Thursday, December 30, 2010

Always Get the Chills

3-116 D CO
I don't know what it is but every time I see a group in formation like this I get a chill up my not a scary one...somewhat in awe. The photo taken at the deployment ceremony took my breath away. And this photo evokes similar emotions. I think about the hours of training, the dedication, the discipline, the honor, and the sacrifice. Who wouldn't be proud? I am one proud military wife.

Yesterday, while at work I received the most beautiful bouquet of roses. While I will keep the sentiments in the card private, I am a very lucky woman. After I read the card my head was spinning (not a new thing I know) - but I was thinking about all the reasons I married my husband. We all know marriage isn't always a walk in the park and sometimes we have to take a moment (or ten) for a mental time out to remember those moments that we cherish. The ones that other people don't see...the little things. My husband and I have a habit of doing the same exact thing at the same exact time and it doesn't matter if he's thousands of miles away it still happens while he's away. As we prepare to close 2010 and enter another decade (great, my kids already think I'm old and remind me that any reference I make to the past is the "olden days" and no matter how hard I try I am "so not cool") - I want to reflect on the great things that happened in 2010....finding a new job after relocating back to Oregon, meeting new military friends, watching my children play sports, recovering from a rather serious health scare, being closer to my husband's family and getting to spend more time with them, seeing my parents in Florida, having my brother out for a week last Summer, having my mom visit and yes, even this deployment.

While I like to consider myself highly independent (maybe not as much as I thought) this deployment has forced me to grow. Don't get me wrong, I don't always like it and still have my moments. But, I am learning to lean on faith and love. And, to lean on other people. For those that don't know me...I can be stubborn and it is not my nature to ask for help. I am not sure why exactly but I tend to feel like I am weak if need to lean on others. I'm starting to learn that it is ridiculous...and maybe it's my ego that needs a little adjusting...a dose of humility.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our family through kind words, thoughts, actions and deeds. We love you and couldn't do it without you. Cheers to having a rock-star year in 2011.

Much love,
Household Six
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our Glass is Half Full

Christmas Day was one of the toughest days I've had in several years.  Like many families, our family is a blended family.  Not only was my husband thousands of miles away but all three of our children were spending the majority of the day with their other "half".   I found myself feeling completely lost - as though my entire purpose in life somehow did not exist.  How was this possible?  Spending Christmas Day alone...are you kidding me?  The title track "Woe is Me" of my newly released CD called "Feel Sorry for Sherry" was playing through the surround sound in my head.  This CD is a complete waste of money - don't buy it.  I spent Christmas day in bed...semi-awake in between Hallmark Christmas movies... I am pretty sure I watched every "Mrs. Miracle" movie ever made.  At one point I remember waking up in the middle of my oldest son's all-time favorite holiday movie "Santa Clause" only to be reminded of my feelings of abandonment.  We were scheduled to meet back up at 6:00 that evening to head to my mother-in-law's house to celebrate with my husband's family.  When my alarm went off at 4:30 that afternoon it took every ounce of energy to get into the shower (pathetic I know)... I finally made it... and at 6:00 that night I was reunited with my children and we were on our way to Portland.

How can we jump from being ecstatic to feeling lost in virtually the same moment.  I am blessed beyond measure.  And, I have to get rid of my self titled CD immediately.   We were able to share bits and pieces of the holiday weekend with my husband via Skype.... we carefully placed the netbook on the coffee table and huddled around it while we opened Christmas presents.  And, we even took a picture with my husband smack dab in the middle of it all.  Who cares if the picture is of him on the laptop with us surrounding him.  What matters is that we were able to share those moments.   We shared laughter, love and tears..together - as a family.

There were several special moments over the Christmas holiday:  playing Family Feud to win our Christmas presents at my father-in-laws home and the amazing meal they served; Christmas mass silently remembering the previous five Christmas services with my husband; watching my nephew, Gabe, as he  waited patiently for his turn to open presents; opening my new carpet cleaner (I really do love those kinds of presents); listening to Taylor joke around with Uncle Bob, Uncle Brian and Papa Mark; watching my niece Tori as she tried so hard to get her cousin (Gabe) to pay attention to her; listening to my husband as he said "what are you wearing" as Tiffany flashed across the computer screen (as she responded "parenting via Skype"); looking at the scrapbook my sister-in-law made us full of pictures of my husband with all of us and simply just spending time with our family.  While nothing will take the place of my husband being home for the holidays....or getting to see my side of the family....I am blessed with my husband's family and so much more.

It is not always easy to stay positive and uplifting.  As a military spouse I believe it is my duty to do everything in my power to look at the glass as half full.  It is my duty to help lift the spirits of other military wives and family members.  It is my duty to be a role model to my children.  IT IS MY DUTY!

As a side note (can't help that I am always thinking about a million things at once) I've noticed that some of the social medias sites that military families lean on for support and encouragement are often times just the opposite.  They are filled with rumors, name-calling, and hostility at times.  We ALL have a DUTY to one another...a duty to support one another and to lift each other up.  As the New Year is fast approaching please take a moment to reflect on your duty...are you serving as an example to other military families?  To your children?   I am very proud of my husband...beyond what words could ever convey.  I want my husband to be just as proud of me and the work that I am doing back home.  And, I want to be proud of myself.  It is my duty.

Much love,
Household Six

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Down for the Count...

Our family has been down for the count the past few days...with a nasty flu bug.   There are times in our lives when we say we will laugh when we look back at something but in the moment, it is next to impossible to find the humor in whatever we are facing.  While this little flu epidemic in our household was not worthy of a "state of emergency" - it sure felt like it.  My teenage son slept for many hours next to the toilet while my teenage daughter failed to make it that far, she thought her bedroom floor was just the perfect spot (skipping the toilet altogether)  Now, anyone with teenagers will understand (and those that don't, you have so much to look forward to) but as both children are crawling on the ground (literally) I am secretly excited that I can jump into "mommy save the day mode" - ice water, ice pack, blankets, pillows...thermometer - oh no fever.... ugh all over the floor - really?  Grab the Little Green Machine (if you don't own one - put it on your Christmas list) - clean up on aisle 1 aka (Tiffany's room) is just about at that time when I couldn't figure out if I was starting to feel sick or just having sympathy pains.  Within the hour I had my answer.  "Mommy save the day" turns into "someone save mommy."  We piled into our king size bed and didn't move.  Every few minutes you would hear a little was miserable.   It was in that moment of misery that I really missed my husband (not that I don't miss him every other moment) but my husband is a great care taker.  If he were here he'd run to the store to get soup, 7-Up, name it.   Fast forward two days....I am sitting in a chair drinking my fresh hot cup of Theraflu getting ready to call my youngest on my cell phone.  The cup of hot tea resting carefully on my lap.  In a slow motion my phone slips out of my hands and into the hot tea - fully immersed.  Really?  Again?  Rewind to September while I was hosting my son's Cross Country team for their "carbo feed" when I dropped my phone in the toilet (not the same phone.)

Needless to say, I've had some free time to think the past couple of days.  One thing that none of the  "preparing for deployment" handbooks offered was the advice we would really need and that's to save money for a personal hairstylist and make-up artist and a really high quality web cam.   It is bad enough that my husband is in the opposite time zone...but add in puffy eyes, no make-up, and a pitiful flu like face along with the distorted appearance and added 10 pounds from the web cam and I'm a real treat to look at.  There should be a few chapters in ALL deployment handbooks that talks about the importance of getting up an hour or two earlier so we have time to get ready and be somewhat nice to look at on the web cam.  Oh, and if you are sick, I'd recommend saying the web cam is broken until further notice or tape a picture of a model over your face until you are feeling better.  I could hardly stand to look at the little picture of myself when I was talking to my husband, I am sure I scared him to death.

I am happy to say we are all on the mend.  However, that did not improve my web cam appearance this evening (my poor husband.)

Much love,
Household Six

Monday, December 13, 2010

Journal Entry - December 13, 2010 - One Simple Gesture

There is something about a man in uniform.  Think back to An Officer and a Gentlemen with Richard Gere.  I have my very own man in uniform.  My husband is "out of pocket" for a few days on a mission so this evening I was sitting at my desk thinking about our years together and how much I love my husband.  I want to share a story about the first time I met my husband.  The moment he changed my life forever.

I met my husband online, a fact that I denied to my parents for a couple of years (while it seems immature now, online dating was new at the time and those of us that tried it kept it in the closet.)  I had been divorced for many years and wasn't really keen on the dating scene.  For those of you that don't know me, I was born with birth defects that caused "deformities" of my hands and feet - my point for telling you this will come later.  I hate that word by the way - what a stupid word.  Anyway, I had been chatting with my now husband on email for a couple of months and then progressed to talking on the telephone.  We weren't in any hurry to meet one another.  We would share stories about our lives; give one another advice and spend countless hours laughing.  After several months we agreed to meet for lunch  - lunch seemed safe.  I had an elaborate safety plan just in case I needed a quick escape.  The funny thing was we worked less than 1/2 a mile away from each other and didn't even know it all that time.   We met at a little sandwich shop and I knew to look for a man in a military uniform.  I was so nervous...butterflies in my stomach...for many reasons but a big part of it was being afraid to show him my hands.

Dating has always been a very scary thing for me because I resort to feeling like a five-year old little girl remembering the time when a neighborhood girl was yelling "butter fingers" as I was climbing the ladder to go down the slide.  Whether were are born with birth defects, struggle with weight, a learning disability, or any other insecurity  those painful childhood memories can instantly take us to a place of vulnerability and fear.   While I used to hate being "different" when I was younger, I wouldn't change it for the world.  The stares, numerous surgeries, and teasing are nothing compared to the life lessons I have learned.  I'll never forget when I brought McDonald's apple pies for the daycare class my children attended when they were we sat eating together with the class a five-year old little girl said "Your fingers look like Cheetos."  I held my hands up for a moment and started laughing....she was fingers look like Cheetos....this from a five-year old.  Such innocence and honesty.  My birth defects have taught me how to "suck it up" and stay strong; how to rise above fear; to never say "I can't"; to love people for who they are; and most importantly to love myself.

So, back to the story about the first time I met my future husband.  I had warned him about my hands over the telephone (to help the awkward part that always happens when I first meet someone) and I opened up to him about being scared about what he would think.  We had just ordered our lunch and sat across from one another at the table.  When I'm nervous I do one of two things - put my hands in my pockets or hide them under my legs, table or any other object that is close by.  So as we sat across from one another I kept my hands concealed under the table.  My husband leaned into me and put both of his hands on the table palms up. He gently asked me to place my hands in his.  I froze....OMG...put my hands in yours?  I sheepishly pulled my hands out from under the table and slowly placed them in his.  He looked at them for a very brief moment and closed his hands over mine.  He then said "you don't ever have to hide your hands from me, or any part of who you are."  As I type this, I remember it like it happened yesterday and I have tears in my eyes just as I did six years ago.  At that moment, I looked at my future husband with so much admiration and respect.  And, it was at that moment I knew this was the man I was going to marry.  One simple gesture forever changed my life.  No one had ever done anything like that before.  One simple gesture.

I am blessed to be married to a man in uniform; to a man who is dedicated to serving his country and his family; and to a man who forever changed my life.  That one simple gesture helped wash away feeling like that little girl on the playground so many years ago.

Over the next couple of days ask yourself, "what one simple gesture can I make?"  You can make a difference....all it takes is one simple gesture.

Much love,
Household Six

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gratitude and Selfless Giving...

As the holidays approach I can't help but think about the past year and the people that have touched my life.  Today was a reminder of how amazing people can be.  We happened to attend a baby shower for a fellow military spouse (who we met for the first time today) that was coordinated by some of the folks at Operation Homefront in Albany, Oregon.  I was struck by two amazing women...Christine and Shannon.   These ladies give so much of their time to support military families.  Rain or shine; morning, noon or night; 365 days a year, throughout the entire state of Oregon.....they appear like guardian angels.

When I walked through the door at the ARC I was greeted by a warm hug from both Christine and Shannon and a sincere "how are you doing".  Now we often hear those words "how are you" but how often do people really mean it?  I took in the decorations, presents, the cake...the Christmas tree and the toys for the younger children.  But more importantly, I watched as they laughed and joked with all of the women attending the baby shower.  These are two women who make a difference each and every day.

If you haven't have the opportunity to learn about Operation Homefront and the great work they do.  Or, you haven't had a chance to meet Christine or Shannon you are missing out.  I live my life with a motto in my heart and that's "Make Someones Day" - these ladies are an incredible example for all of us because they certainly do far more than that.

To Christine and Shannon - you are amazing.  Thank you for making a difference in our life and so many other military families.

Much love,
Household Six

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A whole new adventure...

Several months ago my beautiful step-daughter, Lindsey, introduced me to Arbonne.  The funny thing is, I had really been introduced to Arbonne long before that when I had attended a Valentine's event at Operation Homefront in Albany, Oregon.  During that event, I was given a great big bag of wonderful gifts, all to pamper myself when I got home.  It was filled with luxurious skin care products, a spa robe, massage lotion, detoxifying brush and much more.  After returning home from that event I remember taking a hot bath and feeling like a little girl looking at all of the products and then sliding into my new robe.  Those luxurious products were donated by Arbonne.  Many months later, my daughter stopped by to drop off samples of the RE9 anti-aging products for me to try.  She had become and Independent Consultant and was so excited about all of the products.  Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I attended another event sponsored by Operation Homefront and TriCare at the Willamette Valley Vineyard.  This event was an evening honoring military spouses.  As we walked into the winery we were handed a bag filled with goodies.  The bag was filled with  Arbonne products.

I am someone who deeply believes that everything happens for a reason.  Opportunities are placed in front of us each day that require us to make choices and allow us to experience new things.  Anyone who serves in the military (including those of us that serve at home) are passionate about supporting causes, products, and companies that support us.  Arbonne has done just that.  Everything happens for a reason....three separate times...over a period of many months...Arbonne has appeared in my life.  I came to realize that an opportunity was being placed in front of me.

I am happy to announce the launch of my new business as an Arbonne Independent Consultant.   I have come to love their products.  A few of my favorites:  RE9 Anti-Aging (as much as I hate to admit I need them), their make-up primer (I've tried numerous brands and this by far is the best and if you haven't tried primer you are missing out), their detox tea, eyeliner, eye shadows, lip liners, and lipsticks.  They offer a great line of products for teens that both Taylor and Tiffany have been using.

Please take a moment to look at my website using the link above.   I am proud to support an organization that supports us a military family.

Much love,
Household Six