"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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Beauty in the Old

I was clearing out even more little boxes that were sitting the corner of our room. These things were mostly C's and he hadn't touched them and they were beginning to drive me a little nuts. I sorted through little bits of gear that were loose pieces, thumb drives, coins, etc. and then I came to a boot box. It had been shoved in different places so often, been through so many moves, that the corners had begun to bend inward and the cardboard had become weak. It was so light that I almost discarded it without looking but as I went to pitch it I felt a slight jerk in the box. I opened it to take a very quick peak to be sure it was trash and I didn't move for a moment. 

It had everything.

Every card. Every letter. Every single word that I had written him that first deployment was in that box. 

Every. Single. One. 

I sat on our bedroom floor, while our boys slept in their room and C was at work, and read every card, every letter, every word. And then I read them again.

They had been worn by his hands, the creases had been softened by being unfolded and refolded. Words were smudged where his tired fingers had pressed too hard after a long patrol. Tear stains remained from the tears I had shed when I wrote them. They were beautiful.

And then a pain hit my heart. I hadn't written C a single letter this last deployment. I had sent cards and I had filled the card stock side but had not sent a single, hand-written letter.

I emailed. I emailed every time I didn't talk to him that day, or just because, or to send a picture of the boys doing something funny. I emailed all the time.

We Skyped for the second half of the deployment. We Skyped nearly every day. It was instant gratification. It was amazing. It was very much a blessing.

But it didn't give him anything to physically carry. It didn't give him something to go back to. It didn't give him anything to fold and unfold. To read and reread. To carry in the breast pocket of his uniform. It didn't give him something to save in a beaten up shoe box and to hold onto until we have grown old.

He only has cards from this time. They are something but they are not the same. Those letters are absolutely priceless.

Write to your soldier, or your marine, or your airman, or your sailor. Write long, long romantic letters. Write short, sweet ones too. Write funny ones. Write your heart. Write your sadness. Write your joy.  Spray them with perfume. Do it old school.

Technology is wonderful. I would never give it up. Not for anything. But I didn't realize I had given up that beauty. I didn't realize I had deprived him of that love.

There is beauty in the old ways.

Priceless beauty.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Featured Blogger - The Adventures of a Bee and a Dragonfly

I am so excited to introduce this Different Perspectives blogger! I found her through A Creed and a Psalm and I am so glad I did. She and her husband are new to the Air Force life, to marriage, and to blogging. They entered into this special life together and I can't wait to read how they settle in. When I asked her to be a featured blogger I told her that she must show that she has a determination to thrive in this life to which she replied, "No Problem!" Gotta love it. Head on over to The Adventures of a Bee and a Dragonfly welcome her and show her PLENTY of comment love. Welcome, Dragonfly! So happy to have you. : )

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Are the Odds

The Army provides all kinds of resources when a spouse is deployed. I always, always encourage spouses to use them. Three months ago, about a week after I signed into post housing, I filled out the form requesting for my back yard to be mowed while my husband was in Afghanistan. I waited and waited and waited and every grass-cutting day my grass grew higher and higher and higher. Every Thursday I called to inform them that my grass had not been cut as it was supposed to. Every Thursday I was told that I was on the list and they did not know where the miscommunication was. The housing office sometimes apologized and always assured me someone would come out to take care of it but my grass was never cut.


When C came home he said our tiny backyard was not a yard and therefore not worthy of a lawn mower. He came from the country where his family owns acres and acres and acres of land. I come from the city where houses are sometimes six-feet from each other (or less). To me, it has grass, the grass grows, it's a yard. 

He bought a weed-eater. 

And so for two months him or I have been "cutting" our grass with a weed-eater. 

Yes, we are those people. Yes, I am embarrassed. 

Last night I finally convinced C that since he was leaving for an unknown amount of time on TDY, I needed a lawn mower. I would no longer be that girl. I would no longer have uneven grass. My slight OCD couldn't take it anymore. If I was going to be doing this on my own, I needed a lawn mower - self-propelled, with an attached bag. Last night we went to Lowe's and bought a lawn mower - push, with an attached bag. 

A compromise.

Today, C put the lawn mower together and left to fill up the portable gas tank. I went to the backyard to move the boy's climber and stopped when I saw the climber already on our patio. For a split second I thought C moved it before he left. And then I saw the lawn.

It was cut. 

C didn't do it.

It's Thursday.

What are the odds? 

The Army gods are funny. Their timing is amazing. And I'm not telling them my husband's not deployed. ; ) 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Featured Blogger - A Creed and a Psalm

I have said before and I will say again that one of the greatest blessings from this blog has been connecting with other military spouses. It has been amazing to hear stories from seasoned spouses who "remember when," mothers who have found a place to better connect and, especially, new spouses who are just beginning this journey. It has been more of a blessing than I can say. So often, you guys email and it's like looking in the mirror. So often stories are similar and struggles and victories are the same. We live a very unique life - but so much of it between us overlaps. There is a comfort in that - to know that so many others feel or have felt or will feel the same way.

AB emailed me her blog and I was amazed by her story and her outlook. She has a kind heart and grace about it that is allowing her to ease into this new life. I wish I had had the same strength of mind and heart  as she does when I began this journey. It took time for me. I invite you to hop on over to her blog A Creed and a Psalm and become re-energized by her unwavering determination to thrive. Thank you, AB, for sharing with us. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

To Give a Child

"We are going to treat him for it and watch him closely but I do not want to put it in his records yet. We could but once we do I can't take it back. It will follow him forever. He may grow out of it in a few years and if he does and he wants to go to the Air Force Academy or into Special Operations it may prevent that. I would rather wait a little longer to put the word in his chart." 

For a split second it was me who couldn't breathe. 

Eli has always had respiratory issues. He was born with a respiratory infection, has allergies, sometimes needs a nebulizer, and is now on two inhalers. Most of the time he is okay but what we feared is very possibly coming to be and having that conversation with the doctor was all that my heart was prepared for. But to hear what he said about the future.

It caught me off guard.

This was my baby. My littlest, little boy. The first face I see in the morning as he stands beside my bed and yells, "Momma!" to wake me up at 6 a.m. This little boy that needs a little help breathing sometimes - and that was enough for me at that moment.

"If he wants to go to the Air Academy or into Special Operations ... " 

He's a baby. He's my baby.

They can't have him.

But that won't be my choice. That decision will not lie with me. It will be his and my hands will be tied. How my heart goes out to the Army parents. As a wife - I chose this. I could have walked away. I could have said, "The possibility of losing you is not something I will live with," and taken another road. I chose this for myself. I gave myself to this life but to give a child ... to give my littlest, little boy ... my baby ...

How hard that must be.

Thank you to the parents who kiss their sons and daughters good-bye and give them to this nation. Who support them as they fight and defend and give of themselves. Thank you to the parents who sacrifice as well, and who go unnoticed, and are often left in the dark. Thank you for the love you give that pushes them forward as they stand beside our husbands and wives.

One of C's LT's has incredible parents who stayed involved, who donated, who were there to welcome him home. We were very blessed to have them with our team. I always say that you don't know what you are capable of until you are in it - until your only choices are to 'do' or to 'don't'. I wonder what they thought when their son chose to be a soldier. I wonder if his mother said, "No." I wonder if she said she couldn't do it. Because when that doctor looked that far in Eli's future my entire body became tense. Every single muscle stiffened and all I could think was that he would never, ever go.

But that will not be mine to choose. I hope that if that ever is what he chooses God will cover me in grace. I pray that if that is the case, I will have the strength to hug him and to kiss him and to let him go. Because I know how much pride I will have. I know the fear that I will try to keep inside.  I know how the tears will be mixed with both as I watch him walk away from me.

He will still be my baby and I will think of this same moment and I will let him go.

I can be an Army wife - I love being an Army wife - but if I ever become a military mom ... God give me strength.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Walking the Line

I am going to walk a very fine line here. I have said - repeatedly - that I have no intention of talking politics with this blog. None. For that reason, I have tried to avoid my computer. I have tried very hard to ignore this. But I have read so much that I can't see straight and C and I have been having serious discussions that I never thought we would have two months shy of his fourteen year mark.

This war is very much the war of my generation. It spans a few generations really because it has lasted so long but this war has gone on for my entire adult life - and some before that. When this war began I was getting my driver's license. (Yes, I just gave away my age). Amazingly my generation is either unfazed by this war or is in the thick of it. We are either untouched or consumed - either because we have spent the last ten years deploying in the worst of conditions or loving someone who has.

I would never for a moment argue that my generation is the "greatest generation". I have met men and women of that generation. They truly, truly are the greatest of all generations. But the generations of this war have endured a decade of fighting. A decade - with no real defined end in sight. They have endured marriages crumbling from the weight, missing births, missing their children's childhoods, missing funerals, losing friends in traumatic circumstances. And not just once, but over and over again.

That means somethings. That is worth something. Whether you agree with the war or not - they have endured the battle because they were asked to. They said " I will" when ninety-nine percent said "I won't."

My husband joined when he was seventeen years old. He went to basic the summer between his junior and senior years of high school. He will be in for fourteen years in November. Fourteen years. Nearly half of his life.

We always thought that he would be in it for the long haul. We are committed to this life. We believe in service. We have always believed that the sacrifice is worth it. 

We never thought we would question it.

In the very near future, depending on what happens in Washington, the military will be facing a drastic change in their retirement benefits. No, not drastic. Catastrophic. And no matter what side you are on, it isn't right.

One percent of this nation serves in the military. One freakin' percent. (Forgive me). And of that one percent, roughly seventeen percent of them make it to full retirement. That is miniscule. There is a reason that so few make it to the end. Because it is hard, because it wears on a family, because there is only so much that a person can take. And to take that motivation from them that they deserve is disgusting.

I know that the money has to come from "somewhere". That "someone" has to sacrifice. That "someone" needs to "take a hit" but not these men and women. No. Not them. They have sacrificed. They do take the hits. They freaking take rounds! They have endured the hardest of circumstances.

They deserve to be compensated the best that they can be. No nation can adequately compensate those who serve it. It just isn't possible. They don't do it for money. Maybe that is why it is so easy to take advantage of them - because they are honorable men and women who serve - and rarely speak out. 

I am not going to go into how much is being proposed to take from each individual soldier's retirement. I don't think I could do that without setting the computer on fire. But it is significant enough to have us - and others - debating if staying in and serving is worth it. And it isn't just about the money - it is about the insult. It's a spit in the eye. It's a direct hit to the knees. To take men and women who haven't just served for such a long time - but have been in combat for a good majority of it - and to tell them that they are an expendable entitlement.

I can't stomach it.

So we are walking a fine line, weighing unimaginable options, thinking about things that we never thought we would think about.  None of this is something men and women currently deployed need to think about. None of them need to feel less valued.

To take more from those who give all is wrong. No matter how you slice it.

Yes, people need to give. Yes, people need to sacrifice. Yes, there needs to be change. But these men and women do and have and will and to take what they deserve because it is an easy cut ... 

It can't be more wrong.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Featured Blogger - Douglass Diaries

You all know that C is home and that we are experiencing a different part of the cycle. I know that so many of you are just starting out on deployments - or are in the thick of it - and when you are in that it is very comforting to read someone else's journey as they go through it at the same time. 

Brandi didn't choose the Army life when she chose her husband. They entered into this life when their youngest had just turned one. Eleven years later they are still walking the path. : ) Please check out her blog Douglass Diaries and encourage her and be encouraged. She is blunt and she doesn't hold back. Gotta love that in an Army Wife. Thanks for sharing, Brandi! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

To Give What I Had

I grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans. I love that city. I loved my neighborhood. To me there was never a question as to whether or not I would raise my children there - whenever I had them. I always planned to leave for a time - four or five years - and then come home, marry a New Orleans man, and dress my children in seersucker in the summer and have picnics in city park. It's not exactly a vision I clung to - it was just always the way it was going to be. There wasn't another thought. Families live within blocks of each other. Cousins aren't always really cousins - aunts aren't always aunts. People are born there and they stay - not because they have to, but because they could never, ever bear to leave.

I have two very, very close friends that my boys call "Aunt". We have known each other since we were five-years-old. We started Kindergarten together. We chose the same high school. We lived with each other through college. We cried over boys together. We figured out make-up together (well, I'm still figuring it out). We celebrated birthdays - many, many birthdays. We cried over break-ups. We watched each other make mistakes and helped to pick each other up from them. We celebrated each other's successes. They stood beside me at my wedding.

All three of us love that city. All three of us always thought our children would grow up together. All three of us just assumed we would have the same things.

Logan will meet his preschool teacher tomorrow - at a new school. Last year at this time he was walking up the steps to my preschool. Last year at this time I took a picture of him standing on grass that I stood on and smiled while wearing my little backpack. Last year I got a glimpse of "my plan". 

I'm not upset that he is going to a different place than the one I know. I am not upset that the way I planned it isn't the same as how He planned it. I am hurting because I know that my sons will never have the same experience I had. My boys will never have the friends that they know and see everyday for nearly twenty years. My heart is breaking because Logan is three and this is his second school. My heart is breaking because I wonder who will stand beside him at his wedding. I wonder who will know him the way those two women know me. My heart is breaking because he won't have these same two people that I have. 

I've thought about it before and have always swept that to the back of my mind - because I can't change it. Because in no way - in the most perfect of military circumstances - can I give that to my children. 

I know that children are resilient. I know that military children don't know it any other way - that they are all going through the same thing. That - like so many things - it will be "normal" as far as they know. But I want to give that stability to my boys - the same grammar school, same high school. Two schools. Period. I want them to have the same friends that they know through it all. I want to give them what I had. And I can't. 

I feel like I took that from them. I feel guilty that they won't know that.

Today is one of those days - one of those days when we have to once again acknowledge that this life is really, really hard. That there are parts that we really, really want to change and can't. 

Tomorrow I will enjoy seeing him meet his classmates. Tomorrow I will be so very thankful that Logan and Eli have such a special friendship that will be a constant in this changing life. Tomorrow I will find the strength. But today I want to give them the beauty of what I had and still have. Many, many tomorrows from now I will find the beauty that must come from the friendships he will make along the way - with other kids whose mommies and daddies are also part of something bigger. I know I will find it - because He wouldn't bring me to a place that didn't have it. 

It's another part I am learning. Another part that we will all learn through. Another part that will show us what we are made of. 

We'll find the beauty along the way.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shared Sorrow

"If you're reading this ..."

I slowly tightened my grip over his hand.

"If you're reading this / my momma’s sitting there ... "

Without any movement of his face, no other acknowledgment, he squeezed the fingers that had fallen between his.

"If you're reading this / If you're reading this ..."

I stopped breathing.

"I'm already home."

One tear. No words. Our grips loosened and I rubbed the top of his hand with my thumb until it passed.

Eleven months. I got through eleven months without hearing that song. Not once. 

I have heard it twice in the last twenty-four hours. I felt so horribly confused by my reaction. He's home. I was holding his hand while he was beside me. He was in my car driving down a paved interstate without checkpoints or need of a caravan or escort. Without men around him. Without armor on his chest, without a helmet on his head, without a gun at his side. Perfectly safe, one hand on the wheel, one hand under mine, while our little boys slept in their car seats. And that song hit me like he was over six-thousand miles away in the worst of circumstances.

My heart broke for the families that are on so many of our hearts and minds and in our prayers. I was so very grateful that I was holding C's hand. So very, very thankful that he is home. There was guilt in the same moment. I will never be able to adequately explain that - never - but I think every army wife understands it. In the same breath that we thank God our soldier is unharmed we will feel unexplainable guilt for the very same thought. We know that someone else just lost their life. Someone else would have to mourn. Someone else would fall to their knees.

I felt dread. I know he will go back. I know we have to live this again. I know the fear will be mine to carry. It seems so far away but then it seems all too close. 

There are no pauses in this life.

To say we are a family - a community - does not come close. We are all connected. We are all mourning. We are all hurting. We have all been brought to our knees. We have all prayed harder, held our loved ones closer, said that one more “I love you.”

There isn't a separation. This does not go away when our own soldier is out of harm's way. We are still army wives and husbands and mothers and fathers. We all share in this.  

The sorrow dwells in all of us.

For all those who give of themselves so that we might live freely, for all those who selflessly stand up and say "I will" while so many around them won't, for all those who enter into the battle, Lord, strengthen their bodies, guide their hearts, and bring them home safely.

For all those who fall and then rise, for all of those who humbly sacrifice their Earthly life to sustain ours, for all those who have shown the greatest of love, Lord, welcome them into Your Kingdom with greatest haste and abounding joy.

For all those who mourn them, for all those who fall to their knees from the weight of despair, for all those who loved them, Lord, blanket them in grace, comfort them, guide them, and cradle them in the palm of your hand. 

For all of our fallen, for their comrades, for their families, we pray.



Lyrics: Tim McGraw's "If You're Reading This"

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Forgive me in advance for this rant. Forgive me in advance for the anger behind it. Anger is a nasty thing but I believe in just anger and I am confident this is just about that.

I used to be a news junkie. I used to flip through all of the major news stations. And then I just couldn't take it anymore and I stopped. This morning while I was driving around checking out garage sales I kept switching between them wanting to hear information on the massive tragedy that took place in Afghanistan last night. It was the deadliest attack since the war began. Thirty-one - THIRTY-ONE - troops were killed when a rocket took down a helicopter.

I didn't hear half-a-second about this on ANY of the news stations. None. Not-a-one. Zero air time.

I heard about it from other Army Wives who get the word out. Who let others know that a hero has fallen. And when we hear it, we bow our head and we pray, we remember, we cry, we honor. Because when a nation faces the deadliest attack within a war THAT is what should happen.

As I listened to the immature, disgusting argument taking place between the politicians being interviewed on the news I was driving through the neighborhoods of a military community. I pulled over and bought lemonade from two little girls and two little boys sitting in front of their house and I don't even like lemonade. Of the thirty-one troops killed - they had children. Just like these little ones. And their lives have been forever changed.

THAT is newsworthy. That is something that deserves to be acknowledged by the media. I don't want to hear anymore of this mess taking place in Washington. I am angry. I am irate. Not just because of the stupidity but because that idiocy takes precedence over this day in this war.

Have some respect. Have some humility.

If these politicians had half the character these thirty-one troops had, half the sense of duty, half the love for their country we would be in a much different state.

It's disgusting.

It's wrong.

But what is right and what is beautiful, is that military families will pick up the slack this day. Friends of these families will make meals, do laundry, distract the children of these widows and they will remember them. We will speak the names and honor the fallen.

Because that is what we all should do.

It's the least any of us can do.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Counting Up

"We don't know how long this deployment is. We aren't planning on R&R. We are planning for twelve but are being told six. Everything is in limbo." Of all the uncertainty we face in this life this one killed me the most. And this wasn't even C. Mine had come home and her's had just left. There is a big difference between six months and a year. And to not KNOW? Ugh. I felt for her.

She sounded just a little defeated - just for a moment - but I heard it. I can't imagine.

Some of us still - every now and then - face a possible twelve month deployment becoming a fifteen. And many are beginning to face the six becoming twelve or vice versa. Punch to the gut. There is always the possibility that dates will change - that things will move to the right or the left. C's last deployment was cut a month short. And while that was a JOY for our family, we knew that that meant another unit was deploying a month early. 

Time tables change. 

It's almost a given.

I was talking to another spouse about "counting down." She emailed asking what I thought about "count down" posters and the like. Another talked about counting down from twelve when twelve was uncertain. We all do it - it can help, can be a comfort to count down those days. It's fun for our kids to have something that marks one day less without daddy. But in the situations where time is so uncertain, it can jolt us. It is a physical reminder that that time table just became longer. That we thought we were "this close" and now it feels we have miles left to go. It's thinking you signed up for a half marathon and then being told at the half-way point that you accidentally committed to the whole thing. 

So I talked to her about counting "up". When we don't know a definite timeline (and nothing is a definite timeline) we don't risk having that physical reminder that everything changed. I told her to buy a large vase or pretty container of some sort and place it in a display area of her home. Then to find something that you love or that your child loves. Find pretty pebbles, or color different sand, collect seashells, or find something important to you and add one every day. Every day it becomes fuller. Every day it becomes more beautiful. Every day it becomes more and more a part of your home - your life. 

And when your soldier comes home put a glass lid on it and keep it. Let it be a reminder of the journey. Let it show you how strong you have become. Look at it and know that it started empty - like we all can feel during a deployment - and it became something strong, something beautiful. Keep it for the next one and start another beside it. Recognize how far you come, each and every time you place something in it. Because you are counting up, moving up another day. 

A deployment is very much like climbing a mountain - we are fighting our way up. I don't think there is a downhill part of deployment. You can say that the second half counts as that but I don't really see it. The challenges don't suddenly stop just because we made it past that point. Every day we are battling uphill. Every day we are filling up that vase. Everyday we are going one more step forward until we make it to the top and we know that we made it. You feel accomplished. You are stronger. You did it.

So think about counting up instead. 

Just an idea. ; )

What helps you to track time during a deployment?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Silly Mistakes

I was going through yet another set of clothes to possibly give away and I pulled it out. A shirt so small it would barely fit me. And if it did - it wouldn't be the kind of fit you would even go out to get the newspaper in.

"Have you ever SEEN your boyfriend? Do you even know what he looks like?" C's best bud asked when he took the phone from C. 

Oh no, not again. What did I mess up? A few months before I had sent a pair of cherry-red pajama pants to C as a joke for Valentine's day. (I don't do Valentine's day). They had giant white hearts all over them. They were obnoxious. I thought I was being the cute kind of funny. The joke was on me. I "may" have not checked the size before I checked out. They were WAY too big. And my funny boyfriend (now husband) paraded through the halls of his building in Baghdad in his embarrassingly oversized Valentine's pants. He may as well have carried a sign explaining how frazzle-brained his girlfriend could be because he told everyone who gave him a funny look. He laughed right along with them. 

And this time it was worse. Again, I thought I was being funny. Thought I was being a little sassy giving my Mississippi-raised boyfriend and graduate an LSU football T-shirt. I was giggling so much in my head as I checked out at the store that I missed the "YOUTH" sign above the shelves of shirts. I plopped it directly into the shipping box, sealed it, and had it sent out before I made it to my next class.

He couldn't wear that shirt down the halls. He couldn't even fit it over his head. I'm pretty sure it would have cut off his circulation. But, never-the-less, there is no doubt in my mind that D-Co's nearly one hundred men all knew about that shirt. There is no doubt because I heard about it from these men until they deployed again. I heard about it every time I was introduced to one of these guys - whether his or not. I heard about it when they said their official good-bye to C and gave him his plaque. They all knew. And they all laughed. And I turned red every time. 

We all do funny things on accident that can be embarrassing - especially in the first stages of this life. I know that my embarrassment caused a good bit of laughter for a lot of soldiers very far from home. He kept the shirt. A few days ago I found the Valentine's day pants. And I couldn't help from laugh. Because they are still HUGE and that shirt has NEVER been worn - after five years.

I guess they were worth keeping. : )


Any funny/embarrassing stories between you and your soldier starting out? We all need a good laugh sometimes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


When you live a life like this you have to find joy in the big things as well as the small things. The last two weeks have been stressful weeks for our family. Tiring, long weeks. We returned home from two weeks of traveling yesterday to an agent waiting to do a background check on C's previous boss. It was just bad timing. I was tired, the boys were tired, C needed to get some training in. It's a wonder I didn't close the door in his face and crush his badge. I guess I was just too tired to be snappy. I wanted the day to end. I wanted to get into my own bed and just sleep. Nothing was going to make this day better except its ending.

Many months ago, I called to check on a friend of mine. We haven't seen each other in nearly two years but we keep in touch. I will never forget that phone call and hearing her voice when she told me the news. She was half way through her pregnancy and baby Lily was most likely not going to make it. If she did, she would have a difficult life. There were complications - many complications. Her husband wasn't there. And she was facing that possibility without him. I wanted nothing more but to get on a plane and fly to Tennessee and hug her. 

There is no telling how many tears were shed that night - between the both of us. I do not believe I have ever cried as much as I did then. To not be able to help. To not be able to physically be there. To not be able to have her husband be there. It tore me apart in the worst way. To know how badly she was hurting. To know that I had never faced what she was facing. To know no mother ever should. 

There can only be tears.

Yesterday I heard the news. Lily was born - perfectly sized, perfectly healthy, perfectly beautiful. She is a miracle.

And to make it more amazing - her daddy was there.

I cried and I cried and I cried. There was just so much joy. A woman months before faced the possibility of losing her little girl that she had never met, without her husband beside her. And yesterday, he sat right beside her as perfect little Lily came into the world - very much alive, very much perfect. A perfect child of God.

It is so easy in this life to be beaten down. To grow tired of the journey. To focus on the negative. And then there are moments like this that we celebrate. When we are reminded that He has a plan. That He brings us through it. That He will not abandon us. Because her daddy got to hold Lily - not months after her birth, not weeks after she learned to smile, not after she first learned to roll, or sit up, or crawl but right as she entered this world. So much joy. So much to be grateful for.

We have to celebrate this life because it isn't always easy, it isn't always what we want it to be, but it is a beautiful life when we choose to embrace it. Hold onto the joy. It will get your through.

The Nitty Gritty - A Guest Post by Amanda

Amanda sent this to me some time ago but I have just been so busy I haven't gotten it up. It can be hard to stand a few months into a deployment - or even at the halfway point - and not think "We have so much left." Thats when you buckle down, have a good cry, and keep moving forward. Amanda does a great job of putting into words how that time can feel. Read her guest post and then jump on over to her blog Manda's Musings and show her some comment love. : ) Thanks, Amanda!

I knew this time was coming, I just didn’t know it would be so soon.

It’s the middle-of-deployment slump.  I’ve been here before; it happens every time.  It’s just more encouraging when it comes later on.  It’s when you realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen your spouse, but you realize how long it is until you’ll see them again.  It’s when you realize you are used to an empty bed, and you instantly hate that you’re used to it.  It’s when you realize you have completely established your own routine, without a partner, and you know how much longer that routine has to last.

It’s when you ask yourself why you’re doing it at all.

Deployments are a lot like races: The beginning is when you are motivated, you are positive, and you are just ready to get going and kick this deployment in the butt.  The end is when you are excited, rejuvenated, and you are determined to “finish strong”.  But in the middle it just all wears on you.  The burden seems so heavy.  The end is nowhere in sight.  The initial push of support has started to wear off, though you know if you just had the courage to reach out for help someone would be there in an instant.  But wasn’t it easier when they were always there – without asking, without being told, and maybe without you wanting them anyway? 

“stay busy”

“be positive”



I know all the “tips and tricks”.  And they do help, they really do.  But the middle needs something more.  The middle needs a renewed sense of value for the purpose.  I am doing this because my marriage is worth it.  I am doing this because the man I’m waiting for is more incredible than any other man I could have, even if I’d have the other man all the time.  I’m doing this because it’s so small in comparison to what he is sacrificing.  I’m doing this because we are in it together – for better or for worse.  And I wouldn’t know how great “better” is if I didn’t have a small taste of “worse” to compare it to.

So here’s to the middle.  The nitty gritty.  The part of the race when we find out who is in it to win it and who doesn’t have what it takes.  I know I do, I just have to bite through the pain and do it.