Friday, December 20, 2013

Heartwarming Homecomings: Holding our Heros

Sure to Melt Any Heart...

Homecomings. There aren't many words to accurately express the experience of holding your soldier in your arms after a long deployment. Watching them march in, the cheering crowds, tears, waiving flags. It's one of those things you never forget. Dropcam is a company that helps make those homecoming moments even more memorable.

Tiffany Pham, Dropcam's Community Manager says, "Dropcam cares deeply about our service men, women and their families. We want them to know that we’re thinking about them this holiday season. We put together a compilation of the best holiday soldier homecoming videos on the web."

Grab a box of tissues, and some comfort food before viewing these tear inducing videos that add a little hero to your holiday. I'm sniffling all ready!


Intermission=just enough time for you to grab more tissues


Take a second to dry your eyes. :)



Thank you Dropcam for supporting America's Military and their families. To those who are missing their soldier this Holiday season, hold tight, your homecoming is on its way. Many Blessings, and Merry Christmas.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Loving my Soldier: Hindsight Insights of PTSD and TBI

No one told me what to expect when my husband returned from war.

I guess no one told him either.  He wasn’t the same. What was different? Hmm. Nothing too much at first. He didn’t smile or talk as much, and he just seemed a tad distant, but that could’ve been because we’d been a part for so long. 

Something more? Nah. No way.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). at the time, I felt like most soldiers were falsely claiming to have it, as if it were an excuse for their bad behavior or some sort of get out of jail free card. Wow, I was wrong.
My husband and I, and most of our military friends felt the same way, but when PTSD symptoms starting emerging in my husband, I started to secretly second guess my preconceived notions. 

PTSD shook our world to the core, and we all but crumbled. It took years to get the help my husband needed, and even after treatment the battle continued. It's only been in the past couple of years that I feel we are "in the clear", or on the other side of the storm. At this point in our marriage, we can look back on our PTSD and take a deep breath...reflect, and even make a list of things we wished we'd known, or things at least I wished I had known. 

I understand the PTSD journey is long...it's difficult...the hardest thing we've ever gone through, but worth every single moment of the struggle.

I pray that my list will in some way help you or someone you know that could be struggling with this issue.

Hindsight is 20/20:
*Pressuring my husband to talk about his  deployment experiences was not a good idea. I just needed to love him, and talk about other things.
*Listen when your husband chooses to talk about the war. Just listen. Don’t talk. Just listen.
*Don’t tell him how he needs to be feeling or what he needs to be doing. Just love him. Let your actions and words show him how much you love him.
*PTSD symptoms can show up months or even years later. Your brain does a really great job of covering up and trying to protect you.
*Men want to know that they’re good enough. Good enough to save the day, get the job done, make ends meet, protect you and your family. Their ego is fragile no matter how big it may appear. Build them up with words and actions. Let them know they are good enough.   
*Sometimes soldiers returning from stressful combat situations literally can’t feel. This was hard to swallow, and understand. As a woman, I feel LOTS of emotions, lol. Many soldiers returning from war have lost the ability to feel any emotion other than anger. There is a constant numbness. And that’s normal. It’s how many are able to successfully do their job. BUT at home, these men who are fathers and husbands, need to feel. It would’ve been nice to know that my husband feeling distant from me and others was normal, and that it takes time, rest, patience, good nutrition, and prayer to learn to feel again.
*Prolonged stress can alter your genetics, and cause damage to your brain. Google the effects of stress…you’d be amazed! Upwards of 80% of diseases are a direct effect of stress, and soldiers, and their families—yes, even the kids are stressed. What helps? Exercise! Music! Positive Thinking—putting the Word of God in your heart and mind. Staying busy. Getting involved, and volunteering.  
*There is no shame in admitting that you or your spouse need help for PTSD/TBI. My husband denied any problems until others began to recognize symptoms in him, and then he was worried that getting help would be embarrassing, make him less of a soldier. That wasn't true. Getting help saved him and our family.

Please feel free to leave comments or shoot me a message. I’d love to hear from you. 

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RELATED ARTICLES: 
Building a Strong Marriage: Happiness Isn't the Goal
5 Ways to be Blessed in the Stress
A Fighting Faith: Justified War from a Biblical Perspective



ABOUT HANNAH: 
Hannah Conway is a military wife, mother of two, and speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own, threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns sure to thrill, and encourage. Hannah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee

A / IBook /BN / K )
CLICK the Links Below The Image to Download Your eCopy of WEDDING A WARRIOR








Friday, December 6, 2013

Chalkboard Prints: Quick Holiday Gifting

Here's a Math Problem to Puzzle the Sugar Plums Dancing in
Your Head:

Extra Blocks of Wood + (White Paint + Modge Podge) x Chalkboard Printables=???

Give up?

It equals Cute, Quick, Cost Effective Holiday Gifts! Who knew?

I've been staring at extra pieces of wood beside the shed for months wondering what in the world I would do with them. And then the idea came to me just the other day! Why not paint them white, and modge podge on one of those AWESOME Chalkboard Printables that float all over pinterest?! The kids could even join in and help create these cute little gifts for their teachers (spoiler alert if my kid's teachers are reading this).

What you'll need:
  • Blocks of Wood (I have all different sizes)
  • Modge Podge
  • 2 Sponge/Paint Brushes (one for paint, one for modge podge)
  • White Paint or any color you choose
  • Sand paper only if you need to smooth out any edges
Let's Get Started:

Step 1
Step 2: Paint, let dry







Step 3: Cut out Printable, find link below.
Step 4: Add Modge Podge to
Wood first to prevent bumps.
Learned the hard way.
Smooth on Printable.
Then Modge Podge over
sign & edges.
Step 5: Let dry, make more!
   














                                                                 

Variations of this Craft:
  • Print out the Printable and put in a frame. Simple. Easy. :)
  • Use actual chalkboard paint to paint the blocks of wood
  • I'm thinking stapling/glueing some holly, evergreen, or even a burlap bow would be a nice addition to these little chunks of wood.
Freebies:

Check out this pinterest page for FREE downloadable Christmas Chalkboard Printables. You can make your own with photoshop or picmonkey.com (free). Below is a FREE template to start with; just save picture to your computer and upload to photoshop or picmonkey to begin your own chalkboard printable:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Disney World: Awesome Military Vacation Experience!

The Conway's in Disney World!!


Stephen and I made a decision a couple of years ago to use our Army Leave days for a family vacation instead of visiting our extended family. Best Decision Ever!

With so many incredible Military Discounts, this year we decided to make our Disney Dreams come true!! Was it pricey? Compared to our other trips, yes, BUT, with a little planning we were able to cut even more costs to make this trip within our financial reach. Here's how we did it:

Planning:
I began the planning by creating a Pinterest board, and collected all Disney tips, insider info and need to knows. I had a notepad just for Disney Trip notes, phone numbers, driving distances, and any other planning info. We loaded up on snacks from the Dollar Store, brought our own breakfast items, and decided to eat out only in the evenings. I saved any restaurant gift cards, and coupons that I had received through the year, and we've been eating at those places when we weren't dining at Disney.

Traveling:
To help keep the kids occupied during this 11 hour road trip, I created a 3 ring binder filled with age-appropriate activities, crayons, stickers, and marker boards, and implemented a ticket reward system. The kids each stared out with 11 tickets. Each hour they could exchange a ticket for a snack, treat, or another activity from a bag that was filled with about $20 of stuff from the Dollar Store. They could also earn tickets with good behavior, and lose them with bad behavior. My 8 year-old son LOVED the tickets, but my 3 year old ate them, lol. :)

What we learned:
*12 hours at Magic Kingdom was just too long to stay. We were dead the next day. If we could do it over, we would have done two days at Magic Kingdom.
*Epcot wasn't the best place for our 3 year old and 8 year old. Nemo was a cool exhibit, but that was about all the kids liked there. We could have went to Animal Kingdom in the morning, and ended the day with dinner at Epcot.
*Fast Passes are incredible! Get them for all the rides you want to ride. It's like having an appointment for that ride. Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios sold out in 20 minutes after the park opened, so we didn't get them. :( The wait time for that ride was over 2 hours....so....get to the park EARLY to get Toy Story Mania tickets.
*Get to any shows or parades you want to see 20-30 minutes early to get the best seats.  The parks will have brochures all around that will tell you Parade and Show Times. :)
*Bringing lots of snacks into the park is a good thing! :) They saved us a lot of money. We did get a few treats at the park, like popcorn and slushies.:)
*Be prepared to walk, so dress comfortable.
*Bring your own stroller. We forgot ours...go figure, lol. They have stroller rentals but you have to pay everyday. :( Boo.
*Reserve Dining Reservations EARLY....like 3:45ish. We did late dining for the first two days, and the kids were MISERABLE, and we went through A LOT of our snacks. The third and fourth days there, we were able to switch and get earlier dinner times. We were lucky to be able to switch, so plan ahead, and get those early spots. OH, and make sure you ask about pricing. We ended up with one restaurant that was excellent, but pricier than we expected, lol.
*Universal Studios, though not affiliated with Disney, is FANTASTIC and SOOOO family friendly. WE LOVED IT and will stay 2 days there next time!



ALL MILITARY families HAVE to take this trip! :) :) 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Turning 30!

I made it to the Big 3-0!


Strange. Thirty used to seem so old. I'm surprised at how young it really is, lol. :)


I woke up this morning feeling quite normal. Looked in the mirror, nothing had changed...yet I guess. I smiled, and thanked God for another day, and asked for 30 more years--not too much to ask for huh?

I couldn't help but wonder what those next 30 years would hold, and how could they be any better than the past 30 years? When I think about all those I've known, and loved...those that have impacted my life throughout the years...I can't
imagine things getting better, lol, but I'm totally ok if they do.

SO...hopes and dreams for the future. There's just 3...for now.

1) I'm praying for more wisdom. Wisdom to be the best wife, mother, and friend I can be.
2) I'm praying to keep my priorities in order: God, Family, Others
3) I'm going to keep chasing my dreams to become an author. I love to write. So I'm gonna keep doing what I love.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Fighting Faith Video Blog: Justified War from a Christian's Perspective

There was a time in my life when I thought being a Christian, and a soldier seemed like an oxymoron. 

It was hard to mesh the idea of taking a life in a war situation, and still be a Christian. Yes, I know there are many occasions when God mandated war in the Old Testament, but what about the peace loving, life saving, and healing God of the New Testament? The same God, but how? And how can war, and killing ever be justified?  Thou shall not kill, right? I wrestled with these questions for a long time, and so have many of our military friends. The answers aren't clear-cut or comforting, but they provided a peace, and I can totally live with that. I hope you find the video below helpful. Please feel free to leave your comments, questions, and prayer requests.






Friday, September 6, 2013

First World Problems...I got too many!

Complaining. Yes, I've done my share of it. 

The lady at Starbucks put sugar in my coffee when I specifically asked for NO SUGAR! My neighbor's yard looks way better than my lawn. Ugh. Birthing two children sucked the calcium from my teeth, and now I have to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. 

Yes, there are many things I can complain about, but shouldn't. In reality, my problems are FIRST world problems--NOTHING compared to Third World problems.

While the world falls apart around me, I have running water. Clean water. Warm water. A pantry full of food. My kids have never went to bed hungry. We go to church on Sundays and Wednesday evenings, never fearing to be persecuted or killed for our faith. We are free, wealthy, and full...and others are not.

Being grateful for all we have...all I have, isn't enough. I don't what to say "thank goodness I'm not one of those third world people." I want to stop complaining about my First World problems, and start changing the Third World problems.

What about you? What kind of changes do you think the world needs, and how are you gonna help make them happen?

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15

Friday, August 23, 2013

Video Blog! Unmet Expectations

Unmet Expectations? Me? 

I didn't know I had them...until they went unmet. In fact, I can't recall ever being aware of what my expectations were for specific circumstances/people etc. It's not like I  sat down and listed them out...until now, lol. So where did my expectations come from, and which ones went unmet? But the bigger question ...what do I do when they go unmet?


My First Video Blog!
Thanks for Watching!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Army Wife Tips

As a young new Army Wife, I had many things to learn. Ten years in the saddle, and I'm still learning.


None of my family members, to my knowledge, had much experience regarding military things, let alone the military lifestyle. Still, the prospect of traveling to new places with my very own hunky GI Joe that I was head over heals for, was appealing. Not only would we travel, but we would attend a formal ball every year. Hello dream come true!  In my mind, the Army was like any other 9 to 5 job, weekends off type of career. I knew nothing of rank structure, field problems, deployments, decoding acronyms, how busy the commissary was on payday. I couldn't even begin to explain the difference between a unit and platoon, nor did I care.  

It didn't take long to find out that the military wasn't a typical 9 to 5 career. Sometimes he worked on the weekends. Sometimes he was gone for weeks and months...years. There wasn't a formal ball every year. In ten years, I've been to two. I've learned about rank structure...it's strange, and can create social barriers amongst the spouses, but necessary for job function. I speak in acronyms quite fluently, and avoid the commissary at all costs on payday-EVEN -if there's a case lot sale (lol). Thanks to my patient, wonderful husband, and little toy Army men, I now have a visual on the difference between a unit, platoon...even a division and battalion! Look at me go! :) 

I'm no longer the new Army Wife--I'm still young though, lol. :) It's odd that I'm friends with military families that have been in for two, three, four years. That was us just yesterday...seems like it at least.  When my younger Army Wife friends ask for the Need To Knows  about Army Life here are my tips: 

1: KIA doesn't always mean Killed in Action...especially if it's the name of a car lot. Then that's probably a KIA store that sells those cute little compact cars. Yeah...when I first started learning acronyms I was highly offended that someone would name their store "killed in action." Then I was HIGHLY embarrassed to find out it was a car lot. Ugh. I was blonde then. 

2: If another military family invites you to go "swinging," it's not swing dancing that they're talking about. Say NO, and then run away. That's GREAT advice, and saves you from A LOT of embarrassment...let's leave it at that. 

3: Pick friends wisely. That's just plain good advice for anyone, but especially for the military spouse who has moved away from home for the first time. 

4: Be kind to the other wives, and help them when you can. Babysit their kiddos so they can have a date night with their hubby and not have to pay $40 for childcare. Watch that lady's kiddos so she can go to the grocery store in peace for heaven's sake. 

5: Find a place to volunteer. Military Life is a lot of hurry up and wait. Sometimes you don't even know what you're waiting for, but while you wait find a place to serve. Remember, serving your family is a great way to start.

6: Take advantage of your surroundings. Each new move is an opportunity to explore places the locals don't even know about. Have fun with your family learning about your new community, and its culture. New moves are some of my fondest memories.

7: Laugh. Seriously, you have to learn to laugh. 

8: Don't judge people. That's so Biblical, and awesome advice. I didn't realize how judgmental I was until I became an Army Wife. I was this young, naive, raised in church, Baptist chick that had never seen alcohol, and gasped at curse words. I think for the first 4 years of my Army Life I was in culture shock, and all but twitched. God really got a hold of me and was like "SNAP out of it, and love these people. You are no better than anyone else in this world." I totally wanted to argue...but you can't really argue with God...successfully at least.  SO...love others...period. 

9: Choose your spouse, always! I remember being so lonely, so homesick my first few years as an Army Wife. My hubby was deployed, and when he was home he was gone too often than I liked. I cried often, complained to everyone who listened...ugh, I was horrid. I was feeling so sorry for myself that when I had the opportunities to choose him, to be with him, date him etc, I would often not. I would go to my family...I felt safe, loved by them, but what I didn't realize how choosing them over him was not only hurting him but driving a wedge in our marriage. SO...choose your man. ALWAYS...even if you're mad at him, even if you want to choose something else...choose him!

AND the most important tip...

10: Pick up your Bible, and dig in. God calls His Word a sword...He calls it living, powerful, and able to cut through bone and marrow. That's pretty stinking hardcore. His Word not only encourages me, but strengthens me, changes me for the better. Check it out, it will change your life!

Suggested Reads: 
All Because of One Woman: A Mother, Wife, Author, Speaker Point of View
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage: Building Intimacy, Not Walls
Loving My Soldier: Hindsights & Insights of PTSD
Army Wife Tips


ABOUT HANNAH: 
Hannah Conway is a military wife, mother of two, and speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own, threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns sure to thrill, and encourage. Hannah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee

A / IBook /BN / K )
CLICK the Links Below The Image to Download Your eCopy of WEDDING A WARRIOR


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Welcome Home Ceremony! Oh YES We waived our flags!

Us, pushing play on our lives together again! :)

HOME AT LAST!

Ten Months, 12 Days since I last kissed my Hunky Hunk of Love'n Husband (he loves that name, lol). 


Not our longest deployment, but long enough! Hours of waiting in an airplane hanger, temperatures that made the equator look like a pansy, surrounded by anxious family members donning patriotic clothing, and no shortage of American flags--now those are the ingredients for a good 'ole Welcome Home Ceremony! 

Spirits were high, the energy higher! Anticipation doesn't even scratch the surface of what I was feeling. Nervous? You bet. Excited? Um, yeah. Just plain ready to get my man back? Totally. Ready to to get out of my high heels? Please Jesus make it soon! lol. We waited, AND waited. Then waited some more. And when we were done waiting, guess what? Yup. There was more waiting! :) BUT SOON, we all tunneled toward the runway, and searched the skies for the plane...waiting once more. :) 

You wouldn't believe the sound that erupted from the crowd as the plane touched down! Their cheers...my cheers, lol...grew louder as the men filed from the plane. Everyone had been waiting for this moment. Our men were home safe, boots on the ground, and would be in our arms soon.

Like most families there, we weren't new at this deployment bit, so I knew when the soldiers were released, a flood of families would pour from the bleachers spilling into the sea of camo. Staying put, up high on the bleachers was my best chance of him finding us--and he did!! To see him again...kiss him...hold him...watch him grab our children up in his arms...my friends, there are no words to describe. Priceless. One of those moments in life that you store in your heart and treasure, pondering how unspeakably precious it is.  

So he's home!!!! I want to thank you all for following us through this journey, and I would love to share a bit our excitement with ya'll. Please enjoy the video clip, and pictures below! Feel free to leave comments & share this post with your friends and family. :) XOXOXO! :) 

video
Here they come!


All the pics!



Friday, July 19, 2013

I've Been Waiting: When I Finally Make it Home Video

The wait is almost over!


The next time I post it will be pictures of our family REUNITED! In the meantime, enjoy the video and song by Mercy Me. LOVE it!! 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Mealtime Moments: Dinner Conversations & FREE Meal Plan!

Most of my favorite memories revolve moments that have included good food, good conversation, and lots of laughter. 

This is what we do with our food!
Family cookouts, and get-togethers. Sunday lunches at Granny's house. Romantic evenings with my Honey. Dinner around our table. There's something special about gathering together with those close to you to laugh, eat, and simply be with each other. Jesus even knew there was something great about a good get-together. He's constantly eating and talking with his Disciple peeps, and feeding thousands--how's that for a catering job?

It's not that mealtimes are magical, although there are times when I'm positive the food is so delicious it is better than magic. No, there's no real magic in dining together. The special ingredient is fellowship/getting to know one another better/sharing life.  It's sitting down, slowing the pace of your life, and giving a bit of yourself in order to connect with those you love.

I've heard it said that the most valuable gift you can give someone is your time, and that's what mealtimes are. 

Breakfasts are busy, lunches are low key as we are separated throughout the day, but dinner is where our family reconnects. Don't get me wrong, some nights we park in the living room for a quick dinner and movie, but we work very hard to make sure we have that time around the dinner table. 

Take the Dinner Table Challenge with me. Meet your family around the Dinner Table at least 5 nights a week, and see what a difference it can make. Busy schedule? Not sure what to cook? Let emeals help you out with meal planning! Check out this Vacation Menu plan from emeals to free up your time, save money, and allow for more family time. 

Not sure what to talk about around the Dinner Table? Here are some ideas. :) 

Family Meal Time Conversation Starter Tools
Games:
Bust out Scrabble, a deck of cards, Trivia, and any other game your family likes. 

blogs:
http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/26492/dinner-games

http://faithful-families.blogspot.com/p/family-table-games.html

Websites:
100 Questions to ask your Kids

30 Family Dinner Questions (REALLY CUTE IDEA!)

Books:

    

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stronger Than We Think: Encouragment for Moms

"I don't know how you all do it." Many civilian women/moms say to me. "I could never be without my husband for that long. I'd go insane." 

Ha! What makes them think I'm not insane? There are days I teeter on the edge of insanity. I'm sure my kids would agree.


It's not like I want to be without my husband. I don't look forward to him leaving for lengthy periods of time. Although, admittedly, I don't mind a nice week or two away here and there, lol. To these women/moms who think they couldn't do Army life, I say to you: you're stronger than you think. I was stronger than I thought, BUT, that took some hard knocks to find out.

Life happens. Things are thrown your way whether you're military or not. I've learned that it's how you respond that matters. We learn to be strong. Courageous, kind and loving. Whining, fussing, and complaining does no good for anyone. It stresses my husband out, depresses me, frustrates our children, and causes rifts in our marriage, and family.

How did I learn? Where else? The Bible of course. I totally still struggle with being strong, brave, courageous, kind and loving. I'm such a work in progress--like right n
ow, I'm Picasso looking. There are days I just want to crumble, and I need to cry. I need to vent. Then I get back up, and say, "Okay, God, help me out."

Take a few moments can and check out the verses below that help keep life in perspective when times get hard. They remind us that we are stronger than we think.

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing." Philippians 2:14

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28


"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23


"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37


"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2


"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9


Ever in a bind? Don't know what to do, how to respond, or what the next move should be? Ask God. He gives wisdom to those that ask.  

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5






Friday, June 28, 2013

Celebrating Ten Years of Marriage: Now & Then

Happy Anniversary Stephen Conway. I'd marry you all over
June 28, 2003
again.


This wasn't how I thought we'd spend our ten year anniversary. Overseas, somewhere tropical, is what I had  in mind. Guess I should have been more specific, lol. You're overseas, probably closer to a beach than I am. 

But soon you'll be home and we will celebrate. I'm thinking we should look through photo albums, laugh at all our funny memories. Maybe slow dance in the kitchen. Promise to spin me? :) 

You know what I love? I love knowing that I have ten years of memories with you! You know what else I love? Knowing we've only grown closer through all the battles we've been through. 

Basic Training Graduation 2003
Remember when...
I was to terrified to stay with you when you joined the Army, so I broke up with you...like three times? You always pursued me, literally chased me down, haha. You helped me keep faith in you, in us, in God. You kept telling me that all things were possible with God, even Army life. :)

Remember when...
It was my turn to tell you with God all things were possible?

Remember when...
Summer 2003
You told me we'd get married after Basic Training, after you had two years or so in the Army, and could support a family, but you couldn't stand being away from me so you proposed over the phone, and I married you a week after Basic graduation? Our families freaked! Haha. :)

First Summer We Dated 2001
Remember our First Christmas together as a married couple?
You were stationed in Korea. I was still in college saving every penny I earned waitressing at Mark's Feed Store so I could visit you over Christmas break. We spent Christmas Day cuddled in bed watching movies. Korea was so cold!

Remember when...
We used to wonder what our children would look like? How many we would have? What we would name them?  I wanted 12 kids, you wanted 4, so we settled for 2! lol :)  Aren't our children the most amazing creations ever? :) 

Remember when...
March 2005
You held our son for the first time. You were in Iraq, trying to make it home in time...when you came in the hospital room, you still had sand on your boots. I remember being so happy to see your face.

Remember when...
We made it to our first duty station in Colorado. Our first official time away from home...essentially still newlyweds, with a new baby. We had no clue what we were doing, but we made it, and by the grace of God, so did our son! Remember how we called him our little guinea pig? Haha. :) 

Remember when...
We fought all the time? You were always the first to say you were sorry, even if it was my fault. You never could stay mad long...me, well...I'm more stubborn. Sorry. I'm better, right? The best part about fighting was making up. Yeah. Make ups were the best. Wink. 

Oct. 2010 
Remember when...
I cried when Baby #2 was going to be born in Indiana, and not Kentucky like the rest of us? And I seriously considered driving to Kentucky when I went into labor? Haha. :) I used to pray our children had southern accents...I still pray that, lol.

Remember when...
You held me before you left for this last deployment. We were standing in the bathroom, in front of the sink. I was trying to keep it together, hoping you wouldn't come in seeing me struggling with my emotions, but you did.  I cried. I'm sorry. I didn't want you to see me crying. I'll never forget what you did. You reached out and pulled me tight against your chest, and held me. You let me cry, even though you were the one leaving for war.  Remember what you told me? You told me it was going to be okay, and you know what? You were right. You're coming home soon, and it's all going to be okay.

I love remembering. All the hugs, fights, kisses, tears, laughs--yeah I love remembering them all. You and I...well, we've kind of grown up together. We've been by each other's side for ten years, through it all, conquering one mountain at a time. You really are my best friend. Ten years isn't enough time with you. I'm glad we have the rest of our lives. 
US

Ten Years in the Making.
I'll see you soon sweetheart. Happy Anniversary baby. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Redeployment Ready: The Crazy Ways We Prepare

Image from www.entertainmentwallpaper.com

Oh, I've been more than ready for this deployment to end. For months I've been wishing time would fly faster, and honestly it  has flown. 

At the beginning of the deployment I made a to do list  of all the things I wanted to accomplish while my hubby was away. I'll get to the list later, but today I want to discuss all the ways I'm preparing for his return.

click here to see my deployment list update (some things just didn't get done, lol)

It's occurred to me that we, Military Wives, do some crazy stuff to get ready for our Other Half to come home. Some things are down right comical. For example, I have a good friend that went on a very special waxing adventure before her husband came home...lol...I will not go into details, just know that it didn't turn out the way she had hoped. Good times. 

Losing weight, and toning up seem to be the default things to do when our hubbies are away. Do you even wanna know how much of my money has went to Jillian Michael's workout videos? I'm telling ya, it's almost shameful.

Me with Henna Hannah Hair!
We buy bronzing creams, new unmentionables (wink), search for the perfect dress to greet our man in, schedule hair/nail appointments, or dye our own hair (see my pics), and hit the tanning beds 'cause every lady knows that if you can't get rid of fat, you might as well tan it. After months of not shaving on a regular basis--oh, don't judge me, lol, if you're hubby was gone, you would totally take a hiatus from shaving--anyway...I'm in the market for a fancy new razor. Any recommendations? My Dad suggests I start with some lawn clippers, lol, totally joking.




This is Henna, not baby poo
So yes, in lots of crazy ways I'm preparing for my husband's return, but I want to! I want to be the best possible version of me for him, because he's my husband. You know, I LOVE how giddy his return makes me feel. After nearly 10 years of marriage I feel like it's the night before our wedding, but better. I now know my husband on a deeper level, and I now have a working knowledge of what love really is, and what it isn't. I can't wait to be with him again! 

...And I can't help but see the spiritual parallels to all my preparation. The Bible makes many references to Brides and Bridegrooms.

"[...]and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” Rev 19: 8


Just like I should never stop preparing myself for my husband, I should never stop preparing myself for God. The greatest way I can prepare myself for my husband, is to become even more spiritually fit. The closer I get to God, the closer I get to my Spouse...that's just how it works.

So what about you? How do you get Redeployment Ready? Or Spiritually fit? I 'd love to hear from ya. :) 

  

Friday, May 31, 2013

It's A Love Story Baby: Military Proposals

When Your Man Put A Ring On It! That's right my friends, we're sharing military love stories & proposals!

Though I prefer the TBS version, An Officer and a Gentleman (SWOON) quite frankly could have the best movie ending--EVER! Don't believe me? Watch my friends. Watch and swoon with me.


What could be more romantic than being carried by a man in uniform? That's right my dear readers, not many things. Hollywood writes about romance, even acts it out with a bunch overpaid pretenders. But true love stories are all around us. Today I want to introduce you to several Army Wives, and let them tell you their ultra awesome love stories and sweet proposals, that put Hollywood's finest attempts of love and romance to shame. Get ready for some major swooning!


"Shaun and I met through a mutual friend 17 years ago. It was a only a phone call at 1st. He had a very appealing voice and our conversation was great. Through many phone calls and learning how much we had in common, we decided to meet. We have been together ever since. He proposed when I went to visit him in Ft. Sill, OK after his AIT in 1997. We got married May 2001 (long engagement, I know  ) and he didn't go active duty until 2003. My name is Laura and we are currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC"


"David and I met in 11 years ago. He was helping my roommate move in. David was really funny and not shy at all. I love about him. We had been together for 3 years when he proposed. He wanted to join the army and didntwant to leave without me, so he asked me to go. We have been married for 8 years and are currently in Fort Jackson, SC." ~Jenn



"Chuck and I went to school together but met through my brother. There was lots that attracted me to him: his personality, humor, and looks. He proposed to me October 7, 2005 on our couch after I said Yes. When he proposed, I wanted him to do more than show me a ring. That's when he popped open the ring case and said "I'll love you forever, will you marry me?" We got married December 31st , 2005. We've been in the Army 8 years."
~Megan, Fort Carson Colorado and on our way to Fort Belvoir, VA.



"Matt and I met in Augusta, GA at Chili's while he was going through AIT at Ft. Gordon. I knew he was THE ONE when he went with me to meet my father at the nursing home where my Grandmother was. He spent a whole Sunday afternoon here and at that point we had only known each other a few weeks. Also he was kind of cute! We met in July 2004. At Christmas, he was going home, Maine, before coming here (Ft Campbell) for his first duty station. He wanted me to meet his family, so I flew solo for the first time in my life to spend Christmas with his family. He wasn't flying up until a couple of days later by the way. He proposed on Christmas Eve. It wasn't really a surprise since I helped him pick out a ring, but as soon as Christmas was over he was headed to Ft Campbell and I was headed back to GA. He put the ring on my pillow before I went to bed. When it was time for bed I saw the ring and he came in and popped the question! We got married on May 28, 2005 and by the time you post this will have celebrated our 8 year anniversary! Although I guess you can't really celebrate it if he's not here "    
                 ~Jenny



"[Kris and I] met through an old high school friend who was in RIP together with my husband. I knew the minute I met him and shook his hand he was "the one"! He was cute, funny, kind and smart. (I would later find out that he had the same exact thought the minute he shook my hand too! Kismet!) He proposed 7 months after we met, in New Orleans. It was kind of a meeting point and special place for us while he lived in Georgia and I was in Louisiana. He spent the day asking where my favorite places were in the city and when I brought him to my favorite spot, he got down on his knee and proposed. He is going on 10 years now in the army, while we have been married for 8."  ~Katie, Fort Benning, GA




"My husband and I were set up on a date by his brother's girlfriend during his 2-week R&R from Iraq. The first thing that attracted me to him was his soft, kind eyes. They made me melt! During our first-date dinner conversation, I became attracted to his odd sense of humor that's just like mine, as well as his intelligence and clear sense of integrity. My husband proposed at the same restaurant where we went on our first date. Of course, this was on the last evening of his pre-deployment leave before another year in the desert. Andrew has been in the Army for 11 years, and I just separated from 6 years in the AF last November, so the first 3 1/2 years of our relationship (and one year of marriage) were long distance."  ~Heidi & Andrew, Ft Meade, MD




I would love to hear from you! Share your love story, and or proposal with us!