Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Sometimes you hear a new song on the radio, and it sums up your feelings so well that you wonder if someone has been stalking you, or rooting around in your head looking for stray thoughts and feelings to put to music.

This week has been all about telling people about my choice to leave my job, and about figuring out what to say, and how not to burn bridges. This is at the same time that I am dealing with the same reasons for my decision in the first place. So many friends have been so amazingly supportive-- This song sums up a lot of my excitement and feeling about the change.

Most people, after all, have their next job lined up before they simply "quit". :)

Tonight's song: "Maybe" by Sick Puppies.

The lyrics tell you something, too--

Maybe I'm a dreamer
Maybe I'm misunderstood
Maybe you're not seeing the side of me you should
Maybe I'm crazy
(Maybe I'm crazy)
Maybe I'm the only one
(Maybe I'm the only one)
Maybe I'm just out of touch
Maybe I've just had enough

Maybe it's time to change
And leave it all behind
I've never been one to walk alone
I've always been scared to try
So why does it feel so wrong
To reach for something more
To wanna live a better life
What am I waiting for?
'Cause nothing stays the same
Maybe it's time to change

Maybe it's hopeless
(Maybe it's hopeless)
Maybe I should just give up
(Maybe I should just give up)
What if I can't trust myself?
What if I just need some help?

Maybe it's time to change
And leave it all behind
I've never been one to walk alone
I've always been scared to try
So why does it feel so wrong
To reach for something more
To wanna live a better life
What am I waiting for?
'Cause nothing stays the same
Maybe it's time to change

And maybe it's time to change
And leave it all behind
I've never been one to walk alone
I've always been scared to try

And maybe it's time to change
And leave it all behind
I've never been one to walk alone
I've always been scared to try
So why does it feel so wrong
To reach for something more
To wanna live a better life
What am I waiting for?
'Cause nothing stays the same
Maybe it's time to change
'Cause nothing stays the same
Maybe it's time to change

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Move On

I'm writing this Sunday afternoon, lazy on the couch, with the sound of my little G's video game quietly beeping and singing next to me. It's peaceful, despite the 100-degree weather and horrendous drought that all of Texas has been experiencing.

This blog won't go live until Monday evening, because I haven't yet told everyone who needs to know what my plan is. I've talked to my two uppermost-level managers, but I have one more to go.

I love this image. Right now I feel like the King, even though I've made the move of the Pawn.

I quit.

I have given my two weeks' notice, and I am incredibly at peace. Here are some answers to questions I'm sure I'll either be asked or that people will be wondering.

No, I don't have a new job lined up yet, though I've applied.

No, we aren't PCSing.

Or retiring.

It's just time. The last six months or so have been extremely stressful in an unhealthy way, culminating in this week's drama. I don't want to get into details but those who are closest to me at the office have an idea of what's been going on. And I don't need, or want, to endure any more of it.

I've simply had enough.

I have enjoyed the chance to work with some amazing people over the last two years. Nurses and social workers who assist new parents and answer endless questions about babies and Army life and "what do I DO?" Dedicated Victim Advocates who help people rebuild their shattered lives, but travel in twos to remain safe in the face of unhinged perpetrators. Trainers who tell Soldiers the same information, year after year, because sometimes it works and Soldiers will change their ways or will make that call to end abuse. It's been worth it, and I've been so proud to take part in it.

But there comes a time when each person has to do what is right for their families. And this is right for us. Perhaps I'm burned out. But I feel like the very best is heading my way, and I couldn't be more excited.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Five Questions-- New Friend :)

Modern Army life is so different from anything our mothers or grandmothers got to experience. We can meet and learn from each other before we ever move to a new duty station, and suddenly this "new place" isn't so scary. I am so grateful for the chance to know, support, and learn from fellow Army spouses.

Jarita is just that type of new friend. We met on an Army Wives forum, and then when Facebook exploded we "friended" each other. Now she and her husband have PCSed close by, and I am so excited. I feel like I already know her. Even though virtual personalities are sometimes different from the way people seem online, their words and advice and attitudes still shine out through their posts and comments-- I can't wait to really meet her face to face.

Here are Jarita's Five:

1. What are five things you know now about military life that you wish someone had told you.

* Learn how to hook up a washer and dryer. Better yet, know how each tool in your husband's tool box works. Eventually it'll be YOUR tool box. You'll fix a lot while he is gone.

* Learn as many military acronyms as you can. At first it sounds like some secret code that everyone knows but you. Before long you'll be fluent. You'll see you will slip these every day acronyms into your daily conversations especially in your phone calls home.

* As soon as you unpack the last box in your garage two years after being at a certain duty station most likely your husband will bring home orders to PCS again.

* Learn your husband's rank, unit, commanding officer, or anything else that pertains to his job. That way when someone asks you what your husband does you'll be able to answer and not stare at them hoping the information will magically appear on their forehead. This happened to me when I first got married.

* You'll hear rumors that FRGs are drama-filled military wife gossip groups. This isn't always true though I have seen it in the past. Go in with an open mind and after a few meetings you'll know if it's right for you or not. You don't have to be active in an FRG to be a part of it either. Just make sure they have your information so you can be contacted with news, events, and information.

2. What is the most important thing you'd like to tell new spouses?

* Be independent. Military Spouse Life will be much harder if you are not. Build a life outside of your husband. If you don't you'll be lost when he is gone. Never be too proud to ask for help but be prepared to do most of it alone. Know that you have that strength in you.

3. What do you love the most?

* The opportunities to see different parts of the world and meeting new people.

4. What do you find the hardest?

* Starting over at a new duty station. Making new friends. Being the new wife on the block. I just remember to have an open mind.

5. Tell me a story that sums up military life for you.

* I have been an Army Wife for almost six years. In those six years I have had nine different addresses (that doesn't include months in furnished apartments or times in hotels). I have stood by my husband for two deployments and one full year in schooling for him to become a CA Operator. I've logged 13,500 miles of driving for three different moves from one side of the country to the other. I have had two children who have lived and moved from more places than any one we know back home.

It sounds like we lead a crazy life but it isn't. I am not crazy about the moving process but I love to move. I treat this life like an adventure. It's exciting and it feeds that adventurous spirit inside of me.

I do it because I support my husband and because I love him. There are times I get angry with how the Army does things or I get upset and miss home. It happens to all of us at times. I just take a big deep breath and remember that some things I can't control. I just take care of things I can.

I have watched my husband go from a private as a combat engineer to a staff sergeant as a civil affairs operator. I am incredibly proud of all he accomplished but I am even more proud of what I have accomplished. I have learned how to hook up a washer and dryer, I can unpack a house completely in a week (with a newborn and preschooler by my side while my husband is away for training), I have coordinated moves and moved our entire house while my husband was deployed, I can handle most anything without him, and of course I know how to use every tool in MY tool bag. I even have my own drill. I can't wait to see what we both accomplish in the next 13,000 miles!

Thank you, Jarita. Can't wait to meet for coffee or walks or... :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Five Stages: Anger

This is the first in a series of blogs based on Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief. These, however, are the five stages of a deployment, or extended TDY, or any time our Soldier is “away”.

The time frame for these may vary depending on the spouse and on the individual couple. For example, when we first got married and I had moved halfway across the country, our first CQ involved all five stages because it happened the first day in our new home. Now, I don’t really do many of these until about the third week, or they pass so quickly it’s a mere bad mood.


I am purposefully not doing the stages in the usual order, because even Kubler-Ross says these stages aren’t necessarily complete or chronological. Each person is unique.

First: Anger

There comes a point in nearly every “away”, where the military spouse is just fed up. This usually comes when she is doing something that is usually the Soldier’s job, or hurts herself, or gets sick, or simply comes home at the end of the day and is just wiped out.

Usually this coincides with the pets and the kids and even the neighbors all needing her at once.

Generally, but certainly not always, this happens at the same time as a natural hormonal low. PMS on steroids.

Ironically, it sometimes occurs just as the spouse is feeling like this time isn’t so bad. She’s got this. It’s all good. Then—blammo.

Suddenly, it’s all the Soldier’s fault. And the Army (Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy) sucks. And why did she even agree to this in the first place? Marrying a CPA would have been easier. Well, except in April but that’s entirely beside the point.

In my case, much cussing is usually involved. Sometimes the fatigue is so heavy that I’ll find myself in bed at 9 pm. But then unable to sleep. Almost always, I will question the wisdom of having pets or children or getting married at all. The questioning period is brief, thankfully, but it’s there.

The thing is, every spouse feels this time differently. And we all cope with it in our own ways. For me, this (justifiable?) anger is generally a sign that I need to go out with a girlfriend or to a movie or at least buy an overpriced frozen drink somewhere. Self-care during any “away” is crucial, and if we listen to our hearts we will know when we really need to do more to take care of ourselves.

When do you reach that angry time?

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School

This is the first time I haven’t been able to hug my oldest on the first day of school. This is an important note because she has, more often than not, had a hard time with the first day of school. Confusion, teachers she didn’t like, boring classes, or “something” would happen.

This year, she lost her wallet.

She carries a small, pocket-sized wallet. However, she has very small pockets so apparently it slipped right out. She and I are still hoping that it’s in her car (she had to go to her next class right away so there was no time to look) or at her last class (see above) or even back at home, next to her parking spot. Maybe even on the ground next to her car in the parking garage.

At any rate, she may be going through some less-fun growing pains very soon. New license. New bank cards. And, may I add with no small amount of trepidation—new DOD ID card???


All while she is in one state and I’m in another. And it’s her battle to fight, anyway.

She did, however, send me a picture of her from her “first day”. Little bemused twitch to her smile and all. It’s made my day.

What was one of your first “growing up” hassles that you remember?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lean On Me

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow

But if we are wise
We know that there's
Always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on

For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things
You need to borrow

For no one can fill
Those of your needs
That you won't let show

You just call on me brother
When you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem
That you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on

For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother
When you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem
That you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear
That you can't carry

I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

In high school, my best friend Jennifer wrote a few of the lyrics to “Lean On Me” in my yearbook. At the time, the version we heard most was by Club Nouveau, but the words are pretty much the same. There is a give and take to friendship, a give and take to life, that is summed up here.

Sometimes I am strong.

Sometimes you are stronger.

Sometimes the person from whom we get the greatest strength, needs a little bit more.

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on

For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on.

There’s an expectation in friendship that it’s not one-way. Sometimes we lean together, bracing our weaknesses on each other so that we grieve or struggle or rest with each other. Sometimes I fall down, and I am picked back up by someone who has more strength at that time. Sometimes I see that you are falling, or struggling, or simply not as strong as usual, and I help.

Sometimes we are carried along by our friends’ prayers.

I am so grateful for what I have learned from my friends. In times of great change, there is even more give-and-take as we adjust. Sometimes I haven’t even realized that I am struggling, until the offer of help makes me see that this load does not have to be borne alone. I’ve had moments where I was exceedingly blessed to be able to be that support.

So thank you, friends of mine. I know there will be times I will need to rest on you. And I am so incredibly blessed to be able to be here for you, when you need me.

But if we are wise
We know that there's
Always tomorrow

Who do YOU lean on? Who matters most when the chips are down?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five Questions-- My Battle Buddy

Rebecca is my battle buddy. We first met because my husband and her husband were roommates in Korea, and when they came home they both ended up at Fort Carson. So G says "you should meet his wife; you'd get along great". When Rebecca said she'd like to try out a church and would I like to go, I think "I'm not sure we will get along at all...I was thinking coffee or something.". My mental image is of this quiet, meek, perhaps goody-goody woman.

Looking back on that mental image now, I laugh. I laugh and laugh because Rebecca is not quiet, is not meek, and has been one of my best and dearest friends through so many changes and Army issues I can't even begin to describe them here.

1. What are five things you know now about military life that you wish someone had told you?

A. Tip the bagger.

B. Goodbye hurts ten times more than you ever thought possible.

C. Welcome home, ten times sweeter.

D. There is no right way, just the way that works for you.

E. Choose your friends wisely, and your enemies even more so, the Army is a very small world.

2. What is the most important thing you'd like to tell new spouses?

What would I tell a new spouse? This is a really tough question. I am from the old school, new spouses are not. I would tell them the Army is not just another job, it is a lifestyle. One filled with traditions, honor and respect. You may not have married the Army, you may not be in the Army but you are part of the Army family, like it or not. And as such I, and others, expect a certain amount of maturity, independence and honor. If you come in with a chip on your shoulder, lots to prove and you already know the way…..go for it, when you fall I will be there. The Army world is one that takes grace, patience and a lot of wrong turns before you find your way….and once you do….someone will change the map. And for GOSH sake you represent us all -- when you are in public PLEASE get dressed, comb your hair, and smell decent!

3. What do you love the most?

What do I love the most….for simple questions the answers sure are complex. I love that I have a multi-faceted life. I love how I can be so many otherwise not compatible people. I am the traditional, true blue Army wife. I love the traditions, I feel we both earn that rank, we represent a nation, I have a certain unspoken position to uphold that is time honored and noble…and then there is the independent me…who is my own person, goes to school, needs no man to fix a lawn mower, move furniture or buy a car…another flip of myself and you find the mother, the family person, the traditional wife….flip again….the “the single girl”…..(husband in a far of land kind of single) eating out most meals, staying up late, covering the other half of the bed with pets, books…whatever I want. I love the diversity it has brought to my life all steeped and rooted in traditions most will never see or know. Traditions we all complain about but for me, I would not have any other way.

4. What do you find the hardest?

The hardest….standing in that gym, taking in the last free breath for who knows how long. Watching your husband walk away…in a flash your eyes meet and there is a life time of unspoken words. You know tears are on the brink of both your eyes, fear eating at your soul, your heart tearing into 100 pieces…..and yet you somehow let go. Then you turn to the wife, mother, sister, girlfriend beside you who has no HOOAH or AI-YEAH under her belt, you hold her shaking body, feel her tears on your shoulder, you soak in her pain. You lock eyes with her other half , standing beside yours and the words between you, again unspoken, tell them to go, you got it…..that is the moment you realize what MILITARY SPOUSE really means. And next turn (deployment) the wife who is unable to keep it together may shed tears but now she will turn and hold the next one….that is what we do, that is who we are.

5. Tell me a story that sums up military life for you.

A story of military life….wow, I would need a month to write a story that sums up this life, and even then could not do it justice. Military life is what you want it to be, it is what you make of it.

Way back in 1991 there was a young girl who was very new to the Army, she knew no one, her husband an E-2, and she just shows up, tired of waiting for him to get things ready. She found an apartment, turns out in the worst part of town, rents it, goes to a rent-to-own furniture place, rents a house full of furniture and THEN calls her husband to say…hey, I am here, and this is our address.

Her husband, a little flabbergasted says ok…but I am leaving for NTC in two days. Umm, what is NTC? I soon find out.

The day after my husband left I was reading the paper. Now keep in mind I am on the wrong side of town in El Paso, Texas. Never been out of my tiny home town of 250 people, all white, all speak English. There have been some murders in this new town I live in, wait, I know that street, umm, wait…that is my backyard. I am without a car, and I know not a soul. I am scared out of my mind, oh, and I have no phone.

Seems others have read the paper, and there is a knock at my door. I answer, swing the door wide open…still not too keen on the city smarts, there stands a very big man. He asked if I am Mrs. Oakes, umm, yeah sure…but really that is my mother in law. He informs me he is my husband’s platoon sergeant and my husband, upon leaving for NTC that morning, informed him I was here. He asked if I would like to come live with his wife, and their two kids, while the husbands were at NTC….again, not too city smart or people leery. I say heck yeah, you know a bunch of woman got staked alive in my backyard. He smiles and says, yes, yes I do. Off I go with a perfect stranger. This was key moment one.

A few months later, after many and I mean many bumps in this life called the military I was on post at the grocery store….trying to figure out why that bagger was not leaving after she loaded my groceries….and this woman who was parked beside me asked if I was new in town. Yes, yes I was and I was beginning to feel like I had landed in Mars. She asked if we had a car…no, no we don’t …could she not see I was getting in a Taxi…I was a little cocky back then. She handed me a card(key moment two) and said call us if you would like to get out, we have a shuttle, oh, and you are supposed to give the baggers a tip…….a tip? Yeah, like I could afford a tip. That lady had some screws loose. I get in cab and glance at her card….ACS, Your Home Away from Home….hmm, sounds like one of those battered woman’s shelter, did I look battered? I shove it in my pocket and off I go to my apartment.

My husband informs me that night he is leaving…AGAIN…for something called gunnery. I have had it. I am so upset, lost, homesick and done. He leaves anyway. I walk to the laundromat and find that card from the crazy lady. It weighs on my mind all day. The next day I call, and hang up. Day after I call and holding back my tears ask if I can get a shuttle ride….had no idea to where but I wanted to go home, isn’t that what the card had said…Home Away from Home. The next morning got picked up by a van at 8:30AM just like she said, and onto post we went. The van was full of ladies and kids, all talking in some foreign language. …ACS, CDC, hourly care…NTC, oh I know that one means husband has to go away for work, STIX or is it STICKS…I have no idea. I am about to give up and I am not even there, I am feeling more lost. Then one lady says hi…and another…and another…they tell me their names, and start talking in that foreign language again when they ask what unit my husband is in…but I got this one…he is in the Army, at Fort Bliss, and he has a tank. I am feeling pretty good I could answer them. They just kind of look at me, shocked I knew the answer I am sure. We have arrived so it seems…to a house.

I get out and follow the others, once inside I am asked what I signed up for today…other than the shuttle…I have no clue. She lets me know there is an opening in the craft class, one in cooking and one in money handling. Off I go to craft class….I make a fan for over a doorframe or to put on the wall….wait, I am laughing. I am having fun and I can tell you the name of all the people in that room. Off to cooking class…quiche, what in the world is that? We make it, cook it and eat it. It is yummy. We then learn how to make a few other dishes, everyone get recipe cards and a monthly menu. Oh and today is food pick up day. They ask if I would like to get some food…sure. You see back then you could get cheese, peanut butter, butter, beans, rice and some other things twice a month…for free…no questions. They let me know I can pick it up at the end of the day. Off to money class….wow, did I learn some things there…and more names, more phone numbers. I had not felt like this in a couple months, I was not alone. I even learned that ACS and not a battered woman’s shelter, it was home. I did not want to go home but it was time. I had stayed till the last shuttle run of the day, ending the day in the living room watching a movie. I signed up for every day I could before I left. Oh, and I did not forget my food.

That was a long time ago and so much has happened since but I can tell you if that lady had not given me that card I would not be married today. They no longer give the food, and no longer have Home Away from Home houses on post with a shuttle, and that is a horrible thing in my book, so many could still use that service. I learned everything from sewing, checkbook management, cooking and laundry to Army traditions. They still teach some of these things but having a home to learn them in is far different, it was more heart friendly, and that shuttle…wow, what a life saver. That house was open five days a week from 8-6, you could come watch movies, hang out, take classes and you got free child care for every class you taught.

Anyway, back to why this is my important story. Military life is a new world, a world you make your way, you get what you put in and you take what you need. In 1991 I needed far more than I had to give. One person smiled and spoke, one person handed me a life line, one person saved my life, my marriage and set me on the road to who I am today. That is military life. I have had many things happen along the way, some good, some downright heart-breaking but there has always been that one person and I can proudly day I have been that one person a few times on this journey.

I have strived to be that crazy lady, to reach out, to help when I can, to make a difference but for in my life right now that honor goes to someone else at this time… husband deployed, again, almost 12 months ago and even though I have learned a lot since 1991, it still hurts. And many knew this one was going to be tough for so many reasons….and out of the blue one day I got a note in the mail, then a card, then an unexpected Christmas package and this continued for the duration of this deployment…this person was not a stranger like that day in the commissary parking lot but she is just as much a life saver. It was not my turn to give this deployment but to receive, and to learn to receive, to let someone else come into my life and hold my heart while I hurt. This deployment will be over for me in a few days, but my angel will be in my heart forever …writing this for her blog is my THANK YOU. Thank you for holding my heart while it broke, thank you for being strong while I fell this year, thank you for picking me up and thank you for reaching for my hand when it got too heavy to walk alone. I did not see this angel much over the past year but there she was….like a miracle… every time I fell or needed a boost her timing was perfect.

I learned as much this last year as I did my first in the Army. I learned that in this thing called Army life we have a time to learn, a time to give and a time to receive, the magic is learning which time it is for you and acting upon it. (my third key military life moment)

Military life is about touching the heart of another, trusting to let someone touch yours, and knowing that each day is a new day, a new challenge and tomorrow even newer even more different than yesterday but the one thing that never changes is we are never alone….we are a military family.

P.S. Thank YOU, Rebecca. We give a little, sometimes we get a little. I hope when this posts, your husband is home in your arms again.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Welcome Home

I can't say anything else except:

Welcome Home, Nick.

Welcome Home, Steven.

Welcome Home, Spencer.

Welcome Home, Dan.

Welcome Home, Aaron.

Welcome Home to so many others.

And prayers for the Families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Job well done.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday's 10

I really like this. It's a fun way to keep up with the blog, and take a few moments to just think right here, right now in this moment. Even thinking about dinner is "in the moment" while my stomach is growling.

1. My head hurts. Maybe it’s not enough sleep or god-knows-what but it can stop any time now. Kthxbye.

2. Starting off the morning to find out that the spirited talk radio that I’ve been listening to for the last month and a half has been replaced by “true oldies”, has not helped afore-mentioned headache.

3. Little G gets to see the orthodontist tomorrow. Yippee. She wants braces (??), I do not.

4. Freebirds sounds about perfect as a dinner idea.

5. I just realized I really have no idea if I spelled “kthxbye” correctly. Yes, it bothers me that I might be misspelling text/chat speak.

6. I am far more excited than I should be that it’s “America’s Got Talent” night.

7. This week, I get to see something few Americans ever get to see—heroes welcomed home. I cannot wait.

8. MUST remember my camera. Thank God my new phone has a good camera with flash, but there’s really no excuse for not taking my camera to this event!

9. I am so excited that I ordered new glasses last night and I can’t wait to get them…new frames and new prescription. 

10. I have “Lean On Me” running through my (aching) head. Both the Bill Withers version (with 23 “call me”s at the end) and the Club Nouveau version (with funky sounds). Not a bad accompaniment to my day.

So what’s your “ten” for today? Look around you—what is happening RIGHT NOW? I love to get comments.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Empty Rooms and Quiet Houses

My big G left two weeks ago for her new adventure. I am excited and thrilled and nervous for her, proud of the way she is exploring her new home city and becoming more independent. I have laughed at her texts, thrilled to hear her voice on the phone, and been more than happy to answer any questions that she might ask.

Many have asked me, “how are you doing?”

What do I say? Of course I’m okay. I’ve been saying “goodbye” pretty much my entire life, whether it was my best friend in 3rd grade or my husband headed to the field three days after we got married. Some goodbyes are harder than others, but that’s life. I’m used to this. I’ve got this.

But “okay” isn’t the whole answer. Here is the whole answer—

My heart is aching. Nothing looks emptier than the bedroom of a child who has moved out on her own. Yes, her old sneakers are still in the closet. Yes, some of her stuffed animals (and a lot of her precious books) await her having her own first place. But the floor has no clutter, and the desk is empty. This is one empty, quiet place.

My heart is excited. She is becoming the amazing woman I had hoped she would become, exploring and reaching out. She loves learning as I love learning, even more so, and I think college will be eye-opening and fantastic for her.

My heart is scared to death. I think about her new city and all of the cars I saw that looked like they’d been in horrible accidents. I think about how my stepdad used to do “tours of the city” as we drove, telling us where sexual assaults had taken place. I think about the things that I don’t even know to worry about. These are the thoughts that make her a little crazy, as I remind her about all the “talks” we’ve had about safety and smarts.

My heart is curious. What will she learn? What will her choices be? What new place will she ultimately call home? Will the hints of future personality bear fruit?

So…okay, nervous, excited, curious and missing her so much—no matter how I am, on any given day, I’m proud to be her mom and I’m glad that you asked.

Over the last few months, I have been hearing "no" about quite a few things.

No, it's not time for me to go back and get my Masters' Degree. (The program I want is just WAY too expensive right now.)

No, I'm not going to get that call about an amazing opportunity.

No, the email isn't going to come.

No, no no...

Last month, I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a Bible study with a former coworker, and we discussed how sometimes the answer we get is "no" when what we want is a "yes".

She turned to another of the participants, who had heard "no" but was at peace with it, and asked "When did you get to the point where a 'no was a no, and a no was okay'?"

It sounded like a faith-based Dr. Seuss. But what the heck-- I learned a lot from Dr. Seuss and other poems that reaffirm faith and ideals in an easy-to-read way.

So here goes--

A no is a no
And a “no,” is okay.
He will show me His “yes”
In His time & His way.

For although I don’t see it
And although I can’t know
His timing is perfect
And the wait helps me grow.

When my life is a desert
And my dreams, dry as dust.
His plans are made present
And his mercies are just.

So instead of down-gazing
In grief, fury or fear
I'll focus on His love
His grace drawing me near.

So a No is a No
Or a “maybe” or “wait”.
His love is always a “yes” though,
And his blessings are great.

And in the meantime, I'll wait for His "yes". Does anyone else have a story of a "no" you've been told? Or a "yes" that ended up being surprising and timely?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five Questions: New Family, New Friend

A couple of years ago, we got to attend a family wedding. The location was beautiful, the company was wonderful-- and the bride, so full of joy no one could see her without smiling. The happy groom was one of my husband's cousins, and he seemed to be floating about two feet above the ground.

Cindy is new to the military life, but I've gotten to know her a little bit (through the wonders of Facebook) and vicariously enjoy their little son "Elf" (also through Facebook, although if she wants to visit Killeen I'd LOVE to babysit). She's already dealt with one quick "Honey I'm home and by the way I have to go soon and won't be back for a little while love you mwah" heart-wrenching conversation.

Air Force life is a bit different from Army life, but the basic tenets are the same-- these men and women sign up for the unknown, the unthinkable, and sometimes the unbearable. They put their lives on the line for us, the average person. Their spouses often are the ones who make that sacrifice possible by offering their strength, humor and joy.

Here are Cindy's 5:

1. What are five things you know now about military life that you wish someone had told you?

a) Downsize! Go through your closet & make Goodwill/Salvation Army piles more often; it's so much easier to move when you don't have as much crap!

b) 9 times out of 10, gas on base is cheaper & worth the drive. (=

c) I really wish someone would come up with an updated map of the bases I've been to...

d) "Be ready to go within 72 hours" can mean anything from "be ready now" to "be ready 5 days from now"... same with when your airman/soldier/marine/seaman is supposed to come home...

e) NEVER leave home without your keys and ID!!

2. What is the most important thing you'd like to tell new spouses?

Take advantage of the resources offered- from the commissary to counseling, medical & dental services, everything! Although on-base doctors are NOT always the best!!

3. What do you love the most? Besides the benefits??

LOL I love meeting new people & seeing new places!

4. What do you find the hardest?

Having to choose where to spend holidays... With my parents divorced, when we get a chance to come home it's always a struggle to decide which family we're going to see first, if at all.

5. Tell me a story that sums up military life for you.

My mom married my step-dad when I was seven. He was a reservist until 1998 so I didn't have a military childhood as much as a military adolescence since I had the luxury of staying in south Florida for 11 years after my parents' divorce sent us there from New York. Then again, I got very spoiled with our family getting sent to Randolph AFB as our first duty station, because the base was easy to navigate and San Antonio is a wonderful, convenient city. Now that I'm a military wife, I'm equally blessed that our first assignment is still stateside. My husband's job limits the places we can get sent, only one of which-- where we are now-- is in the continental US!! I love being an Air Force wife, and I think God's worked me into this lifestyle slowly and easily enough that when the time comes for us to get sent to Alaska or Japan or Germany, I'll be ready to go with a smile to take on the next adventure!!

Thank you, Cindy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday's 10

Somehow I have completely fallen off the wagon of blog-writing. One child has moved out and seems to be adjusting well, the other child turned 11 among much hilarity and fun over the thoughts are too scattered to write.

Two friends with blogs have started a "Tuesday's 10" and it seems like a great way to get started again. Writing has helped me clear my mind, settle my soul, and be creative in a way I haven't been for a long time so here goes.

1. Buy one, get one free glasses aren't always what they seem to be. When you have to pay $75 "upgrade" fees for both pairs to get the lenses you want, and they tell you they "don't do" the lenses you REALLY want/need-- go somewhere else.

2. My little girl is growing up too fast. Today she was practicing opening her combo lock so she'll be ready for school.

3. Thin mints, set aside in the freezer for the summer, taste REALLY good when it is hot.

4. Little G is a genius for remembering they were in there.

5. Big G made me laugh for a good 10 minutes with a single text.

6. I miss my kid.

7. Toe cramps are AWFUL.

8. I wish it would RAIN. So does everyone else in Texas.

9. I think I'm addicted to my Kindle...reading at night before sleep is the reason I've been sleeping at all.

10. Overall, today was a good day.