I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Whoa It's November????

29 Oct 2010

Wow.  I just looked at the calendar.  I left home on 5 July.  It’s already about to be November.  I have two more months of deployment time to serve before I get to go home.  Time has flown!

When I first arrived, I was so brand new and spongelike.  In shock at the poverty of the country I’m in, getting used to all the different ranks of all the different branches of military, learning all the joint ops terms and acronyms, adjusting to schedule, adjusting to a tiny room, living with a roommate, smoking like a chimney, and all of this on top of just learning my job here.  Things were weird and uncomfortable. 

I’ve since then participated in MEDCAPs where we provided the local community with free medical and dental services, donated goods, and interacted with the people. 

I’ve led morale activities for the people on the camp such as movie nights, recess (brain-teaser breaks), care package share times, etc. 

I’ve gone to the orphanage and helped my boss lead a big group visit to it, which lead to happy kids, happy soldiers, donations and a few people sponsoring the orphanage.

I’ve broken rules about not petting the dogs around the camp.

I’ve done my share of crying upon reading a “Dear Soldier” letter from a kid I didn’t know.

I got a tattoo and am already planning the next one.

I got a yellow belt in martial arts—WAAAA!!! (I always have to do that when I talk about it.)

I’ve taken on the hobby of photography.

I’ve ridden a small jet, chopper, Navy boat, an armored truck and a Casa plane.  All really cool experiences!

I got so homesick that I drew Charlie just because.

I’ve seen light in dark places.

And dark places in broad daylight.

Time has just flown by so quickly!  I can’t believe I’ll be home soon!  Part of me doesn’t want to leave.  This is an amazing experience and I finally feel as if I’m doing something great in the military.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


No, not the drug!  The band! 

My wonderful friend, John, introduced me to this band and I have to say:  O. My. Gosh.  What a sexy sexy band.  The music is just fansexintastic!!

Some of my favorite songs from this band are:  Supersex, So Many Ways, and All Your Way.

Prayer Request

While you're deployed, you're far from friends and family.  The challenges are harder to face and your loved ones have to deal with things without you.  When your family is struggling and you aren't there to help, you feel completely powerless.  And understandably so.

And sometimes all you can do is pray.  Someone dropped a prayer request in a prayer box and I wanted to post it so that the prayer is heard and maybe others might include them in their prayers. 

Here's the request, minus the names:
"I pray that God shows me a way to alleviate my family's financial burdens.  That my wife has help with caring for our three chldren."

So here's my prayer for this warrior:
Father, I pray tonight for this individual.  He has called out to you for help.  Lord, you have helped me many times during my own financial struggles and so I pray that you keep this family in your arms, close to you so that they may hear your answers.  I pray for strength and faith in you while his wife is taking on the parenting without her other half.  Lord I pray that you send this family friends and support to help them cope with their struggles.  And I pray that their faith in you is strong and that they know that you know everything in their hearts, like a father knows his children.  Lord I thank you, that this person has turned to you.  I pray all of these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Quiet Sniffle

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or where you’ve been.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your twenty-first deployment.  At some point in your tour, you will spend at least one night crying in your room hoping your roommate doesn’t hear you.  It’s just a fact, something that’s bound to happen.  And when you’re laying in bed with your laptop smoking under your fingertips and you pause your typing because you think you hear sniffling from the other side of the room, anyone who isn’t an asshole will understand that his/her roommate is just having one of those nights.

A few days ago I was blogging, content with my own form of escape when I heard my roommate sniffling.  She’s new, only been here a whole week.  Newly married.  Young.  Sweet.  And already having the Skype fights with her hubby (Skype connection sucks in our room so it’s kinda weird that she wouldn’t just type-fight).  If I’m in the room while they’re arguing (and she usually tries hard to keep herself calm but I can still hear the sadness in her voice), I either leave or just put in my earphones and play some music so she can have some privacy.  I usually just remind myself that she’s in a new marriage that is facing its first deployment.  It’s tough on young couples.  So I shrug it off and not ask any questions.  But when I heard her sniffling, I felt really sad for her.  It sucks crying alone after a long distance fight.  They can’t even get the chance to kiss and make up.

Tonight, I walked in and noticed her eyes were puffy.  I told her that if she needed anyone to talk to, I’m here for her.  I figured she’s in a new place with new faces and dealing with relationship drama all by herself.  She could use a friendly shoulder.  She was very sweet at thanking me.  Maybe in time she’d open up.  Even if she doesn’t open up to me, I hope she’ll find a way to cope with the situation.

I’m thinking of getting her a small care package.  Maybe a bear or something sweet to hug.  I told her she could borrow Gizmo if she wanted, half-jokingly stated but if it would help, I’d lend him over in a heartbeat!  She declined.  I’m gonna have to get her a stuffed animal.

One of the toughest things you face on your deployment is the darkness, the silence, and the prayer that your roommate doesn’t hear you sniffle when you’re having a rough time.  I’m going to make it a goal tonight to order her a stuffed animal to hug.  Everyone needs a deployment comfort.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


You'll be amazed at how many people keep a special something with them on deployments.  Lots of people have pictures of their families and friends, some have some kind of souveneir (gosh, did I spell that right?  Ah hell, whatever) that they keep close to them.  These things come in all sorts of varieties-- t-shirts that smell of a special cologne (girls do this, duh), patches they've gotten from someone they made friends with (JT is one of these collectors), poetry folded and kept in their pocket everyday (Kyle keeps a certain one on him at all times), a small toy of their child's (my boss takes a pic of his son's lego-man everytime we go someplace new).  There are tons of examples; the fact is, people have found a way to keep their loved ones, memories, and other special things close to them.  It is a proven necessity to deploymental mental survival.

I have a special little item of my own.  Gizmo.  Yep, that's right.  The sweet and cuddly little gremlin.  He came in a huge plastic bag along with tons of other stuffed animals that were... meant for... kids.  I know, I know!  I'm horrible!  I took a fucking stuffed animal from a donation bag that was meant for kids!  Trust me, both M and Kyle have given me lots of shit about it.  BUT IT'S GIZMO!!!  Do you know how long it's been since I've seen a Gizmo?  I love Gizmo!  I already vowed that when I return home I'm going to donate a crapload of toys to the orphanage anyway and I'll spend a hell of a lot of money in shipping!  So it's more like a really good trade.  In fact, it's more than a trade.  It's a steal!  I took one little stuffed animal (remember, it's GIZMO-- not some Winnie the Pooh bear, Gizmo!) from a bag that had like 40 others in there.  And I'm going to send BOXES of toys in its place.  I promise!  Cross my heart, no fingers crossed.

Great now I feel like shit because I just spent an entire paragraph trying to justify why I took a stuffed animal.  But I now have a special item that I can take with me everytime we go to an outstation.  And I'll take him on my next deployment too. 

I guess it's just been a little lonely in my room and looking at my kids' pictures on my wall makes me want to hug something.  So now I have something to hug.  Gizmo.  And I'm keeping him.  And that's that.  :P

Orphanage Visit

I know I haven't talked about where I'm deployed to and what is going on here.  And I won't -- not the where and what anyway.  But I will talk about my experience here because I think it's important to capture that.  So here I go...

The camp is small.  Really small.  If you get lost, it better be your first day because otherwise you're not that bright.  LOL I kid, I kid.  But seriously, it's tiny.  The days are long and repititious.  There aren't many things to do, so people have to get creative.  While being here, I've learned how to play chess, pool, poker, and spades.  I've gotten the yellow belt in martial arts - WAAAA!!!  And I've picked up Crossfit and boxing.  Oh and I watch lots of movies.

So, my boss and I try hard to lift the morale here by being more creative with activities.  We're having a Halloween party, play a couple of movies with popcorn every weekend on the big screen, provide the camp with a recess (yes, I said "recess" as in elementary school fun!), care package share time, and more.  One of the big things we've done so far is organize a visit to the local orphanage.

The orphanage houses roughly 50 kids ages newborn to about 8 years old.  The reasons for them being there vary anywhere from surrendered to sexually abused.  And the reasons for them leaving also varies depending on their situation.  The kids are very loved in the orphanage.  Everytime we go there, the children have a spirit of happiness in them and they all act like one big family.  Although the orphanage gets very low support from the government, lots of people from both the local community as well as the military give their best efforts to help.

When we brought some people from the camp, the staff took everyone on a short tour.  We visited the babies first.  The babies grabbed everyone's heart and not one person left untouched.  One baby was found as a newborn hanging in a trashbag with other garbage.  Another baby was dumped off because of her serious medical condition.  All the babies, however, are now in a much better environment than they were in before they got to the orphanage. 

In another room resided the older kids- ages 3 to 8.  These guys brought you out of your sadness from seeing the babies and immediately shined a light on you!  They were incredibly happy to have visitors and almost attacked us with love.  We were climbed on, hugged, kissed and danced with.  We spent the majority of the time just playing with them.

I had no doubt in my mind that these kids were loved by the staff.  They were happy.  They had a twinkle in their eyes.  And although my heart ached for them and I hated that they had to be in an orphange instead of a loving home, I felt rest assured that this orphanage gave them more love than they've ever experienced. 

Watching the warriors from my camp, I knew we did good.  We organized a visit that would not only get them a few hours away from "Groundhog's Day" but also give them the opportunity to have a very rewarding experience.

The next event comes soon-- Children's Festival!!  300 KIDS IN ONE PLACE.  Oh my goodness.  I don't know if I'll be able to manage it.  lol!  Will give updates on that once it happens and after I get some pictures uploaded.

Til next time.  Peace.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Update on Deployed Mom Project

I've started my kids' kids book!  It's called Our Family.  I used the MS Publisher program to put it together.  For the cover page, I put in some colorful shapes and of course the classic stick figure family.  I've always loved stick figures.  :P  Anyway, I had so much fun putting this thing together!

The second page says "There are three people in my family."  I made sure to put the colorful numbers 1-3 so that Caden can count them and identify the colors as well.
There are a few more pages in between, where I named each of us in the family.  Each page has a certain shape of different colors and sizes so that he can not only see pictures of himself, his brother and me but also practice his shapes and colors!  After the pages of us, I put in another page that says, "But that's not all we have in our family!  We have two pets!"  And I included a couple of cartoon pictures of a dog and bird.
I'm really looking forward to finishing this book, printing it, putting it together, and finally mailing it out to him!  And I really want to get on Skype and watch him flip through it.  I think I'm more excited than he'll be.  LOL  I don't know why it took me a few months before I came up with this idea.  I wish I did this earlier!

Also, I've decided that this is going to be part 1.  I'm going to focus this book on just the family members and pets.  The second book will be "Mommy's Deployment."  And I'll talk about how I had to go away for a little while but that they got to travel and live with their aunts and uncles.  I'll include pictures of them with my brothers and sisters-in-law as well as their new daycare provider.  I'll also include pictures of me in the deployment and the things I see here.

The third book will be "Thanksgiving," then I'll probably do "Christmas" and then I'll do the birthday ones!  Woo hoo!  I'm so excited!

Updates soon!

Lack of Child Support

In one of my earlier blogs I mentioned the word “child support” with a disclaimer that I’ll talk about that in another blog.  Well here it is.  This is my take on my situation with the lack of child support.
I went to a bible study a few weeks ago and we watched a short video clip called Kickball.  You’ve gotta watch it.  I even put the link up for ya.  Check it out.  Anyway, it’s about a little boy who really wants this ball and his parents don’t get it for him.  He really, really wants it and the poor little guy puts up a big tantrum and is just truly sad.  You know the sadness in the child when they put that big frown on their face and their heart is just low in their belly because they think they really need that ball.  What he didn’t know was that the ball he wanted was actually meant to be tethered to his wrist and was a safety hazard for a kid of his age.  What he also didn’t know was that his parents were already taking him to get a kickball, something they knew he would love and would enjoy for a long time. 

The moral of the story was that sometimes we think we know what we need, but we usually don’t realize that God might already have something bigger and better planned for us. 

When the judge first ordered X to pay child support, I was really happy.  A budget for two young kids in daycare (and one in diapers) is really a lot of stress for a single mom.  I was looking forward to getting some relief.  When X refused to pay and instead spent his money on dining out and expensive gifts for himself, I spent the next couple of months really angry.  I believed our kids had a right to that money, deserved that money!  I was so focused on that child support that I did nothing but stress over it.

After those two months, I turned to God instead.  I began to let go of the issue and instead focused really hard on how to deal with the situation.  I did an excellent job at sticking to a really strict budget, found a great opportunity to save on groceries by turning to Angel Food Minstries, and eliminated any excess expenditures like cable and internet. 

I prayed and had full faith in God that as long as I did my part, He would provide.  And He did.  My brother sent me money to help with daycare and diapers.  I utilized thrift stores for things like cooking utensils and other household items.  I even conserved apple juice by only giving the kids water topped with a little juice (which, by the way, got me extra points at the pediatrician office for giving my kids healthier beverages).  When we ran out of oatmeal, I made rice porridge. 

And here’s where it gets so much sweeter.  My friend, John, long-distance ordered a pizza for the kids and me on evening.  For Thanksgiving, a wonderful friend of mine surprised us with a turkey.  And Christmas?  A wonderful support group put my kids’ names on the list for the Angel Tree and even put money together to give me gift cards so that I could have some “me” stuff. 

The kickball:  Family.  I never got my child support.  Even until now.  But God gave me a family of people who supported and encouraged me.  God told me, “Don’t worry about him and the child support.  I have you.  I’ll take care of you.  You do your part.  Let me do mine.”  And like a father provides for his children, God gave me something even greater than money.  He gave me a family.  And I thank Him so much for this.  It is the sweetest type of child support a mother could receive.

So that’s my take on not receiving child support.  I could be bitter.  I could spend my life angry about not getting what’s due to me and my children.  I could call X names, harass him, and spend my life hating him.  Or… I could just keep my faith in God and trust that He has my back.  I think the latter not only requires so little but gives so much more than I can even imagine.

So, if you’re not getting child support and you’re struggling and literally making lemonade out of lemons because you’re out of apple juice, put your faith in God.  He knows everything we’re going through, every hurt in our hearts, and every thought in our head.  Let him hold you and tell you, “Don’t you worry.  Dad’s got you.  And let Him provide.

What a wonderful way for me to end the night—writing about this makes me smile.  Ah, what a good feeling it is to know that God’s got my back.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making Deployment Comfortable

When you get deployed, you usually bring the basics:  gear, PT clothes, shower shoes, hygiene products, feminine products, DVDs, laptop, iPod (or whatever you use for music).  Then you get there, get assigned your tent/room/bay.  Whatever it is, it's not home and it's not pretty.  And you're going to have to stay there for the next 6 months or so.  But just because you're deployed it doesn't mean you have to suffer entirely!

I'm halfway through my deployment and I've got to say that I absolutely love my room.  It feels like I have a my own little corner of the camp that I can hole up in and not be depressed.  I got a couple of care packages from my mom and a couple of friends.  They were wonderful!!  My mom sent some nice clothes, my girlfriend sent a bunch of candy, books, and feminine products, and my best friend sent me tons of music and funny videos.  Care packages do wonders for you when you're far from home.  But you can't depend solely on other people providing you with comforts.

I went online to Walmart and did some online shopping.  They deliver to your deployed location, thank goodness.  I ordered a bed sheet set for $20 which includes comfortable sheets, pillow cases and a really sweet comforter.  A buddy of mine gave me a couple of red flourescent light bulb covers so my side of the room has an awesome dark cave-like feeling.  I printed pictures of my kids and dog and posted them all over my walls.  I even have a little Gizmo stuffed animal.  I also bought a couple of pretty scarves that I hang on my walls.  So now my little deployment room is a dimly lit cave that offers serenity and comfort.

When my bed set came in, someone teased me, "You're only going to be here for 6 months and you bought a bed set?!"  My reply:  "It's going to be a great 6 months sleeping in something comfortable!"  Just because I'm deployed it doesn't mean I have to live like it.

Deployed Mom Project

I've come up with this BRILLIANT idea.  Okay, it's brilliant to me.  Anyway, I'll get on with it.  So, everytime I Skype with my kids I spend lots of time holding the pictures on my phone up to the camera so that my Caden can see.  I'll show him pictures of me, him, Sean, and our dog Charlie.  I'll also show pictures of planes, motorcycles, and other things.  He gets a kick out of seeing pictures.  He just loves this.  So I've decided to make him a book.

I'm not sure what to call this book.  But it's going to be a picture book filled with all sorts of pictures.  I want to start with who we are as a family, then talk about how Mommy had to deploy, then to them living with their aunts and uncles while I'm gone, what Mommy's doing while she's away from them, and finally when I'll be coming home.  I also want to put together other pictures that he can identify like colors, shapes, animals, etc.  It'll be my way of still trying to be Mommy while I'm gone.

I'm not sure exactly how well it'll turn out, but I'm really excited about doing it.  And I think that regardless what I think of its results, Caden will get a kick out of having his own book.  :)

Will post an update on its progress.

The Jonah in Me

Went to worship service today and we learned about Jonah.  The book of Jonah is in the Old Testament.  It talks about Jonah’s inner struggle with doing what God requests of him.  It was a pretty amazing story, actually.  God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and Jonah went the complete opposite direction because he did not want to go.

Well, God threw a storm at him, then created a huge fish (probably a whale or something) to swallow Jonah.  And it did.  Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the whale before his prayers for forgiveness and promise to fulfill God’s request were answered.

When God let him out of the fish, Jonah went immediately to Nineveh and did what God told him to do.  But he was still very angry about doing it. 

You see, the Ninevites were very barbaric and merciless when they killed their enemies.  They were vicious, vicious people.  Their enemies died slow and torturous deaths.  And God sent Jonah to this city to preach the Word to them so their hearts could change and they could be saved.

Can you imagine being Jonah, told to go and preach the Word to murderers so that they could get to heaven?  It is such an honorable thing to be requested by our wonderful Father to save people.  But murderers?   People who tortured other people? 

While I was in the service, listening to the Word, I realized that my faith has always had a little hole in it.  Before I became saved, I had this ugly hardness in my heart about men who raped and molested children.  I remember learning about a man who was going to be executed after facing about 14 years in prison for participating in a gang rape and murder of two little girls of about 15 years old. 

The men were young at the time, probably around 18 years old or so.  Well, these two girls were walking home from school.  They took a shortcut.  They were attacked by a gang of guys.  They tried to get away, and one of them did escape.  But she ran back to try to help her friend.  The men beat and raped them both repeatedly.  When they were done, they took them into the woods where they strangled them with their shoe laces.  One pulled one end of the string and another guy pulled the other end.  The string actually broke and they then used belts to strangle them.

This story, as well as others, has always brought so much anger and pain to me.  It reminds me of my ex and the things he used to do to me.  I can imagine what these girls went through.  The fear, the pain.  Such cruelty.  It makes me sick.  It was stories like this and my own past experiences that kept me from coming to God in the beginning.

Like Jonah, I’m so quick to judge those who are so evil in their hearts.  I’m so quick to say they shouldn’t get the opportunity to get to heaven.  Why the hell should they after the horrific things they’ve done to people?

God is a compassionate god.  And I know He wants all his people to come to Him.  I know it’s not my right to judge others.  But it’s so hard for me to accept that with God, ALL things are possible—even the salvation of rapists.

So tonight was a reminder that I still have issues I need to pray about.  I still have a wall between God and me and I need to really work on taking it down. 

I told myself tonight that I need to pray about it.  To be honest, a part of me didn’t even want to.  A part of me WANTED to be hard and unmoved.  How do you take something like that, something like hate, out of your heart?  Maybe someone could pray for me so that I could have the will to pray for myself.

M Saves Me From My Fear of the Dress

Last night, a bunch of people and I were scheduled to attend a fundraiser dinner for a local orphanage.  It was a pretty big deal so I decided to wear a dress.

I love dresses.  I love putting on something that makes me look and feel like a woman.  But I always feel so embarrassed when I'm all dressed up.  I feel like I would fall or that my dress would get snagged on something and fall off or something.  LOL I get really nervous! 

So anyway, my wonderful friend who I'll call M met me outside and he was such a huge comfort!  He escorted me to the smoking area and spoke to me to calm my nerves.  He was such a gentleman that I felt like I could keep him at my side and everything would be all right.

I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.  And last night, even just for a little while, I had an angel at my side telling me that I'd be all right and that I looked beautiful.  I know it sounds silly to get all worked up about being in a dress, but my nerves were pretty shot nonetheless.  And that's all that matters sometimes- having that one person to tell you that it's going to be all right.

JT the Sweetheart

On the camp, I'm surrounded by tons of ... men.  Women here are just not that many.  Personally, I think it's a good thing.  Haha!  Not that I don't like being around other women, it's just that most women are catty by nature.  We're emotionally charged.  You put a bunch of us together and you get:  the drama queen, the slut, the loner, the innocent, the bitch, the weird chick, and the one we all hate- the two-face.  You put us all together and this is what happens: The first week, everyone clings to each other.  The second week, people figure out which one of the above mentioned categories each other is in.  By the third week, all hell breaks loose. 

The drama queen talks shit about the slut because she's getting all the guy attention.  The two-face is best friends with the slut but she secretly admires the drama queen's in-your-face methods so she talks to both of them about what each of them have said about each other.  The weird chick doesn't give a crap about the drama except for times when she needs entertainment and she'll watch the show just for fun.  Usually the weird chick is pretty damn cool and gets along with most of them until one of them crosses the line.  Anyway, the bitch picks on the innocent for fun but slaps the shit out of the two-face who is her rival enemy.  Meanwhile, the loner talks to herself about all of them and prides herself on being better than the rest of them, yet secretly longs to be one of their friends.  Oh and the innocent wants everyone to love each other and usually gets emotional that everyone's fighting.

My favorite is the weird chick. 

Anyway, I say all that just to emphasize why I like hanging with the guys.  They have far less drama and usually their things are - who's the biggest asshole and who has the biggest dick.  I can tolerate that type of drama.  It's still retarded but just not as complex and annoying as the women's issues.

So anyway, in the People blog you'll find me talking mostly about guys around here because 1) I hang with them and 2) they greatly outnumber women so I come across them more often.

All right, tonight's People blog is about a guy named JT.  JT is the boy next door.  Sweet, American boy.  Everyone loves him.  He's always friendly.  Remembers people's little details.  Just an all around nice guy.

The first time I encountered JT, it was because he needed to borrow my office projector.  He knocked on the door and came in looking like a Ken doll.  Such a nice smile, so polite while he asked for the favor.  It wasn't a problem and I told him when I needed it back.  He was very appreciative.  I just got such a nice feeling about him.  Have you ever been around a baby and just felt a little happier inside?  It's kind of like remembering that the world has beauty.  Just a really cool feeling.  Well, that's how I felt when I first met JT.

One day, I was walking towards my office and he was passing by when he stopped me and said he had something for me.  He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and said that in one of the outstations, there's a little store where he uses the bathroom and he always feels bad if he doesn't buy something if he uses their bathroom.  So he bought a pack of cigarettes even though he didn't smoke.  I guess he remembered I was a smoker, so when he saw me he remembered the cigarettes.  It wasn't that he gave me a pack of cigarettes that humbled me (although that was very sweet of him), it was the fact that he would buy a pack of cigarettes just because he felt bad if he didn't buy something from a store he visited just to use the bathroom.

Anyway, I just wanted to write about JT so that one day I could read this blog and remember that there are some really nice people in the world.

Saviors in Metal

I have a huge thing for taking photos.  I usually just use my phone -- I love my iPhone.  I know it isn't one of those really expensive cameras that take award-winning photos.  But I don't care.  If I see something worth capturing, I'm going to capture it!

I took this one while we were at an outreach.  The boat transported food for the people of the community, who were in need of many things like healthcare, food and clothing.  We try to participate in outreaches as much as we can and it never ceases to amaze me how much help the community needs.  But as hard as it is to deal with that knowledge, I absolutely love that we are able to help if even just a little.  The people are grateful that we are there to give and show them that we care about them.  The children give us huge grins and hugs.

I took this picture while on a walk.  It's a picture of a plane that was used by the U.S. during WWII and was given to the military of the country I'm deployed to as a memorial.  I absolutely loved how majestic this plane looked with the sun at its back.  It was a hero in its fighting days and I wanted to capture something so historical.  Maybe I could try to take a better shot of it another day.  For now, it's one of my favorite pictures.

Chopper Ride!

Today, we flew on a helicopter to head to an island for tomorrow's memorial service.  We will be honoring two young men who gave the ultimate sacrifice last year.  It will be a remembrance memorial service.

I've never flown in a chopper before so I was pretty excited.  It makes number two on my list of cool transportation in the military, the first being a B-1 Bomber.  Yeah baby!  Anyway, so the chaps and I got to ride in the chopper for just about a half hour to forty-five minutes. 

The view was really cool.  It's not much different from an airplane but it was still so exciting!  We got to see little islands.  I have to say, the view was quite beautiful.

The camp is very small and very quiet.  I actually like it.  Not many people, laid back, and you're not surrounded by brass (meaning pretty shiny ranking officers).  Everyone here is mission-oriented.  Get the job done and relax.  Do your work.  But you can have a life too.  It's not as uptight as my camp.  You don't have to look over your shoulder to see who's watching. 

I won't talk about it much more than that, but I will say that my first few hours are pretty cool.  We'll have the memorial service in the morning.  Will talk about that tomorrow.

Unconditional Love

Although this story didn't happen today and it didn't even happen yesterday, it happened on a day I least expected it so I thought it would be appropriate to label it under the "Daily Goodness" topic.  I'll have to give you a little bit of a history by starting in the past and ending in the "daily goodness."

When I was married to my kids' dad (I'll call him X), I always had little suspicions that he was cheating on me.  His phone would buzz at 2am and he would crawl quietly out of bed and head to the computer.  I'd go and check on him and immediately the sites on the monitor would be minimized and he'd give me the innocent look and tell me he was just looking at "xyz" online and couldn't sleep.  Sometimes he'd leave in the middle of the night.  Anyway, long story short I just had too many little clues and no proof. 

While married to him, I was never a perfect wife.  But I tried hard.  If we disagreed about something, I always tried to maintain a calm disposition and keep my emotions to a minimum.  I always made sure I laid my thoughts out politely and with logic as my structure.  I tried to be fair.  He resorted to name calling and insults and of course when he pushed too far into the right buttons, I would retaliate with emotion.  And I will admit that there have been a few times (I can count the number on one hand) that I lost my cool.  But for the most part, I tried to be a good wife.  When I became a Christian a few years into the marriage, I learned to strive to continue to be a good wife and a good representative of God to my husband despite the difficulties.

So, while I had these suspicions, I kind of used them as motivators to try harder.  I figured if I was a great wife, he'd want me instead of whomever he was turning to.  I tried to cover all the bases: no nagging, be supportive, be sexually cool, treat him the way I wanted to be treated, etc.

But I never had proof and finally I just learned to live with it and continue to try harder anyway.

Well, when I left him the judge allowed him to call the kids.  So I used one of his cell phones for the calls.  One day, our toddler was playing with the phone and had accessed the messages section.  I took the phone away, afraid he might send a message.  After clearing out the jibberish he had typed, the screen went to the "sent" box.  In the sent box was a list of previews of sent messages.  This caught my attention because a few of them started very sexual and were to a number that was not mine.

To sum it all up, I found these messages several months after I had left him.  They confirmed that he was cheating.  And I sat at the steps of the staircase crying.  Not because I wanted him back but because after all those years I got resolution to my suspicions.  And because I was hurt and angry that despite my best efforts to be a good partner, I could not "make" him stay faithful to me.  I felt betrayed and embarrassed and just heartbroken that I loved someone and he didn't love me back.

As I sat there with my face in my hands, my toddler came and sat beside me.  He said, "Oh Mommy, you sad?"

And I wiped my face and nodded my head and said, "Yes, honey.  Mommy's sad."

So he took my face in his hands and wiped my tears and said, "Don't be sad, Mommy."

Looking into this innocent child's eyes and seeing nothing but the purest love, Agape love, I knew that the truest form of love will come in the palms of caring hands from someone who sees your pain and wipes your tears and holds your face with empathy in their eyes.

My heart was lifted immediately and I hugged him tight.  "I love you soooo much," I told him.

"I wuv you too!" He said.

That was the last time I cried for something sad and the first time I truly realized that love doesn't have to come from a lover to be true.  And that although my heart was broken by someone, there is so much beauty in things that are right in front of my face that I can't possibly allow myself to dwell in any sadness.


My kids are the sweetest people in my world.  Of course, like all kids, they have the capability of driving me a little nuts at times.  But they make me smile, laugh, grin, and remember what it was like to walk in innocence.  They amaze me every day.

One day, I was folding laundry in my bedroom while my boys "helped".  While hanging some blouses up, I came across a summer dress that I got at a thrift store.  Just for fun, I slipped into it and let my hair down.  Immediately, my older son's eyes grew wide and a grin formed onto his face and he said, "Oh Mommy!  Cinderella!"  And he took my hands in his and said, "Let's dance, Cinderella!"

Just then I felt like the prettiest girl in the world.  I laughed and danced with him to no music but our own.  Ahh.  I love my little guys.

Strong Little Boy

When I left X, my older son (I'll call him Caden) was about two and my younger son (Sean) was three months old.  Little guys.  Throughout the months following our departure, I would wonder if I was putting them through too much.  I felt truly ashamed for dragging them through such rough changes.  But I would remind myself that I was doing it to save them.

The night we left, I packed a gym bag of our clothes, a plastic bag of baby bottles, and a bag of diapers.  I had no where to go, so I took the kids to my office to think.  I called a women's shelter and was told that once I got there, I'd have to stay for a full forty-eight hours and couldn't leave until after.  I wanted to be able to see my victim advocate before the weekend, so I decided to try to find a place to stay for the night.

I dragged the kids to Wal Mart at ten at night because I didn't remember to bring any formula for Sean.  After that, I waited in line at a cheap hotel to see if they had any space.  My arms were full with Sean and the bags.  Caden was busy getting into everything a toddler could possibly manage and I was in and out of the line, trying to keep him from causing too much trouble.

Our room was a far walk from the parking lot.  I had Sean in my arms, the gym bag, the bottle bag, and the diaper bag.  Caden wanted to help, so I gave him the bottle bag.  As we walked, I'd keep my eye on Caden to make sure he was keeping up.  I was tired.  I was scared.  My arms ached and I had a migraine.  I wanted to just get to the room.  I found myself getting ahead of Caden and had to stop to wait for him.

Halfway to the room, I stopped and turned to wait for Caden and my heart dropped.

There he was, a two year old little kid, standing with a plastic bag almost as big as he was.  He had the biggest frown on his face and his eyes looked so heavy.  It was almost midnight.  He looked up at me, dropped the plastic bag and said, "I tired Mommy."

Tears rolled down my cheeks and I knelt down in front of him, setting the bags down.  "We're almost there, honey," I said.  I gave him a hug and kissed his cheek.  "We're almost there, okay?"

He nodded, the frown still on his face, and picked up the plastic bag.  "Come on," I said, trying to sound reassuring.  He said "Okay" and contined to walk with me.

During the next several months, they'd changed daycares, saw their dad on supervised visitations, moved to a different house, and went through more changes that I knew were stressful for them.  And my heart still breaks when I think of that frown and the little voice that said, "I tired Mommy." 

I pray every time I think of it that God will continue to bless us and to always guide me to making the right decisions for them.  I don't ever want to have to run again, dragging two innocent little kids with me.  Every decision I make that involves a change for them will always be made after remembering that frown.

I pray that I will always keep my eyes on God so that I would make the decision He wants me to make.