4, 2009

happy jackie on happy jack drive

so i know, and you know, life gets crazy, your plate gets full and suddenly it's a month later and the world out there has no clue where you've been or what's happened. well, i'm here, i've been busy, but i'm back! so much has happened in the last month (no baby though, lots of practice, but no baby made, yet). when God blesses you, you better have your cup ready and a backup near by!

we've received our official orders and are plans to become the newest family to move to ft. carson come the end of the month. for a while it looked as if aaron would be assigned to a unit leaving in early 2010, but for now, it looks like he'll be the new s-2 of division! no official timeline yet as far as deployments, but later looks better then sooner.

and since we'll be enjoying the mountain views and cooler weather, we figured we may as well have somewhere to call 'home.' so, lil man and i spent last week working with an awesome realtor (thanks usaa!) and looked at what seemed like a million houses. when aaron flew up for the weekend we looked at just the top 5 and picked one to make ours. well, as much as you would hope that everyone in this world would be as honest and trustworthy as yourself, the seller wasn't very forthcoming about the mysterious structural damage. so, sunday we were back to square one and a tight deadline (aaron flew back down sunday evening). well, in a matter of a few hours we found our second #1. happy jack drive is home to a cute little 2-story with a fully finished basement. and come the end of the month, we'll be making it our home!

that's the skinny on the recent passed weeks. more to come though from my trip to nashville for my bestest's wedding and lil man and mine's visit with the family back east. stay tuned. oh how i've missed y'all!

ps, i love you! even if you won't let me paint our bedroom pink

Thursday, August 6, 2009

i've got the fever and it's triple digits

so i didn't expect to catch the fever so soon or so strongly, but i've got it, and unfortunately, not everyone in our house has caught it. cayman caught it and is excited about it, but aaron not so much. he worries about the stresses and the financial side effects of the fever rather then the many other effects of this fever that are much more long lasting.

the fever that is running its course is the baby fever. even cayman has it. we ask him if he wants a baby or a dog and he says baby. we ask him if he wants a dog or a baby and he says, baby. and well, as much as i thought i'd be immune to the fever for a while longer, the timing is actually good, in my perspective. in aaron's eyes, this couldn't come at a more trying time. we both have good pros and cons, but i feel like i'm compromising more for him then he is for me.

aaron's reasons first. yes, we're planning on buying our very first home when we get to ft. carson, so it's a big financial step. however, we get bah every month to pay the mortgage. yes, we'll probably have to buy a fridge and a few other things, but with 6 months interest free, we can afford it. and the baby won't be due for 9 months. and then he's worried about stressing me out while he is deployed and leaving us here. well, i survived one deployment with cayman when he was an infant. grant it, i moved home with my parents who worked everyday and i finished my masters with a 3.93 gpa, but we were fine and i was fine. sure, having a toddler and an infant will be a lot to handle on top of a house that we own, but i'm pretty confident that with the support of my aunt and uncle and friends already in the area, we'll be just fine. plus, if we have the baby before aaron deploys, he can help get cayman and i into a routine with the baby and he'll be doing so many trainings prior to deploying that will be like practice for the real thing. i do feel like there may be more reasons to his hesitation too.

my reasons are more from the maternal point of view. first of all, i don't want the kids to be too far apart in age. the further apart, the great gap and more running for activities we (me) will have to do. also, the greater chance they'll never be at the same school. second, if we have the baby before aaron deploys, he can be home for the birth, the first few weeks (if not months) and we can all get adjusted together before he leaves. plus, he has no clue what to do between 5wks and 15 months for infants, so it's okay, i won't have to teach him. plus, by the time he deploys, cayman, baby and i would be in a routine of things and be just fine. third, if we wait until his r&r, what if i'm not even ovulating! and then there's the whole pressure of doing it and it's just too much stress. plus, if the baby is born shortly after aaron gets home, i'll be reintegrating him and cayman and myself again and then throwing a baby into the mix and most likely then we'll be pcsing and have to deal with the house (to sell or to rent). i'm tired of moving the THREE HUGE rubber maid boxes of cayman's clothes and all of the big baby toys. if we're not going to be trying soon, i'm giving it all away. plus, if we aren't going to be trying soon, no need for a 4 bedroom home, 3 bedrooms will be just fine. plus, the longer we wait, the longer i'm out of the classroom. don't get me wrong, i love being home with cayman, the best student i've ever had, but i hate that i worked my butt off to get my masters and now i'm not really using it. we have agreed that i would stay with the kids until they are in school, fine, but how much longer must i wait. and finally, cayman can't seem to keep his hands off the babies. every time he sees a baby, he goes over, rubs its feet, tickles its belly and goes, 'shhhh. baby.' come on. the kid is itching for a little brother or sister.

update: we've agreed that mirena can come out as soon as i'm down to 145lbs! guess who's working her tail off, literally!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

because it's his duty

so i'm all caught up on army wives from the last few sundays. and we've submitted our assignment list. and now as i sit here at my laptop, it's all coming together. sometime in the next year or so, i'll help him pack his duffel bags, hide little love notes in his gear, make our weekly trips to the post office and bravely wear a strong face because it's his duty.

as we filled out the assignment list, we checked each unit's deployment rotation. based on this info, we made our list. well, okay, we also used determining factors like actual location and distance to family and friends as factors too. the reality is, i know based on the list, there is a very strong possibility that aaron will go again. and just as much as i don't want him to go, i also know that he can't advance his career nor can he fulfill his service and personal need to serve without doing this tough duty.

how many other employers require their employees to willing throw themselves in the face of danger (okay, police and fire fighters) at a moments notice when we become involved in a conflict. sure, aaron could have resigned his rotc scholarship and never joined the army, but he would have not fulfilled his civic duty. and as emotionally draining as it is, i feel the same way about being his wife.

so, as we await the orders for our next duty station and plot out the timeline for trying for #2, the thought continues to linger in the back of my mind. with each training and with each assignment, we're one step closer again to saying 'good bye, God's speed. i love you and i'll wait for you.'

Thursday, July 9, 2009

half way there

so we're laying in the bed at the condo over the weekend up here in phoenix. and after a long, but amazing day at the grand canyon (if you haven't seen the pics yet on facebook, you're missing out) aaron rolls over (but ever so carefully not to smooch cayman who was laying between us) and says, 'what's today? the 5th, right? it's been six months since i came home.' and then, in the midst of enjoying our time i had a feeling of dread again. we're half way through our year's dwell time.

we'll know a little more about when and where we will be spending the rest of our dwell time soon. we do know, depending on aaron's assignment, we could be packing his duffel bags again sometime next year. but, we knew this and it's part of our life. but it's hard to imagine, how could this time go by so fast? where did the time go? is there anyway to slow time down, just a little? but, i know i have the strength and the support i need to make it through the next deployments.

Friday, June 26, 2009


so, i don't know if this has ever happened to you, but you walk into a military function, meeting, coffee, gathering of spouses, and within 32.4 seconds they have sized you up and made their minds up about you because of your appearance and your husband's rank. not that this has happened recently since we're at captain's career course, but it's something that sticks with me anytime in meet someone new, military or not. i'm not one to size you up before you open your mouth and send a little time with me, but i do wonder while we're getting to know each other, have you already sized me up?

i had a serious problem with this at our last duty station. yes, we don't look our age (i'm 27 and aaron will be 27 in october). and no, we don't dress beyond our comforts. so, most of the times it's jeans, a t-shirt from the gap or american eagle and flip flops for me. yes, i don't spend time on my hair or make-up, but i do keep goody's in business with the gillizion rubber bands i buy and bare minerals was made for me. and to be honest, that's it. that's as good as it gets. i do own the nicer clothes from my teaching days (upper elementary), but come on, i'm a mom. i roll on the ground, i chase cayman up and down the slides, i run errands and keep a clean house. so, yes, my appearance may not come across as someone who holds a bachelors and a masters and has sat in the company of senators and rocket scientists and athletes, but come on! are you serious! i've got a few skills that would knock your socks off (but not in that way) and i can hold my own, thank you very much. and another thing, i don't wear a rank. the last time i checked, my husband wore the uniform (until he comes home and then he's right into comfy clothes and dad/husband mode).

i feel like maybe sometimes i do need to wear some labels and my resume` just to make sure that when you're sizing me up, you get all of me in your measurements. but then again, those who waste their time sizing everyone up miss the true person and usually miss the opportunity to meet a great person that God has put in their life.

ps, there is much more to sizing you up that meets the eye. i love you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

my husband, his dad

can you believe it, we're celebrating our second father's day already, and aaron's actually home to celebrate with us, on the actual calendar date! i have to catch my breathe everytime i think about where he was for his first father's day: returning from r&r to iraq to finish up his 15 month deployment. cayman was just 8 months old, but i remember him sitting on the bed in our condo the day after aaron left again and just stairing at his 'daddy cheetha' (the build-a-bear aaron made him with a voice recording) and searching for aaron. they've come a long way! from father and son for the first time to father and son via the webcam and home-made movies to father and son who play 'choo choo' and lego together and have their own special bath time routine! my heartbreaks knowing that aaron will eventually have to return to the father via the webcam and home-made movies. but, it's the life we chose and the life we live and we're blessed to have this moment. happy father's day to the guy who borrows my parents magazine so he can be an even better father then he already is! i love you and so does cayman!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

my playlist as i spiral

it's amazing how God makes sure you hear the songs you need to hear. it's like no matter where you are, the grocery store, driving in the car, running errand, he makes sure you hear what you need to hear.

as i watch the world around me, i feel like 'me' is trapped as i feel my whole world spiraling out of control. you wouldn't really be able to guess it from my outward appearance, still smiling, still pleasant, still keeping everything pulled together, but on the inside, it's a whole other side. it's like i'm 'going through the motions' (borrowed from matthew west) of life, going on playdates, running, keeping house, running errands, but on the inside, i'm all but going through it, i'm falling apart. i feel like i'm 'fading, crumbling' (borrowed from chris tomlin), letting the lines blur. i feel like i can't find my 'sanctuary' (borrowed from steven curtis chapman) where i can calm myself, collect myself, and re-energize myself.

i feel that if i can't get a grasp on myself, i won't be able to get a hold of cayman. it's been a tough week with him. i know there is no such thing as the 'terrible twos' (because we're there already and he's only 20 months old). but this week has been tough. and to be honest, it's my fault. i feel like my falling apart on the inside is causing him to fall apart. when did i lose myself and let it start affecting our child?

(un)fortunately i'm good at hiding it and putting on the face and doing the things i'm suppose to do. aaron has no clue. and to be honest, i don't want him to know. he has enough to worry about; class, the interviews for company command, us. and i feel like it's my duty as the wife, as the mother, as the army wife to pull myself together and carry on. it's a stigma. and well, God, i can't do it without you. labels and stigmas aside, i hear the music and i get it! now help me find myself, my sanctuary, me again, please.

ps, i love you and i don't want you worrying, you are doing so much already.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


so i was driving home today after a lovely day in tucson with my super mommy friend and deployment buddy, taylor. we had some girl time: got our toes some lovin and had a yummy lunch and great conversation. and i even got to meet her hubby (he's real, not photo shopped like many suspected). as i was making the drive home, i was enjoying some artist confidential on the xm radio; today's guest: fallout boy. as i was listening to them, something just 'dinged' in my head: how many times do we allow others' labels of us to shape who we are?

how often do we worry about the labels the world around has placed on us and forget who we really are? unique individuals who do not require labeling. as i listened to them explain how they just don't label themselves or their music, i thought, hmm... if we all did that, how freeing would life be. sure, labels are nice for organizing, trust me, as one who is ocd about organizing things, but nothing everything requires a label. i mean, are we just items to be labeled and organized? put neatly away in our category(s)?

the more i thought about this, while still paying attention to the road, i thought, i'm not some billboard for others' labels. i am me. just me. sure, yes, i have labels: mom, wife, daughter, sister, best friend, point of contact, child of God, but none of them 'define' me. they are things to help 'organize' my life, they help others figure out where i fit into their lives, they are labels placed by others.

and to be honest, when i look at some of these labels, i think, really? are you sure? have you really done your homework and inspected me and made sure i really fit that label? as francesca battistelli sings in 'free to be me:'

'cause i got a couple dents in my fender
got a couple rips in my jeans
try to fit the pieces together
but perfection is my enemy
on my own i'm so clumsy
but on your shoulders i can see
i'm free to be me

sure the lyrics are about being just a child of God, with some bumps, some scratches, some rough edges, but no labels. and that's where i want to be. just a child of God with some bumps, some scratches, a few rough edges and no labels weighing me down. just me

Saturday, June 6, 2009

tribute to military wives gone before us

with today being d-day, can you even begin to imagine what the wives and sweethearts of those soldiers 65 years ago were feeling? were doing to cope with their situation? there was no email. no cellphones. no mwr calls. no webcams. just snail mail. and then even that wasn't guaranteed to be delivered.

and then you think of the wives of the vietnam wars. with the development and advancement of television, could you imagine what they faced and felt with their husbands so far away and no frg to censor the news on the six o'clock news?

i think back to what it was like when my dad deployed for desert storm back in 1990. it was christmas eve and we were stationed in germany. we didn't have the opportunity to move stateside. we moved on post and lived life, one day at a time. there were no cellphones or answering machines for us. so, if we missed dad's phone call, we missed it. but, we didn't know it. all we could count on was the snail mail. i still have all the letters i received during those eight long months from my dad and several pen pals. i remember baking cookies and making hot cocoa and taking it out to the soldiers who patrolled our base. i don't remember webcams or recorded bedtime stories or flatrate boxes or emails.

but i remember we managed, we survived just like the families before us and those of us to come still. we're military, and if you for one moment took for grant it the fact that your soldier is on duty 24-7, and that deployments are a reality of being part of this family, time to be slapped back into reality. but, we, the community of survivors, the community you can lean on, will be waiting for you just as those wives did back in 1944 and even before then. and along side our wives and friends in arms, you can trust that God will be carrying you through the valleys and up on the mountains of this adventure called life, married to the military.

5 months gone, 7 to go

it's been five months today since aaron came home! my how time has flown. it's time we'll never get back, but it's time that has left us we great memories. now we have at least seven more months to fill with memories. we'll find out in a few weeks a better time frame of aaron's next road trip back east and where we'll call home after our short stay out here in the desert.

i was updating the picture bar on my laptop tonight and looking through some of cayman's pictures from the last 19 months. he sat on my lap and identified 'dadda' and 'momma' and 'baby.' and then he was amazed to realize that he was the 'baby.' and i was amazed to see how much our little man has grown up in the last 19 months. but, i was saddened by how much aaron had missed: his first christmas morning (sure we did 'ours' early), his first flight, his first 100th day, his first race, his first time at the beach, his first pulling his head up, his first time rolling over, his foods, his first crawl, his first present in the mail, his first steps, his first words, his first birthday and the list goes on and on. a lot happened in 14 months. and yes, i sent him enough pictures of everything to cover his walls and then some and he had enough home made movies to entertain his soldiers for three days straight, but it's not like being there. and as we were talking about maybe #2 completing our family, all i can think about is aaron's next deployment rotation and what it'll mean in respect to completing our family.

God's got great timing, we won't despite that fact. but sometimes i think he has too much faith in me and what i can handle. can i really handle a pregnancy with my husband in a war zone? can i really handle a toddler and a newborn? can i really juggle our home life, his deployment, the kids and my military wife responsibilities and somewhat keep my sanity? i know he won't give me more then i can handle (though at times he wants us to ask for help), but still. one can't help be hesitant when faced with so many uncertainties. but then again, my worries are small compared to those others face. and so, i praise God for keeping my worries down to a size i can handle them. baby steps.

Monday, June 1, 2009

not knowing is okay with me

so i've had this crazy numbness in my right arm for sometime now. since lil man got sick and we were already heading up for his appointment, i made myself an appointment to have my arm checked out. after both of our appointments i walked away with no answers really to either of our situations. side note, lil man is on a starch and pedilyte diet with a follow up appointment in two days. as far as myself, i'm okay with not having a definite answer of what the cause of the problem may be. i do know what isn't causing the numbness (blood pressure, heart issues, pinched nerve, and few other things). knowing that some things, the big things, have been ruled out, i'm okay with 'just dealing' as opposed to becoming a genie pig and still ending right back at 'no answer.'

it's kinda that way with a lot of things in life. not knowing when aaron will deploy again makes me enjoy the here and now. and i know i've got at least 7 more months of him home. and, it's part of our life and his job. not knowing where we'll be moving come september is okay with me too. for some the thought of being somewhere for possibly just 5 months means living in a house of boxes, but for me, i've unpacked everything and made this house our home, for the next 5 months at least. and i'm okay with not knowing, for now, where we'll be after september 9th.

not knowing a lot of things is okay with me. the biggest reason, i put my trust in God. he's always steered me in the right direction. and well, he's got a pretty good track record for making things work out just fine.

Monday, May 25, 2009

canon and 21-gun salutes

it's memorial day and the flags adorn the cemeteries filled with veterans across this nation. the day is marked with 21-gun salutes and canons. there are sad, sappy commericals on tv and the smell of the grill fill the air. but what is today really all about?

when i think of the heartache of last may 2nd and the grace and pose julez presented, i can but be in awe. a moment like that is unimaginable. you get the call, you get the knock, they come, there's a lot of paperwork, pick out a casket, the body is escorted, it arrives, you have a memorial, a viewing, then the funeral, you get his dogtags, his stuff arrives a few weeks later and suddenly the world you thought you were going to live in disappears and you have to start over again. how could God do this? why would God do this? how does he pick who comes home early or never comes home?

i still try to wrap my head around it. how did God decide that day that aaron should stop and talk to those people? how did he decide that julez and her family should feel such heartache and not us? why? but as each day passes and i get another 24 hours to watch my husband breathe, play with our son, feel his gentle kiss, hear him say 'i love you,' and the million other little things that happen everyday that we so often take for grant it, i am moving on and appreciating to the fullest the fact that God has another plan for us, just as he has another plan for all those who have lost a loved one, in today's wars and those of our past that give us the freedoms we enjoy so much today.

ps, i love you and each day i am so thankful that my story includes you

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

i can live with that

ever wonder what kind of story God has in mind for you? will your life be a slap stick comedy or a serious adventure story? will it play out as a romantic comedy or a story with a female heroine? it's funny that there are certain moments in your life when you remove yourself from the moment, sit back and think, when it's all said and then and i'm going home, what will people say about my life and me.

as i lay on the examining table today draped in my fancy white sheet from the waist down and staring at the ceiling and reverting to my 'nothing box,' i removed myself from the moment and imagined what would play out over the next twenty or thirty minutes. i was at peace and calm about whatever had to tell me. i knew she'd be honest with me, but she'd take her time in making sure i understood everything she was saying and all that would happen. and so i thought the worst case scernio first: the cells would turn white, i would have to do that horrible deep-belly cough and my cells would be scraped and removed so some pathologist could exam them more and call me next week and tell me that i needed to come in for a 'talk.' then i laid there and imagined her saying that the last person who read my pap must have had it mixed up with someone else's and there was nothing abnormal about my cervix and myself. two very different pictures with two very different endings one would imagine. but when i finished with both, they both ended with me in a smile thankful that i was blessed enough to have this follow-up appointment to check no matter what the outcome.

and then the doctor came in. i wish she was my everyday doctor. very personable and easy-going. very straight forward about the procedure and easy to talk to. she explained everything. walked my through the whole procedure. as we got down to it, she seemed almost a little disappointed. she said my cervix was 'beautiful.' and when it was all said and done, there was no coughing, no 'where do we go from here,' no scraping and no unanswered questions.

so i don't have cancer. i could have cancer some day. but if i follow the doctor's orders and see the gyno every six months until i'm 'normal,' i should be just fine. i do have hpv, that thing they have gardsil for. i could be the poster child now of what could happen when you don't get the shot. but all and all, it's something i can live with. it's something that doesn't affect aaron, we'll be able to have another child and i'll be able to build an actual relationship with my gyno since i'll be seeing them every six months.

all and all, when my life is read back, it seems that there will be no great tragedy in this chapter and that's fine with me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

thank you, military spouse

today (or maybe tomorrow depending who you ask) is military spouses appreciation day. ironically, it falls on the same weekend as mother's day weekend. when you think about how many military spouses are not only wives (or husbands) but also mothers, it's very fitting that this two days of appreciation fall so close to each other. sadly, hallmark doesn't carry cards for awesome military spouses though they carry every shade of pink, purple and yellow envelopes for those thousands of mother's day cards.

but when you think about all that a military spouse does, a paper card hardly covers it. from watching my mum rock the duties of a military spouse growing up and now being one myself and watching my friends carry the weight of the military on their shoulders, sometimes the simplest, 'thank you' and smile is worth so much. when you see that mother with her child(ren) at the grocery store trying to wrangle the off spring, sort through the coupons and navigate the food, it's hard to tell what else she is doing. is she silently saying a prayer to God for strength, not for herself, but for her fellow military spouses? is she asking for God's protecting hand on her soldier and others around the world and back in garrison? is she balancing the check book in her head and deciding what they can really afford this week and what can wait until the 15th? is she scrolling through her to-do list of frg meetings and bake sales and pta meetings? is she thankful for all those spouses that came before her that have made the role of military spouse all that much easier? it's hard to tell what's being juggled in her head, but you can rest assured, she's secretly wearing a super hero cape and no one else around her even knows it. and she won't tell anyone else about it because it's just not her style.

so, we may not get a section of cards at hallmark, and there won't be any ice cream cakes at dairy queen with messages for us, but know that to those who see your super hero cape, you rock! you rock because you inspire so many without meaning to or even seeing it. you rock because you take on the call of duty, never backing down because it's too much. you rock because no matter how many miles the military puts between you and your soldier, you love him just the same and will wait for him no matter how long it takes. you rock because you face adversity, put on your big girl panties, and say, 'bring it on!' you rock because you inspire me!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


but i believe always always

our Savior never fails
even when all hope has failed
our God knows our pain and His promise remains
He will be with you always
~ building 429

today is a tender day in our lives. a year ago today, aaron's base went on blackout, again, after being attacked. there are many stories about what exactly happened: they guys in the tower fell asleep, they didn't recognize the truck setting up with the mortars, and so on. what did come about though was the loss of three soldiers and a wake up call to many, including myself. if wasn't until after aaron returned home and he opened up to me one night about that day a year ago that i realized how truly blessed i am... had my husband been in the right place at the right time as he had been everyday, the causality list would have included one more. but God had a different plan for him and for us.

it's not that i knew marcus personally. i don't know jules personally either. but as i watched the evening news last april, being able to connect a real person, a person who sat near us at church, a person whose family i knew, a person who seemed to have so much life ahead of him and his wife, it made the loss all the harder. i'm saddened each time the Good Soldier blog is updated with a loss of another soldier. but being able to connect a person you know to that name makes it all the harder.

cayman and i along with my mum attended the funeral on may 2nd for marcus. seeing the people, real people, people who lived in our community, people whose lives were now missing someone, made it all the more real. the 21 gun salute and the folding of the flag made me clutch cayman all the tighter and made me appreciate my husband all the more.

so as the anniversary comes today as it will every year, i am reminded that God is always with us. jules has moved on, she's making a new life as she carries the memories of her buried husband with her. heather and bryan and the kids are making the most of each day. each day i look at my husband and i flashback to what could have been a knock on my door and the evening news highlighting aaron's life. and through it all, i remember, God is with us always, through the pain and through the joy of life.

ps, i honestly don't know what i would do without you. you are my reason for raising in the morning. you are my reason for making the most of each day. you are the reason i feel i have purpose as a wife and a mother. without you, i am lost, just a child of God without a purpose. i love you

Monday, April 27, 2009

bloom where you're planted, right

so i know they say that you're suppose to bloom where you're planted. and then God told us about the seeds that fell on various soil and what happened with them. and then sunday at the church we were visiting (may be our new church home) they were discussing all their ministries and how it is not by works that we are saved but that we are saved by grace to do good deeds. and so, with all this, i got to thinking...

what if God is trying to use all of these instants to send me a loud and clear message: dear child, you've got the right idea, you need to bloom where you are planted, get involved, spread my word, but you also need to take care of yourself. fix the soil you're growing in. you've got the right idea, but just like your flowerbed, you need to mix in some good soil, condition the ground so that my word can grow strong in you and you can with stand the fierce winds that howl down the mountain and the heavy rains during the monsoon season.

heavy, right? but i think i'm getting it. it's amazing how God can take everyday little things, make sure you hear or see or do them and this big, beautiful message come from it. sunday the pastor also quoted something beautiful from mother theresa: i am but a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is writing a love letter to the world. wow! i want to be that pencil! i want to be that instrument God is using to write to the world about His amazing love, His never-ending presence, His word.

and so i pray and i challenge you too, if you're not rooted in good soil, get some conditioner (friends, bible study, music) and fix what you're growing in for if we don't, we will surely not bloom where we are planted nor will be survive nor be able to help the world see that beautiful love letter God is writing.

ps, i love you and want you to help me grow where i'm planted by growing right next to me
my little earthworm
conditioning the soil

Friday, April 17, 2009


so i have to completely brag for a moment: i spent nearly 10 hours today away from my boys being pampered with a facial, massage, lunch, pedicure, steam treatment, sugar scrub, relaxing waterfalls, and a quick trip to pottery barn. but, it was aaron's treat to me after a long 18 months: cayman was born, aaron deployed, i finished grad school with a 3.92, aaron's alive date, marcus died, aaron came home, we're reintegrating, we moved 1200 miles. whew, that's a lot in 18 months.

so, as i'm sitting there in the steam cubbie with my fancy paper sheet (like you get when you go to your lady check up) i started thinking about how much i had left to do in and around our new house to really make it feel like home. and then i was thinking about what kind of mess the boys were making at the house. and then, in the midst of my back being showered with warm steam, the temperature rose and it was like God trying to shake me. here i was in this tranquil surrounding fretting over things i had no control over. and at that moment i thought, 'God, i give it all to you. if you brought me to a place so serene and tranquil, you must be re-energizing me for a reason and i can't be fully re-energized if i'm busy worrying over things the birds don't even worry about.' as i enjoyed the rest of my time at the spa, i had several nice conversations. during one particular conversation with the lady giving me my facial and pedi, i was reminded of who i am: that girl who finds the positive in everything. that girl who decides to make the most of everything.

and so, i thank you Lord for re-energizing me. for giving me rest. for letting me see that i can find myself again. for preparing me for the important things: trusting in you and loving my family. who cares if there are still books and dvds in boxes. who cares if not all the pictures are hung. who cares if the laundry is still in the drier. the birds of the field don't, so why should i waste my time worrying over the things i can't control.

ps, i love you and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to reconnect and rediscover the things i needed to to be a wonderful wife and loving mother.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

you get what you pray for

so i'm always praying for patients with cayman. he's 18 months old and as curious and adventurous as they come. and i pray for strength to face the things that i can not hang. well, the other night we're saying our blessing over dinner and it hit me, i can't have patients or strength unless God gives me a reason to have them and use them.

it's one of those things, you pray for rain and you get a monsoon. you pray for sunshine and you get crystal clear days with high temperatures. so many times we find ourselves praying for things (after praising of course) but forgetting that all good things will come to us, but we will have to use them. we will have to endure them and all that comes with them. and with that, we must also remember, God will not give us more then we can handle. sometimes we just have to ask him for help.

i have been fighting a lot of stress and anger lately. stress you would expect from me with the recent move and all. but anger, that is one that has caught me off guard. however, knowing that going to God with an open heart and mind and asking him for help is the way to go, but not easy, i find myself somewhat spiraling. when one exams my life, the list of blessings is ridiculously long and one might question where this anger is coming from (i quesiton it everytime i get upset). however, knowing that i can seek God and he will point in the right direction to deal with this, i find comfort knowing that i will battle and i will defeat this demon.

knowing that i never walk alone, even when the valley is deep and long and the mountain top seems so far out of reach, i can keep my head up and know i will get back on top of the mountain, both inside and out.

ps, i love you and i love you for sticking by me through this all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

2 year down, forever to go

today, april 7th, we celebrated our second anniversary as husband and wife. but before we got to the 'i do,' we had to have our first date, three years ago today. well, actually, it was suppose to be on april 4th, watching the ncaa championship game at hooters. but, i stood aaron up (at least i stood him up at hooters. and in my defense, i did text him, but he left his phone at work).

i remember that friday night like it was yesterday. i was running late as usual. the first time i saw aaron in person, i thought, 'man, he's hot! at least i'll get to say i went on one date with a total hottie!' little did i know that 12 hrs later we'd watch the sun rise on the beach of mac dill afb, the same beach where we would get married one year to the date later. i remember aaron being worried that i didn't like him because i didn't talk much during the first part of our date (he took me to a tampa storm arena football game). but hey, i was in to the game. after the game we headed for channelside to grab something to eat. who knew we'd spend the next three hours in a booth at tina tapa's talking about everything. and i do mean everything. and if we didn't talk about it over tapas, we talked about it as we huddled on the deck of the seascape on the beach at mac dill. we did make our way to his car because it got cold and we were tired. but, we did awake in time to see the sunrise. and then, he drove me back to my car. and followed me out of the parking garage. a few hours later, i got a call. time for a second date! and the rest is history.

so, here we are three years later. mr. & mrs. of two years and our whole lives ahead of us. isn't it great how God's plans seem to always turn out so beautifully when you just let him take control. i can't wait to see what he has planned for us, mr. & mrs., husband & wife, parents.

ps, i love you, today, tomorrow and forever

Thursday, April 2, 2009

bringing it all out

so we're moving, wait, pcsing. no big deal. in my lifetime, i've pcsed now nearly two whole handfuls. however, this is our first pcs as a family. it's my first pcs as a wife, as a mother, as the one who has to make sure we have everything we need, that the movers are feed, that the paperwork is somewhere secure yet easily accessible, just the one who has to think of everything for everyone. which, to be honest, is okay with me. well, until i hit resistance or just deaf ears and feel like our teamwork has become more work and less team, just me.

i hate that when stressed, the ugly comes out. it seems that when we're being tested most, it seems that those not so nicenesses of us seem to rear their ugly sides. why? because we subcome to it and rather then making the most of the situation and raising above it, we let the stress bring us down. and i don't like it. but, as many times as i resolve to do better next time (which sometimes is five minutes later), it's hard. but, being able to step back, say 'enough' and stand up, take a breathe and move on to something more productive is so worth the effort.

so as we prepare to clear housing tomorrow, i'm sitting in our hotel room with its giant king size bed and whirl pool tub (so nice, if only i could clean it myself and partake) thinking, i must resolve again to do better tomorrow. i don't want our teamwork to be done in vain, but for us to make this move a success because we communicated, we listened, we worked together. and so, i pray, yes God, grant once more an opportunity so i may use patient and understanding and willingness to compromise. and though i know it will be hard and easier just to argue, let me hold my tongue, open my ears and think out my next step.

ps, we can work together because look at what we've created by doing so (our beautiful son, silly)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

274 and then

274 days, 39 weeks, 6576 hours... that's it. okay, give or take a few hours. but honestly, that's it. and we don't that we'll even get that. we didn't last time, so why would we this time. and as much as i don't want this to be on my mind, it is. simple as that. and well, when aaron got that look on his face the other day, i knew it's been on his mind too.

we're clearing ft. polk! and that means pulling gear, cleaning it and being overly nice to the people at collections. it only took aaron two tries to clear! the hardest thing to clean: Kevlar. we made it a family event. and that's when i saw the look. we were all taking turns putting on aaron's gear (mostly just cayman). when aaron finally had all of his gear cleaned, he put his Kevlar on one last time, picked up cayman and looked at himself in the mirror. and that's when i saw and i knew that he knew...

he knew the day he signed his rotc scholarship the commitment he was making. we talked about it for hours on our first date, and our second date and nearly every date after that. we knew when we talked about starting a family and when we said, 'i do.' we knew. but knowing and experiencing are two very different things. and after 3 months apart and 363 days home and apart for 14 months, one can't help but know that 'that day' is coming again. and as we watch obama's next move, the location is the only thing to still be determined.

but, knowing that no matter what happens, knowing that in the end and along the whole journey there is someone to hold my hand, to carry me when i get tired, to be in control of it all, it gives me peace. and to know that when today ends, there will be another one tomorrow. and to know that when something comes up, there will be a mess, a test, a moment that will leave me with a message, a testimony, a moment to reflect on. and then, i'll do it again.

ps, i love you today, tomorrow and everyday from here to eternity.