Thursday, April 21, 2011


Not having a good night at all.....feeling bad mentally & physically. Sometimes, I think I must be bipolar! Then, I think about it & realize nope, I'm just the wife of a deployed soldier. Half of my heart is in a faraway land in a war can I truly be happy for longer than a split second at a time? Seems like lately those split seconds of happiness are coming less & less often. Life just isn't as enjoyable when you don't have that special someone to share it with. I'm supposed to have my husband with me; my kids are supposed to have their daddy!

One minute I'm ok & think I'm handling this situation pretty good....the next minute I'm a mess & crying my eyes out. Even a day is longer than I want my husband to be away from us no matter where he is, much less in Afghanistan, but a YEAR.....that's just too long for families to be separated and on this roller coaster of feelings!

Times like tonight, I just wish I was home! Of course, my first wish is to have my husband back but since I can't have that I wish I could at least be near all my family & have their support. Another bipolar minute I am thankful for the experience of living in a different country & the next I just want to be back in little old boring Summerville where everything is familiar. I miss my house & my yard....I miss hanging out by the pool or just sitting on the porch in the swing while the kids swim and play.....I miss walking up to my dad's shop just to say good morning and talking to him while he drinks his coffee or piddles around....I miss shopping trips with my mom & being able to stop by to see them whenever I want.....I miss spending time with all my nieces & nephews & having my kids be able to have their cousins around.....I miss picking up Trae & Taylor every morning for school (although so much has changed since I left I probably wouldn't be doing that either since he can actually drive himself now!!!!).....I miss spending time with my sisters, playing cards or barbecuing & just hanging out.....I miss Sunday visits from my mother-in-law when she would stop by after church.....I miss being close enough to all my friends that we could see each other whenever we wanted to, even if we were all so busy that it wasn't as often as it used to be....I miss all those little things & hate that I am missing out on so much with the people I love in this world!

I shouldn't even be whining & complaining when I know there are people in much tougher situations than I am. I have a husband who I love & who loves me back unconditionally, my kids are healthy, I have a supportive & loving family, some of the best friends ever, a roof over my head, and food to eat. Every time I start feeling sorry for myself, it doesn't take long before I am reminded of just how blessed I am. Every once in awhile though, I have to just let it out & allow myself to be sad without feeling guilty.

When everybody told me the first month was the worst & this would get easier with time, they lied! I just have to keep reminding myself that I am strong enough to do goal is to just survive this deployment without going literally insane, trying my best to stay strong for my family, and attempt to make things as happy and normal for my kids as I can. After all, they are the ones that really matter! They are what keeps me going!

I read a quote yesterday that was so said, "the only easy day is yesterday". That is so true. I can't wait until enough yesterdays are behind me that my husband is back in my arms. I bet when we look back on this year, it probably won't seem like it was as hard as it seems right now.

I hate to be such a negative Nancy. It seems like I only get the urge to write when things are going wrong or I'm feeling down. I'm gonna try to do better & start making time to add to my blog when I have something happy to talk about. Nobody wants to keep reading my blog if it's always depressing.

It's bedtime and that means another day closer to the goal. Tomorrow is a new day & I'm going to wake up & be back to my happy self. That's a promise! This deployment is tough, but it's not tougher than me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What a long week......take the good with the bad!

Seems like so long since I've updated my blog when actually it's only been a week. Boy oh boy was that a long week! Sure hoping the rest of the weeks we have left of this deployment don't go this slow.

In that week, I had to make a decision of whether or not to attend the memorial of the soldiers we lost. Up until the day before the memorial, I had planned to go and show my respects, but the closer it got I started questioning if it was the smartest thing to do, considering my husband is still there. I just didn't know if I could handle anymore reminders of the danger he is in everyday. If the families of the heroes had been here for me to give my condolences to, my decision would have been different but in the end I decided not to go. Honestly, I just didn't feel I was at a strong enough point where I could handle it emotionally. God knows my heart and he knows that I have said prayer after prayer for the soldiers and their families. I just long for the day when all of this ends and we can quit sending our husbands and sons to war.....then again, I wonder if there will ever be peace again....I think probably not, at least not in this lifetime.

On Friday evening after work, I had to make a trip to Ramstein, which is an airbase about 30-35 minutes away to take care of some things and with the time difference I figured I wouldn't be back in time to talk to Maurice so I wrote him a message about where I would be. I didn't get back until after midnight Afghanistan time, which is wayyyy past the time my husband goes to sleep. I was feeling really down because I knew I wouldn't be able to talk to him on Saturday either because of the trip, but to my surprise when I got home he was still up on facebook chat waiting on me so he could say goodnight. That may not seem like that big of a deal but to me it was!  I know how hard he works and how much he needs his sleep to be prepared mentally and physically. He said he was so tired but that he read my message and that I sounded so sad about not getting to talk to him for 2 days straight that he had to stay up. No matter what, he always comes through and finds a way to make me smile when I need it the most. He knew he needed his sleep, but he also knew I needed to hear from him. I just love that man!!! In our situation, even more so than normal, it's the little things that count!

To top Friday night off, Devon made it home from youth camp safe and sound and on top of having a great time, he said he also learned a lot. I asked him what was the biggest thing he had learned & he said he learned that following God's path and living the way you should most often times leads you into a storm but that you have to remember to just keep doing what is right and pushing through the storm to get to the other side. At 32, that's still a lesson I need to be reminded of! Of course, he also had to tell me about all the cute girls he met while I'm thinking, "why can't he just stay a kid forever?????".  I love my son so much and even though he's a typical teenager so there are some days I feel like I could just squeeze his head off, I am so proud of the young man he is becoming. He has such a good heart.

Saturday was a great day! Took the kids and went with some friends to Holiday Park, a theme park about 1-1/2 hours away. I didn't let Devon take a friend like he usually wants to do so that he was forced to spend the entire day with us....good decision!!! :) They had a good mix of rides so there was something for everybody. They had an awesome roller coaster called Expedition G Force and a free fall that even I was a little nervous about. It was good to have some fun with the kids and see everybody happy.

Woke up Sunday motivated to get some things done around the house. Things quickly took a bad turn though. I found out my nephew had a wreck and flipped his vehicle but thank goodness he was ok. That was a big enough scare. Then, I got awful news......our dog, Minnie, had gotten hit by a car and killed :(  My heart was broken and even worse I had to break the news to the kids, as well as Maurice. Ansley cried all day and Devon who never takes naps just covered his head and went to sleep for the entire day. The kids loved her so much & she loved them. Before we moved, she would meet them every single day when they got off the school bus at the end of our road. She would listen for the bus and as soon as she heard it coming off she would run! Even after all this time, they said she would still perk up when she heard the bus and then look sad when it didn't stop....she was still waiting for them!

Minnie wasn't an ordinary dog.....she was special! She was our dog but she was loved by the entire family. My dad owns the lot next to our house and comes over at least a couple of times a day. Minnie would always go up there and stay with him when he came. At first, I think she aggravated him because he isn't what you would call a "dog person", but it didn't take long before Minnie had won him over too. She loved her Papa and he loved her too :) He had pictures and videos on his phone that he would show people of her and the funny things she would do. He would even buy her a biscuit most mornings when he got breakfast & carry it over to the building to eat with her. My nieces and nephews loved her as well. We couldn't bring her overseas with us because she's an outside dog so my sister who is renting our house kept her for us. It didn't take long before my sister started teasing me, saying possession was half the law and that we weren't getting her back when we came home. They had fell in love with her too! My niece loved playing outside with her, dancing and taking pictures of them together, while my nephew enjoyed spending time outside throwing the ball with her. It's hard to explain how special she was to anybody who hadn't seen her, but those that have understand. She was just the sort of dog you couldn't help but love.....she made a lot of people smile in her days and is gonna be missed! It just wont be the same going home and her not being there.

That same day I learned that a little girl in our community fell on concrete while playing outside and has a severe brain injury. I've known her family since I was young and we all attended the same church and I went to school with her parents. Her older sister is my daughter's age and they were in the same kindergarten class and played T-ball together. I can't imagine what her family is going through right now, and I am keeping them all in my prayers and I ask that you do the same. Children are such a blessing to us and it just makes me want to hold my babies and never let go. It is just another reminder of how precious life really is. Never take it for granted. With that said, I'm gonna try to focus on the good things of this past week instead of the bad....yes, this has been a longggg week with some sad news thrown in there, but there has also been a lot of good sprinkled in there as well, and it could always be much worse. I have so much to be thankful for.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not again!

Last week was a very stressful one from starting it off learning the news that our brigade lost 2 soldiers to ending it with all of the budget drama with everybody wondering how long we were going to go without a paycheck Thank goodness all of the worries about the budget were for nothing, and for once believe it or not I was actually looking forward to a Monday, which meant a fresh start. Sadly, this week is starting out all too similar to last week......we got another red message today that gave the heartbreaking news that we lost another brave hero from our brigade, once again from the same unit that had to handle the awful news last week. Just over a month into their deployment and they have suffered 3 casualties. I can't even begin to explain my feelings right now. My prayers and thoughts go out to this soldier's family and friends.  This situation is so scary. While this war has been going on for so long that a lot of Americans who don't personally know anyone affected by it seem to often times forget our country is still at war, it is all too real for some of us others.

My husband's unit left 3 months before the rest of the base so while the deployment is new to a lot of the wives here, I was finally getting to a point where we had somewhat of a routine and I knew what to expect, or at least THOUGHT I knew what to expect. Our first 4 months of the deployment were relatively quiet with not a lot of bad news or huge scares.  Even though I still worried, I was actually getting to a place where I had let my guard down a little & had learned how to sort of push the worry to the background of my mind; it was still there but controllable. All of a sudden, things seem to have changed so fast. Little did I know I had been somewhat spoiled by the relatively safer winter months of the war. I have since learned this is the natural pattern of the insurgency & violence there for the last 10 years. Although Afghanistan is never a safe place to be, with attacks still happening daily no matter what time of the year, the violence coming from the insurgents is always much more subdued during the winter months as their efforts are hampered by the frigid cold & snow. Knowing that we have a long summer ahead of us, that knowledge is not very reassuring.

Even with all the burden and worry I'm carrying, life goes on as normal as is possible. I wake up every morning & do all the usual things. Today, I sent my 15-year-old son off to a camp with the local youth group that will last 5 days (that will at least give me something else to worry about if I need a break from worrying about the usual LOL). I worked and then ran a few errands before coming home to wait online for the highlight of my day.....a chat with my husband! So thankful for the internet & being able to hear from him and know he's ok. Now, it's almost time for me to snuggle up with my little girl and watch the movie we rented before bedtime. Everybody says to find things to keep yourself busy during a deployment so that the time doesn't drag on. With a job and 2 kids to take care of, keeping busy has never been a problem for me. Still, even keeping busy isn't enough to keep me from worrying.

Somehow though, I still have faith. Even after all the worry and sadness that fills my heart, at the end of the day when I say my prayers for my soldier and the many others who are also there, I go to sleep knowing he's going to be safe and make it back to us. I can't let myself consider any other scenario. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yesterday was a day I hope I never have to repeat. Learning of the first deaths of your brigade's deployment is a gut wrenching experience. Why it is so shocking is hard to explain....I mean we all know our husbands are away at war. This isn't training; this is the real thing. Still, we tend to minimize the dangers in our own minds just to keep it all together & stay strong for our family. That illusion is now shattered. We are all now reminded that the dreaded knock on the door really can happen. While this is hard for me to swallow, I am can only try to imagine the anguish the family that actually got that knock is feeling. My pain nowhere near compares to what they are going through. My heart aches for them.

My 7-year-old brought home a note from school asking us to talk to our kids about what happened before they return to school where counselors will meet with all of the children. Two of her schoolmates lost their daddy so it is only a matter of time before the other kids find out, so I guess they are right, that it is better that they hear it from us. That way, we can answer any questions they have & try to reassure them. Just because kids don't talk about something doesn't mean they aren't thinking about something so this was a necessary conversation. Still, it wasn't a very easy conversation. I tried to look like I wasn't worried & to sound confident while I told her the sad news that we had lost 2 soldiers/heroes from our base and that he was the daddy to kids she went to school with. With tears in my eyes, I reassured her that her daddy is very brave and good at what he does and that he will be safe. I think I was trying to reassure myself as much as her. I told her it was ok to be sad and that she should pray for the families and all of our soldiers, which is something we already do every single night. This is a scary time for us all but for an innocent child who doesn't even fully understand the concept of war it is even harder.

Next, I had to break the news to my 15-year-old who took it pretty hard himself. He had all kinds of emotions from being sad and worried that it was one of his friend's parents to being angry at the whole war and even at the entire Muslim religion after he found out that it was one of the Afghan policemen whom we were helping train that was responsible for the deaths. I had to remind him that while most of the terrorists & people we are fighting are Muslim, all Muslims do not think that way and in fact MOST Muslims do not feel that way. He is of a very impressionable age and I don't want him to learn intolerance from all of this.

It's such a complicated world and it's hard to explain things to your children when I admittedly can't even comprehend it all myself.  All I know is that we are a country of freedom and opportunity, and I am proud of my husband and all of the other brave soldiers who put their life on the line and make sacrifices every single day to keep it that way. They fight wars away from home to not only try and make life better for the kids and future generations in those countries, but also to keep the war and fighting away from our homeland so that their children can continue to live in a peaceful nation. I am so thankful that men like this exist, men like the 2 soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Whether you agree with the war or not, I hope you will continue to support the troops and appreciate their service. Send an extra prayer up for them every night, as well as for the families who no longer have a husband to share their life with, a daddy to read to them or throw the ball with them, or a son to hug. Freedom is never free.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I think if the Army is going to station families overseas around so many interesting places, then they should give us a travel allowance. I dont think it should be just extra money put on your check every month though because some people would just keep the money & skip the once in a lifetime opportunity to see Germany & all of the surrounding countries that are so close to us. They could instead set it up to where you could turn in your receipts from hotels or museums or festivals, etc., and get reimbursed up to a certain amount. Yeah, yeah, I know - never gonna happen but it sounds like a good idea to me!

If money was no object, I would be somewhere new every week while I'm here & have the chance to see places I'll probably never have the chance to be this close to again! While there are some cities I want to see more than others, there aren't too many places you could name that I wouldn't love the chance to visit at least once! I know some people who could care less about seeing Europe & hardly ever even venture off base. I just can't imagine being here for 3 years & going back to the states with my basic impression of Germany/Europe being the American part of it. There are so many historical & beautiful cities to see & even though I love the U.S. and I miss it, I want to soak up as much of the different cultures & experiences of other parts of the world while I have the chance. Until I hit my mid-20s, I was perfectly content to spend the little bit of vacation time I ever got to take either on the beach in Florida or Georgia, at amusement parks once again in Florida or Georgia, and occasionally in the Smokey Mountains. I had basically never been out of the south except for a cruise to the Bahamas! Now, that I've had my eyes opened to just how big the world is & how much I've been missing, I want to see more of the United States once I make it home, but the way I look at it I've got the rest of my life to do that! While I'm here, I'm trying to soak up every little bit of Europe that I can. I know everyone is different & to each his own....I just want my only regret when I leave here to be that I didn't see enough because I didn't have the time & money, not because I just didn't have the interest.

This weekend I got the chance to take a trip to Holland so what did I do? I spent money I didn't really have & away I went! :) Holland, also known as The Netherlands, is famous for 4 things - wooden shoes, windmills, cheese, and flowersweekend, I got the, especially tulips. We got to experience all three by visiting a local farm that makes wooden shoes & cheese, as well as the famous Keukenhof Gardens Tulip Festival.

Knowing that the Dutch people are known for their cheese, I guess it was only fitting that as soon as we stepped off the bus we were officially welcomed to Holland by stepping in cow poo. Ugh! Not exactly the welcome I had in mind but oh well!

Next, we got to see how the wooden shoes are made & learned about their history and purposes....did you know that the clogs with the pointed tip are fisherman's clogs? That way he can pick up his net without having to bend over. See, you really do learn something new everyday :) After that, we were shown how they make cheese & even got to taste samples....yummy! Kraft will never taste the same! The garlic & chives cheese was my favorite! Last, it was off to the barn where we got to pet & feed the cows & the kids got to play on the rope swing in the barn. Devon said the smell of the cows made him miss home!

We spent the afternoon at the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland. The gardens used to belong to the 15th-century Countess of Holland but since 1949 has been home to the annual festival that is open to the public for 8 weeks out of the year.  It is the largest flower garden in the entire world where there are over 7 million bulbs planted in a different unique pattern every single year. We were there before the peak of the season, which is towards the end of April, so we were told only about 35% of the flowers were bloomed. My only thought was if it's that beaituful now, I can only imagine how amazingly gorgeous it is during the peak time.

After getting up at 3 a.m. to catch the bus, it had been a very long day & I was all too ready when it came time for the 5-hour ride home. Ideally, I would have loved to stay there a few more days & have time to see even more but I'm hoping we can make the trek back to visit Amsterdam & see the Anne Frank House before our time here is over. If not, I will be thankful for the part of Holland I did see though & when I'm older & watching some channel like HGTV (like my momma does now) & a program comes on talking about the world's flower shows & mentions Keukenhof & how Holland is the biggest exporter of tulips, I can be that old woman yelling at the TV, "I've been there!!!!" :)


As of yesterday, we have 4 months of this deployment behind us! Woo hoo! That means 4 months closer to having my family back together again! For me, it's easier not to count how many weeks or months we have until he comes home, but instead to think about it in terms of the amount of time we've made it through. Some people do the countdown or the 365 kisses in a jar, 1 for each day he's gone, but I simply can't bear to think about it in terms of the number of weeks or days I have left of this empty & scared feeling.

The first 4 months of this deployment has already taught me a lot. I've learned that the saying "you never know how strong you are until you have to be" isn't just something someone made up for you to say when someone is going through a hard time & you don't know what else to say - it's really true. I am not the gullible or naive type, yet this has still been 100 times harder than I ever imagined but I can do this. It's not something I want to do but every day I get up & somehow find the strength to do it, because there's no other choice.  

I've learned there will be good days & bad days, and that the nights are always the hardest. I now know that 4 months can feel like 4 years when you have to live it without the one person in the world who completes you.

I also quickly figured out that I need to find a balance between keeping my husband informed of the things going on here with me & the kids so that he doesn't feel left out while trying not to burden him with the day-to-day issues that he can't do anything about except worry & feel guilty about for not being here to help me; some days I succeed with that goal & some days not so much.

There are still things I'm trying to learn. The main one is how not to worry so much although I have been doing better than I thought I would. I am the type of person who always thinks the worst.....expect the worst but hope for the best is what I've always said. When it comes to this though, I have to think different unless I want to go completely crazy...I just try to have faith & tell myself no matter what I know he's coming home safe to me. I still struggle with that though. On days I don't hear from him, I have to push those negative thoughts out of my mind. Now that it's getting warmer & even more dangerous over there, that's getting harder & harder to do. Everyday I'm seeing news reports and hearing of attacks & incidents that are hitting all too close to home. That means a lot of extra praying for him & all the other soldiers over there who all have families at home loving and missing them.

The main thing I've learned is to cherish every day & make the most of it. Never take the people you love for granted. I have always tried to show & tell my husband how much I love him but even more so now. Not that I ever questioned it, but this deployment has proved to me that our love can make it through anything. In some ways, it's even made us closer. When I start feeling sorry for myself, I just think about how lucky I am to have such a special person in my life that loves me so much to miss, and I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You're sending us where?

I can still remember the day I found out we were getting stationed in Germany. My emotion was somewhere in the middle of excited & terrified! I have lived in the same small town my entire life, where everybody knows everybody & my family is all there. The thought of moving anywhere was scary enough so imagine how I felt to be told I'm moving to a whole different country where they speak a whole different language! 

Being thrown into unfamliar settings, away from family & friends, is just part of the military. That's one of the hard things about being in the service- you move a lot & are always separated from your extended family. Just like almost anything else in the world though, that negative thing you hate also has its positives if you really think about it. I have learned so much & grown as a person over the last year and a half. I have been able to travel to places that never once did I imagine I'd see in my lifetime. Places such as Rome and Paris, the places I'd only read about before. 

Experiencing another continent has also been a good experience for my children. They have been exposed to all sorts of different cultures & people from various places around the world. One of the most important differences I've noticed about Europe is that there seems to be a lot less racism. I guess it's because there are so many countries so close together, so they are used to seeing different kinds of people and so it's no big deal to them. When we go out in public off base, we don't get the same stares I'm used to having to ignore back home. This is also true of the military families on base. Since you have people from so many different backgrounds all in one place, everyone is so much more tolerant of eachother. Sure, you've got your exceptions but not one time has my bi-racial son had the problem of having a girlfriend he has to break up with once her parents find out about him. This was all too common before. I won't ever forget overhearing a conversation between him & my niece about a month after we got here. I heard him tell her in such a happy voice, "I love it here. The teachers don't even care what color you are...they treat everybody the same." That was an eye-opening moment for me & the moment that reaffirmed to me we had made the right decision with joining the miltiary.

All this doesn't mean that I don't miss home. I do. Georgia will always be my home & whether we decide to extend our contract in the military or not, I know eventually we'll probably end up back there.  I am just thankful for the experience and the fact that my kids now know there is so much more to the world than just the town we came from. I hope this opens up their eyes to all the possibilities of what they can strive for and achieve and that instead of just accepting things the way they are, they now know there are other choices.