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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.