Friday Filter: Film “Lone Survivor”

Tom and I went and so this film last weekend.

This is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen.

I honestly don’t even know where to begin reviewing it because there are just so many emotions that overcome me when thinking about it.

Happiness, sadness, fear, anger, curiosity and an immense sense of pride.


Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

Their mission was called Operation Red Wing. Four men set out to find this leader but things became fatal when they ran into a couple herders in the mountains. Without radio communication, these soldiers fought for their lives against a group of Taliban, who largely outnumbered the American team. As you can tell by the title, there was only one survivor. This story depicts the realness of war and how simple acts of kindness and a sense of duty to a fellow man may just end up saving us all. You can read here and here for more information.

They did a phenomenal job with this film. I have never heard a soundtrack so real like this. The sound mixing crew captured every breath, every bone shatter, every gun shot, just everything perfectly. I still get teary-eyed and goosebumps just remembering the noise of their bodies being catapulted down the hillside. That is the most haunting thing about this film. The sounds of war.

The acting was outrageously good. They picked a great group of individuals who were dedicated to bringing this story to life for the masses. They believed in our troops and wanted to honor their sacrifice.

And that heroism is what is so breathtaking about this movie.

I understand that I am personally connected to the military everyday, but I honestly think that everyone should see this movie. All of us as Americans should understand what our military goes through. And this is about as real as they can make that experience for us every day Americans. This story gives us a glimpse of the life of a soldier.

You didn’t only see gun fights, but you saw the relationships. That is the part that sticks with me. You see the bonds between a team of soldiers when they eat together or race in the morning. You see the relationships they left behind in the emails and the picking out Arabian horses for wedding gifts. You see the sacrifice for their loved ones. You see the love they have for their brother who is fighting right next to them.

You don’t see politics. You don’t see liberals or conservatives. You don’t see corporate greed.

You just see men being men and fighting to save one another. You see an effort to save human dignity. You see the human spirit and good against evil.

This is why our soldiers are serving in wars. They believe in something and are fighting to protect beliefs that may not even be theirs. They serve because they feel a sense of duty to our country.

As a military spouse, there is a lot I don’t know about what happened on deployment. Even with all the questions asked, there are parts that I will never know or understand. However after many discussions with Tom, this movie does that experience a lot of justice and bridges the gap for us who cannot comprehend the decisions that are made in those moments. They didn’t church it up and showed the gusto that these men have. I am sure many military spouses have heard some variation of, “I can’t promise you that I am going to survive a fire fight, but I can promise you I will not die alone.” There was a scene that showed this sentiment where Marcus Luttrell held up a grenade in fear that he had been compromised. They will not quit even if all is bleak.

Maybe that is why there were moments where I couldn’t breathe or was full out weeping along with the wife sitting next to me. I saw my husband in those men’s faces. I saw our friends standing on the hill. I saw people I admire giving all their energy to the mission. I know if they were in a similar situation as this particular Seal team, they would have made similar sacrifices.

I am proud of what my husband does, but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about these kinds of scenes. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t know that my prayers were answered when Tom comes home safely every day when so many others do not.

That is why I urge everyone to watch this. It reminds us about the humans behind the war. These men were other people’s spouses, brothers, uncles, fathers, and friends. It gives us a reason to believe that good does triumph evil.

The theater was packed to the brim. And it was eerie quiet once it was over. Watching the slides of pictures of the actual soldiers at the end brought it home to everyone there.

This was a gripping story to watch. It portrayed a realistic and gut-wrenching view about the actual events of war. It was not about the heroics or the romance that Hollywood often infuses into military plot lines. It ripped away all of that and made it raw and real for viewers to see this story of one lone survivor.

I appreciated every tear and lost breathe. 

Friday Filters offer a review that are my own opinions. I was not contacted by anyone associated with these works or compensated for my review. My review has not been influenced by anything other than my love for entertainment and art.

Getting a Little Political

Ok, if you have been watching the news at all, you can see that things in Syria are getting pretty serious. If you haven’t been watching, I would suggest tuning in.

Yesterday, the Senate started the vote for military action, first getting it approved in a committee.

We have been talking about Syria for a while in our household. Regardless of what the news is saying, it will affect us as a military family.

A fellow Army wife shared this article yesterday, and it really made me think. It made me think enough that I felt the need to respond in my own words.

Please keep in mind that I am talking from my military spouse lens. This is not meant to be about why we [United States] are considering military action. It is just my reaction to some of the media comments as of late, what I see at work and expanding on that article.

Many people think that our time in Afghanistan is coming to a close, and some even believe we are out. This is false, even though it is something we have been told even before Tom left for his first tour there. I even heard a politician say something to the tune of “We aren’t sending anymore troops there.” Tom deployed the next week to said “there”. One of our very good friends is currently there and schedule to be there until next February. He just found out yesterday that his first expected child is going to be a boy. I don’t think they would agree that we are “moving out” of that area. Also, Tom is scheduled for his second deployment back to Afghanistan next July. They have started extensive training which takes him away from our family for days at a time and often has him coming home at odd hours of the night. This kind of training will continue up until they leave next summer. I sure wish it was true that they were out of that country!

“But we are leaving the county” (and also Iraq) they continue to report. The reality is that, yes, there are less troops being sent over. Many COPs (combat out posts) are being closed, but we are still planning to have a presence for awhile to come.

Military families will not be affected with the current proposed Syrian Plan. Hmmmm… As of right now the plan is not to use ground troops and to take no longer than 3 months from everything that I have read. That is great and I am absolutely on board with that seeing as my hubster is the ground troops. But when you talk about war, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. While this timeline would be ideal, it may not be completely accurate once we begin. We have no idea how the other side or other countries will react to our plan.  You cannot wrap war up in a pretty little package with a bow, which is what I think this plan insinuates. The leaders of Syria are already warning us of what may unfold. Who are we to say they aren’t bluffing? This three month thing could get an approved extension to add support troops to this initial wave.

Plus let’s think about it, if we are going to get involved with military action, some troop somewhere has to take that action. I don’t think they are going to be doing that from American soil, so even though it may be for a couple months, some military family somewhere IS going to be affected. It doesn’t matter if this is the safest plan for our troops, there is always a concern from families. Always. Even when Tom was in a “safe” country on his way back from Afghanistan, I was still worried. I still felt this weight on my chest that I would never see him again. Unless your service member is beside you in person, you have concern and are affected by any type of deployment. And to be real with you, I still worry about him even when he is in the safety of our house. Being in the military is a life altering commitment that while I am honored to be a part of it, the reality is that it affects me every second of every day, and terrifies me all the same regardless of if he is stateside or not. His job is literally life or death. I am not sure how that can’t affect me.

And being gone just for one day affects families. Try saying that it doesn’t affect a family to the mom who has to figure out daycare and carpooling for all 3 kids since their partner is gone. Try saying that it doesn’t to the 3rd grader who didn’t see their mom in the stands at their first little league game. Try explaining how it doesn’t to the parents who just said goodbye to their 18 year old as they board that plane for overseas. The time does matter to us, and we are affected.

Constant battering of the military expenses. I have held my tongue to this point about all the sequestering business, even as I watched vital offices/services around base get closed during regular weekly business hours to help cut costs. But as I went home to MO this past weekend and saw billboards about the fast food strike and the “right to work”. As I have been seeing comments all over the place about how our military is ready to go, I was pondering our jobs and what effort we put into our work as a country. I thought about the respect that is given to those who choose to work in this [military] field without much regard except on big holidays. The military is ready to go at any time. That is what is so great about our Armed Forces. Tom is ready to go wherever America needs him to go (a little to eagerly in my opinion, but I am a little greedy about my hubster time.) This commitment to the oath they took to serve their country hasn’t come with full support of our nation. Constantly over the past year there have been talks about cutting benefits, bases, and military personnel. Here at Ft. Campbell they are going to be eliminating one of the most famous brigades (Band of Brothers) in the next year to hit the mark on the new budget. The scope of what that means, just boggles my mind. But regardless of the comments or the payback, they are ready to serve and willingly go every time. They do it with pride and honor. They do it without constant(or even regularly scheduled) pay raises. I think that is something that people should take note of before considering taking a swipe at the defense budget. Don’t get me wrong, there are some awesome benefits, and I am grateful for what we do get, but on the grand scale of things I am not sure that everyone has their facts straight when trying to say the military gets too much. P.S. There is no sitting out in the military. Have you heard the term AWOL and did you know  that you can get arrested for it? Also, war doesn’t stop when you are asleep, eating, going to the bathroom, so a full-time job has a whole other meaning for service members.

I work in a field were we constantly talk about injustice and under-represented groups, which is one thing I love about my job. I love getting out there and connecting people to their passions no matter their past or situations. We all have a voice and story to be told, and I love that I am in an environment that allows me to interact with a variety of people.  I think the military should be one of those under-represented communities that comes to the forefront of people’s minds because they are so misunderstood and disregarded too often. They also encompass many of the most common groups that folks think of when you say the word “diversity” or “social justice.” You cannot always tell if someone is military, and many don’t feel it necessary to boast about those achievements. But, just because they don’t want to talk about it, doesn’t mean we don’t need to take care of them in this country. Yes they are independent and have had experiences that are worse than most of our nightmares. That, I think, puts most people in this mindset that veteran’s and military folks can just take care of themselves because of all that they experienced. They can handle anything right? Well, maybe so, but that doesn’t mean we don’t owe them a little gratitude and a hand. We need to be more empathetic to this population and how our politics can affect them.

Because, quite frankly, they will fight to their death to save our county.

They would rather make sure they are ready and trained for their war life. They cannot control the whens/whys/hows of  where they go; they can control how prepared they are once given orders. Why can’t we as a country be ready to support them in this endeavor?

Ask yourself are you ready to go to war? I know I am not. So I am thankful that service members are willing to put it all on the line so I don’t have to.

(I have a similar contempt for America’s treatment of teachers, but that is a soap box for another day.)

As I said, this was not intended to be a debate on whether we should go to Syria or not, but I hope it inspires you to think a little harder about what you say about the folks that do go and the support you provide them. Seriously, we should think about any group we talk about and seek to know the facts. We need to hear the stories of that group before we turn a blind eye. Obviously, I am biased, and I will own that. But I see what these men [in Tom’s unit] do every day and I think it is about time someone takes notice instead of throwing stones at what they don’t know or understand.

So here I am just trying to tell a little bit of our story to hopefully remove some barriers.

Hometown Hero

There have been several stories recently of soldiers who have told lavish stories about deployments and honors/medals they received for their service. They have been regarded as hometown heroes. As time passes and their accolades become bigger and the truth surfaces. These deployments and reasons for honor never occurred. They have tarnished the uniform and made up a story to gain some fame and glory. Unfortunately, this happens and it casts a shadow on those who humbly serve our country without any flashy recognition.

Definition of HERO from Merriam-Webster

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b : an illustrious warrior

c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities

d : one who shows great courage

I am sure we all have figures (real or not) who pop in our minds ranging from Superman to our own parents that fit this definition. I wanted to share a real story of one particular soldier. He shows how our soldiers not only fight for our freedoms across the seas, but they do so much stateside to inspire and encourage their fellow man. This soldier shows us the “noble” qualities and illustrates what a warrior can be on a normal day. It is just one example of the stories that go untold but do show how human our soldiers are and that at the core they believe in fighting battles every day to pursue dreams. They may seem like heroes for what they do on deployment, but they also show heroic characteristics and give great strength to those they leave behind. This is a true hometown hero.

This particular story is told from the perspective of a mom of a nine year old boy who has always dreamed of being in the United States Army.
Last Halloween TJ decided he wanted to be an “army guy.” Ever since TJ was able to speak, he has talked of being in the army. Over the past few years, we’ve had an abundance of army decorations, parties, clothing and hundreds (literally) of army toys and figurines. It was no surprise to us when he said he wanted to dress up as what he considers to be the ultimate hero. We went online and as we were looking at costumes, he suddenly got up from the table. He seemed upset and as he walked away, he said “I don’t want a costume now.” I followed him and when I asked him why, he said that it was because he gets too tired to walk around the neighborhood. It broke my heart that something as simple as trick-or-treating was a monumental effort for my son. When other children run around the neighborhood and bound up stairs to homes, my son will usually skip the houses with stairs (which are most) since he knows he can’t reach the door without help. I reminded TJ that we had his new wheelchair (which is army green by the way) and I would push him from house to house when he got too tired to walk. His reply was “No, Mom. Army guys aren’t in wheelchairs.” That was one of those times as a parent, you have to dig deeper than you ever thought possible for that positive attitude, put on a smile and try to come up with a worthy response. I dug deep but hit rock bottom and still had no words of wisdom to give my son. I simply let the subject lie for the time being. He needed to feel and I needed a game plan.I prayed for God to help us guide TJ. Do I push him to accept the wheelchair or do I let him miss out on Halloween? What is the right thing to do? Is there a right thing to do? That night I decided his wheelchair was somehow going to become part of his costume. If we made it cool enough, he’d want to use it. I decided one way or another we were going to make his wheelchair into an army tank. I had no idea how, but Craig and I started planning. My plans started by using a few boxes and a couple cans of spray paint. My husband decided that wasn’t quite enough so before I knew it, wood glue, 2x4s, screws, duct tape and paint (along with crude blueprints) became the new “plan.” When we told TJ our idea he was excited and trick-or-treating was back on our agenda. “The tank” became the new family project.TJ loved Halloween. He went to more houses, stayed out later and (most-importantly) acquired more treats than ever before. After posting the boys Halloween pictures, a teacher at TJ’s school emailed the picture of TJ in his “tank” to her brother, Tom, who was serving in Afghanistan. TJ decided to draw a picture and write a letter to Tom. Since Tom couldn’t receive physical mail, I scanned it and emailed it to him. He responded to TJ and answered his questions and shared more pictures of himself and others serving with him. TJ was thrilled because he officially had an army buddy. TJ was enthralled with the pictures and he was so impressed seeing first-hand what he has always dreamt of becoming. Upon Tom’s safe return home to the states, he visited TJ’s school. He brought pizza for TJ (making TJ a semi-star with his school buddies). He also asked to come to our house one Saturday and visit with TJ. After being away from his wife, family, dog, friends and home for over a year, Tom would have been more than justified to take some time and decompress or take a vacation. Instead, he decided to make that trip and talk to en entire elementary school and pay extra attention to my son….my soldier. Tom was simply doing what he thought in his heart was the right thing to do. By doing so, he was instrumental in helping TJ maintain his hopes and dreams. He helped a 9-year old see that physical abilities don’t limit us – it’s our heart, our drive and our mental state that sets our limitations to life. As we all see the years pass, we realize that we might not be exactly what we planned to be when we were young. Our dreams are either a memory or, if we are lucky, they are slightly skewed from the original goal. This will not be any different for TJ. His dreams will change and adapt just like everyone. Life will always throw us road blocks. But, it’s how we handle those road blocks that make us who we are. We always have to keep dreaming and setting goals. Tom spoke of men and women who served our country that couldn’t walk. He spoke of men and women that might not have the bodies for serving front line, but have the heart to help those that do put their lives on the line for us. He made sure TJ realized that everyone is instrumental in the big picture. Everyone has significant abilities.The majority of his visit, Tom simply sat down and just played with TJ. He listened and talked to both of our boys. He showed them pictures and patiently answered any and all questions two young boys would have about the life of a soldier (and there were plenty). Tom then became a superstar when he showed the boys how to clear a room. (That was definitely one of the highlights!) Before Tom left our home, he said he had a few things for TJ. He gave TJ one of his medals, a boonie hat, his flashlight, a 50 cal shell casing and a 101st airborne patch. Each and every one of those items has a place of pride on TJ’s dresser. Anyone that goes in his room is required to see them.A man that we hardly know has earned a place in our hearts forever. He unwittingly took serving his fellow man to a new level. In turn he became a hero in the flesh to a 9-year old who needed to dream big. There wasn’t anything flashy or showy. There was no press to highlight his selflessness.
Thank you Tom and all of our service men and women who continue to be inspiration humbly camouflaged.
I am fortunate enough to know this particular soldier. A man whose childhood dream, much like T.J., was to be in the Army. There are pictures still around that he drew as a kid depicting himself in a military uniform. Ever since I have known him, he spoke of dreams of following in his grandpa’s military footsteps. He was fortunate to fulfill this dream and fight for our nation, but also have the opportunity to outreach to young men like T.J. He has never wanted the limelight for this experience with T.J. He has always said, “T.J. is a good kid, and I like hanging out with him.” He is just doing what he thinks is right and wanted a young man to remember to never give up and to always fight for what you believe in. This wasn’t an event to be big and flashy, and he didn’t have to wear his uniform or be in a tank to have such a heroic impact. His intent was never to have status himself, and he always made it about the boys. He was just being himself and playing with some kids on a Saturday afternoon.
But that is not where this story of heroism ends for me.
I believe that this family fits the definition of heroes. They have a unifying love that is shown in their support for one another. They have been able to foster their children’s dreams despite circumstances, and one may say because of their circumstances. They have such faith and belief to make each day worthwhile. They have provided a space for their boys to mature into strong, humble, gracious, and encouraging individuals. As we begin to think about starting our own family, I can only hope that we are able to pass down some of these same qualities. They have been role models to show how a family should be there for each other. They are hometown heroes.
We have to remember and be thankful that we get to live out our dreams no matter what our circumstances may be. Things may not go the way that you planned and your dreams may change, but that’s ok. I mean seriously, I wanted to be a choreographer and/or an elephant trainer when I was a kid. So You Think You Can Dance and the Ringling Brothers haven’t knocked on my door recently, but I am still loving my life. Give life a chance, and it may be better than you could have imagined. And it’s still good to have big dreams. They make life fun! Someday I may have that elephant you never know! For now I will settle for a bathroom homage to the animal.
Every day you need to be “humbly camouflaged” and be willing to give back. Thank God for what you are given and show selfless love. He gives you gifts and opportunities to make and fulfill dreams (maybe your own and maybe others). You never know when you may have the chance to help someone fulfill their own aspirations. For me, that can be just as satisfying, if not more. (I must sound unbearably repetitive with this message; you can go to probably ever other post for my soap box rants about service…Sorry folks…)

You don’t have to fake your way to heroism. And I am sure it doesn’t help enrich the lives around you. The stories of these soldiers who cling to fabricated stories, are just sad. It minimizes the time they did spend serving our country justly and honorably. They have wasted an experience and a shot at true greatness for a few seconds of fame. You can be a respected hero without a medal or patch that says so. So choose your actions wisely.

Truth be told, there are many stories that will never be told publicly of what our soldiers do. They are much more than the uniform they put on. They are much more than the guns and tanks we associate them with. They aren’t all anger filled machines. Most are selfless and reserved with their actions, and are just doing what they believe to be true and just. They are giving back to their communities in many ways that are often never recognized. And for that they will always be heroes.
We may never have met this family without the Army theme uniting us. We will forever be impacted by T.J. and his remarkable family. The magnitude of that impact will only be told with time, but I am sure that this is only the beginning of how our families have been intertwined.
If you want to hear more about T.J. and what a courageous young man he is and the experiences he and his family have please visit T.J’s Triumph. I think it is safe to say he is a textbook hero already at 9 years old. We have a lot of living up to do!
My craft spotlight is this family’s ingenuity with some cardboard, duct tape, spray paint, love and persistence. I always loved homemade costumes! And look at this smile!

American Wedding

Last week I was able to experience something that not many Americans in the modern day can say they have done.

I attended a real life BALL.

And by ball, I mean like fairytale ball. Like the one Cinderella went to and lost her slipper kind of ball. Well except this one the king and queen are not trying to marry off their son.

Was I really living out my Disney princess dream?

The best description I can give came after talking with my friend Kate about the experience. I give her credit for it; it is pretty much spot on.

“It was a like a wedding reception for America.”

And it so happened to fall on the Army’s birthday last Friday. Here’s to a great 238 years!

Tom just had surgery for an injury he sustained during his time away, so he wasn’t much for celebration that week. The things we do for love though. He was a trooper for me since I had never been to a military ball and endured the pain of dressing up in his formals. He just couldn’t stand up straight, move very fast, or laugh without holding his belly. I am a cruel wife, I know. Seriously though, it was our one guaranteed chance to go to a ball!

DSCF0819 DSCF0823

And he admitted the day after that he was glad that I made him go.

Living near Nashville has it’s perks. The 101st Airborne is able to have their balls at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. Talk about once in a lifetime!


It was magical. I am not sure I was even able to soak it all in. There was just so much! It was so surreal and breathtaking.


This particular event was to celebrate the 3rd Brigade coming home from their most recent deployment. There were around 1,000 people at this event. It was to celebrate the success they had and to decompress from being at war.


Because of the timing though, it signified a little more for me.

It really was like a wedding reception. I have been living a pretty distant life away from the Army since Tom enlisted. I could separate myself when I wanted to and be something else besides a military spouse. But now that I have moved here, I have a VERY different relationship with the Army.

I feel it every day in a very different way, much like how it is for a relationship when you get married. It becomes a little more serious. The Army is much more present in my day to day. And not in a “in your face-I’m stalking you” kind of way, but in a “hey, you’re the cheese to my macaroni” kind of way. From seeing the camo everywhere in our home, driving on and off base, seeing “America” basically on every corner, to serving military students much more openly at work… And did you know that most stores give military discounts? Every business asks for our IDs so we can get discounts, and when I ask if that is an every store policy or just this area, most say that it is every store. Hidden secret! I am going to have to hop on that!

So this ball for me was a little celebration saying I am ready to commit to this thing and there is no going back! Let’s do this Army.

It was a very special night with lots of emotions. We heard very high ranking officers talk to the men about the journey the Rakkasans have taken, and that now they are part of that legacy. Hearing these officers speak of valor, courage, camaraderie, and the leadership was breathtaking. I was overwhelmed throughout the evening as they talked about the selflessness of our soldiers. And most of them will tell you that’s just their job and want nothing more as recognition. You saw all kinds of medals, ranks, and other decorations signifying pivotal moments in these soldiers lives. (It was like a game trying to point out different ribbons or awards that you could find on people.)

There were moments of silence for those who have fallen. It brings a tear to my eye thinking about the silence as we held up our glasses in honor of the set table for one on stage symbolizing those who did not return.

And there were toasts to celebrate the victories. A lot of hoots and hollars to see whose company could be the loudest.



If this type of event doesn’t make you feel patriotic, probably nothing will.

It gave me a sense of unity that I had not felt before. I was now fully connected.

Hats of to the Army. They know how to reel you in without you even noticing.

(And I didn’t even have to drink from the Grog to fill this giddy.)

It was a night filled with formal gowns and bow ties, nervousness, laughter, speeches, good food, expensive drinks, dancing, introductions, but most of all great pride.

Great pride for our nation, great pride for our freedoms, great pride for the 101st, and great pride for Tom. The service they provide to a nation of people they have never met and to individuals around them is something that cannot be described easily. Uplifting and encouraging for humanity. I felt a piece of it that night.


So here’s to our wedding America! I am glad Tom and I said yes.


My craft tonight actually was for a wedding. Sometimes I really surprise myself with how I match the craft to the entry.

I made this for two friends of mine who recently got married. Congrats to the Baumgardners!

I am not sure what this crochet stitch is, I started too long ago to remember the name. I am not sure I would do it again. It was really finicky, and I would get the needle stuck in the bubbles if I tried doing it without watching. And you had to count a lot. It was too much thinking. Crochet is a mindless thing for me. I don’t want to have to work at it.

It turned out nice though! I do like the textured stitches! I apparently forgot to get a close up of the stitch whoops.

I do love these colors.


Until next time…

Acascuse Me?!?

First of all, if you haven’t watched Pitch Perfect, you need to add it to your life like yesterday. Aca-amazing.

Second of all, this is going to be the post where I pull the Army Wife card. I have pulled back from writing this post when I am highly emotional, and I have debated whether to even write it ever. But I feel that it is a post that needs to be expressed.

Throughout my short career as an Army Spouse, I have been appalled on many occasions at the misunderstandings and perceptions that people in our nation have about the military.

Sometimes I have gotten so angry at an individual’s disdain and rudeness that I think I might throw up. Then I have to remind myself that many people just don’t know.

So let me educate you just a bit from my perspective. These are just a few things and definitely only hit the tip of the iceberg.

1. Men and Women of the military make a choice to defend our freedom and our country’s constitution. They endure months/years of demanding training both mentally and physically to be able to protect the rest of us in our very cushy lives.

2. Ultimately, they do not get to choose the missions they go to or where they are stationed. My husband got out of basic and then not even four months later was sent to Afghanistan. Not exactly how we imagined our second year of marriage.

3. Just because they are trained killers, doesn’t make them crazy and evil. No matter what the news/Capital Hill may say. My husband is one of the most loving, loyal and dedicated people I have ever met. The military is trying to help other nations keep the peace and find the means to better themselves. Our military gets a bad rap because that’s what sells newspapers. Because they wouldn’t want you to know that all over the world, units are supplying food, medical care, education, and just general support to help countries in their time of need.

4. They have the utmost respect for our country’s values. To hear these men and women talk about their pride or watch them when the national anthem is played-it leaves me speechless. Many of them learn how to care and be considerate of others because of what they have been through in the military. I think many people in our nation could take a lesson from what the military teaches about respect.

5. Not all people in the military are homophobes. Stop labeling them as such. That just makes you the judger.

6. Deployment is not vacation, even if they are surrounded by sand. There are no beachy umbrella drinks found here.

  • They can’t call home whenever they want. And when they do, it is not a private call. It may only last 30 seconds, but could last 30 minutes. But you never know when you get that call.
  • They can’t eat whatever they want. At Tom’s station there was one cook for the unit. So you ate when they served. If you happen to have night duty, you ate what family/friends sent you in care packages or MREs because the cook wasn’t on duty. Dietary choice is no longer a luxury. (However, my husband does love those MREs.)
  • My husband’s living situation was a room that is smaller than most walk in closets. This is where all of his gear and cot were. He now lives in a room the size of our bedroom with 7 other men (cots and all their gear).
  • They may not have typical modern toilets and have more of an outhouse situation going on. Can you imagine going in a port-a-potty for 9 months?
  • It isn’t a walk in the park. It’s dirty, temperatures cannot be controlled…most Americans would be miserable in their conditions. (I know I wouldn’t last one day…) But they do it willingly, many signing up for re-enlistment for a shot at another deployment.
  • They may have internet, but the connection isn’t as nice as they make it out to be on TV. Tom and I were only recently able to skype and even now the video is about 3 minutes behind on the audio which can make things weird while you are talking. Some places have it capable in their room and some don’t. Some have to wait in line to only have a few minutes online. And there are some people out there that believe that since they have internet that their deployments must be a breeze and not so horrible for the internet and Facebook must mean 1st world living.  Seriously?
  • They are away from their loved ones and miss out on holidays, birthdays, big milestones, and just every day life. This has got to be one of the biggest sacrifices of all.
  • I could keep going, but I won’t. Just know that they are making substantial sacrifices and don’t act like it is nothing just because you may not agree with why they are over there.

7. There are a lot of good things that come out of a military career as well. To name a few:

  • You have a paying job and benefits, which in this economy is a blessing.
  • Education can be paid for. Yay no debts!
  • You get to see and experience the world. I know I have really enjoyed the unique knick knacks that have been sent home from other cultures.
  • There is support for not just you, but your entire family. This includes benefits, housing, education, lifestyle, counseling, etc.
  • Great sense of accomplishment and pride. Not everyone can do what they do.

I am not trying to say that being in the military makes you better than those that aren’t. We each have our own thing, and Lord knows that not everyone would flourish in a military lifestyle. What I am saying is that our country needs to take a little more time understanding what the military endures to protect us.

This week I had to deal with a financial situation where we were being charged for something that we had thought we had taken care of. Since it was Tom’s card, the customer service rep said I was not an authorized user. Even after explaining the situation, giving them all the card information, and letting them know I had power of attorney, they still denied me the right to take care of it. And they just kept saying, “Well you can take this into a branch to speak with someone in person.” The closest branch for this organization was 163 miles away. Then they said that since I was not authorized to do so my deployed husband could just call and take care of the dispute. They said this even after I explained to them repeatedly that he was deployed.

Oh no girl, you didn’t. Them is fighting words.

This situation made me furious. It takes me a lot to get heated, but this just kind of pushed me over the edge. So naturally I started crying to the rep and blubbering “He is deployed” over and over again. I was totally trying to pull the Army Wife card, and it just wasn’t working! He can’t just call willy nilly, he is half-way across the globe! I can’t just make him appear to fix this issue. Believe me, if I had that power, I’d be on that. (FYI, they still did nothing to help me that day. Tom ended up having to call when he could to take care of it, which was uber frustrating for both of us.)

It is situations like that that just make me sad and angry. There are so many misconceptions around the military, so please seek first to understand their situations. Even if you don’t agree with their purpose, they have a unique story to tell and has a right to be heard. They make sacrifices that even I don’t always understand. I have to check myself sometimes too, so I know it is not an easy pill to swallow.

These sacrifices are made so that we can live as a free nation. Our history is based on acts that service members have diligently fought and died for so we could get to where we are. Take a moment to honor that, I mean you are on the internet and all. 🙂

Maybe if we all knew what was at risk, we would be more appreciative of what we have.

I know after this experience I am.

One thing I know is that the military is a proud group who is willing to fight for the country and you. But I will ask you, who is fighting for them?

So with that little nugget to munch on, I will move on to my craft.

Every year I take some time to make a blanket for my honors fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi. We have an auction every spring as a fundraiser, and my contribution, even after graduating 5 years ago, is mailing in a homemade crocheted blanket. So each year, I come up with some new design and pull out yarn that are some shade of yellow and purple. It’s like my yearly challenge to come up with something better than the year before. Sometimes, I surprise myself with my creativeness and skill; other times I am just hoping someone will bid at least $5.

This year was a good year.

I tried a new stitch-the treble crochet.

My pattern was:

1. 3 single white on each end

2. purple 1 treble, 1 single, 1 treble, 1 single, 1 treble

3. 2 single white

4. repeat step two with yellow.

5. repeat step 3.

6. repeat step 2-5 until hit desired size.

I really like the effect of the treble.


And here is the full effect with Grace hogging the limelight as well.