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Monday, December 31, 2007

It's Official

So I haven't written in a while, but I think today is sort of important. Today means that an entire year has gone by since Gabe left for Afghanistan. One year ago I may have gotten a little sleep and I woke up thinking that he was in bed with me. This morning I knew he wasn't but still wished he was. A year ago I sobbed and sobbed all day and all night so much that my body hurt. Today a few tears may visit me, but it will be normal for me to smile and laugh. A year ago I couldn't eat anything. Now I probably eat

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Than Survival

This is an essay I wrote for my English class. I think it could be helpful....

When a soldier leaves for war, his mind is filled with the stories he has heard from his contemporaries, images he may have seen on a previous tour that still haunt him, perhaps thoughts of how long until he will see his home again. When a married soldier leaves for war he is thinking about the wife he is saying goodbye to, making sure that he has left everything in order so that she will be able to take care of things, and hoping the days go by quickly until he is back in her arms (if he loves his wife of course). Deployments are difficult. Once that soldier is on the bus it's done. There is no more preparation, no more tearful hugs, no more memories to make. Now it is about survival; for both the soldier and his wife. I can only speak from the latter end since I have never been deployed to Afghanistan. Though it may seem incredibly difficult, deployments are completely endurable. With thorough preparation, appropriate mourning, a daily routine and a positive attitude, you will not only get through the difficult task of being a deployed soldier's wife, you will be better for it.

Before your husband leaves, it is vital to make sure that your affairs are in order. Be sure to attend every Family Readiness Group (FRG) meeting. It is usually mandatory for the soldier to go, but it is more important that you are there. They will give you all the information you need and introduce you to the other wives of your husband's unit. It is also important to come up with a financial plan for deployment. You will need to take care of bills while he is overseas so come up with a way to lay it all out so that you are not even more stressed once he's gone. My husband came up with a chart on Excel which shows me each bill, the date it is due, the amount that is due, the contact information for each company, and all the passwords or usernames on the account. It has really saved us!

Once you have dealt with the logistical things you need to move on to the more poignant matters. Get his Power of Attorney and be sure to get special power of attorneys as well for specific things (like the car or housing issues). Probably the most emotionally stressful thing you do before deployment is get his Last Will and Testament made up. When my husband brought his home and showed it to me I started crying at the very thought of needing to pull this out, but it was necessary. You cannot forget that these men and women are not just going on vacation. After you have gotten everything arranged you are ready, at least practically, to send him to war.

When you are standing at the battalion area, where your husband has just had his final formation (after they have already had 3 "final" formations before this one where all the soldiers scrambled into lines only to be dismissed for another torturous goodbye) and is passing you in a sea of his comrades, you feel as though the entire world has been roughly plopped on your weak little shoulders. Suddenly this horrible event you and your partner have been talking about for the last 4 months is here. This ugly monster has arrived and gobbled up your happy life. Now you are standing alone in the dark without any comforting words in your ear and without a hand to cling to. If you are lucky enough, you will have friends with you. I was not lucky enough. I went as far as I could go with the man I adored and then was forced to stop. I waited until the tail lights of the big grey bus (an image which brings me to tears even now) were totally out of sight before I got into my car and sobbed. Then, when I could see through my salty tears, I drove home on the same road which my husband had driven us to base on only hours before.

It is the things like that drive which caused the most heartache. Things that brought back images, scents, words of my husband which caused me the most distress in the weeks after he left. When you are alone in your house and you can't finish your dinner, but you have no one to hand your plate off to, the deployment smacks you hard in the face just to remind you its still there. He's still gone. For the first few weeks you may cry without any particular reason because his absence was once again revealed in some small way. It is essential to go through this. You have to come to terms, in one form or another, with the fact that life is different for a little while. However, take heart, this phase will pass.

After the first several weeks a routine starts to take form. It may be as simple as brush teeth, eat cereal, watch TV, feed the dog, eat lunch, walk the dog, watch the news (though tentatively because you will learn that it can become obsessive), eat dinner and go to bed. Hopefully you find a job or occupy your time with school. My advice would be to get a hobby. I became very involved in scrapbooking right before my husband left so that I would have a fall-back if I ever had some free time by accident. The most important tool a soldier's wife has is activity. As long as you are doing something you are not concentrating on your man being gone. Once you have successfully developed a daily schedule of repetitive events, you will find that time will move along much faster. Do not be surprised by the occasional outburst - you will be sad once in a while. However, remember that not crying is alright. When you find your routine it will become much easier to smile and laugh as the days go by with less and less depressing reflections on your situation.

Those thoughts will decrease with your routine, yes, but if you want to really watch them dissipate you need to check your attitude. Our whole lives we are told that a positive mental attitude will solve our problems. Well, being optimistic is not going to bring the love of your life home, but it will make waiting much more pleasant. Think of it this way: no matter how you look at it, he is across the world in a war zone. There is no avoiding this fact. So you can either be miserable for a year and a half or you can allow yourself to enjoy what you can and be excited for the things you will get to enjoy together once he is home. With your new attitude, look for opportunities that this deployment may have opened. For me, my husband's deployment opened up time for me to get some on-campus credits at the school I had been attending online. Of course I would much rather have him home, but when I choose to look at it as an opportunity I would not have had otherwise, life becomes a lot easier. I am a happier wife for him to talk to and much more agreeable person to be around. It is all in your perspective. Remember that being upbeat does not mean that you miss your husband less. He will be relieved that his wife is doing well and he will do his job better over there knowing that he has no reason to worry about you.

The love of your life leaving you to go fight in a war is a scary thing. It is not an easy thing for people around you to understand, so you cannot rely on everyone else. You have to take care of yourself. If you and your spouse prepare well before he leaves, you give yourself appropriate time to be sad, you build a solid routine and you allow yourself to live in good spirits, you will learn to be strong. I am amazed at the change that has occurred in me since my husband left. At the beginning I was scared and I felt unbearably weak more often than not. Now I have confidence knowing that I will thrive during the remainder of his absence. It is certainly not the end of the world (something I would never have been able to say nine months ago). I am a better person because of this event and we have a stronger marriage. Deployment can be a terrifying prospect, but it does not have to be.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I get to be excited now!

I am finding that, in coming upon the last few months of deployment, I am finding huge joy from simply planning our lives together. It is almost as if we are getting married again. By the time we have our 2nd year anniversary 50% of our marriage will have been spent apart. When he gets home we will have some adjusting to do and it will be similar to the adjustments made when we first married. We will have to get used to living together again and get back into our schedule. Of course I am not anticipating this to be a difficult experience, I'm very exctied for it. And when he came home for RR it was like nothing had changed. I mean, we've grown and gotten closer and matured a little, but it was like picking up something that was set down only moments before.

There aren't adequate words to describe what a beautiful man Gabe is. I was thinking today of our future children's spouses (no, I'm not desiring to be a mother, just thinking to the far future). I was thinking that, if we have a daughter, I hope that the man she marries is like Gabe. If she were to find a man as honorable and godly and kind as Gabe, I would have no doubts that she found the very best man possible. I hope that one day I can tell her confidently that she's marrying a magnificent man.. I was thinking about the advice I would give her (this is probably all because I went to a bridal shower today). I thought I would tell her that she must remember that she is marrying a human and he will undoubtedly make a mistake, but that it isn't the mistakes that are made, it's how the mistakes made are handled. Gabe and I have had our tough times and have not been perfect, but I am utterly impressed by the man I married. He isn't perfect, but he is perfectly wonderful. He is God's masterpiece.

Anyway, I am getting really excited about his return. I can't wait to move into our apartment and set up our home and be together!! It's the smallest things which make me the happiest. His random kisses, his excited hugs coupled with that brilliant smile, his sweet voice telling me he loves me so much just so I don't forget it. Instead of always saying, "I miss" this or that, I can start saying, "I can't wait" for this or that. He's almost home... It's not too long now.

So here is my list of "I can't wait..." be in our place somewhere and yelling out his name to have him come running over just to hug and kiss me. watch movies with him on Friday nights when neither of us has to get up early the next morning.
...for his arms to wrap around me when he's half asleep in bed just because he wants to cuddle with his wife. go out and spend our last few spendable dollars on a nice meal together or a $2 movie because we need to get out of the house and we work hard for the money. go grocery shopping together and go behind him as he's picking things out to get the cheaper brand of the same thing (and hear him say, "Aw! Good job, baby. That's why I married you!"). sit in his lap while he plays games on the computer because even though he's practically addicted, he still wants to be with me. watch the entire season of Grey's Anatomy in our free time and talk over the trials of Meredith and Christina. take a walk in the neighborhood together and watch Samson try to lead. talk about everything that happened in our respective days, nodding and going "Oh my gosh, he did what?" at the appropriate moments. go outside and greet him with a kiss and a smile when I see his car come up the road. get all curled up in those big arms the minute he sits down.
...for him to play with Samson when he gets home and Sam is all excited. get a call from him while he's at work letting me know I can go have lunch with him if I leave the house that minute. celebrate 4-day weekends with a road trip and an overnight stay in NY or D.C. BBQ and watch him work his magic on a chicken. entertain friends together in our home. make dinner for him and hear his sweet praises of whatever I make - even if it's Tyson chicken breasts and mashed potatoes. get into little arguments and work it out together, sitting on the couch discussing it and holding each other until we're closer than we were when we started. pray together, in person. read our Bibles together and learn from his wisdom.
...for our life to be better than ever, together physically as well as spiritually.

So now you have read just a few of the many, many things that I am looking forward to. Things that make my life so incredible. The things that keep me from ever wanting anyone else's life.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lassen Park Fumeroles

Here is a video that we made at Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was a lot of fun to make. We wanted to show you guys the water in the big hole (or "fumerole" as Gabe corrected me) but I think it was lower in there than we thought. Anyway, enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Save Yourself, Private Ryan

So I showed Kaleb the video from Memorial Day that I posted in my blog. Watching it, I got emotional (of course, in my situation I'd be heartless not to). After it was over, I went in the bathroom to have a little cry and thank God for the people willing to sacrafice - the warriors and the warriors' families. And it occured to me, it is our responsibility to live up to that sacrafice.

Have you ever seen Saving Private Ryan? If you haven't, there is this scene in which Tom Hanks' character is telling Pvt Ryan that he is alive because good men died. He tells him that he had better live up to that. He had better do something with his life and cherish it to the highest degree because it is worth something. Pvt Ryan's life had blood on it. It had the sacrafice of men who didn't even know him on it. His life wasn't just his, it was the men who risked their own lives, too.

My point is that we, America, are Pvt Ryan. We're the ones with blood on our lives. We have the tears and the pain of the families left behind on us. We are here and we are free only because others died for us. We owe it to them to live with a purpose. We have a responsibility and an obligation to be good people. To love well and unselfishly, to lend a hand to people who need some help, to offer encouragement and support to the ones who are making quiet sacrafices at home with their husband, wife, son, daughter, best friend gone to war. Our lives are not ours only. We are here with great, great price.

Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin. He made the ultimate sacrafice so that you could be free from seperation from God and from sin and guilt (and HE did it knowing all the things you would do. Knowing what kind of person you'd be). Don't forget that. And don't forget that many others throughout this country's history have made the greatest sacrafice they could for you. Stop being selfish. Stop making your problems so big. Get out of the mindset that it's all about you, because it's not. It's about striving to be worthy of those sacrafices.

What are you doing, Pvt Ryan? Are you worth the lives you cost?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Condition of My Condition

My house is empty (THANK YOU, GOD!!), I have a good week to clean it, and my husband and I will be together in THREE WEEKS!!!!!

It has been so stressful. I thought it was never going to get done! Well, I knew that God would provide, as He always does, but I was sure frustrated! I wish I could say that I have handled all of this in the best way possible, that I've been the woman I should be through everything... but it's not true. I've wept, I've been scared, I've complained, I've gotten down... I want to be strong. I want to be the strong woman that Gabe wants me to be. The woman God calls me to be.

I wish that once we got saved everything was totally filtered and we never dealt with the old man again. That Satan would be instantly defeated in every one of his endeavors and we couldn't mess anything up no matter what was going on. I wish that every bad thought, word, and action was eradicated. I wish that we instantly became the person God wanted us to be. This, however, would serve no purpose... for what would we be if we were perfect? What experience would we have to relate to other people? What testimony of grace would we have? Without my trials and my failures, I'd have no reason to care so deeply about God. Sure, I'd love Him. Of course I'd spend time with Him. But I wouldn't have to seek Him. I think that to God, it is unmatchingly precious when His children run to Him in their darkest hour. When I cry out for my Father, I think His heart smiles. When I recognize that He's the only One who can totally fulfill my needs, I think He is blessed.

Sometimes I feel like God isn't there, like He doesn't care about my situation, like He isn't catching my tears. But I know this is all lies. My God cares about me. Look at my life: I am married to a godly man who is the most tangible display of God's love I will ever know, I have been blessed with a few friends who love the Lord and who He uses to lift me up, my needs are always taken care of... My life has always been blessed. My relationship with Gabe and our marriage has been blessed from day one. And despite the friends that didn't turn out to really be friends, I have always had someone to relate to, talk to, accept me (and now, with Gabe, I have a forever Best Friend. Someone who will never ever judge me or leave me). Despite my husband being deployed, our love and our relationship is still growing and we still go to each other with everything even when it's hard to be able to talk. I love him!
See how good my God is? See how He blesses me? Even in times of hardship; times when I feel so alone, times when no one seems to care, times when I feel down and deeply stressed, times when I am depressed; even in these times, God is here. God cares. God provides.

Oh, Wonderful God, how I want to please You and bring You blessings...

I will try, as I have been trying since the start, to be strong. I will try to rely on God to bring me strength and joy. I will try to show the whole world that my God is truly the Great Provider, the real Joy-Giver. I will keep trying... and when I stumble, please don't judge me. When I scrape that spiritual knee, please offer me a band-aid. I'm not perfect and I've never claimed to be. So if you think about it, pray for me. If you remember, encourage me. If you'd like to, give me a call. I want to be a prayer warrior, an encourager, and a friend to everyone else.... So I will keep trying. :-)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I miss my person

So it's taken me a while to write this blog because it stinks and I don't like thinking about it, but I want to share.

My person left. I don't know exactly how to explain what she means to me, but it's a lot. It was like having another husband - obviously Gabe is irreplaceable, but for about a month I had somebody to do everything with and talk about my day with. I had somebody to listen to me and goof off with me and just hang out... I didn't completely realize what a difference it is to have someone just be around the house with me. Not just someone to talk with or help do things, but someone to simply offer a prescence. It was so comforting to know that I wasn't alone in the house. It is amazing what social beings we are.

Coming home after dropping Beth off was like a watered down version of coming home after Gabe deployed. I felt so alone and the house was so eerily empty. I was exhausted and emotionally drained. All I could do was mope and cry. Just like Gabe leaving... this is so hard! And I know that God is with me and I know that I am never alone. But God made me a social creature and I desire that companionship. My husband, the companion God has provided me, is gone now and even though he is the sweetest man on the planet and talking to him makes me feel better in that moment, I need a tangible prescence. I am struggling to be OK as I'm lonely. God is good and He's more than enough for my needs...

Those needs including getting packed, moved, everything fixed and everything cleaned before clearing housing so I can leave. Plus I have things with school I need to take care of... I have so much to do. I wanted to try and get a plane ticket for my mom but I can't afford it and I honestly have no idea who is going to help me... my friends have work and my church hasn't been the most reliable. But I suppose that this experience will give me some great tools for the future and will build strength.

Gabriel is so wonderful. He wishes so badly that he could be here to do everything himself instead of me having to do it. He is so understanding and sweet. He told me to take heart because soon I'll be with him and he'll treat me like a queen and dote on me and make me forget that I have to do everything on my own... I love him. I don't expect to be served while I just sit there and do nothing, of course. But it is so sweet of him to remind me that I have a husband who really does see me as his beautiful queen (to his king, of course, not servant) and wants to pamper me... I love that I have someone who wants to take care of me even if he physically can't. And more than just, "I wish I could be there." He really means it. He really does appreciate that it is tough out here and he really does want to make it all go away for me. I am so blessed to have married a man who loves me this much. And to have a soldier who doesn't discount what I'm going through over here even with all he goes through over there. He is patient with me and he reminds me gently that we are here for each other, we are a team... we are "thick as thieves, baby." Oh I love him!

I will get through this trial. I will find out that I'm stronger than I thought (with God, of course, everything is bearable). I will see who cares and I will learn lessons that will be worth everything. As for the lessons I have learned, they'll be tweaked as I'll be tweaked to be more aligned with God's heart.

Beth, if you're reading this, I love you. And I miss you.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How to Spot Us

I found this on a Military Wife forum and I thought I'd share. Of course, it wouldn't be a Krysann Blog without my input so I added some. :-)

How to identify a military wife:

1. We own at least one article of clothing with our man's branch on it and we proudly wear it at least once a week!
For me it's a necklace with the patron saint of paratroopers on it (you don't have to be catholic!).

2. Our AOL/YAHOO/MSN/MYSPACE etc. Profiles have something to do with the military or song lyrics in them!
SoldiersGirl312 haha

3. We know what the terms AIT, PCS, Field Day, and PT mean and have no trouble using them on a daily basis.
Yeah... lol Talking to my civilian friends and family is funny sometimes.

4. We know the difference between Recruit, Enlisted, Officer, and we know the rank structure like that back of our hand.
Well... I don't know the rank structure that well, but I know Gabe has a lot of bosses. lol

5. We feel every note of the songs, "I'm already there" "When I'm Gone" "Here Without You" "Far Away" "Proud to Be An American" and "The National Anthem."
Yeah... It's ok, though.

6. We watch the News and cry hysterically for fallen Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors, and no one seems to understand why.
I think people understand why, just not really the depth of why we're crying.

7. We just cry....... and cry......... and cry....... and cry for no reason at all and we are ok with it! Well, at least I'm not the only one. And I don't think, as some do, that crying means you're weak. A strong, strong person still feels pain and fear.... they wouldn't be strong if it were easy.

8. We have at least one but probably more family member that doesn't approve or doesn't understand our long distance relationship.
Yes. Mostly for me it's just that people don't get the seperation.

9. At the ages of 17-21 we don't mind sayin' yes to a marriage proposal! Yep!
And we can take the critism - especially when we know God is blessing it. Though not all military couples are in that place. :-(

10. Everytime there is a bulletin on Myspace about the Military we repost it.
Usually. Though there aren't many.

11. We smile when we see a serviceman wearing their uniform in public.
It reminds me of my soldier! And when I see Gabe in his uniform... aw, my heart smiles!

12. We get teary eyed when The Star Spangled Banner is sung at sporting events and watching the flag blow in the wind.
Sometimes. I can't help it. That's the Spirit my husband is defending.

13. We get pissed off when people don't remove their hats to show respect when The Star Spangled Banner is being sung.
This is true, but I've always been that way. My dad was that way and it made me have respect for the Pledge and the Flag.

14. We understand military time and we use it on a regular basis!
On the contrary, most military wives HATE using military time because it reminds them that the Army controls every aspect of their life. :-) So we usually just use civvie time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth

I think that the Fourth of July may be my favorite holiday because it is almost purely just a celebration. Christmas is wonderful, but if you just celebrate and forget about Jesus, you're not doing it right. Thanksgiving is probably my next favorite, but if you only enjoy time with family and the big feast, you're missing the point... the fact that there is a point seperates it from Independence Day. On the 4th of July you aren't expected to remember anything. You don't have to check yourself during the festivities to be sure you're not taking advantage of something.

I love the 4th. All you have to know is that it's America's Birthday. By decorating everything in flag colors, setting off fire works, barbequing with your family and taking the day off work you're celebrating that. The very nature of the holiday is celebration and victory. No prayer vigils or moments of silence. No rushing your "thank you's" to God for every little thing you can think of to make Him happy. No church services that you're anxious to get out of... just a celebrating.
I love that you really can't do the 4th wrong. That's what I love about it. I love that if you went to your buddy's house and ate his BBQ you'd be having just as great a holiday as if you went to a formal dinner with red, white and blue decor. I love that everybody watches fireworks (almost everybody) or hears them... Like the whole country lighting candles on a collossal cake. Happy Birthday, America!

In any case, I spent this fourth working at the gym, running errands around town, and screaming in fear of sparklers. I can hear the fireworks... I just can't see them. And poor Sam is scared to death. But, like Gabe said, the 4th of August will be awesome! And right he is!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Devil State

What did North Carolina do that so cursed it to be so miserable? Really, the weather is so fickle and.... just.... mean. It has this beautiful sounding rain with powerful thunder and dazzling lightning shows, but when you actually go outside, it is muggy and humid and hot. You feel like you're in a steam room. Then it has days where it wants to torture you with blue skies and chirping birds... devil birds. It isn't a sunny, pretty day. It's a humid, give-me-back-my-breath day. And if you thought you were going to run around and have fun in it, North Carolina will laugh at you and make you feel exhausted just walking to your car.

And a lot of people seem to be very upset about something. Not everyone, but pretty much all customer service representatives and anyone you inadvertently make eye contact with.

And something I've observed: people are so disconnected. I was sitting in the courtyard at church (and at this church, nobody knows anybody.... except the people in their sunday school class - it is so big) and as people walked by, the older the person the more likely it was that I'd get a smile. If they were really up in age I might even get a, "Hi, how are you?" or some variation. All the teenagers were texting or talking on their cell phone. Even the generation that birthed them was disconnected. It was apparent in the way they carried their conversations across the courtyard, too. An older pair would talk and grin and look around. They were aware of the outside world. They would toss me a quiet smile or a nod. Two younger talkers would look at the ground if not one another and would completely ignore that there was a girl sitting on the bench they were passing. It was very interesting.

Beth made a good point that people are more selfish the younger they are. This is true. But I also think that all the things we have now: TV, cell phones, Internet, glossy magazines; are contributing in alienating us all from each other. We care less about passing on a friendly word or gesture than what the latest gossip about Britney and Lindsay is. We are more caught up in our virtual conversations filled with these... things that pass as words because phonetically you can sort of understand it (who needs to care about stuff like spelling and punctuation when you can save a couple key strokes by typing "sk8" instead?). We are pulling the plug on the real world. I hope that it can be reversed. I would hate for my kids to not know what it's like to knock on the door and ask if Bobby can come out to play. I'd hate for them to say, "Oh Mom," when I tell them that we didn't always have phones with us everywhere we went and that sometimes we actually had to go in a building and ask an employee to make a call. Or that we had to go all the way to the library to research things because the world's information wasn't at our fingertips whenever we wanted it. Hmm... I wonder if my kids will know what a library is..

Friday, June 29, 2007

Army Strong

So my husband is amazing. As usual, he gave me the best advice anyone can give in any situation: go to God. He told me to go spend some time just Him and I and to cry, scream, yell, whatever I wanted or needed to do, but then be quiet and listen. He told me to stay there longer than I wanted to.

I read this e-mail in the early morning before work. Frustrated, I headed off because I knew I wouldn't be able to spend any time with God alone until after work and I didn't want to wait that long... or so I thought...

On the 30 minute drive to work I prayed and praised. I asked God to please speak to me... I wanted so desperately to hear from Him. All day at work I tried to pray and praise. Finally, when work was over, I got in my car and drove home. On the way, after praying and singing, I was just thinking. I had on some worship music but I wasn't paying any attention to it. I was actually thinking of a blog I wanted to write... about how my struggles were not important to other people any more and that everybody has their own things they'd rather focus on and it didn't matter how I was affected. I wanted to write about how my burdens were hugely underestimated and forgotten......

Wait a minute. Burdens? That's when God spoke to my heart. All this time I've been so heavy with these situations: Gabe's absence, military protocol, moving alone, disappointments, etc. etc. etc. But those things are not my burdens. Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light... So if I'm living in Christ than why am I living so burdened? No. It's not mine to carry. God asks for it.

And because our God is so awesome and cool, the next song I hear says, "You are enough for me. Your grace is sufficent for my every need." Then when I get home, the Daily Bread thing is about... you guessed it: burdens! God is so good and I love Him!! And I love that He gifted me with a man who loves me enough to not try to fix problems by himself. He takes me straight to God and says, "Ok, sweetheart, go talk to our Father." He holds my hand until it's time for me and God to meet privately. Gabe trusts that our Creator has enough power and enough love to abolish everything that needs to be destroyed and rebuild everything that needs mending. And our Beautiful One really does it.. He really does.

Other people will have their struggles. And mine may go unnoticed... but does that matter? If God cares so much that He tells me to give mine to Him, then what does it really matter if anyone gets or even wants to? If not one person in the whole world cared about me God still would. And part of my reason for living is helping other people. How can I do that when I am so caught up in my own problems and worries that I can't see others'? If I am torn between my struggles and others' I'll be too weighed down to deal with either. And I'm not saying that I want to be dumped on, but God put me here, in part, to be His light and His arms. So I've got the obligation to not worry or fret. To give it over to God so that other people can be ministered to.

I would love some sympathy and support. I would love for people to understand or at least try to. I would love to be given some extra compassion and love in this trial. But I am not meant to carry this around as an encumbrance. I am a Christian. I am the King's child. I am meant to see it as an oppurtunity to grow. I love my God and Gabe loves Him, too... and that is really more than I need.

Bite your tongue, Media. Bite your flapping tongue.

I wrote this a while ago. I was so upset. Gabe read it and agreed... the media just goes too stinking far to provide a story. Not all news is neccessary news.

If you watch the news, you probably know that 3 US soldiers went missing in Iraq. You probably have heard that a body was turned in by the Iraqi Police and that it is speculated to be the body of one of those soldiers. If you watch the news you may also know that he was shot in the head and chest, he has a tattoo on his hand, and that he appears to have been tortured.

If you watch the news, you have more than likely noticed the quiet attitude the Army has taken about the whole thing. Out of respect for the family (and their right to find out his identity first) the military has decided not to let the public know any details. How did the news media find out about those details? Their "insiders." Oh it makes me furious! Somewhere in this country is a wife or a mother or a sibling or a child watching the news at the edge of their seat because their soldier is missing and they want to be assured he's ok. They are watching, Fox news! They are watching you! They probably have you on their TV at all hours becuase they haven't heard from their guy and they may have been told he's missing. If the Army wants to wait and see if the body belongs to a US soldier (thats right, they don't even know if he's an American) than shouldn't you keep your "exclusive" to yourself for a few days?!?

The media needs to learn when to shut the heck up! They're so focused on selling, on ratings, on having the latest "here-only" news and its crossing lines, in my opinion. t rvfdorenjvmc.! I pray that the families of those 3 soldiers are watching news stations that, unlike Fox (thats where I heard this), have respect for our troops. Though with all the doom and gloom out there, I sort of doubt there are any better...

SPC Sedberry's Wife

I wrote this a few weeks ago and I wanted to share. :-) It was on myspace and now it's here. Amazing what cyberspace is capable of.

I am a soldier's wife.

I lay awake at night thinking of his arms around me.
I freeze and watch whenever any news on any TV anywhere appears to pertain to the middle east.
I eat alone with my dog and he gets half my dinner.
I find ways to entertain myself so that I don't think of him gone and start crying. But occasionally, I cry. I cry very hard and very loud and my dog is the only one there to comfort me.
I fill my schedule to the point of exhaustion so that I have little or no idle time to be sad.
I feel terrible after every conversation with him in which I wasn't the sweet, perfect little wife I ought to be.
I am painfully aware that "I'll call you back" is never a promise.
I know what it means to feel all alone.
I smile and laugh to help others be strong when I want to curl up and weep.
I find joy in the smallest gifts. Like a midnight call or a 2-sentence e-mail.
A hug or a smile in appreciation touches a very deep place in me and means more than anyone will know.
I gush over how wonderful my husband is even after a tense conversation with him.
EVERYONE knows I'm married to the greatest man alive.
I get weak and frail sometimes and want more than anything a protector.
I wipe little tears away and nobody notices when I hear about a troop dying.
I stare at pictures of him and remember his voice and his looks..
I've lost the intensity of his scent but I still recognize it anywhere.

I'm a soldier's wife. I am this soldier's wife. And no matter how tough it gets, I'll always stand behind the man I love... who loves me so beautifully... even from across the world in a war zone...

Ode to Beth

For TV dinners and lots of Fraps
My morning self won't covet naps.

And for everything that's in the haps
I guess all we can do is yak.

You make me smile with your rants and raves
About this stupid "bastard" state.

We love our men and we hate to wait,
But that's just what is on our plate.

Oh, my person, you're an answer to prayer.
On "Sedberry's Anatomy" you're a main player.

Right now you're typing just over there
And I am creating a laugh we'll share.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Speckled Hands

Beth and I have done it. Almost. Her house gets inspected tomorrow and she will inevitably be charged something because it's the Army and they're pretty much heartless. But we did in nonetheless. With our small frames and our nonexistent muscles we moved an entire house (nix the big furniture) from point A to point B. Not so hard you say? Try doing it in North Carolina summertime with a screaming newborn and no outside help. :-) Girl power!

No, really: God power. The more I think about it, the more amazed I am that we did this. I mean I was literally past exhaustion today. Every step was painful. Both Beth and I felt like lying down on the cold, hard floor and not getting back up. Yet we got through it. How? God was with us, I am sure of this. He was giving us the strength to do it and the energy we needed (even though it doesn't seem like it, we had more energy than we should have). Sure we complained and we were hurt and upset that people let us down, but in the end the job is done (almost all the way - we have a couple things to put in storage again).

Now we can look back and laugh... which is pretty much all we did once we finally sat down. We giggled at everything because that's what you do when you're delirious. And we went all gaga over our husbands - thinking about how they'd be making us tea and rubbing our sore muscles right now. We talked about how great and sweet they are and how understanding. Gabe is so appreciative... it's wonderful. It is so empowering to know that someone believes in me. He truly believes that I can do anything. He thinks that if it's put on my plate, I'm going to handle it with all the grace and maturity it requires. It's a very cool affirmation... and the coolest part is that I know I can't disappoint him there. If I fall short, if I mess up, he is understanding and sweet. He doesn't suddenly think I am incapable. He thinks I'm human and I am allowed some room for mistakes. He is so amazing... why did God decide to bless me so young with such a marvelous man?

Getting On

So last night was.... eventful. To say the least. It started off as simply a little pow-wow of complaints about our very below-par healthcare here in the Army and the way North Carolina cannot for the life of them do things efficiently. Then I got some stressful news about the trip home. At this point all we could do (Beth and I) was laugh. We stopped complaining and we laughed. At the dumbest things, we laughed. It was as though the only thing left to do in this depressing situtation was claw our way to happiness. Even if it was a little shallow.

This is what people don't get so well. People don't understand that this place we're in - without our husbands, carrying the home on our backs, dealing with the Army and it's ridiculous protocol - is not normal. It isn't like anything else. It isn't like a wife of a business man who travels or of a trucker who is on the road all the time. It is different. Our husbands are gone for a year - at least - and their lives are on the line. We watch the news and hear about roadside bombs and helicopter crashes and we lose sleep. We hear about 4 soldiers dying and when the rest of the country says, "How sad," we think about what those wives are going through and ache because we can imagine better than anyone else how they feel. Despite all the positive thinking in the world, we wonder if our husbads will be on the news...

We are underappreciated. And I know that just about every demographic says that, but it's true. If people saw what we go through every day there would be a drastic difference in the way we're treated. If family and friends saw what we go through there would be more phone calls and e-mails of encouragement and outreach. We'd be higher on their priority lists. They would understand why we need very desperately to feel cared for and important. Just because Gabe left 6 months ago doesn't mean I need any less love. I need a steady flow, not just an outburst when he leaves me right away.

I am functioning out here without my man. I am getting things done and working hard. I am making sure I eat and I excersise when I can. I take care of my dog and I pay all the bills. I read my bible and I pray. The hardest thing I do every day is go to bed. But I do it. I get in that bed where my dear husband and I used to have our best talks and share our most intimate moments. I sleep on my side because I can't stand the thought of taking up the whole thing and not leaving room for him. I pray for him there and I hope that wherever he is he knows I'm thinking of him and I miss him. Now Samson's butt is the warmth I feel and I'm ok with it because I know that my husband couldn't do what he does if I weren't. I'm ok with it because I have no other choice. I'm ok with it because I believe in what he is doing and I trust that God has a plan. I'm ok with it because I have to be.

So last night after we laughed at our gay dogs (who are currently in a fight and it's not looking good for the relationship - Sam is giving Winston the cold shoulder and swats him away whenever Winston tries to lick him) and ate what little we could, we watched TV. By the way, I don't know what I'd do without cable to keep my house noisy. All of a sudden Ayden started spitting up this clear stuff and got really stiff. It was terrifying. His arms were flailing and his face went dark, dark red. Beth went right into mommy-mode. The "lionness" (as her mom calls it) came out and despite the obvious fear and horror she was feeling, she held Ayden upright and firmly patted his front and back. He began breathing again after about 7 lightyear long seconds. We took him to the ER because the hospital said they wanted to check him out since he did stop breathing and he is fine. Totally healthy and normal. Babies just have dramatic gag reflexes.

Which proves that we are fine. Ayden's over compensating gag reflex proves that Beth and I are able. If nobody else in the world get it - even the people that should - we get it. If nobody else will put us on the top of their priority list, we will for each other. Army wives need each other because not many others will step up to the plate.

So now we're cleaning Beth's house so she can leave and doing work that was supposed to be done for her. But we're ok with that. Because we have to be.

God really is good all the time.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Special Courage

I was reading an article in Time (very good, I forget the title but it's in last week's issue) about the IEDs and the insurgents and the technology and... yeah. Anyway, it astounded me that this American journalist (I can only assume the person writing for an American publication is, in fact, American) was interviewing this terrorist mastermind. This guy (the bad guy) has fashioned IEDs for the insurgents that have killed so many of our men (IEDs are the number one killer of US soldiers in Iraq). He once dreamed of getting his PhD at MIT and now, because its "god's plan," he is a terrorist. He is kind of a genius of the other side. He makes explosives out of the most random things..

Anyway, I found myself focusing not on the terrorist, but on the journalist writing the story. I don't know exactly what I want to do... I've always sort of fallen back on teaching, but I'm not so sure now. Is that my passion? Gabe and I are seriously considering homeschooling our kids when we have them so I will have that oppurtunity to rear a child and train a new life... My real passion is writing. I want to write. And the older I get the more compelling my drive to share truth. Whether it be truth about God, about life, about politics, about myself... I hope that it isn't an uncommon drive. Of course in order to share truth I have to learn it. Which is something I thoroughly enjoy doing. Anyway, journalism is plausible. So how far would I go for a story? I guess it depends on the story.

My friend said that the journalist should just kill the terrorist. But I think that would be a grave mistake. Certainly, that must be his first instinct. I mean, what global citizen wouldn't want to kill the ones that are terrorizing the world? However, these journalists are lucky to get a meeting with these guys in the first place. They are always outnumbered and their opponents carry big guns - the journalist is probably shot if he is found with a weapon on his person at all. So being all Rambo and killing this guy might provide short term gratification (though not for him because he'll have a million bullet holes in him) but would do nothing for the cause. If the reporter could instead be respectful (and fear looks a lot like respect) and build some trust, then he could get a bunch of interviews. And at the very least, these articles serve to share with the American people what exactly our troops are facing over there. Who knows... maybe some guy will come to trust the journalist so much that he leaks something...

Anyway, I am in awe of this courage. I hope that, if I do become a journalist, I am that brave.