"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When the Timer Resets

My focus over the last two weeks has been on family. My absolute-number-one-nothing-else-matters focus has been on the four of us. And of course so much of that was because this time - this Christmas season - was beyond important for the four of us to have together.

I loved this Christmas. I loved that we shared the joy together. I love that C was here to hand the boys their presents and struggle with them through mass while I sang (HE may not have enjoyed that) and that we shared every moment of a perfectly simple day with just us. I am so very, very grateful that we were given this time.

But what brought that focus in the most, what made me hold C's hand tighter and take more pictures and try my hardest to remember each detail is because days before leave began our 'timer' reset.

It feels like he just got home.

My heart has been beyond heavy. I knew this was coming. I knew it.

I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.

But it's when the words are spoken for the first time - with actual timelines and plans and schedules. It's when it is released to the soldiers. When they go home to tell their families.

It's when it becomes real.

When every moment suddenly becomes counted, fleeting, sinking through your fingers. The world stops for just a moment.

You forget how to breathe.

Here you are again. At the beginning of an end - knowing how quickly time goes by. Knowing that every next day is one day closer.


Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

God, give me strength.

Monday, December 26, 2011

So Many Ways to Love - To Be the (Army) Sister

I first introduced Amanda to you in her guest post The Nitty Gritty as an Army Wife. I am very happy to re-introduce her as the second writer in the So Many Ways to Love series. Amanda is not just an Army wife, she is also an Army sister. Thank you for writing, Amanda! 

I remember the day my oldest brother told my mom he was considering joining the Air Force after high school graduation.  This occurred a few short months after our dad passed away, during my brother’s senior year of high school.  He graduated in 1999, so this conversation was pre-2001.  My life is very much defined by pre and post 2001.

My brother told our mom as we (my two brothers, my mom and myself) had a casual lunch on the Strand in Galveston, TX.  It was one of the few things that we did just the 4 of us after our dad passed away.  My mom – surely at her wits end – declared that she would have nothing of this conversation and she would not be a military mom.  Period.  My brother did not join the Air Force, but I remember that conversation so clearly because 4 years later, in 2003, I laughed at its irony as my middle brother enlisted in the Army.

I became an Army Wife in 2007, but I actually joined the ranks of the army in 2003 when my brother did.  I had no idea that the profession of a sibling could have such a great impact on someone until that day.  We had not yet invaded Baghdad, but our country was steadfast in our effort to bring an end to terror and declare war on anyone who stood in our way.  I had never been more scared in my life.
My middle brother and I were not close until a few months before he graduated from high school, and if someone had told me pre-2001 that he may one day join the military I probably would have joked “the sooner the better” as it would have had him out of the house.  But I couldn’t seem to hug him tight enough when I said goodbye before he went to basic training.  My life was changed forever, and I hadn’t had any say in it.

We wrote letters during basic training, and I know anyone who has had a loved one join the military knows that the things written in those letters are things you’ll never hear again.  The love that new soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines pour out during this time is rare and heartfelt and you will hear things you never knew.  I still have that stack of letters, as I know he told me things that he may never say again.  But we learned a lot about each other through his training, and I am confident that in any other facet of life we would not have taken this opportunity.  I supported him through letters during basic training, drove across the country to visit him in his advanced training, flew to Hawaii to see him at his first duty station (quite the sacrifice on my part) and loved hearing the ever-changing plans that all soldiers seem to embrace.  Plans to go here or there, sign up for this school or that school, try to join this group or that group – it never changes, and when it’s my brother rather than my husband I love hearing it.  When it isn’t MY everyday life, it is fun to chuckle at the constant change and uncertainty.  And it is to my brother’s army career that I owe great thanks for my marriage to my husband.  My brother found his email address through AKO and my husband and I rekindled an old relationship that way.

But when my brother deployed to Iraq in 2009, almost a year after my husband had gotten home, I was not prepared for how different the experience would be.  As a sister I didn’t get the frequent updates, the details, the good and the bad.  I didn’t hear from him at every opportunity he had, and I didn’t obsessively check my phone or email to see if he’d written.  But the level of concern and worry was just as high as it had been when my husband was deployed.  In some ways, it was greater.  My brother had been my protector my entire life.  He had punched kids square in the face for teasing me, he had ended friendships with my ex-boyfriends who had broken my heart, he had been there for every joy and every sorrow of my life – and no matter what obstacles life brought, I always knew my brother was there.  He’d love or hate someone simply by me asking him to, and he’d stop at nothing to be sure his baby sister was ok.  He had done for me and given to me my entire life, and for a little over a year I was no longer able to call on him if I needed help.  I couldn’t call him to drive two hours to keep my company, I couldn’t call him when I missed our dad, I couldn’t lean on him in the capacity that I had grown accustomed to.  Because communication between a sister and a brother is so different than that between a husband and a wife, I couldn’t depend on him in the way that I now depend on my husband while he is in Afghanistan.  I learned for a brief time what it might be like to live life without my brother, and I learned just how lucky I am to have him.

Upon returning home and learning that my husband would soon deploy to Afghanistan (I had a short 3 months reprieve in between) my brother reenlisted and requested he be stationed just an hour away from where we are stationed.  Why?  Because when he’s not away, he still finds it his job to protect me and make sure that I am ok.  He took it upon himself to take care of my lawn, my house, and anything else I may need while my husband is away.  He has become one of my best friends.

I am often thanked and acknowledged for my service as an Army Wife and I receive special treatment when my husband is deployed.  But I am equally proud and thankful for my role as an Army Sister, and I enjoy learning how different the two can be.

Is it ok to say, though, that I would be perfectly happy never knowing what it means to be an Army Mom?  Because I fear that would be the most gut wrenching role of all.


If you are a sister, a mother, a father, a brother, a best friend, a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, etc of a service-member and would like to share your story I would love to hear from you. Please email toloveasoldier (at) gmail (dot) com.

Monday, December 19, 2011

So Many Ways to Love - To Be the Mother

Everything that I write is something I have felt or am feeling, is something I have lived through or that I have seen others live through. I write the life I know. The life I live. The life that I dearly love.

I write about the love between a mother and child, between fellow military spouses - the band of sisters, between dearest friends, sometimes moments of love between strangers ... I write about love between a husband and wife, a daddy and his sons, a soldier and his partner. 

These are things I know.

In To Give a Child, I speak about the thought of giving a child to the nation. That is what I think a mother does when her son or daughter enlists. I wrote about the way the thought of that moves me. But that is all I can speak of it - about how I think it will be if one of my babies decides to follow in their daddy's footsteps. I have never had a child come to me and tell me they want to serve our country. I did not have to sign my name giving permission like C's mother did when he was only seventeen. I have never given a child. I don't know what that feels like.

Judy does.

I cannot tell you how I honored I am to introduce her to you. She has given a son. Below I would like to share a little of what she wrote about this love. Please take a moment to read it and to then pop over to her blog. Our community is not just the spouses - there are mothers and sisters and fathers and brothers. There are the mothers who have raised the soldier, the airmen, the sailors, the marines. There are the mothers who hold the ones who love them. Our community reaches beyond the lines of "spouse".

There are many ways to love a soldier.

Judy knows what it means to love an Airman - her son:

I never thought I would be the mother of a son who went to war - never in million years. Never.

And I am. 

I shouldn’t be surprised.  Both of my son’s grandfathers served during World War II.  He grew up listening to their stories.  When he joined the Air Force 10 years ago, I viewed it as an opportunity for him to receive unique training.  In addition, he, his wife and their children have experienced wonderful adventures and made friends for life.  But he’s still my little boy.

Deployment?  I never wanted that for him, and told him so.  He responded that not going would be much like being a doctor who had been trained to save lives, but only allowed to work on cadavers.  He’s bright, he has skills.  He’s needed.  But he’s still my little boy.

My son and I have an extraordinary relationship.   We make one another laugh.  We challenge one another’s wits and beliefs.  He is the evidence that all of our family’s traits and secrets will survive another generation.  But he’s still my little boy.

I see him in uniform and I see him in the sandbox.  I see him saluting and I see him waving from his tricycle.  I see him standing next to a helicopter and I see him standing next to Santa.  I hear his voice from many time zones away and I hear him saying his prayers, tucked safely in his bunk bed.

He’s a grown man, he’s a husband, he’s a father, he’s gone to war.  But he’s still, and always will be, my little boy.

Please visit Judy's blog:

This is the first of a series "So Many Ways to Love." If you are a sister, a mother, a father, a brother, a best friend, a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, etc. I would love to hear from you. Please email toloveasoldier (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Harsh Reality

I have talked before about how blessed I am in my friendships. The people I have formed relationships with in this life span every experience within it. Those at or nearing retirement, those just beginning, those walking the same path, and many who are not. I have friends that I have known and loved for twenty years - twenty-one, actually - that have seen it all. That have never failed me. Who have stood by me. Two in particular are the very closest to my heart. One who I can never remember a moment without her, can never remember a time that she was not the first that I went to with good news. Cannot remember a time when she wasn't very, very present. The only argument we have ever had was over an LSU SEC Championship ticket our freshman year of college. It almost destroyed our friendship.

You may understand why we work so well together.

The other, my d-bwa-bwa, has a name harder to spell than mine (my maiden name, that is). We fought all the time - about little things, about big things, about anything but somehow, none of that ever mattered. None of it every changed who we were to each other. She danced in the rain with me and a bottle of wine the day I turned twenty-one. And yesterday she asked me to stand beside her at her wedding - knowing that I may not be able to, knowing that that was when C was "supposed" to be deploying again, knowing and respecting that if I had to choose I would always choose him. I should be there but if not, she had planned to leave my spot empty, my name in the program, and saying something to the effect of "Saying goodbye to her hero as he prepares to deploy".

I am richly blessed by my friendships.

It is this goodness that I have known that makes my heart break for another friend in this life. When I met D she was engaged to her soldier. She has a kind, kind heart. I feel incredibly blessed to have her in my life. As a newlywed she is learning the hard way how at times some people just do not understand how this life works - even those closest to us. D and her husband's good friends just became engaged. The groom has asked him to be his best man.

I think we all know how difficult it is to give a straight answer to a scheduling question. I think we all know how much we honestly just don't have any idea when we are available, when our soldier can 'take time off work', if we can make that big family trip in seven or eight months. I know how frustrating it can be to sit on the other side of this - trying to make plans to include us, trying to work with a schedule that is so continuously changing it really doesn't exist.

D's husband can have no idea if he will be there. He leaves for his last major training for his first deployment just days before the proposed wedding date. C had to return to work three days after we were married. We were married on Saturday, stayed the day in New Orleans Sunday, and moved to Fort Campbell together on Monday. On Tuesday we were both at work. That is how this life goes.

We do not control time or schedules or events. NOTHING takes priority over the needs of the country. That is a tough pill to swallow - even for those of us who live the military life everyday. But D's friends ...

They have said some hurtful things over the last several days, bringing her to tears during an already emotional time - because her husband can't say whether or not he will be there. He can't say what he will be doing the next day, let alone months down the road. There isn't a "time-off" calendar that they submit their requests for. He can't call in sick and take a trip down for the wedding. He can't just not show up for a day or two. Those things just don't work. This is a very, very different world.

D's husband has been training so much that he is away far, far more than he is home (much more than the norm for us - they are always gone more than they are home). They haven't sat down to a real meal together in who knows how long. He is too busy to call people back, or answer emails, or what-not because he literally has no time. Sometimes people just do not understand that there are times when soldiers go into work at four in the morning and may not return until midnight. There are days that they are gone for days and weeks - while they are in country. This isn't a nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday life. This is twenty-four/seven, three-sixty-five. A soldier is never "off work". I know in the civilian world that is a near impossible thing to grasp. It is our daily life.

The groom - a friend close enough to ask D's husband to hold this honor - told D that she and he are ruining his life because they can't say they will be there. That the Army is messing his entire plan up. That they aren't being considerate because they aren't giving yes or no answers, or can't give any response immediately, or that her husband doesn't answer when he calls.

Yes, he actually told her that.

D's husband is preparing to deploy.

To, ya know, a war zone.

As an Infantry-man with an Infantry unit.

It's, um, kind-of a big deal.

But D and her husband are "ruining" their friends' lives. Because, while he can't tell his wife whether he will see her in the next twenty-four hours, he also can't tell them if he will be standing at the altar in twenty-four (really less) weeks.

Oh what people can't understand ...


What advice do you have for my good friend D? And if you don't have any advice to share, give her a lil' encouragement! She is one beautiful young woman and my heart breaks for her.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Clinging to Pictures

In the last twenty-four hours two friends have brought events up that they are struggling with. These are two very different situations, two very different women, in two very different places on their journey but they both focus on the daily struggles stemming from a misunderstanding of the military life. Today I want to tell you about W.

W is one of the most experienced military spouses I know. She has walked this path for two decades, loving  a man who was first a marine and then became a soldier. A man who has been separated from her for five, year-long deployments, who has served honorably, who is right at the end, looking at retirement. She is a woman of dignity and goodness and full of good humor. She is just as addicted to Starbucks coffee as I but can appreciate a cup of Dunkin' Donuts as well. She makes me laugh. She has talked me through and made me smile during some difficult periods of my journey. She is a dear friend, my greatest mentor, an example I try to follow. 

And all those things make it all the more difficult for me to know that someone has hurt her. It shows that no matter how long we have been in this, there are some moments - some words - that still blindside us, knock us over. Bring angry tears to our eyes. A friend of hers, a friend she has known for twenty years - nearly her ENTIRE period in the military life, made a random, horrendous comment in a "catching up email" about the pictures taken of her husband's last day on American soil. I asked if I could share:

"...I have to say I got so tired of: D in the car going to the airport. D arriving at the airport. D walking into the airport, etc. It was overkill, W. I know you love the guy but we all have loved ones that have been deployed. Don't be mad."

I don't even know where to start here. 

I. have. no. idea.

This is her friend saying this - of twenty years. Randomly, in an email, talking about her new job and school and etc. etc. sectioned off, just to get her point across. Months, almost a YEAR, after this event took place. This event being her husband - of twenty years - leaving his wife and son on his fifth deployment to a war zone.

I get that maybe some people think it is strange to photograph that. I do. I know how hard that must be to understand. My best friend took pictures of C and I's last hour together before he deployed. She took pictures of us holding our children, took pictures from behind us, of our shoulders leaning into each other just sitting. Of Logan nestled into C's chest - knowing that "something sad" was taking place. She has pictures of C's last kiss to Logan, of his last kiss to Eli, and there is a photo - taken with a simple camera by a far from professional photographer - of C and I holding our children as he kissed my forehead for the very last time. My nose is red, my chin is fat, my lips are curled in as I try with ev-er-y-thing in me to hold back the tears. That photo may be one of the most beautiful pictures I own. 

Every single time I see it ... 

And yes, it is morbid, and yes, I am sure it doesn't make sense to most people, but I needed those moments documented. I needed to have them. If he didn't ... if the doorbell ... if that was my last moment with him I NEEDED TO HAVE IT. I needed to be able to look back at it. I needed my boys to have pictures of their daddy holding him, and loving them, and being with them, because if he didn't come home ... if he didn't come back to them ... they needed to have these pictures.

Because they would not remember.

Judge that however you need to. Hate me for it. Criticize that manner of thinking. I don't care. But do not - DO NOT - say it to me. Do not, for a moment, think you have any right to cross that line. 

You don't.

And not everyone has had someone deployed - that number just doesn't work. There are just over 500,000 soldiers - a number which will soon lessen - and so, no, not everyone has had a family member deployed. And when you get into what type of family member, and what type of deployment ... I should say that her son is in the air force and was deployed to a fob (which he never left) for three months at some point. Separation is separation, but ... 

Unless you know what it is to send the father of your child(ren), into a combat zone, as a combat soldier, you do not get to criticize - not to us - or put your ignorant thoughts into a casual email, or comment on our Facebook, or scan through our pictures and then hate us for posting them. 

Because people like this woman - who we think are our friends, our best friends - can hurt the strongest of military spouses. Even those with two decades of experience. We can brush it aside when it is strangers, people who can't possibly understand sometimes, but when it is our closest and dearest ... someone who has watched us struggle through, who has listened as we cried for them, who have acted as a sounding board ... 

It makes us question a lot.

Because that is what gets me, that people don't THINK anything of WHAT THEY SAY. She had NO IDEA that what she was saying would kill her friend's spirit - or else she just. didn't. care. No one has a right to take that from one of us. We fight too hard to reach that strength, to hold onto it, to KEEP it, and to say something so awful ... 

People just don't think.

They do NOT think. 

Oh how I wish I could change that.

Monday, December 5, 2011

To Find a Way

I am very much of the mindset that we choose how we will respond to this life. No we cannot choose when deployments do and do not come. We can't choose where they go to, if they are in harms way or if they are support. No one consults us about not having a spouse around for the birth of a child, or the first year of life, or through potty-training, or through grad school, or undergrad. We do not get to call our spouse for support when we get a flat, or a pipe bursts, or there is a giant, unidentifiable insect climbing up our bedroom wall.

The world will begin to fall apart at times. Our lives will become more and more difficult as time passes. Any change in the plan - whether it's a deployment being extended or, yes, even shortened - these changes, challenges, can break us down, rattle the spirit, put into question our own resolve.

We have all lived through the moments; and if you haven't - you will. I think that may be the key to overcoming them - knowing they will come. Knowing that so much of this is a battle - a battle that so often just lies within ourselves. Recognizing our reality- understanding what this life requires - prepares us for what it will bring.

This life takes your whole heart - I mean in its entirety. The soft spots that allow us to love easily, to greet each other joyfully, to embrace each other, to hold one another in the harder moments. The parts that contract in and out, allowing us to adjust, to bid farewell, to begin again, to keep strength in and to allow it to venture out.  The worn parts that carry the heartache and the fear and the sadness - the parts that keep us feeling, that always seem like they cannot become anymore broken but somehow can just one more time. The places we always carry, quietly, heavily. The parts that can never leave us. That humble us. That come quickly forward and then just as quickly fade. Recalled again and again and again. There are the solid parts that hold our pride, hold the vows, hold the joy. The parts that we remind ourselves of when the darkness comes forward and the days get harder and the nights are long. Yes, it takes the whole heart.

It all makes up our strength, our armor. Everything that happens in this life can happen to or for us. We are victims or warriors. Every struggle is a moment for Grace. Every heartache, every moment they cannot be here for, brings us closer to the One who made us for this. Every moment that we survive - without distain for the separation, without anger towards a spouse who "chose a country over us" - every moment that we recognize something has been put there for a purpose - to help us to grow in love, in faith, in patience is a moment that we thrive. Sometimes we must find it on our own - sometimes we must allow someone else to grow by serving. Every obstacle we overcome, or struggle through, and sometimes even succumb to, adds to what our hearts hold.

How we love through this life has everything to do with how we respond to what it presents. There is always a choice, to flail or thrive, to be victimized or to overcome. Every moment has a purpose - every single moment.

This is a daily battle, a daily challenge, a daily life that always, always offers a choice.

It is never a question of "if" you can thrive through. I'm sorry, but it isn't. Asking that question sets you up to fail. It is always a question of "how".

All of us - all of us - can find a way.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I cannot tell you how many times I have sat down to write about this. How many times I have wanted to pour it all out but can't because it is just too much, or I can't believe the things I am writing, or really just because I ... well ... can't.

These days are the days that I wish this nation understood our military more than ever before. That I wish that people understood that it isn't always just what we hear on the news. I wish that people understood that not all of the soldiers who were/are serving in Iraq will be home for Christmas ... or New Year's ... or Valentine's Day ... or EASTER. That they will finish out their deployments - all twelve months - elsewhere in that region. I wish people understood that mothers had to tell their children that "Daddy won't be home" after they celebrated and cried and hugged with the initial news. I wish people could understand what that does to a military family - how much it crushes the spirit. I wish people knew enough to understand that you can't believe everything you hear. I wish that people understood that not hearing anger from the military sector doesn't means there isn't any.

We don't speak about such things.

I wish people understood what just took place in Washington. I wish people understood what the inaction before Thanksgiving did and does and will do to our men and women in uniform. I wish people understood that men and women who have given years for this nation - some over a decade - will be told that they aren't worth the expense any longer. That they will lose everything they have given - because leaders can't agree, because they set themselves up for failure, because this all seemed like a big charade.

That the blood they spilt, or the images they carry of their buddy's lifeless body, or the moments they missed with their children, or the marriages they couldn't repair, or last moments they missed with a family member who died while they were away serving their nation, or the period they missed of their spouse battling cancer, or the youth they lost fighting a war beyond their years, or the limbs they gave, or the mind they lost, or the integrity they carried themselves with, or the graduations they couldn't be there for, or the friends they saw blown to pieces before their eyes, or the widows of those friends that they couldn't give answers to, or couldn't tell them why, or couldn't look at them without seeing their comrade, or the children that no longer have a father or a mother ...

That these things are expendable. That they aren't worth fighting for. That they aren't worth defending. No one fights for those who fight for us. They don't seem to matter - not just not enough - but not at all. It's despicable.

That they are the first to deem unable to afford. An easy cut.

And what gets me, what really gets me, is that we are STILL AT WAR. I cannot tell you how many Vietnam Vets told us they pray that what happened to them at the end of their war would not happen to us at the end of ours. If I knew how many I have met I could tell you how many have said that - because they ALL have said that while shaking our hands and sharing their stories - what they could bear to share.

But this isn't happening after they have all come home. Our soldiers aren't being abandoned when there is no longer a war to fight. No ... no no no. They are still going into the fight, or are in the fight, or are training, or are still fighting the battle in their minds, or are looking at their pregnant wives and know that they will miss the birth of that child but then maybe won't have a job when they return that will provide for their new family. We are STILL FIGHTING.

I don't care what you hear, what the 'media' says, they are NOT COMING HOME ANYTIME SOON. I know my husband is going again. I KNOW that. But somehow, while gutting the army (and - ah-YES - we are gutting our army) our guys are going to get two years at home with only nine-months gone. I guess I am not as good at math as I thought ... because I don't see how that works.

And what is that that I keep hearing on the news? In political debates? Iran?? Pakistan?? Possibility of Using Military Force??


I am hurting for our military - for the men and women who form its ranks. They are not just numbers - not just expenses. These are the very best of our nation. The most selfless beings that such a land can possess. And they will say nothing. They will carry it all inside. While they prepare for another deployment, while the 'people' misunderstand, while they take it all in - day in and day out - all while wondering if they will still have a job, if they will be able to provide for their family, if they will survive each wave of cuts ... I'm sorry ... "phasing outs".

They shouldn't have to carry that.

And not, NOT, while we are still at war. Not while more will be asked of them. Not while they are still willing to lay down their lives for a nation that is willing to break their spirit. To break their brotherhoods and sisterhoods. That sees no danger in destroying their morale.

It's disgusting.

But there is no one person to blame. No one person made this happen. No one has blood on their hands.

Except our soldiers as they spill their own for a nation that just told them they are expendable.

But no one understands that. No one knows. No one gets it. Because we don't talk about such things.

Ignorance is bliss. I wish I could be of the majority right now - not knowing. Maybe I would sleep. Maybe I wouldn't carry this anger. Maybe I wouldn't cry just thinking about the men and women who will change NOTHING THAT THEY DO because they are better than all of us. They will still give their youth, their memories, their fingers and hands and feet and legs and ears and sight and skin until the day they are in that next wave that is told they are no longer needed.

And some will take that with a dignity that will break my heart. If C is one, after signing his name for the first time fourteen years ago, after living through his senior year of high school as a soldier, after leading men and bringing them home, if he is "no longer needed" ...

I don't even know what to say.

God be with us. God be with our military. God be with our nation.


(I feel it is important to say that none of this reflects the opinions of my husband, his unit, his leadership. This comes from the heart of a spouse hurting for the country that she loves. You won't hear these things from C. You will NEVER hear these things from C. He loves his country, he will always do as he is asked and he will do so honorably without saying a word. I do not have have that strength.)

Monday, November 28, 2011


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Sense of Entitlement

A friend and I were discussing spouses and family members who carry a sense of entitlement - that "You owe me" attitude. Another friend just today brought up the same frustrations.

I know we are not all alike. I know that we all have different personalities, opinions, upbringings. I respect that. But, there is little more in this life that frustrates me like the 'entitled's' that taint the image of the American military.

I hope that in every single thing I do I honor my husband, his sacrifice, his comrades. You can twist that however you want, say it makes me weak, say it has me living his life and not mine. You would be wrong, but you are allowed to be. I am an Army wife - yes, I am a wife, a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter - but to so much of the world I am that one title. The wife of a soldier. I know we all have different opinions on that. Some hate it, some embrace it, some cling to it, some depend on it.

Some use it.

However you see it or define it or feel about it is your choice. I choose to see it as an honor. I know it as a blessing. To be an Army wife, to love a soldier, has been one of my greatest joys.

Not because it gives me any extras, or something free, or because it gave me ten percent off my washer and dryer.

It is my honor to know those who serve. It has been my honor to stand beside my husband every time a Vietnam vet, or a stranger, or a child, or mother shook his hand, or hugged him, or tearfully bought him a coffee. It has been my honor to live and thrive beside those who are just as committed as I am to embrace this life.

It boils my blood when someone causes a scene because a company no longer offers a military discount or runs out of something they are giving away or demands some special of any kind. It angers me to know that the people who witness such a thing may never experience the majority of us. That this one image may be the only one they will ever have to carry about those of us who marry into this life. It is so very hard to get that back.

I try in everything to honor my husband and those who serve behind him. If I am going to hold the title of "Army wife" then I represent them. What I do or do not do leaves a permanent image to any observer who recognizes the life I belong to. My husband would never ask for anything, never expect anything, most certainly would never demand anything. Neither should we.

We live a life of service - not demands. Be the example. Live with gratitude - always, always, always be grateful.

For whatever is given.

Our soldiers are deserving of the greatest of gifts or praise of goodness. They are deserving but would never expect or accept or demand. My greatest gift that I receive daily is in the goodness of this life, in the strength I see in a new spouse, in the absolutely pride and gratitude I have for my husband. To live this life is a gift, a privilege, an honor.

We are not entitled to anything for choosing this. We are given Grace, and Joy, and Strength.

Those are the only 'perks' I need.

Be grateful. Be humble - in everything. Walk with Grace.

Honor the life you hold.

Honor those who protect it, allow for it.

Always, always, always, give thanks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Take it to the Heart

I am a passionate woman. If there is something I believe in, I put all of me into it - sometimes to my detriment. If a friend has been wronged I will defend her with everything in me, I will fight for her until whatever wrong has been righted. But if I am wronged, if I am angry, I will crumble, the hot, hot tears will pour from my eyes and that same strength that rises up for another will dissipate before I know it's there. I believe in working hard. I believe in earning a place in this world - not just existing in it. I believe in overcoming obstacles, in bettering those around me, in leading by serving.

I believe in the kindness in people - so much that when I learn such to be untrue it breaks my heart in the worst of ways. I believe in gratitude and joy and love. I believe that we all serve a purpose, that we all exist for a reason, that any one of us can provide understanding in the darkest of moments.

I know I did things against the norm. I married young. I had children young. I walked away from the life I had planned. I know that this life has granted me an understanding of things that I never would have known before. I know that this life can change people, can open their eyes or tear them to pieces. I know that what I have been shown provides a mindset that other's cannot have.

I have thought so much about where I am in life compared to those of my same age. Of what is important to me. Of what I have done in my short time in this place. The reasons that decisions were made and who made them and how we got here. I don't think my place is better, or more affording, just different. This life is a very different life.

I know that I value things differently than some of my peers. I know that I find more importance in small things than they may - that I have a different perspective on what qualifies as a "big thing."

I can remember who gave me nearly every wedding gift C and I received. One of my best friend talks to me about it all the time - as she attends engagement shower, after bridal shower, after couples shower, after wedding, after wedding, after wedding. I know that J and B gave me the seafood platter that makes me think of crawfish boils and spicy potatoes and Lenten Fridays that I dearly, dearly miss. I know that M from choir gave me a watercolor she painted of hydrangeas - fuchsia on blue. I know that my sweet Taylor from work gave me the most beautiful hurricane shade, and that my dad's co-worker and his family gave me a heavy glass bowl with my new monogram. I remember opening the wooden, hand-carved fleur-de-lis hook from Susan in our church. I know that my dear-heart L and her mom gave me the coffee-pot I clung to this morning. I know that Shannon gave me the St Louis Cathedral plague that hangs on my wall. I think of M&M every time I use my Cutco server and of my past religion teachers every time I entertain with my Adler's servers. I think of B and all of the other guys who gave me wineglasses and highball glasses, and stemless reds and whites that fill an entire cabinet in my kitchen.

I cherish people. I take it all to heart - good and bad. Everything stays with me.

Watching my old friends become engaged and getting married and announcing they are expecting always takes me back. And it makes me wonder if this life has aged me or if that was always in me, if that was one more key that prepared me for this. Is it the fact that I have held C's hand while we sat at the house of the deacon who married us and wrote down his final wishes, planned his funeral at the age of twenty-four and twenty-eight? Did that age me or was the strength for that always in me? Was it nearly losing a child in delivery at the age of twenty-two that made me cherish, or was the strength to pray through that always there? Did holding a son, trying to help him to understand why his Daddy couldn't sing him to sleep - not for a long time - teach me to be comforting, or was that always inside?

I know that what I have lived through is different from what my peers have lived through. I know that we are all made for the life we live. Given the tools, given the strength, given the grace. But I can't help but wonder if it is in these moments that these things were created or if they are already there, waiting to be clung to, to be acknowledged, to be needed. Maybe it's a bit of both.

I take it all to heart and it stays. The moments of our life stay with me always, defining me, aging me, strengthening me, teaching me.

Whatever struggle, whatever battle, whatever hardship the ability to thrive through it is there - whether it always has been or the grace comes in just at that much needed moment. It is there - waiting.

Maybe our hearts are made a little differently, their capacity a little greater, making it possible to keep the strength down deep, to hold onto the goodness that will get us through the harder days a little longer. To keep the pain and the sadness that builds strength, adds links to the armor, makes us grateful for the tiny joys. To carry our children's hearts and our soldier's. To acknowledge the anguish and the grace and the patience and the love that gets us through the unimaginable, the unthinkable, that teaches us who we are, what we can do. To hold enough strength for another to borrow and to keep a space for us to fill from them when needed.

We are made differently because this life is so very different. He made us to thrive through our days - not just to survive them. Take it to heart.

The heart can hold it all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Cry for Grace

We are military women. We are strong. We can do anything. We have super powers.

Okay, um ... no.

Yes, we are the strongest of women. I will say that again and again and again. We face battles that most can't imagine. We live through things that many will never understand exist. Sometimes it can feel like we can conquer the world, we are told that - I tell you that. I believe that we are strong, that we are able, that we can do more than most but it is those moments when we feel like we've "got this" that the moments when we are crumbling make us feel like we have no right to.

This life is hard, this life is beyond challenging.

We do not have super powers.

We have great love, we have unyielding support, we have Grace but when we enter into this life we aren't suddenly given an ability we never had before - that automatically makes us super-able. It doesn't work like that.

You have to seek it.

A very good friend of mine is right in the middle of the deployment while also in the midsts of a very big unknown. We have all been there. That time when everything falls apart, when we fall apart. When we physically feel like our body is breaking into pieces, one by one by one. When we find ourselves barely moving, barely breathing, barely surviving. When we question if we can do this - when we are unable to see beyond this most trying time. We feel helpless, we cry ourselves to sleep.

We don't sleep.

We all go through it. And so very often we tell ourselves, "I'm an Army wife. I can do this on my own. I should be able to do it. Everyone else does it alone."

It is so easy to think that. I find that so very often that it's the leaders who tell themselves this over and over and over again. Because if we reach out what will people think? We can't be weak! We can't make people question if we are capable. No, no way!

I get it. I really, really do. But that is not how to lead. We teach our wives (yes I know how funny that sounds) to be self-reliant, to learn to function on their own, but we always remind them of their resources, that they are not alone, that we are here.

We tear ourselves apart trying to make it on our own. Trying to not lose it when all two or three or four kids get sick at the same time - when we get sick at the same time. When you finally get all of you into the car to go to the doctor and the car won't start. When you lose your ID off post. When CYS loses paperwork that kicks your child(ren) out of their system until they get it together. When you turn on the news at just the wrong time and that panic sets in on top of every other emotion your heart can hold. When you see announcements that the American people take for face value and you have to hold your tongue. When every muscle of your body aches.

Those are the days that can break us. Those are the days that can take us out of this life. Those are the days that the strongest of women cannot do it alone.

We have no superpowers.

But there is always great love, great support, awe-filling Grace.

ASK for it. USE it. CLING to it when you need it. And at some point, no, at many points we all need it. Call a friend. Call your family. Call your church. People want to help, know who they are, and ask them for it. That is where you will find the grace.

You cannot lead if you will not reach out. You cannot thrive if you aren't willing to fall to your knees. You cannot find strength if you do not seek it in others.

There is no shame in knowing your limits. It doesn't make you "less" of an Army wife. Deployments teach us who we are. The darkest moments show us our strength. Sometimes we need to share someone else's. Sometimes they will need to share ours - and we are all willing to give it. Asking for help doesn't take from someone else. We do not lose anything when we give it. We gain.

So take a deep breath, find that littlest bit that is left, reach out your hand and ask for help.

Sometimes the strongest act, the greatest triumph, is found in the quietest, softest, most broken cry for Grace.


So today is a really BIG day. Big things to announce!

First for the give-away winner:

Oh Wait! We have TWO!

Our first winner is Canadian Army Wife Kim (reccewife)!
Our second winner is Army Wife Adrienne!

Winners were chosen by random.org. Please email me with the print you would like! What? How do you choose?

Oh, at the ETSY page I just finished!

It isn't too pretty and it doesn't look NEARLY as well done as the others up there but we all know technology is not my strong point. For now, it is just the 10x13 high quality prints that I designed and had made. I have a ton more plans for it ... if I can figure them all out. : )

So Kim and Adrienne, head over and choose the border you would like for your set and then email me with that info so I can get it out to you!

I never planned on selling Promises but the messages and emails you all sent asking me to were so wonderful I felt like I had to. I hope you like the prints! 

Congrats, Kim and Adrienne!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last Day!

Today is the LAST DAY of the Promises Prints Give-Away!! Do you want a set of these??

The winner can choose from six borders and will receive both the Service-member's promise and Spouse's promise that they choose! 

I have:
A Soldier's/Army Wife's Promise
A Marine's/Marine Wife's Promise
A Sailor's Promise/A Navy Wife Promise
An Airman's Promise/An Air Force Wife Promise
A Military Man's Promise/A Military Wife's Promise

And for the Australian's:
A Soldier's Promise/A Defence Wife's Promise
(I do not have your border shown).

I am VERY excited to announce that these WILL be for sale on Etsy (since so many of you have messaged asking) beginning later this week! You know how badly I am with technology so it is taking me some time to set it up but I am ALMOST there! 

But free is better than buying, right?! So go enter the give-away ... right now ... go! I hope you win. : )

And do you like the prints?? I hope so. 

I do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To Love a Veteran

There was a time - and I am so ashamed to say this - I thought men and women who chose to serve, who chose to leave their spouses, who chose to leave their children must not truly love them. I am in tears as I type such a thing. The very thought of that now ...

It is incredible how much a heart can change, how much a perspective can change. Being reminded of the way I used to see this life, of the way I used to perceive every aspect of a life that I had no knowledge of, humbles me beyond words. It brings my entire body inward. Makes me still.

I think it is this past perspective that allows for the littlest increase in patience, the greatest bit of understanding when I hear the same from strangers. I have been there. I have thought these same things. I have not understood in the exact way that so much of this country does not understand. Anytime I lose patience, anytime the sarcasm begins to creep out, that distant voice is put back in my head, in my heart. My voice. It brings me back.

I never ask anyone to support the war. If you ask me why I think we are there, I will tell you - if you will listen. I will not argue. I never think less of a person who sees no purpose in this war. I would never think that. But, to support or not support the war has nothing to do with whether you do or do not respect and understand what a veteran is.

Nearly every time the national anthem is played tears flow from my eyes - very slowly, very quietly. If C is deployed, my face will be splotchy and puffy and hideous by the time that wonderful anthem ends. That happens for so many of us who love or have loved a veteran. If you ever see, watch, we will not wipe our eyes, we will stand straight, focused on the crimson and blue and white, we will not dare remove our hand from our heart to pull out a tissue until the final chord silences. Our understanding of that anthem is different - it runs deeper.

We know men and women who have fought for it, who have lost limbs for it, who have shed blood for it. We know those who have died. We know their widows. We know their mothers, their fathers, their brothers and sisters. We have held their children. We have seen the folded flags. We have mourned, we have prayed, we have remembered.

We know what our men and women give in defense of every word of that anthem, every thread of the flag. We know the days they miss, the births, the funerals, the first steps, the illnesses, the bedtime stories, the wins, the losses. We know the heartache, the pride, the sadness. We know what it is to have a heart permanently split in two - to have such intense love for family coupled with the rarest love for country. We know how painful that love is for all of us who share it. We know.

I know how awkward it can be to approach someone who has served. I know how hard it can be to take that step. I know very often you cannot always tell who the veterans are. They do not want any recognition. That isn't why they do what they do, what they have done, what more will follow in their steps to do in the future.

They are men and women who do not ask - do not ask for anything.

We ask of them.

I will ask just one thing of you - the simplest thing. Respect the flag they fight for. When the Anthem plays, place your hand over your heart, stand straight, and face the flag. The heart beat you feel ... that is what they fight for. That is what they selflessly leave those who love them for. That is what they strap on pounds and pounds of armor and equipment and headgear for. What they go days without eating for, weeks without showering for, months without kissing their children goodnight for. You - your heartbeat is what they carry. Whether you ask them to or not. Carry theirs with you. Stand for those who have lost a leg, or both, who cannot stand beside you any longer,  who have no arms left to salute, who have fought in the deserts, in the mountains, in the jungles, in every place that this country has asked them to go. Who crouch into the crevices of a mountain side, who have slept in fox holes, who slide as closely to the dirty, rocky ground as possible to remain undetected. Stand tall for them. Respect the flag - the flag that they always carry closest to their heart. That their families cling to. The flag that they revere, that in all things, is respected, is honored, is protected.

Honor the flag and you honor them.

On Veteran's Day and every day.

Thank you to all who have served and continue to do so. Thank you to those of you who have stood beside C on the battle field and in our homeland. I honor you.
You can also read last Veteran's Day Post: A Very Important Day

And be sure to enter the Promises Give Away!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who Built My Armor

I have said again and again that I believe those who live this life are meant for this life. Something, or rather, many somethings in our past shape us for this. Something brought us here, prepared us for this, built our character, our armor to carry us through. Everyday I learn more and more how much of what prepared me for this came from my parents.

I know how much of me comes from my Mom. So much of my personality comes from her, my out-going side is hers, my smile, my some-what frightening love for football. Much of me mirrors her. Without question I learned to serve from my mom.  Her kindest heart has taught me to give what I can, when I can, how I can, as much and as often as I can. To find what it is that I can give the most, what I can give joyfully, and to do so over and over and over again. My mother's loving hands helped me to find the joy in living a service-filled-life. Help me, daily, to take what I have in any situation and build it into something greater for the good of others. To use my talents to empower, not just enable. To give it to God. I learned from watching her, from knowing her. She is always supportive, always hopeful, always ready to come to the aid of her children and for any one else. She taught me how to pray, how to hope, how to love. So much of me is my mother.

I always knew that.

In these last several months I have learned how much my Dad prepared me for this. There are many things that I never understood about him as a child, things I rolled my eyes at, things I responded to under my breath. There are moments now where I know how much he shaped who I am, who I hope to become, the example I hope to set. I just didn't quite understand it until now.

My dad left for work when it was still dark every morning for as long as I can remember. Every evening when he came home our family of seven ate dinner together. Every evening he would play games with us, shoot hoops, throw the baseball, help with homework, prepare us for tests, tell us we were smart, that we were beautiful, that we were good kids. Every single night he was present, involved. He was at every sporting event that he could possible attend, he coached in a way that was always encouraging, always the way children should be coached. He learned the rules of soccer because my little brother and I both loved to play. He came to my softball games and watched me do cart-wheels in the outfield. He let me quit when I said how much I hated it. He taught me how to drive (something my mom probably should have taught me). He taught me how to check my tire-pressure, check the oil, add oil. He took the time to show us, not just tell us. He was always there for his children. I cannot remember a time when my dad said he was too tired, or too sore, or too stressed. Never once do I remember that.

It is not until now that I see C come home after a twelve or thirteen or fourteen-hour day, and see him pick up the boys running to him, and hanging them upside down, and talking to Logan about school, and playing dinosaurs with Eli, and chasing them both around the house, and playing pirates with them at bath time, and reading them stories, and singing them to sleep, and praying the same bed time prayers, and telling them that they are smart, that they are good, that they are wonderful that I understand how very much my dad molded me for this life.

Because I know how tired C is when he comes home. I know how sore he is, how stressed. I know the worries and uncertainties running through his mind. I know the fear of the unknown. I know how much he is carrying every night when he walks in that door - but these boys ... these precious, innocent boys they do not know.

I never knew how much my dad carried, how tired he must have been. I never, never knew.

My dad showed me the man I deserved, that my future children deserved. He showed me how a man should love his family. I have never questioned how much my dad loves my mother, how much she loves him. I have always been shown how a partnership works, how to love through every trial, every struggle, every unknown. How to love completely, unconditionally, how to thrive together.

My dad is an incredible man loved and supported by a remarkable woman.

They brought me here. They prepared me for this beautiful life. They built my armor.

I couldn't be more grateful.


Make sure you check out the Promises Give-Away HERE! If you are having trouble leaving a comment, select Anonymous and be sure to put your full name in the comments!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Promises: A Give-Away!

It's here! 

In celebration of our growing Facebook Fan page I am giving away a set of Promises prints. They are sized 10x13 and are ready to frame. . These prints cannot be reproduced or sold. 

If you win and you do not belong to the Army branch, I WILL make prints that apply to you i.e. "A Sailor's Promise," "An Airman's Promise," "A Marine's Promise," etc. 

There are multiple ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment below saying why you want to win.
2. Share The Give-Away on Facebook and tag @To Love A Soldier in the post. Then, Leave a comment here saying you did so that it adds to the count. (You must be a Facebook fan to do so). 
3. Tweet about it and tag #toloveasoldier. Leave a comment here saying you did so.
4. Blog about it! Leave the link to your post in the comments. 
5. If you become a public follower (or already are) leave a comment below.

You must leave a separate comment for each method of entry.
5 ways to enter! 

Rules and important side notes:

You must be 18 years or older to enter. 
This is open to service members, spouses, family members, and even just good friends of them who want to give a great gift. : )
I WILL ship internationally. If the original winner belongs to a different nation's military, I will select an additional winner belonging to the American military. (So there may be two winners).
The give-away begins Monday November 7th at 0745 mountain time and ends Monday November 14th at 1000 mountain time.
The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced November 15th.
Be sure to leave your FULL NAME if you respond anonymously. I will not have a way of contacting you, so I must have your full name to announce the winner. 

Thanks, everyone, for sharing and reading our journey. I have been so amazed by your kindness and support. Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where it Comes From

These last two days have been an emotional roller coaster. It has hurt my heart to have people take something that I think to be so beautiful, that is so very special to me, that I feel does so much good and taint it. I know there is a reason for this. I know there is a purpose here. I know that at some point it will be shown. From adversity comes strength. From trials come determination. 

So many people have read promises now and I do not care where they read it or who they think authored it. The good is that people are reading it. It is touching people. It is helping people the way it helps me to know these things, to know the promise. I cannot find any sadness in that. 

I have decided that after this I am throwing my hands in the air, falling to my knees, and giving it up. The accusation of plagiarism will no longer hurt me. I know I would never take from anyone else - especially, especially, a soldier and his spouse. I know where I was when I wrote this. I know how I cried the entire time. I know how much I struggled with publishing it. And the reason I struggled with it was because I feared criticism. I feared people would not be able to accept the reality of it. And that never happened. It only did good. Yesterday was the only day anyone publicly criticized it - if the internet is public. So one time out of thousands, well, that isn't too bad.

On the Facebook page I linked to this criticism written by a Navy spouse. So many of you read it and came back to respond. I took it down - not because I didn't love what you all said in response - I cannot tell you how much your responses meant to me - but because of how much higher it was raising her post in rankings on the internet because so many people went to go read it. But I think my response is important to have on record, since she hasn't approved it to be shown and there may be others like her. Whether they are questioning that the experience behind the words are mine or find a wife who allows her soldier to leave her to be weak, meek, or for the soldier that does so to be less Christian as this young Navy wife believes. 

I am not sharing the link - you can find it if you look - but I will share the basis of what she says. She took The Soldier's Promise to be between a couple who hated to be together. To criticize women like me for not being selfish enough, that we must not really love our husband's enough, that they must not truly love us. That we stand in their shadows. That how less-Christian a man must be to lie to his spouse, to share things with his comrades that we don't know. She implies that we take our soldiers for granted. That we find them to be bothersome. She calls Promises "Shenanigans." 

I know other people must think that too. 

Yes, I know it is very few - a minuscule number of people but you all know how much it boils my blood when people criticize a life they don't know, don't understand. I believe in being kind in all things and to judge a life you have not lived - to question my character, to claim that C can't be Christian and live this life - that is far from kind. 

Below is my response that she did not publish - the same one I had up on my other page for an hour or two last night. I am putting it here so that other's may share and help others to understand what "Promises" means, the reality behind it, where it comes from. 


I wrote this.  I entitled it “A Soldier’s Promise”.

There is a response to it called "The Army Wife's Promise".

There has never been a day that I have prayed for a deployment to come. There has never been a day that I have wanted him gone or to lie to me or to shut me out.

My husband has served for fourteen years. He has lost dozens of friends. He has stood at funerals to honor the fallen. He has called families to tell them that their son lost both his legs. (By the way, that REMARKABLE soldier still serves).  

My husband joined at seventeen with every intention to stay in until the day he is too old. There is no six-year timeline for us. Your sailor’s service is admirable. Your dedication to him is admirable as well.  But it makes our perspectives far different.

Mine is a combat soldier.

When he walked into the house of an Iraqi family who had been murdered for helping US troops, when he saw the body of a toddler filled with bullet holes, left for so long, maggots were eating at her skin … The only person that can understand that, the only person who can deeply, completely understand what he felt in that moment is his comrade that was beside him in tears. I will never understand what it is to make the choice between destroying a possibly bomb-rigged truck speeding straight towards you, ending the life of a possible suicide bomber, and defending your men. I will never understand the moment of that decision. But the soldier who followed his order, who fired that weapon to destroy it before it destroyed them … HE understands it. He knows what it is to be forced to choose between life and death. I have never had to make that decision. Have you?

You have never gone through the month before a combat deployment to the third deadliest area in a war zone so you cannot understand what I mean by “shut you out.” No words I can say will make you understand that. But if you are balancing in your head leaving your family, the young men you are bringing with you who will leave their families, that some of them may not come back, that you may be taking sons from their mothers, fathers from their children, husbands from their wives ... You have never carried that. Neither have I. So if in those weeks before that mission, if my husband has trouble telling me “What is wrong?” Well, I can understand him not knowing what to say. It has nothing to do with PTSD.

If he tells me that he is going to CHOW when he is really going to a meeting with higher-ups, that is going to quiet and comfort my heart rather than him telling me  “I can’t tell you.” When your husband is in a war zone, and you don’t know the next time you will talk to him, have fun for that week or two or three when the last thing he said to you was “I can’t tell you.” See what happens to your sanity.

Unless you have had your husband gone for an extended period of time, you cannot know what it is to reintegrate. You cannot know what it is for things to “fall back in place.” What it is to move from survival mode to partner. What it is to move from a war zone to a house. Yes, it is like crashing back in. But you couldn’t know that.

I do not feel my husband needs to “make up” days he is not physically present for. I would never in my life expect that of him. I am not physically present for days just as special to him during deployments.  Those days are precious either way – but what is most precious in a family like ours is knowing the other is safe for one more day. The other is surviving. The other’s heart is still beating. That is the greatest gift on the birthdays they “miss” and anniversaries they aren’t here for. To think that I expect him to “owe me” for them … you couldn’t be more wrong. You cannot understand what the emotions are behind missing the birth of a child. This wasn’t talking about anger or an “I owe you.” I can understand why you wouldn’t understand that. You have never held a friends leg while she gave birth with her husband on the phone six-thousand miles away. You cannot understand the strength that takes of a marriage to show that love across the world. You cannot understand that beauty.

This was written for men and women who choose – please understand that – CHOOSE to serve this nation – day in and day out, for as long as it will allow them.

Our deployments are twelve months long. My husband has served in both wars. He will serve again. And if asked again after that, he will go. And I will never hope for those days to come, or for him to leave, or “hate when he is home.”

He is the father of our children. The love of my life. My partner on the journey.

I do not stand in his shadow. I stand beside him – proudly. I carry him with me in everything, EVERYTHING, as he does for me. I am so very sorry you cannot see that. So very sorry you cannot respect those of us who live this life for so long. I see no respect in what you wrote.  

There is such beauty in the life between this kind of soldier and his wife. It is a selfless love. No, I guess I am not selfish enough to understand what you are saying.

I am so very sorry you question the love between my soldier and me – and, yes, you are questioning it. So very disappointed you can say it makes him less of a Christian. How dare you.

My husband’s boots hit the ground, have walked the streets of Baghdad, have lived beside Afghans in Kandahar. And in all the times that he is gone, I LIVE our life, I HONOR my soldier, I raise OUR children, and keep him with me, always.

How much you do not understand.

I thank your husband for his service to our nation.