Friday, January 29, 2010

Too Much Couch Time!

During the last three days, the furthest I traveled from my house was to the mailbox, and other than that short walk, I divided the rest of the time between the couch and my bed. Food poisoning hit me hard! Or it could have been some kind of stomach bug - all I know is as bad as the sickness was, I think being cooped up alone was almost as bad! I had plenty of time to think about missing my hubby, and no energy to visit with friends or work out - my two main forms of therapy! For someone who goes stir crazy after just a few hours in one place, sick times are especially frustrating - especially without hubby to keep me company. I was especially bummed because tonight was slumber party night at my house for some of the spouses whose husbands are deployed and I had to cancel. We rescheduled for next weekend. But I'm on the up and up now and am hoping to make the most of the rest of the weekend!


Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Complicated

I saw the new Meryl Streep/Eric Baldwin movie, "It's Complicated" the other night and loved it! Meryl Streep's character was a divorced woman and in one scene, she was working with her architect to remodel her home and asked to have one of the two sinks removed in her bathroom. She said it reminded her of how alone she was whenever she had to look over at it. I know exactly what she's talking about! Sometimes at night while brushing my teeth, I look over at B's untouched vanity and it's just another reminder that he's away. But at least my hubby's coming back to me! I can't wait for him to return.

I've been a bit down the last few days, and I can't pinpoint the cause. I think it's a combination of things. It's been rainy and I haven't seen the sun in three days - the weather often has a big time effect on my mood. Also, everything going on in Haiti has me feeling pretty down. And I know B is in some far off deployment land, but lately I've felt the weight of this distance in a way that I haven't before. It's hard to describe - complicated I guess- but I think with the devastation in Haiti and it's effect on our country and military, I'm just needing the reassurance of my husband's presence during such times of emergency and unknown. He's been everything I need him to be with frequent communication and encouraging words, but I just miss having him home safe and sound.

Making a long drive tomorrow, then enjoying some time with my fellow spouses with deployed hubbies. Hoping for some sun this weekend! :-)


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Live Intentionally

My parent's pastor preached an awesome sermon last weekend that I'm still contemplating mid-week. The theme was living with intentionality. He referenced Romans 12:1&2, one of my favorite passages. I've come to realize that living intentionally requires a daily refocusing session.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in the "What should I do with my life" syndrome, where the world revolves around "I," "me" and "my." And it's easy to bring God into the picture with the age-old question, "What does God want me to do?" After getting married fresh out of college and moving to a new area with limited job opportunities in the midst of a suffering economy, I spent months contemplating these very questions. I have learned so much in the past year about contentment and God's will for our lives. Everything about my personality screams "do, do, do!" "go, go, go!" When I felt as if I had hit a brick wall, I had two choices: wallow in self-pity on the verge of depression, or "be transformed by the renewing of my mind." I toyed with the first option, but eventually decided on the latter.

I want my life to center around love, relationships and contentment. Those things do not come as a result of "doing" something great or achieving "my" goals. I have to intentionally restructure my life around those things, as oppose to what the world often deems important. This is usually contrary to my internal wiring, hence the "transform" and "renew" parts. Because it is foreign to my human nature, I am working on refocusing every morning.

So that's what's been rolling around in my little head.

On another note, I start my Master's degree in a few weeks. I'm studying Marriage & Family Therapy, and couldn't be more excited! I've always known that I want to work with people in some way, hence the PR background. But I think this is my true calling. I've always been intrigued with the dynamics of relationships and helping people work through mental and emotional issues. Besides preparing me for licensure as a marriage and family counselor, this program will be a great supplement to the type of writing I'm interested in pursuing.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Good news... maybe!

I received some excellent news from B yesterday. He is 99% sure he'll be coming home a couple weeks early! What a great surprise. However, I won't set myself up for disappointment, because if it's one thing I've learned with the military - nothing is ever for sure.

That's one of the biggest lessons I've learned the hard way over the last few years. Plans have been easily ruined, vacations cancelled, etc. due to "policies," "procedures" and flat out "no's." This kind of stuff used to make me angry, sad and full of resentment. But I've learned to deal with disappointment differently. Getting all riled up never made me feel better and certainly didn't change the situation. Active duty military learn to go where they're told and live by the rules, as ridiculous as they may sometimes seem. They are expected to do this without complaining or whining. I hope to adapt to this way of life now, and to apply it to the rest of my life after the military. I very much look up to my husband for his ability to accept things without complaining. This used to bother me, because I wanted him to be upset when I was, especially if I felt something was unjust. Well, I've come to realize that it takes a stronger person to take what life throws at them with grace, optimism and acceptance.

I rarely take plans or promises as 100%, in an effort to ease potential disapointments. And I am making efforts to deal with disappointments in a more effective manner.

...Yet another character-building life lesson, compliments of the military...

But it sure would be nice to jump back in his arms a bit sooner than expected! ;-)


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Counting my Blessings

With the recent devastation in Haiti, I find myself thanking God for his incredible blessings in my life. With my husband deployed, I sometimes feel like I'm in my own little bubble of survival, dealing with the minor day to day trials and challenges in my own little world. Such travesties really put things into perspective. If the most difficult aspect of my life right now is dealing with frequent separations from my husband, I have much to be thankful for.

God bless the many who have lost loved ones in Haiti. God bless that nation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Packages: a deeper significance?

As much as a deployed spouse must enjoy receiving packages full of delicious baked goods from home, I think the sender receives an even greater, deeper satisfaction in the process. Today I spent most of my afternoon baking cookies, brownies and homemade fig bars for B. After packaging each treat delicately with bubble wrap - still warm from the oven, I added a special hand-written note and made it to the post office with 3 minutes to spare before the last mail went out for the day.

Although I was pressed for time during the last hour of baking due to the frustrating fig bars, which resulted in driving like a mad-man during school bus rush hour to make it to the post office in time, only to return to a disastrous kitchen, I feel that the work was worth my while.

Somehow, the more thought and effort I put into such "projects" during deployments, the more connected and involved I feel to my hubby and the situation. This is probably all in my head, but it seems to be an excellent coping mechanism! I know B would be just as satisfied with a package of rice crispy treats, as with the most elaborate, time consuming baked goods that I could send. But I still feel compelled to try new, usually more extensive recipes. So again, package sending seems to be as much, if not more for me, as for him!


Monday, January 4, 2010

That Time Again

Took an all-too familiar trip to the airport this morning with a car full of military gear and a man bound for another deployment. Have three months already flown by? After Germany, the holidays were upon us, and the days seemed to pass quicker than I could keep up with. I found myself wishing I had a pause button. I was so blessed to have B here for Christmas and my birthday (Dec. 31st). This is a luxury worth appreciating more than ever before. Though the last weeks flew by, we enjoyed many relaxing, sweet moments, as well as some wonderful travel, surprises and romance.

The week before deployment time hit me hard. We returned home from my family's for Christmas and realized it was already time to pack and prep for him to leave again. The first deployment was full of adrenaline for me. I knew it would come eventually, and after so many months of mental and emotional preparation, I was ready to experience it. I didn't want to, I just wanted to get it over with. It's like as a child, when you have something to talk to your parents about that you know will make them upset. You just want to get it over with, and no matter how bad it turns out, the relief you feel from getting it off your chest is far greater than the pain that ensues.

So the first deployment was a new adventure. Though I often described it as living in black and white, and had plenty of down days, I was a strong survivor driven by my own rush and determination. When I say strong, I'm referring to the ability to stay positive and joyful amidst challenging times. It's not about being strong enough to live on my own, run the household and take care of myself. I do not need my husband for these reasons, as I am quite capable on my own. However, the physical separation from the love of my life and best friend who I spend every day with, is a separate issue.

Now the adrenaline is dying down and this is just a dread. I began dreading this day last week. Normal conversations, comments and thoughts brought prickling tears and a lump to my throat. I got sick of swallowing it down and I cried. And my husband consoled. And I cried again. He has developed excellent consoling skills over the years. We've learned that keeping emotions inside equals bad times. Sadness is one of those emotions that needs to be let out. Before the first deployment, B would try to "fix" the sadness - a natural manly reaction to a problem. I explained to him my need to feel this emotion in order to make it pass. Pushing it down will only bring it back in larger, more difficult to manage quantities. While neither of us want to waste the time that we have together feeling sad, I've found that allowing myself to feel sadness sometimes and share my feelings with B is much healthier than suppressing it until he leaves. This way, the few sad feelings that come before a deployment are easier to overcome with my husband offering support, understanding and encouragement. On the other hand, waiting to let myself feel all of the sadness at once after he leaves would be much harder to handle.

I am feeling down today, as expected, however I continue to focus on the positive. I told B on the phone a few minutes ago that I would much rather have an incredible relationship with my loving husband who sometimes has to leave than to have a struggling relationship with a husband who never leaves.

Driving to Nashville today. Will stay for a couple weeks. Until later this week...