Tag Archives: army

Memorial Day

It’s fast approaching and unfortunately for us, we have added three more names to our list of remembrances and they’ve all three been since the beginning of the year. 

My friend who lost her husband only 3 short months ago has one major concern: That people will forget her. Obviously, that’s preposterous to me, but I understand. 

His name flashed at the bottom of the screen for a brief second and life moved on. 

But, she’s still in the interim of grief and a new normal. 

A normal, that really will never be normal again. 

And she’s right…that’s a sacrifice that should NEVER be forgotten. 

So, this Memorial Day:

Enjoy that barbecue and the extra day off, but DO NOT forget why you have it. 

Explain to your children why we have it.

Pray for the families that have lost their soldier.

Remember them, always.

Thank them. 

And if you are blessed enough to know one of these families, send them a note. 

Let them know that you haven’t forgotten them and that you never will. 

That old man, with his WWII hat on, with all the badges, sit down and talk to him. 

The Vietnam Vet, the one who came home to a country that maybe wasn’t so nice to him…talk to him too.

I bet he knows a few names on The Wall.

And the young guy missing a limb…talk to him.

Let’s make an effort to remember on this upcoming Memorial Day.

Let’s never forget together.  

 

 

Ten Commandments of the Military Marriage

A few years ago, our Sunday School class watched a series by Ed and Lisa Young.

In the series, they discussed marriage and they made a list entitled “The Ten Commandments of Marriage”.

It was a pretty good list and can be found here.

But, it didn’t really cater to the military lifestyle, although they are still applicable to your marriage: nevertheless…

This inspired me to write the Ten Commandments for the Military Marriage.

1. Flee from temptation: Guard your hearts. 

(inappropriate friendships, flirting via text or facebook, pornography, chat rooms, any type of sexual material, and wives: if you can’t face the reality of your life not being  a romance novel or movie or equivalent in some manner, then please do not read or watch those types of things…it’ll distort your standard).

2. Do not go AWOL on your marriage.

Our divorce rates are higher than civilians. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’m not here to speak statistics to you, though. If you live it, you know it. You’ve had to fight to stay together before. Hell, you’ve probably had to fight to WANT to stay together. Fight for the want and DO NOT give up. Don’t leave.

3. Know your place in the chain-of-command. 

Wives, you are NOT the commander-in-chief. Husbands? Let God be your commander-in-chief and you be the VP. Husbands, YOU will be held accountable for your family. Wives, you nurture. Husbands, you lead. Realign yourself in those positions and do not get out of order.

4. Communicate! 

I remember when the war first kicked off, communication was pretty much nonexistent—that’s rarely the case anymore, so use what you have to communicate, whether e-mail, skype, yahoo messenger, snail mail, whatever….but, USE your words, people! Use morse code if you have to! And if you’re home together, don’t waste your precious time being sulled up over stupid, petty things that won’t matter in the big picture of life!

Lonely? Let your spouse know, so they can fill that void! Angry? Talk it out. Scared? Pray. Pray together. Have an expectation that isn’t being met? Does your spouse even know about the expectation? Not unless you tell them!

Keep your communication lines open. Be honest with one another.

5. Set a COA–uphold it! 

(Course of Action)

Set standards and family guidelines and uphold them when you’re together and when you’re geographically separated (i.e. finances, sex, quality time, etc).

6. Be disciplined!

I believe one of the most appealing things about the military is the discipline that comes with being involved within it—whether one wants to admit it or not—people crave discipline. Oh, how easy it would be to not be disciplined! An apathetic attitude isn’t that hard to achieve or maintain. But, listen, marriage is hard work! You know that. SO, to achieve the results you want (successful marriage), you have to be disciplined and you have to be willing to sacrifice the easy for the hard, sometimes. Quitting is easy—but keep your goals in sight! Be diligent, work hard, and don’t give up!

7. Pick your battles!

Lord, help us all to do this. Help us to realize that we are not in control!

The reality for us military wives is this: anytime you say “goodbye”, could literally be your last goodbye. You don’t want that goodbye littered with bickering that wasn’t necessary. By no means am I suggesting that one ignore major issues, but I am asking that you not nag your spouse to death over little things.

8. Embrace your time together and use it wisely.

Enjoy each other. Enjoy family time. Go on a picnic. Plan a vacation. Make memories. Take pictures and take a lot of them. Wives, make memories with your children while your husband is away so that when you’re old and gray, you can share them with him. Husbands, make an effort to spend quality time with your spouse and children—the war will still be there when you go back and if it’s not? Good.

9. Be willing to seek assistance if needed. 

Sometimes, you need a third party to be a deliberator. Sometimes, you may need a bit of counseling. Sometimes, you just need to fall on your faces before the Lord. Sometimes, they come home different. Sometimes, your feelings may change. Whatever the case may be, the military offers many resources to combat what’s going on. Pastors and Chaplains are wonderful resources. Find a resource and make an effort to get the help you need.

10. DO NOT TAKE EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED! 

You are a vapor.

Life is precious and we are not promised tomorrow.

The risks are high for our military service members. Hold them tight. Laugh together. Love together. Be passionate for one another. Do not become blasé towards each other. Time is all you have and there’s never enough of it.

 

On a Friday Afternoon…

“He’s a Christian”. Those words aren’t spoken very often from my husband when describing new members of his company. That uncommon phrase immediately piqued my interest about this new member, so I inquired further and found out that this man was married with kids, where they came from, and what job he had.

The military loves social functions, so it didn’t take long for me to meet this man and his family.

His wife and I hit it off immediately.

We found it easy to talk to one another. Her family and my family share the same morals, goals, and priorities.

And not very long into our relationship, we decided to become best friends. Yes, we literally discussed it. She was having issues with her best friend at the exact time I was having issues with mine and she said (jokingly, but seriously) “Let’s just be best friends” and I laughed and said “YES”! 🙂 And then we were—still makes me smile.

Our friendship is easy—as friendships should be. We don’t have to talk everyday. We don’t have to see each other all the time. There’s no pressure in our relationship, but when we do get together, we pick up where we left off. Conveniently, our husbands feel the same way about each other.

I attribute our friendship with helping my marriage. Why? Because their marriage is so solid and they face many of the same issues we face as a military family. They embrace their military lifestyle and meet issues head on with God at the center. I attribute our friendship with helping our family dynamics. Why? Because they have MANY children and we only have two and I find myself freaking out about the smallest thing—but they build their children up and allow them to be who they are without trying to conform them and it is beautiful to us and a wonderful example of how a family should work. We admire them.

She has inspired me in many ways: to start a Bible study, to write, to be confident, to treat my man with respect and to create a safe place in our home.

We love each other. For. Real.

Their last child is named after me and recently, we were standing in my front yard, all talking, and we made retirement plans to all stay together after this military gig is over for us.

But on a Friday afternoon, only a week after planning our future, my phone rang:

Me: Hello!

Her: Lila, I need you to come to my house, right now. He’s gone.

Me: I’m on my way, but what do you mean, he’s gone?

Her: They are here, in suits, telling me that he’s gone.

Her man, her soulmate, her husband, literally plucked from this earth in his prime.

Just like that.

Gone.

Jesus help me.

Even now, a few weeks later, there are still no words.

What do you say to your best friend, who has been your voice of reason and comfort so many times when her husband is gone?

Nothing. You say nothing.

It’s not okay.

There are no words for grief like that.

None.

There’s no comfort you can offer.

None.

You’re just there. You listen and you pray. You pray hard.

With eyes clinched tight and a voice that shook, I heard her say: “God, please take this cup from me”.

Jesus.

When there were no words, there were groans—grieving groans that wrench the soul.

Holy Spirit come.

Grief is a cruel, cruel thing.

But, God.

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.

He defends and sustains them.

He hears their cry.

He restores them, making them strong, firm, and steadfast.

God is good.

One day, my friend will share her testimony…giving praise to His name.

He has a plan.

Praise God!

Please, intercede.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 years ago

The alarm had already went off to get up for PT, but he hit snooze…

and in the nine minutes between, I had a weird feeling. 

Did I seriously just pee in the bed? (hahaha)

I get up to rush to the bathroom, but made it to the edge of the bed where (just like the movies) a huge burst of water poured from my womb.

In shock, I yell “my water just broke”!!!! 

And he had the nerve to say “you just peed in your pants” as he reached over to turn the alarm off. 

But, he glances at the floor after seeing the fear in my face. 

And like a lion pouncing on its prey, he’s on me…scooping my half-naked self up with his half naked self,  trying to carry me to the car.

He’s crazy. 

I talk him into us both getting dressed and we leave 5 minutes later. 

He’s a madman. 

He’s rushing, blowing the horn, getting literally battalions of people to get out of the way, because it was PT hours and we lived on post. 

I wasn’t even cramping, but that didn’t matter to him. 

In his mind, his job was to deliver me to the hospital as quickly as possible. 

My mind is racing as I recall the night before: 

Baby names were being discussed: Jack, Michael, Ethan. 

Yeah, that one! 

Ethan. Ethan. Ethan. 

But what middle name? 

No worries, we still have 8 more weeks before we have to decide. 

8 weeks. 

8 weeks. 

No, hours. 

Fifteen hours later…

there he was. 

I saw him for only a second before he was rushed off to get hooked up on all the machines. 

Ethan. 

No. That doesn’t sound right. 

No private room, no husband to stay, no sight of baby since birth, 9 hours ago. 

I slowly make my way down the corridor, against the advice of my rude nurse. 

And there he is…hooked up to God knows what, stomach sinking too deep with every breath. 

He flinches when I touch him. 

I cry. 

He cries. 

I long for my husband. 

Stupid Army and their semi-private rooms. 

One should not be alone after giving birth, especially when the baby is “not thriving”. 

Yet there I lie, alone. 

Riley. 

Yeah, I like that name. 

Riley. 

Now, 13 years later, I look up to him. 

I see signs of manhood…the mustache, the adam’s apple protruding. 

And I’m blessed. 

I’m blessed to see him grow, to see him thrive, to see him love God with all his heart.

 

 

 

25 Reasons I miss my husband…

Other than the obvious physical reasons:) 

1. I LOATHE pumping gas and when he’s here, I don’t have to. 

2. Homework. My daughter is VERY passionate about NOT doing homework. He has much more patience than I do:) 

3. The church pew beside me is empty…

4. Driving isn’t really my thing, either. 

5. Instant access isn’t available and that sucks—especially if someone gets sick, tire blows out, “hey, I’m thinking of you…”, etc. 

6. Sleep evades me, most nights.

7. Being the third wheel is not fun:/

8. The car doesn’t clean itself…

9. The toilet paper is NEVER on the holder.

10. 5:00 a.m. coffee time

11. Coffee isn’t already made when I get up. Yes, clearly I’m spoiled when he’s here. I’m okay with that. 

12. Decisions are made with discussion later. 

13. House. Maintenance. Ugh. 

14. Half the duet is gone. 

15. Holding his callused hand. And P.S. ALL men should have calluses unless they preach full time and/or are old:) 

16. Hearing him say my name. 

17. Who am I supposed to stick my cold feet on? 

18. His morning attitude–he’s EXCITED to be up in the morning. Me? Not so much. 

19. Hearing him shave in the morning

20. Hearing every bone in his body crack as he walks through the house. 

21. His shoulder, my pillow. 

22. Hearing the roar of the motor cycle when he pulls into the neighborhood. 

23. Smile from across the room. 

24. Hand on my back. 

25. He’s freakin hot and I miss seeing him everyday:)

Tonight’s the night!

There are several things people in the south take seriously:

God

Family

and FOOTBALL!!!

There are other’s, like hunting/fishing/eating, but those are the main three at our house. 

I remember the encouragement I received from my husband when he caught me looking at Auburn University’s website. I never thought I would get in–and no one likes to be rejected—so applying never crossed my mind. I was just looking to see what master’s degree programs they offered. I grew up in a family divided: half Auburn fans, half that other school in the state:). It was always a dream of mine to go and as I sat there staring and longing, my husband looked at me and said “what’s the worse thing that could happen?”. Me: “Um, HELLO!?! They could tell me no!!!”. He just laughed and said “you’d survive. Now apply”. 

And that’s what I did, but I didn’t allow myself to get my hopes up. 

My GPA wasn’t awesome at my previous school and again–I didn’t think I was good enough to go. 

Fear and doubt should never get in the way of a dream. 

So, I waited. 

I received my letter the day classes began in August, 2009. 

I knew it was a rejection, otherwise why would they have waited until school was in session? 

My husband came home and I showed him the envelope. 

We opened it together. 

And much to my surprise it said: “Congratulations! You have been selected to attend Auburn University…”

I didn’t get much further than that—I was jumping up and down—pure joy! 

I never dreamed I would get to attend such a prestigious university, yet I did. 

I graduated August, 2011. 

I love Auburn for many reasons, but I love it mainly because it helped me to fulfill a lifelong dream. 

My dream became a reality there. 

And tonight, I will watch my Alma Mater with pride. 

Win or lose…

I believe in Auburn and I love it! 

War Eagle!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

Things to NEVER say to a military wife!

While I’m sure this subject has been broached many times, I have currently been taking notes of some recent questions/thoughts/ignorance that I’ve been approached with. 

1. “Has he killed anyone?” Seriously? Yes, I’ve been asked this and I just walked away. Why? For a variety of reasons, but 1) it’s none of your business if he has or hasn’t and 2) I don’t even know because I don’t ask him myself. Furthermore, if you have nothing better to ask after finding out that my husband is in the military: please do not talk to me. Thanks.

2. Please do not share your opinion about the war, whether for it or against it. We don’t care about your opinion. It changes nothing for us–even if we agreed with your antiwar rants, political agendas, and redneck “nuke ’em all theology”, it still changes NOTHING for us. And seeing as to how we have a little more invested in the whole “war thing”, the best way to approach the subject with us is not at all. We support our husbands/spouses, they support the war, therefore we do too whether we like it or not. 

3. Oh my God, girl! Did you see last nights episode of Army Wives? Bitch, please. I have never seen one episode, but I do have military wife friends that watch it for entertainment purposes, not factual purposes (and they love it). I’m not trying to take anything away from the show, but please don’t watch this and make false assumptions about my life. Please be smarter than that. 

Which leads me to…

4. “I heard enlisted wives are trashy”. Do not make false assumptions of military spouses concerning their educational background or their social status. THIS IS MY PET PEEVE!!! Not all enlisted wives are uneducated and not all officer wives are educated. We are a huge melting pot of different backgrounds with one commonality: we are ALL military spouses!!! There are billions of people in the world: If you choose to believe what you hear before getting to know us on an individual basis, please find someone else to talk to. Oh, and you might want to check your sources:)

Moving on.

I just LOVE when other (civilian) wives say these next things to me: 

5. “What am I going to do? My husband is going out of town for three days on business. I can’t be without him.”  Bless your heart! You should probably go back home to momma if your husband is gonna be gone for that long. Clearly, you have no idea about how to be an adult. Try a business trip that lasts a year on for size, would ya? We won’t even add in the danger element to you because you might incur a mental breakdown.

In all seriousness though, when women say this to me, I just reply “you can do it”, because it is a big deal to them and I should be more understanding, but then again, they should know their audience…

6. “I wish my husband travelled more”. You need marriage counseling, ASAP. 

7. “Well at least you get free insurance”. Nope, nope, and nope. We pay for dental. We pay for life insurance. Healthcare? Well, I could write an entire book about the healthcare provided to us (ZERO continuity of care, my primary care doctor changes between every visit and I don’t see them anyway–but that’s ALL I will say about that). Nothing is ever free. Write that down. Let it be your life’s motto. 

This next one was told to my husband and I by his dumb ass aunt. 

8. “You don’t live in the real world”. In reply, we both BURST OUT LAUGHING!!! She apparently lives in the real world though, because she has to go look for jobs and has to pay bills and raise a child. I’m pretty sure she meant to say the “civilian world”, but I’m not so sure. You see, here in the military life, jobs still have to be found, bills still have to be paid, and raising children happens if you have them, but BONUS: we get to travel all over this great BIG WORLD!!! We don’t get to stay in the comfort zone of where we grew up, where momma and daddy are just around the corner to watch the kids for free, where everybody knows your name…we get to actually go out into the REAL WORLD and experience it. Yep, never say this. 

9. “Well, they signed up for it”…This is usually said following a “he’s gone again?” or “you’re moving?” or “he got hurt” or something else that should bare NO RESPONSE from someone that doesn’t know anything about the military. But, let me just say: Thanks for the reminder that my husband volunteered to serve our country and even die for it if need be. He signed up for it! You didn’t. 

10. “You knew what you were getting into before you married him”. Well….we married before the war, so I really wasn’t ready for that and some people came in the military after the war kicked off and they were already married. Either way, I don’t think you’re ever really prepared to send your significant other off to war no matter the circumstance. Here’s what I knew I was getting into when I married my husband: A LIFELONG FREAKIN COMMITMENT–THAT’S WHAT! Till death do we part. The military life is just a ripple in the ocean for our marriage. Is it a challenge? Every damn day. Am I up for it? Most of the time, but I’m not about some weak ass excuse of not knowing what I was getting into. Vows are serious, you should take them that way. So if by “you knew what you were getting into” you mean “forever no matter what”, then yes, I knew what I was getting into, but again: thanks for the reminder! 

11. “Well, I don’t get a paycheck handed to me twice a month”. Actually, the military allows you to opt for a once a month paycheck direct deposited to your account at the first of the month, so you can choose how you want it “handed” to you. I promise you my husband earns it (and some) however it comes. If you would also like to be handed a paycheck twice a month, please visit your local recruiting office, but promise me that you will call me after basic training and tell me again that it’s handed to you, not earned! I look forward to hearing from you:)

And finally, my favorite: 

12. “I don’t know how you do it”. By the grace of God. I do it because I love my husband. I do it because he is my best friend. I do it because I support him and everything he represents. I do it because I made a vow to him. I do it because I want to.