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A little over a week ago, I got a message that my longest childhood friend had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. Last Saturday morning I got the news that he was not going to recover and he passed away.  I was devastated.  I still am. I am struggling so hard with the grief.

Over the years we’d find each other and stay in touch then we’d drift apart.  It only took a quick catch up for us to pick up where we left off and keep right on rolling with life.  The last text I got from him read, “thinking about you.” He didn’t have children, but I shared our adoption story about Olivia and he was excited about exploring that option to build their family.  That will never happen.   I haven’t seen him since we were in our early 20s and he showed me all over Texas.  We found a bar just across the border that took travelers checks and we drank Corona out of faded bottles and terra cotta glasses.  That was definitely one of the best trips of my life and the memories are as vivid as if it happened yesterday.  I’ve never met his wife, but she has been kind enough to keep me up to date with what was going on and she was gracious enough to accept our special friendship.  I’ll meet her for the first time when I travel to Houston for the celebration of his life instead of the plans he and I started making for next year.

He touched my heart and my soul so deeply.  He was heavy metal and I’m more of a country and 80s girly-girl.  He was a drummer at heart and I can’t keep a beat.  I believe we were soul mates (of the best friend type; not the marrying type) and, no matter what direction our lives carried us, we always found our way back to each other when we needed it.

This week was one of “those” weeks that I would normally lay my trials and struggles on his shoulders and he would encourage me and talk me through them until I was calm again.  So many times I picked up my phone to call him, but I couldn’t.  I long to hear, “Hey, girl… It’s JT” one more time. I only hope he knew just how important he was to me and that I cared for him so deeply.

It’s not fair that he lost his life at the young age of 38.  It’s not fair his wife of a few years is a widow.  It’s not fair his mother lost her son just a few short weeks after losing her mother.  I know God has a plan for his short time on this Earth, but I’m struggling with it.  He had so much love and kindness to offer and was never less than kind, loving and caring to me.  It’s just not fair.

I haven’t had to shoulder this alone.  My friends have rallied around me with kind words and support this past week and I’m so grateful.  One of them told me, “big grieving is an indication of big love.”  It was a huge love and a huge loss.

This picture is from the bar in Mexic0… JT and I are in the middle.  We had no idea who the others were… we met them there and had a blast.

Last Thursday, I went to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and helped with the assembly of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute – The Cost of Freedom Tribute.  This tribute is a traveling Vietnam Memorial, Gold Dog Tag wall remembering those who have  fallen 1) In hostile military actions between the end of Vietnam and the 9/11 attack and 2) As a member of the armed forces who have given their life in the Global War on Terror.   It was truly an honor to be a part of this project.

Before I left, I went and read the names on the gold dog tags.  There was a group of names that touched my soul.  Almost six years ago, Will was winding down his tour in Iraq at Haditha Dam when the “Battle of Haditha” took place.  These Marines lost their lives securing the perimeter of where Will and so many others were.  I wrote a letter to each family who lost a Marine during that fight expressing my most sincere gratitude  and my  humblest of sympathies.  I’ve told the story several times over the past 5-1/2 years, to different groups and people, but when I saw their names on the gold dog tags, I cried.  Not a silent, tears streaming cry, but the big, body shaking cry right there in the gravel lot. It shook me to my core.  There are so many who “know” war, or claim to.  I claimed to.  Those who know it, they know it from different perspectives, but, honestly, it wasn’t until that moment that I felt like I knew war.  But my family’s fate was spared  that day.  These brave Marines from Ohio answered the call to serve our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice allowing our families to continue living our lives as we know

We attended the Coca Cola 600.  I’m not a huge race fan, but I love the “feel of the thunder” under my feet in the stands.  This race is my favorite because of the tribute to our service members before the race starts. There were many, many service members and veterans there.  Some you can spot because of the haircut.  Others it was the proud display of a t-shirt or hat with the campaign in which they served.  And some were wearing branch specific hats/shirts.   There were tributes and accolades and all things wonderful.  I smiled, cheered and clapped.  I did all the things one does when we’re celebrating.  Then they played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and I was, once again, shaken to the core.  The first time I ever heard “Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes was in the cold wind at a soldier’s funeral.   There are some things that are forever etched in my mind and that is one of them.   Then the twenty-one gun salute.  Then Lee Greenwood sang “God Bless the USA.”  The tears continued.  Then Darius Rucker sang our national anthem.  The tears continued

Over the past few years, with all the bumps and bruises, I have found myself sometimes losing sight of what is truly important.  I had to write an “essay” about me for a recruiter not too long ago.  It’s hard to write about yourself; at least it is for me.  As I began to put my thoughts on paper, I was reminded of how I have been touched by the lives, smiles, heartaches, tears and compassion of so many people.  I was reminded that one of my core philosophies is to try and learn from my mistakes.   I was reminded that everything that has happened to me in my life has helped to shape me and mold me into the person I am today – the good and the bad.  I was reminded that no matter what, I will always carry with me having been a military spouse and that has been one of the greatest paths in my life because it has afforded me the opportunities to meet, support, and work with some of the most amazing people on the planet.

Although this post is late, I do hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day and you took a few minutes to think and reflect back on the freedoms we have and those who have served our great nation.

There is never a time that is inappropriate for thanking a service member – past or present.  “Thank you” and “We appreciate you” are sentiments that are of few words, but mean a lot.  But also remember this… it also translates into our everyday lives, too.  Take a moment to thank someone who has done something that you appreciate.  A kind word goes so far and you never know… you may be the brightest spot to their day.

Be well….

For some becoming a mom is easy.  For others it takes a lot of work, patience, and time.  And there are the moms whose arms are empty.

Our family tree grew with a branch grafted from another five years ago.  There are circumstances from the first year of Olivia’s life we’ll never know, but we do all we can to reinforce our love and work hard instilling the best values we can.  I can’t, and won’t, romanticize the unknown.  However,  if I had the opportunity, I would love for the woman who brought her into this world to know that she’s a beautiful, bright, inquisitive little girl who sees the good in everyone she meets, the wonder in all she does and is loved by so many.  I believe it takes a village to raise a child and  I have an extraordinary group of friends who have loved my child as much as they would one of their own and I’m very appreciative.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and to those who have cared for and loved a child.  You are just as important to our lives as sunshine and rain.

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Our service members and their families are a very small percentage of our nation’s population and we’re proud to be part of it.   Being a milspouse has not only taught me some very valuable lessons, but has given me an opportunity to meet some of the most fantastic people on the planet.  No matter where life leads me, I know I will go as a better person because of the experiences and frienships I’ve made along the way.

I wish all the milspouses a fantastic day.

Tis the season to be jolly…fa-la-la-la-meh.

I’ve been trying to get my holiday mojo, but it hasn’t quite worked in my favor.  Yet.  By saying “yet” means I’m still holding out hope.  For the past couple of months, I’ve been pounding the pavement and begging asking friends and family to help me with the canned food drive at Fabul-O’s school.  I was the PTA chair.  In the past, students have collected food for a food bank, but, this year, it was decided that each class would sponsor one of our school families who applied for assistance.  I reached out to 60 area churches requesting a $10 grocery gift card thinking for sure I would get the 43 I needed.  Students would provide the canned goods and we would give the families the card to purchase their turkey (can’t give out fresh food, especially poultry, due to health concerns).  Not a single church offered to help.  Including the one O goes to daycare at nor the one we attended for 5 years.   Grocery stores, some dear, dear friends, our National Guard unit and family stepped in to help me out.  I was able to meet the goal.  Next came time to divvy up the goods.  There were 3 families who had no transportation to pick up the goods, so arrangements were made to deliver it.  Out of the other 40 families, less than half came to get their goods.  *sigh*

Then came the unit Christmas party.  I am the new family support leader.  And I had one month to plan it.  The to-do list was divided among three of us.  Only one of us – you guess who – had her list completely done and ready to go on party day.  Another of us arranged the food, which was a huge deal and it was done, but the little “completer” items and part of the entertainment fell under them and it wasn’t done.  The last one of us ignored my texts and voicemail reminders of their completer items and they were totally forgotten. Our budget didn’t allow for duplicate purchases and 15 minutes before party time she dumped “Santa” gifts out to wrap IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN who were going to be receiving said gifts.  Oy vey.

Overall, the party was a huge success and a good time was had by all.  Santa was a HUGE hit and I’m a rockstar because I know him 🙂  I got several compliments on my “attention” to detail and making sure each and every soldier had something to take home by making ornaments for them all and having a wrapped gift.  Granted, only half of the soldiers were there for the party, but the effort was put into it and it was noticed.  Next year I don’t know how I’ll handle if, if they vote me back for another year, aside from taking on the whole thing by myself.

Now it’s on to Christmas for my family and a trip to see the in-laws.  I’m about half done with shopping and have TOTALLY blown the budget, so I need to re-evaluate and see where we are.

I have the spirit of giving.  I have it all year long, but I can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit.  I’m trying to be more peaceful and work towards getting my life back in order.  The last task at hand is Girl Scout cookie sales that begin in January.  After that, I’m taking some time off.  A lot of time.

I’m not a total Scrooge, I just have had so much going on it’s hard to wrap my mind around joy and peace when I know it’s there.  I’m still taking baby steps.

In case I don’t post again before Christmas, which is HIGHLY likely, I wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases and a New Year in which all your dreams come true.

Be well,

Susan

To all our veterans: Thank you for your service.  We’re forever grateful for your service.  That includes my husband.  Despite what problems surround us, he has fought the good fight and has always been willing to answer the call of duty.  I’m proud of him.  Olivia told him last night, “Thank you for being a Soldier boy, Daddy.  Because of you and all the other ‘Vetrins’ I don’t have to go to school tomorrow.  That’s nice of you and I’m proud of you.”  I reminded him that is probably the nicest thing anyone will ever say to him.  Especially in the 5 y.o. age group.

Yesterday, the Marine Corps celebrated its 235th birthday.  When I got married, I married a Marine.  Our groomsmen were Marines.  My girlfriends dated Marines.  It’s what we did.  The Marines were my first real “taste,” if you will, of the military.  Except for one Coastie.  Anyway, I went to UNC-W and Camp Lejeune wasn’t that far away, so the Marines would come into town to mack on the college girls and we would score free beer.  It was then that I realized the old saying was true:  A uniform is the one thing that can make most anyone look good.   It wasn’t until Will left the military, joined the reserves and got ready to deploy to Iraq did I fully understand what it was to be a military spouse.  Remember, we were no longer active duty, and had not been for many, many years; we were a reserve family.  Since that time, my appreciation has grown from ogling cute boys in uniform to appreciating what the uniform stands for.  I didn’t grow up in a military household and, in my opinion, it’s hard to grasp what the call of duty is during peacetime when you’re 20 years old.   At least it was for us.

There are tons of jokes using the branches of the military as acronyms and we’ve heard them all.  After all, we’ve been in three branches: Marines, Navy and Army National Guard.

From our Navy friends: Marine stands for My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment

From old Navy friends: Navy stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself

From Marines: Army stands for Air Force Rejected Me Yesterday and Ain’t Ready to be a Marine Yet.  Others say US Army is: Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet!    Backwards: Yes My Retarded Ass Signed Up.

There’s a lot of fun that goes into those.  Everyone’s dog is bigger than the next person’s in their eyes.  And that’s fine. It’s the pride in the uniform and the dedication to do the job that makes it work.  It takes all the branches to protect us.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure, and privilege, of meeting some of the most wonderful people.  People who have touched my life in ways they will never know.  I have hugged wives whose husbands were deployed.  I have cried over videos of homecomings.  I have stood on the tarmac in tropical storm weather holding hands with other wives and families waiting for it to finally be my turn.  I have been to funerals, arranged for food to be brought in for families and ordered Gold Star banners.  I have felt inadequate in wishing I could do more.  I always will.

Over the years, my appreciation has grown up a lot.  I appreciate our Nation and the jobs that it takes to keep us safe, a man in uniform still makes my heart skip a beat and I still firmly believe a uniform is the one thing that can make most anyone look good.

Hooah!

And here’s the design for our Mud Run t-shirts!  We’re so excited.  Well, I’m speaking on behalf of my entire team, but I’m sure they would agree.  Loqi came up with the name and I threw a little of this, little of that and next thing you know, voila, we done got us a team shirt!

You should be able to click on the piccie and it enlarge enough to read, but, if not, it reads: “Ladies and Grunts  When high heels and combat boots take to the trails…”

Hooah!

There are lots of things I am and tons of things that I am not.  There are certainly things I would like to be and, most definitely, things I wouldn’t want to be.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mommy, friend.  I am a hard worker, a good listener, list maker, list loser.  I am a bargain hunter, pretty good cook, soother of hurt feelings, grudge carrier.  I never said the things I am were all good.

My mom, Will and I watched the National Memorial Day Concert on television last weekend and this has been in my head, and on my heart, ever since.

I can only speak from a wife’s perspective – and break it down even one further, a reserve wife’s perspective, but I know how mind numbing it was to send my husband into a war zone.  My prior active duty Marine turned one weekend a month, two weeks a year reserve husband was recalled to active duty.  I’m not sure that it really, really hit me until April 2005 when I got the call where he told me their hooch had been hit by rocket fire and they weren’t there because they had gone shopping in the village they had convoyed to.  He bought me a t-shirt.  On another convoy, there was a dead Iraqi in the road with his arms bound behind him, eyes covered and was killed execution style.  It was shortly after that, while working at the Haditha Dam, when Marines from Ohio were killed securing the area leading into the area where my husband and his comrades were.  My heart broke. Again.

I am also a Blue Star Wife.  My husband dons his uniform and trains to be called to serve when our Country needs him.  As do his fellow soldiers.  As do all of our service members.  We are a Blue Star Family.  The key words: Blue Star.  Blue Star.  The Blue Star(s) represents our immediate family member(s) who serve in the armed forces. When the family member is killed in the line of duty, the Blue Star is replaced by a Gold Star.

While watching the National Memorial Day Concert, Blythe Danner and A.J. Cook portrayed widows of American Soldiers and told the story of Taryn Davis, a 22 year-old war widow, who befriended a woman who lost her husband in the Vietnam war, which inspired the American Widow Project.

There are stories all over the internet about Gold Star wives (war widows).  Some of them blog, like Mrs. P from A Little Pink in a World of Camo, whose star recently turned from Blue to Gold.  There are many who don’t hold a place in the blogisphere.  Their only piece of the internet is the online obituary or tributes written about their loved one.  And if you happen to not find it and read it, they shrink into obscurity, but their loss is no less.  Their grief is no less.  Their hearts are no less broken.  We just don’t hear about them.

I cry when I hear our National Anthem.  I had a lump in my throat when we went to the Arizona Diamondbacks game last Memorial Day (2009) and Cindy McCain and their Navy Son, Jack, paused for the silent first pitch.

A fellow blogger, e-pal, and ARNG wife had this to say about Memorial Day, and I think she hit the nail on the head:

…contemplative this Memorial Day weekend and very VERY thankful that her husband’s recent deployment to Iraq didn’t provide a reason for anyone to include her in their Memorial Day sentiments.

While we were watching the concert Sunday night, and I watched the video of Gold Star wives, I uttered these words half silently, half out loud:

….of all the things I’m not, I’m most grateful to not be a war widow.

Half silently because I feel guilty for having that feeling.  Half out loud because I’m truly grateful to not be included in Memorial Day sentiments.

Tomorrow I will attend visitation for a local Soldier, 22-years-old, who lost his life May 24 in Afghanistan as a representative of the Blue Star Mothers of North Carolina and as a Soldier’s wife.  I will pay my respects to this hero who gave his life to something bigger than himself.  I will stand tall and remain strong as I give gracious thanks to his family, who has now paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  I will be humbled by them and reminded, again, exactly how blessed I am that my star is still blue.

This weekend I have four days off, which is very unusual for me. While I am enjoying four days of not working and am headed to the coast to spend time with my family, I know Memorial Day is more than days off, picnics and potato salad. We remember those who serve, have served in the past and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We continue to stand tall for, and honor, those who protect us.

As you enjoy whatever it is you will do this weekend, please take time to remember those who have answered our country’s call.

Chase Community of Giving is donating $5 million to charities.  One of the Charities is Half The Sky.  They sponsor orphanages in China providing education, training and resources.  Why is Half The Sky important to me?  Because Olivia spent 365 days prior to us becoming a family in an HTS sponsored orphanage.     I’ll forever be grateful for their program and hope you’ll take just a minute to vote for it on Facebook.

Vote HERE.

The Issue

Every year in China, thousands of young children – some only hours old – lose the love of family. Given up by parents too poor to care for them or parents who wanted a boy, they live in orphanages where untrained caregivers provide food and shelter, but not the loving care and attention that every child needs to develop normally. They are children who soon learn that they are unwanted. And like all children – they deserve more.

Nearly 100,000 children wait inside the walls of 1,100 government welfare institutions. There they languish, their lives empty.

Except where there is Half the Sky.

Since 1998, Half the Sky has given 35,000 orphaned children the benefits of family love, nurturing care and guidance essential to normal development. The programs are so transformative that the Chinese government officially licensed Half the Sky and invited it to become its only partner – to create a model children’s center and training facility in every one of the country’s 31 provinces.

The Plan

Our Big Idea: Transform orphan care forever in China. Take $1 million and turn it into 100,000 lives saved tomorrow – a million lives over time. No other organization is so perfectly poised to do just that.

Half the Sky has a dream to train every caregiver in China so that no child need ever languish without love again. The Chase prize can make the dream real.

Today there are 12,000 untrained, unskilled caregivers tending China’s orphans. We can train them all! It can cost as little as $88 to provide initial training to a caregiver to become a nurturing nanny, preschool teacher, foster mom or youth mentor in Half the Sky’s innovative approach to orphan care. With your vote, we can win the prize and hold 24 large-scale (500 trainees each) regional trainings across China for 12,000 orphanage workers – a first round of training for every single caregiver in the country. The impact will be huge and immediate.

Only Half the Sky has won the trust to make such a massive project happen.

The Outcome

Half the Sky exists only in order to ensure that every orphaned child will have a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future. After years of effort, we now have the opportunity to dramatically improve the child welfare system in China. It’s an extraordinary opportunity, but it will take time. Many children must wait. Some will not survive.

But if we win – By the summer of 2010, we will hold the first of 24 regional caregiver trainings – then again every other month for 4 years. We already know that the training is a revelation to caregivers. It will forever change the way they look at the children in their care. And while there will be follow-up costs over the years to help maintain program quality, $1 million can provide a first round of training for all.

If we win the prize, we will jumpstart this groundbreaking effort. Your vote will impact thousands of children’s lives.

A vote for Half the Sky is a vote for every forgotten child.

Only takes a minute and it’s a way to help a wonderful charity without giving any of your own money.

Anyone with an ounce of compassion is saddened and heart-broken over the tragedy at Ft. H00d.  We are no different.  Those who know me, know how passionate I am about our Armed Forces and consider the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coasties, and their families, a part of our extended family.  It is family that just so happens to be spread to the four corners of the earth and 99.999% I’ll never meet, but have the distinct pleasure of being a minority with. 

My point…

Today I had a message from a television station.  The message was left on my home phone for someone I have done some volunteer work with.  She did a search and turned up the other lady’s name with my number attached.  It just so happens that I don’t have the phone number of the lady she was looking for, but since she addressed the group of which I’m a member, I figured I could answer whatever questions she may have. I’ve done it a hundred times or more.  I explained to the caller who I was, how I was related to the group  and asked was there something I could do for her.  (By the way, it’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I checked my messages from work after receiving notification of a voicemail left on my home number)  She told me she was looking for some people to talk to with ties to the military to give their opinions on what happened at Ft. H00d.  Well, that’s easy enough and I explained the way my family and I felt about it.  Heart broken and saddened by the events.  She wanted me to leave work to meet her for an interview.  When I explained I couldn’t because I’m easily an hour and a half from where she would need me to be and my schedule didn’t mesh with hers, she then wanted me to alert those I know who may be able to drop what they were doing to schlep into the Big City to do her interview for the nightly news, but it had to be done before 6 because she really needed to cover the candlelight vigil being held.  I know she’s not the newspaper, but I asked why couldn’t she just speak to people over the phone since it was such short notice.  I was told it wasn’t the same and the impact wasn’t as good.

It unnerved me.  And, no, I didn’t spread the word.  My thought: she did an internet search and found me.  So, do another one and find someone else.

One of my besties, Shannon, is raising money for Autism Awareness.  Last weekend she hosted a banging little get together at her place to raise some money and they are only $95 from their very modest goal.  If you have a few bucks to spare, http://www.trianglerunwalkforautism.com/.  As we all know, every little bit helps and it is tax deductible.  Colin is her nephew and a very, very sweet little boy.  And, yes,  Shannon is walking.

Today my friend Wendy welcomed her husband home from Iraq.  Almost four years ago, Wendy and I waited for the plane to descend from the clouds with our husbands on it in the rain at the Naval Air Station at Oceana in Virgina.  Today Wendy, another friend and some other wives are exhaling and hugging their husbands tightly as they welcome them home from deployment.  They let go of the anxiety they have carried with them throughout the deployment.

These folks aren’t just friends….they’re family.

Welcome Home, Danny and the Seabees of NMCB24. We’re proud of you and thank you for your service to our great Nation!

HOOAH!

Today is Gold Star Mother’s Day.  It is a day set aside to honor mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.

We are proud to stand tall for those who serve our great Nation today and are humbled by those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

I’ve met several Gold Star Mothers and every one of them has a strength and demeanor I wish I could have.  Those I know have holes in their soul for the loss of their child, but will proudly tell stories of their son or daughter with a smile that beams unlike any other smile you have ever seen.

We pray for strength, guidance and wisdom as these families continue on their journey.  Our thoughts are always with them and our thanks can never be fully expressed.

Eight years has passed since 9-11-01, but the ways our hearts, souls and lives were touched remains the same. We’re proud of our police, fire and rescue who protect and serve our communities on a daily basis and proud of our military who protect and serve our country – domestic and abroad – whenever and wherever there is a need. Thank those who serve our communities.  Trust me, they appreciate the kind words.

We have guesties coming in October.  I’m excited.

I’m a slacker so you can read about some of our vacation at her place.  For what it may be worth, I now own a card reader so I can pull pictures off the memory stick for the camera we used while out there.

Friday, June 5

First, thanks for all the well-wishes and prayers.  The good word today is my cousin is hanging on with everything she has.   She developed a fever yesterday, but it is back to normal today.  Adrenaline is wearing off and her parents are exhausted, as are other friends and family members.  My mom and an aunt drove down yesterday and Fabul-O and I are headed this afternoon.

There are so many unanswered questions as to what happened and the only one who can give answers is the guy she was with and my understanding is he is saying very, very little at this point.

We’re all hopeful and praying for the best.

*******************************

My family could use some prayers and good thoughts.

I got a call this morning about a younger cousin who was in a tragic boating accident yesterday.  There are some rough days that lie ahead for my aunt and uncle.  Please hold my family in your thoughts and prayers, including those who will be on the road traveling this morning to go provide as much comfort and support as possible.

Tell one extra person you love them today and, when you hug, hug tight.

To all my milspouse friends, e-pals and bloggy buddies…

I wish you all a happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Some of you will spend it alone and many of your husbands may not know it even exists.   From spouse to another, I know you’re appreciated although the words may never cross lips and it may seem that it’s taken for granted.

I want you all to know I appreciate you.  I appreciate the kind words of encouragement you’ve shared with me.  I appreciate your candor.  I appreciate the fact you all are such strong women and you plow through.  There are days where the tears seem to take over and you simply don’t know where the energy to begin again will come from.  Being a military spouse can be the toughest job in the military.   But you do it.   We do it.  There are often unique sets of challenges we are faced with before, during and after deployments as well as just day-to-day life.   Some of us face more than others and, while it’s all relative to our circumstances and situations, one thing remains constant.  We stick together.For those spouses whose Blue Stars have turned Gold, you are also appreciated.  Your family has given the ultimate sacrifice and your service and dedication is much appreciated.

When your spouse leaves for his mission with his special water bottle in tow, he knows it’s you who replaced the lost one.  When a luncheon with other spouses is successful, he knows it’s you who made it happen.   When they have clean underwear and uniforms, they know it’s you.   It takes a special wife to full appreciate his enthusiasm over his new gas mask.  When you carefully choose what to wear the day they come home and make sure everything is just perfect, it’s you who made the day as perfect as it could be.

Take a few minutes to just pat yourselves on the back today.

mme1

This is my friend M & Me on my wedding day; she was my maid of honor.  We met while I was in college and have been friends about 16 years, I think.  Anyway…today, M had heart valve replacement surgery.  It was supposed to be on Friday, but they postponed until today.   I prayed a lot.  I prayed not only for her, but for the surgeons who held her life, literally, in their hands.   I wanted to be there, but I wasn’t able to and she understood.  She has been there for me for every major event in my grown-up life and I really felt like I should have been there. 

This afternoon, around 4:00, her husband sent me a text message and I read the best news I had all day, “off bypass. hope to move 2 icu soon.”  He called me around 5 and he still had not seen her, but said all went well.  

M is one of those friends I may not see or talk to often, but when we do get together, it’s as if time stood still.   Friends are the family we get to choose and those who know me know I make my choices carefully. 

Lots of love to them and the prayers will keep flowing for them.

Yesterday, 4,000 of North Carolina’s National Guardsmen of the 30th HCBT bid farewell to their families and friends in Fayetteville, NC.  This is Will’s brigade, but ya’ll know he’s not going due to his injuries from last spring.  Will spoke to some by phone and others via IM and email.  We didn’t attend the send off due to the massive amounts of families and friends who would be in attendance and, as much as would have liked to, we knew families of the deploying soldiers would need to take top priority.  At least in our minds.  Those in charge of planning seemed a little off mark on this one.  You can check it out here, here and here.  (h/t to AWTM for the links)

They have had a lot of “issues” in these last few weeks leading up to the actual deployment and I told Will, had he been deploying with them, by the time I said my piece, he wouldn’t be able to get off the green ramp fast enough.

We wish them well.  We will pray for them.  We will stand tall for them as they perform the tasks and missions they are assigned.   We will support them as best we are able from the homefront.  They have been trained and our faith in them is strong, but they are stronger.

We will be waiting for your safe return home.  Godspeed, Soldiers.

Hooah!

It’s What Day?!?

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