Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Music is the Sountrack of Your Life


“Music is the Soundtrack of Your Life”

Dick Clark’s quote, “Music is the soundtrack of your life,” rings true if you take a step back and think about it.  There are times when a song comes on the radio and it takes your mind back to a certain place in time in your life.  These songs could bring a smile to your face or tears to your eyes.  If you think of your life as a movie, a song could symbolize a scene in your life.  The soundtrack of my life tells the good times and the bad, the stresses, the pains, the joys and the healing times in my life.

“The Sesame Street Theme Song”

During the time of Sesame Street, Electric Company and The Muppet Show, music was the way I learned everything.  With extremely young parents who still had to finish school and work part-time jobs, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother in the mornings, watching our old black and white TV and learning from the PBS shows as they sang songs that would end up sticking in my head forever. 

“If this world were mine” by Luther Vandross and Cheryl Lynn

               When I was about 4, my dad and I use to sing this song together all of the time.  It was around the time my mom was pregnant with my brother.  This song takes me back to that time, a time when I felt like I was daddy’s little girl, a time when there was nothing my daddy could do wrong.  It brings me back to when my mother was in the hospital after giving birth to my little brother and my dad took me to a field full of water buffalo.  At the time, it seemed as if we sat forever watching those water buffalo, but I’m sure it was only a few minutes.

“Time of My Life” David Cook (Dirty Dancing)

               My adolescent years I spent as an Army Brat in Germany.  Those days I remember as being this carefree kid who loved being outside playing sports, traveling Germany on school trips and making friends.  My brother and I spent a lot of time with our mom.  My dad wasn’t home a lot.  During the time we were in Germany, there was only one America channel to watch, so we watched a lot of movies over and over again.  My mother and I watched Dirty Dancing so many times I can still recite the movie word for word.  We would dance to “Time of Our Life” at the end of the movie, pretending to be Johnny and Baby.  This song always brings a smile to my face, as I dance it with my own daughter today.

“Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna

When I hit my teenage years, life started changing a lot.  That “Daddy’s Little Girl” bond had faded.  My dad had spent a lot of time outside of the house, some because of the military, a lot because of his love for partying and women.  The more he pushed to tell me what to do, them more rebellious I became towards him.  He was strict on me, giving me a very short rope.  His idea of parenting was to put me on long punishments that had no end.  Rather than discuss things with my parents, I just went and did things and prayed they didn’t find out.  Boys were my love, and boys were my dad’s hate.

“Bonny and Clyde” by Tupac

Once I was 18 and graduated High School, I went through a short phase a wanting to be “hard”, listening to gangster rap music with tons of profanity, wearing big, baggy clothes, and hanging with the want-to-be bad boys.  I wasn’t by any means “hard”, as I didn’t do drugs or anything like that or didn’t disobey my parents or stay out all night.  I just wanted to feel more grown up.  Listening to music 2Pac made me feel was living outside of my comfortable, suburban life.  “Bonny and Clyde” not only connected me to my boyfriends at the time, letting them know that I was there for them, but also disconnected me from my family, who, from my teenage point of view, just didn’t understand anything about being young.

“Going to the Chapel” by Dixie Cups

Nineteen came around and I was ready to get out of my parents’ house.  I’d met a Soldier; a really nice guy.  Not exactly everything I’d hoped for as he was too quiet and it was like pulling teeth to get a good conversation out of him.  However, he was a good guy with a steady career.  He soon informed me that he had orders to report to Germany in a few short months.  I thought, why not!   And away we went! 

“Thanks for My Child” by Cheryl Pepsi Riley

My kids are the light of my life. “Thanks for My Child” by Cheryl Pepsi Riley is song that came out when I was a child.  My mom use to play this song on our record player and sing it to my brother and me.  It was comforting to me and still is when I hear it because of the love my mom had for me.  It is one of the few songs I know that shows the appreciation a mother have for her children.  When I had children of my own, the meaning of this song became something different, as I gained a deeper appreciation for the meaning.    

“No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige

After years of a hard marriage, filled with pain and tears, “No More Drama” kept me reaching for that point where I wouldn’t allow the drama in my life to take over.  While I was going through so much, it was hard for me to see a time when the drama would be gone and I could find a certain level of happiness.   When I listen to this song now, it takes me back to that time of stress and hurt, but gives me such an appreciation for being able to make it through it.  The song symbolizes to me that even through hard times, there will come a time when the cloud will lift. 

“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

A new song, but one that represents me and the way I feel about myself today, Alicia Keys puts so much power behind the words in this song that it makes me feel as if I’m on top of the word.  In the last year, I’ve learned a lot about myself and have concentrated on making myself happy, bettering myself and doing things that make me happy.  I have put my energy into helping others, showing others how to find joy in the life they are handed.  Doing this has made me feel great about who I am.  I haven’t always felt great about myself, but somewhere along the my long journey, I feel like at this point I am becoming the person I want to be, I am showing the word who I am.  I am on fire!

“I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful

The one song that can get me through hard times is “I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful.  Such a touching gospel song that I sing when times just seem too hard to handle.  Gospel is a genre of spiritual music that is “characterized by giving the singer free reign to add enough notes to allow a fuller emotional expression.” (Janaro, 2012, p. 175)  When my heart if heavy and everything seems to be crashing down around me, the words I sing to the Lord reminds me that God has my back all the time, “not another second or another minute, not an hour or another day, but Lord, I need you right away.”  My faith may become shaken at times but this song gives me the strength I need to overcome my tough moments with the help of God.

The soundtrack of life takes a listener through the good and bad, the trials and tribulations, the joys and accomplishments and the strengths and weaknesses of life.  A song can take a person back to a certain time in life and bring out emotions from eras thought to be buried in time. 


References



Janaro, R. P., & Altshuler, T. C. (2012). The art of being human: The humanities as a technique for living (Kaplan University 3rd custom ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Goodbye Dad...

The two things I really hate to hear people say:

I know how you feel.

He's in a better place.


Erwin James West
June 15, 1961 - September 26, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Going Home to Michigan, but not happy...

Tomorrow morning I get on a plane and fly to Michigan.  My dad's doctor has suggested that I come home now.  I can't explain how hard it is to hear that.  He's been in the hospital for the last two weeks and like the doctors in Georgia, the Michigan oncologist says that there is nothing else they can to for him.  The doctor says that he has not had a patient that has lived longer than a year and 7 month with this cancer, Glioblastoma.  My dad has been living for 5 years with this cancer.  Yet, he has also told my family in Michigan that he believes that the doctors who diagnosed him with Glioblastoma 5 years ago must have misdiagnosed him and that he may have contracted Glioblastoma later.  And from what I can gather from that statement is that he believes that because he has not kept any patients alive longer than 1.7years, no one could possibly be living with this horrible cancer for 5 years.

Balderdash!

I honestly don't believe that for 5 years, his doctors in Georgia have been wrong about what kind of cancer he has.  His surgeon who removed his cancer was one of the top surgeons in the US.  If I'm not mistaken, he was either #3 in the US or #3 in the region.  I can't remember.  But I'm sure he wouldn't have made such a mistake when coming out of surgery and telling me that my dad's tumors were almost completely removed as far as could be seen. "However," he stated, "based on the location of the tumors in the frontal lobe of his brain, this is Stage 4 Glioblastoma.  I'm sorry."  Without me understanding what exactly he meant by, "I'm sorry", he left the room, as my heart sank, knowing this prognosis couldn't be good.  I'd already done the research.  I'd already Googled brain tumors and Googled what part of the brain held what kinds of tumors.  I already knew what the doctors were going to say and what the textbooks said about this being the worst of the worst as far as brain cancers go.

I'm going home and I'm so afraid of what I will find once I get there.  I don't know what I expect to see.  I know that he has been in the hospital for two weeks and hadn't spoken much since he had surgery. This surgery was not on his brain, but was a result of an abscess he'd gotten in his rectal area back in June, which hadn't healed.  He'd been leaking from that area every since, but the doctors said it was normal.  One night, my grandmother had to call the paramedics and have him rushed to the hospital because the pain had gotten unbearable and the bleeding was really bad.  After a few days, they decided to do surgery to repair the stint that was placed from the previous surgery.  He has been heavily medicated and unable to speak every since.  About two weeks, maybe... however, it seems the days are going by quickly these days.  I know he has been stable.  Today, I was able to speak to him.  He sounds really good.  He was not terrible confused, as he sometimes is, and he was in good spirits.

As I said, I'm afraid of going home.  It seems that the doctors are at the end of treatment and feel it is time to stop.  It seems they want me to decide what to do next.  Well, they want his kids to decide what to do next.  To give them direction... the "okay" to stop treatment and send him home to live the rest of his life "comfortably". 

That hurts.  A lot.  It hurts so much to think that I have to make such a decision for someone's life.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Popeye is not the only Spinach eater!

Spinach is one of those things that is really only good if it's cooked fresh. Or in my case, Fresh Express. My kids love when I cook spinach, to my surprise. My husband... Not so much.

When I was a kid our spinach, like almost of our vegetables, came out of a can. The one with Popeye on the front with his squinty eye, wooden pipe and big muscles. Popeye was a Sailor, so I'm sure with months at a time out on the water, just about anything tasted good... Even a can of cold spinach!

Popeye was pretty impressive on tv. The way he would squeeze open that can of spinach when he was just at the point of being clobbered by Bruno, then BAM!!! He was a Fightin' Machine, kicking Bruno's butt up and down our floor model TV screen!

Even with all his sudden strength, he didn't have me fooled! Oh no! Spinach was my least favorite vegetable! Really, they all were, as I didn't like vegetables at all, but spinach was outright YUCKY!!

I can't say the same for my little brother. He loved his spinach! He'd run around the house thinking he had the strength of 10 lions after dinner, while I sat, after being told to finish my plate, stuffing small pieces in my napkin, under the bones left on my plate, or held tightly in my hand until my mom felt I'd "eaten" enough to get up from the table.

Boy did I wish we'd had a dog!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What a day!

My Annihilation exercise class was probably the easiest thing I've done today!


It's been one of those days where my brain was on non-stop and I went from one conversation to another some within minutes of each other, some overlapping.

Oh what a tense family I have right now.  Things have been crazy lately as my dad's health deteriorates by the day now.  Knowing this, everyone is concerned, and rightfully so.  As we have been working to get him to Michigan to our hometown to stay with his family during this trying time, everyone is becoming tense and even sensitive towards one another, towards words that are spoken.  Assumptions are being made without speaking to others.  There has been tons of he-say-she-say and I'm becoming more and more stressed with every call from the east coast.

So, I called a meeting.  A conference call to include my dad's closest relatives, his brothers and sisters, his kids, his mother and his girlfriend.

I sent a mass text to everyone I wanted involved asking everyone to please be on the call and letting them know that I want to talk about everyone's opinions, concerns, and expectations, as well as discuss his financials and medical issues.  I made sure to include his girlfriend because much of the confusion had to do with her and it needed to be talked about.  Also, she is his caregiver, the one he has been with for 15 years, the one who knows everything about him, his well-being, his finances...

Boy!  You woulda thought I'd just declared war on China!  
I got several phone calls throughout the day prior to the scheduled call asking why I am having this call and did I think it would be a good idea.  Everyone was afraid of the turn out, afraid of what others might say, afraid of what they themselves might say that might offend someone. A few told me that they would NOT be on the call at all.  Truth be told, I was quite afraid that there would be some fireworks going off myself!  After all, tensions these last few days have been pretty high.  I told everyone that we needed to get everything out in the open, speak honestly about everything and ask the questions we wanted to know about my dad.  We needed solutions and not go by here-say.  I assured them that it would not get out of hand.  (... while secretly praying to my God that things didnt!)

The conference call was possibly the best thing we could have done as a family in this situation.

I have to thank my husband for stepping in and moderating the conference for me, reminding me what subjects I wanted to discuss and taking notes for me.  I have been under a lot of stress and he was there for me.

We talked about the issues and were able to ask the questions necessary to really achieve the goal of coming together for my dad.  Everyone is very concerned.  Everyone is very hurt.  Everyone wants what's best for my dad.  And by the end of the chat, tears were flowing.  I could hear the sniffles, there was a lot of grieving.  Me, I couldn't hold back the tears.  I'm normally not the one to cry, but this is my father we are talking about.  Even I have a heart. 

This worked well.  I think doing a conference more often rather than allowing things to get so confusing might help keep the stress levels down. 


After the conference call, my phone still rang, but a little less and I was able to answer it without feeling afraid of what was going to be said next.  One thing about my family is that although we might not always agree, we can eventually talk things over and get through the tough times.  Family is forever.





Thursday, August 9, 2012

Strong President Endures So Many Thrown Stones

It bewilders me how much hate is thrown at President Obama.  If you know me, then you know that I am a hugs Obama supporter.  It's sad how he continues to get blamed for everything that is wrong with America.  

If you stop and think, we were in a huge debt prior to him being elected, one that was said would take more than one presidential term to fix.  

If you recall, it is the Republicans that have pushed back every effort that has been taken to try to improve anything about the situation he inherited.

Why?  Not because these weren't proposals that might help get the CHANGE that he campaigned on, but because by blocking every proposal and every attempt for change, the President would never be able to accomplish anything, and would look like a failure.  They counted on this to assure that President Obama would not be re-elected.  Silly thing is, with all of the blame being thrown in his direction, who holds the Senate?




Chew on that....

With a country divided by it's government, CHANGE will never come.  It seems that if there wasn't so much bitterness and spite, the Reps could accept that President Obama is the President of the United States, the man in change, the country's leader.  He won the country's vote fair and square.  Regardless of the differences of opinions, he deserves the support of his country.  Other countries are sitting back looking at us like fools as we can't hold our own democracy together, but want to be considered leaders of the free world.  Other countries are laughing at America's inability to come together and be what our forefathers intended us to be.   




What brought this thought process on, you ask?  It has been quite a while since I have spoke on politics.  Well, it was this picture posted to the White House FB page and some of the comments made underneath.  This is suppose to be a positive image of the President doing something great.  Speaking with Prime Minister of India to express condolences for recent shootings is something that shows humility and concern.  The thing is, those who are negative have no idea how many leaders of other countries call our President when things happen.  This is something you'd think Presidents are suppose to do.

The comments are always so hateful and bitter.  So bitter sometimes that they are downright scary.  Sometimes I wonder how the First Family endures such hatred in the media.  How do words and comments like these make Michelle and Barrack feel at the end of the day.  No one's heart is made of stone.  I would image that all these thrown stones have to cause lots of cracks in a person.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

So Ends the 104 Days of Summer Vacation

It's already 7:30 in the morning.  My intentions have been to wake up earlier because the kids are starting school in 2 days, but the earliest I have managed to get out of the bed is 7am.  I need at least another 30 minutes to be on their school time.  It's times like these when I wish I was in one of those regions of the world where school didn't start until the end of Augusta, or even early September like it use to when I was a kids.  

Are there still places where school starts after Labor Day?


I remember when I was a kid how excited I was to start school.  The new clothes, the new shoes, the new back pack with the most popular cartoon character on it.  Remember when pencil boxes where actually boxes?  I'd take mine to school, always something colorful, filled with a pack of pencils, a box of crayons, a pencil sharpener...  I'd leave for school decked out in my new gear, with a fresh new hair-do and my shiny new Cabbage Patch lunch box! 

Those were the days!  The days when summer seemed to last forever, but we were never ready for it to me over.  The days when the days didn't end until the sun set at 9:30 at night and we were allowed to stay out an soak up every minute of it. 

Here in AZ, the sun never stays out past 7:30, but man does it Good Morning way too early!

Contrary to the fact that the summer seems to be ending quite early, the kids are excited about going back.  Apparently taking our vacation to the Grand Canyon days after the last day of school made the summer "BOOOOOORING"!  Apparently there's simply "nothing to doooo" all day long and "it's too hooooooot" to play outside  (It is Arizona, so I'd have to agree).  I've got three kiddos who would rather be in a classroom all day learning something, but who am I to complain!




Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Things I've Seen on This Trip...

Things I've seen on this trip.

~ Don Juan Tacos in New Mexico.

~ 2 cars back to back in El paso with wobbly back tires.

~ The miles-to-empty get down to 12 in the middle of nowhere.

~ The sunset at 9pm! That doesn't happen in AZ!

~ An industrial city.

~ Miles of red lights blinking on and off simultaneously. Later found out it was Horse Hollow Wind Farm, 600 turbines generating power.

~ A billboard for FRIED PIES, reminding me that we are definitely back in the south!

Vacation Bible School

Anything where missy can express her personal style and creativity, she's all in! VBS this year on Fort Huachuca was very colorful. Missy was the only one who went this year. The boys stayed home or went to the gym with me. She has come home every day pretty excited to share what she has learned.

Friday, June 29, 2012

An Unexpected Cross Country Road Trip

I just looked out the window about an hour ago and said to myself how pretty the day was.  Blue skies and white clouds.  Hmph!  The Arizona monsoon season sure knows how to change a forecast quickly!

It has been a busy, trying  few weeks.  Just after our Grand Canyon vacation, I received a call saying that my dad had had a minor stroke.  He was in the hospital.  I knew immediately it was time for me to go home.

We took two weeks off to go to see my dad.  It was bittersweet.

Being home with him and the family and my friends was fab-tabulous.  Leaving him with the news that he may not have long to live, well, not so fab-tabulous.

It seems that the doctors believe that there is nothing else they can do.  He switched to a cancer center, something I wish he had done before now.  

I met Dr. Negrea of Low Country Cancer Care and Associates when I went to my dad's follow up appointment after his MRI.  

Let me start by saying how UN-impressed I was with the service and the fact that the wait time after his scheduled appointment was two and a half hours behind.  A lady in the waiting room, who had checked in after us and was obviously a seasoned patient, leaned over and told my husband, "Be prepared to wait 2 or 3 hours," she laughed.  "We've learned to bring a lunch."

The time ticked on and I continued to get more and more frustrated.  When we were finally seen by Dr. Negrea, I felt totally dismissed as he read the results of the MRI gave a brief explanation and stood to leave the room.  I wanted answers to the questions I'd had and I began to fire questions at him before he could leave.  He tried to answer them quickly, but never sat back down or tried to make sure all of my questions were answered.  He rushed us through, which, to me, was total disrespect considering the fact we'd waited two and a half hours behind the appointment to see him.  A little more courtesy would have been great. He quickly moved on to his next patient, but I had more questions and asked the nurse to call him back into the room to help me wrap my head around what the MRI meant.

The MRI revealed that the entire left side of his brain showed radiation narcosis.  What this means is that the radiation has burned and damaged the entire left hemisphere of his brain.  There was also 2 maybe 3 spots revealed, which were assumed to be tumors.  He said that the VA clinics were possible giving too much radiation.  Said that they're procedures were not following the protocol that would have normally been followed by cancer centers.  I asked if he thought they were experimenting on my dad and he said yes, but could only speculate until her received the records from the VA hospital.  

The illustration looked something like this:

Once they received the records from VA the news wasn't anything good.  They won't be continuing chemo is what my dad told me.  I gathered from that bit of info that there is nothing else that can be done.  

What do you say when that kind of information is given to someone?

How do you respond, when you know this person still has so much life in them?  I'm too young to lose a parent, aren't I?  He's only 51.  He's too young to receive this kind of diagnosis.  When we first came into this almost 5 years ago, we were told he would live 5 years at best.  It went from years to months. Where did those years go?   


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Grand Canyon!

Preparing for another cross-country trip.

Honestly, I didn't expect to be taking another trip so soon, but you know the old saying, "You wanna make God laugh, MAKE PLANS!"



So, after going to the Grand Canyon just last week, it's time to take a 2000 mile drive from Arizona to Georgia!  And this time, we don't have 6 days to do it! 

We're doing it in three instead.  2 hotel nights and 3 days of driving.  While I'm not looking forward to it, it's another adventure to be added to our family's list.

Speaking of trips, I MUST share our Grand Canyon pictures!  For those who are friends with me on Facebook, you may have already seen these.  But for those who are not, know that the pictures do the Grand Canyon no justice!  I use to say, "Why would I want to see a big hole in the ground?? How exciting could that possibly be?"  


 Well it was certainly breath taking!  One because you just can't imagine something like that.  And two because it took my breath away every time I got close to the edge to take a picture because I'm really not fond of heights!


We started our vacation spending a night in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ.

The next morning we saw a gun fight!


We rode a train to the Grand Canyon.  It was the first time the kids had been on a train!
When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, a bus tour was waiting for us to take us around the GC.







This is a picture of the BOTTOM of the GC.  This was taken with my long 300mm lens.  That's a road on the bottom and those black dots are people!




These mules ride people to the bottom.  Not us!  But People!

The Grand Canyon Sunset is a must see.






Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Vacation Post #1: Hot and Ugly

I had all intentions of starting my 100 days of summer blogging on the 1st of June.  Here it is the 5th and I'm just now sitting down to get one in.


The kids are home.  ...yay...


Cam and Miss Missy are already at each others' throats.  For me, this means waking Miss Missy up in the mornings to go to the gym with me in the mornings.  They can't stay together for fear they may kill each other!  


This morning, some of the girls and I took a walk up to Reservoir Hill.  It's a nice hike up a hill to a lookout of the city.  We jogged back down.  Here, I can do that.  It's one of the perks of living in Sunny Arizona.  I never would have understood what "dry heat" meant until I moved here.  You really don't sweat, you just cook.  In GA, the humidity will instantly chase you back into the house.  Here, there's no humidity which means you're outside cooking in the sun without really realizing how hot it is! 

Guess that would explain why AZ has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world!



Cancer.  


I don't love that word.  It quite honestly has to be one of the most horrible words in the English dictionary. 


On my run this morning.  I got a call.  I ignored it.  I got another.  It was my mother.  I ignored it.  I got another and again I ignored it but by this time, I knew there was a reason for the calls.  I knew there was something wrong, but didn't want to hear it.  I don't like bad news. I just wanted to make it home and finish my run first.

One more call and it was my sister.  I knew I needed to answer. 

More bad new.  The MRI results.  Not good news at all.



So, here I am, planning my trip back to GA.  I think we're all going to go.  We had the hospital in GA put in a Red Cross call to Chris's Command.  It's time for me to go home.


Talk about a Monkey Wrench.


6 months.  How can you give a human being a six month expiration date?  No Man knows the day nor the hour.  


Still... it's time for me to go home.  With the memory loss, the constant visits in the hospital, I need to be there, even if it's just for a little while.


Cancer is an ugly word.  You know how your mama use to get your butt for saying words like stupid, shut up, or funky (only one person I know can relate to that one)?  Cancer is that kind of ugly word.  How I wish it didn't have to be spoken in my home.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Annihilation

Okay, I have never liked going to "aerobics" classes.  So when I first heard about Annihilation, my first thought was

OH, HELL NAW!

I couldn't see myself in a class that required me to keep my footing as well as kill me!

The Annihilation instructor happens to be a part of my Facebook Group, Huachuca Wives and when the subject came up about the class again, we decided we should give it a try.  Now, I wish I'd done it sooner.

My roota was killing me the first weekend after my workout!  I was in more pain than a little trying to sit on the toilet. 

Now, after a few week, I've gotten use to it.

What is Annihilation, you ask?

Well it's 30 second intervals of craziness!  High speed workouts geared to kick butt! 

Alejandra is an AWESOME instructor and I really hate that this was her last class of teaching, but I'm sure that the girl taking over, Jill will kick our butts just as hard.

I NEVER thought I would enjoy a workout class.  I walked in there today, late as usual, and they were just starting and the class was PACKED! My friends and I have been spreading the word about this class and it's really starting to fill up!  I'm hella excited to keep going and I FINALLY feel like I'm getting a real workout!  SWEAT AND ALL! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Huachuca has taught me something

A year ago, I would have never thought I'd be able to stomach the idea of staying in Fort Huachuca after retirement.  I year ago, when you asked, "So where are you going to go when Chris retires?"  I would have surely answered with, "GEORGIA, of course!"  And I would have given you the crazy DUH-look!, I mean because, who would want to stay in the deserts??

There are only five months left until retirement.  

I have to pause to take that in because I can't believe retirements is really right around the corner.  But it is.  And it's so strange to me that it's so close.

I mean, I'm just getting started as a "real" Army Wife.  

Before now, we've never lived on post and I've never been in the mix of Military Spouses, knowing how they are, what they do, what they think.  This has been a real eye-opening experience for me.  I find myself drawn to helping spouses become better spouses.  I find myself drawn to wanting to make sure people have the information they need for every situation.  I'm learning what all the Military has available for spouses and I want to teach what I'm learning to others.

I have always been involved.  You all know how much time I've spent in the kids classes over the years, but now, I want to be involved with helping spouses get a positive outlook on the Military life.  I know I've heard so many times about how the Military doesn't care about the families.  Not long ago, you would have found me co-signing on that statement.  

My experience started with being a co-leader for the FRG (Family Readiness Group) in Georgia.  Although the group was small and many women at our level didn't feel they needed the FRG for support during the deployment, I started then realizing the togetherness of Military Spouses.

Now, don't get me wrong, living on post is not all hunky-dory! These are some of the most complaining-est chicks I've ever seen.  Calling the MP (military police) because dogs are barking outside, because kids are playing too loud in the backyards or because your neighbors kids are sticking their hands through your fence touching your dog...  REALLY!  

But some of these wives are some amazing chicks with some really big hearts.  I've met some great girls.  Some really good friends.  And my experience has change, twisted and molded my view of the Military Spouse.  

These are some STRONG women.  I love that I have found like-minded friends who see a need to share with, help and inform other spouses of what is right there and available to them.  I love that I have people who see what I see and want to help me achieve my goal.

As a spouse, on my way out, you'd think I'd have this military stuff down packed, but it's so amazing what I learn and what I have learned in the past year.  I know that I could continue to offer my help and volunteer my time once we retire, and most likely that is what I will continue to do.  

Especially since it's looking more and more like we may be in Arizona a little longer than I expected!

Kay

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Help me Win a Bottle!

Hey Girls! I love you all to pieces! Okay, not gonna keep buttering you up, but if you could go to this site and let Martha know I sent ya, I could win a free bottle of V# weight loss lil MIRACLES and YOU can request a free sample if you want. But just go to the page and let her know Kay is your girl! :-)

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter and Welcome Spring!

I happen to REEEEALLY like the spring.  And Easter symbolizes Spring right along with the greening trees, the warmer weather and wearing shorts!  Spring here in Ft. Huachuca is so nice!  I have to say, I will certainly miss the weather here in Arizona if nothing else!  There's little to no humidity, which means even in 100 degree temperatures, you don't sweat like you do at home.  Sure, you have to give up trees... shade... grass... long summer days...

but you don't have to fight the tons of mosquitoes, the sweat-drenched clothes just from checking the mail and the short days enjoying the sunshine.

If the weather could stay like it is in the spring the entire year 'round, I would LOVE IT.

Easter was pretty perfect as far as weather goes.  The sun was shining, but the breeze made it perfect.  When we go home from church, Cam said, "Even though we are away from family, this has turned out to be a pretty good Easter."  Even though we're on the other side of the U.S., we can still build our traditions and enjoy our holidays with our own little family unit.


















Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Amazing what a little lunch get together can do!

Have you ever been really proud of yourself?  I mean, have you ever done something and not realized the impact of what you've done until someone pointed it out to you?


Today was one of my Huachuca Wives potluck lunches.  Not a big turn out, about 9 ladies, but it was really nice.  And it was the biggest one so far. 

What I loved most is the range of ladies that attend my lunches.  There were 3 AIT Spouses, 1, I believe was a reservist's wife, a Specialist's spouse, an E-6 spouse,  2 E7 spouses in addition to myself, and a Commander's Wife. 

I say this not to call out people's rank, but to get you readers to understand that although we are all at different stages in our military lives, we came together over lunch and be "just the girls".



This felt like an example of "new army".  For those of you that have been in a while like myself, you may know the stigma that senior enlisted and lower enlisted don't "mix".  Well, I'm not one to follow that "rule" as I feel that who I hang with is based on personality, not status.  I am not my husband's rank.  I don't have any bars on my should telling me my worth.  We all put our pants on one legs at a time, ya know?

After the lunch, I talked to the Commander's wife who attended.  She told me how happy she was to be able to make it.  I love her because she is a huge advocate for spouses, for finding ways to reach the spouses and educating them on what resources are available to them.  THAT is something we have in common! She told me that she didn't think I understood the magnitude of what I was doing by having these lunches like this. 

I don't think I really did.  I've looked at it as a chance to get some girls together, get them out of the house, meet new people and talk about what other things we can do together.  I wanted to give information out about the programs available, what kind of things there are to do around the area and give the newer spouses a sense of belonging and let them know I'm here to help if needed.  I know that Fort Huachuca is in the middle of the desert and I was just hoping that I could get spouses to see that it's really not so bad here IF you make the most of it.

She looked at it as a start of something big, a way to get the younger spouses more involved.  A way to let them know that senior enlisted spouses are "approachable" and to get rid of the old thoughts of us being separate.



I see that now.  I see that our group has a lot of potential.  I love what we have here already though, as far as being a comfortable, easy going day out for spouses. 


We also talked about how to get these spouses to get involved in the Ft Huachuca Community Spouses Club.  Now, let me tell you, these clubs on most bases have the reputation for being a group of senior enlisted foo-foo types.  The groups wasn't approachable as it was only for spouses married to the big-wigs on base at one time.  Well, I'll tell you, this is something I would never be a part of!  Well, FHCSC would like to change that and bring in the younger enlisted and newer spouses.  They want to get fresh ideas.  They don't want the group to only be for the old people!  LOL!


So, we talked about how to get the new generation spouses to participate.  I told her that the group is going to have to come to their level.  Technology.  Communicating through FB, Twitter, text messages... this is how everyone communicates and in order to reach out, they have to start there.  Also, I wanted her to be mindful that Soldiers often don't have a lot left over after bills are paid and going to a place to spend $12 on a Spouse's Club lunch is a lot for some people.  I love my potlucks because these girls don't mind bringing a dish if they like, not spending more than they can.

It was a very great conversation.  When we got off the phone I felt as if I can make a little bit of a difference and that even with what I feel is a little lunch, our little group of Huachuca Wives can have had an impact.