Valentine’s Day Care Packages.

 

Valentine’s day is one of those special days that you really want to share with your spouse!! But for some of us, our spouses are deployed, TAD, or a Geo-bachelor and are a way from us.  But don’t fret!! You can still share this holiday with your spouse or significant other. 

 

Send a care package!!!  This is one of the best times of the year to go all out and do a themed care package.  Below are some ideas to get you started, and don’t worry if it arrives a little late. Remember it’s the thought that counts!

 

Ideas:

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Perspective

It’s the time of year to look around and be thankful for all that we have.  And by that I don’t just mean the material stuff, in fact, I think this time of year the material stuff should matter less and the “other” stuff more.  A few days before Thanksgiving I had a miscarriage, one of the reasons I haven’t been around here much, and it was such a low point.  Times like that, even despite the holidays, it was easier to focus on the negative.  Until my husband snapped me out of it.

We don’t live in a big McMansion, we don’t have luxury cars, we don’t have lots of extra digits in our bank account, in fact if you keep on the notion of what we don’t have it could be pointed out that we don’t often have a lot of time together.  But we do have each other.  And as cliche as it may sound that’s everything.

Being a part of a military family has given me incredible perspective.  Perspective that I don’t know if I would have if flyboy was working nine to five in an office.  I think we appreciate more of the little things.  Every holiday and birthday spent together is special because, well, you don’t know if you’ll be together for the next one.  So much time is spent apart that the time together is what matters.  Not the dollars in the bank or the size of your house.

MIA- (but not forever)

I know it has been quite a while since I posted here.  Things have been very busy for my family.  A lot has taken place over the past several months. You know how it is being a Military Spouse. The time falls close to choosing new orders.  Then comes the planning and the moves. 

 

Things have especially “interesting” for me. I have been battling my “demon/burden” in life -Depression! I don’t like to admit it (who really does) but the past couple of months have been really rough on me. But not to be all doom and gloom here- things are on the up and at ’em and that is WONDERFUL!

 

Being a military spouse is no easy task and I will be the first to admit that I am no “superhuman/superwoman”, “can do it all” military spouse. None of us are.  However, life must go on and we must press forward when times get “rough”. When things become “tough” we must remind ourselves that we have to “fight” and contend against the odds to keep our head above the water. (Philippians 3:13-14) I will gladly be the first to raise my hand and say, (although difficult to do at times) it can be done! We can rise above, we can make it through! There is a silver lining to every cloud and the Sun will shine again!

 

Although the past few month have been rough the true reality is that all of us at some time or another are going to face difficult challenges in life. The truth is that none of us are failures unless we give up and stop trying! Even if we have to continue to get up again and again, time after time. It is the getting up that keeps us on the road to success, it is the rising above that helps us endure in the long run, it is the perseverance even through the most difficult times that gives us the strength to continue on our journey. I hope to be an encouragement to those facing tough times. I know personally that it has been my faith in God that has pulled me through the most difficult days! 

 

To those who may be struggling to get though another day, just remember to have hope, to keep pressing forward and know that- Tomorrow is a fresh new day with no mistakes in it. Don’t dwell on the past, or worry or’e the future and remember to live today like there is no tomorrow! 

 

My hope is in the Lord! (Psalms 31:24)

 

Hugs,

Jessica

Let’s shop at Sears!

I came across the following in a military spouses forum that I participate in.  Like the author of the message, Sears is usually not my first choice.  However, I am going to pledge to buy at least 1 gift there this holiday season just on principle.  I hope you will do the same.  All of this information can be verified at:  http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/sears.asp  http://www.searsholdings.com/communityrelations/hero/military.htm

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 Sears – Christmas shopping has already started

I know I needed this reminder since Sears isn’t always my first choice. Amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and they haven’t withdrawn from their commitment.

Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?

How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

Pass it on.

Decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service  Department:

I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it’s cheaper at that store. 

This is their answer to my e-mail:

Dear Customer: 

Thank you for contacting Sears. The information is factual.  We appreciate your positive feedback.  Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care
webcenter@sears.com
1-800-349-4358

Please pass this on to all your friends. Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!!!

 I think we all should shop there, and again tell the store manger why!

Giving back.

There are so many opportunities to do good in the military community. This website is just one wonderful example of that. What Wendy has provided for the Navy community and the military community at large is wonderful. I have a hunch Wendy does even more than this site and Navy Wife Radio, she just seems like the giving kind of gal. As a matter of fact, most spouses do.

It appears to be a trait of military spouses-by nature we are nurturers, givers, and lend-a-handers. Sure there are spouses who are disconnected from the community and don’t get involved, but those who are involved seem to outnumber them.

So what does “involved” mean? Well, it could be something as simple as attending FRG meetings to acting as a Key Volunteer or unit’s Ombudsman. Other ways to be involved include reaching out to your fellow spouses and military families in their time of need, whether it’s to help with a new baby or a PCS move. I can name so many military spouses who have made a positive impact on my life because of their involvement. They have either led by example in a leadership capacity or shown me the ropes on something unfamiliar to me. The common theme seems to be that of community.

We’ve got each others’ backs. We look out for the greater good. We seek ways to make positive changes in the world and community around us.  Giving back doesn’t have to be in some monumental fashion, it’s the effort that speaks volumes.

Passing on the Memories

 

So, I was standing in the kitchen prepping to make a pizza together with the kids. (One of our favorite things to do together as a family). My son comes up to me after using the restroom with the latest copy of “Plane and Pilot” Magazine in his hands (yes, my four year old son already knows how to sit on the “Can” and read magazines. Thanks Hubs for that one!) and pointing at the cover he asks me, “Mommy, what kind of plane is this?” I look at the blue prop plane and think out loud, HMMM, well, it looks like an older plane, World War II, I think it maybe German, No, it cannot be”(I knew it in my gut), but I so distinctly remember hearing the word “Spitfire” being said in a loud German accent. Wait a minute it is BRITISH!! That is right… I think it is a Spitfire son. (Too many world war two movies with dad). I thought to myself, ” So that is why I thought German when I saw the plane”. You see, when an enemy plane would come their way they would point and yell in their thick German accents, “SSH-PIT-FI-ARE!” (at least in all of the movies I saw that is what they did). The Germans feared this plane and it was a close adversary to the Messerschmitt, both awesome planes of their time. 

Anyways, I laughed to myself that here I was a mother making pizza with her kids and I’m rattling off World War Two planes to my 4 year old son (not the norm I know).  But having an Aviator for a father and someone who I constantly remember looking to the skies with as a child kind of puts this oddity into perspective I suppose. We would watch a plane go bye and he would rattle off the name of the plane or the type of plane it was. I never really gave it much thought growing up. It was just the norm for us to go flying and constantly watching literally hundreds of war documentaries and old dog fight movies. (My earliest memory of my 1st war movie was, “ToraToraTora!”) This strong sense of history was truly my father’s passion. Something he has loved for longer than I can even remember. It really had me in deep thought. This was something that he shared with me almost daily and really in a sense something he passed on to me.
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Fading Memories

Property of Museum of History & Industry, Seattle
My great grandmother passed away last year at the age of 93. I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss her. My family at large recognizes a void when we gather. She had a spirit about her. No, it was more spunk. Yes, even in her old age, she was spunky. I loved her and so terribly regret that I missed out on so much as I myself grew up. I never got a chance to ask her so much. Today, I sit here with questions that could fill the pages of a novel.
Her name was Ann. She was part of the Greatest Generation. This is my favorite period in history, and I never thought to ask my grandmother about it when she was still alive. Sure, I have a few stories from her childhood and the tales she told of the early years of her marriage, but my memories are now fading with time. I should have written them down. I should have paid better attention.
My grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease, which is both progressive and fatal for many. It’s a heartbreaking condition that has the ability to tear you apart knowing that you cannot give someone back their mind and memories. You feel helpless. I imagine the patient feels the same in some respects, then again, do they know? They are frustrated and they are bewildered at lot of the times because people are trying to remind them of things that they didn’t even know were forgotten. It’s tragic.
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On a happier note, I recently finished reading an amazing book, by Elizabeth Berg. Dream When You’re Feeling Blue paid homage to the servicemen at war and the families on the homefront during WWII, the greatest generation. Since I have such an affinity for anything associated with this era, I could see myself in the plot, I felt akin to the characters. Berg, a New York Times bestselling author eloquently depicted many aspects of romance and family life as well as patriotism. Those which stood out to me the most were sacrifice, honor, and responsibility.
You will fall in love with the Heaney family and your heart will both ache and leap with joy as you journey through time with this tale. While it’s a fictional piece, the majority of it is based on factual places and events. In fact, Berg painstakingly researched this book and the history behind the times to present the most accurate description of the period and lives she was telling about. Not only is this a chronicle of love and honor, but is also one of history that is easy to relate to in our own tumultuous times.

To buy this book online: Visit Random House for online retailers
Audio Book: Simply Audiobooks
Another intriguing read, I hope to get my hands on soon: An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

Thank you!

I wanted to take a few minutes out of what is sure to be a busy Independence Day to express my gratitude to those who allow us to live in a wonderful, free country.  Thank you to all of those that currently serve and have served honorably in our military.  I would love to be able to celebrate with my husband today, but I know that he and all the other servicemembers who are separated from their families are doing their jobs so that we may continue to live in an independent country.  I am so grateful that their service allows my daughter to grow up in a place where she can truly do anything that she wants to do. 

There are some other people I would like to acknowledge today that you may not neccesarily think of on July 4th.  As a military wife, people often say to me – “I don’t know how you do it”.  I’m know many other military wives are constantly told that too.  One reason we are able to thrive is because of those around us who support us.  Everyone who supports a military family member is in turn supporting the servicemember.  When a servicemember knows that their family is taken care of, they are able to focus on their job and do it more effectively.  There is no way that I could list all the people who have helped me but I will try to mention a few.  My extended family, among other things, helps take care of my daughter sometimes.  This allows me to have a short break every once in a while that is very much needed.  My friends have been there to help me have fun and take my mind off the stresses of everyday life, but they have also been there to help me up when I’ve been down.  The ladies at the post office encourage me by always being so friendly when we go to send my husband his regular care packages, and they always ask about him.  The staff at the vet’s office would always help me when I showed up at the clinic with a dog and baby in tow.  I appreciate the people who just stop to ask me how B is and tell me that they are praying for him.  Those few words have the power to lift my spirit immensely.  Thanks to all of you who encourage and uplift a military family member.  When you bring a smile to our face, you are serving our country in your own little way.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed 4th of July weekend!

Relatable Transparency

I read Just a Girl in Port’s post below and it started to get my wheels a turnin’. So here is my response to her post. Thanks so much for sharing your feelings here and being so “Transparent”

Here is what I wrote:

OH My GOODNESS! I feel like you just described me in detail! Everything down to the T! My eyes are actually tearing up over this. Not in a bad way but in a happy way because I don’t feel alone in my thoughts and feelings.

I love the stay at home life but I miss the power and “in control” feeling of my past professional career. I was single during that time too and when I tried the whole career thing again with two small children it just wasn’t the same for me as it was when I was single. Maybe when they are older it will be different.

I have had the whole June Cleaver fantasies too! HA HA! I LOVE to entertain but it seems these days everyone is too busy with their own lives to be graced with my entertaining abilities. LOL!

Some days, I too just sit down for a good cry and wonder why did I marry into the military. I told my husband I didn’t want the military life for my own and didn’t want to raise a family like this but I know deep down that no matter how much I want to pass the blame on him for marrying me and giving me this life. I signed the marriage papers, said the vows and well, sometimes true love makes the choices for you and “calls the shots”. I know I love him more than anything and love seems to have that affect on most of us.

I also know deep down in my heart that I am so PROUD of what he does and I have come to the realization that I can either embrace this life that has come to be my own or fight it, The second choice just brings depression, despair and discontentment. Embracing what we have and appreciating the life we have and call our own is much easier to come to “terms” with.

I still have my days when I feel as though I could curse the day he chose to re-enlisted for yet another six year and how I cannot stand being away from family etc etc etc. 

However, convinced of the reality that this IS my life delusional by love or not. I still chose it just as much as he did. What we share is very real and there are so many numerous & wonderful things that we can discover when we take our eyes off of ourselves and our self  loathing and actually realize that as a Military Family we have so much more opportunity in this life than most people will ever see or do in a lifetime.

We are always going to have “Those Days” but life never promises to be roses, peaches and cream. If we look at each day as a new opportunity to be a blessing to someone else, an encouragement or a help. We will then begin to see the positive benefits our “Military life” affords us. It is certainly something we can find much joy in and truly find peace and contentment with despite the “quirks”!

Thanks for being so real and so “Transparent”! It really has been an inspiration to me in so many ways and this spouse can completely RELATE to you! HUGS!

Relatable?: Random Thoughts of a Military Wife

On this week’s live Navy Wife Radio show (be sure to see the archives), Wendy talked briefly about how she hoped this blog could exhibit some transparency. Here I am thinking, She wants me to be see-through? She wants people to think I’m shallow? No, no, she wants us to be relatable.

Well, what could I tell you about me to draw that connection? I suppose I could tell you that despite my being used to this military life that I cry. Yes, I do break down and have my really horrible moments. I have even been known to want to throw the towel in. These moments are few, but they exist. I’m no different than anyone else. I love the opportunities that we have but I detest many of the struggles. No one said this is easy, and it surely isn’t. I know that there are some folks out there who get fed up with the chain of command and rules and regulations. Count me in your corner, I’m there too. Yes (here’s comes the pun), we are all in the same boat.

I imagine some of you stay at home moms can relate this: I miss the working world, even though I love my children with all of my heart. Truthfully, though, what I would give to don my high heels and suits again and sit through a boring office meeting in lieu of changing diapers or doing yet another load of laundry. I know, I know, I still do this when I’m gainfully employed. Sometimes, I wish a maid would just magically appear before my eyes though. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Oh, here’s another! I have a fantasy about lavish formal dinners where I’m the hostess-with-the-mostess, and my DH is proudly seated at the head of the table regaling people with sea stories. Fat chance! My husband, while he enjoys his coworkers and many longtime military friends, detests formality. He loves to separate work from home and vice versa. Me, I actually have romantic daydreams about a bygone era where the military wife actually did host such gatherings and appear a bit like June Cleaver, Bree Van de Kamp/Hodge or any other fictional woman of perfection. Yes, I would like to work and be the perfect housewife too.

So, there you have it, some random thoughts of a loony military spouse. Maybe I’m not all that relatable, but it’d be interesting to see if I’m not alone.