Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Dear Jon Letters

Writing is a dead art. No one still writes hand written letters anymore. With e-mail as such a great tool and not to mention all the social media on the rise we have shunned it back to the dark ages. Before September of last year I would have completely agreed with this method of thinking. Why wait to get something to someone when they can have it now? Then the government thought they knew better. Now I know there are probably many reasons why we can only write letters to our loved ones at Marine Corps boot camp, but I can't help but wonder if they took this moment to capitalize on this dwindling section of the government. What better way to welcome someone back to the fold right? Maybe not for everyone, but they got me. Hook, line and sinker. I now have a new found love for written mail. Writing to Jon was freeing when the chains of separation seemed to choke out any semblance of a normal marriage. I now realize that a "normal" marriage doesn't exist for me anymore but that was a pill I had to swallow. When I sit down to write a letter to Jon I make sure it has three things. The first is that it's positive. He wants to hear about the interesting things in my life not about dryer lint! If all you had was what you read you would want it to be positive and exciting too! Secondly, I always say I love you more than marshmallows. I know it seems silly and I am not suggesting you go write that, but it symbolizes something special for our family only. Whatever you have that's special and specific make it a constant. Lastly, it is always scented. Come on he is a guy! I started spraying my letters with my perfume towards the middle of boot camp with Jon and it wasn't long before I got a letter asking for more. They want to connect with you just as much as you want to with them. So that's it, my recipe for some awesome love letters. I can't wait to see Jon but if we must be apart at least I can still feel close to him through a stroke of a pen, a spritz of perfume and a good old fashioned stamp. My Dear Jon letters are just that my dearest emotions for my sweetest Jon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What Saturdays are made of

So there are so many things that could be said of Saturdays. It is my second favorite day of the week. (Sunday is my first!) I seem to get so much done on Saturday. After enduring the torture that was my intercession class I was ready to enjoy a free relaxing Saturday with no real plans. I decided to tackle some projects that I had been wanting to work on...

1.Getting the Megazord Power Ranger for Landon. My son has been talking about this action figure for a long time! Okay maybe only about a week, but when your four year old is talking non stop about one thing it makes it seem a lot longer. We had planned to get it on Monday when we went to Target only to find out that there was nothing in the way of Power Rangers there. So today we tracked it down at where else but Toys R Us. I say he looks happy... what do you think?

2. Next on the list was changing Landon's comforter. I hadn't gotten a bedspread set for the winter and I was getting tired of the drab color that had faded from all the washing! I found a great deal on this spread at Walmart. I was so excited. That was two things crossed off my list and now his monkey and Marine bear have a colored coded spot to lay their head.
3. So last on the list was to make some chili which I haven't made at all this winter. I by no means am a champion chili maker. I may have been to culinary school, but I never had the patience to stand or wait for a pot of chili to simmer for hours. My chili is an abbreviated version, but still just as delicious.

Quick Chili Recipe

2lbs ground beef (80/20 fat percent)
2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can black beans drained
1 can chicken broth
1 red pepper diced
1 green pepper diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 onion diced
chili powder
garlic powder
cayenne pepper (if you like it hot!)
1 tsp. olive oil

In a deep skillet saute the peppers, garlic, and onion in olive oil until soft, remove from pan.
In the same pan add the beef and season with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder. Cook fully. Drain the fat off the meat from the the pan.
Add the vegetables, beans, tomatoes, and chicken broth to the pan.
Season to taste with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper if desired.
Simmer for 20 minutes. Enjoy!!!

Aww this is the life! See Saturdays are made for chores and lots of fun. Now if I could just get Landon into bed early so I can enjoy my Kindle.... Okay that's probably not going to happen, but then again playing Batman and Power Rangers is pretty fun too! With that in mind this marks one week until Jon gets his phone back and then we will head down to North Carolina for his MCT graduation and then it's on to MOS follow up school. Whew, time is flying....


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Wild World of Academia

So I am in school. I know I cringe when I say it too. I am working on my Associates in Hospitality Services Management. With all that has been going in my life it is a safe bet to say that school has taken the hit. I mean if someone should share the load shouldn't it be my academics? I mean they are the smartest, most expensive, and time consuming thing in my schedule. How dare school come in and take my weekends, evenings, any mention of a social life and free time spent on my beloved Kindle. Okay so maybe I have taken this personification exercise a little far, but trust me there is a point! So, my Fall semester classes ended right before Jon graduated. Great timing or what?! I took my last final on Monday (which should have been Tuesday, but that's another story) and headed to Parris Island to collect my new Marine. So after 10 days of leave and 7 of recruiters assistance it was time to bid farewell to my hubby and say hello to HSM 2530 intercession. When I signed up for Hospitality Sales and Marketing for intercession I said to myself how hard could this be? I just have class everyday for 2 weeks and then I am done. The teacher will take pity on all of us because we have so much information to cram into 2 weeks that it should be a piece of cake. Now, mind you this was my reasoning 2 weeks ago at the start of the course. That was shattered the moment I saw the syllabus. I have never been intimidated by a class, challenged but never intimidated. Well let me be the first to tell you this syllabus scared the pants off me and apparently everyone in the class as the gasps insinuated after she passed them out. Working tirelessly each day and night after class let out at 9 pm I finished it all. With flying colors I might add! I just handed and presented my final project and I think I heard the halleluia course when I dropped it on the desk, just maybe. After all the cramming, research, and studying I just wanted it to end. Tomorrow we take our final and then I bid farewell to the Wild World of Academia for... you guessed it all of 3 days. I have Spring classes of course! With all this being said it is strange how the things I used to find so exhilarating and intellectually stimulating become a burden. Thinking of when I first graduated high school and started culinary school I was so excited. You couldn't tell me that class wasn't a top rated roller coaster that I was on a ride for. The same can be said of our salvation. When we first get saved we are so excited, glowing with the excitement Jesus fills us with. Then all of the pressures and duties of life set in an we find ourselves dull and dreading what we used to relish in. I am starting this semester with a new attitude. I will love this semester even if I want to throw it out of a moving vehicle at times. I am praying the same for my Christian life. You know life gets dull but Jesus is always just as exciting as the day you met him. So with this intercession behind me I enjoyed what is probably the best thing my Mom makes.... Smothered pork chops. Completely not nutritiously sound at all but it will feed your soul and after these past 2 weeks I say I have earned a few empty calories. And no even I don't have the recipe!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

So today was a day we stop to recognize the impact of a man that gave so much to us as a nation, as people. We everyday enjoy liberties, freedoms that he and so many fought for and that pioneers after them preserved. It's so amazing to think of how far we have come as a nation. I know many would dare say we have a long way to go, and I'm not discounting that but we have made strides towards a better equality. My son will live in a more equal society than I do and I lived in a more equal society than my parents. Progress, that's what today means to me. If we can say we are better than yesterday then we are doing something that matters. Jon chose to make a difference, to stand for something bigger than himself. I hope that in my actions I do so too. As we reflect on where we have come from let me challenge you to strive towards tomorrow. It's not easy, as the quote says," the only easy day was yesterday." Together we can all make a difference, one yesterday, today, tomorrow at a time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Losing it and Getting it Back

So yesterday I woke up just like any other day at 5:30 am, I know I am crazy. I got ready for work, got Landon ready for school and left the house. I was even running early. I dropped Landon at school and then headed to work. I have started my daily prayer time with God in the time from Landon's school to work. It's my time away from everything else, my time with God to let him know my reservations, my fears, my goals, my dreams, my time to spend pouring it all out to a God who knows me better than I know myself. As I hit the corner and started to pray I lost it. I mean snot running down my face crying lost it! Jon has been gone for the past 11 days. I was thinking about how my life has changed so much in such a short amount of time. I miss Jon a lot. More than I ever thought possible. I thought about all the time we have spent together just me and him. I miss everything about my husband, and don't even get me talking about falling asleep. I sleep on his side of the bed, my only solace at night. I was crying and sad, but at the same time I felt God telling me it was okay to lose it as long as I got it back. So after work I went to school to take a test and my Mom was going to my sister's house with Landon so that meant I would have to be in the house all by myself. So I did what anyone did I called my friend, Serinia. You know those people you meet at a certain time in your life and you say how did I not know you before?! Okay, she is one of those people. She is always there helping me when I need an early morning babysitter, a fellow home improvement hand, and of course when cookies are involved. (She makes the most amazing chocolate chip and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!) We went out to dinner and I started to feel normal again. Almost, then I got home and all the feelings came rushing back as I attempted to fall asleep... So today I volunteered with Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters Program. It was such an awesome experience. I learned a lot along with the students from the Chef instructor...

We made some pretty awesome pancakes too...

I then got to help a team with some amazingly healthy turkey tacos. I was so proud of them they did a great job!

Overall it was the best volunteer experience I have ever had. It got me to thinking. I may have lost it on Friday, but through the people God put in my life and the ability to focus on others instead of myself I got it back. So if you are looking for a way to get past something or you just feel like you need a pick me up focus on the needs of others and volunteer you time. I can't think of a better way to get back everything that you thought you lost. Because that's just it, you may have never lost it. God just might be holding it for insurance that you will find your way back to Him to claim it. So if you are looking for way to get involved and don't know where to start take a look at my brother's video blog about his upcoming triathlon for leukemia.

Happy Volunteering!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Milspouse Quiz

Okay, so I am a sucker for quizzes and yes I am just following suit with all the other milspouses that blogged this recently. I thought it would be a good chance to share some interesting information about me and my family so here goes....

1. How did you meet your spouse?

Jon and I met senior year of high school. I had just moved from a different county and my parents decided to put me in private school, Riverdale Baptist School, my last year. Something I was so not thrilled about. He played soccer and I played volleyball so we would see each other after practices before the school year started. Fast forward about 8 months and that's when we went on our first date. The funny thing is we found out that we had actually met way before this. You see his sister and my twin sisters went to the same college, Pensacola Christian College, and when his sister graduated he was there with his family and I went with my family to pick up my sisters. We supposedly saw each other in passing because I remember his sister and their U-Haul taking all her stuff back. That was in 2002 and we didn't start senior year until 2004. Crazy right? It was meant to be...

2. How old were you when you two met?

He was 17 and I was 16.

3. How long have you been together?

We have been married 2 years as of January 2nd, but we have been together for almost 7 years this coming March.

4. Where are you and your spouse originally from?

I was born and raised in Germantown, MD which is about 30 minutes from Washington, DC. Jon was born in New Orleans but he grew up in Brandon, FL.

5. How did you feel about him joining the military?

It's funny actually he talked about going into the military right after we got married. I was like no there is no way we are going to be a military family. So the discussion ended there. It was important to him that we make decisions together. Then I opened the conversation back up again this past May. I knew it was something he wanted to do and I wanted to support my husband in his goals and dreams. I finally was just like if you really think this what God has for our family I am all in!

6. Where did your spouse go to basic training?

Parris Island, SC

7. Has your spouse ever been deployed?

Seeing as though he just finished basic and is still in training... no.

8. Ever been to his promotion ceremony?

Hasn't gotten promoted yet, but I'm sure I'll get to go to one somewhere down the road....

9. How long have you been a military wife?

Just about a month if you count from graduation.

10. Did you marry him before or after he joined?


11. How did your husband propose?

Okay so we had been together for about 4 1/2 years. We were talking about his friend that was getting married and going to the justice of the peace. I was like I so couldn't do that... I mean I plan weddings I have to have some sort of wedding! Then he said would you do it for me? I said well of course for you I would, laughing. Then he asked me marry me. I said of course not thinking he was for real. Boy was I wrong the next day he called me and said I went and talked to your Dad so what do we have to do now?  I was completely shocked!

12. Where did you get marrried?

We got married at the Comfort Inn in Bowie, MD it was beautiful. You can view the pictures here.

13. How old were you two when you got married?

We were both 22.

14. Did he wear his uniform on his wedding day?

He wasn't enlisted then.

15. Where are you and your spouse currently stationed?

I am stationed nowhere! Jon is currently at Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina.

16. Do you live on base?


17. How long were you married when you had to go through your first separation?

About 1 1/2 years... and let me tell you boot camp sucks! Talk about nothing, but letters for 3 months! It was the worst. But even worse is Marine Combat Training.... 29 days and literally nothing not even a letter. I am counting the days....

18. What is your favorite base so far?

I don't have one maybe once we get a duty station that will be my favorite base. Oh wait that would be the only base I will have ever been stationed on...

19. Do you think your spouse looks good in his uniform?

Absolutely! I couldn't take my eyes off him on family day and graduation! Then again he looks good in just about anything.

20. Do you think military life is more advanced than civilian life?

Come again? I don't really get the question. But if I had to tackle it I would go with no.

21. Do you like the benefits you receive as a military dependent?

They are nice, like getting BAH (housing allowance) while he was at boot camp. Even though I didn't have access to it was a nice savings when he came home. I do notice there are a lot of discounts for military families. I feel bad asking because my husband is the one in the military not me, but it came in handy when I just had to go fix my car.

22. Do you have a lot of military wife friends?

I wouldn't say a lot. I have 2 that go to my church. We talk a lot about how to deal with the separations. Something that we all understand! It's fun to hang out with them too and another friend of mines is actually in the Air Force.

23. What is the hardest part of the military life?

I would say separation and not knowing what's going on. I know for me being a control freak I have drove myself crazy during these past months because I have no contact with my husband and when I do it is very limited. It's strange how people always ask me how is Jon doing? Most of the time my honest answer would be I have no idea! I'll get back to when I get a letter. Yeah, I don't think you every get used to not having the person you love so much there or being able to talk to them whenever. Something I took for granted up until around September 20th yeah...

24. Do you own any military wife stuff?

No, not at all.

25. Do you support your spouse as a member of the military?

Of course. He may have enlisted, but we made the decision together. I support him 100%.

Whew! I think I'll take a nap now.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

When life hands you...

So Jon is gone. He left on January 2nd, our anniversary, to head down to Marine Combat Training or MCT at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. He actually almost missed the bus! We were so sure that we would have enough time when we started packing after he spent like 5 hours waiting at his recruiter's office for his orders to be faxed back! We were able to pack everything in one sea bag, his diddy bag, and garment bag. It made for easier carrying for him. So he called me when he got to the bus station in North Carolina on the 3rd and then ... nothing. I haven't heard from him since. So what I have been hearing is that once you don't hear from them down at MCT that means they have been picked up for training. So if he has been he will graduate on January 31st. Then on to MOS school in Virginia. This has been a nerve racking time as I feel I was completely unprepared. There's not a lot of information out there either. So I am waiting for Sunday because they supposedly get there phones on Sunday for liberty. So on top of all that my intercession class has started and I am so in over my head. Then to top it all off yesterday my car died. I mean completely just died. With all this being thrown at me I am so happy that when life throws you everything under the sun God throws you a shelter. God has covered me and calmed all my apprehensions and frustrations. He covers all. That and my little "Marine" corner at work helps to dispel the frustrations too!