More Than Ever

Recently Tom had surgery at the on-base hospital. He had to be knocked out and sliced open. Someone had to go with him to be his partner and follow the doctor’s instructions, get his medications, and other things that you do for someone who just got their stomach ripped apart.

That someone was me-his wife.

I have been titled an Army spouse. My ID says I am a dependent. I had to show my marriage license to get this badge of honor.

This ID then opens “gates” to get onto base, to get his meds, to sign different documents, etc. This little piece of plastic has guaranteed me a lot of things as his partner in life.

While Tom was on deployment I received his checks and benefits.

I am his power of attorney in case the worst were to happen.

It was a great solace for him and I when he was on deployment knowing that I was able to take care of things if needed. (Except for that whole credit card thing, and no I am still not over it..)

I was able to do that because some politicians have decided that I am “blessed” to be straight. I have the “right” to be married because I was born liking the opposite sex.

Seriously?

Why am I granted this freedom when some of my closest friends are not? We have the same diplomas, came from similar families, have brothers and sisters, have similar faith systems, and live in the same neighborhoods. We both love with our whole hearts and have decided to be with one person forever.

Why are service-members that my husband fights with not able to have the peace of mind knowing their husbands and wives will have benefits while they are away and can deal with the day to day without any extra red tape or people saying, “I don’t think so.”

Deployment was hard enough with the realities of war. I cannot even begin to imagine it without the support and safety-net of the spousal privileges. And the communication you receive from the FRG only goes to spouses. The FRG was my main connection to the Army and helped me understand what is going on and what to expect. This group gave me information that I needed to feel better about the deployment and feel like I had some people to reach out to if ever needed. They were my life line and sense of stability some days. In deployment times you need to know you have that security, because some days that is all you have. At some bases, same sex spouses are banned from these organizations. Banned from hearing first hand when their spouse is coming home and the best way you can support them.

To think that our children could be impacted negatively by our love instead of profoundly brought up by it because of someone holding your parents back because your parents happen to be the same sex.

Like Major Shannon McLaughlin and her wife, Casey McLaughlin

To think that I would not be able to live on base with my husband and share our lives together.

Like Marine Captain Matthew Phelps and his soon-to-be husband Ben Schock

These are just two of the thousands of love stories.

Love stories–We grew up adoring Love stories and rooting for happy endings. (Well at least I did.) So why is there so much hatred towards them now? Why isn’t the solution obvious? Love is love. Love is about hearts not parts.

I know I get to have the peace and ease of being married already with the “government” blessing and benefits. And it may not mean much for me to fight for something I already have for myself. I realize my massive following of 25 people on this blog may not go far. But as an human, I could not stand idly by. So instead of changing my profile picture, I write.

I am big supporter of marriage. If you have read any of my words before, you know that I think marriage is awesome. So I am a big proponent of marriage for anyone who decides to make that commitment to another person.

Marriage to me is much more than what a piece of paper says, but unfortunately the reality is there are some doors that open because of that paper.

My words may be small and not far reaching, but I hope that people take the time to listen to the real stories and struggles and think about their choices and behaviors when they decide to pass judgement. Get to know real stories so you can understand the impact of your own judgements. We all came in this world alike and will leave alike. We breathe the same air. Our hearts beat. Period the end.

Show a little humanity will you? Have we all forgotten the golden rule that we were taught in kindergarten? “Treat others as you wish to be treated.”

Gosh life was simple then. Play, count, have snack, play, learn ABCs, play, nap…

Someone wise once told me, “Be as human as you can be.”

I ask that everyone dig a little bit to figure out what that means to you. Ask yourself if how you feel/act is really being “human.” If your answer is always yes, good for you. You are a saint. If not, jump on the self-reflective train with the rest of us.

This week our country will change dramatically with the decisions that the Supreme Court will be sharing one way or the other, and hopefully sharing soon.

For this couple and so many others, I hope that the SC decides in love and what I believe to be equality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=sb2Pi5M4LEE&feature=endscreen

Bill and John have a breathtakingly beautiful love. During this video, I laughed, cried, nodded in agreement as they explained some of the day to day of marriage, and then I was heartbroken. Heartbroken that there are people who don’t see this as real emotion and real love. I mean seriously, those selfies they took are just delightful.

For goodness sake, it is just two people loving each other. Your feelings have nothing to do with their marriage.

Oh wait they do…says every law saying a marriage is between a man and a woman. Until when…

I am optimistic that others can see that Bill and John deserved what I have been granted.

I hope my words are crafty enough for you tonight. Thank you for bearing with my ramblings.

Love one another more than ever.

freedomtomarry.org/military

This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

This is a song I loved to sing as a kid. It was one of my favorites because you could shout “no” with permission and there were hand motions. And in my young age of wanting to be a choreographer, I loved having excuses for dance moves.

But this morning was probably this first time I really thought about the words of this song.

In the past couple of weeks, the news has been plastered with coverage on the two most recent mass shootings-Oregon and Connecticut. So many lives have been turned upside down by these tragedies. It saddens my heart to think about the families and the lives lost.

It also saddens my heart to see that the first thing that the news goes to is “Gun control is the solution.” Once again the debate has been spurred-yippee. I am not here to argue one way or another about whether guns should be more controlled or not. In my opinion, it doesn’t make a difference whether it is a gun or not. People will still find the means to be violent. Look at this knife attack that also happened on Friday in a school in China. http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/china-knife-attack/index.html

I have my own feelings on gun control, and I respect that you have yours. So I don’t really want to talk about whether we should regulate it more or not.

What I do want to talk about is that with these incidents the common denominator seems to be a human being. In my opinion, we need to look at a much broader issue than gun control and make it a human issue. Why do people think that this is their only solution? Why don’t we look at how someone becomes so desperate that the only thing they can depend on is a violent weapon? Why does a gun or a knife (insert other objects here), become their lifeline?

Recently, I heard a statistic that since Columbine in 1999, there have been 31 school shootings in the US. 31. This does not include shootings that have occurred in theaters, malls, churches, or elsewhere. 31 schools have been wrecked with this violence.

And yet, the only thing we can think of as an answer is gun control. Obviously that conversation is not working.

We are becoming more and more numb to these tragedies. I bet that within a few weeks, especially with the holidays, we will have other things to talk about and the photos will have subsided on the internet. Columbine happened when I was in 8th grade, so at times, I feel like I have grown up with great tragedy in the everyday life.

Let’s be clear, I am not trying to minimize what happened Friday. I am trying to honor those lives and ask why do we get numb? Why has it become ok that this is the new normal? Why is it so easy for us to hear about these violent acts and not think about changing how we act and treat others? Why do we move on so quickly? Why are we pessimistic and act like nothing can change unless our congress says there is stricter gun control? Do we no longer have power as individuals?

These children’s lives should serve a purpose and not be so easily forgotten. We should get our acts together and not just wait for someone else to make a change. Why can’t we lean on each other in times of need? Why are we so distant from each other that we need to depend on inanimate objects for satisfaction?

Have we all forgotten the lessons we learned in kindergarten? The lessons these children that were killed Friday were in the process of learning.

I don’t have any idea how to solve this, but I would like to propose a shift in the conversation to how we can treat each other better.

I see it everyday that we are more attached to electronics than talking to the person next to us. We are so distracted with what is going to happen next that we forget to live right now. We selfishly try to put our needs at the front of the line, and often times it may be at the cost of someone else. We are all guilty of it.

I do feel that we need to show more compassion to others and not be so consumed with our own lives. We need to open our hearts and minds to other people and show love. Yes that love may be painful, and we may not always get it back. It may be tough love. I read an article written about a mom who struggles with her own defiant son. He has gotten the rigamarole of diagnosis of ADHD, ODD, autism, etc. She showed her son tough love on more than one occasion to get him the help he needed. She understood that she may not be the best person to deal with him, but she loved him and was strong enough to say “I need help to keep my boy sweet and innocent.” We need to be able to say that and for it to be ok to do so.  And the world needs more love. People, not the guns/knifes/etc, need to know that they can go to another person for help. We need to feel safe with people.

During vigils, you see tons and tons of candles. The flame is supposed to represent the life that was lost.

And so I go back to the children’s song.

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

This song is about being an example. It is about showing love regardless of how others may respond. I also like how it emphasizes “my,” meaning that even one light can push away the darkness. We all can do something; we just have to be willing to DO it. We need to stop being bystanders. Bold statement here:  maybe if we ALL cared for others a little more and did a little more these atrocities would happen a little less.

I think these lights can be hope. They can be growth. They can be dreams. These lights can be anything. We need to stop letting people blow our lights out. There is so much darkness in this world, but we can help with one light at a time. As it says in the last line of the song- Let it shine, all the time, let it shine, oh yeah!

I will be the first to admit I could do more to be kind to others. So I am going to work on shining my light a little more and be a little more human.

Just think, what would those 6 and 7 year olds being doing right now? Who knows, but they would probably be happy playing with whoever. As a six year old everyone is your best friend, and everything is grand.

So I am not really sure how to move into my craft project seamlessly from this topic, so I am just going to say that I am done throwing my thoughts out there for now. I pray for the families and communities affected most directly. And I hope that these horrific tragedies challenge us to think about how we can be more human to others.

My craft tonight is another gift.

I used:

long wooden board

two colors of paint

small clothes pins

wood glue

DSCF4114

 

I forgot to take a picture before I painted the board blue.

DSCF4115

I then painted the letters. Then once everything dried, I glued the clothespins to the board.

I don’t have pictures on it yet, but the idea is to have pictures of the grand kids hanging from the clothespins.

I am really excited to give all of these gifts out! I hope they enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed making them!